Dell Mini 1012 – Extending the mileage

Netbooks have come and go. They have run its course in the history of computing. People who bought into the netbook concept have now moved on either to ultrabooks or tablets. No one looks at netbooks now. You can’t sell them on eBay/gumtree. No one wants them, not even kids. People scoff at netbooks nowadays. They have become as worthless as dirt.

We are still hanging on to our 2 year old Dell Mini 1012. Sure, a new 11″ ultrabook will be a lot better but why dispose off a perfectly useable hardware especially when you are able to recognize its strengths and weaknesses. This is not a post to justify which computing tool is the best – whether a tablet, netbook, ultrabook, notebook, whatever. This is a post documenting how we are giving our little netbook a small treatment to extend its lifespan.

The most obvious issues with lower end netbooks is their low screen resolution. Most of these netbooks are stuck with a 1024 x 600 screen resolution, an odd size to say the least. Fortunately, the Dell Mini 1012 supports a native 1366 x 768 resolution and the only thing you have to do is to replace its stock screen with a 1366 x 768 unit. The DellMini forum has an old (and long) thread that discuss the upgrading of LCD screen for the Dell Mini 1012. This thread can be found here:

http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/dell-mini-1012/19016-upgrade-lcd-1024×600-1366×768.html

The thread is dated but still relevant if you are still using the same netbook. So I bought the M875K 1366 x 768 screen from an eBay retailer based in Melbourne. Cost is $75 which includes shipping. This is the screen that I bought. It is a matt screen which has less reflection.

2014-01-26_121804

They sent the wrong screen (wrong resolution) initially but upon realizing their mistake, they quickly send a new replacement screen. I am pleasantly surprised to find that the screen is manufactured by LG, just like the stock screen from our Dell Mini 1012. Here is a quick shot of how the screen looks like:

IMG_3378

A bigger view of the labels showing the model number.

IMG_3384

Youtube has plenty of videos that show how to replace the screen of the Mini 1012. Here is one.

The procedure is easy enough. The only thing worth mentioning is that the ribbon connector to the LCD screen is pretty delicate….so I would suggest anyone attempting this should handle this with a bit of care. This is how the screen turns out for us.

Don’t be misled by the poor photo quality of the picture below. The screen is of exceptionally good quality and the screen resolution of 1366 x 768 really make a world of difference compared to the old screen. It is like a different machine altogether.

IMG_3385

So far we are happy with the netbook after the screen replacement. It is certainly more enjoyable to use and productivity has certainly increased.

We have also purchased a 2GB ram from eBay and it is on its way. So this should further give the netbook a little boost. I am not sure if I would bother to replace the internal hard drive with a cheap SSD but SSD has the additional benefit of being shock resistant…a plus when travelling. I will update this blog when the new ram from eBay arrived.

Thanks for visiting.

Edit: Installing 2GB of Ram

The 2GB of ram that I ordered from eBay arrived on 28th Jan. Cost me $25 inclusive of shipping. It is a Samsung 2GB DDR2 ram. Installing the ram is pretty easy. Just have to watch out for the fragile keyboard ribbon cable when getting under the hood.

Here are some screenshots.

IMG_3413

IMG_3412

Observations: The netbook seem much more snappy than with just 1GB of ram. This is a highly recommended upgrade to all existing netbook users.

Posted on January 26, 2014, in Computer, Hardware, Software, How-to's and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. thanks for this post. I use my Dell 1012 mini for work, it works well! Already added an SSD and I’m thinking of upgrading the memory. Now that I know you can do the screen, I may do that as well. My only issue is having choppy playback when streaming videos. any suggestions?

  2. Hi, you can certainly add a Broadcom Crystal HD card to allow video processing to be offloaded to the HD card…you can buy this card from eBay. Quite inexpensive as well. Hope this helps 🙂

  3. i have a inspiron mini 1012 and i need more space in the desktop. Therefore i decided to add a extra monitor, but when i connect this new monitor, instead of add more space to my desktop just show the same screen ( like a mirror screen). and when I try to change the settings on the panel control, does not show me any option like (extend these displays)

    anyone who can help me with this problem. please

  4. I don’t think the Inspiron 1012 can support dual screen. It will allow you to mirror the desktop but afaik dual screen is not possible.

  5. I am incorrect. I tried out my Inspiron 1012 connecting via VGA to a LCD TV (capable of max 1680×1050 resolution) and I am able to extend the windows desktop to the LCD TV although I am limited to running only 1366 x 768 on the LCD TV. So the conclusion is…Inspiron 1012 is capable of extending the windows desktop via VGA.

  6. Ram Chandra Pandey

    i have dell mini and screen resolution max 1024*600 now available and have 1 gb ram how i can change screen resolution from Nepal

  7. There are three mini pci slots – one has a wifi card and the third one I put a crystal broadcom bcm70015 into.

    Can I put two bcm70015? The middle slot is for larger cards but one can get the chip with a large heat sink which takes the space up. Would two bcms be an advantage?

    Incidentally as I write, Opera/Chrome don’t support the bcm but internet explorer does, as well as windows media player. I have observed cpu usage go down to as little as 40% on HD video. For web watching, 70% is typical so your machine won’t be maxed out and unusable – this is just for windows, so imagine what linux would be like…

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