Budget 2008 laptop gets a new life in 2019

Nowadays there is a trend among laptop manufacturers to solder RAM, SSD and CPU to the motherboard. So consumers can’t cheap and easily fix or upgrade their laptops. Also, it’s much more difficult to perform such actions on your own on laptops, because you can easily break something, which will cost a lot. I thought the same way until found an ideal candidate for the experiment.

This is HP Pavilion dv6741er, manufactured in 2008. He helped me studying at University. Programming, writing, music, videos and counter strike 1.6 were easy tasks. In 2013 it changed the owner. My Mom was happy since then. This year I noticed that laptop’s fan had been working on max when Mom showed me a simple photo. It definitely wasn’t right and I wanted to help immediately.

Laptop’s hardware was a whole trouble, except RAM. 3GB is still enough for simple web browsing and Skype calls in 2019. HDD was slow as a snail, so Windows 7 launch took about a minute. CPU was outdated and couldn't handle HD videos on YouTube. But the worst thing was the level of the fan’s noise.

App highlights with such level of noise could be produced by traffic.

The first and easiest step was to change HDD to SSD. I spent around 25$ on the SanDisk SSD Plus 120Gb. Used external drive holder (it costs less then 10$ if you don’t have it) and free application for disk cloning Macrium Reflect. All process of cloning and replacing took me around 40 minutes. By the way, it was easy to sell the old drive for around 5$. So overall this upgrade cost me 20$.

Read/write difference was huge and it improved the overall user experience of the system. F.e. Windows startup process reduced from one minute to 20 seconds. It’s huge for eleven years old laptop.

The next step was CPU. As far as dv6741er was a budget laptop, it was not easy to find exact answers on the best possible CPU option. I used CPU-Z to identify CPU, Chipset, Motherboard and BIOS version. For this particular combination of parameters, overclockers forums suggest T8100, T8300, T9300, T9500 processors and also update BIOS to the 58 version.

BIOS was easily updated by HP Support Assistant. As for processor T9300 was chosen, because it was significantly cheaper than T9500 (price was around 35$) and cost me 20$ but performance difference was modest basing on UserBenchmark website. Intel T9300 package included unknown thermal paste, fortunately, I already had Arctic Cooling MX4 (price was around 7$).

Before laptop disassemble I found a great video on YouTube with all the details, cleaned the table and put all tools and laptops parts on it. Almost forgot, here is a disclaimer:

One tough hour and the laptop was ready.

Once again, results were almost as good as for SSD replacement. Let’s start with the noise: it decreased from 68 dB to 48 dB which is Quiet Street by dB meter iOS app. It was achieved by repasting, cooler cleaning and also because T9300 is more power-efficient thanks to the 45nm lithography process in comparison to T2370 and 65nm. Geekbench 4 and Windows 7 benchmark showed much better results. And the biggest marker of success were 720p YouTube videos, they worked without any problem.

Overall I spent around 40$ (if we take into account 5$ for sold HDD and I guess it’s possible to sell old CPU for a couple of $ if you are willing to wait for your customer) but achieved damn good performance results for such price. It means that 2008 budget laptops can get a new life in 2019 and work fine for at least 2–4 more years. This upgrade showed me, that no matter how old is your laptop - it is a tool. And as for every tool, to reach its maximum potential, you should know your tasks and laptops’ capabilities. My Mom is happy with the changes and brand new or old ) Intel Core 2 Duo T9300.

P.S As a bonus, I increased my level of PC performance understanding: starting from HDDs and SSDs read/write difference, RAMs frequencies, CPUs speed, cores, TDPs and finishing with heat management. Now I’m not afraid to open up any laptop, because there is almost nothing to change nowadays )



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