RT Cunningham


My Upgraded Inexpensive Laptop Computer

upgraded laptop computerThis is probably the last time I’ll mention my upgraded laptop computer. Other than software, I don’t think I mentioned it more than twice previously. Once was when I bought it as a new Windows laptop computer in July 2018. The other time was recently, when I wrote about upgrading it.

The last piece of the puzzle, the memory chips, arrived more than a week ago. Since then, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve also come to realize something important. I hope I cover everything as I write.


The 16 gigabytes (8 x 2) I ordered from MemoryStock are perfect. When I put the model number in and ordered the memory chips, I wasn’t sure they got it right. When I booted the laptop up after swapping out the existing chip, my misgivings disappeared.

I’ve been using as much memory as my applications require since then and I’ve yet to see the laptop using more than 40 percent. Nothing is being swapped.


I removed the DVD writer, put the SSD in the drive caddy, moved the mounting bracket from the DVD writer to the drive caddy and installed the drive caddy. It almost fit like a glove. The only issue is the bezel. I couldn’t remove the bezel from the DVD writer as it was all one piece. The bezel for the caddy is thin, so I have a gap from the side of it to the side of the laptop. No big deal, just another thing I can hang onto when moving the laptop around.

On boot-up, the operating system recognized the SSD as an internal drive and tried to boot it before the original “internal” hard drive. That meant I’d either have to install something on it or boot the hard drive from the BIOS. I opted to install a Linux distribution I don’t care about temporarily, until Linux Mint 20 comes out in June or July.

Upgraded Laptop Computer Realizations

Based on how I use my laptop, I don’t really need zRAM for swapping (and I have it set to use just under two gigabytes). I’ll continue to use zRAM, but I’ll try to reduce it to less than a gigabyte when I put the new operating system on the SSD.

I don’t really need a RAM drive for web browser caching. Solid-state drives aren’t the expensive beasts they started out as. This 120 GB SSD cost me a whopping $22.99, less than half of what I paid for another one two years ago. I’m not going to worry about wearing out the drive.

My perspective changed when I went from a weak computer to a computer that isn’t so weak. It’s not a modern, powerful computer capable of running demanding software. It doesn’t need to be. I spend more time reading with it than I do writing, which is even more than I program.

I no longer have to continually monitor memory usage and I’m not worried at all about storage space. If you find yourself with a limited budget and have to buy any kind of computer with less than eight gigabytes of RAM, do yourself a favor. Upgrade the memory as soon as you can afford it. I wish “I” had.

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By RT Cunningham
May 28, 2020

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