Friday, April 10, 2009

HP2140 Mini - and Memory Upgrade

While a geek, I never have been so moved by an electronics item to deliver an homage online. However, the HP2140 mini PC is amazing. My current laptop is a 17" screen monster. At probably 12 pounds it is a cumbersome hassle to travel with and the large screen gives me about 45 min of battery life if I dim it down all the way. While still useful in many applications (it has a full keypad, so that's nice) I needed a smaller computer for travel.

I recently bought my wife a Lenovo S-10 and it is really sweet. Still, the small keyboard didn't match well with my sausage fingers. It is nice, but plasticy and doesn't have a good feel. I've played with the Acer model too and get the same vibe. Enter the hp 2140.

The hp2140 mini is amazing. It is a lot more like a tool than a toy and it is perfect for internet, email and other applications. I don't know that I'll like doing powerpoint slides on this, but it is smaller than a good thesaurus, so it has its charms. They keyboard has 92% normal size keys that are scoop shaped and it is easy to type normally. The 6-cell battery lasts at least 5.5 hours. I have it running XP pro.

The memory upgrade to 2GB makes it run much better. I bought mine from and it was here in 2 days for under $30 and with a lifetime warranty. There is almost no information on how to change the memory online so I had to figure it out myself. Unlike most memory changes there is no memory door. You have to remove the keyboard. Take out the battery and remove the three small screws (the only three screws) with a #0 Phillips screwdriver. The one in the recess is hard to remove because you can easily drop it into the computer, so remove it slowly and invert the machine to drop it out onto a good surface.

Next, open the screen. Grab the keyboard gently on the screen side and apply even pressure to pop it out. It is scary because it sounds like it is breaking, but this is normal. Once the keyboard is vertical remove the old memory (a 200-pin DIMM) located on the left by gently pulling the two silver clips away from the memory chip. The old one should pop up.

Insert the new one kind of on an angle and push it in as far as it will go. Make sure that it is all the way in (you shouldn't see the gold tabs on the memory chip). Gently depress the memory into the prone position and it should latch into the clips, each side fitting into the notch on the memory.

Stick the plastic keyboard tabs into their appropriate slots on the front end, lay the keyboard into its space, and gently depress it into place until it clicks. Close the screen. Screw the three screws back in and you are good to go!

What seems like a difficult job is really rather simple. Remember my computer fix rules... 1. Gentle. If you have to force it you are doing someting wrong 2. Turn fine-thread screws backwards first, then forward to ensure that you are not crossthreading. 3. Make sure that you are properly grounded.

There is a lot of complaints about this machine's screen resolution and I just don't see it. Maybe I'm not asking for much, but it seems fine to me. I'm not editing film or photos, so maybe that's why I don't notice, but I think that these activities are outside of the purpose of this machine.

Overall I think it is excellent and I'm really glad that I bought it.


Anonymous said...

Any images or instructions on how to remove the keyboard? Wouldn't want to damage the machine.

Anonymous said...

HP site instructions on how to replace the memory for HP2140mini
HAs a video

Anonymous said...

Dear Kevin, Many thanks for sharing your story about the HP Mini 2140. I am a scientist and also owns a 17" brick good for my maps, but not so good for travels. I got the HP Mini 2140 last April, after trying many other options. I must say I am very happy with this tool. The keyboard is the best so far amongst netbooks, the aluminum case is great for go everywhere, windows xp means that you can run plenty of scientific applications on it and the 160 gb hard drive can see a lot coming. Network is awesome.

However the screen resolution is a bit of a problem with win xp. But we can live with it.



Anonymous said...

Fabo - from start to finish in about 3 minutes. Of course it helps to have a set of jeweler's screwdrivers. Thanks a bunch.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the guide, mate -- just followed it, worked well for me :-)