New life for an old laptop?
My wife has a four year old Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop that I would like to improve. I have built several PC's over the years but have never cracked open a laptop. Is there a tutorial anywhere I can get information. I figure a CPU and memory upgrade will speed it up.
AMD 64 X2 6400 BE
2 gig OCZ Platinum DDR2 800
2x WD 78gig Raptors Raid 0
Vista Home Premium
2 BFG 7900GTX OC
Sony DVDRW Dual Layer
Enermax Galaxy Dx X 1000
Koolance EXOS2 (GPU)
First start off by seeing which processor it has and what else will go in it
Factor in the price of the new procressor verses what a newer lappy would cost.
It probably has a 5400rpm drive - replacing that with a 7200 rpm drive would be a real good boost and much easier to do...It would run hotter and use more battery power...
I would max out the RAM and reinstall Windows "clean" and leave the CPU alone. A 4-year old laptop should have adequate CPU power.
Stark Raving MOD
A CPU replacement on a laptop is major surgery. I don't think it's worth the cost or hassle.
Memory is the cheapest and easiest.
Considering the specs of the 1501, the processor is quite good even with new applications. Perhaps the upgrade with most noticeable results would be a RAM upgrade.
Usually older laptops only claim that it is upgradable up to 2GB of RAM. Perhaps this is because 4-5 years ago, there were no 2GB SODIMMs around yet, if there were, it would be really new then.
533Mhz SODIMMs are becoming hard to find, so grab as much RAM as you can.
Since this has an AMD Processor, it most likely has an ATI graphics card. Depending on the chipset, this may already be capable of running Aero on VISTA and Windows 7.
With 2gb or more ram, it will be able to run Windows 7 without problems. However, buying a new OS for an old computer may be too much.
An HDD upgrade is also a good upgrade, considering the laptop's age. Equipment with mechanical components will fail eventually. Upgrading to a 7200 rpm drive will improve loading time and data transfer rates.
This alongwith a RAM upgrade will make your laptop run faster, and more reliable.
All good points, but keep in mind that a 7200RPM drive will decrease battery life and increase heat.
Crucial says that this laptop can accept only 1GB SODIMMs, so that's it. Luckily, Windows 7 would run fine on that. Graphics chip remains a question...
If you want to extend the mobile life of the laptop, you may also opt to get batteries while it is still available for that model.
Most lithuim based batteries can be charged over 300 to 500 times. Older laptop batteries have NiMh or NiCad batteries which have charge cycles of 200 to 300 times.
If you charge your batteries every other day, expect it to last 3-4 years. With this in mind, your existing battery may be near its service life.
Last edited by dexmax; 06-11-2010 at 09:30 PM.
FYI - lithium batteries die whether used or not. Expect to replace them every 3-4 years under any circumstance. Those that are exposed to high heat regularly will die in 2 years.
-The 1501 was spec'd for the Sempron up to the Turion 64 x2 cpu's, maxing out at a TL-60. If hers is running a Sempron then an upgrade to the TL-60 would be worth the effort, imo. Use the Service Tag # at Dell Support to confirm the system config.
The task is do-able for the savy DIY'r. The Dell Service Manual provides play by play instructions to review. One thing you will need to be prepared for is the TIM method Dell used on the cpu. Sometimes you must use a thermal pad of a certain thickness , usually thermal compound like AS5 will work fine since there is contact between the two components, but thtas not always the case.
Upgrading the bios before replacing the cpu is a must. You can checkout Ebay for deals.
Ditto on the other suggestions...
-You can max the ram to 2gb, best performance for multitasking is more ram.
-A 7200 rpm hard drive improves performance 33% over a 5400rpm drive. This could increase speed and storage at the same time. As noted, it will increase heat, so look for a lap cooler and keep the vent clear and clean. Personally I haven't experienced much of a heat threat here, but YMMV. Battery life will drop due to power usage, but you get things done faster, so its worth the upgrade IMO.
- Windows 7 is a good upgrade . I upgraded Vista to W7 on 2gb just fine on my Dell 1520. An improvement to XP or Vista in speed and user experience, IMHO. Only Linux would be faster... Be sure to research for driver support before going to W7.
...my 2 cents anyway, hope its helpful...
Allow me to play the devil's advocate here for a moment.
There are a lot of screws in a laptop and if you can't find them all, you may break the shell trying to force it open. These screws are really small and easy to lose. Once that is done, you must figure out how to remove the CPU. Laptops don't always have ZIF (zero insertion force) CPU mechanisms, so that may have to be forced as well. Once that is done, you will have to re-do the cooling mechanism and may need an adhesive pad of the proper formulation to get it all back together properly. If your re-assemble and anything is done wrong and excessive heat results, you will have to do it all over again. I haven't even mentioned the possibility of bending pins on the new processor. I haven't mentioned that the new CPU may be duff or "not take" and that you may have to put the old one back in.
Notebooks are another world compared to desktops. Homer Simpson could upgrade a desktop.
As a point of reference, I recently bought some replacement parts for my iPhone. They looked simple enough and you can get (what seems like) clear instructions for disassembly on the Internet. Well, I went for it two days ago and realized too late that I was in over my head.
1. All of the many tiny screws were slightly different and I couldn't keep track of where they all went.
2. The new parts were not exactly the same as the old ones.
3. The "instructions" for disassembly that I got on the Internet were not complete and did not include re-assembly instructions...
4. I couldn't call support for help because my phone was in pieces!
Let me tell you, that was a bad situation to be in. I was ready to scream. I couldn't use the new back plate and I damaged a gasket that I didn't know even existed because the "instructions" didn't mention it. Luckily, I was able to put it back together with the new battery and mute toggle at least and it actually worked afterward. Otherwise, I would have either had to ship my only phone off for a week or wait until June 25th for the new iPhone. Since I need a phone to actually get work, either would have sucked big time. If I would have known what I was in for, I would have waited for the new iPhone and had the old one refurbed professionally only then.
I would not try to upgrade that CPU. First off, it may turn out to be a bag of worms and, secondly, the average user does not need a new CPU to do e-mail, Facebook and browsing.
Oh - and my old iPhone still has an ugly, cracked backplate and cannot be sold that way. I've invested $80 in it. It would cost another $170 to make it salable and the most I could get for it would be about $250. D'oh! I guess I'll keep it as is for a backup. So much for using it to pay for my upgrade.
I feel for ya' Bill. I've had similiar experiences and I look back and chuckle, wondering at my sanity, lol.
Your point has merit, though. It is risky disassembling a laptop that is functioning just fine. I wouldn't recommend practicing on his wife's only pc unless he has an emergency plan "B" and the finances to pull it off. The bathtub can be a cold place to sleep.
I second those people here that says 'dont try this at home'. You are most likely to end up with a heap of scrap metal. If you want to make the computer work, use ubuntu as basis with vines installed so you can install the ms-software that your wife is comfortable with. You will boost the performance of the comp considerably by doing it that way (you can still wre k it later :-) ).