Upgrade a Dell laptop?

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by NM7G, Aug 31, 2019.

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  1. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any experience out there upgrading a Dell's CPU and boot drive? From what I read, finding documentation for a Dell can be frustrating.

    I have a Latitude 6540 with an i7-4800M at 2.7 GHz, and a HGST 320GB hard drive. Bios is A12. If I could move to a CPU above 3 GHz, I might swap in a SSD. I've built or upgraded several desktops, but never climbed the Dell wall before. Suggestions?
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  2. KJ3N

    KJ3N Ham Member QRZ Page

    IMO, it makes no sense to rip a machine apart for a CPU that's .3 to .5 Ghz faster. Search YouTube for videos on how to disassemble a Latitude e6540 and decide if you want to do that much work.

    You'll see better results by swapping in the SSD and maxing out the memory.
    K2NCC, KK4NSF, KG7FIU and 1 other person like this.
  3. KC8RLU

    KC8RLU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you mean a Latitude E6540?

    Also, is that CPU an i7-4800MQ? If so, according to Intel, that chip is capable of operating at 3.7 GHz using Intel® Turbo Boost Technology and, if present, Intel® Thermal Velocity Boost. It is a quad-core chip. That should be plenty fast enough of a CPU.

    Upgrading a CPU can be done on your laptop, as long as the upgraded chip matches the same socket type. The CPU you have is an FCPGA946 type and its upgrades will be an i7-4900MQ (2.8 GHz, up to 3.8 GHz), i7-4930MX (3.0 GHz, up to 3.9 GHz) or i7-4940MX (3.10 GHz, up to 4.00 GHz). Getting to the chip involves tearing the WHOLE thing apart to get to it. You'll have to get down to the motherboard (literally removing it from the case) and probably the underside, in some cases.

    Although, I don't see why you'd want to do all that when you've already got a fast enough rated one that's also quad-core. I'd be more inclined to just tear into it to apply a new fresh layer of thermal paste between the CPU and heat sink. With that chip rated at the speed it's at, and sometimes the manufacturer not doing a good job with applying the thermal paste, you'd just want to do that anyway. The trick is to minimize heat for the performance you want.

    The hard drive is easy. And upgrading to an SSD drive will be a contributing factor benefit in overall speed increase. It won't be a whole lot, due to the Serial ATA bus for the hard drive, but it may be SATA III, which is the fastest of that standard. The access door for the hard drive is hiding behind the rechargeable battery.

    How much RAM do you have installed? If it's less then 8 gigabytes (GB), then upgrade to that or higher. I'd only go higher if you're doing video editing in HD or rendering pictures in Photoshop or anything more intense than that. You can put a maximum of 16 GB in that laptop. It's DDR3-1600 (PC3L-12800) standard type SODIMM cards.

    I hope that helps.


    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  4. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    The more than 3 GHz issue is a request from a family member. I plan to make a gift of the LT. I agree with your premise.
  5. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, a E6540.
    The chip is i7-4800MQ. However, Sys Info displayed by Linux Mint shows it running at 2.7 GHz. A recent version of MemTest 86+ also says 2700 MHz. I've been in CMOS/setup, but find nothing giving access to acceleration hooks, or any Intel parameter tweak options. So, although the chip may be quicker, I have no control over it.
  6. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    There really is nothing wrong with using the Dell forums to obtain the information regarding the upgrade you seek. Unfortunately, they sometimes work better if instead of using the specific service ID of your laptop- you drill down to the model. For example, I can enter the HPNYxxxx and go straight to all of the drivers available for the service ID that might be needed- yet on the knowledge base and forum sections, I get better results by starting with 'Laptop' then 'Inspiron' then with-hold the '17-7773-2-in-one'. Now this is all from memory, that is to say I am not using my employer's PC for this response. Some PCs can get a boost in speed at no additional cost, as in there is just an Intel driver involved. There are also various varieties of SSDs available for these, at various costs. I could tell you about the size and type of SSD used on the Inspiron, yet it might be in-appropriate for your E6540. For that reason, I would recommend a little patience and looking around at that Dell dot com website under support then knowledgebase then forums. I might also recommend an extra monitor, rather than extra speed. You should realize much better overall response with an SSD than the stock HD, thus a CPU upgrade might really be a waste of your time.
  7. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Upgrading the CPUs for Laptops can be difficult ....
    SOME laptop CPUs are NOT socketed (like Desktops) OR require the Mobile processor models.
    The Best Upgrades are usually SSD and RAM addition ... otherwise they are like Tablets.

    For Dell computer products ... you have to Flow with their Support Routes (and Idiosyncrasies) ... Frustrating for those that don’t.


    Dell Latitude E6540 Premium Laptop,
    4th Generation Intel® Core™ up to i7 processor; 2-slots up to 16 GB memory.
    Secure Business Laptop model.

    A26 is the Latest BIOS for this Dell Latitude E6540 Laptop.
    For DELL ... the Service Tag # is the Magic Number for Build Details.
    Enter a Service Tag, Serial Number, Service Request, Model, or Keyword.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  8. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just to throw this out there...

    The primary culprit for laptops failing is heat, so if you're going to install a faster processor and/or overclock one--where it'll generate more heat--you might be asking for trouble.
  9. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just FYI- https://www.dell.com/support/conten...ssor-Removal/hpZzJnYTE6Pk5JyGp51o6VGbo83pc2cr
    As I said before, choose the model number and skip the service tag ( that ID code ) if you want the best answers from the Knowledgebase and User areas. As to the solid-state drives, the Inspiron Series can use an MMC drive. It appears that your E6540 would take a SATAIII at around 450 MB/s. But because space is at a premium in laptops, not just any SSD may physically fit in the space ( for some laptops, this is a huge issue ). W9GB was correct, there is an Intel security advisory that you should heed first. As to using the service Tag, for the updates ( BIOS ) you will get to them faster. I stand by the business of getting a better Knowledgebase or Forum search *without* that tag, however. A forums 'sysop' has a small post about these searches.
    https://www.dell.com/community/Lapt...bility-with-Latitude-E6420-E6430/td-p/4509043 Also shows how some Lattitude owners solve the problem of an SSD which is too small. Yes, that is a different PC- yet now you have some idea why it pays to make a general search before getting specific.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  10. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    A couple of other notes: Forums in the Dell website are known as "Community". There is a thread on this website ( QRZ ) section which covers the specifics of certain Samsung SSDs, notably how they should be installed in terms of parameters. There is a specific post about the 860 series which is near the end of that thread, which may be of use to you. Finally, my e-mail ( as well as physical address has changed ). The new mail account ends in at att.net 73

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