Laptop surgery, anybody?

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Laptop surgery, anybody?

Post by Boomerwang on Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:51 am

A friend's been kind enough to give me his old laptop to use after he got a new one, so this past semester I've been using it on and off as the occasion dictates.

Because it's a pretty old one, I'm now running into that fork in the road where I either part with it and just settle for a new one, or see if I can save some money (while spending extra time) to try and get some replacement parts for it.

Any of you have experience replacing internal laptop parts for yourself? This could include fan & heatsink, processor, hard drive... though at the moment I'm just looking at fan & heatsink (it seems to have died on me - the laptop suddenly turns off without any warning after a while).

Hit me back if you've had any experience at all with this kind of thing. Otherwise, if I'm the frontiersman, I'll post my findings here. Maybe it'll make for a good side project. :)
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Re: Laptop surgery, anybody?

Post by chaohuei on Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:00 pm

Generally, it sucks. The problem's more the strict size requirements. Since most laptop manufacturers have customized specs for their stuff, it's hard to find parts that'll fit well. It's possible, but harder to track down since you'll need to make sure they fit (usually by finding parts from the same model laptop). And taking stuff apart's a pain.

If it's really a heatsink/fan (HSF) issue, specifically the fan, that's probably one of the parts that would be easiest to find - those are usually standardized sizes (at least they are extraordinarily regular for desktops, even for small sizes) and fairly cheap.

In the long-term, though, run your finances. That laptop's old enough that upgrading it or replacing parts isn't going to give it much more of a lifespan.
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Re: Laptop surgery, anybody?

Post by Boomerwang on Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:20 am

Thanks for the tips. I was snooping around online earlier today and had a really tough time finding the part I was looking for.

Turns out for the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad r40 series, the heatsink and fan comes in a single assembly. So I didn't have any luck finding a separate fan I could just buy. There were about two sites selling the complete assembly (heatsink and fan, connected to each other via copper tubing), but I didn't feel comfortable buying from either. Plus, the lower price was $50.

Long story short though, yeah, I agree with the validity on holding off on resources and just getting a newer one. At the same time, I'm finding restraint is a good thing - reflecting on this issue, I'm starting to realize that I actually don't really need a laptop to begin with. Before, I could at least make the excuse that I was a student. Now, I can't even say that anymore. Heh heh!


Well, if anybody ever has more experiences with these kinds of things, let us know! For me, the most important piece of info I gleaned from this experience is, make sure you get the right part - when browsing for parts online, make sure the "FRU" # that's printed on the part matches up with the item offered online.
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Re: Laptop surgery, anybody?

Post by stechen on Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:19 am

Yeah, that's the downside of laptops - they tend to be quite difficult to customize. The best I could do was add wireless, RAM, and a new larger hard drive... but for most laptops, that's as far as you can go.
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Re: Laptop surgery, anybody?

Post by Boomerwang on Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:59 pm

I guess without a soldering tool, eh?

But on your (Steven) old Thinkpad r40, I took off the keyboard and basically everything's accessible. I'd go as far as to say that that makes everything customizable. The only real difficulty I see in this is actually getting the parts! Aiyaah. Rolling Eyes

In any case, a laptop would be a big luxury for me at the moment. I didn't even really need one through college, and that need has diminished even more now. Well, if I'm honest, I'll say that I really don't need one for any good reason at all. So with that thought in mind, it frees up my meager funds.

That makes me curious if laptops are a necessity for some of us, or just a convenience? (i.e. you could get by fine without one?) Just wondering.
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Re: Laptop surgery, anybody?

Post by stechen on Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:35 pm

Boomerwang wrote:I guess without a soldering tool, eh?

But on your (Steven) old Thinkpad r40, I took off the keyboard and basically everything's accessible. I'd go as far as to say that that makes everything customizable. The only real difficulty I see in this is actually getting the parts! Aiyaah. Rolling Eyes

In any case, a laptop would be a big luxury for me at the moment. I didn't even really need one through college, and that need has diminished even more now. Well, if I'm honest, I'll say that I really don't need one for any good reason at all. So with that thought in mind, it frees up my meager funds.

That makes me curious if laptops are a necessity for some of us, or just a convenience? (i.e. you could get by fine without one?) Just wondering.

Well yeah, theoretically opening it up is easy, but finding compatible parts (size-wise in particular) that are an upgrade from what's already in there tends to be difficult.

For me, a laptop is a necessity in that a computer is a necessity, and since I'm moving around fairly often and home isn't in the States, it's certainly easier to lug around a laptop rather than a desktop.
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Re: Laptop surgery, anybody?

Post by chaohuei on Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:14 am

I'd say that it depends. To my best knowledge, it'd probably be a bit of a luxury for most people as their businesses would probably provide a computer of some sort. Those that need to travel will receive a laptop (even those that don't, like Andrew Chang at Boeing), or others may have desktops (like Brian Chen at Microsoft).

I think it comes down to usage. Andrew doesn't use his work computer at home, so he's still using his college desktop without much trouble. On the other hand, Brian does stuff with his personal computer at work and at home, so a laptop is far more practical for him.

Yeah, it's not a deep, philosophical answer.
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