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Can I upgrade my laptop CPU and hard drive for speed?

By Dan S.
Jun 24, 2002
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Can I swap the CPU and hard drive from my laptop?

    Hi,

    I suppose I should post this under "portable computing"... but does anyone know how I can upgrade my laptop? I've built many desktops over the years, but never got inside a laptop. I's like to put in a faster processor, and a bigger, faster hard drive, but not sure if I can, or if it will improve the speed... I loaded the RAM to its max, though it says it will only take EDO, unfortunately...luckily, I searched for hours online and found a hardware dealer that sells 128 meg EDO SO-DIMM sticks for $75 (everywhere else they cost $200-$300).

    Here's what I have:

    Dell Latitude CPi D300XT (just bought it used, in perfect condition)

    Pentium II 300 processor

    6.4 meg IBM hard drive (which runs at only 4400 rpm...do they make any laptop hd's faster?)

    128 EDO RAM

    Windows XP (despite what Dell and others told me, XP not only works on this machine... but makes it fly!).


    So... does anyone know whether I can open this little Dell up and remove the CPU, and replace it with, say, a P-II 600, or even a P-III? And what about a bigger (faster?) hard drive, a good idea?

    If anyone else has any upgrade or tweak ideas, please speak up. Though this runs fast, I'm used to running my AMD 1800 XP system with 768 of DDR... so, I'd like a little more speed from this laptop (though I only paid $250, I guess I shouldn't ask for too much more).

    also... anyone know where I might find updated driver for the
    NeoMagic 2160 video chip?

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  2. Dan S.

    Dan S. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Can I swap out my laptop processor for a faster one? HD?

    Hi,

    I suppose I should post this under "portable computing"... but does anyone know how I can upgrade my laptop? I've built many desktops over the years, but never got inside a laptop. I's like to put in a faster processor, and a bigger, faster hard drive, but not sure if I can, or if it will improve the speed... I loaded the RAM to its max, though it says it will only take EDO, unfortunately...luckily, I searched for hours online and found a hardware dealer that sells 128 meg EDO SO-DIMM sticks for $75 (everywhere else they cost $200-$300).

    Here's what I have:

    Dell Latitude CPi D300XT (just bought it used, in perfect condition)

    Pentium II 300 processor

    6.4 meg IBM hard drive (which runs at only 4400 rpm...do they make any laptop hd's faster?)

    128 EDO RAM

    Windows XP (despite what Dell and others told me, XP not only works on this machine... but makes it fly!).


    So... does anyone know whether I can open this little Dell up and remove the CPU, and replace it with, say, a P-II 600, or even a P-III? And what about a bigger (faster?) hard drive, a good idea?

    If anyone else has any upgrade or tweak ideas, please speak up. Though this runs fast, I'm used to running my AMD 1800 XP system with 768 of DDR... so, I'd like a little more speed from this laptop (though I only paid $250, I guess I shouldn't ask for too much more).

    also... anyone know where I might find updated driver for the
    NeoMagic 2160 video chip?

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  3. Dan S.

    Dan S. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi,

    I suppose I should post this under "portable computing"... but does anyone know how I can upgrade my laptop? I've built many desktops over the years, but never got inside a laptop. I's like to put in a faster processor, and a bigger, faster hard drive, but not sure if I can, or if it will improve the speed... I loaded the RAM to its max, though it says it will only take EDO, unfortunately...luckily, I searched for hours online and found a hardware dealer that sells 128 meg EDO SO-DIMM sticks for $75 (everywhere else they cost $200-$300).

    Here's what I have:

    Dell Latitude CPi D300XT (just bought it used, in perfect condition)

    Pentium II 300 processor

    6.4 meg IBM hard drive (which runs at only 4400 rpm...do they make any laptop hd's faster?)

    128 EDO RAM

    Windows XP (despite what Dell and others told me, XP not only works on this machine... but makes it fly!).


    So... does anyone know whether I can open this little Dell up and remove the CPU, and replace it with, say, a P-II 600, or even a P-III? And what about a bigger (faster?) hard drive, a good idea?

    If anyone else has any upgrade or tweak ideas, please speak up. Though this runs fast, I'm used to running my AMD 1800 XP system with 768 of DDR... so, I'd like a little more speed from this laptop (though I only paid $250, I guess I shouldn't ask for too much more).

    also... anyone know where I might find updated driver for the
    NeoMagic 2160 video chip?

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  4. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    The laptop HD's are a totally different size than a desktop.
    CPU wise, it depends on your motherboard documentation so you have some research to do.

    I'd leave well enough alone. your dealing w/ what, a 6-7 year old machne?!
     
  5. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

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  6. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    Hum!?!? The latop HD's are a totally different size.
    CPU wise, of course this depends on your motherboard documentation, so I guess so research is in order.

    I'd leave well enough alone. Your talking about a 6-7 yr old machine here?
     
  7. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,871

    You can find Laptop drives but I'm not sure I'd want to muck with that machine too much. It is just too old to try and upgrade. It would cost too much to be worth it.

    If you are determined to do so, check the link Uncleel posted.


    **I do find it hard to believe that XP flies on that machine though because I've installed it on much newer and fasteer machines and it crawls until I pass 500MHz and above 128MB**
     
  8. Dan S.

    Dan S. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry that you find it hard to believe, but the base processor for XP is 300 Mhx PII, and that has just that. It does fly. It boots faster than 98, the games play faster, and the graphics are beautiful. I am just always one to upgrade if possible.

    I don't know how much experience you both have with XP, but the reason I chose it is that it boots, runs, and does everything faster than a DOS-based system like 98. It also has many, many more drivers with it... and it adapts itself to your machine, rather than the other way around. It instantly took to this laptop, worked smoothly right away. Not even a blue screen, and no freezups.

    Remember, the difference between a Pentium II 300 and P-II 500 is not that huge, and I don't have 128 megs or RAM, I have 256. Make better sense now?

    Oh, and by the way... this machine was built in 1998, started selling full-scale in 1999, so it is not 6-7 years old or "just too old to try and upgrade." Not even close. In fact, when it was first sold in 1999, it was ranked by most computing magazines as one of the 10 best laptops on the market, and it cost nearly $5,000. Check it out for yourself if you don't believe me.

    Thanks for your help.

    Dan
     
  9. Dan S.

    Dan S. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    wow... read the post, please...

    I did not mean to double post, obviously. That was a mistake. Why would one double post the same message? And I posted in different forums, and received different responses from them, which is what I had hoped for, a range of opinions. But why is it inappropriate to ask a question which applies to more than one category? This is a question about CPUs and about portable computing.

    And yes, I know the sizes of the components are different. I wasn't asking about using a PC drive or processor in a laptop. Read my post. I am asking the wisdom and possibilities of upgrading the laptop components.

    Second...

    Given what I have asked, how is this NOT a specific question in the subject line? Have a suggestion for a way to say it with more specificity?

    "Can I swap out my laptop processor for a faster one? HD?"

    Odd response from you...


    Third.... I do understand how this works... and I wonder why you would question this.

    Finally, check your facts... 6-7 years ago would be 1995 or so. This laptop was first built in 1998 and first marketed and sold in 1999. It was built for a NT-based Windows system. So your information is bad.

    Thanks for the links, and for your interest. I don't like sounding so negative, and apologize for doing so. You put me on the defensive, though.
     
  10. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,871

    Actually the base processor for XP is 233 PII, with 64 MB RAM, though I haven't gotten that configuration to ever finish an install. The recommended config. is 300MHz+ and 128 MB RAM.

    Also, your initial post says 128MB EDO

    There are many who will back me up when I say that is is rare to find a machine at that speed that runs XP stable. I'm not saying you can't do it. I have gotten some 450MHz machines with 256 MB RAM to run it fairly good by disabling some things like VS and some other features.

    About the age of your machine, even if it was built in '98 which is possible because EDO was still in the phase out stage at that time, though most boards during that time supported both EDO and SDRAM, Laptop boards were probably exception because of size restraints. The machine is still four years old which is not ancient but would probably feel at home in south Florida. Today's technology does not age well and is usually expected to live only two to three years at the most. Don't get me wrong, I have many machines that have been around over a decade and are still going strong.

    I would imagine you might be able to find an "old but newer than you have" mobo/cpu pretty reasonable as well as adding some RAM for a little more than the cost of a couple of sticks of old EDO.
    A good place to look would be auction sites as well as a magazine called "Computer Shopper"
     
  11. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    but it means everything if your motherboard doesn't support it. So again, your must check the (Del) motherboard documentation & spec sheet.
    The problem w/ using Win/XP on machines older than 2yrs is the driver support and/or MS proprietary drivers. Again you must check the compatibility.
     
     
  12. Dan S.

    Dan S. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Again, you two are contradicting all I have heard and seen, and I work in a college with one of the best computer science departments in the country, and every tech I spoke to about this said XP would work fine in that laptop. And it does. It's too bad you can't see it for yourself, or believe the testimony of others.

    I was speaking about the processor in terms of it handling XP. I am not sure if I can or will upgrade it; as my IT director said to me today, why bother when it works so well now? He said this to me as he was playing with my machine... using Photoshop, in fact.

    Does that tell you anything? Frankly, you don't seem to know much about XP. The drivers issue with XP is pretty much over. I know all about it, I beta tested XP from its beginnings, and suffered through the blue screens and waiting for manufacturers to come out with XP drivers for months. Well, to update you with the news, the last large software supplier to finally supply XP drivers was Roxio, and they did so in February.

    There are virtually no XP driver problems now. If the companies (like Dell) don't supply them, somebody else does. And, as I told you, my XP professional disk had all the drivers I needed (though I would like some update ones, I am always searching for those). It even had a driver for my video adapter, which was made by NeoMagic, which stopped supplying drivers two years ago. Yet XP had a driver for that video adapter that was developed last summer.

    Uncleel, I'm afraid that it is you that should do some research on XP. I came here with simple questions, and you have answered them with garbled, misinformed information. If you knew XP well enough you'd know that one of the first things you do when installing is run the XP compatibility check. My new laptop passed that completely. So that makes this compatibility talk of yours moot. And I am wasting my time writing here, I see.

    Stormbringer, you surprise me as well. "Even if that machine is only two years old..." ... ??? Maybe you should do some research, and ask around -- check the Microsoft and AMD boards -- and you'll find people running XP on LESSER machines than mine, and not having to disable a thing.

    Read this, so you may decide to believe me about the age of the machine:

    Pub Computer Times 21/10/1998
    Product: Dell Latitude CPi D300XT
    Price: $5,721 (with GST)
    Availability: Call Dell at 800-601-1135

    The Latitude CPi D300XT is well-equipped and comfortable to use.
    Equipped with Intel's latest 300MHz Pentium II processor, the Dell Latitude CPi D300XT competes directly with the similarly powered IBM ThinkPad 560Z and Toshiba Portege 7010CT,
    To sum up, the Latitude CPi D300XT is a competent business machine, and good value for a 300 MHz Pentium II laptop. Like the ThinkPad 560Z and Portege 7010CT, this Latitude represents the cream of the current crop of high-end laptops in the market.

    Check out this link:

    http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,9424,pg,2,00.asp

    and read this one, too...

    http://www.pcworld.com/resource/article/0,aid,9424,pg,6,00.asp

    Buying Information
    Dell Latitude CPi D300XT
    PRO: Very fast, excellent keyboard
    CON: Modem not included

    Number one on our power chart for five straight months, this notebook with corporate aspirations appears headed for a record. The Latitude CPi D300XT deserves its long run: It's a pleasure to use, not too heavy, and fast. Its PC WorldBench score of 159 makes it one of the quickest notebooks we've ever tested.

    That wasn't long ago - 1999. This is not an "old" machine, even by technology standards. It runs faster with XP than most desktops I've seen. It's too back you guys can't see the possibility that you may not be right about this. I don't need anything more expensive, this does everything... in XP< you dummies! Man...
     
  13. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    Re: wow... read the post, please...

    For the sake of continuity, it's better to reply to one post. That way people can follow your problem & the story line.
    Obviously, there are threads several pages long, & there's no reason why you can't keep on the same topic w/ interrelated questions.
    Talk about contradicting..... :rolleyes:
    There's an old saying:
    Those that can; do.
    Those that can't; teach
    Those that can't teach; administrate.

    I'm sure all these individuals are learned & scholarly, however if they worked @ a repair shop or corporation they would be exposed to the real world problems, not the theoretical.
    It it worth putting XP Pro in a laptop more than say 5 years old? IMHO, no.

    It is worth upgrading the cpu? My experience w/ Dell says it probably won't work. the 300 was probably the same core as the 233 & 266 but was a Mobile Intel® cpu. You either have a a intel motherboard or a Q-lity which are manufactured by Quanta which makes Dell laptops w/ Chinese componets.
    IMHO, no.

    Win/XP Minimum Requirements

    p.s. note that your triple posts have been merged.
    p.s.s check your private messages
     
  14. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 527



    I used XP on that type of rig for about 50 days. Slow, but working. It was a 266, 48mb RAM
     
  15. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,871

    I could argue with you all day about this, seeing as you seem to be set in whatever beliefs you have which don't even pertain to your question but I won't.

    Our responses come from "real world" experiences and not what MS feeds to the public. If you have read enough reviews you will see that MS changes there story about the speed and config of a machine that will or won't run XP.

    Uncleel's answer to your question was very appropriate. Checking your doccumentation is the proper way to see if it is possible to upgrade the processor and what processor you need to look for. Laptops are very specialized and some aren't even upgradable. I'm pretty sure this isn't the case with the Dell but you should be able to find out all you need from the documentation. Since you have built a few systems before, you should probably already know this.


    As for XP running on lesser machines, I have seen hundreds, even thousands of claims of this, the problem is that a great majority of them can't be backed up, most who show screenshots or other proof, are frauds. The other reason I don't believe it is because of all the angry customers who begged me to upgrade them to XP, when it won't run they go somewhere else, only to return later either for me to remove the other guy's mess or to upgrade their hardware.

    As for your original question before you got off the topic, I already answered you just look back at my last reply
     
  16. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 527

    If you are willing to fly to Carriskfinn Int'l Airport, I can drive you about 10 miles, take a 30 minute boat trip, and show you a 266, now with 96 mb ram, happily running XP. Not very well, I can tell you, though. The lack of RAM meant it couldn't run some installers. But the person I sold it to didn't want to go back to 98. But it did have some serious driver problems. The modem had to b physically reinstalled, as did the network card, which still doesn't work too well
     
  17. Dan S.

    Dan S. TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You are correct, this argument is pointless. I am writing to you from the very laptop I have been speaking of, and it is smooth and fast. That's "real-world" experience. At the college where I work, we have more than 300 PCs and laptops, all of which have just been upgraded from Win 2000 to Win XP. All have been given added RAM. ALL of them work very, very well. If they didn't, we wouldn't have stayed with XP, we would have reverted back. But these Pentium I and II PCs, many of which have lesser equipment than this laptop, are working much, much better with XP. And we use the Windows Update function daily, and have not had a driver problem since February. That's "real-world" experience. If I wanted to "educate" you more, I'd have some of our 38 IT techs -- who all agreed that XP would work on this laptop -- post on this board. But I am thinking now that perhaps you have had configuration or RAM problems, or haven't been updating with Windows Update regularly. I don't know... all I do know is with regard to XP and this laptop, and all the ones at our college, all that you are saying is simply not true. I would suggest you try again with another configuration, or more RAM.

    Note the post from MYOB. His machine works, though slowly. He has about 1/3 of the RAM I have. That's the difference. XP needs lots of RAM, and is very happy when he gets it. MYOB's machines would be fast with 256 RAM. There is no question about that; if it works but is slow at 96 mb's, why wouldn't tripling the RAM make it fly? Think about it.

    Another "real-world" example: I have been getting private messages on this board and posted public messages on others giving me the updated drivers I asked for. No one, aside from you two, has told me that XP is anything but the best choice for this laptop. They are all using it too.

    This is my last posting. I wish you success. As a last bit of info, I will post for you now the system information that DELL's system info program gathered about this laptop. Perhaps that will help you with future configurations... if you ever learn to like XP. And I urge you to check your facts before saying things like "that machine must be 6-7 years old." That told me right away that I wasn't dealing with a laptop expert of any kind. Sorry to be blunt, but my other respondents have contradicted most everything you've said.

    Sent to: mobile-pc@dell.com
    Referring URL: 67.241.230.106
    Date submitted: 6/23/2002 1:27:05 AM

    ----------
    Begin Customer's System Configuration
    ----------
    sp_available_memory: {91828}
    sp_bios_vendor: {Dell Computer Corporation}
    sp_bios_date: {11/07/2001}
    sp_bios_version: {A12}
    sp_cpu0_mfgr: {Intel}
    sp_cpu0_family: {Pentium II processor}
    sp_cpu0_speed: {300}
    sp_windows_version: {Windows XP}
    sp_page_file: {633680}
    sp_system_model: {Latitude CPi D300XT }
    sp_ie_version: {6.0.2600.0000}
    sp_memory_location: {System board or motherboard}
    sp_builtin_device_type0: {Video}
    sp_builtin_device_desc0: {NeoMagic 2160}
    sp_builtin_device_enab0: {yes}
    sp_builtin_device_type1: {Sound}
    sp_builtin_device_desc1: {Crystal Audio CS4237}
    sp_builtin_device_enab1: {yes}
    sp_drive_letter0: {C:\}
    sp_drive_type0: {fixed}
    sp_drive_size0: {6189}
    sp_drive_letter1: {D:\}
    sp_drive_type1: {CD ROM}
    sp_drive_size1: {211}
    sp_mem_slot0: {[DIMM_A] DIMM: 128 Mb DRAM}
    sp_mem_slot1: {[DIMM_B] DIMM: 128 Mb DRAM}
    sp_total_memory: {261616}
    ----------
    End Customer's System Configuration
     
  18. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    The more I read this I can't help but think I've seen this before. The entire premise is a moot point, the interpersonal posts, the phrasing & structure...

    This L:rolleyes: :rolleyes:KS way too familar & reminds me of one of P66's lil' tricks where another personality is adopted.
     
  19. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,871

    I'm not trying to argue with you and my last reply wasn't directed to you, actually, you just backed my point. My point is that even those old systems that will actually run XP don't do it very well. All those problems are what separates it from "flawlessly running XP" which is what most of those claims have stated.

    Back to you DanS. ....Why do you keep pointing out the fact that Uncleel mistook the age of the machine by a couple of years, he probably just saw EDO and assumed the approx. age, I would have done the same if not for the RAM amount. The machine is however four years old and was built during the time that EDO was dying out. This is a fact.

    As for my experiences, I work with these problems and similar ones every day. But I suppose that means that since I don't write reviews and I only have to work on this stuff in the real world rather than in controlled lab conditions, I guess that means I don't know what I'm talking about either. I'm done with this post because it is a waste of my time which could be better spent offering advice to someone who needs it rather than someone who will just argue anything I offer as a solution or advice. I was only trying to help and offer my opinion backed by my experience but you took it as an insult.

    I thought you wanted info about where to find upgrades for that machine, I offered that as did Uncleel. You overlooked the advice we gave and took it to be some sort of attack toward you.
     
  20. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    Getting back to the original premise & question:
    Upgrading a "technology wise" circa 1996-1997 PII "class" (233-266-300) laptop
    Using a benefit -vs- cost ratio:
    • purchasing & installing Win/XP Pro. No. (discussed to :dead: )
    • purchasing & installing larger HD. Maybe. (bios support notwithstanding)
    • purchasing & installing 600Mhz Intel Mobile cpu. Probably not (prefore mentioned)
    • purchasing & installing ram. Perhaps/Yes ( EDO notwithstanding)
    PLEASE look @ this from a common sense point, rather than academic logic. You will never recoup the purchase price & the cost of the upgrades.
    This rig will only be worth street price, or what someone is willing to pay for the (@ best) technology that is up to 6½ yrs old.
    Considering there are sub $1000 laptop that are adequate & 1GHZ+ laptops in the $1200 -to- $1500 range.
    I would not recommend this upgrade even for a family member if I was doing the labor for free. But heh' it's your money!
     
  21. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 6,504   +6

    Not me this time I am afraid.

    And my next trick shall be a lot more impressive than pretending to be some other dude.....

    ;)
     
  22. bedlam_4

    bedlam_4 TS Rookie Posts: 182

    Boy! Sorry I didn't take the time to read through all the gobbly gook.

    Your notebook runs good with the new OS and you obviously like the machine so... go to dell.com and buy a bigger HD for the thing.

    A faster chipset and processor could very well tip your well balanced machine into instability.

    Good luck with it anyhow
     
  23. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    He didn't get the answers he wanted to hear. All that professional academic knowledge base basically told him he has the minimum requires to run XP, but couldn't help w/ the upgrade.
    Think it upset him.
     
  24. Butterball

    Butterball TS Rookie Posts: 79

    ok i though id throw in my $0.02

    First off, it is a laptop that seems to work, if you are happy with it then let it be. if you want put a bigger HD, put one in it, but i dont think it is worth the $$$.

    Second, it is possible to intall under what the required specs if everthing is on the compatibility list. it will be slower than mud but it might work as long as it isnt tooo old. before im chewed out here i would like to say that you do have to have the amount of ram required if not more. I am writing this on a P Pro 200 with 194 MB or RAM. it is very slow but it works, Kinda.:blackeye:

    As for it running "smoothly" it seems to run ok but if you ever use it on a machine above and beyond the bare minimum you will see that it does much better and i think it is lack of perspective that makes you think it runs so quick and smooth.
     
  25. daayglow

    daayglow TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Hey Dan S I just got one also--sweet! yes you can upgrade the hard drive to a 7200 spin-but the cpu--well the bios has to support it and the A11 doesnt. I looked at dell site but no help. My opinon (not fact) is that without an upgrade on the bios the cpu cannot be upgraded and... the 7200 hd will eventually heat a small home in winter.
     
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