The Asus Vivobook 15 F510UA (listed online) a.k.a X510UA (as listed on Asus) is a mid-segment laptop with unbeatable features for the price. At the time of writing this, the list price of this laptop is $499.00 and we feel it is one of the best value laptops currently available.
The real potential of this laptop is only felt when you upgrade the internal hard drive to an SSD and throw in some additional DDR4 RAM. Yes! There is an empty slot for another DDR4 SODIMM. Out of the box, the internal hard drive is painfully slow and the new 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8250U screams for an upgrade.
The good news is that there is a separate empty slot to put in a SATA M.2 SSD and you can use your old hard drive for storing media files or data. Do remember to buy only a SATA based M.2 (Not NVMe), because that is what this laptop supports. The SATA III has a theoretical peak of 6 Gbps that should be sufficient for this laptop. For our review unit, we used a Crucial MX300 275GB SATA M.2 SSD drive. For the RAM upgrade, we used a Crucial MX300 275GB SATA M.2 PC 2400 single rank SODIMM. As soon as you add RAM to the empty slot, the 128-bit Dual Channel mode is enabled. See the patterns below (via. CPUz)
Notice the change in ‘NB Frequency‘ as well. ‘NB‘ standard for NorthBridge and we all know that both AMD and Intel have moved the memory controller from the NorthBridge to the CPU die itself. It reduced the memory latency dramatically using Intel’s QPI (Quick Path Interconnect) over a traditional memory bus. So what does this ‘NB Frequency‘ signify here? We are guessing the QPI speed, but why did the frequency increase is something that we need to research further.
So, yes, there is going to be performance improvements in both day-to-day, as well as memory intensive tasks. Since the performance improvements are so dramatic, we had to upgrade this laptop. So, without further delay, let’s list out the steps to update the Asus Vivobook 15 F510UA (or X510UA) laptop.
Asus Vivobook 15 F510UA (X510UA) SATA M.2 SSD Upgrade
The Asus Vivobook 15 F510UA was never meant to be a user serviceable laptop. Removing the back panel is difficult since the panel is made of plastic which is extremely fragile. It took a while for me to figure out the layout of the rear panel. Asus for some reason used three different types of screws, and you will need to ensure that the right screws go into the correct slots. Additionally, there are two hidden screws below the top two rubber bumpers. The rubber bumpers are glued to the rear panel, and while removing it, I found it to be the most challenging part of the entire upgrade process.
Since the process of removing the back panel is difficult, we highly recommend you to plan for both the memory and M.2 SSD drive upgrade simultaneously, in case if you are planning to upgrade both. Refer to the pictures below:
To avoid confusion, I removed and placed all the screws surrounding the laptop, so that it would be much easier for me to place them back. The next difficult task was to remove the back panel. I had to be extra careful since the panel is fragile and any extra pressure will break it. What worked for me was by using a plastic scale, by gradually removing the plastic panel, starting from the fan/heat exhaust area. Refer to the picture below:
You will need to remove the panel slowly, one portion at a time, till you complete the entire surface area. Again, you will need to be careful, and the last thing you would want to do is hurry. Once the back panel is removed, comes the easy part. Here is how it looks, once the panel is removed.
As you can see from the picture above, I have carefully placed all the screws surrounding the laptop to make my job of putting them back together easier. You can see that there are two rectangular black spots on the left-hand side. As you might have guessed, once is the empty DDR4 memory slot and the other an M.2 SATA III slot. To place the M.2 SATA III SSD, you would need to put it upside down. Once held firmly in place, use a screw that is provided with the SSD, to screw it tightly in place. See the image below:
That’s it. The next part is even more comfortable, place the SODIMM 8 GB DDR4 memory in the empty slot. Do a final inspection to ensure that the memory-module is firmly seated in place. Refer to the image below:
As you see from the picture above, the existing SODIMM provided by Asus is an SK Hynix make, 260 pins 8GB 1Rx8 “PC4-2400T-SA1-11 HMA81GS6AFR8N-UH” @ 1.2V which has 17-17-17 timings. So far, both the DRAM’s are working fine without any hiccups or BSOD’s.
Once that is completed, you can proceed to put the cover back and close the back panel. Assembling it back together did not take as much as disassembling it. We were up and running in no time. Do remember that, after the upgrade, the laptop will take a little more time to POST, since it will detect the new hardware and allocate resources to it.
In theory, you can have as much as 32 GB of total system memory, had you used 2×16 GB SODIMMS instead of 8×8 GB modules. For me, 16 GB is the sweet spot for smoother operations for the most demanding tasks that I plan to throw at it.
Hopefully, this article was helpful in pointing you in the right direction, in case you are planning to upgrade. Your opinion and suggestions matter to us. Please use the comment section below to drop us a line to let us know what you think. Cheers!