Detailed Questions on Radical Upgrading? Please Help !


Mar 22, 2012
Hi Forum,

My personal laptop is Lenovo THINKPAD T500 2055, and its main specifications are as follows:

- Intel Core 2 Duo processor T9400 (2.53GHz 1066MHz 6MBL2)
- 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM Memory Module 4 GB (2 x 4 GB) 1066MHz DDR31066/PC38500 DDR3 SDRAM SoDIMM Kingston.
- 2 GB Intel Turbo Memory hard drive cache.
- ATI Mobility Radeon 3650 with 256MB.
- 160 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm.
- Windows 7 Ultimate with the latest Service Pack (x64).

My problem precisely and concisely is that I am NOT happy nor satisfied with the performance of my laptop at all, and I need your assitance and advices to boost my laptop's performance.

I do NOT use my laptop for games at all. Also, I do NOT use my laptop for working with graphics nor 3D stuff at all.

I use my laptop for Software development purposes (Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, SharePoint 2010, Vmware), Besides, Surfing the Internet (Chatting, Reading, Watching Videos...etc).

I feel that my laptop is not fast enough especially when I run the virtual machine (VM) and do some programming work. I am not satisfied nor happy at all with the application load time nor the process response time.

BTW, there's no viruses or malicious software that are affecting my laptop or its memory.

Therefore, I want to improve the performance of my laptop and increase its speed, and I do have some questions:

Q1) Upgrading to Solid-State Drive (SSD):

a. Will SSD really make a great noticible difference in my laptop's performance?

b. What is the best SSD brand or model do you recommend for my laptop?

c. Are there any issues or problems with the SSD and T500?

Q2) Upgrading the CPU:

a. What is the fastest and the most powerful CPU model that is compatible with my laptop specifications?

b. Will the new CPU make a significant noticible difference in my laptop's performance?

c. Are there any issues or problems might occur if I upgraded the CPU?

Q3) Which one do you think has really more significant impact on the laptop's performance: CPU or SSD ? In other words, If I can afford to upgrade only one of them, Which one do you recommend me to upgrade: the CPU or SSD?

Q4) Are there any other suggestions or recommendations you would like to give me please in order to improve the performance of my laptop?

Thanks for your consideration of my request, and I very much look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience !
Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T9400 specs @ CPU World

Q1) A. Not really. It would boot faster and programs would load and start faster. But programs wouldn't execute faster once loaded.
Q2) A. Core 2 Duo T9900 (3.06 GHz) or Core 2 Extreme QX9300 (2.53 GHz) quad core
B. For general tasks and entertainment - no. For multitasking and multiple VM? Noticeable, yes. Really significant? Probably not.
C. Working inside your laptop case is always a bit risky.
Q4) My best guess is that if you're unhappy now - you'll also be unhappy after the upgrade.



a. Only in certain areas, you should notice faster boot times as well as faster application startup. Now in certain software you will not see a full difference, it might be about a second faster load time in a game for example. But it all depends what you are doing on the laptop. Since you are not gaming and mainly focused on those applications running better, then an SSD won't do much to help the actual application do it's job. A CPU upgrade would help more in that area.

b. Depends on your price range and how much space you're looking for, you should read a little about the differenct SSD's. Here is an SSD hierarchy here at Toms Hardware:,3139-6.html

c. There shouldn't be, but no one can predict such a thing. If the laptop has a SATA interface you should be able to slide an SSD in there and throw an OS on it and everything should be fine. Make sure you have AHCI mode enabled as well.


a. Make sure you can remove the CPU first off. A a lot of laptops have the CPU integrated into the motherboard. If you can change it up then the highest you can go may be a T9600, but there are other Penyrn Core 2 Duo chips that perform better then that (Core 2 Extreme chips). But you just need to check online and do some research to see if the X9000/X9100 chips are supported.

b. That is dependent on what you do with the system, upgrading a certain component in a system doesn't nessicarily mean overall performance gets better. You'll just get better performance out of the software that utilizes that/those new components. If i upgrade my GPU and i don't game or do anything that uses the new GPU then no, performance will stay the same.

c. Yes, as mentioned, if you didn't check the CPU might be soldered onto the motherboard. Also you might need a BIOS update depending on the CPU you get. As you might be running an older BIOS that has not been updated for better Penryn chips. Problems can always occur when swapping parts, but we can not predict all of them that could arise.


a.Again, this depends on what you need to get done. Those two parts are not parallel comparisions, as upgrading to an SSD will see a performance benefit in a different area then a CPU upgrade. I say that if you don't do much to any gaming as you say then an SSD upgrade would probably be the best thing for you. If you were to do a bit of gaming and/or run CPU dependent software like photoshop, VMware etc. then a CPU upgrade might be best.


a. I'd upgrade the the CPU if you want those certain applications like VMware to run better. But the only reall option you can upgrade to is the X9000/X9100 chips, as you already have a T9400 and the highest you can go on the C2D's are the T9600's.


You could get a good 120gb ssd for around 150, that along with a clean install of windows with out the lenovo bloat would make the computer snappier, but as WR2 stated overall the computer would not run faster. SSDs do use alot less energy so this would also boost battery life.

Upgrading the cpu would be unwise, because its difficult in laptops, and you dont know the limits of the cooling.

you could try to get Intel® Core™2 Extreme quad-core mobile processor (QX9300)
it should give you like a 50% increase in performance but that chip will run you $300 if you can find it and I have a feeling it will overheat in you laptop.

There are some small tweaks that can have a big impat. In the bios allocate as much ram as you can to the GPU.
The windows 7 power manager can be quite misery so make sure it is set to max performance.
Turn off virtual memory, defragment the HD, then re-enable virtual memory at a set point like 4gb or 8gb can help.