This doesn't mean we can't update anything on our laptop! In this guide we will show you how to upgrade an old laptop adding RAM memory and installing an SSD solid state drive instead of the old mechanical hard drive.
These hardware changes will improve the speed, performance and performance of your portable PC, so you can quickly start any version of Windows and open programs at full speed. Updates can be applied to virtually any PC that supports SATA 3 and supports DDR3, DDR3L or DDR4 (latest) RAM modules.
How to upgrade an old laptopFor the guide we will show you all the steps (with targeted insights) to add compatible RAM banks on the PC and on how to replace the old mechanical disk with a fast SSD, so as to increase the space available and the execution speed. To find out what's inside your computer and find out in advance what type of hardware we can update, just use a program to check the hardware on the individual pieces of the PC.
NOTE: : we carry out all the disassembly operations with the PC off and without the battery inserted, to avoid getting an electric shock!
How to add RAM memoryMost laptops have two so-DIMM slots for RAM, one on top of the other; therefore normally you have to remove the upper so-DIMM module to access the lower one.
Since there are only two slots, they are usually both occupied, so you will need to upgrade your RAM by purchasing two new, larger-capacity modules. We always update both modules, so as to maintain compatibility between the two memories.
To remove the RAM banks, we turn the laptop upside down, unscrew the safety screw near the door for access to the RAM modules, press on the tabs on each side of the slot and push outwards on both sides at the same time so as to raise it by about 30 degrees and take it out.
Once the old RAM banks have been removed, install the new ones by repeating the procedure in reverse: place the first RAM bank in an oblique position, push the raised part until we hear a click; now we repeat with the second RAM bank and close the door to be able to test the new banks immediately.
The best RAM banks we can buy for notebooks are:
- Corsair Vengeance LPX (31€)
- Crucial Kit Memoria on 8GB 4GBx2 DDR3L (50€)
- Crucial Memoria da 8 GB Single Rank x8, DDR4 (37€)
- Corsair Vengeance Performance 16GB RAM Memory Kit for laptops, 2x8GB (72 €)
To properly update the RAM, we will have to identify the type of memory and frequency supported by the notebook; we can learn more about this by reading our guides on Computer RAM types: DDR, shape and speed and guide to add or replace PC RAM.
How to replace the hard drive with an SSDFor the replacement of the mechanical disc we will have to first of all clone the old disk to the new SSD, so you don't have to reinstall Windows and the programs we use every day on the laptop. To do this on a laptop, connect the new SSD to a USB socket with a SATA-USB adapter cable or with a disk case (we talk about it in depth in the article on How to connect discs to PC via USB), then we follow all the steps described in our guide on how Move Windows to SSD without reinstalling everything, where we will show you how to best use a free program like EASEUS Todo Backup Free.
The only things to be careful of is that the space occupied on the old disk is less than or equal to the total space of the new SSD.
Once the cloning has been done on the new SSD we turn the laptop over, identify the hard drive panel and let's unscrew it; after unscrewing the panel, pull it up to access the disc compartment. In order to remove it, it is usually necessary to unscrew the fixing screw, so that it can be lifted by the tab and pulled away from the side.
Once removed from the computer, we remove the old disk from the metal holder, place the new SSD in its place and repeat all the steps backwards so that we can install the new disk on the laptop.
The best SSDs we can buy for a notebook are:
- Kingston SSD A400, 240 GB (34€)
- Samsung 860 EVO Memoria SSD Interno also 500 GB (78€)
- Samsung 860 EVO SSD V-NAND Interno at 1 TB (131€)
Other SSDs for sale can be viewed in our guide to Best PC SSDs to buy for fast loading. We can use the old disk as an external USB disk, as described in our guide on how Turn internal disk into portable external drive.
If, on the other hand, we want to keep the mechanical disk inside the notebook and place the SSD instead of the DVD player (decidedly more complex operation to perform), we can read our guide forSSD on the Laptop, instead of the hard drive or DVD player.
ConclusionsAs we have had the opportunity to read, upgrading the old laptop is an operation within everyone's reach, just arm yourself with patience and a good screwdriver! By replacing the RAM banks and the mechanical disk with an SSD and new RAM we will improve the performance of the operating system and programs, extending the life of the laptop by at least another 3-4 years.
If we are looking for repairs and replacements on your PC, we recommend that you read our guide to DIY computer repairs: change RAM, power supply and hard drive.
If, on the other hand, we notice that the drop in performance is related to Windows, you should read the tips in the guide on how Improve Windows PC performance, so as to take full advantage of the upgraded computer hardware.