Is a slightly better setup with more HDD space and RAM worth its price?

Zaidy March 13, 2011
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I need to know whether a US$ 236.50 difference is worth 140GB added HDD space and 2GB added DDR3 RAM.

Sorry for my unclear question. I will give an example. I will state two offers for an Acer Aspire 4750G, which differ in price and hardware.

1) More expensive setup:
Intel® CoreTM i7-2630QM processor
(Quad Cores, 2.0GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.90GHz,6MB L3 cache)
14″ HD Acer CineCrystalTM LED-backlit TFT LCD

640GB Hard Disk Drive, 4GB DDR3 RAM

2) Cheaper setup:
Intel® CoreTM i7-2630QM processor
(Quad Cores, 2.0GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.90GHz,6MB L3 cache)
14″ HD Acer CineCrystalTM LED-backlit TFT LCD

500GB Hard Disk Drive, 2GB DDR3 RAM

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium
Nvidia GeForce GT 540 with Nvidia Optimus Technology
( 1024MB of dedicated DDR3 VRAM )
HDMI Output

I just want to know, based on the sizes of the HDD and the amount of RAM what is the best offer? Should I go with the better and more expensive offer or with the cheaper one and upgrade the hardware myself?

  1. Mcgee1724
    March 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    The choice really depends on what you plan on doing with the computer.
    If you are using it for office work and general internet use then the lower grade model would be more than enough.
    However, if you are going to use it for gaming, photo/media and other resource heavy programs then the more expensive option would be better especially if you are going to have Windows 7 as that is a very heavy OS on resources.

    I would recommend the cheaper option and then change the OS to Ubuntu (Linux), but only take this route if you are reasonably good with computers.

  2. Zen Fred
    March 15, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Thanks Mike. Notebookcheck.net has stated the performance of GT 540m in games, but HD 6770M still unknown. Anyway, being higher up on the list of notebookcheck.net, HD6770M should be better than GT 540M. I will receive my HP laptop a month from now(Sadly) because I think it is still new, and not built yet in Singapore.

  3. Zaidy
    March 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks All!! Great Replies! Yes I will get 4GB ram into the system. I dont think I will ever need a bigger than 500gb internal storage since I already have my iOmega 1TB External Hard drive. Guess the option for me is option 2 then. Ill customize myself after that.

    Thanks Mike for the prices of the upgrades
    Thanks Tina for the detailed explaination
    Thanks both Mike and Tina for other factors to consider when upgrading
    Thanks M.S. Smith for making me realise two gigs ram aint enough for such a powerful processor.

    Btw, I have another offer, which I hope you guys can take a look at.

    At 788.58100 USD(cheaper than option 2),

    HP Pavilion dv6-6003TX Entertainment Notebook PC
    Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64
    Intel Core™ i7-2630QM (6 MB L3 cache, 2.0 GHz)
    15.6" High-Definition LED HP BrightView Display (1366 x 768)
    2 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 (1 x 2 GB)
    500 GB SATA (5400 rpm)
    SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double Layer [No Blu-ray]
    AMD Radeon HD 6770M (1 GB DDR5)

    http://tim.id.au/laptops/hp/hp%20pavilion%20dv6.pdf

    I plan to buy the ram upgrade too.

    Is it worth the price??

    • Mike
      March 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      It's hard to tell because both, the Nvidia GT540M and the AMD HD 6770M are brand new and no real world benchmarks available yet.

      The GT540M is known to be an upgraded GT435M which means it will perform slightly better while the HD 6770 M is completely unknown.

  4. Mike
    March 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I agree with M.S. Smith and Tina

    2GB might be the bottleneck of the System and decrease it's performance on certain tasks and processes (e.g. Gaming). So 4GB should be the desired configuration.

    As for the Hard Drive I don't really think 140GB will make a difference - especially considering the price for the upgrade (in both cases, retail or doing it yourself).

    I also prefer Tinas suggestion using an external Hard Drive.
    Most of the time the things consuming your Disk space are Music, Movies and Photos. Having those on a external Hard Drive might pay off if you want to use them on a different System once in a while.

  5. M.S. Smith
    March 14, 2011 at 5:49 am

    If you don't feel comfortable upgrading your RAM yourself you should absolutely buy the more expensive model with the additional RAM. 2GB of RAM is not really ideal for a system with such a powerful processor.

  6. Mike
    March 14, 2011 at 1:00 am

    I am with Tina on this - doing the calculation (local prices):
    2.5" SATA HDD with 640GB will cost you ~ $85
    4GB SO-DIMM DDR3 module will cost you ~ $60 (if a module this size is supported)
    4GB Kit (2x2GB) SO-DIMM DDR3 is ~ $70

    Basically, you can get the upgrades for about $150 in retail.

    However there are two things to consider:
    1. How easy it is to do the upgrades yourself.
    2. Will it void your warranty?

    In your situation I would look into the Acers manual and find out how easy it is to upgrade the RAM. If it's possible, do it yourself. Otherwise think about whether you really need those upgrades.

    The RAM usually is very accessible and doing the upgrade yourself shouldn't be too hard. In most cases it also won't void your warranty.

    Upgrading the Hard Drive might be a bit tricky depending on the internal layout.
    You also have to consider things like a hidden Recovery Partition or Diagnostic tools on the original Hard Drive. If you do the upgrade yourself you will most likely lose these features because they are mostly hidden in a HPA (Host Protected Area) which can be really tough to transfer.

    • Tina
      March 14, 2011 at 1:10 am

      Great points Mike, I didn't consider the warranty and the recovery parition and diagnostic tools on the internal hard drive.

      Upgrading the RAM shouldn't void the warranty and I agree that it's usually easy to do. Exchanging a hard drive, however, is a different story. I would recommend to invest in an external hard drive for backups and leave the internal hard drive alone.

  7. Tina
    March 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Zaidy,

    as you see I took the liberty to heavily edit your question. It was very confusing and you simply provided too many details that didn't make a difference in determining an answer for the core of your question.

    Anyways, whether the added hard drive space and RAM are worth the price difference depends on two things:

    1. Do you need either one or both?
    2. How much would it cost if you made the hardware upgrade yourself?

    I don't know where you live and how much hardware costs, but where I live you can get 4GB RAM for under $100 (including tax and shipping) on eBay. And depending on whether the cheaper setup comes with one 2GB or two 1GB RAM modules, you might have to buy the total 4GB rather than just 2GB to upgrade.

    Likewise, I can get a 500GB hard drive for under $100 (including tax and shipping).

    Taken together, the upgrade would cost me (where I live) under $200, so I would go with the cheaper setup and take care of the hardware upgrade myself.

    Now it depends on what hardware costs where you live. And maybe you just want to upgrade the RAM and don't need a bigger internal hard drive. Or you might prefer to get an external hard drive for backups etc.

    Hope this answer is helpful. Let me know! :)

    • Zen Fred
      March 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      It was really helpful :) Thanks

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