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Windows 7: Fairly new Toshiba laptop (C55Dt-A5231) lacking performance. Advice?

02 Apr 2014   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Fairly new Toshiba laptop (C55Dt-A5231) lacking performance. Advice?

Hello everyone,

This is my first post in the forums although I have browsed around a bit. I am not 100% sure which subsection this post does belong in but I thought this was a decent guess.

Anyway, onto my quick questions / advice request:
I am a student that received a laptop because it was very much needed for college tasks and assignments. At the time I figured the one that I had chosen was a great option and would outperform any previous PC I had owned. The laptop's specs are:

AMD Dual-Core E1-1200 Accelerated Processor

Windows 8 (which I downgraded to Windows 7)

AMD Radeon™ HD 7310
Memory and Storage

6GB DDR3 1600MHz memory

500GB HDD (5400rpm, Serial ATA)

DVD-SuperMulti drive (+/-R double layer)

Toshiba Satellite C55Dt-A5231 Laptop

I have used PC's for the majority of my life so I wouldn't say that I am a complete newbie to them, but I am definitely lacking in-depth knowledge of how certain systems work, and what exactly each component of the PC does. I am currently majoring in Computer Engineering, and my curiousity for exploring any and all things computers has definitely been sparked, so I am constantly learning new things (homework or non-homework related) and using my computer for things I had not initially planned on. I have noticed, especially lately, that my computer seems to run very slow and 'feels' like it's doing a lot of work. I have a CPU usage monitor gadget installed on my desktop and notice it reaching 100% often, and witnessed both of my cores reaching 100% tonight when performing fairly basic tasks. SO, I am wanting to 'beef up' my computer if you will, and also want to learn the process of adding memory, possibly an SSD, etc because it's an experience I would enjoy. But, being that I do not have an extremely extensive knowledge base, I am wondering if investing the money into these upgrades is #1) worth the money to put into this computer, or if I should do something else with it (possibly build my own piece by piece as the money is available). Or if #2) I really need to even buy these things to improve my computer to the level I want. I have malware bytes pro, constantly run scans and keep running processes to a minimum in order to keep her as healthy as I know how to, but am still not seeing the performance I want. Thank you all for listening to me ramble on, and I would really appreciate the advice on what to do or where to start on my path for the knowledge and know-how.

Also, I apologize if this is not the correct subsection for such a posting.. It seemed the most appropriate when I looked at the other sections and I hope it's in the right place! Thank you again!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2

ok to be blunt, you have a poor performing cpu as well as a low end graphics card.

your ram is more than enough so addinf any more would be pointless.

an SSD woukd make things snappier but it wouldnt make it less sluggish when its struggling cpu wise.

windows 8 is better optimised for lower end machines especially ones with low power dual core processors like yours.

basically id upgrade back to windows 8, and just settle for the sluggishness. if you wanted it to become quicker at opening files as well as snappier at general windows tasks then by all means stick in an SSD, but remember the more storage you need the more theyll sting you.

downgrade to a less introusive virus scanner such as avg as well as removing all non essential start up programs (click start type run, in the box type msconfig, click the startup tab and untick all unneeded programs) this will help speed things up a little and stop programs hogging your cpu.

sorry if this isnt the desired answer butttt its an informed one lol.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Hey no sweat, I appreciate the help! I wouldn't have been happy if I bought more ram just to have nothing improve. Out of curiosity, how were you able to judge that it's a poor performing cpu / low end graphics card? Would like to have the knowledge for future purchases. And what do you mean by "the more they'll sting you?"

I have read that upgrading the cpu is a pain in the ass, i'm assuming that's true? Also, in addition to judging the cpu and graphics card when purchasing, what is a good range or "good" specs in comparison to what I have?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Apr 2014   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2

by sting you i mean it will cost you more the bigger you go :)

Now to tell if graphics cards are high end or low end is easy. The first number represents the series or family the card is. in your case its a 7 series. the next number relates to the position within that family, 9 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest. Anything from around 6 upwards is mid to high end. so yours is a 7series 310, so its basically 3rd in the scale of power terms. the "10" part will just be varients within that range, 1 being low means yours is the lower end within that range.

Cpu wise, well anything dual core these days is low end. gone are the days where the higher the MHZ the better the cpu. now its the more cores/better architecture is best.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #5

windows 7 32

I concur with badger about the cpu and graphics. And since CPU's in laptops are often not replacable, I'd recommend upgrading to an SSD. You can pick up 120gb drives for under $100 and 240gb drives for around $150. Also most all of them come with cloning software and are a breeze to install. They won't fix the CPU, but everything will get to it much faster :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

You can look through the benchmarks here to get an idea of raw CPU horsepower:

PassMark Software - CPU Benchmark Charts

The same site also has video card benchmarks.

It looks like that CPU scores 698; it is found on this specific list at that site:

PassMark CPU Benchmarks - Low Mid Range CPU's

Quite puny. As a comparison, the Intel i5-4200U on a $600 Acer laptop scores 3324.

I wouldn't invest money or time in upgrading what you have beyond (perhaps) an SSD. Lower your expectations and don't expect miracles, even with an SSD---on that laptop.

Laptops are notoriously difficult to upgrade. If I wanted to get up to speed on PC hardware and building in general, I'd certainly own a desktop. Much easier to upgrade, much more bang for the buck, superior in every respect except portability.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Damn.. That score looks embarrassing hahaha. I feel like we got ripped off this laptop was expensive. I'm assuming that was because of the touchscreen.. And yeah I would definitely like to have a desktop and laptop but I'm not sure if I have the physical space to own a desktop because my place is pretty small (college student), but I might be able to make it work. If there's a will... haha. Damn that sucks though. I'm definitely getting into development and in my free time have been learning Linux. So right now I have eclipse w android JDE, Virtualbox with Debian, Android Studio, and MS Visual Studio installed on this thing and they all run kind of slow and have to run one at a time. Plus, I found out my cpu supports hardware virtualization but my BIOS doesn't have the option to enable it in the menu.. also felt ripped off for that. That seems so stupid to me. Ah well, I guess I'll just ride it out and be thankful I have anything! Thank you all very much for the information, I really appreciate it! Would you guys have any recommendations for future laptops and / or desktops?? I've never built anything myself before but would definitely enjoy doing that over the summer when I have the time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

For self-built desktops, my only general recommendation would be to use an Intel processor (i3, i5, i7) unless you are very strapped for cash. Many of them have integrated graphics that you can try and see if it's sufficient for your needs. If not, add a graphics card.

I'd get an SSD in it unless I was severely constricted by budget. You can get a smallish SSD (say 80 GB) for well under $100 and put a lot of apps on it. Get an ordinary HDD for data if you need more storage space. Ideally an internal, with an external HDD for backup.

Not likely you'd need more than 8 GB of RAM.

Start a new thread when you are within a few weeks of building, with budget information and your intended tasks for the desktop.

I have no idea on laptops, but plenty of folks here can straighten you out on that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2

im about to so a taboo word here.. when it comes to laptops.. the only thing id ever ever ever get... is a macbook.. (yes boo hiss)

Nobody makes a laptop as well built as apple.. not even my favourite brand of ASUS. I have a 4 year old macbook with an SSD in it, and its still lightning quick and i still get 8 hours battery from a single charge. You can dual boot with windows, as well as run any virtual OS you desire.
Plus as youre a student, Apple offer HUGE discounts.. im talking upto 25% plus they allow finance.. damn you students getting cheap things while stealing my taxes.. well.. actually im not american.. but still!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Hahaha the only issue I've had concerns about (and have seen other students have to work around) is that with school when submitting documents etc they are always required to be in MS Office .doc / .docx format.. Or whatever other issues there are between PC and Mac. I don't know.. I do believe they probably do make sound computers. I just dislike iPhones so I imagine it would be fairly similar? I'm actually in the process of learning Linux Debian right now.. It's a lot of fun.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Fairly new Toshiba laptop (C55Dt-A5231) lacking performance. Advice?

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