How to Upgrade a Laptop?

Jim Salvatierra from Glendale, Arizona emailed us this inquiry earlier:
"Dear TechPinas, I have an old laptop, which I bought in 2003, that I want to upgrade. I want to know which parts of the unit are the easiest to upgrade. Thanks!"

Hi Jim!

The parts that are easiest to replace and upgrade in a laptop are the Memory Module or RAM stick and the Hard Drive. Upgrading the RAM can really help in increasing the performance and speed of any laptop ~ Sidenote: Most users believe that 2GB of RAM is pretty much the standard in running Vista. Upgrading the hard drive, of course, will give you more storage space especially now when softwares are getting bigger and heavier by the day.


For most laptops, the RAM sticks are located at the bottom of the unit and are usually just covered a thin removable plastic flap. What's important in upgrading the RAM is to get sticks that are compatible with your laptop's board. There are three basic types of Memory modules - the almost obsolete SDRAM, DDR and currently popular DDR2. All three have sub-types so I suggest that you bring your old RAM sticks to the store when you buy new sticks for the same laptop.

Here's a demo video of RAM stick installation on a Thinkpad (which shows pretty much the same upgrade procedure for other laptop brands):


If your old laptop has around 40GB of HD space, you might consider replacing with with a 100GB HD. Most laptops from 2003 can actually work with this upgrade but it would help if you just bring your laptop to the HD store for actual testing. Check manual for actual location of your laptop's HD as this varies greatly from brand to brand.

I hope you find this helpful.

[photo via computershopcolwynbay]

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1 comment:

  1. Anyone did the reverse, i.e. using laptop parts to build a small pc? So many news on atom or ion -based systems nowadays. I have SO-DIMM RAM, slim DVD burner, and a mini-PCI WiFi card leftover from a broken laptop. Any advice on what I can build from them for a desktop or media pc?