Picked up a cheap laptop from Argos over the Christmas break. HP 15s-FQ2039na, 349EUR (would have been about 50EUR less without the bundled McAfee and 365 Personal subscriptions, but the laptop by itself was out of stock). The intention was to upgrade it and seeing what kind of performance I could get, with Windows 11 installed, while also thinking it would be handy to have a Windows machine around the house.
Out of the box specs:
CPU: Intel Core i3 1115G4
GPU: Integrated (Intel UHD)
Display: 15.6″, 1920 x 1080px resolution.
RAM: 4GB DDR4 @ 3200Mhz
Storage: 128GB SSD
OS: Windows 10 Home in S-Mode
Out of the box, the machine offered me an update to Windows 11. The first steps once this was done, were to take it out of S-Mode and install Google Chrome. This machine could barely manage to launch Chrome without 100% CPU, RAM and fan usage. Next step was removing bloatware apps (HP, Antivirus, Social media, etc), remove advertisements, UI animations and disable a bunch of startup programs.
It was time to upgrade the RAM. I ordered 2 x 8GB Kingston Fury SO-DIMM RAM modules (3200Mhz) from Memoryc.ie – which was compatible with my system – and I also picked up a 1TB Crucial M.2 NVMe SSD from Crucial’s EU store. The SSD has yet to arrive, will update this post once it does.
Installing new hardware
Using this anti static mat and wrist strap from iFixit, I opened the laptops enclosure and flipped the machine upside down. The battery needed to be removed first before taking any components out.
Removing the original RAM module and installing the new module was straightforward, they just clicked into place.
Next, I replaced the battery and the enclosure. The rubber feet/strips on the bottom of the laptop unfortunately suffered a little damage during this process. Once I’ve installed the new M.2 drive I’ll replace the adhesive under the rubber feet with 3mm double sided adhesive tape.
The laptop now runs smoothly. I’ve even re-enabled some startup apps, UI animations and taskbar widgets. Chrome with a YouTube video playing, Spotify playing a track, Steam open with Sonic Mania in 2x Window mode and Photoshop editing a large file. This should be enough performance!
I also picked up an IETS GT500 (the gold standard in laptop cooling pads). Some say they don’t work, but monitoring my CPU temps with HWINFO, I can verify that the temperatures drop a few degrees when I use the fan. Obviously this wasn’t necessary but I wanted to get the most out of this device and make sure it lasted a few years. The device comes in a number of variants, I chose the non-RGB lights model with USB hub. I didn’t want flashy lights on my cooling pad. On the software side, I’m using HWINFO to monitor CPU temps through a status icon in the taskbar.
Get one here at Amazon (this is not a referral link).