I did successfully upgrade the CPU in my old (almost ancient) Acer 3050 entry level laptop. This was a base level 14 inch laptop that is silver in color, but has a nice thin build, built in wifi and multi-memory card slot, dvdrw, usb ports, and a card slot. The screen is glossy by bright and sharp 1200x800.
I recently did a replacement of the original Sempron 3500+ with a Turion TL-58 on my Acer 3050 for kicks. From what I could tell, I could use a TL-56, TL-58, TL-60 on this unit. I opted for the TL-58 since I found one for less than both the TL-56 and TL-60. Its been up and running fine for a couple of weeks and no major issues so far.
A couple of notes:
- I got the unit new at BB (Can) for the then bargain price of $399 in 2007. Its been a reliable basic laptop since.
- It came with Vista basic and lots of crapware on it - it took almost an hour to first boot up with all the initialization and leechware sapping the limited 512M ram and single core cpu. I immediately wiped the drive and installed XP Pro and upgraded the RAM to 1.5 then later 2G.
- Used it primarily at home for writing papers and surfing while I was in school. Had it connected to a 22" Dell external monitor in as an extended desktop.
- Decided to upgrade the CPU to a Turion TL-58 just to see if it would make a difference. Found a TL-58 on ebay for $7.50 shipped so figured it might be a fun project.
- Disassembly of the Acer 3050 was straight forward via the Acer service manual I found online - handy to have it open on an iPad while taking the laptop apart.
- CPU replacement was fairly simple, though you do have to disassemble all the way down to removing the mobo and fan assemblies - ie. you are taking almost everything apart, though you do not need to disassemble the screen, just remove it, per instructions.
- Used Arctic Silver 5 for replacement thermal compound, per the instructions on their webpage.
I thought the original Sempron 3500+ running at 1.8Ghz was ok for what I was using the machine for, and have not noticed much performance difference since I replaced the CPU with the Turion TL-58. It does seem to boot a tiny bit faster and I'm guessing the apps run more smoothly - watching video and multitasking is a bit less interrupted, but I don't see any huge differences.
The biggest thing I learned from the experience, and just to echo what others have written online, is that wow, this Turion TL-58 runs HOT. Especially if you don't reign it in with power management. I mean blisteringly hot. The Sempron 3500+ was running in the 50-65C range under most loads. When I first put in the TL-58 and powered up the machine, I was getting thermal readings of 72C at idle and bumping into the 85-91C range under load tests. The fan was always kicking in within seconds of power up and spinning loudly throughout. On one boot up, it was not kicking in right away and Speccy was reporting a CPU temp of 95C, the max thermal rating for the unit. I thought I had screwed up the paste application or got a bad CPU and have to crack the unit open again. Did some web searching and figured out what I needed to do, and things are much better now.
Firstly, the Artic Silver site does mention that their paste requires a 'burn in' or curing time of 200 hours, so this may affect initial readings as the paste takes time to reach its ideal heat-transfer capacity. The Turion afterall runs 2 cores and thus has more heat to dissipate. You can see on the CPU itself the Turion contact surface is a rectangle that is twice the width of the Sempron contact surface.
The most important thing I found and did was to configure power management in Windows XP. Control Panel - Power Options - Power Schemes and chose Minimal Power Management. Although this dropped my max CPU speed to 1.8Ghz rather than the top 1.9Ghz the TL-58 is rated for, it has brought the operating temperature down to a normal level, and seems to have enabled dynamic clock speed control. So the CPU is not running at its max capacity, but its running at the same speed as the original Sempron 3500+ did, and its running at a much lower anxiety producing level.
Its running now at a comfortable 47C - 53C under basic stuff. Under load, it peaks in the 65C zone. I noticed that there is usually a 3-8C difference in temp readings between each core. I'm writing this, watching an AVI movie file, and have 2 different browsers open each with several tabs open and I'm seeing consistent readings of 53/46C on the cores.
Hope this helps anyone looking. Its probably 5 years late for most people, but if you have one of these or a similar machine/mobo and are thinking of a cheap way to wring some extra service life out of it, it might be worth a shot if you are competent and confident around laptop guts.
I'd add, in reference to cooling, my own experience in reviving an old P4 2.0 laptop by cleaning the cpu cooling fan. Once you have a laptop this far apart it makes sense to do it. If you can easily get the fan and motor shaft assembly out (mine on a Toshiba came off by removing the fan cover held on by metal clips bent around the housing). I used sewing machine oil, (not 3-in-1, it's veg based) but I cleaned the shaft, oiled it, reinstalled and spun it, then repeated several times to clean out the dust and dirt that was slowing the fan, rather than simply oiling once. Brought it right back to life, until I fell on my backpack and damaged the screen.
Good point on the fan - thanks for the tip. When I took the unit apart, I did try to clean out as much dust as I could, vacuuming the boards, sinks, and parts that had dust on them, but didn't really know much more about fan cleaning other than replace it once it gets too noisy.
For the fan, mine was making those annoying grinding noises too, so I did carefully vacuum and then clean each fan blade with a qtip to get the dirt off. I also squirted a bit of WD40 into the shaft areas as best as I could. I didn't think there was much else I could do other than replace the fan, which I did not have at the time, so I just reassembled and hoped for the best.
The fan still makes noise, though not quite as harshly as before. If it gets worse - actually, when - I will probably take it all apart again and clean the fan according to your instructions (disassembly cleaning, lube, spin up and reclean/lube) - I didn't go that far into the fan, and it seems I should have. I will give that a shot, though I may just pop the $6 for a new one on ebay in case I screw it up so I am not left with a bunch of laptop parts on a table while I wait and forget how to put it back together while the replacement fan literally takes a 3-week-free-shipping slow boat from China to Canada.
I should mention also that in the course of upgrading my Acer Aspire 3050 CPU from the Sempron to the Turion, I thought the build quality inside was high quality and clean. I say that because I had also recently just before taken apart two HP DV2000 series laptops which had heat and desoldered GPU issues. Each was 2-3 years old and clogged with dust due to, I think in part, to the really poorly designed venting and heatsink design over the CPU and GPU. As well, I noticed the foam thermal pads on each unit were poorly placed, in each case with at least one pad being significantly off center of the chip it was resting on. For one unit, a cleaning and replacement of the pads/thermal paste change fixed the unit and it ran about 8C cooler. For the other unit, it had the GPU desolder/crack issue, and it did not respond to a GPU reheat with a heat gun. I just put the hard drive in an external SATA case for the owner, who had already written off the unit and bought a Dell replacement. If I had an Intel-chipset DV2900ca mobo, I'd consider rebuilding it just for kicks, but most likey it will just sit in a parts bin - I think the unit is long past any extended warranty or inclusion in any class action repair, even before I took it apart.
I expected the Acer to be similarly sloppy inside, and I was pleasantly surprised. I seem to recall many people being skeptical of an Acer laptop vs. the stronger HP branded units - over the long run, in my case, the Acer seems to have won out in terms of reliability.
I can't speak to consumer level HP's. I do have experience with the business level machines, and I have been pleased with their durability and resulting longevity. Speaking for myself, in a laptop, I want a three year warranty, and I get that at the business level. Laptops can be so hard to get into and work on-I prefer to hedge my bet that way. Generally, mine don't die, but over several years they become so obsolete from a technology standpoint that I finally give up and upgrade to a new machine.