If you’re thinking about upgrading your laptop hardware, there are some questions you should consider asking yourself prior to jumping in. Upgrades might not be the best option!
If your laptop gets an old model you’ll be faced with that dreaded issue: should you upgrade or simply buy a new laptop? Obviously a new laptop will be expensive and an upgrade is more affordable, but it’s not always the best choice.
Before you decide before you make the decision, there are some things to know. For instance there are only specific parts can be upgraded by yourself and that’s if your laptop permits this. Furthermore, updating parts can almost always invalidate the warranty.
What are you able to do to upgrade your laptop hardware as well as what’s the risk that are involved? Are these risks worth the cost? Continue reading to find out.
1. Is Your Laptop even upgradeable?
There are a few things in your laptop that can be easily upgraded. In contrast to desktop computers the majority of components of laptops are soldered and cannot be removed. This is the reason it’s a good idea to ensure that your laptop is future-proofed before you purchase ( whereas future-proofing is not recommended for desktop computers).
However, you must first to determine if your laptop is upgradeable or is equipped with soldered components. You can find your answer by studying the manual of the manufacturer that was originally issued to you.
If you don’t have that, try the Crucial System Scanner tool. Run it on your Windows laptop or Macbook and it will scan your machine to find out which parts of your device can be upgraded.
2. Which Parts Should You Upgrade?
The most common laptop parts that can be upgraded easily are RAM modules, hard drives, batteries, and wireless cards — assuming none of those parts are soldered on.
Of these, RAM modules and hard drives are the easiest and most common. Indeed, adding more RAM or installing a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a hard disk drive (HDD) are among the best upgrades to improve PC performance.
And if that’s what you decide to do, we have a full guide on how to upgrade a laptop’s RAM. It’s also pretty straightforward to add an SSD into a laptop.
As for the laptop battery replacement and the wireless card, those aren’t always upgradeable. You will need to first research and check if those can be changed on your laptop. If yes, then finding a compatible battery is possible only through the same manufacturer.
Wireless cards, however, are simple mini-PCIe cards, which you can purchase on Amazon. If your laptop is old and you want to make it compatible with Wireless AC standards, then replacing the mini-PCIe card is one way to do it. Otherwise, you could even get a Wi-Fi USB dongle.
3. Some Parts Aren’t Worth Upgrading
Among the components of a computer, the motherboard replacement, processor replacement, and the screen are the main parts that you can’t (and shouldn’t) upgrade.
Most laptops are constructed with a particular motherboard and processor series in mind, and these two parts largely determine how much heat the laptop will generate. The case is hence designed so that the estimated heat can be dissipated efficiently.
The screen, on the other hand, is almost never worth upgrading. I’m not even sure if it’s possible to upgrade. You can fix a broken screen by replacing it with the same type, but just like upgrading a PC Screen Replacement is all about buying a new one, upgrading the screen also requires buying a new laptop.
4. How to Find Compatible Parts
So now that you know the basic hardware to give your laptop a new life, you need to figure out exactly what to buy. For example, laptop RAM is different from desktop RAM, and if your laptop is old, it might use older DDR2 RAM rather than DDR3 or DDR4 RAM.
When shopping for RAM modules and solid state drives, companies like Crucial and Kingston have online guides to find out compatible parts for your notebook. Crucial’s Advisor Tool is our preferred choice, but Kingston’s Memory Search is a decent option too.
All you need to do is select your laptop manufacturer and model, and the tools will show you a list of compatible RAM and SSD. Apart from the specifications for the acceptable RAM or SSD, you will also find how many DIMM expansion slots your laptop has, and how much maximum memory it can support.
Using the specifications, feel free to search for similar memory or storage on Amazon or other sites. If it matches the specs, it will be compatible with your laptop.
5. Should You Upgrade or Buy New?
There are certain signs it’s time to replace your old computer. If your laptop is running too slow, if it can’t install new operating systems or doesn’t support new software, or if it regularly has some problem, you may be tempted to buy a replacement just for peace of mind.
And that wouldn’t be so terrible. There are some fantastic laptops available for low prices these days, so instead of upgrading your laptop hardware and voiding your warranty, you might want to just buy a new one.
The reason you’re upgrading is probably because some part is no longer working as efficiently as it should. Assuming this is because the entire laptop is old, then you’ll soon face similar issues with other parts that are nearing their end of life.
So unless your laptop is new and it’s only one part that’s malfunctioning, just go for the replacement. You’ll be happier in the long run.