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.
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.