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I have a Lenovo T-520 Core i3, with 8 GB RAM and 500GB HDD. It's not very slow as it is, but having been spoiled at work with a 128GB SSD, I would very much like to upgrade to at least 128GB SSD, but if possible, also to an i7 CPU. I know the first is possible, but is the second?

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An i7 will draw significantly more power, thus creating a lot more heat. It's also possible that your power adapter will be under-powered (many laptop companies have two adapters, a low-power and high-power one, depending on your system configuration), leading to overheating both in your laptop and the power adapter. –  Breakthrough Mar 8 '13 at 22:08
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closed as too localized by Breakthrough, Dave M, 8088, techie007, KronoS Mar 10 '13 at 3:59

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3 Answers

Upgrading HDDs in laptops is easy. Upgrading the CPU, not so easy, it could also end very poorly too.

In theory, if they both have the same socket it could be done, but last time I took a Lenovo apart, it was a nightmare. I would not advise.

Double-check the manual that came with the laptop, sometimes Lenovo will note what CPUs the motherboard bios supports, if not, better not risk it.

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There are 2 potential issues with CPU upgrades in notebooks: BIOS support and TDP limits. The former can be dealt with. The latter could mean that your notebook would be frequently overheating and throttling.

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I believe you could upgrade to an SSD drive with minimal difficulty. There is a small possibility that the drive would be blacklisted by the BIOS, which you may wish to research, but I beleive this is unlikely. The service manual indicates several SSD drives for this laptop though I believe that most 2.5 inch drives with a 7mm height should be fine. The manual also indicates that there are i7 variants of this laptop. The listed compatible parts are:

  • 2.7 GHz i7 2620M
  • 2.0 GHz i7 2630QM
  • 2.2 GHz i7 2720QM
  • 2.3 GHz i7 2820QM
  • 2.5 GHz i7 2920QM

You should have little difficulty installing any of these provided that you buy the correct socket type, and you can handle the disassembly yourself. If your laptop is still under warranty you may wish to find an authorized service centre who could install the chip for you professionally, at added expense but leaving your warranty intact.

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