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Asus X401a upgrade to ultrabook status

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by jrs3000, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Just thought I'd share my little project. I purchased the laptop as stated in the title. My plans are to swap in a i5 and a SSD to have a make shift ultrabook for sub $500. I'm doing this because I could'nt locate a sub 15" laptop with decent processor/graphics that didn't break the wallet. The only games I intend to play on the go is Starcraft 2 which run fine on low always having 30+ frames and med 18-30fps when hectic online. This test was with the Pentium's crappy HD2000. So far I've open the laptop to check the insides out and will be replacing the pentium b970 and slow 5400 HDD with an SSD. If anyone intends on doing the same then it takes the the standard 9.5mm Hard drives and it's the G2 socket. I will upload pics of insides shortly.

    ASUS - Notebooks- ASUS X401A

    Update: Ivy Bridge cpus work but will shut off after 30minutes. Unable to resolve currently. Tried i3 and i5

    Untested: sandy bridge processors

    Disassembling tips:
    -Remove all the screws from the bottom then grab the laptop and have the keyboard up facing like you're going to type and start at a bottom left or right corner. I stuck my fingernail in between the top and bottom and wedged it pulling the top from bottom until I heard the clips unhook. I did this slowly moving down the sides pulling the top while trying to pull down and out the bottom to unhook the clips. I broke 3 clips but they are minor and shouldn't cause an issue since screws also hold the top.

    -All the screws except for two by the battery are the same so don't worry about what screw goes where. The two by the battery or the longest screws.

    - It's self explanatory once laptop is open as there's just a few motherboard screws nothing to note.


    Misc info:
    Motherboard model Hannstar J 94v-0 mv-4
    Ram 4gb DDR3 1600 1.5v
     

    Attached Files:

  2. niffcreature

    niffcreature Notebook Prophet

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    Nice idea but it still weighs in at 4lbs. I'm much happier having bought my Sony SB series for 500$, its 3.6lbs with AMD 6470m and I was able to upgrade the screen to 1600x900. And you can get them for under 500$.
     
  3. tk423

    tk423 Newbie

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    does the X401a comes with a pci-e port? I want to remove the wireless card it comes with and replace it with one that has bluetooth like the Broadcom BCM94313HMGB card.
     
  4. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yes it has a mini pci express port.
     
  5. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I added pics. This uses the hm76 or 70 chipset which supports ivybridge also. I'm curious as whether the ivybridge i3 would work in this since it's the same socket and the chipset supports it. I guess that would depend on bios. I'm debating on buying a few processors to see what does and doesn't work in this.
     
  6. Pendertuga

    Pendertuga Newbie

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    Hey, fellow X401A owner here, please keep us posted no this process, I'm very interested
     
  7. draytondavant

    draytondavant Newbie

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    Thanks for posting this - I just got my X401A and want to install an SSD and upgrade the Memory.

    Any other tips to taking it apart you can share would be GREAT.

    This is a great little laptop - just wish they made it easier for the consumer to work on :)
     
  8. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    This comes with bluetooth 4.0 support already.

    Only one ram slot uses ddr3 1600. Opening the top is the hardest thing as you have to pry it carefully to not bust all the clips but other than that everything is easy.

    Will do, I ordered a i5-3210 that will be here in two days. Ill try that and if it doesn't work it's going back. I'm working on getting a sandy bridge i3 and i5 also. If any of them work then I shall celebrate even if it's a measley i3.
     
  9. Pendertuga

    Pendertuga Newbie

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    Awesome, thanks for sharing with us
     
  10. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I may get processor in today!
     
  11. Pendertuga

    Pendertuga Newbie

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    Did it come in? Also, do you think the standard heat sink will be adequate for the i5?
     
  12. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Guys I have news...... IT WORKS!!!! I upgraded from pentium b970 to ivy bridge I5-3210M and it works. Booted and is recognized by windows. I'm going to reapply artic silver and seal it up. Ultrabook status achieved. My ssd is getting ordered. I will do further testing to make sure everything stable. The i5 is the same wattage as pentium so it's fine. Do you guys know what this means? When the x301 comes out you can have a true ultra book as it's 13.3" and probably slightly thinner and less weight. After seeing ivy bridge cpu work in this laptop I feel confident a sandbridge i5 should work and will run you less than what I paid for Ivy.
     
  13. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Just to give the run down because I'm so excited. I paid 270 for this laptop, after $50 giftcard applied at bestbuy and $130 for cpu off ebay. Going to add a $60 ssd so my total for this project is $460 for a 14" ivy bridge i5 laptop that's only a 1" thin and 4lbs has usb 3.0 and wifi with bluetooth 4.0... Tell me you can find a laptop with similar specs for sub 500!! I may just stick to slow 5400 for right now as I only browse web and play SC to save me money for the moment. I'll get pics up of course of cpuz and such just for any who don't believe.
     
  14. davidricardo86

    davidricardo86 Notebook Deity

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    Congrats! So you went from a Sandy Bridge Pentium B970 to an Ivy Bridge I5-3210M? That's pretty cool, all without any BIOS modding or hacking? What chipset is this? How much of an improvement are we talking about here?

    EDIT: Seems like a big upgrade all around. :cool:
     
  15. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    It's the newer 7 series chipset for Ivy and sandy. Hm70 is the one in this laptop. No mods just swap cpu and power on. Huge going from 2 core 2.3ghz to 2 core 2.5ghz with turbo to 3.1 I think, hyperthreading, intel hd2000 to hd4000 graphics, 22nm so better on power and the list goes on when compared to a pentium.
     
  16. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Pics added to first post
     
  17. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Just to update things are working fine except for a shuting down after about a hour. I'm looking in event viewer and it's event ID 41 kernel power. I'm looking into the issue as everything seems fine it's not overheating and I can do whatever I like fine until almost a hour and then it shuts. I'm wondering if Turboboost is playing into the issue of this happening or some power limit set somewhere. I'm working on a fix but if this fails I'll downgrade cpu to a i3-3110 and see how that works. I refuse to go back to sandybridge as HD4000 runs starcraft 2 so much better than HD2000 did.
     
  18. bamb0man

    bamb0man Newbie

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    Thanks for keeping us posted! :)
     
  19. Pendertuga

    Pendertuga Newbie

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    Does the i5 draw the same amount of power as the Pentium? If not then that is probably the problem, and there is no way of changing the power to the CPU from the BIOS :\
     
  20. jrs3000

    jrs3000 Notebook Enthusiast

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    It's 35watt. I don't think it's a power issue per say as not enough more like a setting as I said I can use the laptop and run whatever I like. I played 30mins of starcraft 2 online with no issue. Temperature and voltage appear fine. Don't worry I'm working on custom bios right now to enable options and make sure the micro code is in their for the i5. I'll update after I finish and if it works.

    Well this thread will be filled with my ramblings but oh well. Looking into the bios the micro code for ivybridge is in there which is good and explains it working so only thing I need to do is figure out what setting is effecting it power wise. I'm going to unlock all the options in the bios and play around to see if I can fix issue.
     
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