How-To: Upgrading a Netbook

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The best approach to this article is to clearly define the intended audience, so here it goes….

  • If you have ever turned out a computer and forgot to plug in the +12 VDC CPU line, you might be a computer geek.
  • If you visit www.newegg.com and your heart skips a beat, you might be a computer geek.
  • If you know what the acronyms IHS, HSF, and TIM stand for, you might be a computer geek.
  • If you log onto a discussion group, clamoring about base clock walls or max Vcores, you might be a computer geek.

If you know anything about what is described in the bullets above the most likely this article is not of interest to you. However, if you found this page by google, yahoo, or bing because you want to soup up your brand new Netbook but have never seen the inside of a computer case, this may be a handy guide.

Ok, now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about Netbooks. Netbooks is a ubiquitous term which has been invented and marketed as, basically, a small, portable notebook sufficient for basic, everyday tasks. Things like surfing the net, checking email, a little Skyping, or simple word processing can be done with 1/10th the computing power that is actually available in most mainstream or high end micorprocessors on the market today. A lot of hubbabloo has been generated by this new class of device, it has achieved the status of one of the fastest growing categories of computers on the market today. In short, the netbook has a very basic usage model, and, as such, comes with very basic components sufficient for the simple tasks but with costs that bring the price points way down well within the $200-300 price range in many cases.

Netbooks have evolved, quickly, into pretty much a standard mold. Most all netbooks come equipped with 2 or 3 USB ports, a VGA (monitor connection) port, an 8 or 10 inch screen, qwerty keyboard and track pad, one gigabyte of ram and either a solid state drive (fairly small) or a 160 gigabyte mechanical hard drive. For most applications, this is well enough to satisfy most users, however, there are some other good applications where a little more RAM and a larger hard drive can help. For example, blu-ray movies, and now many DVD versions of the movie, come with digital copies and the netbook is a perfect place to hold these. For a movie buff, like myself, a 500 gigabyte hard drive is much better for holding a large collection of movies from these formats and the netbook is a perfect companion to play them. I can routinely get 5 or 6 hours, 2 or 3 movies on one battery charge enough to get me from coast to coast without searching for a plug.

Great, so what can one can go about amping up their netbook and make them more versatile. One important note, the netbooks best upgrading are those that provide some degree of user acess to the memory and hard drive. Netbooks from Asus, MSI, and Acer often include panels accessible by simply unscrewing a few screws. Other, higher named vendors, may or may not provide this access. (If this sounds confusing, it will be clear when you see the step by step.) As such, it is not recommended that a someone with no experience try this by ‘prying’ open their netbook to attempt this upgrade.

The netbook we will upgrade in this how to article is the Asus Eee 1000HE version B, but this should work on most any netbook where acess to the hard drive and/or RAM is easy. This is not a complicated procedure but you will need some parts, which can be ordered through most online computer hardware ships (yes, including www.newegg.com).

  1. RAM: DDR2 SODIMM at 2 gigabyte capacity and the same speed rating as the ram currently installed in the netbook.
  2. HardDrive: any 2.5 inch hard drive (or solid state drive) will work fine, but pay attention to what you buy and how much power it consumes, the higher the power consumption the shorter the battery life will be.
  3. Your recovery or system DVD that came with your netbook.
  4. A external USB DVD drive (added expense, you can also attempt to do this with a thumb drive).
  5. A phillips head screw driver, a jewelers screw driver set is recommended as the screws tend to be small.
  6. The warranty information for the netbook, most likely preforming this upgrade will void your warrantee, though some may not. Nevertheless, you, the user, assume the risk as XCPUs will not be held responsible if you bork your spiffy netbook.

 

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