Introduction: How to Upgrade a LAPTOP CPU (& Other Cool Stuff !) to Turn SLOW/DEAD Laptop to a FAST Laptop !
Howdy All !
i recently Acquired a Packard Bell Easynote TM89 Laptop, which was too low spec'd for my liking, basically very out of date... The LCD Was smashed and the main hard drive had seized up so the laptop was essentially dead....
See photo's and you'll see the standard specs of this laptop, still with the factory spec stickers on it...
So i set about on an upgrade mission - but please do notice that you CANNOT upgrade ALL laptop's CPU's because some are HARD-SOLDERED to the laptop motherboard.....
There are a variety of software tools that ive use over the years that have helped me to upgrade laptops and to find out WITHOUT taking apart the laptop if its possible to upgrade the CPU, mainly.
Ive used the likes of PCWizard, Everest, Speccy, Belarc, CPU-Z, and a whole mess of Pre-Install environments for hardware Analysis but now im stuck with using one called Hardware Infoas if gives me in-depth information on exactly what i need - in this case, starting off with figuring out if i can change my LAPTOP CPU for a better one in its socket-class.....
Another VERY Good tool i will be using for this upgrade mission is a CPU website, www.cpu-world.com, which gives awesome details on knowing exactly what mobile-CPU, CPU's socket number/name is, so you can hunt out a better CPU....
Most if not many people will just tell you that its not possible to change your Laptop's CPU - only half right there :P
Also i will be referring to the Intel website for info on the intel CPU's for their maximum specifications, if i had to upgrade an AMD CPU, respectively if refer to the AMD website for their CPU max specs too :)
If your Laptop's CPU actuaally HAS A SOCKET, referred to as a ZIF Socket (Zero insertion Force) then its very likely that you CAN indeed swap your CPU for a better one..
My PB-Easynote laptop came as standard with an i3-330M CPU, which was pretty useless imo for what i wanted to do (light gaming and CAD Designing PCB's)....
Also my Laptop has a broken LCD so at the moment im using a monitor to use it, lol
Step 1: HWinfo Data & Information Gathering
Okay so assuming youve installed HWinfo, if you check out the photo's, itll show you where i mentioned earlier that you need to look for an entry that refers to the Processor Upgrade (CPU) and the Red Arrows show this in the photo's..
Also while here in this software, i want to also upgrade the Laptop's RAM memory to the maximum that the Laptop can handle, again shown in the photo's..
A special note on RAM & CPU selection here;
the CPU i found that is compatible with my laptop's ZIF Socket is going to be the i5-580M...
Now... The i5-580Mis only capable to using upto 8GB of RAM - MAXIMUM...
But my Laptop's Motherboard is capable of using a Maxiumum of 16GB of System RAM....
What this means is simply that the CPU wont use more than 8GB, even if there is double that in the Laptop..
After Scouring forum after forum for years, this is what i found to be true...
Back to the CPU upgrade;
Okay so looking at that cpu-wold webpage on the currently installed i3 CPU, if you notice where ive put another red arrow at the Socket type, Socket G1 / rPGA988A --- this is the socket we need to find a suitable CPU replacement with.
The i3 and i5 CPU's have a built-in graphics processing unit (GPU) so as my laptop does not have a graphics card slot physically inside the laptop, so i opted to upgrade to an i5 CPU, best i could find for Socket G1 (rPGA988) - but if i did have a physical graphics card slot on my laptop motherboard, there is an i7 CPU for my socket number that i would have chosen instead..
Word of Warning;
This way of upgrading a CPU is a gamble, i wont lie - because usually with DESKTOP & Server based Workstation motherboards, all one needs to do is enter the motherboard model number into google and Viola ! you get a DATASHEET explaining which CPU's you can install into the motherboard..
With Laptops this isnt the case, its a terrible way of life and completely absurd in my opinion, because laptop motherboards just dont supply Datasheets like the desktop motherboards...
So this is the way one must go about in order to upgrade a Laptop's CPU.... IF your laptop has a ZIF SOCKET that is...
Word of Warning End
Getting familiar with Memory Speeds;
Okay now we need to select the correct memory (RAM) to upgrade the laptop, again by looking at my RED Arrows in the photo's, you'll be able to easily see which memory speeds are supported by BOTH the motherboard AND CPU !
The RAM speed shown in the cpu-world webpage shows the memory speed being DDR3-1066 that the CPU can handle, but we also need to check that this is also compatible with the motherboard, which can be found by simply checking the model number of laptop of the laptop manufacturer's website (although this info isn't always there if the laptop is a few years old, after a while older laptops are referred to as "Legacy" and their drivers are usually the only things that are left on the manufacturers website - if lucky lol)
So DDR3-1066 RAM is also known as "PC3-8500" so now i know that i need TWO RAM Modules, 8GB Each, 16 GB in total and speed of 1066Mhz...
Step 2: Wireless Card Upgrade & SSD's
As this is a pretty old laptop, its wireless card is also just screaming to be upgraded lol
The current wifi card installed is a wireless-n card and i want the newer Wireless 802.11ac which utilises the faster data transfer for downloading and streaming, so in this case, again there's no clear-cut way to do it apart from physically taking apart the laptop to find where the wifi card is located and to see which size is installed..
Once the wifi card is found, see photo of my one, which is a half-wifi network card (half sized WLAN PCI-E), i just choose the same size card but in the newer 802.11ac flavor :)
Check the pictures for a quick representation of wifi speeds, easier to see why i want the newer wifi protocol lol
The only Problem of installing a NEW wireless card is that you will need to connect the laptop to your internet via an ETHERNET CABLE to your router so you got a hardline connection - then use a FREE driver software called DriverEasy so that it can connect to the internet and find the driver for your NEWLY installed 802.11ac wireless card - otherwise you wont be able to use it, because buying a laptop wireless card from ebay/aliexpress - you WONT get the driver sent with it -
This again is a crap way of life for laptop owners, it is absurd that when you want to upgrade a laptop's wifi card, you by all respects SHOULD ALSO GET A DRIVER LINK/CD for the wifi card you're buying....
Nope... Not the case lol
This is the reason you need to download and install DriverEasy onto the laptop and hook up the Ethernet internet connection via hardline because 9 times out of 10 the new wireless card wont work unless you've got the driver of said card already installed, so its catch22
Cant access the internet via wireless because wifi card doesnt work
Cant install new Driver of said wifi card without internet connection lol
SSD's (Solid State Drives)
This is where we gain some really DECENT speed upgrades, along with extra RAM and CPU Speed, now we work on the SSD/Hard Drive Side !!
i opted to use a 60GB SSD for my main hard drive, as i had one spare, but 60GB wasn't enough to fit everything i needed - so this is where i installed my Windows 7 operating System, and now for a clever part:
DVD Drives - Who uses these NOWADAYS ????????????? ! ????????????? haha
Well, its been a Dogs-AGE since i had to throw a CD or DVD into a drive, NONE of my Desktop computers have a DVD Drive in them anymore, pretty much everything is being run via USB-Drives these days...
I even installed Windows 7 via a USB-Stick !!!! NO WINDOWS CD HERE !
So, as you've guessed, the DVD-Drive on my laptop just HAD-TO-BE thrown in my recycling bin, maybe to be taken apart for the laser in another instructable or whatever lol
So with the DVD Drive now removed from my Laptop, i have a Gaping hole of where it used to be...
hmmmmmm... what to put in there i wonder....
A HDD-Laptop-DVD-Drive "CADDY" comes along to save the Day !!! See photo !!!
Now i can install a SECOND SSD (or large HDD) into the laptop !!
So now i have two SSD's in my laptop, the first to run the windows 7 operating system and the second that i will use for games installs and also any CAD Design software too..
Step 3: Parts Shopping !
Okay so if you've arrived to this part then this is where the going gets good !
Most parts are pretty cheap if you know where to look...
The most expensive part that i've still not bought yet, is the laptop LCD, but its on the list lol
So from what we've gathered on this specific laptop so far is that we CAN upgrade the CPU, RAM, Hard Drive (SSD#1), Add ANOTHER Hard Drive (SSD#2) and wireless card
The Shopping List
Here, I've illustrated the examples of where i bought the upgrade parts and given links, as i already had two SSD's, i don't have those linked..
CPU: i5-580M £21.86
RAM: 2 x 4GB, 8GB Total Ram, £38.95
SSD's; One Old OCZ Apex 60GB SSD and One 30GB Generic Non Branded SSD (cheap)
Half PCE-E Wireless Card, £4.36
Total Spent on upgrades for a Super Speedy Laptop from Dead Laptop, £68.06
Although i still need to save up and buy an new LCD Screen to replace the smashed one lol, and after that, maybe a new battery too lol
All in all though, with all the speed increases in the laptop, i can say that im comfortable with playing games on it as i tend to cringe when using laptops, unless one has £5000 spare to buy a DECENT laptop - i hate ALL laptops lol !!
Okay that statement may be a bit harsh lol, but this is why i love Desktops more lol
Although in this day and age, one may need to take a computer outside of their comfort zone and outside of their house so meh, this is why this laptop is being upgraded haha..
Software tools used may vary from laptop to laptop, desktop to desktop, as the ones i mentioned at the beginning of this instructable don't always work, for example, PCWizard used to crash some desktops (BSOD) so your mileage may vary.
Lastly, This is meant as a Guide to use at your own risk - with any modifications, alterations and upgrading you do - its always at YOUR own risk.
Fortune Favours the Bold :)
Step 4: External Graphics Solution, Conclusion & Final Specs
Added two photo's showing my ZIF Socket on my laptop's motherboard, it has a distinctive locking mechanism via a small plastic screw on the top-centre of the ZIF Socket, this is how you can upgrade to a better CPU.
Also Note that as not all laptops are the same, so this instructable is not going to go in depth on disassembly but if Anyone wants any help upgrading your own Laptops, follow these tips and tricks ive amassed over the years, but leave a comment with screenshots of the HWinfo software ive used here and i will do my very best to help you upgrade you laptops too :)
As you can see from the Photo's and Screenshots, all upgrades went well and ive been rewarded with a laptop that can play games and run some semi-intensive CAD software programs for my PCB Creation.
The only thing you may need to google-search is something referred to as a "Service Manual" for your specific laptop model number.
Please DO NOT Confuse this with "USER Manual"
The two are NOT the same.
A USER Manual is a collection of instructions that show you how to USE your laptop...
A SERVICE Manual is a collection of instructions that show you how to take apart your laptop and install or replace almost all parts.
Again this is why its harder for people to upgrade or replace parts in Laptops, because these things are not exactly well documented, known-of or 'The Done Thing' in any standards (& why it can cost a small fortune paying a repair-shop to do these things for you)
EDIT 2; Optional Upgrades / Alternative Choices;
As i elaborated at the start of my instructable, that i used an i5-580M CPU upgrade from the standard i3-330M, there is also another route i could have gone due to my LCD of the Laptop is damaged beyond repair.
The Alternative to having the i5-580M CPU, would have been to use an i7 CPU which there is one that is compatible with my Laptop's CPU Socket - BUT as i mentioned, my Laptop does NOT have an internal graphics card slot, so if i were to use this Laptop as a Desktop, as the battery doesn't currently hold a charge longer than an hour, would be to use an External PCI-Express Laptop converter;
This would let us use a standard graphics card that was meant to be used in Desktop Computers, but again, nnot all Laptops would support this feature/upgrade.
- External Full-Sized Graphics Card to Laptop Converter -
THIS is an example of such a converter, its pretty darn awesome, it would let me upgrade to an even better CPU, as the i7 CPU's dont have a graphics chip built-in to them, so i would be forced to use a DEDICATED Graphics solution like the adaptor converter in the link above.
Although there are many types of this converter by now, the one shown in the link above uses THREE WAYS;
1. Express-Card socket
2. Mini PCI-E Socket (This is usually where the Wireless Card/Bluetooth is connected to though)
3.. NGFF Socket (Again this is usuually where the Wireless card is installed)
to be used as a Graphics Port, these types of converters are still not widely know-of, but hopefully in time that'll change :)
One could also have this setup as a semi-Desktop, semi-Portable Solution so that when its in your house, it can act as a more powerful system but still be able to easily and quickly disconnect it and take it with you if you just have to have it portable
See Photo-Picture showing the 3 ways you can install this external graphics card upgrade, im a huge fan of it !
Remember, Google is your Friend but above all else, INSTRUCTABLES !! lol
Happy Modding :)