What lurks inside

HP 23-q101a (Don’t be fooled by the Mac keyboard, if you recognise it — this is definitely a Windows PC. I simply prefer the Mac keyboard.)

This is my computer. Stylish, eh? This is the entire computer, by the way, not just the monitor; it’s an “all in one”. I’ve had it for about five years and am very pleased with it, apart from one thing — Photoshop runs slowly. So, in a burst of possibly misguided enthusiasm, I decided to double the amount of memory (RAM) from 8GB to 16GB. Myself.

HP 23-q101a – side view. How on earth to get into the thing??

I would never have considered this feat had I not found a marvellously helpful video on youtube in which a man walks you through every step, using a model almost identical to mine: removing the stand, separating the white back from the screen, removing bits of the innards (eek!), adding the extra RAM module, and closing everything up. The hardest part of the entire process was actually getting the back off, but I was reassured by the trouble the video man had, too.

Here it is, exposed to the world! Opened up like a clamshell, the white back is at the top and the working bits (plus the screen, which is face down) is at the bottom.

Feeling pretty proud of myself at this point!

The next step is to remove the metal cover that protects a staggering number of complex bits of stuff, including the RAM slots. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen the inside of a computer before. Wow.

Metal cover gone. What IS all that stuff??

I’ve put a red outline around the existing RAM module. The additional one goes in the slot outlined in yellow. The procedure needed more “jiggling” than I expected (video man made it look easy!), and I was terrified of touching something I shouldn’t, but the new module eventually did snap into place.

Re-assembly was much easier than dis-assembly, and soon the computer was back on its desk, plugged in. I was reluctant to turn it on though — what if I’d killed it? Was my bout of DIY computer upgrading going to result in $1,500 spent on a new computer?

After an unusually long start-up time (during which I paced nervously back and forth), my familiar splash screen appeared. Oh, the joy! The relief! And when I checked the specs — ta da! — 16GB of RAM, up from the previous 8GB.

But, of course, the point of all this was to speed up Photoshop. Did it? Sadly, no. The program does launch more quickly, and I’d say it does small tasks more quickly, but it still takes 5 seconds to open a jpg and 15 seconds to open a raw file. Those are the two tasks I’d hoped to improve, and their times did not change at all. Hmm, maybe it’s time to upgrade the processor? Swap the hard drive for a faster model? Now then, where did I put that screwdriver … 😉