For making thin and light laptops, many manufacturers are now heading toward soldered memory, which no doubt helps reduce the thickness while making it almost impossible for regular users to upgrade memory. In order to get more RAM capacity, the only option you have is to spend more money to get a high-capacity RAM model. In this post, we will discuss how to upgrade onboard memory on these kinds of laptops.
Before upgrading the onboard RAM, it must be known how much higher RAM capacity your laptop supports. Have a look at this article for proceeding to further steps. In our case, we used the ASUS Zenbook UX430UN. It is equipped with 8 GB soldered RAM and supports up to 32GB memory.
At the beginning of this process, we must know the SPD information of RAM. This information is stored in the BIOS for onboard memory. Software like AIDA64 can’t help in this scenario.
What is Memory SPD?
Before going further, you must know appropriately about what SPD is. It is a re-writable EEPROM on the RAM stick. It usually consists of the record of important information like the RAM’s manufacturer, Operating Frequency, Operating Voltage, Read/Write Speed, Memory Capacity, Voltage and Voltage, and many other related specifications. SPD information is generally written into the EEPROM Chip by the RAM’s manufacturer (as per the actual performance of RAM) before leaving the OEM factory.
Detailed steps for upgrading onboard RAM on laptop
Step 1. Check the RAM Chip Supported By Your Laptop
First, head toward the official website of the laptop’s manufacturer (asus.com in our case) to download your laptop’s BIOS file. After downloading, use the Winzip to decompress this file. It is possible that the decompressed file doesn’t have .bin extension but no matter what extension it has, change the file’s extension to .bin and then open it with WinHex software (which can be downloaded from WinHex.com).
Then open the AIDA64 or any similar software to check the RAM’s model number. In our case, the RAM has the following model number: K4E8E324EB-EGCG. Now, copy this text and paste it into WinHex and click on search. All the other RAMs supported by your laptop will be displayed on the screen.
The display information is the same SPD information that we discussed above. The UX430UN supports six types of memory chips. Now, you can select any one of these RAMs based on your needs. If you tried to solder other RAM chips, the computer would probably not recognize it.
Six memory chips supported by Asus UX430UN
Step 2. Purchasing of Memory Chips
When checking through AIDA64, it says this laptop has two memory channels. Each channel consists of four 1GB memory chips, and you can also remove the motherboard from the laptop to see the number of memory chips (there are a total of 8 memory chips on the UX430UN motherboard, 4 chips are on the front of the motherboard and the other 4 on the back of the motherboard). Our goal was to upgrade the memory capacity to 16GB, so I purchased 8 K4E6E304EB-EGCG (2GB) chips to achieve the 16GB memory.
Now the question is, how much RAM capacity should you buy? That depends on your personal needs. This notebook also supports K4EBE304EB-EGCG, which is a 4GB memory chip, which means the UX430UN supports up to 32GB of memory. Keep in mind that you must purchase brand-new memory chips. On many E-Commerce platforms, profiteers are selling used memory chips.
Note: when purchasing, let the seller plant solder balls for the memory chips.
Step 3. Required Tools, DIY Ability, and Risk Tolerance
Before buying the memory chips, it is recommended to read the following important points and then decide whether you are eligible for doing these steps. If not, then doing this entire procedure isn’t recommended at all. It would be better to take the laptop to any professional or technician.
- Bitmap (If you update the BIOS SPD instead of changing the memory configuration resistors, you don’t need a bitmap)
- Required Tools: Heat Gun, Soldering Iron, Multi-meter, and Small Tweezers are needed. Some other things like Solder, Soldering Oil, and Flux are also required.
- Do you have proper DIY knowledge?
- Do you have the courage to accept failure and the ability to task risks?
If any trick is accidentally lost, the consequences of this failure include but are not limited to CPU Failure, a capacitor or resistor that you can’t see, costly repairs, or the need to replace a brand new motherboard.
Step 4. Remove the Memory Chip
Before starting the entire process, ensure that your hands are rubbed to release the static current from your body. Beginning with the disassembly of the notebook, unplug the battery and disassemble other laptop parts such as the keyboard, CPU fan, SSD, LCD screen, etc., which are required to be removed for taking the motherboard out. After the motherboard’s separation, find out the soldered RAM’s location. It is highly recommended to take some photos of the motherboard at this point.
Before the further operation, properly observe the welding position of the memory. Although most of the notebook’s motherboard has a frame on the RAM area, the new memory can be soldered within the frame. However, in our case, the frame size is quite large, so accurate positioning of RAM is essential. After the correct positioning, ensure that the solder balls below can easily be absorbed into the solder joints on the motherboard after the soldering melts. It will increase our success rate.
Further, it can also be seen that there is a white dot on the lower left of the memory chip and a white corner mark on the motherboard, both of which denote the correct installation area. Installing the memory chip in the wrong direction can cause problems and damage the motherboard or memory chip. Also, taking an image of the capacitor and resistor position around the memory can help prevent the wind gun from blowing too much while disassembling.
Now put a little soldering oil on the gap above and below the memory chip. The advantage of putting it is that, on top, it will dissipate the heat for the memory chip. At the bottom, it will help make the pads heat more evenly and easier to disassemble. Set the hot air gun temperature between 300-350 degrees Celsius and wind speed to a bit high. At first, evenly heat several memory chips to prevent local thermal expansion and contraction. It is expected to blow for a while. When the soldering oil starts having the bubble under the memory chip and the chip also starts to move with tweezers, properly remove the memory chip with the tweezers but remember not to lift it with tweezers. Otherwise, you may damage the capacitors and resistors on the motherboard. As we have used the heat gun on the memory chip, avoid touching it with bare hands as it would be very hot.
Note: Wait until the memory chip can be gently pushed before clipping it off from the motherboard. Forced removal of the chip may damage the chassis.
Step 5. Cleaning the chassis
After removing all memory chips, clean up the chassis (while the motherboard is hot) before the motherboard’s temperature gets low. Try to melt a little solder on the soldering iron, put it on the chassis and push it around. This will help in sucking all the solder on the wire.
Step 6. Solder the New Memory Chip on Motherboard
After completing the previous process (removing old RAM), it is time to install the new RAM with higher capacity. Apply some solder paste on the chassis, properly and equally, not too much, just a thin layer so it can stick to the memory chip and prevent it from being blown away by the hot air gun. Also, check it carefully before placing the new memory chip on the chassis to see whether these chassis are intact (chassis might get damaged when removing the memory) and whether the memory’s solder balls are intact.
Now blow the chassis with a hot air gun, set the wind speed at low, and in terms of temperature, you need to ask the seller whether the high-temperature or low-temperature tin is planted. Generally, a temperature between 250-300 degrees (Celsius) would be acceptable. Blow it for a while, and then you can move the memory chips with tweezers. If the memory chip is easily shaken, the solder balls below have melted. Also, keep in mind that the range and strength of dialing don’t need to be very large. If you place the balls in an accurate position, the solder balls will also automatically move to the correct position (where they should go after melting). Just give it a little dialing help.
Now after installing the new memory on the motherboard, do not assemble the laptop at this point. It is not recommended at all to boot up the laptop in a hurry. If someone does this, the laptop would still show the previous memory size and model. This would happen due to the notebook’s working in which it reads the hardware information (especially memory information, because its memory SPD information is only stored in BIOS) from the BIOS on booting up, and then further boot process happens.
The SPD file in the BIOS file (obtained from the official site) mentions that the laptop comes in six different memory chips. As we know, the manufacturer is also making the same model with higher and lower RAM capacity (lower-end and higher-end variants). Now, the question is; how would BIOS know which kind of memory (how much) is installed on the motherboard? At this stage, the BIOS only needs to detect the current in a few specific locations to find which memory chip configuration to use. This is the configuration resistor that is often seen. And in the next step, we will modify it.
Step 7. Modify Memory Configuration Resistors.
As mentioned in the last step, we now have to modify memory configuration resistors. Well, there are two ways to alter their configuration.
- Hardware Modification
you need to find the motherboard’s bitmap and search for memory resistors’ names (on the bitmap) corresponding to the motherboard’s position. After seeing the exact location of the configuration resistor, adjust the resistor position as the bitmap.
I tried to do this entire process on UX430UN. Unfortunately, we could not find the bitmap, so here we used the second method in which we modified the memory’s SPD information in the BIOS.
- Software Modification
The second method is related to software modification, in which we will modify the RAM’s SPD information in the BIOS. Before proceeding, it is worth mentioning that this method has a disadvantage: it doesn’t let the user update the BIOS. Otherwise, updating the BIOS will lead it to restore the original memory configuration.
Head toward the SPD Information section in the BIOS, where all the memory configurations will be displayed. It doesn’t matter at all if you understand the hexadecimal or not. All you need to do is find which current signal represents the memory configuration. After identifying, we can change the hexadecimal characters to 0 0 1 current, representing.
Properly observing each segment of memory configuration information starts with 91 20 characters, then we can swap the two strings of characters representing K4E8E324EB-EGCG and K4E6E304EB-EGCG.
After completing the modification, change the modified BIOS extension to the original one. Flash it into your notebook. Upgrade the BIOS in the future is not recommended except when you are willing to change the RAM’s SPD information again. The entire procedure is now completed. You can head towards the PC Properties to check that everything is okay, and Benchmark software is also recommended to test if the memory is working properly.