Upgrading my old laptop (need compatible hardware advice)

imperial93

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Jul 28, 2012
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Hello, I have a Toshiba Satellite U300-14K Laptop. I've been using it for 10 years. It is really struggling and i want to upgrade it if i can. Because i don't have enough money to buy a new one, they are very expensive where i live due to ridiculous exchange rates

Here is my specification



Aida64 Cpu and Motherboard sections





I want to upgrade rams, put an ssd instead of that hdd and change the cpu with any stronger cpu my motherboard supports. Can i get advices?

Thanks a lot
 
Memory is the easiest upgrade. From a quick perusal of Newegg's site, it looks like you can get 2x2GB DDR2 SO-DIMMs for about $15-$25. So you should be able to find them at a decent price in your country.

Since it's a Core 2 Duo era laptop, then the SATA ports are likely SATA 2 (300 MB/s) or even SATA 1 (150 MB/s). This by itself isn't that big a deal. Most of the speedup from a SSD comes from improved small file read speeds (goes from about 1 MB/s on a HDD to about 30-50 MB/s on a SSD, or a 30-50x improvement), not the sequential speeds everyone looks at (goes from about 125 MB/s to about 500 MB/s so only a 4x improvement).

But this may be old enough that it doesn't support AHCI mode on SATA. AHCI is what's needed for NCQ - native command queuing. That's what allows SSDs to process multiple file requests simultaneously. SSDs are so fast that requesting a file I/O operation can take longer than the actual file read or write. NCQ allows it to receive multiple file requests at once, and process them simultaneously instead of one at a time. This can increase small file speeds further to 200-300 MB/s.

So while you most likely can upgrade it to a SSD, you probably won't see as big a speed increase as you would with a newer system. I suppose it's not that big a deal though since you can just move the SSD into whatever new laptop or desktop you eventually buy to replace this one.

The other problem with a SSD I can see is that Vista doesn't support TRIM. That's how the OS tells the SSD which disk sectors are safe to delete. SSDs need to pre-erase these deleted sectors to maintain speed - if they try to erase them just before the write, the slow erase step makes them about as slow as a HDD. Newer SSDs are programmed to recognize common filesystems so can still function without TRIM. But if you try to save money by buying a used SSD, or an older model on closeout sale, you may find that after a few months to a year of use, the SSD suddenly becomes slower. Because it no longer has any remaining pre-erased sectors remaining, and doesn't know which sectors are safe to erase.

Also be aware that most Toshiba laptops from that era used some weird Intel RAID config on their drives, even though there was only a single drive. In order to boot off the drive, the SATA ports have to be in RAID mode (which is a superset of AHCI if available). And in order to install a fresh copy of Windows onto the drive, you either need the original Toshiba install DVD (which has the RAID drivers built-in), or you need to do a more complicated install where you boot off the Windows install DVD, load the RAID drivers from another disk, then proceed with the Windows install. Cloning your existing HDD is likely the easiest option, but that requires you put your new SSD in some sort of external USB enclosure during the cloning process.

As for the processor, contrary to the above poster, many of the Core and Core 2 era laptop CPUs were socketed. It looks like the T5250 uses Socket P (PPGA-478).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_2_microprocessors#"Merom",_"Merom-2M"_(standard-voltage,_65_nm)
https://ark.intel.com/products/30786

So any processor you see on the above list that is Socket P with a TDP of 35W or lower should be a viable upgrade option. Just be aware that when upgrading to a CPU that's newer than your original one, there's a small risk it won't work. Support for newer CPUs has to be added via a BIOS update (make sure you update the BIOS before removing the old CPU). And sometimes laptop manufacturers don't bother once they stop producing that particular model. But in my experience Toshiba is pretty good about updating the BIOS on older systems.

Technically swapping the CPU on a socketed laptop isn't any different from a desktop. But laptops use a lot of ribbon cables which you can easily tear if you aren't careful. The couple Toshiba laptops I took apart from that era both required you to access the CPU by removing the keyboard, which involved detaching the ribbon cable for the keyboard and trackpad. Then you had to lift out the heatsink+fan, which again involved detaching wires for the WiFi antenna and yet another ribbon cable. So try to find an online video for disassembling your laptop model and watch the process first. And take lots of pictures with your phone as you go, so you can refer back to them if you don't remember where a particular cable goes. Or you could just take it to a shop and have them do the upgrade for you.
 

scout_03

Distinguished
you wont be able to upgrade cpu on laptop since they are mostly soldered to the motherboard so you will need another board with ram that will fit in you case also the os is oem might not work on the new board .
 
Memory is the easiest upgrade. From a quick perusal of Newegg's site, it looks like you can get 2x2GB DDR2 SO-DIMMs for about $15-$25. So you should be able to find them at a decent price in your country.

Since it's a Core 2 Duo era laptop, then the SATA ports are likely SATA 2 (300 MB/s) or even SATA 1 (150 MB/s). This by itself isn't that big a deal. Most of the speedup from a SSD comes from improved small file read speeds (goes from about 1 MB/s on a HDD to about 30-50 MB/s on a SSD, or a 30-50x improvement), not the sequential speeds everyone looks at (goes from about 125 MB/s to about 500 MB/s so only a 4x improvement).

But this may be old enough that it doesn't support AHCI mode on SATA. AHCI is what's needed for NCQ - native command queuing. That's what allows SSDs to process multiple file requests simultaneously. SSDs are so fast that requesting a file I/O operation can take longer than the actual file read or write. NCQ allows it to receive multiple file requests at once, and process them simultaneously instead of one at a time. This can increase small file speeds further to 200-300 MB/s.

So while you most likely can upgrade it to a SSD, you probably won't see as big a speed increase as you would with a newer system. I suppose it's not that big a deal though since you can just move the SSD into whatever new laptop or desktop you eventually buy to replace this one.

The other problem with a SSD I can see is that Vista doesn't support TRIM. That's how the OS tells the SSD which disk sectors are safe to delete. SSDs need to pre-erase these deleted sectors to maintain speed - if they try to erase them just before the write, the slow erase step makes them about as slow as a HDD. Newer SSDs are programmed to recognize common filesystems so can still function without TRIM. But if you try to save money by buying a used SSD, or an older model on closeout sale, you may find that after a few months to a year of use, the SSD suddenly becomes slower. Because it no longer has any remaining pre-erased sectors remaining, and doesn't know which sectors are safe to erase.

Also be aware that most Toshiba laptops from that era used some weird Intel RAID config on their drives, even though there was only a single drive. In order to boot off the drive, the SATA ports have to be in RAID mode (which is a superset of AHCI if available). And in order to install a fresh copy of Windows onto the drive, you either need the original Toshiba install DVD (which has the RAID drivers built-in), or you need to do a more complicated install where you boot off the Windows install DVD, load the RAID drivers from another disk, then proceed with the Windows install. Cloning your existing HDD is likely the easiest option, but that requires you put your new SSD in some sort of external USB enclosure during the cloning process.

As for the processor, contrary to the above poster, many of the Core and Core 2 era laptop CPUs were socketed. It looks like the T5250 uses Socket P (PPGA-478).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_2_microprocessors#"Merom",_"Merom-2M"_(standard-voltage,_65_nm)
https://ark.intel.com/products/30786

So any processor you see on the above list that is Socket P with a TDP of 35W or lower should be a viable upgrade option. Just be aware that when upgrading to a CPU that's newer than your original one, there's a small risk it won't work. Support for newer CPUs has to be added via a BIOS update (make sure you update the BIOS before removing the old CPU). And sometimes laptop manufacturers don't bother once they stop producing that particular model. But in my experience Toshiba is pretty good about updating the BIOS on older systems.

Technically swapping the CPU on a socketed laptop isn't any different from a desktop. But laptops use a lot of ribbon cables which you can easily tear if you aren't careful. The couple Toshiba laptops I took apart from that era both required you to access the CPU by removing the keyboard, which involved detaching the ribbon cable for the keyboard and trackpad. Then you had to lift out the heatsink+fan, which again involved detaching wires for the WiFi antenna and yet another ribbon cable. So try to find an online video for disassembling your laptop model and watch the process first. And take lots of pictures with your phone as you go, so you can refer back to them if you don't remember where a particular cable goes. Or you could just take it to a shop and have them do the upgrade for you.
 

imperial93

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Jul 28, 2012
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I appreciate your answer. There are almost all answers I've been searching for a couple days.
So you say I should check TDP and Socket values when i decide. For example those two looked okay for me



Rams for example

https://goo.gl/JQXKqc

And a basic 120gb ssd. Even half or 1/3 performance of ssd would be enormous boost.
Did i choose right parts above?

I linked these to be sure I understood you well. Thanks you again for this great post. Is it okay if i post again when i decide and order parts to be sure i'm not doing anything wrong?
 

Yeah. You don't want to exceed the original CPU's TDP, or the laptop could overheat. TDP is a measure of the cooling power of the fan and heatsink. So you want a CPU whose required cooling is equal to or less than the original CPU.

There's one other part of the CPU I forgot to mention that you need to match. The bus speed of the new CPU has to be supported by the motherboard. The T5250 has a 667 MHz front side bus speed, so you know the motherboard supports that. The T9600 you've listed has a 1066 MHz FSB, so may not work with that laptop's motherboard (motherboards typically support a range of FSB speeds). You'd need to look up the original technical specs for the laptop, or if the laptop came with options for different CPUs find the fastest FSB speed that's supported, or just buy the new CPU and try it.

If the CPU is for the same socket, and the laptop's updated BIOS supports that CPU, and the TDP and FSB are supported, then an upgrade should work. Just be careful to update the BIOS using the old CPU first (you can't update it if an unsupported CPU is installed).

There are some rare instances where Intel made some custom-run CPUs for some laptop vendors, which were soldered instead of socketed. They'll have the model number of a socketed CPU, but can't be upgraded. I haven't found a definitive list of these CPUs, so until you open the laptop up and take a look at the CPU, there's no way to be absolutely sure it's socketed. So it's advisable to take a peek at what you have before you start making plans to order a new CPU off eBay.

RAM is one of those things where even if the specs say it should work, sometimes it doesn't work. So you may want to pay a little extra to buy it from a local store which will let you return and exchange it easily if it doesn't work.
 

imperial93

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Jul 28, 2012
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I'll keep all of that in mind. Thanks for great info
 

robert600

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robert600

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My concern is the huge jump in the FSB from the current 667 to the 1066 the T9600 needs. Who knows, it may work but then again it may not. I should point out that there is a FSB in between those (800 MHz) ... that would have a better chance of working. The T7800 - it runs at 2600 MHz and matches well with your current processor except for the FSB. It can be had for less than $19 with free international shipping.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Core-2-Duo-T7800-2-6-GHz-4-MB-Dual-Core-LF80537GG0644ML-Processor/263012214569?epid=1000456308&hash=item3d3cbfe729:g:izwAAOSwEetWAQd8

You have to be very careful if you decide to order this one. You want the LF80537GG0644ML .... note the L at the end - that's very important ... it specifies a PIN GRID ARRAY

The LF80537GG0644M ... note the lack of L at the end - this is the same processor BUT WITH A BALL GRID ARRAY ... IT WILL NOT FIT YOUR SOCKET.
 

imperial93

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Thanks for answer, i ordered a t7800 as you said and a t8300 from the link below

https://goo.gl/PA7pYX



Aida says 800mhz fsb is supported so it shouldn't be a problem i guess
 

imperial93

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Jul 28, 2012
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T7800 has been lost on shipment so seller sent me a T7700 and refund the price difference. So I've been bought T7700 and 2x2gb 667mhz sodimms. It was a very long shipment adventure.

I dissassemble my laptop via watching a similar model's video on youtube. I had no hope because it's messed up as hell, very complex, i respected engineers on every stage i did. Replaced cpu, removed old thermal compound and applied new one on cpu and gpu, cleaned cpu heatsink and cooler, fan. reassembled components. Removed old rams and put new ones. It took more than a half day but it worked! I push the power button and saw it booted with no problem. I must say its a huge boost, no more bottleneck in any daily process.

That was my first laptop dissassembly. I respect more all engineers and experts now
 

robert600

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" Replaced cpu, removed old thermal compound and applied new one on cpu and gpu, cleaned cpu heatsink and cooler, fan. reassembled components. Removed old rams and put new ones. It took more than a half day but it worked! I push the power button and saw it booted with no problem. I must say its a huge boost, no more bottleneck in any daily process."

Excellent ... well done!
 
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