QUESTION I'd like to upgrade my HP laptop's 2.1GHz Intel T8100 dual-core processor so I can use it for games such as Grand Theft Auto IV. Is this feasible, and what are the possible pitfalls? Tim Burns-Thomson
HELPROOM ANSWER It is possible to upgrade the CPU on some laptops, but you'll need to hunt down a specific mobile processor for it. Laptops are far more picky than desktop PCs about such upgrades. It's a fiddly process, and depends on a couple of factors: whether the CPU is fixed to the chipset with adhesive or had the pin welded to the socket, and whether it's accessible and can therefore be removed and replaced.
Laptops are created on jigs (special frames) that ensure all parts fit snugly and correctly each time one is created. Manually opening up a laptop and doing anything more technical than swapping hard drives or adding more RAM isn't the easiest of processes and will almost certainly invalidate your warranty. If you're dead set on the upgrade, however, see whether HP will perform it for you. Alternatively, seek out a qualified professional to do so for you.
It's also worth joining the HDX owners' forum and asking its members for some advice.
Your best bet is to fit the maximum amount of RAM (8GB) and the largest, fastest hard drive you can afford before risking taking apart a laptop any further. These can be done quickly and affordably with minimal risk to your system.
Click here for step-by-step instructions on upgrading your laptop's hard drive and memory, plus other components.