RT Cunningham


I’m Finally Upgrading My Inexpensive Laptop Computer

upgrading laptop computerThe image of the laptop computer isn’t a picture of my laptop computer, but it’s the exact same model. I even have the same stickers removed. I’m upgrading this Windows laptop computer that I bought on June 29, 2018, a few days after arriving at my older son’s house in Florida.

I sent my old laptop computer back to the Philippines in a balikbayan box a couple of months after buying the new one.

The Original Laptop Specifications

I have yet to change anything. These are the original specifications that make some kind of difference:

There’s obviously more, but not really worth mentioning. Worth mentioning is what I’m replacing and adding to the system.

More RAM

DDR4 RAMThe laptop came with 4 gigabytes of memory. It’s barely adequate for Windows 10 (or anything else). I started dual-booting Windows and Linux in January 2019, redoing it in April 2019.

I ordered 16 gigabytes (8 x 2) from MemoryStock to replace it. I’m planning on using only zRAM for swapping (limited to 1 or 2 gigabytes) and a RAM drive for web browser caching (again limited to 1 or 2 gigabytes).

A Drive Caddy to Replace the DVD Writer

drive caddy Although it says it’s for HDDs, it works for SSDs as well. As long as it’s a SATA III interface, I shouldn’t have a problem.

It seems like there are dozens of these things for sale on, but I only needed one. I ordered the one with the best reviews to number of reviews ratio. It probably didn’t make a difference.

I have to remove the existing DVD Writer before I can insert the drive caddy. But before I can do that…

A New SSD for the Drive Caddy

PNY SSDI chose a 120 gigabyte PNY SSD because it was inexpensive. Besides, I don’t need a lot of space for what I intend to put on it.

I’ll have to change the BIOS to boot from that drive before the internal HDD, so I can install the latest version of Linux Mint on it, in June 2020.

I don’t know what I’ll do with all the extra space that will soon be free on the internal drive. Windows 10 is currently using 100 of the 500 gigabytes available. Perhaps I’ll expand the Windows partition and replace the existing Linux Mint partition with something else. Only time will tell.

An Overdue Upgrade

I don’t know why I waited so long to upgrade this laptop computer. It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of funds. The total cost of everything I’ve ordered is only around $105. Added to the $280 I spent for the laptop, it really isn’t all that much.

The web browser (even the Brave web browser I’m using today) eats up more RAM and drive space than anything else. If I scroll down my Facebook feed for more than a few minutes, I end up with swapping RAM. The same thing happens when I’m on YouTube, only not quite as fast.

I’ve tested other laptops with Windows 10 and solid-state drives. They’re fast until they start swapping out memory. Linux Mint 20, Cinnamon Edition, will probably scream with an SSD and 16 gigabytes of RAM. With swapping and caching being handled in memory instead of on disk, it’ll probably be faster than I expect it to be.

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By RT Cunningham
May 10, 2020