Toshiba Satellite L300 + SSD – refresh attempt :)

I wasted most of my last weekend trying to do something with extremely sluggish Toshiba Satellite L300 laptop with Windows Vista. After some years of being in use by my father this laptop become so slow that it exceed tolerance limits even such undemanding user as he is 🙂 As a new and really good laptop was not something within available budget for this particular case, I’ve decided to replace HDD with SSD for best performance gain possible (adding RAM was not an option as this model can’t handle more that 2 GB which were already installed, I found it difficult to believe into this limitation, especially these days, when we can have 64 GB of RAM in desktops 🙂 ).

I ended up buying 240 Gb OCZ Arc 100 to replace built in 160 Gb Toshiba HDD.

OCZ_SSD_Toshiba_HDD

This procedure was easy, unlike further wipe and load procedures. Carelessly I started my attempt to put Windows 10 TP onto this antique device – it took 2 attempts and some pondering on why Windows 10 install freezes on “Getting Ready” phase somewhere in the end… I tried to google this and 2 most common suggestions for the similar issues were that windows fails to load/find compatible driver (not sure what’s the difficulty to surface an error/warning for this) and splendid suggestion “I know this is not very good answer but just wait for couple of hours, it may work out, it did for me”. In the end I decided that I wasted enough time waiting, and end up with installing x64 Windows Vista as this laptop was shipped with this OS. Though before doing that I decided to remove another possible reason of poor performance – dust in cooling system:

Toshiba_L300_Dust

It required almost complete disassembling of laptop, though it seems that it was necessary thing to do as air which the system blow out from the inside before cleaning was way too hot.

Toshiba_L300_motherboard

I have not had good Vista SP2 ISO file with all the updates and it took me almost whole day while Vista tried to download all post RTM updates 🙂 At some point I decided that downloading SP2 and installing it would speed up the process – so did I, only to find out that I have to download and install SP1 first. After all service packs were installed it took extra 5 hours to got all the subsequent updates.

OCZ_SSD_Installed

In generally I would say that putting SSD improved responsiveness of this laptop but not to extend I expected – i think mainly because other components become bottleneck and also due to the fact that Vista doesn’t support TRIM as at the time when Vista was released SSD weren’t mass market product. In case of Windows TRIM stated to be supported with release of Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 for SATA drives and starting from Windows 8 and onward Windows TRIM supports PCI Express SSDs based on NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory), and the unmap command which is a full analog of the trim command from Serial ATA for devices that use the SCSI driver stack. It seems that missing TRIM may lead to SSD performance degradation overtime unless you don’t have and use some third party software which takes care about this (e.g. Samsung provides sofware which performs garbage collection for their SSDs), but also Vista not as quick starting from SSD as Windows 7 which I believe has other SSD related optimizations. But anyway before installing SSD this system used to take 2 minutes to start (and something like up to 5-6 minutes to the moment when you can actually start using it, i.e. antivirus and other stuff finally started and your desktop become responsive) and something like 15-30 second to start IE, after switch to SSD these delays decreased and system is more pleasant to work with. Alas, there is no that blazing fast speed which you may see when you put SSD into a bit more powerful system with more RAM and newer OS optimized for SSD, where you can reach something very close to impressive 15 seconds from power off to fully operational desktop, but in the end it was not the aim of this attempt 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Toshiba Satellite L300 + SSD – refresh attempt :)

  1. sean

    The l300 should support 8gb ram being based on the gm45 chipset, and can be upgraded according to many souces to the 1066fsb range of core 2 duo and quad cpu’s.The latest 2.20 bios update adds windows 7 activation to the bios also, this lets you install toshiba branded windows 7 recovery media onto the laptop and have it activate from the hardware slic 2.1 string.I have and l300 i recently upgraded from 1gb ram and celeron dual core t1600 @ 1.6Ghz to 4gb ram and core 2 duo t9300 @ 2.5Ghz, the benefit of the later cpu is that they also support Intel Dynamic Acceleration (ida)which allows 1 core at a time to use a a x1 higher cpu multiplier bringing core clock to 2.6Ghz on my particular cpu.There are software solutions that allow the ida clocks to run on both cores permanently namely throttlestop.

    Reply
    1. Mikhail Post author

      Interesting, though I think there are different HW revisions/flavors of L300 so I need to check which one I had exactly.

      Reply
      1. sean

        i realised this after posting, you are absolutely right there are three version of l300 from what I can tell the gm965, gl40, and gm45 based versions of the l300 all should officially support at least 4gb of ram but the gm965 and gl40 will downclock to 667mhz speed even if you use 800mhz modules,the 965 santa rosa platform will support 800fsb cpu’s (my current t9300 cpu was in my old hp 6910p for a while) officially it supports 4gb ram but many have used 8gb with success I personally had 6gb running on that sant rosa platform.The gl40 chipset (which as it turns out my l300 has this chipset not the gm45) officially only supports 667fsb cpu according to intel ark documents but will happily run the 800fsb cpu’s even with the 1.3 bios now updated to 2.20 Toshiba shipped gl40 satellites with some 800fsb chips from sources online as have other big brands,Others owners have even fitted the slightly higher clocked t9500 (2.6Ghz with 2.8Ghz ida), the ram downclocks to 667 as with the 965 chipset but I have not tried to see if it will support the 8gb configuration because I have no 4gb sodimms to hand (4gb ddr2 sodimms are expensive too).If you are lucky enough to have the gm45 based hardware your upgrade paths are not as limited as the other older revisions thanks to the 1066fsb and 800mhz ram support many have reported running the 3.06Ghz t9900 with 3.2Ghz ida speed.I believe all three have ahci options or at least native/enhanced sata options in the case of gm965 so that once you have a capable os install trim should function well.I have now upgraded my l300 to windows 10 by first installing the Toshiba oem windows 7 pro and using windows 10 media creator to download and create a bootable drive and upgrading/ fresh installing from within windows 7, this method means you don’t need to wait for the over the air/ windows update (6gb download) to get the free upgrade you just install 7 then immediately install 10 your activation is preserved from the windows 7 you installed initialy so ne need to enter a product key, Once updated your computers hardware hash and serial numbers are saved on microsofts servers so clean installing in the future will not require the win 7 steps above with no product key needing to be entered either because you now have a “digital licence”.I chose not to save any settings or files from 7 so lost all the Toshiba branding in system properties and all the Toshiba wallpapers etc but that is not a big deal really.After disabling all the dubious privacy and bandwidth stealing settings and stopping all the background apps/syncing features and windows store auto updates it is actually running better that 7 ever did with less ram usage at idle 1.2gb vs 2gb of 4gb.If upgrading to windows 10 check first that all your programs are compatible, windows 10 has a very worrying feature that allows it uninstall user installed programs it deems incompatible it does this without warning or permission during upgrades.I found also there is a setting in the bios for allowing keyboard wake from sleep it is a must to enable this as otherwise you have to press the power button everytime the laptop sleeps, I disable the wake on critical/low battery setting along with the wake on lan wlan settings to prevent the laptop waking whilst in it’s bag and overheating.

        Reply
  2. sean

    Even after upgrading my l300 from its t1600 Celeron dual core to the t9300 core 2 duo for the most part the fan is off, even when it kicks in the air is not that hot coming out of the vent.The t9300 was cheaper than the t9500 by quite a margin but is only 100mhz slower which is why I chose it at the time, even now the t9500 holds a fair price being one of the highest spec 800fsb chips for socket p.This l300 easily feels faster than modern i3 laptops i’ve used (most are low clocked now), internal gpu is not as good but with only a 1280×800 screen we don’t need much, I am debating whether to pull the 128gb ssd I use for my steam games from my desktop and fitting that too to complete my own refresh.

    Reply
  3. Den

    Hi. Sorry for my english.
    I’m having a problem connecting 4 GB of memory.
    I get a blue screen.
    If i connect 1+2gb all is ok.
    Will it help me install the BIOS of the latest version.
    If the answer is yes, could you give me a working link, since the official support of Toshiba does not work in my region.
    Model PSLB0E

    Reply
    1. Mikhail Post author

      I’m unable to find anything based on model number you provided as it is not complete – it is necessary to have full model part number which looks similar to this – PSLB0E-005011G3 (a bit longer 🙂 ). You can try to search BIOS update here – http://www.toshiba.eu/support/consumerlaptops/ either by Serial Number or by combination of Family/Series/Model.
      Also maximum memory size and spend depends on exact model you have as within L300 series there are different models. For example Satellite L300-110 according to documentation supports PC2-5300 512, 1024 or 2048 MB memory modules, and PC2-5300 memory module work as PC2-4200 speed on GL960 Express Chipset.

      Reply

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