Asus K55N: Cheap Gaming Laptop
The goal for this project is to upgrade my Asus K55N laptop for gaming. The K55N is based on the AMD APU system which uses a combined CPU and graphics card. These systems can be found for $200 to $300 used on ebay.
The system will be benchmarked using
- Valley – A modern 3d benchmark (Basic Preset, fullscreen, 1366×768)
- The Final Fantasty 11 benchmark – This is an Playstation 2 era MMO that was ported to the PC. I’m including this score because I play this game a lot, but it will show how well the system handles older CPU tied games. (High Setting)
- The Final Fantasy 14 benchmark – I would like to start playing this game and it would be great if it the K55N can handle it. (Laptop (High), fullscreen, 1366×768)
- APU: AMD A8-4500M
- RAM: 8gb generic DDR3 675mhz 9-9-10-24
The graphics card in the APU does not have dedicated RAM, it shares system memory. So it is important to use the fastest system ram you can support. I added a Crucial Ballistix Sport SODIMM 8GB Kit which I estimate will be about 20% faster. This ram is spec at 800mhz 9-9-9-24, but my system decided to run it at 809mhz 9-9-10-24.
I replaced the A8-4500M with an A10-4600M. This A10 is 400mhz faster and has 128 more shader cores than the A8. I tried to use an A10-5750M, this APU is pin compatible with the socket but the display does not work.
There is a great guide to this procedure on Inside my laptop. It will take about an hour.
||Memory and APU
The upgrade gave me a 32% improvment in Valley Benchmark, 18% in FF11, and 21% in FF14. The total cost for the upgrades was around $95.
If you already own one of these older laptops any would like to get some more usage out of it before replacing it this may be a worthwhile upgrade. However, if you are looking for low-end gaming laptop you would be better off saving money for a little while longer and looking for a laptop with a discrete video card in the $500 to $700 range.