Upgrade laptop CPU


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Do you ever wanted to upgrade your laptop’s CPU but you was not sure if it’s possible or didn’t know how to do it?

So was I. I will tell you my story…

I had a HP Compaq 6820s laptop. Yes, it’s a 2007 model but if you are a computer lover then a old computer is like an old car. Or like an old wine. Anyway, the idea is that for you it will be always like a brand new computer. Does it?

Well, the last statement it is very plausible and I will prove this right away.

My laptop came with a Intel T7250 processor and after upgrading the HDD I told myself “if I could upgrade the CPU…that will get the money worth”.

The question that comes with a CPU upgrade are:

  • do you really need it? what are the reasons for changing in the first place?
  • does your motherboard support an superior CPU?
  • how much it will cost you? does the new CPU worth the money?
  • do you need a new (unused) CPU or you can live with a used one?

In my case I decided that I need a CPU upgrade. I am a coder, I have the bad habit to compile frequently. I am also a Gentoo lover so I have to compile my system too.

The fastest CPU that my laptop motherboard supports is the Intel T9300.  The (visible) differences between the two processors are:

  • 410 mil transistors instead of 291 mil
  • 2500 MHz versus 2000 MHz (~ 25% improvement in speed)
  • 6MB cache L2 instead of 2MB cache L2
  • Bus/Core Ratio is 12.5 instead of 10
  • Lithography of 45nm instead of 65nm (that’s why it has more transistors on the same area)
  • T9300 consume less power and is more efficient than T7250

The Intel’s recommended price for T9300 is 316$ but I found offers at 300$ on amazon.com. Anyway, 307$ means ~0.6$ for each additional MHz you will get. I think it does worth it. But do I need a new one? No, I can leave with a 2nd hand CPU as well.

I found an used one on ebay.com for just 100$. I ordered it and three days later I received it. OK, let’s use it!

First of all: you will need a thermal compound. Arctic Silver 5 seems to be the most recommended out there but I found a Spire SP-700 to the shop next door so for the moment I stick with this.

OK, now that we have our thermal compound I guess that we can start disassembling the laptop. Keep in mind that the procedure bellow applies only to HP Compaq 6820s. Other models might differ radically. So, let’s get started:

  • shut down the computer (make sure it will not be set in hibernate/suspend mode)
  • disconnect the external devices (if any)
  • disconnect the power from the computer
  • remove the battery
  • remove the hard drive

  • remove the optical drive (or the 2nd hard drive bay)

  • remove the memory

  • remove the wireless card

  • remove the switch cover and keyboard

  

  • remove the speaker
  • remove the display lid switch module

  • remove the display assembly
  • remove the top cover

  • remove the cooler

  • remove these components (the AC/DC – battery adapter and the HDD adapter connector)

  • remove the system board

  • turn the mainboard upside down, with the USB connectors toward you
  • turn the processor locking screw one-half turn counter-clockwise until you hear a click
  • lift the processor straight up and remove it

  • at the end you show have you laptop spreads in parts; this is the bottom of what remains of it:

Note: The thermal paste must be throughly cleaned from the surface of the heatsink and the processor, Northbridge chip and graphics subsystem memory each time the heat sink is removed.

Note: When you install the new processor, the gold triangle on the processor must be aligned with the triangle embossed on the processor slot.

Reverse the procedure when installing the new processor.

About Eugen Mihailescu

Always looking to learn more about *nix world, about the fundamental concepts of arithmetic, algebra and geometry. I am also passionate about programming, database and systems administration.
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