There are tons of different model numbers for the 15-inch ASUS G53SX and G53SW gaming laptop combined, but they all share the same basic layout. What differs is the hardware configuration and primarily that the newer G53SW has an NVIDIA GTX 560M graphics card which is actually slightly slower than the GTX 460M found in the G53SW due to a smaller memory bus.

But that's beside the point, what is important is that the entire lineup has room for dual hard drives but most of them only ship with a single drive--an almost unforgivable waste of precious space in a laptop. It can also accommodate up to 16GB of RAM but sometimes come with much less. Both of these problems can of course be amended!

Unfortunately the ASUS G53 is unusually difficult to upgrade. Underneath the laptop, where you usually find a plastic cover that you can open up by loosening a few screws to upgrade HDD and RAM, there are no screws to be found. Instead you have to access the internal components by removing both keyboard, touch pad and palm rest; only then can you loosen the plastic cover to access the hardware.

Here are the steps on how to do this, but as always you do it at your own risk! If you have no prior experience with electronics or feel uncomfortable with the procedure, just leave it alone and take it to a professional. It is also advisable to use an anti-static wrist strap when working with RAM modules and other sensitive parts.

That said, it's not brain surgery. What you need is a Phillips- and a flat-head screwdriver (size small) and of course the parts you intend to insert or replace--in this case a hard drive or SSD and/or DDR3 SO-DIMM RAM.

Step 1: Removing the Keyboard to Access RAM Slot #1

As previously stated, the first thing you need to do is remove the backlit keyboard. There are five slits along the upper rim of the keyboard and here you have to use the flat-head screwdriver. Start at one end of the keyboard and gently loosen it by pushing the screwdriver into one slit at a time. You may have to push it gently inwards to get it off the plastic placeholders, but be careful not to break them or the keyboard will not attach entirely to the laptop chassis when you put it back.

Once the keyboard has come loose, do not simply lift it straight up! There are two ribbon cables that connect it to the motherboard--two because it's backlit and needs a separate power cable. By lifting the keyboard just a little bit, you will see the cables. Cable number 1 is the widest one and is attached to connector #1 (pictured). You detach this one by carefully pushing out the white "cable lock" outwards and then it should easily come off.

Cable number 2 is the much smaller power cable that provides light to your keyboard. It is not visible from the angle in the first illustration, but you can see where it connects in the picture where the keyboard has been removed. This cable locks via two tiny white pieces of plastic that you again loosen with your small flat-head screwdriver before it detaches. Don't bother with cable number three for now.

Now you should be ready to simply remove the G53's keyboard and you will see a thin black plastic cover where the first two RAM slots are located (pictured). If these are empty (depends on the model) and you were just upgrading your RAM, congratulations! In that case you can just insert the RAM sticks and stop reading right now. The older G53SW often has all the slots filed up with 2GB sticks, while the newer G53SX might only use 2x4GB in the slots that are located underneath the laptop. If all the slots are filled with 2GB sticks and you want to upgrade the laptop past 8GB, you will have to replace them with 4GB modules.
<p>Respectfully, the place identified as the 2nd Keyboard location is incorrect. The second keyboard cable, which provides power to the backlight is actually a thin ribbon that is located below the ';&quot; and &quot;Enter&quot; key area. It is small and delicate but easy to remove and replace. The actual ribbon is to the right of the circle in the first image. The cable circled as &quot;3.&quot; in this image is the Trackpad ribbon.</p>
<p>Some corrections and additional notes:</p><ol><li>You must first remove a screw that's to the right of the sliding palm rest release hole, before the mechanism can be slid. Also, the hole moves to the LEFT to release, not the right. Be careful not to put the screwdriver down in the hole too far, which would risk gouging the circuit board.<li>There are 11 screws to remove that hold the bottom cover, not just the 8 that are circled in the photo. Two are way up in the right side of the keyboard area.</ol>
Could you give a little more details on removing cable 2 of the key board. <br>My keyboard broke and I ordered a new one. I removed both cables by pulling them out, I did not do anything with the white plastic piece holding the small cable. I was able to insert both cables by pushing them in and the keyboard works but it does not light up. I think I must have to do what you suggest and loosen the white plastic part, but it only looks like 1 white piece and not too, I'm a little afraid of breaking it. Can you describe how you removed cable 2
Hi mikeytrader, <br>In that case it sounds like the power cable didn't attach properly. Unfortunately I don't have the computer anymore, so I can't double check, but if I remember correctly there is a tiny plastic placeholder that you loosen by pulling it outwards horizontally. You should be able to undo it with a small flathead screwdriver (that's what I used). Just be careful not to scratch the motherboard and you should be fine.
Thank you very much, that worked, I was able to slide the piece out. Interesting the colors were reversed on my board, the slider is black and the block is white. However, it still didn't light up, I might have a defective keyboard.
Hi, very good walkthrough. I would like to change only the optical driver, replace the DVD for a Blu-ray Burner. Do I need to follow the whole procedure and open the bottom cover? Thks!
I'm afraid so.. I haven't done the procedure myself, but I'm fairly certain that the optical drive is fastened with a screw located under the bottom cover.
Ok, I imagined... <br>Thanks!
Would you happen to know if the secondary drive slot can handle a 12.5 mm drive? If not, what size can the primary drive slot handle? Thanks.
Good question. It might, with some DIY solution instead of the standard hard drive cage, but I can't say for sure and I have no 12.5 mm drive to test with. All I can say for sure is that a 9 mm drive will fit.
Alright! Thanks.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a geek with a passion for computers dating back to the stone ages. My first PC was a 286 with Windows 2.11 ... More »
More by Gazook:How to Disassemble and Upgrade the ASUS G53SX/SW Installing an SSD in Your Laptop (and Cloning Windows) How to Overclock Your Laptop's Graphics Card 
Add instructable to: