We Opened Up These Supercharged Gaming Laptops to See Their Upgradeable Guts

Laptops haven’t been really upgradable in a while. Sure you could switch out the storage or memory on some, but as laptops have gotten thinner and thinner, even those components have become permanently a part of devices. So it was a big deal when Alienware showed of the new Area-51m at CES. Yes, it’s a 17.3-inch beast that starts at $1,950 and can go up past $4,000, but you can also upgrade the storage, memory, and even the CPU and GPU as time goes by.

But the Area-51m isn’t the only upgradeable laptop. Late last year Origin, a Miami-based PC company made up of ex-Alienware employees, announced the Eon17-X. Like the Area-51m, this device can get real pricey, but you can also upgrade everything.


So I got curious to see what the insides of these devices look like and how hard is it to actually replace the components in them. And I was surprised! These two companies have taken very, very different approaches to the upgradable laptop. So take a moment, watch the video above, and see for yourself just how different two fully upgradable 17-inch laptops can be.

Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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I’d suggest a power screw-driver with magnetic tip. Not some big-ass impact driver but a smaller unit like this. That would probably reduce your times to open up or close up the device.

I’m not so sure I see a need to upgrade things like CPU or even memory. My advice is buy as much machine as you can afford and get the best CPU and 8-16g of RAM at the time of purchase. Upgrading these things down the road is going to cost more and somehow I doubt you’ll be able to upgrade the CPU when Intel goes to the next family of processors which is likely to require different interface chip sets.

The main upgrade I could see here is the GPU but that assumes Nvidia and AMD will continue to build GPU cards to some standard that can be easily swapped out.