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Can iFixit upgrade my 'non-upgradable' hardware for me?

There are more and more devices with 'non-upgradable' components: while hardware gets more and more tightly integrated, we see more often than not CPU and RAM soldered onto motherboard rather than socketed, and hard/solid-state drive hidden under the lid rather than user-accessible door.

This is an obstacle to upgrade, however it's not an insurmountable one, is it? Computer enthusiasts have a history of doing crazy things to their computers, after all. For me, the 'aha' moment when I realized that 'non-upgradable' stuff might be not *that* 'non-upgradable', after all, when an acquaintance of mine have replaced a battery in his old *iPod Touch* in a generic service center; a thing I thought of as impossible.

Does iFixit offer upgrade services to upgrade 'non-upgradable' components? If someone at all does, I imagine that should be iFixit.

If iFixit doesn't, then do you by chance know of a good place that does?

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Nickolai, upgradeability is very much dependent on specific parts and IC's (processors, memory modules etc.) In general, sure it could be done. If you know how to reball microprocessors, if you have the tools, and if you know how to microsolder. Try to solder with a microscope and see how you manage:-) not an easy task at all. At minimum you will also have to have the datasheets on the specific items you want to upgrade. Pin location, solder ball grid as well as general size do matter. You will need to also have the right stencils, solder balls etc. As an example you could take a look at the datasheet for the Core i5-4300U processor for the Surface Pro 2 CPU on here. Scroll down to the end where it tells you about the Ball information. This will have to be matched by any upgrade. One more important thing I can think of is the ability of the firmware, or OS of the device in question, to access the new IC's (whatever it may be). Not all firmware will support upgrades. This may force you to rewrite routines in the firmware and recompile it and reprogram the I/O IC. As you can see, not an easy task and most certainly nothing generic about. Hope this helps, good luck.

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I understand that this is a technically sophisticated process. What I hope for (and I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear) is that there are professionals out there who do this sort of thing a lot, and are good at it. I would like to know of such place online that does this sort of thing professionally, for a fee.

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You would be looking for a Hardware Developer and Hardware Engineers. You could try places like LinkedIn.com and see if anybody is willing to develop that for you. Couple $$$$ should get it accomplished. Personally I do not think you are going to get it accomplished on here. Great discussion topic but very difficult to accomplish. To do any task like will cost time and money (plenty)

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I don't think replacing chips with pin-compatible counterparts counts as a development. I am afraid of steep price and unsure outcome of hiring someone to do this as a one-off. I would like to see whether I can find 'upgrading non-upgradable hardware' as a service, first. I would imagine that it should be a readily available, even if not widely known service.

Frankly, with all those detailed tutorials that iFixit crew publishes, which require all these specialized sophisticated tools and skills sometimes, I expected that if someone sell such services, it must be them, as the, say, Macbook Air teardown looks to me a lot like an advertisement for just this kind of service.

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Nickolai, "pin-compatible counterparts counts as a development" that is exactly the issue. You have to determine if an upgraded IC posses the characteristics of the previous IC. Most of the time they do not, hence the upgrade. A teardown, no matter how complex is easier since you are identifying existing parts versus finding better parts that fits the existing board and firmware:-)

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This is the Volunteer Do It YOURSELF help forum.

iFixit offers guides created by people like yourself. So if you, or your friends, solve the question you posed take lots of pictures and notes and create a guide to help others.

For most users desoldering and desoldering logic board (or small electronic) components are above and beyond their abilities. It takes special tools, solder, and lots and lots of practice (e.g. destroyed boards) to learn how to work on multi-layer logic boards with out doing damage.

There comes a time with everything where the cost of repair exceeds the value of repairing the item (this is a very individual decision).

If this answer is acceptable please remember to return and mark it.

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iFixit just sells parts, they don't do repairs. However the answers forum, where you asked this is mainly maned by volunteers who donate their time and knowledge to help others. Some of these are professionals. You can click on the "Users" tab to locate them and take a look at their profiles. The icons with able background with an X behind them are iFixit employees.

As to if a product is upgradable, that will need to be addressed on case by case basis. Do you anything specifically in mind?

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Specifically I have RAM and CPU on Surface Pro 2 in mind (as well as maybe SSD, but that isn't soldered, and is in fact a standard Samsung 840 EVO part), but I think my question will be the most interesting in its generic form, as it applies to lots of devices with soldered parts.

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Nickolai will be eternally grateful.
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