Watch out.. there’s a CQ56 about!

.. as in Compaq CQ56 c/w the AMD v140 processor. I have one sitting to the side of me, and it is the budget model of the range with the accent on BUDGET..

The owner bought it new on the premise that it was a decent notebook, but this CQ56 hides a nasty secret. It is a notebook with NETBOOK performance, and is guaranteed to annoy the owner. Everything it does is in slow motion.

The hard drive is a 250gb Seagate with two thirds of its space still free. There are four partitions as is usual with anything from the home of HP, the System Reserved (199mb), C drive (main), D drive (recovery) and Tail end Charlie (the hidden HP Tools).

Other than Windows 7, there is an MS Office 2010 installation and the usual HP junk stuff. So why did it take nearly FIVE hours to do a full virus scan?

Windows 7 64-bit is the OS of choice, and even though HP are well aware that the 64-bit variant requires 2gb RAM to get it off the line when the green light comes on, the standard RAM which is shared with video (as per ALL notebooks) is only 2gb. Starting anything else reduces performance to a crawl.

Adding the four elements together in one machine..

  1. Single core, zero FP performance CPU
  2. Small, slow HDD
  3. Total 2gb RAM
  4. Windows 7 64-bit

.. you get next to no performance at all, which is NOT what the guy in the store said about it..

I have added 2gb RAM, removed a few visual effects from the display, knocked out a few bits of junk which like to think that they are important enough to be there at start-up, and updated as many drivers as I could get. It is still no better than my Toshiba NB250, the standard I use for computer performance at its worst.

I will be returning the CQ56 back to its rightful owner in a couple of days and will not be sad to see it go.

And the point is..

Machines like the CQ56 abound even now. The manufacturers are not doing you a favour by providing something in the ‘budget’ price range. They are ensuring that the store representative makes a sale of THEIR product. In the case of the CQ56 in front of me. it should have been supplied with the 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium, but HP know that customers like big numbers and simply didn’t care that big numbers in this instance would work AGAINST the end user.

As long as you understand this, purchase of a budget  type computer is not a problem. Computer performance starts with the hardware configuration, and there is no software which can turn a computer into something that it isn’t..

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