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Topic Title: Upgrade Success! HP-Compaq Notebook - CPU Upgraded from 2.1 GHz P320 Athlon II to 2.8 GHz N620 Phenom II
Topic Summary: Possible Rig of the Month? <g>
Created On: 05/11/2011 10:42 PM
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 05/11/2011 10:42 PM
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Trevayne10
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Upgraded HP-Compaq CQ62-225NR notebook CPU - original CPU: P320 Athlon II 2.1 GHz dual core CPU - (25W TDP) to N620 Phenom II 2.8 GHz dual core CPU (35W). Both configurations with 8 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 RAM (running at only PC3-8500 1066 MHz speed with P320 CPU. Now runs at 1333 MHz with the N620).


Before/after benchmark scores:


Windows 7 64-bit WEI scores with the P320 CPU:
==================================

CPU: 5.1

Memory: 7.1 (8GB)

Windows Aero: 4.1

3D Business/Gaming Graphics: 5.2

Disk: 5.9

==================================


Win7 Scores with N620 CPU upgrade:
==================================

CPU: 6.3

Memory: 7.1 (8GB)

Windows Aero: 4.2

3D Business/Gaming Graphics: 5.3

Disk: 5.9

==================================


GeekBench:
==================================

GeekBench 64 bit score, Win7, P320: 2919

GeekBench 64 bit score, Win7, N620: 3847

GeekBench 32 bit, Ubuntu Linux 10.04, P320: 3124

GeekBench 32 bit, Ubuntu Linux 10.04, N620: 4004

GeekBench 64 bit, Ubuntu Linux 10.04, P320: 3053

GeekBench 64 bit, Ubuntu Linux 10.04, N620: 3906

==================================

Everything is about 36% faster, huge performance increase. Runs great.

Benefits of upgrade: N620 runs at 2.8 GHz, P320 only 2.1 GHz. N620's FPU is 128 bit (SSE128), P320's FPU is only 64 bit. My notebook's 8 GB of PC3-10600 RAM now runs at full 1333 MHz speed with the N620 CPU, instead of at the P320's 1066MHz. Also, the N620's HyperTransport link runs at 1800 MHz (3600 Gt/sec); the P320's runs at only 1600 MHz.

Upgrade was 100% successful.

Only tricky thing was heat management with the integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 chip, and its contact with the heat sink. When I first replaced the CPU, I removed the cheesy white OEM thermal pad from the GPU heatsink, cleaned all surfaces with 91% isopropyl, then applied thin film of AS5 to the heat sinks, CPU & 4250 chip surfaces (there's no way to measure the core temperature of the 4250 GPU, unfortunately).

Reassembled laptop, powered it on, only to have it completely shut down after a few minutes. Did this several times. Turns out there was a ~1mm air gap between the GPU chip and the heat sink, and the laptop kept shutting itself off to prevent damage. I decided that I couldn't lay the Arctic Silver 5 on thick enough to bridge the gap. Even if I could, not a good idea.

Home remedy: Custom-made thick aluminum foil shim (cut from aluminum baking pan! 3/8" x 7/16"). I cleaned the shim with 91% isopropyl. Then I applied a thin film of AS5 to both sides of the shim, and to the GPU, CPU and heat sink surfaces, put it all back together, and it works! The laptop runs fine with the N620 CPU, no more shutdowns, and when fully loaded, running 720p HD videos at 1366x768, along with Eve Online running in the background, the CPU peaks around 77° C, which although a bit on the high side (even for a notebook computer), is fully manageable (I presume the GPU is probably running in this temperature ballpark, too. Unfortunately it doesn't have a thermal diode sensor).

Supposedly Arctic Silver 5 requires about 200 hours of near constant use, plus many power cycles to "settle", in order to provide an additional 2 - 3°C temp. drop.

I'll probably get around to redoing the whole thing with a copper shim (conducts heat about 38% better than aluminum), and I'll get one of those 3-fan USB port powered laptop cooler pads. But that's a ways down the road. In the mean time, I'm having too much fun. Heck, I had fun doing the actual upgrade!

Edited: 06/25/2011 at 03:02 PM by Trevayne10
 05/14/2011 12:25 PM
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sercanugur
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hey there,
that upgrading you have been done sounds amazing !!! i have DELL m5010 laptop which has same CPU with yours, AMD Athlon II P320 and i would like to upgrade mine to AMD n620 dual core proccessor too..

i am just wondering if it will be working well on my computer though ??
so can you please help me if i should upgrade my CPU or not..

here is my laptop:
DELL M5010_____________
AMD Athlon II p320 2.1 Mhz
DELL AMD 785GX rev.00 chipset mainboard - southbridge AMD SB850 rev.40
Ati radeon 4650
4gb Ddr3 1333 + 2gb Ddr3 1333
320Gb 5400rpm Hdd

thanks,
 05/14/2011 05:45 PM
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Trevayne10
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Hi, sercanugur,

Assuming that your Dell M5010 notebook's layout (system board, heatsink/fan, keyboard, top cover, etc.) is fairly generalized (i.e., similar to mine), you should have no problem doing the upgrade. The P320 and N620 CPUs are both DA-C3 stepping, S1G4 socket. Very easy. Flat blade screw, 1/2 turn to the left, lift out CPU, drop the new one in, 1/2 turn to the right. Turn n' burn.

As to whether you _SHOULD_ do this upgrade will have to be a personal decision, of course. In my case, I'm seeing HUGE performance improvements all around. 33% - 36% speedup across the board is not trivial - YMMV.

I got my N620 from eBay for $67.00 USD (free shipping!). Here's the link:

cgi.ebay.com/AMD-Phenom-II-Dual-Core-Mobile-N620-HMN620DCR23GM-/220748521156?pt=CPUs&hash=item3365a31ec4#ht_2026wt_905

Grab one quick, cuz there's only 5 left!

The seller is "remic-smi" - very high approval rating: 99.3% positive feedback rating among 2530 buyers. I received my new CPU in the mail in 3 days. I give this guy 100%, five stars ***** .

This was the first time I ever took a laptop completely apart, and I was very careful (and lucky!).

Anyway, into the deep waters -

First off, see if you can download a maintenance and service .pdf manual for your notebook from the Dell website. If you can get it, print it out and follow the instructions to the letter. Take notes as you go along. While doing the upgrade, as I followed along with my HP-Compaq service manual, I found that with the trickier steps it helped to disconnect and remove a part, then reconnect and reinstall it, and then remove it once again, just to get the procedure down. Once I was comfortable I moved on to the next step.

Using this approach, the second time taking my notebook apart and reassembling it was a breeze. I didn't even need the service manual. I can now disassemble and reassemble it practically in my sleep (I needed to take it apart again to deal with a goofy GPU cooling issue - which I can go into more detail later, if you'd like).

Also, as you take your laptop apart, you're going to have a bunch of small phillips screws of varying lengths and function to deal with. I used 4 coffee cup saucers to keep them all straight.

You'll need a tube of Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound (about $9 dollars U.S.), 91% (or higher) isopropyl alcohol, Q-tips, a set of jewelers screw drivers, latex gloves, needle-nose pliers, plus a confident, "can-do" attitude. Most importantly, relax.

For the Arctic Silver compound, apply a small dab to the CPU and GPU, then spread evenly to a thin film with a plastic credit card. Some people swear by the "single dab, then smoosh with heat sink" approach. I just picked one and went with it. I also "stained" both heat sink copper surfaces with the AS5, which should help shorten the 200 hour burn-in period.

Your notebook's gonna FLY.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Edited: 05/20/2011 at 01:37 AM by Trevayne10
 05/19/2011 10:13 PM
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AFK
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Hey trevayne,
Just wanted to say that your post has been a huge help. I pretty much have the same model compaq(mines a cq61 209wm), with the same processor and was looking to upgrade but wasn't sure what my options were. I mainly use my notebook for djing/music production/light gaming and was just looking for better over all performance, not that it wasnt doing the trick but heck for less than 80 bucks why not right? I originally saw your first post about your options for upgrading and was a little unsure about what to go with but after hearing your success story I'm ready to march forward with my endeavor. Thanks dude!
 05/20/2011 12:04 AM
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Trevayne10
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Hey AFK -

You're welcome. Glad if I could help, and let me know if you run into any issues.

If at all possible, try to get your hands on 4GB of PC3-10600 / DDR3 1333 MHz memory - or better yet, 8GB. That is, if you can afford it. The N620 CPU can support 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM. That's another big reason I went for this upgrade. My 8 GB of 1333 MHz RAM was hobbled by the P320's 1066 MHz memory controller speed.

-Trev

Edited: 05/20/2011 at 02:32 PM by Trevayne10
 05/20/2011 11:47 PM
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AFK
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I definitely plan on upgrading to 8gigs, I feel like 2.8ghz with 8gb of ram would make for a pretty bad ass notebook. Im curious about the whole heat sink thing, next time you open it up to do a more permanent fix i'd be interesting to see pictures your solution. please and thank you!
 05/21/2011 02:18 AM
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Trevayne10
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all I did was cut a 7/16" x 3/8" rectangle of thick aluminum foil from a lasagna baking pan(!), slap some AS5 on both sides, put it on top of the GPU, and I'm good to go!

Edited: 05/21/2011 at 04:47 AM by Trevayne10
 05/21/2011 02:19 AM
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Trevayne10
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Hey AFK,

...and like I said, make sure it's PC3-10600 DDR3-1333 MHz SODIMMs that you get. 204 pin.
 05/22/2011 05:41 PM
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AFK
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sounds good, i'll let you know how it goes, thanks again.
 06/25/2011 01:22 AM
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Trevayne10
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