Hot on the heels of our G75VW upgrade guide, Iíve got my hands on its 15 inch brother Ė the G55VW Ė for another upgrade guide. In this article Iíll cover exactly what you can (and canít) upgrade on the G55VW, so you know exactly how to plan your purchase and upgrades.
Opening it up:
Firstly, flip it over:
Like the G75VW, there is a single access port on the bottom held on by a couple of Philips head screws Ė grab the right sized screw driver to take them out, and with a little tug lift off the cover.
The G55VW has a total of one 2.5″ HDD bay, one mSATA socket and four DDR3 SO-DIMM slots. The area just opened allows access to two of the DDR3 SO-DIMM slots and the single HDD bay. The mSATA socket and two additional SO-DIMM ports are not user-accessible (if you want to retain your warranty) so should be upgraded by an official ASUS rep or decided on before purchase. If you consider yourself technically capable and donít care for your warranty they are upgradeable, but I warm you that itís a mammoth task to get into the inner workings. See this thread on notebook review for more details. The mSATA socket is here and thereís also a standard mPCIe socket used for the WiFi card too.
Both the mSATA and HDD SATA sockets are SATA 6Gbps capable, and both can be tied together with Intel RAID by simply enabling the RAID option in the BIOS.
Alternatively a small mSATA drive can be setup as a caching drive to support the larger 2.5″ HDD, or a larger mSATA drive (128GB are available at the time of writing) can be setup to house the entire OS and recovery partition, leaving the 2.5″ HDD space free for a future upgrade (or left empty to save power and weight).
If your G55VW wasnít specíd from the retailer with an mSATA SSD installed, the installed 2.5″ HDD contains your Windows and recovery partitions (if you didnít know, you can press F9 during boot up to restore the factory default OS), so if youíre swapping it out for another youíll want to clone its contents via another PC. The connectors for 2.5″ drives are standard SATA power and data, so they will connect to any PC SATA ports or fit in an external SATA drive caddy.
Below is the G55 with the HDD and both user accessible SO-DIMMs removed. The HDD is held in a small, metal case and secured down with three screws. This metal case must be swapped to the replacement HDD before reinstallation.
Officially 16GB 1600MHz memory is supported via 4x4GB DIMMs, although unofficially 32GB memory (8GBx4) can be installed (remember you need to use Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate to take advantage of >16GB of memory). The first two SO-DIMMs populated are installed at the factory/by the retailer in the non-user serviceable area so you donít have to worry about them, however if you want to absolutely maximize the G55′s memory capacity, it also means itís strongly advised to plan your needs and arrange your purchase beforehand. For most gamers however, the standard 8-16GB installed is plenty and the two extra SO-DIMM slots (shown above and below) give an extra 8-16GB of capacity on top of the two installed at the factory, which should see you through into the future.
The optical drive can be removed by a single screw at the back if it needs replacing or upgrading, while the battery can be simply unclipped and swapped out without the need for a screwdriver. The standard battery is an 8-cell 74Whr.