Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pimp your Acer Aspire TimelineU Ultrabook!

Hello! Welcome to the 

Acer Aspire TimelineU M5-481TG-6814 Ultrabook

Ram and Hard drive to SSD replacement guide.

Just before we get started please note that taking apart the laptop may void the manufactures warranty and that you do so at your own risk. I am not responsible for your mistakes or clumsiness. There are very small intricate wires and screws so if you don't feel comfortable undertaking this journey then don't. I assume you have experience in this process. I have not included a lot of pictures and demonstrations so this is a basic guideline to show you it is possible, follow it at your own risk. Otherwise lets begin!

I started out purchasing 8 gb of Kingston Ram that can be found here:

and also the SSD which can be found here:

The total price including shipping came out to be: $1,042.47

I found that the laptop didn't have an initial charge, which was fine in this case since I would be taking it apart anyways.

1. To start off; unscrew the sixteen screws found in the back of the laptop. (Please note that the screws are very small and get lost easy, put them in a safe spot.)

2. Once all of the screws are removed, turn the Acer Aspire back over and pull up from the right side by the screen. Move around the keyboard and keep working it loose until it pulls off. There are a few plastic tabs that are holding it in place, located at the back under the screen and front by the touch pad.

Update:

In order to get the back of the keyboard off you need to open the screen after you have the front opened up, which will enable the rest of the keyboard to come up off of the laptop casing. Without opening the screen this will be very difficult to achieve.

*Another note: There are some small connectors that connect the keyboard to the laptop. You will want a small flat screw driver to pop the little tabs up on these cables to remove them so you can completely take the keyboard off.




(click on the pictures to enlarge them)

 3. To the left of the hard drive you can see the ram slot. There is only one slot for the ram, with 2 gigs built in. I installed the 8 gb Kingston ram which was quite simple.

Note: if you are just installing ram and not replacing the hard drive then you do not need to disconnect the keyboard. The picture below shows the keyboard disconnected. The cables have small latches that release them and they pull out nice and easy. If it isn't coming out, you haven't undone the latch.
 4. Next the small board above the battery has to be removed to take out the hard drive. There are two screws holding it down, and a few cables attached to it. Undo those and proceed to the next step.
 5. There are two small screws holding the hard drive down which are found to the right of the laptop. Also the ribbon on top of the hard drive needs to be disconnected from the motherboard. Once that is disconnected, there is a small SATA cable connected to the hard drive that you simply pull out and the hard drive is now free.

6.The small ribbon on top of the hard drive is attached by some stickyness and can be removed. Along with that are two small screws again holding the small metal mount to the hard drive. It bends easy so be careful with it. Make sure you have the right fitting screw driver for these two screws, as they are torqued pretty good and the head will strip if you don't.
 7. Screw down the metal attachment with the two screws and then put the ribbon onto the new hard drive as shown below.
 8. Connect the small SATA cable back into the SSD.
 9. Make sure you plug in the ribbon into the motherboard before sliding the SSD all the way back into place. It will be easier this way as the ribbon doesn't want to bend to that angle other wise. You will know when the ribbon is in place when the small latch lines up with the black line shown in the picture. I don't have the ribbon pushed in far enough as you can see, because there is some space to the black line. Get it as close as you can and push the latch down securing the ribbon into place.
 10. Screw in the two screws that hold the SSD down, and then proceed to put the small board back onto the laptop. The middle cable attaches first, and then the two ribbons.

11. Next plug the keyboard back in. I found this part to be a little tricky because of the small size of the ribbons. There is a small brown ribbon that goes to the left, and a white ribbon that goes to the right, onto that small board we removed earlier. And one other ribbon that connects the keyboard to the motherboard.

Optional:

Hard drive caddy with second SSD for more storage. Never tried to see if these could be set up in a raid or not but it worked great as a cache drive.
 


Once you feel comfortable that the ribbons are in place, simply snap the keyboard back in place and put in the sixteen screws into the back. Now you are ready to start this mean machine up!
Here I am installing Windows 7 Ultimate. It took about 10 minutes or so.

 This final image shows that Windows now sees 10.0 GB of ram. I didn't take a picture of the SSD but it is working like a champ. It takes about 8 to 9 seconds for the Acer Aspire to boot up from cold start.
I hope this has helped you in the process to modding out your new Acer Aspire Ultrabook. Let me know if you have any questions!



4 comments:

Jeffery Heckethorn said...

Thank you for the post... Got my SSD and RAM today!

David Lee said...

I do plan on "pimpin" my aspire m5, but is it possible to replace the optical drive with this: http://www.amazon.com/SATA-caddy-12-7mm-Universal-DVD-ROM/dp/B0056EW4A4/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359436356&sr=1-6&keywords=optical+bay+hard+drive+adapter+caddy
then you could have far larger space and more use, since optical drives aren't used often

Steve Wilson said...

It would probably be helpful to mention something about HOW you get the cables/wires disconnected.

I just tried and completely ruined the connectors for the keyboard and touchpad, so it's ruined as anything other than a desktop cpu.

teekon said...

I added a picture of my laptop with the hard drive caddy and second ssd. It is definitely do-able. Also to get the cables disconnected you simply lift a small tab at the connection top and the cable will be free. I included a picture at the beginning of the post showing one of the small tabs. You have to be pretty gentle with them because they will break easily.