The Acer Iconia Tab W500…Hmmm Upgrades…

So for all you slightly more tech savvy dudes…and dudesses…of course, I thought i’d do another blog about upgrading the Acer Iconia Tab W500P. Now there isn’t much you can upgrade, however trust me when i say it makes all the difference. Small number of upgrades and big improvements. I had been wanting to put 64-bit Windows 7 as soon as i saw it online and read all the specs a million times…ok that’s silly, not that much…2 million times. But i thought i’d wait for a new hard drive before doing this and then see a whopping mega improvement whereby it transforms and drives me to work and then flies me to the moon and makes cheese on toast. Yikes! Shouldn’t have said that, now i have to open up a bag of grated cheese to eat while i type this…Ok there ready. Seriously, the improvements aren’t enough to make you kiss a monkey on the butt…except for you monkey reader; but they are BIG improvements. For starters the original 32GB hard drive installed i believe runs at 30 Mbps write speed and 160 Mbps read speed. This upgrades to 500 Mbps write speed and 540 Mbps read speed, apparently the fastest mSata SSD on the market. Trust me once installed, you feel it (the power of the tablet that is). Bare in mind all drivers from Acer’s website work in 64-bit EXCEPT for Wifi drivers and the gyroscope tablet rotate drivers. For Wifi it is perfectly fine because Windows Updater finds it for you and when updated, Wifi is back. However know that currently the screen rotation function is currently not supported in 64-bit. It should be soon…right? Acer?

Upgrading Time

RunCore Pro V T50

RunCore Pro V T50

So first thing was to pre-order the latest “RunCore Pro V T50 6GB mSata III 120GB SSD” After a month from “AsiaTechTrade“, due to the delay of the drive, not the company, my drive came home, with an additional 4GB key shaped USB as a gift for the pre-order delay -Got to say i was pleased of their generosity. After licking the USB several times to see if it was really water resistant, i decided to open up the tablet with only a detail lacking video to go by. The one thing this video mentions but doesn’t show clearly is that the tablet has no screws holding the back cover, but very weak and brittle CLIPS holding it together, and about 20 of them too. So i began by doing the following steps.

NOTE: I am not responsible for any damage caused. It is difficult to do even with confidence. BE VERY CAREFUL. If you still wish to do it, then pretend you are operating on a balloon… a touch screen balloon that runs windows 7.

  1. I removed any additional components e.g. SD Card, and opened the SD card cover.
  2. I used a piece of flat plastic. Mines was a baby sized chip fork like spoon. It’s important to be plastic to caused none or minimal cosmetic damage.
  3. The first one is always a nightmare and in this case it was. I pried the plastic into the SD slot area and in between the cover and front case.
  4. Once the first clip was out i worked my way up to the volume buttons and to the corner. The best i noticed was to pry the plastic in and wobble it up and down firmly but gently, and eventually the clip gave way without breaking. Before i managed to find this easier technique i managed to crack one tiny part of one clip. That’s how easy it happens, but it was a small one so a little glue and it was unnoticeable. And careful not to pry the plastic in too deep. You don’t want to touch anything inside.
  5. With the new technique of wobbling the plastic, it took from 20 minutes on the SD slot area to about 10cm up and then the rest of the tablet with the wobbling technique took 10 minutes…awesome!
  6. And pop, it just popped off.

The inside was amazing, nice and puzzle like. The SSD had a silver foil over it which i peeled off and unscrewed the one single screw holding the drive. I unscrewed it and easily pulled it out and replaced it with the new one, making sure that i put the foil back over it the exact same way. From here i noticed the RAM and i was like “Nooooooooo!” The 2GB RAM is soldered onto the board. Which means for me, if i want to upgrade, which if you want you can, i’ll have to send it to Acer. And you know what that means…Money Money Money! Anyway once the new drive was in i just placed the cover over appropriately and with gentle taps popped the clips back in, which was easy as cheese (which is easier than pie or cake…..or peanuts).

Turned it on and ERROR! Not too worry, the drive has no operating system on it. I connected to an external drive and inserted my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. You may need to check the BIOS settings to read from the Disc Drive or activate F12 for boot options during booting screen. It booted from disc and took about 20-30 minutes to install Windows. Voila! An Acer Iconia Tab W500P with Windows 7 64-bit. And that’s when you notice that the tablet has sped up dramatically. To me it feels like more than double. And when the Windows Experience Rating was checked, originally it was 2.7 due to the processor but now it was 2.8. It actually made the processor think it is faster. Here’s the rest of the Rating, prepare to be amazed, especially the graphics.

Acer Iconia Tab W500P Windows Experience Rating

Acer Iconia Tab W500P Windows Experience Rating

Gaming graphics on 5.5…that’s wow, and this is only a tablet. Not only do the 120GB mSata SSD and 64-bit OS work together with the Dual Core processor to work faster, but the SSD is so good (running at under 2W) but this also means increased battery life which isn’t like 10 hours more, but you can feel it. One expensive upgrade and everything upgrades with it. Programs like Photoshop, Microsoft Office 2010 and games in general, run way better, open faster and for games settings can even be slightly increased. Even the touch response seems to feel quicker; and with 60 GBs used on the 120 GB SSD, cold boot from Power Off on my tablet now takes about 15-25 seconds, and powering down 5-10 seconds. I could ask for anything more.

Windows 8 on Acer Iconia Tab W500

Picture from Engadget

Now all that’s left is Windows 8. With tested boot times of 5-15 seconds on normal laptops and touch screen friendly interface with both the Metro forefront of the OS and the standard Windows part, Windows 8 is supposed to be designed with touch-in-mind. There are several videos on youtube, including some of Windows 8 Developer Betas installed on this very tablet. I for one cannot wait, and after the Microsoft Windows Vista incident (yep i refer to it as an incident), i somehow feel proud of Microsoft with Windows 7 and now Windows 8. And i’m more a mac person (bet you didn’t know that). As for Apple, i am stil waiting on the rumoured yet Patented, Mac OS Tablet. Thanks for reading.