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iPad Alternative


mrossco
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I stumbled acrossed a great deal on a Lenovo s10-3t, so I decided to pick one up for my wife. A touchscreen netbook has always been an intriguing thought, but I'm worried that the Atom processor won't have enough juice, so I decided that I'm going to upgrade the sucker before I give it to her.

 

Here's what I've got coming:

 

IdeaPad S10-3t Laptop - 06514EU - Cosmic Wonder

 

  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom Processor N450
  • 1GB 204 Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM Memory
  • 160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • 10.1" 1024x600 LED Multi-Touch Display (16:9); Intel GMA 3150 Graphics
  • Windows 7 Starter

 

Right off the bat, I'm going to upgrade the memory, swap out the drive for an SSD and upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. These upgrades should not only boost performance, but improve battery life as well. Reinstalling the OS from scratch will also allow me to remove the bloatware and streamline the sucker. I can basically categorize my systems into two categories, those that I can fiddle with and those that simply have to work. This project is obviously in the latter category since its for the wife.

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I found the following articles on Tom's Hardware very helpful:

 

Tom's Hardware - Spring 2010 Solid State Drive Roundup, Part 1

Tom's Hardware - Spring 2010 Solid State Drive Roundup, Part 2

 

I haven't had very good luck with SSD drives to date, but I'd like to go ahead and give them another whirl. An SSD seems like a perfect fit for this project, and after a lot of reading, they seem like they've come a long way in the past year.

 

I decided that all I really needed was an OS drive, room for some apps, and very few of my wife's personal files. Things like music and movies can stay on the WHS, as she's not very likely to access them out of the house. When she does take it with her, it'll probably be for working on a letter in MS Office or for surfing the internet. 40Gb - 60GB should be plenty, and after checking Micro Center's website, my plan was to simply stop by the local Micro Center here in town and pick up the Crucial M225 64GB SSD with an Indilinx controller and a Crucial DDR2-667 2GB SODIMM. I've had good luck with Crucial/Micron memory in the past, and both were in stock.

 

However, my old friend EBay pulled through. For less money, I was able to pick-up a larger 80GB Intel SSD (Gen 2) and a 2GB stick of Kingston RAM. Both auctions listed the items as new, and the stick of Kingston RAM has a Lenovo FRU number on it.

 

Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M080G2XX 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM (link from newegg's site

KTL-TP667/2G 2GB 667MHz Module

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This is kind of cool. You can get carried away on a site like this. Thanks, this is a new one for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Lenovo S10-3T finally ships today! Buying from Lenovo direct has proved to be a painful process. They require your shipping address to be on file with your credit card (understandable), but any issues, and its almost a full week between retries. All issues appear to be resolved, and the unit is on its way.

 

In the meantime, both the Intel SSD and the Kingston memory have come in. The Intel was funny. I found it as a great deal on EBay, but it arrived from NewEgg! Sealed in new packaging, correct model number and everything. Must have been an replacement, but I still picked it up for $50 cheaper than even NewEgg's price.

 

I also stumbled across a great enthusiast blog that should help me get this setup.

 

Lenovo S10-3T by Jesse B Anderson

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Guest no-control

Well not sure about it being an iPad alternative.

 

$600+$200 in upgrades iPad seems like a cheaper better deal than this. Buuuuuut I will say I like where you're headed with this. You're basically going to have a touch screen netbook on steroids. It will run software you already may own. Is proven to work with existing software. If only it was ULV or i3 instead of ATOM. A lot of possibilities though.

 

Please keep us up to date! I'm curious about battery life & HD video performance, streaming performance,

 

Can't remember if W7Embeded CE supports touch but this would be an interesting polatform if it does.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, after much ado, the netbook finally arrived! Quickly, before my wife gets home from work, I need to perform some minor surgery on it to install the SSD and memory. Don't want to do it while she's home, perhaps her confidence has weined thanks to the computer part graveyard strewn across my office and basement :P

 

Installing the Hardware

 

Unboxing

IMG_0949.jpg

 

Holy cow! This thing is small!

IMG_0951.jpg

 

 

OK, now lets get this thing apart. I've worked on a lot of laptops in the past, and spent most of my early years playing Doctor Frankenstein. My first 3 laptops were (and various desktops) were actually built from a variety of dead units. My first one, infact, was held together by a few solder points and duct tape! Hopefully, I won't mess something up and send this bad boy to an early grave.

 

There are several screws on the underside of the laptop. The ones marked with yellow arrows represent the screws that need to be removed in order to access the user-servicable area. This is the part of the laptop that lets you upgrade drives/RAM without voiding your warranty. The other screws should just be left alone. Some help hold the rest of the laptop together while others may hold internal components in place. You don't want to inadvertently cause something like an inverter to be floating around inside.

 

Once the screws have been removed, you have to gently bend and flex the access panel before it will finally free itself. There are small tabs around the panel that help hold it into place, so I want to be careful not to break them.

 

IMG_0955.jpg

 

Now that we're inside, the rest is pretty simple. I need to swap out the memory module and replace the hard drive with my shiny new SSD! I'm not expecting rocket performance from this upgrade as its a low power machine. What it should do is help make this thing more stable. An SSD is a-heck-of-a lot more shock resistent that any hard drive with moving parts.

 

On a side note, I think the economy really has been getting to the computer industry. For the third time this year, I've opened a laptop with screws missing. The threads are there, but there's no screws holding the hard drive in place.

 

IMG_0952.jpg

 

 

Two interesting item(s) are what look to be a pair mpci-e slots across the bottom. These could prove very helpful in adding capabilities to the device! Immediately, additional network cards (3G) and video accelerator cards come to mind. I could add connectivity without having crap hanging off of USB ports, or I could add any number of cards that could offload tasks such as decoding off of the CPU. A quick internet search reveals, however, that one of these mpci-e slots actually uses a USB interface (not a real mpci-e slot), and any hardware that I choose to add has to be whitelisted by the manufacturer and coded into the BIOS. I'll just have to tuck all this into my hat, and remind myself that this is my wife's netbook. It has to work, and duct tape is not an option.

 

That's enough for now. Next step will be to reload Windows on this sucker.

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Thanks for sharing and the photos. :)

 

 

This has got me hooked. Can't wait to see how it turns out. Thanks for sharing.

 

Thanks guys! When its all done, I'll look back over the thread and see how I might improve future posts. Like so many others on this forum, I have a lot of projects, and I'd like to share them with you guys. Hopefully, we can learn from each others mistakes :P

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