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Thursday, 12 April 2012

eMachines ER1401 Memory Upgrade

Normally I wouldn't write a post for something so trivial such as a memory upgrade. In a normal ATX or AT form factor Desktop PC or even a modern laptop, it normally isn't that difficult to upgrade the system memory. In fact this was one of the first things I learnt to do when playing around with my dad's old system, an Intel 486dx based system with Windows 3.11 installed.

However for those who own a ER1401 they will know that it's form factor, case design, etc is compact and I had some challenges while doing the upgrade.

Here are some notes for others which if I had known in the first place would have helped me:

Please note that this is not a complete list of instructions and that if you attempt to do this, that you may (and probably will) cause some damage to the chassis due to the fact it was never designed to be opened! 


  • I done the whole upgrade i.e. Opening of case, removal of old memory and installation of new and rebuild in around 30 minutes, but if you are new to this sort of thing, take your time! 

  • Consider not doing this! It is very difficult and noisy to open the case up, at times during the upgrade I wish I hadn't, however it worked out just fine. 

  • I used 2 x 2GB modules which were left over from my Macbook Pro upgrade. They were the exact type I needed i.e. DDR3 modules. You can also order memory from Crucial if you don't have any spare.

  • There aren't any custom screws it's all just Philips screw drive

  • There is a video on YouTube which may help you understand the process of disassembly. However it's more of a joke than an actual guide, so don't expect it to spell everything out.

  • The case is made up of 5 distinct parts
    • The plastic cradle and support
      • This is attached to the main body by two screws, easy to remove and must be removed.

    • Top Black Cover (With the power button on the top right and the VGA port on the left)
      • Is attached to the side plastic support and also the bottom black cover by plastic clips. When removing this start at the bottom, where you removed the cradle and slowly separate it from the edges with a flat head screwdriver (or similar implement). As you do this you will hear clicking noises as it separates. Do this for 3 out of 4 of the edges, once on the final edge, you should be able to just pull the cover off.

    • Side Plastic Support
      • Is attached to the bottom black cover by metal and plastic clips. For me this was the hardest part. I started at the top where the power button is and used the same method as above, slowly separating the side plastic support from the chassis. After removing the side panel I found I broke two of the clips... doh! However when I later assembled the parts, it went together just fine with no visible or noticeable change.If you manage to remove this without causing damage, then my hat comes off to you!

    • Internal Metal Cover
      • Easy to remove, is attached by 3 screws, little bit awkward to remove at first, but just requires a slight bend in the metal cover to remove properly.

    • Bottom Black Chassis (which has the other side plastic support attached to it and also the motherboard inside)
      • The motherboard is housed within this chassis, before removing though, you have to disconnect the CPU/GPU fan power lead and disconnect the two antenna's for the WIFI card (little gold connectors). You also have to unscrew the CPU/GPU heat sink via the 3 screws. Once disconnected and removed, the motherboard should not be attached to anything on the main chassis. Removing it requires a bit of wobbling from side to side, but should pop out with no damage to either itself or the chassis.