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Upgrading CPU for an old laptop

By murtaza_16 ยท 14 replies
Apr 24, 2008
  1. I was just wondering if I should even bother upgrade the CPU for my Sony Vaio PCG-K45. It's a Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor 538 3.2GHZ 533FSB 1 MB L2 Cache. Do laptops support the old pentium 4 Hyper threading technology cpu? I have a lot of computers at home some newer ones as well. I just wanna upgrade this CPU to a better one, if possible.
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,231   +234

    It could be risky to try replacing laptop CPUs. If you are careful it might be ok. Remember laptop CPUs are very different from Desktop computer CPUs
  3. murtaza_16

    murtaza_16 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You're right it is risky. I meant do laptops have Pentium 4 CPU supporting HT technology? How do I find out what processors my laptop mobo can support? What CPU can i upgrade to. I'm looking ofrward to something with more cache and bus speed.
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,231   +234

    "Do laptops have Pentium 4 CPU supporting HT technology? "...

    Yes they do, same as the desktops
  5. murtaza_16

    murtaza_16 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok. Im wondering if there is any chance of upgrading to a Mobile Pentium M (Centrino) processor. How can I find out what processors my laptop mobo can support? Again, I have an old Sony Vaio PCG-K45. Im sorta a hands on person thats why I'm wasting time upgrading old computers an etc.
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 5,746   +14

    generally it is not practical nor cost effective to exchange laptop CPUs. Laptops tend to be sealed or soldered in many cases. In addition, Most CPUs in laptops are close to the end of the spectrum of efficiency for the motherboard it runs on. Adding a few Mhz will really not make much of a difference.

    Where the real bang for the buck occurs is by adding ram and a fast hard drive to a laptop. Most laptops come with insufficient RAM and pitifully slow hard drives. Have at least 1 megabyte of ram on board with XP OS, 2 or more with Vista. At least a 7200rpm hard drive. Many laptops come with 5200 or slower rpm drives which is unacceptable.
  7. murtaza_16

    murtaza_16 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Tedster. I got 1GB RAM already, I dont know about the hard drive though. All I know its 80GB. Actually Im currently running Ubuntu on my laptop, but I recall that the laptop wasn't fast when I was running XP.
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,231   +234

    So go ahead and play around... you have the time and resources. Maybe your findings will be useful to someone else. I have only replaced laptop CPU's with the origonals. As Tedster says:

    "generally it is not practical nor cost effective to exchange laptop CPUs. Laptops tend to be sealed or soldered in many cases. In addition, Most CPUs in laptops are close to the end of the spectrum of efficiency for the motherboard it runs on. Adding a few Mhz will really not make much of a difference"...

    I agree :)
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 5,746   +14

    Your bottlenecks with XP more than likely are a SLOW hard drive, and too much crap running. Run msconfig from the run command in XP and turn off unnecessary programs from auto loading download mike lin's startup editor.
  10. Chopdoc

    Chopdoc TS Rookie

    Contrary to popular belief, most notebook CPUs are not soldered in these days.

    It in fact can be quite easy and economical to upgrade the CPU as well as the RAM. Often the upgrade can exceed the OEM specs for the model range actually.

    I have a C840 with a 2.6 CPU and 2 gigs of RAM. Dell never made such a thing and will tell you it can't be done.

    I am typing this on a Compaq that originally cam with a 450 CPU and now has a 1 gig CPU. I am having the BIOS edited to allow the RAM to upgrade past what the OEM allowed as well. (the chipset supports it)

    How can you find out how far you can upgrade? First check the OEM model line specs, the highest they offered will give you a hint...mut you may be able to go farther! So then how do you find out?

    Lots of research...and possibly some trial and error.

    There are graphics upgrades as well that many will tell you are impossible. It just takes research. I've done them too.

    Then of course you can upgrade to 7200RPM drive(s) or 250 gig 5400RPM drive(s).

    Why do I make "drives" plural? Because you can put a second hard drive in MANY laptops that people will tell you that you can't do! Heck, you can even put an IDE RAID inside....that's right...inside many laptops....of course, you can do SATA as well.

    I am currently putting a second drive inside a Compaq 1800T in place of the original floppy drive. I may RAID it or just run it as a slave, I have not decided yet.

    I can give some hints for the hardware mods if anybody likes...just look at mini-ITX 44 pin cables and adapters. That will give you a start.

    Is it worth it?

    I am typing this on an 8 year old laptop. I am getting a great return on the very little money and time I have in it.

    My C840 still runs circles around average and even above average brand new laptops.

    I even run an old 2545CDS Toshiba on 98Lite that does just fine,an it's got "impossible" upgrades as well.

    Can you upgrade? You bet! Is it worth it? You bet! But there are no manuals, parts cross reference charts, etc. So if you want to do it, you may be in for some late nights doing some very boring research on your model line possibly all the way back to the ODM, the CPU manufacturer, etc.

    As for your model....I have no idea how far it will go...but I am thinking you are close to the limit already.

    Changing a CPU risky? No more than in a desktop PC. Laptops aren't magical creatures...they are PCs. They have lots of proprietary parts....BUT lots of standard parts, with standard ports and slots and connectors....and neat stuff to plug into them if you know how to look for it. MiniPCI? You wouldn't believe the stuff you can put in there....PCMCIA? It would blow your mind.
  11. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    Most ARE soldered in. But a few of the best ones are not.
    Still, I would not mess with a Sony VAIO. They are trouble enough as it is... and there is NO support if it fails.
  12. Chopdoc

    Chopdoc TS Rookie

    Support is a sticky part in doing such things with any brand notebook. There isn't any. If you screw up, it's all on you, no matter the brand.

    As for soldering, I have lost track of how many notebook processors I have upgraded.....and I have yet to solder one. I wouldn't anyway. But I have soldered on RAM upgrades (desoldering and replacing the OEM chips of course).

    Tablet PCs, subnotebooks, smaller form facter stuff is generally soldered. Then there are the "armored" or "ruggedized" notebooks, also most often soldered.

    The ODMs generally supply parts for a model range. Within that model range are often CPU choices. When that is the case, rarely is the CPU soldered, though occasionally it is. Sometimes changing models (and capabilities) rewuires only a BIOS flash.

    I won't get into any arguments about what proportion are soldered in or not. That information is easy enough for anybody to find out. Just check Ebay and the various laptop part vendors on the web and see if the motherboard is being sold without a processor for whatever model you are interested in. You can often even just look at the pictures and see for yourself.

    You can also look at all the CPUs being sold by internet vendors, including on Ebay, and see all the myriad of notebook processors for sale....used....system pulls. I can assure you that the people parting out those notebooks are not desoldering chips.

    Most? Few? I won't argue it. All I have to say is that people throw away perfectly serviceable laptops every day because they are told they can't upgrade them...and it is often not true.
  13. davinci83

    davinci83 TS Rookie

    generally it's possible to upgrade laptop cpus within their product lines (i.e. replace a slower pentium4 with a faster pentium4)

    upgrading a pentium4 system to a pentium-m or pentium-m to core processor you can usually forget, as new processor generations require different motherboard chipsets, vrm specifications or microcode support.

    aside from datasheet compatibility, you should also make sure the laptop cooling solution can deal with the higher temperatures that usually come hand in hand with faster processor (at least in the pentium4 generation)

    unlike in the desktop world, you cant just go out and buy a bigger heatsink and 120mm fan for your notebook. it would become very difficult to replace the keyboard then :)
  14. Chopdoc

    Chopdoc TS Rookie

    Cooling is particularly important of course. Often you will need to upgrade the heatsink and/or fan if an upgrade is available. Just check the parts lists for the model in question and you may find an upgrade unit that is intended for the faster CPU.

    In addition to that, you generally want to get rid of the adhesive heat transfer pad they often use as an interface between the cpu and heatsink. Just get some copper and polish it, polish the heatsink as well, then use your favorite compound for mounting the heatsink to the CPU, just as in a desktop.

    It is obviously more difficult to improve cooling in a notebook than a desktop, but it can be done with straightforward means.

    This is important not only in upgrading processors, but any time one wants a good performing laptop....perhaps for gaming etc. In addition, it is vital if one is to overclock. Yes, you can overclock laptops.

    Yup...gotta stay within the boundaries. Funny though....the boundaries are often a little farther out than the manuals will tell you. In the end, it's going to come down to what the BIOS will recognize...often, that is the limiting factor...but not always.

    I was talking to a Dell tech one time about a CPU upgrade I made and he said "you can't do that!" I said "of course I can, and I did" He asked "how?"

    I told him I used a hammer. ;)
  15. Chopdoc

    Chopdoc TS Rookie

    A quick check yields some answers:

    On the Sony Vaio PCG-K45 I think the best you can hope for is an upgrade to the SL7X5 at 3.33 Ghz. That has the same size cache as yours.

    Not much of a difference, and I would say hardly worth it. I do not know if your BIOS supports it, I have not checked. They are going for as low as $84 Buy It Now on Ebay...probably less if you wait and watch.

    Oh...and your CPU definitely isn't soldered in BTW.

    You may be able to upgrade the RAM past the 1 gig limit Sony quotes...but I have not checked.

    Work on your Windows installation....I am confident you can speed things up if you are set up properly. With those specs, you really shouldn't have speed issues for typical use.
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