changing a processor in a notebook

i have an entry level notebook that id like to upgrade the processor in.

its a celeron, and id like something better, but doesnt need to be great. its used for basic stuff (its hubbys), but its pretty slow, even on dsl.

im not sure what i need to know to be able to replace it. if anyone can help, please do.

i appreciate the knowledge,
31 answers Last reply
More about changing processor notebook
  1. it depends on the notebook

    some you have to tear all down - most likely you do
    some have little doors to get at them and its just like any pc with a compressed heatpipe cooler flat on it
  2. also you will need to know what "socket" the chip is so you can get another chip that will fit into that same board
  3. Finally, a faster processor may very well produce too much heat for the cooling design of your notebook model.
    As you can see, it's complicated and usually not worth it to upgrade a notebook CPU. Consider selling the old notebook and buying a new one. Many quite capable notebooks are available for $500-700.
  4. Celeron heat pipes are almost invariably the same as pentium heatpipes in most laptops. You can replace the processor with a pentium and perhaps with greater clockspeed however we would need the make and model of the laptop to offer more detailed suiggestions.

    I do, agree however, with Mondoman, that the usual reward is not worth the effort in laptop upgrading.
  5. A notebook computer is almost guaranteed to tuck the CPU way out of reach. You'll at least have to remove the bottom cover, if not the top cover or something as well. It's pretty annoying.

    Biggest thing though is you need to know what kind of Celeron it is. There are about 3 or 4 different Celerons in the last 4 years or so. It's important to know the socket yours uses. You can find this out using a program like CPU-Z.
    Just make sure to buy a processor of the same socket.
  6. I replaced the Dothan Celeron in my Inspiron laptop to a Banias Pentum M, not for speed increases, but for cooler temps and longer battery life. To put it simply, there's just so many variables to a laptop computer, that it is hard to tell you whether of not the CPU is really what is causing the thing to feel slow to you. It could be the wireless connection (if you're using wireless), or it could be a situation of too little ram, a slow hard drive (many laptops that are a few years old now came with 4200 rpm hard drives), or simply a Windows in need of reinstall. Unless you know for sure it's the CPU that is the problem, I would not recommend replacing it.
  7. Chipset is important too because even with the same socket, older chipsets do not support newer processors. Unless you can find a processor for CHEAP its probably not worth it since you can get so much these days for less money than in the past.

  8. well, i appreciate all the advice. i know its not really 'worth' upgrading, but if its not gonna cost more than about $200, i dont mind.

    i have a gateway 14", its a celeron m 1.4 mghz, i believe.

    it is getting hot, also. i dont have it in front of me right this moment.
    the only other thing im gonna do to it is up the memory to 1gig. thats the max itll hold.

    its a nice machine, just slow is all.
    i have a new laptop, i just bought it at the beginning of october. its a core 2 duo, 17".

    any other details are greatly appeciated.
    and, do you know of place to buy the processor?

  9. ebay is the place to buy the CPU. First, download and run CPU-Z to find out what Celeron M cpu you have. Chances are it's probably a Dothan Celeron M 360 socket 478/479, but it could be something else. If it is a socket 478/479 processor, the best you can do is a Pentium M.
    Be advised though, that a Celeron M and a Pentium M perform the same, so if you want more CPU performance, you'll have to get a Pentium M faster than 1.4 GHz.

    The second thing you need to do is research the particular model of Gateway laptop you have, to see if it was ever offered with a Pentium M, or if anyone out there in internet land has already tried swapping out the Celeron for the Pentium. You want to be sure the motherboard's BIOS will recognize the Pentium M CPU, and also what bus speeds your laptop's mobo chipset can accommodate. It may only support 400 fsb CPUs, or if it has a newer chipset it may support 533 bus Pentium M CPUs. For FSB support, refer to Gateway's website and to Intel's website for technical details on your laptop's hardware.
  10. I replaced a CPU in a laptop and it wasn't difficult, just quite a few things that aren't as obvious as on a desktop. For one thing, many of the cable connections are pressed fit and it's difficult to refit the cables into the sockets.

    As joefriday just mentioned, you really need to see if you can find some forums where people are exploring your particular model. Would be a huge disapointment to replace the processor only to find out that the mobo doesn't support the newer stepping, bus speed, voltage, or something like that.

    IMO, when you're working with older or entry level machines, upgrades can be fun but probably won't yield any great performance gains. And in the end, you still have an old and outdated machine. If you shop around (and pay attention to sales and rebates) you can probably pick up a newer dual core laptop that will run circles around your older one for around $500.
  11. while i agree about being able to get a nice machine at a really good price, im not quite ready to give up on this one. i just might though, if noone thinks its worth it.

    btw, its a mx3215 if it helps.

  12. I would recommend a 7200rpm drive first - it would probably be a cheaper upgrade and the 4200 or 5400 you have now is the reason why it "feels" so slow. I put a 7200 hitachi in a Dell with a 600mhz Pentium 3 and it was actually fast enough to still use for surfing, email, etc.
  13. It's really hard to tell if it's worth trying to upgrade the CPU but you might want to add some more memory. It's listed as having only 256MB.
    Here's a link to some modules you might consider:|c:150|c:1726|&Sort=0&Recs=10 . Here's a link to your manual (if you don't have it allready):

    edit .... Oops ... just saw your post about adding memory ... sorry. Really think you should try that and see what kind of increase it gives you before you start messing with breaking the case open.
  14. Gateway makes no mention of Pentium M support, although the laptop uses a VIA chipset that has hardware level support for the Pentium M. I quick Google search shows that there's at least one guy who puts Pentium M chips inside the mx3215 laptop, and then sells them on eBay:

    Looks the a 1.6 GHz Pentium M 725 for socket 478/479 (aka Micro-FCPGA) should work fine. Since it's probably best to stick with 400 FSB CPUs, the fastest Pentium M CPU for your notebook, in theory, would be the Pentium M 765 at 2.10 GHz and 400 FSB. It's pretty expensive though. Here is one (the only one) on eBay:

    other 400 FSB Dothan Pentium M CPUs that may work for you:

    Pentium M 715, 1.5 GHz
    Pentium M 725, 1.6 GHz
    Pentium M 735, 1.7 GHz
    Pentium M 745, 1.8 GHz
    Pentium M 755, 2.0 GHz

    Also, the older Banias Pentium M CPUs may also work, but for the best chances of compatibility, it's probably best to stick to a Dothan Pentium M at 400 FSB, as shown in the list above. As far as pricing, you can get one of the slower speeds at a pretty cheap price. I bought my 1.4 GHz Banias Pentium M for $11 shipped last year around this time, to replace my Dothan 1.3 GHz Celeron M in my Inspiron 1200 notebook.

    As for my honest opinion though, I still don't think your CPU is the problem for the slowness you are experiencing, as the CPU is hardly the bottleneck anymore for modern computers that are just performing mundane everyday tasks like web surfing and office. More than likely it's either a low RAM issue or a Windows XP in need of a fresh install. Also, your laptop came with a 4200 RPM hard drive, which might make load times extra long for some applications. A reinstall of windows will probably show the most benefit for the least amount of money, followed by a ram upgrade, and in third place a hard drive upgrade. I would place the CPU on the bottom of the list when in comes to performance bottlenecks, IMHO, although an upgrade to a Pentium M should help a lot with battery life and reduced heat.

    Good luck.
  15. i really appreciate the help, ive never attempted this before. ive been reading the forums here, and everyone is so knowledgable, thats what brought me here.

    all the processor specs everyone uses threw me for a loop, im so glad i have an idea what im looking for. youve actuall given me more hope than expected. i was afraid id only be able to go with a p4.
    a pM is more than i thought id be ale to use, so im very happy.

    will the processor help with the hotness im experiencing also?

    thanks again for all the great help and advice,
  16. Giving the fact that you have 1GB of memory processor is hardly a bottleneck.
    The hard drive update will bring more speed that anything else.
    You could go 7200 rpm or large (>120GB) 5400rpm
  17. im sorry, i dont know all the lingo. what is a bottleneck? is it good or bad?

    and, i think i may get the larger/faster hard drive also.

  18. A bottleneck is a metaphorical term to describe the rate-limiting step in the performance of a system, be it a computer, an engine, an enzymatic process, or an assembly line. It has to do with the classic design of a bottle. Think of a wine bottle, and visualize that long slender neck. If you wanted to pour out the wine from the bottle as fast as possible, the wine flowing out would be hindered most by the relatively small opening in the neck. Thus, the rate at which the wine flows out the bottle directly correlates with the neck diameter of the bottle. The larger the neck diameter (the bigger the opening), the faster the wine will flow. The neck of the bottle is therefore the rate-limiting step in the flow of wine out of the bottle. To apply the term "bottleneck" to computers, what we are saying is, your current Celeron M CPU is probably not the "neck" in the bottle (the laptop) that is limiting the rate of wine flow (the perceived performance, or lack thereof in your case). Something else is probably to blame for the slow behavior in your laptop.

    The only thing I could guarantee is that a change in CPU would definitely help in lowering the heat of your laptop.

    All the best.
  19. Yes, you can think of a bottleneck as the component which impedes all the other components. I am almost certain you have already reduced what XP loads at startup, checked for spyware, malware and memory hogs, that is,..... if you are really serious about speeding up the system perfomance.
  20. i ran msconig, and unchecked alot of start up stuff, although i didnt recognize alot of the microsoft stuff, so i left some alone.
    im running avg free, and im clean.
    i use spyware dr, and it runs everyday, stays clean.
    i keep anything i dont like exited out of (not sure of the term, but by the clock).
    i upgraded the memory to 1gb, it did help slightly, but im having another problem..

    i cant reformat.....when i push F11, it wants a disk, ive made a set of disks (it didnt come with them) but disk 2 doesnt work. how many sets can i make??
  21. What is the make and model of the laptop? Different companies have different policies about the restore disks. If you still have the executables you used to make the 1st set, then you SHOULD be able to try it again. If it does not work, sometimes calling the manufacturer can work out to an advantage, but many times they offer a deaf ear.
  22. one - it's a gateway mx3215, as mentioned earlier. ;)
  23. I upgraded a Dell 500m from a 1.4 Pentium M Banias to a 1.7 Pentium M Dothan with no trouble at all. Also, another thing to consider is doing a clean install usually does wonders for slightly older equipment (which I would consider yours). And 1GB of memory should make it run considerably smoother.
  24. A clean install is exactly what she wants to do.
  25. I did find this thread:

    new laptop mx3215

    Note what this user did:

    magbarn said: I bought this lappy yesterday from BB for $450. Great laptop, good build quality and nice little screen. I upgraded the memory from 256mb to 1gb right off the bat. Hard drive quiet, but slow. So I threw in a "spare" Hitachi 7200 rpm. Now MUCH faster. I also got annoyed from the constant fan running. Knowing that Celeron M's have speedstep disabled, I put in my Pentium M 1.6 cpu. Great design, cpu easily upgraded as it's only under a cover underneat laptop. Now runs much cooler and battery life went from 2.25 hours to 3.5 hours (estimated) Now feeling a little gutsy, I decided to try pin-modding it. This cpu has run happy in my desktop overclocked @ 2.13 @ 533mhz bus. The via/s3 chipset is supposed to be able to run @ 533 so I did the pin-mod. Turned it it on and of course it still only running @ 1.6ghz. Tried a different pin-mod location and still no go. For the adventuresome out there make sure you orient yourself correctly with the socket as the socket in this one is oriented 180 degrees from a standard centrino socket . If you don't know what I'm talking about you shouldn't be pinmodding lol.


    So.. 1GB ram and 7200rpm HD would help speed things up. The Pentium M (if she can find one), well... if she feels like spending the cash and taking the chance of taking it apart, dats up to her. :D
  26. thanks for all the help. i went ahead and bought the processor, and in a few weeks if i cant reformat, im gonna get a new, faster harddrive.
    the notebook is getting a little, so im looking forward to it being cooler.
    im also hoping i can multi task better, and a little faster.
    it doesnt have a dvd burner, but its no big deal.

    i have a question.... i have a copy of windows xp media center, could i use it on this computer. i had bought a different laptop, ive since sold, and i kept the disk. could i use it again??? same manufacturer.

    thanks again, you all have been sooooo verryyyy helpful. you dont know how much its appreciated. im pretty clueless about the insides.

  27. Ummm... Errr.... when you sold it, did it have XP Media Center on it?

    Does the CD say OEM?

    I wouldn't, and I'd give that person the CD that you sold it to, since OEM's are usually tied to the original hardware it was intended to be used on.


    On a second thought, as long as you use the OEM number on the sticker that is on your laptop your updating, you might be able to get away with it. The CD wouldn't matter, although if its a different package (example XP home vs XP Media) I'm not too sure about that.
  28. 99% of the time, the recovery disc are locked to the particular setup of that machine. Even if it's the same manufacturer, it still won't work unless the hardware is an exact match. Most of the ones I've used never even ask for the CD key. They just restore the software to factory specs.

    Give that CD to the new owner of said machine because it won't do you no good anyway.
  29. My first question is....The OS that is currently on the laptop probably came that way from the manufacturer, and if the restore CDs failed, then why not ask that manufacturer for some sort of help? Sometimes Gateway has been known to send a customer a set for that particular laptop for a small fee.
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