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Is it possible to upgrade my laptop, and if yes, how?

By Bwj90 ยท 20 replies
Aug 16, 2007
  1. Hi all, I'm wondering if it's possible to upgrade my laptop's hardware.
    The stuff I'm thinking about is it's HD and Video card.
    The laptop is an Acer Travelmate 8000,

    CPU: Intel Centrino @ 1.6 GHZ
    Video card: Ati Mobility Radeon 9700
    512 MB internal Memory
    Mobo: ?? I can't find what it is.. Sorry.
    It's running on XP Pro SP2

    I would apreciate it if someone could help me.

  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    We don't need the specs, as much as we need the brand and model, or the motherboard. Or send us all the parts and model numbers off the label on the bottom.
    Very, very few laptops can be upgraded reliably. I would guess that you can change the ATI Mobility Radeon, but at a high cost, and very little actual change. You really do not have enough memory in that model to make any useful changes as is. If the memory can be upgraded to 1 GB or 2 GB, that would be a significant change, but if 512 MB is the maximum, then why spend the $100 to $150 to upgrade anything else.
    A Centrino 1.6 GHz is pretty fast by laptop standards.
    To have a laptop with WXP Professional is a plus by itself. I would look at small improvements such as better cooling fans. Keeping it clean. Using long queue tips and denatured alcohol to keep your fan blades clean.
    If you are looking for a laptop gaming machine that is reliable and runs all games correctly, there are not any. Huge failures occur in most laptops sooner or later when you start playing games. Laptops cannot handle the heat as they do not have the fan power to move all the hot air out of the machine. Bearings go fast in a laptop. Video cards burn out quickly.
  3. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    First of all, thanks for the reply, apreciated. So it's in no case really "good" to upgrade a laptop? I'm not really sure about if it's possible or not to upgrade my internal memory, but I think it can be done. I agree the processor is quite fast. As for gaming, that's just about the only thing I use it for, and up until now I've had no problems. Cooling is no issue, I have my methods. What about the HD?
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Generally speaking, you can upgrade the RAM and HDD in just about every laptop.

    Getting more RAM and getting a faster HDD will speed your laptop up no end. I've breathed life into an old laptop just by fitting a newer HDD.
  5. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So HDD and RAM are upgradeable, are there any suggestions in what I should get? I have 512 DDR II now, and a 60 GB HDD, which is not really enough, because of my gaming habit (every atempt at quiting is useless) and a huge mass of music. Also, if you have any idea about the average price on these things, go for it.


  6. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 902   +17

    512MB DDR2? i don;t think that's plenty enough for now...
    you should upgrade as notebook ram is quite cheap nowadays...
    btw i thought tm8000 is using DDR not DDR2?
    are you sure? cause i remember my notebook using 9700 is still at the DDR. DDR2 used by 8100 and 8200, which have X700 and X1600 card.

    about the HDD, most probably yours is using IDE.
    and about mobo and DDR thingy, you can check simply using CPU-Z.

    Good luck :)
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    The TravelMate 8000 uses DDR333 PC2700 CL 2.5333, in two slots, with a maximum of 1 GB per slot. You have plenty of room for upgrades as long as you use this or faster SDRAM unbuffered non-parity, non-ECC. Incredibly cheap right now at such sites as,, and others. do not mix with speed below this, but you can mix with some faster modules... if you test it first.
  8. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you can take out the 512mb if it is 2 sticks of 256mb and replace it with 2 512 sticks for 1gb.

    ram will make a big difference in laptops. Also a faster hd.

    other than that -there is not much else you can do.
  9. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks all.

    So what you 'r all more or less saying is that the video card is a dead end, (aw well) and that it would actually be a good enough idea to upgrade HDD and RAM.
    Thank you all for the help and advice, apreciated.

  10. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Oh and another quick question, after reading some stuff here, I came upon overclocking video cards, is that also possible with my ati, and in a laptop? And if yes, how so?
  11. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 902   +17

    yes it's possible mate.
    using the tool so called atitool or another tool called:
    Notebook Hardware Control.

    Both support overclocking of your 9700 card.
    personally for my mr9700 i could overclock max to 510/260mhz
    anything more than 260mhz (mem clock) would bring artifact in playing video files in windows media player. further overclock could also bring artifact in 3D games.

    you could also use ATI catalyst mobility 7.8 to tweak the graphics settings.
    it's not available at ati site. but i have the file ready from other site. i could post the URL if you wish to. :)
  12. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, Really.

    So, this isn't about "opening up" my laptop and proding things in and out, which makes it a lot easier for me. ( a little twitchy, I'm sort of a klutz about these things, and tend to break stuff )

    So a program will do all of this. Yes please post it, and some further questions;

    Could you please give me some advice on how to handle the OC'ing,
    and how much performance win would I get?

    Also, I'd like to thank all the people who've been really helpfull to me, I'll definetly keep coming here, kudo's on making this place easy going on "noobs".
  13. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    again a dumb idea. Overclocking ANYTHING (especially in a laptop) is bad. OC produces a lot of heat and stresses components which you can't really alleviate in a laptop.
  14. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    I second Tedster 100%. Cannot think of a reason to do it, as it is less expenisve to upgrade. Diddling with a laptop always has unpredictable negative results.
  15. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, Go easy please

    I don't think there's any reason to go calling dumb now is it, and as in my case, I do want to upgrade, but since the upgrading of my videocard has already been written of because of it being a laptop, I was thinking of another solution. I just came across the OC' thread, and I just thought to ask a few questions as I'm not familiar with these things.

    So would only OC'ing my graphics card generate so much heat my laptop would fry itself? As for the processor and so on, I wasn't even thinking about it.

    On the list of upgrading are - HD and RAM

    Thanks all,

  16. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 902   +17

    in my experience, (using the same vidcard as you mr9700 but 64mb)
    OC ing YES does produce heat. but not so much in my case...

    however, it's greatly advised that you clean the whole CPU, heatsink, fan and gpu surface before doing so...

    i get my laptop 87*C under gaming when i found it to be 67*C after complete cleaning.. and the 87*C peak has resulted my LCD panel to have 1px vertical line which is dumb. i guess my OC has brought a "damage" to my LCD screen.

    but nth i can do as much, it's called self-responsible. but there's lot of case indeed where people experience exactly same issues as me although they have different and normal clocked GPU.

    in the nutshell, i don;t know what will happen in your case.
    but for mine, overclocking my mr9700 does not boost much improvement.
    maybe because my processor and RAM are obsolete...
    anyway, i suggest try to stay with normal clock first.,
    OCing gpu is not good idea imo, but i frequently did it when playing 3D games.
    as soon as i finish the game, i'll always return it to normal clock...

    btw, if i may guess, your ATi card should be near your CPU fanhole.
    when you overclock it, just touch and feel the heat... ;)
  17. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, I'll try and find another sollution.
    I'll live with this card for a little time longer then.
    In the meanwhile, if I was to buy a new laptop, is there any advice on that part? I wouldn't want it to cost more then say $800 or so, so is there anything with a decent enough video card?


  18. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    For under $800, it would be wise to get an onboard video connection. Avoid low priced computers. Avoid Sony Vaio. Avoid eMachines. Avoid low priced Compaqs, Inspirons, HP, Alienware. Be sure it is not too thin, and has good fans inside to keep it cool. $800 is sort of the cut-off line, where they cut costs on cooling, video graphics, and screens. A laptop that is too quiet is a worry. Warranty is always an issue. Even if you cannot afford the long warranty, the company should offer the option of a long warranty. If the computer has only a one-year warranty option, that is an indicator of quality. Too few USB ports and no Firewire port are indications of lower quality.
    As a general rule, the lower the price, the lower the screen definitiion and the lower quality the video graphics in general.
    What will you be using the laptop to do? Gaming? Office. School?>
    Do not order online, unless you have had an opportunity to thoroughly and quietly examine the one you get. A lot of thinking about each option will help.
    Sometimes a high quality used one, is better than a cheap new one.
    People who are not gamers do not need that extra ruggedness.
  19. Bwj90

    Bwj90 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I use it mainly for gaming, and take it to school aswell, I am starting an education as digital researcher, but that doesn't really need anything specific. So is there any older brand that would meet that sort of thing?
    Btw, Thanks for the reply, very helpfull.

  20. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    I just bought a Dell Vostro 1500 and am very happy. Plays games very well - but is maybe a little heavy though for carting around school.
  21. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    like I said, you can't alleviate the heat by overclocking in a laptop. It is a dumb thing to do. Laptops are enclosed environments. Go right ahead and feel free to break your computer.
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