It is common these days for old laptops to be lethargic while running any of the modern demanding applications. There can be many reasons for such a sluggish behavior including insufficient RAM or faulty hard disk. This indicates that such a laptop is demanding an upgrade. This is where you will consider replacing some of these parts to push your laptop to live a modern life. However, not all laptops are upgradable!
Are All Laptops Upgradable?
While desktop PCs are usually fully upgradable, laptops do not come with this freedom. The latter devices are progressively sealed units with a possibility of a few restrictions when you want to access the internal parts for fiddling or fixing all that is contained in the case. While looking at a few parts is easy, detaching and replacing the required chips and boards with their latest counterparts is totally a different game.
An increasing number of laptops are not serviceable at all by owners due to which upgrading and hacking have become quite challenging. A few models have glue and tiny screws due to which it is almost impossible to open, unless there are right tools with you. On the other hand, a few are flexible enough to allow access to different drives and RAM at least for servicing, if not for an upgrade.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to see whether it is possible for you to upgrade a laptop or not, prior to buying its parts.
You might also consider purchasing a upgradable laptop under 800$, This Price Tag offers a lot of options for a user to upgrade the device it comes with an easy screw out which any user can remove and replace its RAM, Battery and a Faster Hard Drive-SSD
#1 Inspect Your Laptop Model
This is the first step to take towards determining whether you can upgrade your laptop or not. If yes, the model should appear easy to get into it. For example, it should seem easy for you to open doors or hatches if any, using a screwdriver or hand.
If it is easy for you to open the laptop and get access to its internal parts, you can locate a battery, memory, motherboard, or a hard drive. After all, several brands are making their laptops in such a way that their technicians can easily repair them.
However, if you cannot find a way to open or access, it does not mean that there is none. There are some more ways to get access, of which the following one is common.
#2 Explore the Online Manufacturer’s Site
This is the next step to take if the inspection is not giving you a satisfactory or positive result. In this step, you need to explore the help pages, support section, and knowledgebase pages of the official site of your laptop’s manufacturer. This is where you can know what you can do from the point of view of manufacturer.
These pages are likely to contain detailed instructions regarding upgrading a few laptop parts such as battery and RAM. Many modern brands such as HP and Apple have a knowledgebase section dedicated to upgrading laptop memory.
A small effort of searching from your side as per the device’s model number shall take you to its help manual online or a manufacturer’s documentation giving detachment and upgrade instructions. At times, such details are seriously for service professionals. Nevertheless, it is also true that even you can follow them, provided you are comfortable in doing so.
If there is nothing shared by the manufacturer, do not conclude that your laptop model is not upgradable. This is because there is one more way to crosscheck it, which is the next one.
#3 Ask in Support Forums
Support forums are where many tech geeks share their tweaks, tips, and shortcuts regarding laptop upgrades. Some of them are so detailed that you may not even need technician or manual, provided the sharer’s and your models are same. So, do not hesitate to ask or comment in dedicated forums.
Several others have replaced or upgraded laptop hardware due to which they can easily guide you by sharing detailed instructions on the Web. They may even give you an insight into how easy or tough it is to take up the project on your own and whether doing so can void your warranty or not.
Upgrading some parts such as RAM shall not void the existing valid warranty. However, swapping a glued battery or replacing a hard drive may make it void. However, this depends on the manufacturer’s terms and conditions.
A support forum can be of a manufacturer at his official site or of a tech community. No matter which one you choose, you can easily find answers to how to upgrade RAM or hard disk and how to replace a battery.
#4 Find Out How Worthy the Upgradation Is in Terms of Time, Effort, and Money
It is true that upgrading a device on your own is not as straightforward as changing the battery of a remote control. However, upgradation is feasible if the time to be invested in it is worthy of the effort and/or money put into it.
If you wish to extend the battery life by replacing the existing one, do take into account the battery’s cost and the tools to do so. These are the tools to open the device. Do also consider the time it shall consume for taking the part apart as well as installing the new piece. Next, do take into account the risk you are taking for damaging it.
By considering these things, you may conclude that it is better to sell the device and get a new one. However, the fact is that in case of laptops, the price tags are high. Thus, it is rational to spend some hours in upgrading the laptop on your own.
On the other hand, if there is a non-upgradeable Solid State Drive (SSD) or a soldered Random Access Memory (RAM), the effort and time taken to replace them safely may not be worth the risk involved. This is based on the assumption that doing so shall not damage the laptop permanently. Therefore, even in this case, you may find that selling the existing laptop and investing that money in a new one is a better option. After all, time and efforts both are valuable. You should take up only if it is efficient.
Laptop Upgrades That May Work
If your laptop is upgradable, then there are some ways to do so. These ways are the simplest ones on older laptops. While they are friendly for upgradation, they are heavier in weight. So, be ready to pick such a laptop if you are upgrading it in one or more of the ways described below.
#1 Upgrade to an SSD
If an older laptop features a hard drive that is mechanically slower than the required speed, it is sensible to upgrade it to a quicker SSD. This process is easy, as it involves opening the laptop, taking off the existing hard drive, and placing the SSD in its place. It may be necessary to take a copy of your OS drive and then reinstall the desired OS later. This process is regardless of the number of hard drive bays, which are multiple in a few bigger models.
#2 Expand RAM
If you intend to increase RAM, you need to ensure that the motherboard inside the laptop has RAM slots to allow the same. If yes, it is easy to but one more RAM stick and put it in an empty slot. Just ensure that the RAM stick you buy is of the right type. In other words, your laptop should accept it.
In case the slots are filled, you may consider removing one of the present sticks and install a new one having more capacity. Luckily, there are some older and bulkier models that feature a special panel for memory. This panel is at the device’s bottom, which you can open easily to see and access the memory slots available on the motherboard.
#3 Use an SSD instead of an Optical Drive
This is an option for those who do not want to change the internal drive of their laptop but want an SSD installed on their laptop. To install an SSD in this case, they need to replace the optical drive with an SSD. Here, an optical drive can be a CD or Blu-ray drive. It is essential to choose the right enclosure that can accommodate an SSD in its optical drive bay.
#4 Processor Upgrade
It may be possible to upgrade a CPU and/or GPU on a few laptops. However, it is not an easy job! It is essential to purchase only compatible components that your device can accommodate. Further, BIOS should support all those components or else they will not work.
Additionally, they should prove themselves in terms of similar functionality. For example, a dissimilar CPU and GPU produces a varying level of heat. Thus, if the new components produce too much heat, it can be tough to feel the effect of existing older fans and/or other cooling mechanisms. This is a common issue that you must avoid.
Positively, the ways shared here should be useful to find out whether your laptop device is upgradeable efficiently and smartly. If yes, then you can instantly go for it. However, if no that can be the worst case, it is best to choose another way.