Yes, you can upgrade the memory, HDD on Acer’s $199 Chromebook

The Acer C7 Chromebook is one of the cheapest laptops money can buy. It sells for just $199 and features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, a 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron 847 processor and runs Google Chrome OS.

But the hardware is virtually identical to what you’d find in a cheap Windows laptop. So if you’re not satisfied with the 2GB of RAM and 320GB hard disk that come with the Acer C7, you can take off the bottom panel and upgrade or replace them yourself.

Acer Aspire 756 upgrade

The method for opening up the Acer C7 is pretty much exactly the same as for opening the Acer Aspire One 756 notebook (which is a slightly more expensive version of the same laptop that ships with Windows instead of Chrome OS). You can find details at the Acer support site.

In order to open the access panel you do have to break a little sticker hiding a screw. So if you send in your laptop for repair, Acer will be able to tell that you’ve tampered with it. But how much do you really care about the warranty on a $199 laptop anyway?

But once the case is open, you’ll notice that there are actually two memory slots. One is filled with a 2GB stick of RAM, leaving the second for upgrades.

All told, that means you could install up to 16GB of memory in the Chromebook, although most people probably won’t need more than 4GB or so (unless you regularly have a few dozen browser tabs open at once.

Opening the rear panel also exposes the 320GB hard drive, which is hooked up to a SATA connector. You should be able to replace it with a larger hard drive or a faster SSD if you really want — although you’ll either need to bring your own operating system or clone the drive.

Upgrading the memory is probably one of the cheapest ways to improve performance on the inexpensive Acer C7 Chromebook. But if you plan to turn this laptop into a Windows or Linux machine, you may also want to invest some money in a faster or larger storage drive.

via Engadget, David, and David Bauer

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawne-Beeson/100000728451467 Shawne Beeson

    Wonder if you can upgrade the CPU

    • Chris Jones

      I second that..
      would be nice to toss a little better processor in there
      ..

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        At that point you’re probably better off just buying a different laptop. It’s a lot tougher to upgrade laptop CPUs than desktop processors.

    • normcf

      I believe it is soldered in, although it is difficult to tell under the heat sink.

  • Carlos Vargas

    The real question would be if you loaded your own OS will it launch it. I ask because Chromebooks come with a locked down firmware as it is. Only the CR-48 has been able to in the past to install anything that was not linux.

  • Rex Rollman

    Since ChromeOS is a 32 bit OS, it won’t use more than 3GB, regardless of what is installed.

  • Bill Bradford

    I did exactly this when I got mine; upgraded the RAM before I even powered it on for the first time. Threw in a pair of 4G sticks I had lying around; it works fine with 8G total so far. The HD is one of the slim 7.5mm types – most 9mm SSDs won’t fit. I made a 64G Crucial M4 work by unscrewing the SSD’s cover, taking out the plastic “spacer”, putting electrical tape over the inside of the cover that goes up against the PCB, and then taping the cover back together. ChromeOS restored just fine from a USB stick, and I now have a dual-boot ChromeOS/Ubuntu setup.

    • http://www.facebook.com/victor.e.lopez.90 Victor Eduardo Lopez

      Does the battery life improved with the SSD?

    • http://www.facebook.com/dailomac Dailo Mac

      is 8gb max capacity for memory? i read it is on the tutorial provided above..

  • Diggity

    Has anyone tried to instal Win 7? I think the way to go is instal Win 7 on another notebook (I’ve done it) using the HDD out of this computer and then re installing that HDD into this Netbook… Maybe a duel boot ChromeOS/Win 7 by adding Chrome after Win 7 via the way I mentioned or through a USB thumb drive? Does the BIOS need to be flashed??? Thanks-

    • Diggity

      Not sure if that made sense- Take HDD out of this notebook and install into another notebook then install Win 7- install back into this notebook and maybe that would be a way to install Win 7 / Chrome OS duel boot option :)

    • Cptdolce

      you can’t install windows onto a chrome anything unless it’s the first gen. Chrome book Google had Acer install a special type of bios into the laptop which is really hard to get around until they find way so for now all you can do is empty out the laptop from all it’s hardware and rebuild it with standard parts and basically make an average Acer laptop.

      • Vander626

        That’s what “they” say but I remain unconvinced at this point…..

      • http://www.facebook.com/cees.timmerman Cees Timmerman

        To disable UEFI secure boot, follow the steps at: http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/developer-information-for-chrome-os-devices/acer-c7-chromebook#TOC-Entering-Developer-Mode
        “””
        To invoke Recovery mode, you hold down the ESC and Refresh keys and poke the Power button.

        To enter Dev-mode you first invoke Recovery, and at the Recovery
        screen press Ctrl-D (there’s no prompt – you have to know to do it). It
        will ask you to confirm, then reboot into dev-mode.

        Dev-mode works the same as always: It will show the scary boot screen
        and you need to press Ctrl-D or wait 30 seconds to continue booting.

        You’ll still have to run “crossystem dev_boot_usb=1″ and reboot once to boot from USB drives with Ctrl-U.

        Caution: Modifications you make to the system are not supported by Google, may cause hardware, software or security issues and may void warranty.

        To leave Dev-mode and go back to
        normal mode, just follow the instructions at the scary boot screen. It
        will prompt you to confirm.
        “””

  • Chuck B

    How does one clone the HDD onto a SSD without a Windows computer??

    • http://www.facebook.com/cees.timmerman Cees Timmerman

      FSArchiver or CloneZilla, ran from a bootable USB drive.

  • sushigeek

    Can someone who’s put Ubuntu on this Chromebook and upgraded to 4GB of RAM test out playing Minecraft and let me know how well it performs? (FPS? I’m not expecting anything spectacular.) My dad is talking about buying me one of these for my computer programming classes (Greenfoot/Java) in high school but the other thing I want to do with it is play Minecraft. Thanks.

    • Cptdolce

      It’s actually pretty good I have java and ubuntu installed it gets a little choppy sometimes but it goes away I have 10GB of RAM I know some websites that can help you out if you do get it

  • Captain Corndog

    I installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

  • politico91

    I’ve been able to in install uBuntu 12.04 on a 32gig memory stick. How do I get it onto the actual 320 hard drive?

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      There should be a button that says install on the desktop when you run Ubuntu from the flash drive. Click it and follow the instructions.

      • politico91

        Hello Brad,
        That’s what I thought. I have been using Ubuntu for quite a while, but after doing this install of chrubuntu it installed to a 32 gig stick but that was it no install icon or anything.

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        Oh sorry. I responded to this while I was on the go and didn’t notice we were talking about a chromebook.

        The chrubuntu script should install the is to your hard drive. So instead of running from a flash drive and looking for an install icon, just follow the steps for installing chrubuntu to partition the hard drive and install Ubuntu.

      • politico91

        I’ve tried that several times. Even going so far as to change /dev/SDA to /dev/sd?. The last time I ran the wget http//goo.gl /tnyga; sudo bash command. It seemed to get stuck in an endless loop after downloading about 10 files. The first set downloaded 100% and then it was only getting 27%. Also I let it run for almost an hour before I ctrl-c to stop it. Any suggestions. Thanks.

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        Hmm… nope. The process described here is what worked for me:

        http://liliputing.com/2012/11/how-to-install-ubuntu-12-04-on-the-199-acer-c7-chromebook.html

        You might want to see if Jay Lee has any advice, or sift through the 292 comments on his post to see if anyone has had a similar problem:

        http://chromeos-cr48.blogspot.com/2012/04/chrubuntu-1204-now-with-double-bits.html

      • politico91

        Thanks for all of your help. I’ll try the link you’ve enclosed.

  • Ricky

    I have 2GB of RAM from an old laptop, hoping it works with this Acer so I could have 4GB of RAM.

  • Vander626

    You may want to consider having your copy edited by someone knowledgeable; rather than “all told”………..it is “all tolled” (toll = to add up).

    • Really?..

      I hope that you are kidding. It’s “told” (told = said).

  • Vaggelis Tsagris
  • TEACH ME HOW TO…

    Does it come with 320 GB of HHD? If it does, can I have a link to where I should buy it off of Amazon? Thanks!