10 Best Upgradeable Laptops in 2021

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At some point, your level of needs may increase, and as such, you may need extra space to accommodate all your applications.

And because the laptop is fitted with so many small parts, upgrading it can be a hassle. The good news, though, is that some notebooks give users the freedom to upgrade some of the components.

And in this post, we are going to provide you with a list of options for the best upgradeable laptops.

Sure, you have the freedom to swap your desktop’s parts quite often during its lifetime when new components are released. On the contrary, laptops are different. Laptops’ modularity is usually renounced for better portability. 

If you are here to find an affordable computer before you can settle for an upgradeable one, there’s still no issue.

That said, let’s dive in!

Best upgradeable laptops

1. ASUS TUF gaming laptop

ASUS TUF gaming laptop
CPU: Quad-core AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display: 15.6 Full HD (1920x1080) 120Hz IPS-Type display
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GDDR6
PROS
  • DTS Headphone technology
  • Durable RGB keyboard
  • Anti-dust technology
  • HD IPS-Type display
CONS
  • No multi-color backlit

If you are looking for an upgradeable laptop ideal for gaming, try the Asus TUF laptop. The TUF gaming laptop has a fast processor and GPU, the perfect foundation for an epic gaming setup.

You can run any game you want on this laptop, thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor. It also carries four cores and four GHz boost speed, due to which even the most demanding titles won’t get your laptop heated.

Additionally, the system comes with 6GB of GDDR6 memory and a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. Playing the latest games has never been easier with a graphics card this powerful and 6 GB of VRAM. 

This GPU is ideally suited for the screen’s 1080p resolution. As a result of their high specifications, gaming laptops tend to be large and bulky. Having a thin laptop like the TUF Gaming Laptop prevents this from happening.

The computer has an internal 512GB SSD drive, which is a decent amount of storage, but you won’t be able to install several games on it, so you’ll need to upgrade if you plan to install more high-end games on your system.

With the option of upgrading in the future, this laptop is a great option. It is an ideal choice if you need a laptop with excellent gaming performance.


2. Acer Nitro 5 

Acer Nitro 5
CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H Processor - up to 4.6GHz, 8 cores, 16 threads, 24MB Intel Smart Cache
RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz memory (2 DDR4 Slots Total, Maximum 32GB)
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 Slots/1 x 2.5 Hard Drive Bay Available)
Display: 17.3 widescreen LED-backlit IPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 144Hz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM)
PROS
  • Increased thermal performance
  • CoolBoost technology
  • Widescreen display
  • Long battery life
  • RGB keyboard
CONS
  • No thunderbolt

The Acer Nitro laptop is also upgradeable that comes with a vast range of features. RTX 30 series graphics card is an important feature of this product. Featuring the latest Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU, this laptop boasts one of the most advanced gaming capabilities at the price point. 

If you are unaware, Nvidia has recently launched the RTX 3050 Ti GPU, an upgraded version of the RTX 2060 GPU with upgraded 4GB RAM. Many useful gaming enhancements are offered by the RTX 30 series, including Ray-tracing, more Tensor cores, etc. 

Intel’s Core i7-11800H processor is coupled with an eight-core GPU in Acer Nitro 5. Therefore, it requires a GPU with an octa-core architecture, 16 threads, and a clock speed of 2.3GHz, capable of as high as 4.6GHz in burst mode. 

The laptop’s 15.6-inch, Full HD display features a refresh rate of 144Hz and Full HD resolution. Despite its small size, the show is bright enough to play games smoothly. It is a gaming laptop running Windows 10 with 512 GB of SSD storage and 16 GB of DDR4 RAM.


3. Dell XPS 15 9500

Sale
Dell XPS 15 9500
CPU: Intel Core i7 10th Gen
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB Solid State Drive
Display: 15 Inch 16:10 FHD+
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB GDDR6
PROS
  • Advanced thermal management
  • Eyesafe display technology
  • Quad speaker design
  • Large touchpad
  • Anti-glare screen
CONS
  • Pricey

We suggest the Dell XPS 15 as our next recommendation for the best upgradeable laptops. Similar to HP, Dell also makes some of the best laptops on the market. One of the company’s most stunning machines is the XPS 15 model. 

The laptop has a gorgeous touchscreen display with 4K UHD resolution at the front. It further displays a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 3840×2400, which makes it deliver high-end visuals. It also has an optimal RGB color gamut, and a VESA display, making it ideal for content creators.

Additionally, it includes a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti GPU, 4GB of VRAM, and an Intel Xe GPU. A backlit keyboard and a conventional trackpad complement the keyboard’s perfect key distance. 

Dell XPS 15 comes with 32GB of RAM. Though the RAM is quite high, you can still upgrade it to 64GB. Additionally, this laptop has a 1TB SSD drive, which will let you store large data.


4. MSI GL65

MSI GL65 Laptop
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10300H 2.6 GHz
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6 FHD 144Hz 1920 x 1080 pixels
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
PROS
  • Multiple heat pipes for optimal airflow
  • Splendid gaming performance
  • Keyboard lighting
  • High-resolution audio
CONS
  • The plastic build is not durable

The MSI GL65 is the best upgradeable laptop available at an affordable price. As a result of its stunning design, lightweight body, and powerful hardware, its lower price does not change its appeal. 

A 15.6-inch Full HD display would be more prominent from the front. However, it also has a 120Hz refresh rate, something most other laptops in the same price range are dropping. 

The panel offers sharp visuals with good viewing angles and a satisfactory experience overall. This laptop comes with an Intel i5-10300H chipset, consisting of an octa-core CPU clocked at 450 GHz. 

This device does not consume much power but still gives high performance due to the 10th generation processor. An Nvidia GTX GPU with 4GB GDDR6 offers excellent graphics performance. This graphics unit is one of the most popular models in this price range, so it makes sense to have it on this laptop. 

There is a maximum upgrade of 32GB RAM on this model. The amount of RAM provided by this laptop is adequate, and if you need more, you can upgrade it. Additionally, the laptop offers 512GB of internal SSD storage so that you can keep installing more games.


5. ASUS VivoBook 15

ASUS VivoBook 15
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.3GHz, 8 cores)
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display: 15.6 inch IPS Full HD NanoEdge
PROS
  • Stunning screen-to-body ratio
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Ports
CONS
  • Outdated Bluetooth technology

Next, we have a laptop that is even more upgradeable, which is the Asus VivoBook 15. Laptops like this typically cost less than $800, so the laptop offers a very high value considering the price. 

Users who perform regular work can use it since it is inexpensive. You can start with ASUS VivoBook 15 if you want to do complex tasks. The display’s resolution on this laptop is uncompromised, along with its typical screen size of 15.6 inches. 

The screen features a 1920 x 1080-pixel Full HD resolution which supports a nice and large display. It is decently bright and color-accurate—everything you might need in terms of display quality. 

The Asus VivoBook 15 comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which is impressive for the price. With 512 GB of SSD storage, data is accessed and written at lightning-fast speeds. In terms of performance, the laptop uses a CPU from the popular Ryzen 5000 series. 

Asus has equipped the laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU. Six cores and twelve threads are available on this CPU, allowing it to deliver respectable performance. 

The laptop has a base clock speed of 2.1GHz and can reach up to 4.0GHz with a turbo boost. For graphics, the laptop uses an integrated graphics solution. There is an AMD Radeon graphics chip that runs at 1800MHz and has eight cores.


6. HP 17-cn0021nr

Sale
HP 17-cn0021nr
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 4.2 GHz
RAM: 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Display: 17.3 inches Anti-Glare 1600 x 900 pixels
Storage: ‎Intel Iris Xe
PROS
  • Large display
  • Rapid performance
  • Low-gloss screen
  • Fast charging
CONS
  • Battery life is short

The HP 17 is a big laptop with a 17.3-inch display which gives a unique visual experience. This laptop’s display offers a maximum resolution of 1600 x 900 and a full brightness of 300 nits. 

Further, an anti-glare coating, thin bezels, and an anti-reflective layer make it ideal for outdoor use. Additionally, it offers 1.4 million pixels, which contributes to its excellent image quality. 

In the meantime, the display will come with an HD-quality web camera. The Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor powers this laptop and contributes to its performance. A 256GB SSD drive and 8GB RAM will increase performance. The best thing is both the storage and RAM can both be upgraded.

Besides, it also supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology for wireless internet connections along with Bluetooth 5.0. The laptop has a wide range of ports that are essential for everyday use. 

With the fast-charging feature, you can charge your laptop up to 50 percent within 45 minutes. Therefore, HP 17 is an excellent laptop with a huge display that costs much lower. Overall, this is the best budget touchscreen laptop that you can upgrade.


7. Lenovo IdeaPad S340

Lenovo IdeaPad S340
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8145U 2.1 GHz up to 3.9 GHz with 4MB SmartCache
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6 HD LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display
GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
PROS
  • Narrow bezels
  • Theater-like sound
  • HD display
CONS
  • Relatively heavy

IdeaPad S340 is among the most popular upgradable laptops in the market. Lenovo Ideapad S340 comes with a range of top-notch features that are suitable for everyone. Due to the laptop’s design, you can easily remove the back and replace any components you wish to upgrade.

With a 3.4 GHz speed and up to 4MB Smart Cache, the Lenovo Ideapad S340 boasts the 8th generation Intel Core i3 processor. Additionally, there is 8GB of RAM to ensure speedy processing.

In addition to the 128 GB SSD storage, the laptop includes an upgradeable storage option that is easily expandable over time. 

You can turn your laptop into a movie theatre by using the slip top and side bezel feature.

The addition of Intel UHD Graphics 620, and Dolby Audio, will help you enjoy endless movie nights with your family and friends.


8. Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300
CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H with 8 cores and 16 threads
RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz memory (2 DDR4 Slots Total, Maximum 32GB)
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 Slots/1 x 2.5 Hard Drive Bay Available)
Display: 15.6 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LED-backlit, 144Hz 3ms
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM)
PROS
  • Maximized performance
  • Full HD IPS display
  • Ray tracing cores
  • Fast DDR4 RAM
CONS
  • Heavy

Would you like a high-end laptop that is upgradeable at a reasonable price?

If so, then Acer Predator Helios 300 is for you. The Predator series by Acer is one of the best choices compared to laptops with high specifications and affordable prices. 

Like most laptops on this list, the new Acer Predator Helios 300 has a large 15.6-inch screen. With a refresh rate of 144Hz and a response time of 3ms, this display delivers better quality visuals. 

Featuring 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD, the device runs at 3200 MHz. An RGB Backlit keyboard and an additional slot for easy expansion are other noteworthy features.

Besides, it also has an AeroBlade fan with 89 blades to make your gaming experience cooler, but even then, you might feel the heat while gaming. All in all, it provides a good combination of performance and power efficiency at a reasonable price and is a good option for high-end tasks.


9. Lenovo Legion Y540

Lenovo Legion Y540
CPU: 9th Generation Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H Processor @ 2. 60GHz (6 Cores, 12M Cache, up to 4. 50 GHz)
RAM: 24GB DDR4 2400 SDRAM
Storage: 1TB HDD + 512GB PCIE SSD
Display: 15. 6” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS anti-glare
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5
PROS
  • Wide viewing angles
  • Full-power multitasking
  • IPS technology
CONS
  • Simple design

Lenovo Legion Y540 is another top-quality machine in the list of best upgradeable laptops. From a powerful processor to multiple connectivity ports, this fantastic laptop provides you with the flexibility to perform multiple tasks comfortably and efficiently.

This laptop comes with a 9th generation Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H processor, a powerful chip that can run at up to 4.5GHz and provides you with a smooth experience. 

24 GB RAM offers multitasking and fast performance. It also contains storage of 1 TB hard disk and an additional 512 GB SSD, which is more than enough for all users.

Even though the storage is high, you can still upgrade it.


10. Acer Aspire 5

Acer Aspire 5
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3350U Quad-Core
RAM: 4GB DDR4
Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6 Full HD IPS
PROS
  • Biometric fingerprint reader
  • Advanced security features
  • Affordable price
CONS
  • Limited storage

Since not everyone has a high budget for a laptop, we have also included Acer Aspire 5, which is a budget-friendly device. Despite its affordable price tag, the Acer Aspire 5 offers many exciting and powerful features. 

Ryzen 3 3350U is the processor it packs under the hood. There are four cores and four threads in this Zen+ architecture chipset.  Based on the 12nm process, this chipset has a clock speed of up to 3.5GHz. The system also uses AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 graphics. 

This laptop will see very narrow bezels on the front, giving it an immersive display. It also comes with a 15.6-inch IPS LCD monitor capable of resolutions of 1920 x 1080. 

Blue light shield offers eye protection, while Acer Color Intelligence provides color accuracy. The maximum brightness of this display is 300 nits, which makes it ideal for outdoor use.

Additionally, it features a fingerprint scanner within the trackpad, and its keyboard is backlit.

This laptop has a 128GB Solid State Drive with 4GB DDR4 RAM which you can upgrade.


Factors to consider before upgrading your laptop

Choosing whether or not you will be upgrading or replacing the laptop that has served you is a critical decision and can be complicated at times. First, you need to determine if the labor will be worth it – carefully examine if it would cost you less to replace or upgrade and whether you need to do it. 

Sure, it’s not a ride in the park to replace different parts of a laptop as compared to a desktop, but you can upgrade your computer if you have the right tools and are serious about the upgrade. 

That said, let’s dive into some of the instances when you might call for the upgrade of your laptop and what you should do. If you like, call this section the factors to consider before upgrading your computer or reasons why you should improve your computer. 

My laptop is super slow

Let’s break it down: the hardware that determines the speed of your laptop is the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the Random Access Memory (RAM). Sure, you can always upgrade these components, but we have to confirm that it’s a hassle to do so on a laptop. In some cases, if you realize that either of them is faulty or not just what you want, you may better consider replacing the computer than upgrading the parts. 

However, there is some good news. Out of the two components, memory is quite straightforward to deal with. For example, assuming that you need more RAM, you’ll open the bottom of your laptop and top up your RAM, then close again. 

But before you make a hasty decision of tearing your laptop down apart or deciding that you need to get a new laptop, you need to critically review the issue to see if you can spend less with a few different alternatives. Sure, you may think that a super slow laptop needs an upgrade, but in reality, this laptop may need a little TLC. 

Need more laptop storage

Maybe you need enough space to enable you to store your large files, including videos. In this case, you will need to use an external hard drive to have more laptop storage. By doing this, you will have more space to store and back up your files. 

The advantage of having an external device is that it doesn’t have to fit inside the laptop. Instead, you’ll connect it to your computer using a USB. Additionally, these devices will serve you just like the internal HDD would help you. Perhaps the only difference is that you cannot install the external device inside your laptop. You can store music, videos, software, and any other thing on this device. 

Hard drive is faulty

Generally, it would make a lot more sense to replace a faulty hard drive than to buy a new laptop. However, you need to make sure that you make such a decision after you have confirmed that the hard drive can’t be replaced. If you think that you need to buy a new laptop hard drive, it will help if you first ran a hard drive test to affirm yourself that the hard drive to confirm the issue. 

In some cases, you will realize that your hard drive gives off an error that causes some issues to the booting process. You might think that your hard drive needs a replacement, but that’s not usually the case. That is why you need to make sure that you are aware of the problem before making any decision. This will prevent you from making any hasty decisions that you may come to regret later. 

Finally, we still agree that some hard drives could be faulty and need a replacement. That said, you should replace your hard drive if you have confirmed that it needs replacement. 

My laptop screen is bad

Let’s face it: you won’t be able to do anything with your laptop if the screen is not in perfect condition. And one thing for sure is that you can repair or replace your screen at an affordable price instead of buying a brand new laptop. 

There’s no need to buy a brand new laptop just because your computer doesn’t charge. It could be a problem with the power cable, the charging system, the battery, or even the power source. So you need to carefully check and identify the issue because the chances are that one of those is the issue. 

If the problem is originating from the battery or the charging cable, good news because those can be easily replaceable, however, it will help if you plug the laptop to see if the battery is the problem. If the computer can power on, then it means that your battery has issues. 

Once you have confirmed the battery to be the issue, remove it from the back of your laptop and confirm the type of the cell. This information will help you look for a replacement.

Also, you can test different cables before you decide to buy a new battery as the cable could also be the issue. Ideally, you are taking all these measures to ensure that you are not making the wrong decisions.

How to buy an upgradeable laptop?

If you are serious about getting the best upgradeable laptop, you should plan to start with a lower hardware threshold. In other words, you should accept to have something less high-end at the moment but has the potential to get better later. 

An upgradeable laptop is one that supports upgrades. With these laptops, you can not only upgrade the software (which is a common feature of the majority of laptops). Rather, you can also upgrade the hardware to a greater extent (a feature not supported by many).

With these laptops, the biggest plus is that you can use them for a long without restricting yourself to older software. While most other laptops fail to accept new software due to old GPU or RAM limitations, with upgradeable laptops, this won’t be the case anymore. 

In this post, the list of laptops isn’t high-end because our main aim is to get a machine that we can later upgrade. Instead, we have summarized the middle-level to save costs and also give room for future upgrades— some of the laptops discussed in this post-fall below the $1,000 mark. 

We are assuming that your objective is to get the minimum now and then upgrade later when you settle. When you are ready, you can turn the machine into a real powerhouse and get the specs you need. 

Apart from just topping up your memory, you need to stay up to date in case there are M.2 slots, which can allow you to install or replace your SSD. Topping up your hard drive may be one of your top priorities if you have large files, music, and videos that you need to store. 

You should know that ultra-thin and rugged laptops are the least upgradeable ones. In most cases, these laptops have parts that can never be upgraded or replaced. That’s why you need to pay attention to the design when choosing a computer you want to purchase. 

Also, you need to know that most laptops with touchscreen functionalities will give you nightmares when it comes to upgrades.

FAQs

Can you upgrade the GPU and CPU in a laptop?

The simple and straight answer is NO! You see, getting laptops that you can upgrade their GPUs are very rare.  This is because notebooks aren’t designed to have slots where you can easily swap components.

How do I pick an upgradeable laptop? 

Configuring whether or not your laptop is upgradeable can be a daunting prospect. Therefore, to overcome this hassle, you need to consult your software developer or check the user manual. The user manual, to be precise, will help you disassemble the parts and let you know if your laptop can upgrade. 

What are the recommended specifications for my computer?

The most common computers in the market operate efficiently on 4GB RAM. However, that’s the minimum we’d suggest for a notebook, but not a Windows computer. For Windows users, a minimum of 8GB is a sweet spot. Meanwhile, to be on the safer side, work with 16GB to avoid storage issues in the future.

What is the lifespan of my laptop?

Typically, a laptop with excellent specifications, along with features, can last up to 10 years. Moreover, this isn’t essential for temporary applications because you only install them when necessary. 

For a heavy-tasker, it means you’ll be working on demanding projects, and as such, you need a sturdy computer that can withstand hefty tasks. This will also mean high demands on your CPU, RAM, and graphics card as well for efficiency. An older laptop, in this case, won’t be of help. 

Are upgradeable laptops worth it?

Yes, as long as pricing takes an integral part when purchasing a laptop, you should consider buying one with upgradeable features. Depending on your level of needs, the prices of these laptops vary. As such, you need to get your facts right. 

Choose one that perfectly suits your needs – whether you’re a game enthusiast or a designer. All the above laptops are upgradeable, so why not choose one for yourself?

Conclusion 

Did you know that buying a laptop is also a form of investment? You bought your computer for a specific reason, which is why it is an investment! That isn’t to imply that you should go for any laptop – consider having one with upgradeable features to save you money. 

Buying a computer from a broker can be a good bet as manufacturers tend to charge more on RAM and storage upgrades, especially for the starters. 

And yes, you want a laptop that will serve you for decades without any buffer and one that allows upgrades. Tons of laptops will enable updates along with longevity features. Dell XPS, for example, guarantees all that, including elegant designs. It is one of the top-notch laptops in the marketing industry and perfectly suits the bill. 

It is worth noting that your laptop is exposed to damages when disassembling the parts for upgrades, so it would help if you consult your software developer or the user manual for help. 

Alex Berg

Founder, writer, editor-in-chief at LaptopTalks. Starting LaptopTalks is like a dream come true, combining two of his passions – writing and technology. Even in his free time, you can often find him by his gaming laptop playing the latest video games.

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