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How to upgrade memory and HDD on Toshiba NB505/520/550 laptops

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on June 4, 2014

Netbooks are great pieces of technology and can be reliable and affordable travel companions. However, even the faster ones, like the Asus 1015PX or the Toshiba NB550N, still come with a couple of hardware limitations, mainly imposed by the OS.

“What’s that? OS you said?” Actually yes. In order to keep prices down, netbook producers bundle their laptops with Windows 7 Starter. However, Microsoft limits selling Starter to computers with up to 1 GB of RAM and up to 320 GB hard-drive. So, if you’re wondering why you can’t find netbooks with 2 GBs of memory, when the upgrade is actually cheap, that’s your answer: getting 2 GB of RAM on a mini laptop would also oblige to get Windows 7 Home Premium and prices could jump 50 to 80 bucks above the current margins, hence competing with the more powerful devices in the upper 11’6 and 12 inch classes.

I always advise each netbook buyer to at least upgrade them to 2 GB of RAM (which is the most Atom powered devices can support) or 4GB (for AMD Fusion powered laptops). The entire operation is very simple, you usually get a bay on the back of the laptop, need to open it and replace the memory module.

However, if you also want to upgrade the hard-drive (which is the other big performance killer on a netbook) with a faster 7200 rpm one, a hybrid or even an SSD, on most devices you will need some skill and if you plan performing the “operation” yourself, will lead to loosing warranty.

But that’s not really the case on the latest Toshiba NB5xx line of 10 inch notebooks, including the NB500, NB505 (both with Atom N455 CPU), NB520 (with Atom N550 dual core processor) and NB550D (with AMD Fusion inside). All these allow very easy access to both RAM and HDD. In fact, you have to unscrew two screws to get to the memory and one more for the hard-drive. And what’s more important, you won’t loose warranty during the process.

Toshiba really made upgrading RAM and HDD as simple as possible on their new netbooks

Toshiba really made upgrading RAM and HDD as simple as possible on their new netbooks

The clip below will show you all the details you’ll need for this operation.

Piece of cake, ay? If you do have any questions though, please go ahead and leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help you.

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.

18 Comments

  1. Phil Davis

    April 20, 2011 at 5:01 am

    I have a Lenovo S10-3s NetBook that came with 2048MB already in the original packaging. The original Lenovo box even has “RAM: 2048MB” printed on it. This system has Windows7 Starter pre-installed. So there are some models that are being sold with more than 1GB off-the-shelf.

    • Mike

      April 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Phil, that is very odd. Microsoft’s requirements are pretty strict…

  2. Anonymous

    May 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    hi @Mike,I want to ugrade the memory on toshiba NB 305-440BL to 2G.It’s same step like you tell us above? And what kind and which brand of memory most suitable to it? Lot of thanks..

    • Mike

      May 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      It’s not really the same. Don’t remember if you have a dedicated bay on the NB305. If you do though, it’s similar.

      As for brand, that’s not important. Type however is. What CPu do you have inside that one? N455 or N450? For N455 you’ll need DDR3 1066 Mhz memory, for N450 you’ll need DDR2 667 Mhz module

  3. S1ndydoll

    August 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Mike = we need guys like you – thank you for this.
    I have a simple query. My model is the NB500-10G (I have no idea what 10G means = do you??)
    I want to know if there is a second slot to put another 1GB RAM, or do I purchase a single 2GB ram.
    The netbook is only a month old & can be very very slow with open applications to alsbolutely sticking sometimes which is very annoying, & also disappointingly very slow on wifi, with connections timing out.
    I trust myself to perform this simple operation & save myself some ££.
    Can you tell me which specific product I actually need to buy & a reputable online store?
    I appreciate your help.

    • Mike

      August 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      You can buy from Amazon. There is no extra slot, you have to get a 2 GB module and replace the 1 GB one inside. The netbook in the clip is pretty much identical to yours so it will be quite easy to perform the upgrade after you’ve followed it.

  4. merab

    November 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Mike, I have a NB550D with a C30 AMD Fusion. Do you know if I can upgrade memory to 4GB?
    Will I be able to see all 4 GB using Windows 7 Home Premium?

    • Mike

      November 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      I know that the C50 can use 4 GB of memory, but I’m not sure about the C30. If it can take that much, if the platform allows (and i think it does), than yes, you will be able to use them all with Windows Home Premium, minus the amount allocated for graphics

  5. Adam

    October 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    hi mike which one of the other Toshiba NB5xx line of 10 inch netbooks can be upgraded to 4gb. I know the nb550d can be but they have stopped making it.

  6. Luke dawson

    February 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I have the toshiba nb550d and I have upgrade to windows 7 pro 32 bit and the ram to 2 gb and I was wonder what is the max hard drive space can I install in the nb550d and what size hdd

    • Mike

      February 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Any 2.5 inch HDD will work, no matter the size. From what I kno,w it uses the standard 9.5 mm Drive, not the newer and slimmer 7 mm ones, but you might want to double check that just to be sure.

  7. Gisela

    April 26, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Hola Mike , tengo una Toshiba NB 500. Quisiera saber si puedo llevar la memoria a 4gb, y si la memoria que tengo que comprar es DDR3. Muchas gracias!!!!

  8. Maathen

    May 22, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Hello there Mike. Do you know what could be the maximum HDD capacity as well as RAM capacity for a Toshiba NB520 Netbook using Intel Atom Dual core CPU N570 and 2GB of DDR3 (1066MHz or 1333MHz not sure) RAM can take? I’m currently using a 750GB HDD 5200RPM.

  9. Mo

    July 23, 2014 at 3:38 am

    Hello, I could really use your advice. I have a Toshiba nb505 with 2GB Ram and the Intel Atom Processor but it runs extremely slow. I would like to know if I can make run as fast as my bigger Toshiba Satellite with 4GB Ram and i3 processor. Really new to this and need to know what’s the best option. Need it to function as a work om the go laptop.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 24, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Well, no, since the platforms are completely different. Adding an SSD on the NB505 will make it faster, but even so, this netbook is only alright for very light use and won’t be able to handle more.

  10. skip lee

    July 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    so if I replace the hard drive and upgrade the memory on my NB505, how do I get the contents of the old hard drive on to the new one?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 24, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      Do you have a desktop or do you know someone with a desktop? If yes, then you could take the HDD out and connect both the HDD and the SSD to the same computer and use some sort of software Clone drive software to duplicate the content on the HDD to the SSD. Then put the SSD in place and you should be good to go.

      THe easier method would imply to just copy the things you need from the HDD, replace it with the SSD, install Windows from an USB stick and then put your old content on the new drive

  11. Matt Townsend

    March 9, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Thanks for the clip, it will make the RAM upgrade I have bought simple.
    Regarding the hard drive, your clip shows the hard drive having some sort of thin metallic cover. Would that have to be removed from the original drive and transferred to a replacement drive?

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