buying a new laptop or upgrading to 1Gb RAM ?

I just upgraded my laptop from 512 Mb of RAM to 1 Gb.

Well, I was expecting quite a lot from this upgrade. I am using an Ubuntu 6.10 OS and having a dozen of applications running at the same time : Firefox, Liferea, Evolution, Open Office, Skype, Gaim, Beagle, plus a dozen of applets (Tomboy, Mail Notification, Deskbar, etc), small programs or other accessories.

You may guess how swappy it was. And having a 4200 rpm hard drive doesn’t really help.

I became almost crazy every time I had to use VMWare to run a Windows XP. The great memory management of Linux made it possible where it would have been unthinkable on a windows host, but it was still a painful exercise every time I had to get in and out of the WMWare guest.

I have even been thinking of buying a new laptop. But I decided it was not the time for that :

  1. I use little CPU in my daily work and even the celeron processor of my Sony VGN-FS215E laptop is not much used. It is not time for me yet to get a core duo.
  2. A new laptop is expensive and mine is still quite recent.
  3. There are going to be new technologies soon, which could be very interesting for the laptops : new kind of batteries and hard drives with built-in flash memory (to speed-up and save power).

So I finally decided to change the two 256 Mb modules for 512 Mb ones (because of dual transport). Hmm it was expensive so I didn’t want to get disappointed…

And now this is great ! It is much over what I expected. The system is now running smoothly, even with a virtual host running. The terrible hard drive is less often in use and that makes all the difference.

Yes, 1 Gb has been the standard for a while and it was time for me to get it ! I feel much more relaxed while I am working. Now, I plan soon to change my hard drive for a 7200 Rpm Hitachi one. No doubt it will be smoother and give me better startup performances.

My plan is now to enjoy my Vaio one more year. Do most of people need a core duo processor on their laptop ? I don’t think so, but many people may think they need when their computer is swapping… cunning marketing !