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limitlessonline7
May 26th, 2012, 10:12 PM
This is probably a dumb question that has a simple answer, but I've never known the truth. I've just been told my whole life that you can only upgrade the RAM and change the battery but can't install a new processor or video card. Why is this? Is this true?

ahallubuntu
May 26th, 2012, 11:40 PM
You can certainly upgrade lots of laptop components even if it's a bit harder than upgrading a desktop in many cases. Besides RAM, laptop hard drive upgrade is usually pretty easy. I've also upgraded several wireless cards in laptops (Dell, Acer, Toshiba only; HP and Lenovo are very limited because they "white list" which wireless cards are allowed to be used.)

You usually CAN upgrade your laptop CPU. I have done it a few times recently. The complication comes from the difficulty in accessing your laptop CPU. Sometimes, as on my Dell laptop, the CPU is very easy to access from the bottom of the laptop: remove one panel (three screws), four screws to remove the heat sink...then rotate the locking screw on the CPU socket counter clockwise to release it. Put new thermal paste on the new CPU, put it back together. Can easily be done in about ten minutes.

Other times the CPU is buried under the keyboard and some other hardware, and disassembling a laptop can be tricky. It all varies by make/model of the CPU. Sometimes the CPU is in fact soldered on the motherboard (more likely on a netbook), but I've yet to encounter a laptop that has a soldered CPU.

You usually can't upgrade the motherboard because they are custom built for the physical design of the laptop, unlike a more standard desktop motherboard.

SOMETIMES you can upgrade the video card on a laptop, but if you can you are probably limited to a few choices: just the choices that the manufacturer originally sold that laptop with. For example, if your old laptop had an option to have a better video card but yours has the integrated graphics, you could probably buy that same better graphics card and install it.

I added an internal webcam to a laptop recently. Same idea: that Dell model was sold with a webcam built in but my version didn't have the webcam. So I bought a used camera on eBay (exact model for my Dell) and a new screen bezel that had a hole for the camera. I found the open connector on the laptop motherboard to plug in the camera. Worked like a charm. Cost about $20 total.

Doing these kinds of upgrades can be very tricky, though. I recommend buying a few old junker laptops and take them apart as a learning experience; if you break something, then you have lost nothing, and you'll have a better feel for how fragile some parts of a laptop are.

rvdli
May 27th, 2012, 12:25 AM
This is probably a dumb question that has a simple answer, but I've never known the truth. I've just been told my whole life that you can only upgrade the RAM and change the battery but can't install a new processor or video card. Why is this? Is this true?

We still don't have enough techonology to make laptops with "expansion slots" in a way they don't be huge and heavy. Almost-everything in a board, as they are today, is the best way found (yet) to keep the machines good and portable.

If you need a powerful machine, build a desktop. Even powerful laptops will never be so powerful as desktops, due to space limitations.

3v3rgr33n
May 27th, 2012, 12:43 AM
Hi

On the issue of upgrading, I'm planning on getting a relatively old PC and upgrade every component one at a time (Build a gaming monster :)). I was going to a buy a graphics card first but I'm worried ; are there compatibility issues I have to look at because I don't want to waste my money with something that might not work?

Thnx

UltimateCat
May 27th, 2012, 01:08 AM
I have read most of this book and this man: Scott Mueller is extremely intelligent when it comes to computers.

" Upgrading And Repairing PC's " By Scott Mueller

PhilGil
May 27th, 2012, 01:15 AM
Hi

On the issue of upgrading, I'm planning on getting a relatively old PC and upgrade every component one at a time (Build a gaming monster :)). I was going to a buy a graphics card first but I'm worried ; are there compatibility issues I have to look at because I don't want to waste my money with something that might not work?

Thnx
You should probably start a new topic rather than asking in this thread.

That being said, the three main issues you have to look out for when upgrading a graphics card are the slot type, the power supply and clearance on the motherboard.

If the computer you are obtaining is six or more years old it could have an AGP graphics port rather than the newer PCIe slot. An AGP port is obsolete and would necessitate replacing the motherboard before purchasing a video card.

Power is also an issue with older computers and modern video cards Your power supply needs to provide enough wattage to run the new video card, and it will need to have the proper connectors (most mid to high end video cards require a power lead from the power supply).

Clearance for the card can also be a problem. Modern gaming cards are quite large (often taking the space of two ordinary PCI cards) and other components can be in the way, especially on smaller motherboards. Be sure you have room for the card you're buying.

Hope that helps a bit.

3v3rgr33n
May 28th, 2012, 04:39 PM
You should probably start a new topic rather than asking in this thread.

That being said, the three main issues you have to look out for when upgrading a graphics card are the slot type, the power supply and clearance on the motherboard.
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Clearance for the card can also be a problem. Modern gaming cards are quite large (often taking the space of two ordinary PCI cards) and other components can be in the way, especially on smaller motherboards. Be sure you have room for the card you're buying.

Hope that helps a bit.

Thnx alot

Mark Phelps
May 28th, 2012, 09:20 PM
This is probably a dumb question that has a simple answer, but I've never known the truth. I've just been told my whole life that you can only upgrade the RAM and change the battery but can't install a new processor or video card. Why is this? Is this true?

Even if you COULD upgrade the CPU and/or the video chip, there is still the issue of HEAT. Laptops have very little space and very small fans. Generally, to save money, the manufacturer uses a cheap fan and, unlike with desktops, there is generally no way to UPGRADE the fan to something more powerful.

Recently, I had a fan go out on a six year old laptop -- and while replacing it only cost a few dollars (cheap fan!), it requires disassembling practically the whole laptop to get at the fan.

Temüjin
May 28th, 2012, 10:41 PM
We still don't have enough techonology to make laptops with "expansion slots" in a way they don't be huge and heavy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express_Mini_Card#PCI_Express_Mini_Card

The real problem is that laptop manufacturers seem to be allergic to standards, especially on the form factor of the mobo. (No, I'm not counting Intel ultrabook, which has far more to do with Intel increasing sales of its components rather than encouraging interoperability.)