When it comes to netbook upgrades, there are a number of very easy upgrades you can perform which will improve your netbooks performance dramatically, and others which aren’t quite so easy to do.
In this article I will list the top upgrades for your netbook, some will boost your netbooks performance, and others will add extra features that make your netbook even more versatile.
1) RAM Upgrade
One of the easiest, and cheapest netbook upgrades is also one of the best. A quick 5min job can boost your netbooks performance dramatically. Most netbooks ship with only 512 – 1GB of RAM (memory), while this is enough to run the netbook along with a number of applications, it can’t run at it’s best. You will notice slow downs and performance loss when you open up more applications.
Most newer netbooks feature a small panel at the bottom of the netbook, simply remove the cover, and swap out the existing module for the larger capacity one.
A 2GB RAM module will cost you just $25, and is the most effective upgrade for your netbook.
You can read more about netbook ram upgrades here.
2) Hard Drive Upgrade
Upgrading the hard drive can give you extra capacity, or a faster system by using a faster hard drive. This upgrade isn’t as easy as upgrading the RAM, as many netbooks don’t provide a hard drive bay access port, and you may have to remove your netbook’s keyboard to gain access to it.
Most netbooks ship with a 160GB 5400rpm hard drive, you can upgrade to a larger hard drive to give you extra capacity to store files, or to a faster SSD (solid state drive) or faster hard drive (7200rpm). SSD drives often come in smaller capacities, and can be more expensive, but perform many times quicker than a standard hard drive, boosting your netbooks performance.
3) SDHC Memory Card
Most netbooks come with a “4-in-1 media card reader” or similar, which allows you to slot in a small media card. Most are flush to the system and take up no extra space. The most common media card type to use is a SDHC card, it is relativity cheap, and can add 8/16/32 GB of extra space to your netbook for little money, allowing you to store extra music, videos and other file types. You can currently pickup a fast class 6 16GB SDHC card for just $34.
Read more about netbook SDHC cards here.
4) Crystal HD Video Accelerator
The vast majority of netbooks currently on the market will struggle at playing back any HD videos, and 1080p is almost certainly out of the question, unless your lucky enough to have a netbook which features the Nvidia Ion chipset.
But there is an upgrade that you get for your netbook if you have a spare Mini PCI-e slot. The Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator card costs about $25 (available via ebay) and once installed enables your netbook to easily playback 1080p HD videos. It works removing the load from the CPU and decoding the video it’s self. More information and an example video can be in this post: Broadcom Crystal HD.
5) WiFi / 3G Wireless Broadband
The chances are you netbook features 802.11b/g WiFi, and maybe the faster n type if you’re lucky enough. Upgrading to 802.11n WiFi gives you faster performance and longer ranges, meaning you get a faster and stronger wireless signal where ever you are in the house or garden.
Netbooks are great for on the go, so accessing the Internet where ever you are is great. You can easily add 3G wireless broadband to your netbook with a USB dongle from a service provider.
Both the WiFi and 3G upgrades are most easily done by using a USB dongle, but a ExpressCard or Mini PCI-e card might be an option for your netbook.
6) Netbook Battery Upgrade
Most netbooks ship with a 3 or 6 cell battery. Basically the more cells the battery has, the higher capacity it has, leading to longer battery life. There are even a few 9-cell netbook batteries available, but they often stick out the back of the netbook quiet some.
A larger battery can add many hours of extra run time to your netbook, meaning you can use it on the go for much longer without having to hunt for a power outlet. Always make sure you get the correct battery for your netbook model. A good place to start is looking is here.
Can you think of any other netbook upgrades? Let me know below!