[Hardware Advice] Updating a Dinosaur?

I am sorry if I didn’t post this in the correct place. I have a question for you guys.

I am running a Asus G73j model. Its graphics card is a “HD 5870 ATI card”. Has a quad core processor & 8GB of RAM & a SSD. I have been having issues with Sketchup running slow on commands when the model gets larger. Especially in the 3D mesh areas & commands. I have no experience with building computers but someone told me to get a new graphics card for it and that will help. Is that a good way to go? Or should I just get a new machine? Its 6 years old. But in great running order. I just dont know what to do here. :confused:

Thanks for any advice! Cody J

Here are the tecnical info:
Notebook: Asus G73J (G73 Series)
Processor: Intel Core i7 920XM
Graphics Adapter: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870
Display: 17.3 inch, 16:9, 1920x1080 pixels, glossy: yes

Here is PassMark’s comparitive charts for your card:
[url]PassMark - Mobility Radeon HD 5870 - Price performance comparison

And here is PassMark’s High-End list:
Your card is near the bottom with a score of 1175.

If you look at the main page, you’ll see there are 3 full charts below the one your card is on. So there are a whole lot of cards worse than yours. But that is not to say your could not do better:

CPU cores mean nothing for SketchUp itself at this time it only uses 1 core. But multi-cores may help with other applications like external renderers, etc.

Increasing RAM usually always helps, especially if you run other large applications at the same time (MS Office etc.)

I’d take the price of more RAM and whichever video card you wish to upgrade to,… and compare that price against the cost of a newer system that already has that amount of RAM and video card.

If the cost of the RAM/Video upgrade is a significant portion of the new machine cost,… say 25% etc., I’d say it would be a waste to spend the money on a 6 year-old machine.

you typically cannot swap the graphics adapter of notebooks sothat improving the performance isn’t feasible form the hardware side.

you can of course improve your SU models as well as your SU modeling techniques for getting things done faster.

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Your post did not indicate the amount of onboard RAM available in your system. Although you cannot easily modify the graphics card in the laptop, you may be able to install higher capacity memory chips. It is likely that you may see improved performance by folllowing @DanRathbun’s suggestion about upgrading RAM.

He said 8GB in the text of the message. (Omitted from the specifications list.)

upgrading working memory will probably not help much and would therefore better save the money for a capable system.

before upgrading working memory check with the Windows Task Manager (or the Performance Monitor for a deeper insight: “Start > Search > perfmon”) the status of your working memory running SU.

This is an issue with varying opinions. It has been my experience in the past that increasing memory does, in fact, improve performance. Of course the degree of improvement cannot be guaranteed. On a different laptop system some years ago, I removed a pair of 2gb chips and upgraded the memory to 16gb. The improvement in performance was immediately noticeable and this had a jarring impact on productivity.

I would venture that an upgrade from 8 gb to at least 16 gb or better would similarly result in improved performance. The price of RAM has become significantly lower in recent months so it may not be a bad idea to invest in additional memory. . At the very least, the RAM can be used elsewhere or resold if lit does not work favorably.

The only specs I find are:
… which says 8GB Max.

So the idea of upgrading memory may be moot.

All I can say is that when I had the same problem with sluggishness, someone on the boards turned me on to the videocardbenchmark site, and I too had the wrong card for the job. Already had 24 gb RAM, so that wasn’t problem. Getting an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 has made a world of difference! (but then, I don’t have a laptop…)

an improve in performance can obviously expected only if the amount of installed working memory isn’t sufficient sothat the operating system is required to swap to disk.

This does happen less the more working memory is installed already. i.e. may happen with 2-4 GB working memory but not very likely with 8 GB working memory, at least if only Windows (2-2,5 GB) and SU (w/o render plugin) is running.

Validating this with the integrated Windows Task Manager is hassle free and could save an ineffective upgrade.