Hardware upgrade questions for Dell Inspiron 3135

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Freelance Bum, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Freelance Bum

    Freelance Bum Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've been looking for a cheap laptop for awhile to just do simple things with, and ended up finding this thing (Dell Inspiron 3135) at a store for $85 USD. I've since slapped a Samsung 850 evo I had from an old dead laptop and installed Manjaro Linux XFCE. I'm now looking at some other upgrades that I need to buy some parts online for but I have a few questions. 3 questions, with a few sub-questions.



    1. I've been looking at RAM for this, and I found something by Crucial that crucial's site says is compatible, but when also looking up the same speed and type of DDR3L SO-DIMMs, I also found something by G.Skill that costs less and has a lower cas latency. I'm wondering if the timings need to match what is currently in my system for my motherboard to be compatible with it (laptops like these can be so selective about hardware) or can I get the ram with the better timings?



    2. I've noticed the cpu sits around 48-52 Celsius in idle. I know it's normal for laptop CPUs to run kind of hot, especially since this thing is running an APU, but that still seems kind of high and the little fan on this thing is almost constantly running. I read something in its manual that suggested it had a thermal pad in it, rather than thermal paste. If so, would I be able to open it up and apply thermal paste or is a thermal pad too thick? I've never worked with thermal pads before. I've always used paste. Also, if I can use paste, should I use a normal decent quality thermal paste (like Noctua's or Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut) or, since it's a laptop CPU and therefor more than likely has an exposed die, should I go with something like thermal grizzly's conductonaut liquid metal or is it just not worth the risk (since gallium can damage the surrounding components)



    3. The WLAN card in this laptop only supports up to Wireless N. It's not entirely necessary, but I do want to put in a wireless AC card in here at some point. As long as I find something that can fit into the mini PCI-E slot that's wireless AC capable (which I have found) would I have any trouble with compatibility?
     
  2. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Consultant

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    1. ram is easy it just depends on whether your system is using DDR3 or DDR4 to pick the right option... I just picked up 32GB of DDR4 for $89 through amazon

    2. just repaste it with something decent / cheap...I use something rated at ~9w/kw was ~$5 and keeps things in line.. idle temps are right where they should be... download HWINFO and monitor things... peak should be around 90 but a gentle load probably 60-70

    3. probably looking at the 7200 series intel adapters IIRC 7260 comes in a mini pci

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Freelance Bum

    Freelance Bum Notebook Enthusiast

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    1. You are aware that chipsets limit the amount of ram to pretty low amounts on these older ultrabooks, sometimes due to CPU limitations? Additionally "it just depends on ddr3 or ddr4" is incorrect. Some boards require specific timing, and even if this isn't this case for this one, this one uses DDR3L ram, which means this board most likely ONLY supports DDR3L ram. DDR3L RAM can go into DDR3 slots, but not the other way around.

    2. I'm specifically wondering about the thickness of the pad in there. I'm wondering if I need to use another pad due to thickness because the entire point of paste is to provide a complete connection between the CPU and the heatsink setup and if my cpu doesn't connect completely it's pointless. Also, you didn't even address my added question about the possibility of using a liquid metal solution like conductonaut.

    3. This question is kind of my fault since I didn't clarify. It requires a PCIe half mini chip. I'm mostly concerned that this thing has a sort of hardware whitelist which has happened previously on dell laptops and laptops from other manufacturers.
     
  4. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Consultant

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    3. I have plenty of Dell experience.... 1/2 mini just get a 7260 and it's a done deal

    2. pads are good if you want to get a variety pack of them to size them correctly...I usually don't mess with them though unless there's a reason to like a gap...when in doubt though get a stack of 1mm's / 2mm's and piece them together until you get the desired fit.

    1. IME it hasn't been a big issue which is why I stated it the way I did... match the pins and pick your speed... I've done plenty of upgrades over the years and have yet to run into an issue w/ timing or otherwise. For instance I randomly picked some DDR4 ram for my laptop 32GB for $89 and didn't have any issue... BIOS didn't even beep to acknowledge a change took place and windows sees 32GB w/o any prompts as well.

    I wouldn't throw 32GB into a $100 laptop but, 8-16GB should be fine.

    All in all for about $125 - $150 you should be up and running w/ 802.11ac / decent ram / thermals that are consistent.
     
  5. Freelance Bum

    Freelance Bum Notebook Enthusiast

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    Alright, going for the g.skill ram and the wireless card you recommended (thanks for that). Not sure if I'm going to deal with reapplying thermal coupling solutions yet, but I'll at least buy a tube of decent thermal paste just in case. My desktops probably need a reapplication anyways. I know I probably did it horribly and it's been about 3 years since I last applied it

    I'm not really sure how well the wireless card will hold up, since speedtest.net is giving me speeds below threshold for 2.4ghz wireless N and my internet connection. (My speeds usually hover around 150mbps-175mbps). I'm not sure if it's something my router is doing with the speeds, but AC is going to increase the longevity (when N gets entirely phased out) of this thing no matter what anyways. Otherwise, it could be a CPU issue, which wouldn't surprise me. I also had some issues running 720p @60fps without major stuttering on youtube. Restarted it and it was *mostly* okay. I don't want to have to send this thing back, though it was slightly less power than I was looking for (though I was looking for something around the $250 range... and the store I bought it from had accidentally reversed the 3 and the 5 and had it shown as 3153 in the hand written note on it lol, so I initially thought I was getting a better deal)
     
  6. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Consultant

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    Measure your speeds while wired to the router and then check the difference over wifi. If you see the wired connection being slower than it should be it's the router. If the wifi is sluggish then it could still be the router but may be the card. Cheapest option is replace the card but if the issue persists then replace the router with something newer.

    I had an issue with a combo router/wifi gateway for cable where it was rated to be AC1200 but the speeds were topping out significantly lower. Wired connection wouldn't hit the gig port speed as well or close to the max provisioned speed from the provider. Swapped out the gateway for 2 devices instead of one like I had done in the past to isolate things a bit more. The whole combo device thought was if the device can push over 1gbps on wifi with a direct connection to the coax coming in then there shouldn't be a bottleneck for speeds.

    I ended up putting in a MB8600 that allows for port bundling since there's typically over provisioning with the higher speed plans. Single port speedtests measured in at the max around 980mbs w/ overhead. Bundling them was able to push past 1gbps for the max possible speed for the plan. The next issue came into play was the router not being able to bundle ports on the WAN side which lead to devising my own router out of a desktop w/ a 4 port gig card in it. That's how I exceeded the 1gbps.

    The funky thing though about designing and running my own AP is the card has 2 physical chips for 2.4/5ghz bands and they operate as separate systems and don't combine the signal into a combined single fat pipe. However with the speed overhead from a VPN it didn't matter because of the reduced speed. But since wireguard became an option the wired connection over vpn can hit 97% of bandwidth when connected to the least saturated vpn server versus topping out at about 120mbps through an older ovpn setup.
     
  7. Freelance Bum

    Freelance Bum Notebook Enthusiast

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    Other computers over wifi and wired aren't having the connection throttled and are running at full speed. I just didn't know if the wifi router was throttling the 2.4ghz band (or if there's just interference) because everything else is running the 5ghz band on AC. Could be the card has a maximum bandwidth as well.

    I wish I had a problem with reaching gigabit speeds. Comcast/Xfinity has me paying ~$80 a month for something like 150mbps down and 10mbps up. Gigabit is available if I want to pay like $200 a month or something...
     
  8. Freelance Bum

    Freelance Bum Notebook Enthusiast

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    As far as wanting AC, it's for some file transfer stuff (though yeah, the multi chip thing might be a problem), however there are some locations I might want to take the laptop to that only broadcast in wireless AC. I've had tablets and such before that only operated on 2.4ghz wireless N, and I wound up just having to tether them to my phone to jump the wifi connection.

    EDIT: I thought I hit the edit button... I apparently did not
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  9. Freelance Bum

    Freelance Bum Notebook Enthusiast

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    Soooo, I'm apparently a forgetful moron

    In that old laptop that is dead, I had upgraded its ram a long time ago. I thought I had upgraded to 2x4gb... but it was 2x8gb... and it was 2 of the same exact sodimm sticks I was planning on buying. I just opened up the laptop and checked on a whim but didn't expect to find what I was looking for. I've since popped one of those into this thing and had no problems (it even had the 9-9-9 timing rather than the 11-11-11)

    I did check for the wireless AC card, and while it actually has a 7260, it's the wrong size and won't fit in here (was almost 3 for 3... so close)
     
  10. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Consultant

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    Well, then it sounds like a limitation on the card itself from your responses. Salvaging from old stock you have on hand is always a nice find when trying to improve on something newer.

    Yeah, there was a transition period in which the cards were a mix of sizes / formats when they decided to change the layouts for more performance.

    AC vs N though.... If it's AC and configured to work on 2.4/5 bands vs 5 only it may explain why you didn't pick up a signal. I keep mine configured for 5/A only and will think there's a network issue when I don't connect right away but it just requires a process restart on my server to get 5ghz working again. I mean why suffer through 130mbps vs 866 mbps?

    As to Comcast.... I used a trick of using their forums and contacting support agents through there to get a better deal on speeds. At the time gig speeds were pushing $150/mo + taves. However now w/o a contract term it's coming in at $90/mo + tax. The $299/mo is for the fiber symmetrical 2gbps PRO plan they offer. While nice it's a bit much for $/gbps unless you really need the upload speed for huge files and no datacap.
     
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