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Thread: Upgrading Laptop Hardware

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Upgrading Laptop Hardware

    I looked for a hardware forum but didn't see one, so excuse me if this is the wrong place to post.

    I recently was handed down a Dell Inspiron 3500 laptop. Has a 366 Pentium Celeron Processor, and 64MB of RAM. I would like to get this laptop as fast as I possibly can. I ordered 256MB of RAM for it (the max it supports). And the way the Inspiron is setup I can pop the old chips right out the back and pop the new ones in with no hasstle. Very convenient. I currently have win98 on the system, and I tried upgrading it to XP because XP seems to handle resources a lot better. I ran into a bunch of licensing problems when trying to upgrade. I did some research, and I found out that other people had the same problem when upgrading their Dell laptops. It became to much of a hastle trying to get XP to work that I just downgraded it back to 98. So for now I am stuck with win98. Linux is out of the question right now, but seems promising in the future.

    Basically, I am wondering what else I can do to make this laptop faster. I would really like to upgrade the CPU, but I don't know if I want to chance that. I noticed other versions of the Inspiron 3500 have faster CPUs like a 400 mhz celeron chip. I am trying to find out if this is something that all the Inspirons will support and if I could just pop the new cpu in. Then comes all the hastle with jumper settings and stuff, so I am still doing my research on the motherboard specs.

    I was also wondering about swapping a new motherboard into the case, then just hooking everything up to that one. I don't know if this is a good idea or not. This is my first time really messing with laptop hardware. But I was wondering if it is common to just purchase a new motherboard and chip then swapping it in, like how we do with desktop computers.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for upgrading a laptop to run faster? Any input would be appreciated. Any web sties with information would be appreciated too. Thanks.
    An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure...

  2. #2
    The Iceman Cometh
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Honestly, I wouldn't try swapping out a processor or a motherboard on a laptop. I ordered a series of laptops at one point and it turned out that they all had a problem on the motherboard and they started overheating (it turned out that the Intel factory that produced them had accidentally shipped a bad batch of motherboards to a series of manufacturers). A Dell representative came out to replace each of the motherboards, and she spent quite a bit of time (an hour or two) to do each, and she knew what she was doing. Also, in the process of that, two CPUs blew (she didn't set the jumpers back into place securely enough) and one laptop had to be scrapped completely and a new one had to be ordered because when the motherboard had overheated, it fried nearly all of the other electronics within the laptop.

    In your case, I would just suggest stick with the 366 and 256 MB RAM. XP won't run on it, but 2000 should (albeit somewhat slow) if you're looking for better resource management. I would just be happy that you were handed down a laptop, and make the best of what you have.

    If you really want a laptop to run XP, you had better go out and buy a more recent laptop. I personally wouldn't even try to run XP on a Celeron, let alone one anything below 600 MHz. Any machines I have that are below around 850 MHz and less than 512 MB RAM get Windows 2000 or NT 4, depending how slow the machine in question is. I reserve XP for machines which I know have the massive amount of resources necessary to it, and I would suggest you do the same.


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