My mom bought the E620 as a cheap notebook back in 2008 without asking anyone for recommendation or assistance. Initially I was scared what she did, but after checking the specs and solidness of the notebook I was convinced it was a good value for its price.
I visit her 2-4 times a year and in some of previous visits I realized her notebook is getting slow especially due to low space on disk and Vistas getting tired. So I agreed with her I'll manage painless upgrade of her notebook making her more happy.
The list of HW replacements I planned:
The DDR2 prices dropped significantly so I replaced original 2*1GB PC2-5300 (667 MHz) with 2*2GB PC2-6400 (800 MHz) to get 4GB of faster RAM.
Filrond made the successful upgrade of D620 (see emachine eMD620-5777 upgrades so far!) with 22 watt dual core AMD 6850e what inspired me. The original single core 2650e is really terrible with only benefit being low watt (18W). The 6850e units are quite rare and in the end I had to ebay one directly from China. The 6850e was a great compromise of the battery life and performance - from my mom's perspective it will be pure benefit with no drawbacks (heating, significantly reduced battery life, too low performance).
During the installation I shortened the cpu socket safety lever and notch the crossbar besides the socket to avoid complete notebook disassembly. I was in a hurry because I promised mom the make the whole upgrade and W7 install job before she comes home -> I made no pictures, but if someone will ask for I can make them next time I visit her.
I installed my favorite 7200 RPM 500GB Seagate ST9500420ASG SATA2 unit with gravity protection. Unfortunately the price is almost double than before the Thailand floods, but I wanted fast, large disk with the G force protection and original 160GB HDD was almost full.
Not successful wifi card Intel 6230 replacement
There is no bluetooth interface in the E620 and I also wanted to boost the WLAN. The Intel 6230 with integrated BT capability was a card of my choice. The notebook displayed the very 1st bios screen, but later didn't start windows. I could hear HDD running, but the HDD light was off. As soon as I took the card off the notebook booted as usually. I tried it couple of times with new W7 installed on the new HDD or original Vista HDD including Intel drivers, the results were always the same. In the end I had to return back the OEM wifi card and will resolve the BT via some small USB adapter. The 6230 card found a new home in my Asus G73JH unit.
During some earlier mom visit I already installed modified bios 1.3 with slic 2.1 to support W7 (unmodified bios 1.3 has slic 2.0 for Vista only). I made the complete x64 W7 installation on a new disk. In terms of drivers for x64 W7 I installed:
Other fresh drivers (WLAN, LAN...) were suggested by windows update and I used them. All the special keys on the keyboard work as they suppose to work - I didn't feel necessity to install the launch manager application.
My mom uses in her work W7 with Office 2010 and I installed her this notebook same way. She's very happy that notebook looks similarly as before with better and more familiar W7 (than outdated Vista) and x64 Office 2010. It starts and shuts down faster, more application could be run at the same time without slowing the computer. Before the upgrade after few opened windows the other starting applications were starting really slowly.
The costs of the upgrade were about 60% of the E620's price when it was new, but I can claim the components' bills to my company. This HW refresh was still cheaper than buying a brand new notebook as well as getting my mom used to a new one.
The last remaining thing is to install some very small USB bluetooth adapter that she might synchronize and backup her phone contact list.
Hi, I installed the 5050e in my dad's eMachines e620 about two years ago and it's been running fine, max temp goes to 67C at 100% load that's when the CPU starts throttling down to 1GHz, at idle it sits at about 55C. 45W is the max the motherboard can handle, 35W should be a perfect balance between heat and speed. The laptop was also upgraded with 4GB PC-6400 RAM and 120GB Mushkin SSD recently. The laptop is blazing fast in day-to-day use! Upgrades totaled about $180CDN. What I want to know is has anyone successfully upgraded the laptop to an AM3 processor, 3 or 4 core?
congrats on the upgrades of these AMD based laptops..... i couldn't imagine having to figure out all the AMD cpu stuff. back in the 486 days i was a big AMD fan... they made a cpu that you could overclock from 133Mhz to 160. back then that was the fastest CPU and the only 486 that could run @ 40Mhz X 4. those CPUs out performed the pentium 90Mhz.
now we have these quad and 6 core CPUs, i want to build a desktop just to have those extra cores and to be able to upgrade graphics.
When I was upgrading my mom's notebook I followed priorities addressing her problems - insufficient HDD space and low computing power visible when starting and running several ordinary applications at the time (internet, office, playing videos and films, administering photos, NO GAMING). My mom is using her notebook as a notebook for which reason people today buy new tablets - to be run on battery, in her bed, on her lap. So my other priority was to keep the system low heat and noise with long battery run -> the same as she was used for.
The choice of CPUs for E620:
Athlon X2 3250e - 22W, 1500MHz, ebay pricing starts at $45
This is the cheapest 22W CPU that might fit, clocking is almost the same, but doubling the cores comparing the tragic 1600MHz single core 2650e. 3250e would be now CPU of the choice for my mom's notebook due to its 1/3 price than 6850e.
Athlon Neo X2 6850e - 22W, 1800MHz, ebay pricing starts at $130
The fastest 22W CPU, however its pretty expensive for what one gets. I found only ebay listings from China (bought one from them w/o any problem).
Athlon Neo X2 6650e - 35W, 2200MHz, no ebay listings
Placed with clocks between the 2 slowest 45W CPUs Athlon X2 4050e and 4450e. 6650e might be even harder to get than 6850e.
Athlon X2 5050e - 45W, 2600MHz, ebay pricing starts from $30
The fastest from Athlon X2 E family. Since the prices of the Athlons X2 E are very low and similar to each other, the 5050e is the CPU of the choice, when power with low $$$ is the priority and heating or battery time is not that important (what are the problems some others reported with their Emachines D620 units). If someone has another Athlon X2 E (4050e - 4850e) unit lying around, just use it. But if buying a new cpu, go for the 5050e.
I wouldn't be considering any 55+ Watt CPUs, because this notebook isn't designed for such thermal heat exchange and also people reported shut downs most likely caused by the board power supply limits. If I'd be upgrading mom's notebook today I'd take 3250e CPU due to its price and just a bit lower frequency comparing with 6850e. At the time I was upgrading the 6850e seemed to fit my priorities so much better than 45W units and I quit looking into other low watt options.
Performance oriented person may use the 5050e unit, which is the best (powerful and cheap) from the Athlon X2 E family.
Regarding the other components to upgrade I suggest 4GB RAM and disk of one's preference. I experienced with all windows including W7 when they have enough RAM for their disposal they almost don't need to deal with swapping and elimination of these swap disk operations speedup the system as well. This effect happens somewhere between 2-4 GB RAM for W7, so the 4GB (2*2GB) would be a good upgrade with price around $40-60 from the retailer.
If I remember well the E620 has no spare pci-e slot inside to try a pci SSD disk. The HDD options depend purely one someones will to invest into such upgrade. If speed is the priority the 120+ GB SSD should be considered. Smaller are too small, because a SSD disk needs 20-30% of space free for distribution of writes into nand cells to avoid disk wear.
If disk storage space is the priority, the 500GB units are just a bit more expensive then 250 GB or 320 GB units (all with prices starting around $40). The larger HDDs cost multiplication of 500GB, the price per 1GB remains about the same as for 500GB units. One may also consider other HDD parameters such as disk RPMs (5400 / 7200), G-Force protection or disk thickness (very large capacities disks have 12,5 or 15mm thickness).
For about $150 it is possible to gain a pretty good notebook up to par with todays new cheap units for normal use (without hardcore gaming) running swiftly a fresh installation of Windows 7 and have a spare usb HDD drive built from the original notebook's HDD.
Last edited by albert.zweistein; 15th January 2013 at 06:38 AM.