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Author Topic: Easiest laptop (brand) to take apart ?  (Read 14162 times)
Armando
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« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2011, 12:15:53 PM »

I had a similar experience with my Dell inspirons 6400 (http://www.donationcoder....14549.msg183845#msg183845). I was a bit upset. I now have a Vostro, but I didn't buy it -- I wouldn't have... someone "gave" it to me. The Vostro is actually much sturdier and I haven't got any problems with it. But the next computer will have to be both reliable and easy to maintain/clean. If Asus or Sony have easy access to parts like the CPU, that might be my best bet.
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« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2011, 01:10:39 PM »

Strikes me the question is "which laptops have the best access to service manuals?" and only then "which models are easiest to disassemble?"

At least with a manual you get some clues how to get into things without breakages and lots of frustration!

In my experience Toshiba and Dell seem to have the best access to service manuals - almost all other makes seem reluctant to release their manuals.

I mostly agree.  Toshiba and Dell generally have good access to service information, although Toshiba can be very variable from one region to another and Dell tends to deepsix information on older systems.  I consider IBM/Lenovo to have the best documentation and software support for those who do their own servicing, at least for their Think product line (ThinkPad and ThinkCentre).

The first laptop I ever got to take apart was the Zenith 181, the first real laptop (as opposed to transportable) computer. For a few days, I think I was the only authorized laptop service person in New York City.
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40hz
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« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2011, 01:20:12 PM »

Out of curiosity, why is access to the CPU so  important?  Most are surface mount and wave-soldered to the mainboard so they're not field replaceable.

As long as there's access panels for the RAM slots, the HD bay, and possibly the WiFi card, what else do you normally need access to?

The DVD, the floppy (if there is one) and the battery usually just slide out once you release the retention catch sliders.

Anything else you'll probably have trouble getting raw service parts for anyway - so why worry? Most manufacturers have a policy of not shipping boards to consumers. Those are strictly "authorized service center only" parts.

Besides, If you need a new main or video circuit board you're usually better of just getting a new laptop since it was likely damaged by a power problem on the regulation circuit. Any time you had a power sourced failure it may also have damaged other components besides the one that failed. That turns into a spiral sometimes as you gradually end up replacing one component after another until you effectively end up with a new laptop anyway.
 Cool
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« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2011, 01:33:29 PM »

Yes, this probably got lost in the various (interesting) tangents. First post of this thread :

Quote
I've owned only 3 laptop, and they all made it pretty hard to get to the CPU. However, I found that being able to easily get to the CPU (and its fan/heat sink) is very convenient for good cleanup to avoid overheating problems. For my next laptop, this is going to be one the buying factors : extremely easy to take apart and get to the CPU.

To that I'll add that I used several known strategies(canned air, vacuum cleaner, etc.) in the past and none seemed to work as well as opening the actual laptop and directly removing the dust.

Accumulating dust may be a non issue for some or most, but I've noticed it makes a big difference : my fan doesn't need to turn on as often, the laptop stays comfortable, etc. And I don't feel like it's going to melt during the summer...

[P.S. : that said, being able to replace the CPU is also a plus IMO. I did that with my Vostro : went from a slowish 1.4Ghz processor to a T7500 2.2Ghz... for 100$ on ebay, more than 1.5 y ago.  Haven't regret it 1s  smiley ]
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 01:39:52 PM by Armando; Reason: slowly-->slowish + date of CPU purchase... :) » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2011, 01:39:08 PM »

Out of curiosity, why is access to the CPU so  important?  Most are surface mount and wave-soldered to the mainboard so they're not field replaceable.

As long as there's access panels for the RAM slots, the HD bay, and possibly the WiFi card, what else do you normally need access to?

The DVD, the floppy (if there is one) and the battery usually just slide out once you release the retention catch sliders.

Anything else you'll probably have trouble getting raw service parts for anyway - so why worry? Most manufacturers have a policy of not shipping boards to consumers. Those are strictly "authorized service center only" parts.

Besides, If you need a new main or video circuit board you're usually better of just getting a new laptop since it was likely damaged by a power problem on the regulation circuit. Any time you had a power sourced failure it may also have damaged other components besides the one that failed. That turns into a spiral sometimes as you gradually end up replacing one component after another until you effectively end up with a new laptop anyway.
 Cool

That's pretty much the approach I take - the only non-obvious part I replace is the screen inverter (though there is a fair amount of voodoo getting in there at times). Mostly laptop repairs are memory upgrades, hard disk replacement/upgrade, WiFi card install/replace, keyboard replacement, battery/power block replacement and CD/DVD drive replace.

It isn't really practical to replace other parts that much as most people who bring me laptops bought them over 3 years ago and short of buying an eBay model to cannibalise for parts you can't really get many replacements. Most electronic parts are generally soldered these days to GPU, CPU and PUS replacement are pretty much not possible.

I have cleaned out air paths to remove dust and fluff build up (one computer I cleaned had so much cat hair it looked like felt material) but that depends on where things are located and how easy it is to get to (sometimes tweezers work quite well from the outside followed by a strong vacuum cleaner).

The only other thing I would have a stab at is replacing a damaged screen - but then the problem is finding one for an old machine!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 01:42:51 PM by Carol Haynes » Logged

Armando
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« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2011, 01:42:00 PM »

(I would just like to insist that -- while I don't mind -- I never intended to discuss laptop repairs in general... Just easy access to the CPU. Please see my previous post.)
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« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2011, 01:43:49 PM »

Sorry - as for ease of access to the CPU why do you want it - surely almost all CPUs these days are surface mounted?
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« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2011, 01:54:58 PM »

I'm not sure what more precisions I could add to what I already described in previous post.


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« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2011, 03:32:25 PM »

I'm not sure what more precisions I could add to what I already described in previous post.



Sorry.  That's right. You did say it was to be able to get to the CPU and fan/heatsink assembly to clean it didn't you.  embarassed
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« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2011, 03:46:59 PM »

Thanks. That said -- I enjoy tangents too ! Don't get me wrong... Just wanted to reposition things a bit in the original/right context.
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« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2011, 08:33:53 PM »

Hell, access to the CPU for cleaning is one thing I look for in a desktop system.
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« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2011, 05:55:22 AM »

I own two Acers: a laptop, Travelmate 2210, and a netbook, Aspire One ZG5.

The laptop is easier to disassemble and access all components, pretty much the same as the picture in a previous post.

The AAO is bordering on a nightmare to disassemble and access components but can be done with care, (I've done it 3 times for modding).

Even though the laptop suffered a malfunction just after I bought it, it was repaired and hasn't had a problem since - I've changed the CPU in it, (shows you how old it is - 2005), and upgraded the HDD.

I'd still buy an Acer today because the reasons I bought it are still valid today: price and more importantly, (for me), a real International Warranty.
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« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2011, 10:06:29 AM »

My GF suggests any laptop is easy to take apart if you have a big enough hammer.  Thmbsup
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 11:31:53 AM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2011, 02:49:01 PM »

I'd still buy an Acer today because the reasons I bought it are still valid today: price and more importantly, (for me), a real International Warranty.

Thanks -- yes I read about that international warranty.
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« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2011, 03:57:19 PM »

Wouldn't it be feasible to try one of the bto (build to order) laptop suppliers? Usually they assemble some crucial parts at the last stage, just before delivery, so it's quite possible that these machines are easier to dismantle than the 'far-east' produced (and optimally never to be opened) laptops.

You could contact a few and see what they have to offer. (Google should give you better hints then I can, me being in the GMT+1 timezone  Wink)
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« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2011, 12:25:53 AM »

I've just had a quick look at that and there seems to be some interesting options. Thanks for the tip.  thumbs up
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« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2011, 08:53:49 PM »

Looking for a laptop for a friend I noticed that TigerDirect often includes nice pictures of the bottom of laptops, in many cases with the covers removed so you can see what is easily accessed. Here's a good example: http://www.tigerdirect.co...No=7124329&CatId=4938 (scroll down)

Anyway I thought it might be helpful.

- Oshyan
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Armando
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« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2011, 09:05:39 PM »

Thanks Oshyan, that's very nice of you.  thumbs up
And this is actually a very nice little laptop there...! Complete access to CPU and also an ASUS -- they have an excellent reputation according to reports I posted earlier. Is your friend going to pick that specific one ?
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« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2011, 09:11:12 PM »

IMHO, dell laptops are the easiest to work on. I know you're going for easiest to access CPU, but did want to mention they are very easy to take apart and put back together and leave you feeling like you've done reasonably little damage to them. Some laptops just taking off the keyboard makes you feel like you've severely violated them and you don't want to do it too often in fear you may end up breaking something.

At any rate, that's my 2 cents. I like dell's laptop construction (not only easy to take apart/repair, but very solid and difficult to damage while the lid is shut). I typically am not particularly fond of one brand or the other, but in this field I've grown to appreciate dell's craftsmanship.

On a final note, the most difficult laptop I've ever taken apart was called a medion. Dont think they're in business anymore (thankfully), the laptop was machine pressed together by pressure tabs etc. I ended up being completely unable to reattach the keyboard and the laptop sits today in my closet, waiting for someone to love it once more
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« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2011, 09:12:19 PM »

Well, I'm giving him a list of options and that one will be on it, hehe. I just bought an ASUS myself actually, though a higher-end model with a quad core i7. Can't wait to play with it. But yes, that one does look nice with all the access through that one bottom panel.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #45 on: May 01, 2011, 01:10:46 AM »

>I just bought an ASUS myself actually, though a higher-end model with a quad core i7

Nice !  smiley

@Kamel : My Vostro isn't to bad... And While I agree with you (and others) that Dell makes laptop dismantling relatively easy, it's certainly not always the case. Like I said in previous post, the Vostro and Inspiron 6400 cooling system is/was not easy to uncover... In each case it took me more than 40 min to dismantle the laptop, and at least the same amount of time to put it back together. I might be slow, but this is not something I want to go through every time I need/want to clean the CPU area. Not to mention that the plastic parts become more and more fragile after each pop-out/in. smiley
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« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2011, 10:12:41 AM »

I can't help but wonder how much of what are you having to clean out of these machines? I've generally always just blown (with canned air) through the (air outlet) cooling system backwards and never had a problem getting dust/lint/animal hair out of a machine...Without any disassembly.
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« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2011, 11:08:00 AM »

Well, in that case, to each his own. Some are happy with canned air, and others -- maybe just me -- aren't... I explained that in a previous post. Don't know, but it seems to me that easy access to the CPU is a plus, not a minus anyway.   embarassed
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« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2011, 11:25:55 AM »

That's cool - I've just been wondering if you were dealing with a particularly difficult set of environmental conditions that made normal (a term I'm using here loosely for lack of a better one) methods ineffective.

As an example, I have a client that is a (large & small animal) vet. Some of their machines have come in for repair quite literally full of all manner of hair/fur/fuzz/I don't want to know... smiley ...I've recommended that they avoid laptops in their environment.
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Armando
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« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2011, 12:13:04 PM »

Thanks for taking the time to explain, Stoic. Yes... I do have 1 cat around (for the last 2 years and more to come...) with very long hair. And, annoyingly enough, it *loves* my laptop -- most probably because it's warm.

That said, I'm sure (and know) that some laptop models can get cleaned properly with pressured air. But for some reason, I could never completely get rid of some "dust bunnies" in my Vostro with that method. I realized that when I had to open it for the first time in 1.5 years because I needed to replace the CPU.
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