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Advice needed regarding upgrades

Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Advice needed regarding upgrades

Hi there!
I have a Dell Inspiron 5160 laptop  with 512MB RAM memory. My son uses it to play PC Games on, but the system requirements are getting too much for the poor old laptop. Recently, there has been a smell of burnt plastic after a few minutes of playing, which I assume is the computer over-heating. I was thinking of getting some extra RAMs to help the laptop deal with the PC Games, but before I spend £100 on memory from Crucial, I would like to know if you knowledgeable people agree that the over-heating is likely to be caused by the insufficient memory. (The minimum requirements for that particular game were 256MB and the recommended were 1GB, but he spent several hours on it). What do you think?
I also have a Dell Dimension 4550 desktop with more memory, but the graphics card is too old. Do you have any idea which graphics card I would need?
Thanks for your help!
18 REPLIES
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,651
Thanks: 206
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Was the laptop on a hard surface when it overheated?
Placing them on top of papers/mats etc can allow the heat to build up.
What OS are you using - if it's Windows it doesn't cope well with lots of installs/uninstalls of programs.
I would compare the cost of buying a new machine with the cost of adding memory, followed by some other upgrade.....
Same applies to the desktop - except that you can probably keep the same monitor.

Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

It was on a desk. I use Windows XP. Any idea whether it is a memory issue?
Dell now have laptops for £369 (http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-1545?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&ref=lthp&s=dhs). Seems relatively cheap for a laptop. Do they seem decent to you?
We're pretty broke right now so I'd rather not go for a new laptop if I can fix the problem at least temporarily with extra memory, but obviously I don't want my child getting hurt with a laptop catching fire!
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,341
Thanks: 481
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Quote
I would like to know if you knowledgeable people agree that the over-heating is likely to be caused by the insufficient memory

I would doubt it. If it's an old laptop is it's more likely to be dust blocking the heatsink and fan!!. Problem is you usually have to do some level of dissasembly of the laptop to get at them to get rid of the dust. The DELL website is pretty good for manuals though, you can probably find out how to get into it.
Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

It's four years old, is that considered old in laptop years?
The smell is actually on the side which is further away from the fan, so it sounds quite plausible.
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Mine literally fell apart after 3 Smiley
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,341
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Quote
It's four years old, is that considered old in laptop years

Yep, thats pretty old, my bet is that it could do with a good clean,
Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Quote from: Jameseh
Mine literally fell apart after 3 Smiley

We've only just finished paying for it!  Angry
Wink
Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Quote from: MisterW
Quote
It's four years old, is that considered old in laptop years

Yep, thats pretty old, my bet is that it could do with a good clean,

OK, will look for instructions on the Dell website. Nervous about opening it, though...  Embarrassed
Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Any idea where to look? I can't find anything about laptops, it's all about about cleaning desktop fans...  Undecided
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,315
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Wow! Thank you so much Oldjim, this is really helpful! Will try some time next week and will keep you posted as to how it went! Thanks again!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,571
Thanks: 3
Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Lack of memory wouldn't make it overheat but graphic intense games would run the cpu @100% which wouldnt help. Memory is cheap I got 512 for my old samsung laptop for £25. You could try sticking something under the top corner of the laptop so more air can circulate all around it.
Are you running it off the mains as if you run it on battery it would slow down fans as the power reduced, If the game uses a cd/dvd coping this to the hd may help as if the cd and hd are both running its more heat
Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Quote from: Samuria
If the game uses a cd/dvd coping this to the hd may help as if the cd and hd are both running its more heat

Is there a particular method for copying the cd-roms onto the hd or is it just copy and paste?
Sorry, I realise this is very basic (put it down to the fact that I am just a mother  Wink)!
Tsonga
Grafter
Posts: 434
Registered: 25-01-2008

Re: Advice needed regarding upgrades

Quick update: I cleaned the fan last night using a mixture of the three links given by Oldjim. It took a good hour, but was not that big a deal in the end. It was quite dusty and blocked up in there, but it probably didn't help that a serial number label had come unstuck and was floating freely in the fan box!! Anyway, the problem seems to be solved. The smell of burnt plastic has gone and the computer seems generally quieter and more relaxed!
Thanks again very much for the advice.