I wanted to have access to a machine that would fit in my backpack. Laptops were out, as I don’t want to lug around something heavy, and the iPad was a bit too underpowered for my needs and was lacking the keyboard. I was going to run Ubuntu Netbook remix on it anyways, so the Apple OS was not a great draw for me.
I decided on the Gateway LT25, which is essentially similar to an Acer Aspire One.
It comes with 250GB (more than enough space) and a celeron-like (but power-conserving) Intel Atom processor, and has a 6 cell battery, which means that it would last me most of a day’s work (even if I did not have access to power, or was moving around).
The only thing I did not like about it was the limited RAM. 1GB did not cut it for me. It was also a big sluggish due to the paging taking place when I ran my DB, webserver and firefox.
So I decided to do something about it, and ordered a 2 GB RAM stick.
The RAM I ordered was the Mushkin 2GB PC2-6400 DDR2 SODIMM for Notebooks. However, any PC2-6400 memory should work with the Atom N450 processor. More than 2GB probably will not be useful, and in any case, the CPU will be the bottleneck at that point.
Upgrading the Memory
To upgrade the memory, you have to open the netbook (essentially voiding the warranty). It’s a lot simpler than it appears when you start it. I’m writing this point up, with a few picture, to make it easier for the next person attempting this.
Please place a pillowcase or some other cloth under the laptop when carrying out the operation, otherwise you will scratch your laptop’s exterior casing. You may also want to either use a static-protection wrist-strap, or touch the metal on your sink to protect your system’s sensitive electronic components from electrostatic discharge damage.
Step 1: Remove the battery.
Flip the netbook over, and remove the battery.
It is held by two clips on the back. Move them towards the outside of the case, and the battery should be easy to pop out.
Step 2: Remove the keyboard
Turn the netbook over again (the right way) and open the lid so that you can see the keyboard. Using a credit card, push the little tabs in that are holding the keyboard in place. Don’t use a screwdriver as you may end up scratching your case (or damaging something or another). I’ve marked the location of the clip (tabs) in red circles in the picture below:
Step 3: Release the screws holding the back plate in place
Thre are four screws holding the back plate in place. You’ll need a jeweller’s screwdriver to remove these. This is smaller than your everyday screwdriver, and is used for things like jewelery and eyeglass frames.
Step 4: (Optional) Remove the keyboard data cable
I removed the keyboard data cable, which is probably something that you don’t need to do. You pull the little white plastic clip slightly out and gently slide out the data cable. This would allow you to remove the keyboard entirely.
Step 5: Remove back plate
Push a pen (or the screwdriver) through the hole to push out the back plate. The back plate should pop out, and you can then flip the netbook over and remove the back plate entirely.
Step 6:Remove the Existing RAM
The RAM is in the slot on the top left. Gently pull the tabs away from the RAM and the chip should pop out. Make sure that you have drained any electrostatic discharge before attempting this step (touch something grounded, like your bathroom sink’s tap’s metal part). You may want to keep track of the notch at the bottom of the chip, to ensure that you replace the new RAM in the same place (using the same orientation).
Step 7: Insert the new RAM
Gently slide in the new RAM unit, and pop it into place. The tabs should securely hold the RAM in place.
That’s it, you’re done. Put everything back in the reverse order, and boot up the machine.
Go into the bios (by typing F2 at startup) and the machine should have automatically picked up that it has 2 GB now.