Make a low cost laptop more powerful
A laptop tutorial by Peter Kalmstrom
You can save a lot of money by some simple engineering if you buy a cheap
laptop and add some more powerful parts to it, instead of buying a pre-configured
computer that has what you need. This is how you can do it:
The price tag of this laptop will be less than half compared to a laptop pre-configured
for the same performance.
- Focus on the screen – how large of a laptop do you want?
- If you plan to run virtual machines, also check that the processor is
powerful enough to handle them and has virtualization features that can be
- Buy the cheapest possible computer with the right screen (and processor).
- Take out the hard drive and replace it with a a solid-state drive (SSD).
- Take out the RAM and replace it with more RAM.
Taking out the hard drive and RAM
Nowadays the hard drive and RAM is often placed directly under an access panel,
just like the RAM, so if you can do Lego or assemble IKEA furniture, you can
do #4 and #5 too. You will probably find information on how to do it in the
laptop manual, and there are also a lot of instructions on the internet.
Choosing the right replacements
Selecting the right memory and hard drive might be a bit tricky. Look
for the cheapest SSD with transfer speeds of over 500 Mb/s.
Here is an example: A low weight laptop with a 17.3 inch screen in full HD
and space for two 2.5 inch hard drives and a DVD-player. Add a primary SSD
of 240 GB and a secondary 750 GB Hybrid drive.
Reinstall the OS
After changing the hard-drive you need to re-install the operating system.
It is not so easy, but if you have read this far you probably know how to
do it! Otherwise there is information on the internet about that also. Windows
8 installs in 10 minutes on an SSD.
Note that this method does not work if you are a hard-core gamer. In that
case you need a graphics card with higher performance than you will get in
a cheap laptop, and they cannot be replaced like the hard drive and RAM.