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Most people who buy laptops never plan on opening them up. They get a device with the specs they want and stick with it until they need a complete upgrade. However, if you love tech, you may well prefer a more modular approach.
The majority of laptops can be upgraded with new parts. You’re not usually stuck with the components it came with, as long as you’re ready to pay for new parts and safely install them. But how do you do so safely without compromising your entire device?
Here’s what you need to know about installing new components without harming your laptop.
One of the things people worry about when upgrading their laptops is voiding their insurance and warranty. Insurance is not something you have to worry about. Renters insurance will cover you if your MacBook is stolen regardless of whether you’ve tinkered with it. In fact, you may need to update your insurer about the upgraded parts so that they’ll pay out more if anything happens to it.
Warranties are another story. If you damage your laptop while upgrading parts, the warranty won’t fix it. That said, you’re unlikely to void your warranty simply by upgrading. Companies are not allowed to void your warranty because you broke a seal. They won’t pay for fixes to the upgraded parts – unless they provided those parts – but they will fix other issues.
If you do have issues with the upgraded parts, take them to their manufacturer, as they should have warranties of their own.
Depending on your device, some parts may not be upgradable. CPUs cannot be upgraded. Nor can integrated GPUs. But there may even be other parts that are soldered to the CPU which cannot be upgraded. RAM is a common example nowadays, especially when it comes to the most lightweight laptops.
It is also important to make sure that an upgraded part will fit in your laptop. SSD drives are usually small enough, but check before you spend a lot of money on something you cannot ultimately use.
When taking your laptop apart, there’s not much you can do to cause damage. That is unless you try to force it. It may be tempting to use a screwdriver that doesn’t quite fit if you don’t have an alternative. However, you’re far better off putting your project aside until you can get the right screwdriver.
Laptops are structured in logical ways. Taking them apart should be fairly easy. If components are soldered to the CPU, however, there is no way to upgrade them. As such, if you feel like you have to force anything apart, you’re doing it wrong.
The easiest mistake to make when installing new components is to let the small parts slip out of your site. You put them on your workdesk, only to notice five minutes later that they are nowhere to be seen. This can cause major problems when you want to put your device back together.
Use a tray or any other safe vestibule to collect these pieces. Ideally, you should be able to close the container so that parts won’t get lost even if you accidentally knock it over.
Another common mistake is forgetting to document where each part came from. Tiny screws can look extremely similar. When it comes time to screw everything back together, you may struggle to remember what goes where.
By documenting each part, you ensure that you know exactly how to put each thing in its right place. Filming the process of taking your laptop apart can be a great way of accurately documenting the parts without having to do too much writing. Still, keep the smallest parts away from each other, as even with a video it can be tough to figure out what each one does.
You can upgrade laptop parts fairly easily – if they are upgradable. Make sure of what you can and can’t upgrade before you buy the parts. Then, take care when pulling your laptop apart and piecing it back together.