We increase the storage volume from 32 to 256 GB for the Asus E200H netbook

We increase the storage volume from 32 to 256 GB for the Asus E200H netbook

Introduction

Hello everybody.

Recently, I got my hands on an Asus E200H netbook, which I wanted to use as a portable computer for working with high-precision equipment.

Appearance of an Asus E200H with Linux Mint installed

The device specs captured by CPU-Z are below:

Asus E200H parameters in CPU-Z

As you can see, the device is equipped with a 4-core processor from Intel with a frequency of 1680 MHz and 4 GB of RAM, i.e. in terms of characteristics, it can be compared to Raspberry PI, but placed in a netbook case with a screen and a keyboard.

Officially, this netbook comes with Windows 10. However, there is one interesting point: the size of the drive is 32 GB. This volume is enough to install Windows 10. But as soon as the computer is connected to the Internet, the update procedure takes place, which often completely selects 32 GB. And this OS completely freezes, unable to update or roll back. And, as a result, it is impossible to use a netbook.

I tried the option of installing Windows 7 with the updates disabled. If you integrate the driver package for USB3 and SSD in advance, the OS is installed quite successfully, but the system crashes when you try to boot.

So I installed Linux Mint. If you display the list of drives, we will see the following picture:

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
tmpfs           381M  1,8M  379M   1% /run
/dev/mmcblk1p2   29G   12G   15G  45% /
tmpfs           1,9G     0  1,9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5,0M  4,0K  5,0M   1% /run/lock
/dev/mmcblk1p1  511M  6,1M  505M   2% /boot/efi
tmpfs           381M  112K  381M   1% /run/user/1000

As you can see, even Mint with the lightweight Xfce desktop requires at least 12 GB, which is 45% of the available capacity of the stock drive.

Let’s try to check the speed of the drive, the results are shown below:

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/mmcblk1p2

/dev/mmcblk1p2:
 Timing cached reads:   2624 MB in  1.99 seconds = 1316.06 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads: 428 MB in  3.01 seconds = 142.42 MB/sec

In general, it was a pity to throw away the device, so I decided to let it go for experiments and then share the results on Khabri. Accordingly, the purpose of this article will be to replace the drive with a more capacious one and further tests of the updated netbook.

Experiment

So, the first thing we need is to find out what kind of drive is installed. To do this, I carefully disassembled the netbook using a plastic card and started looking for a drive.

Asus E200H in disassembled form

On the back of the board you will find the next candidate. We remove the label and look at the marking of the chip:

Drive chip identification

This is a 32 GB Samsung eMMC 5.1 standard KLMBG2JENB chip. After scouring the Internet, I found a datasheet for this chip. An extract from it is presented below in the table.

Capacities

eMMC Part ID

Power System

Package size

Pin Configuration

16 GB

KLMAG1JENB-B041

Interface power:
VDD (1.70V ~ 1.95V or
2.7V ~ 3.6V)

Memory power:
VDDF (2.7V ~ 3.6V)

11.5mm x 13mm x 0.8mm

153FBGA

32 GB

KLMBG2JENB-B041

11.5mm x 13mm x 1.0mm

64 GB

KLMCG4JENB-B041

11.5mm x 13mm x 1.0mm

128 GB

KLMDG8JENB-B041

11.5mm x 13mm x 1.2mm

As you can see, the series includes chips with a volume of up to 128 GB, and the only difference between them is the height of the chip, which in our case is not critical.

I tried to buy a 128GB chip but couldn’t do it. At the same time, I came across similar chips from Kingston that could be purchased. I found a datasheet on them, the exposure is below.

Product Part Number

NAND Density

Package

Operating voltage

EMMC64G-TY29-5B111

64GB

FBGA153

VCC = 3.3V,
VCCQ=1.8V/3.3V

EMMC128-TY29-5B111

128GB

EMMC256-TY29-5B111

256GB

I compared the case type and pinout on datasites. You can see them in the picture.

Comparison of chip datasheets from Samsung and Kingston

It turned out that the pinout is the same, except for some difference in notation. Despite the tangible cost of about 50 euros, I decided to risk it for an experiment and order a 256 GB chip from an American supplier.

The chip came in a huge package that was in a vacuum sealed anti-static bag. Having disassembled everything, I got one small chip.

Packaging for eMMC chip from Kingston

The netbook board is quite heat intensive, so the bottom heating is needed. I used a lab plate with a temperature limit of 150 degrees and a separate thermocouple. I set 110 degrees on the regulator. Before soldering the chip, I checked the system so that there was no overheating and damage to the textolite under the given conditions. The test was successful.

Bottom heating test

We take out the netbook board, put it on the tile, peel off the excess stickers so that they do not burn. We glue the board over the office with heat-resistant tape so that the SMD small thing does not fly away from the air flow from the hair dryer. After heating on the tile to 100 degrees using a thermocouple, add flux for soldering along the contour and start heating the old chip with a soldering iron at 380 degrees and low air flow.

Preparing the chip for disassembly

The chip did not yield for a long time, so we had to raise the temperature to 400. As a result, we have a desoldered chip, and all the pads, fortunately, remained in place. We add a new portion of flux and with the help of a soldering iron and copper braid, we carefully remove the solder left on the board. The remnants of the flux after soldering are wiped off with a cotton swab dipped in a flux washer.

Prepared site for installation

As a result, we have a perfectly prepared site for installation. Lubricate it with flux, put the chip taking into account the key and heat the board on the tile to 100 degrees. Next, we heat it with a hair dryer at 400 for 10 minutes. According to the thermocouples, the temperature on top was about 230 degrees. I did not see how the chip was soldered, I just waited for the board to catch up and made sure that the chip was stationary.

Installation of a new chip

Next, we wait until the board cools down completely. After that, remove the tape and wash it from the remnants of the flux.

Ready-made board with a new chip from Kingston

And towards the end, we mount it in a netbook.

Result

At this stage, we try to turn it on. The netbook turned on successfully and immediately entered the BIOS itself, i.e. nothing is damaged.

Starting the netbook after replacing the chip

We are trying to load Linux Mint and check the status of the disk.

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
tmpfs           381M  1,8M  379M   1% /run
/dev/mmcblk1p2  229G   11G  206G   5% /
tmpfs           1,9G     0  1,9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5,0M  4,0K  5,0M   1% /run/lock
/dev/mmcblk1p1  511M  6,1M  505M   2% /boot/efi
tmpfs           381M  112K  381M   1% /run/user/1000

We see, instead of 29 GB, now 229 GB, i.e. the update was successful! Next, I installed Mint on the drive and checked the read speed.

zhksb@zhksb-laptop:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/mmcblk1p2

/dev/mmcblk1p2: 
Timing cached reads:   2616 MB in  1.99 seconds = 1311.63 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 428 MB in  3.00 seconds = 142.60 MB/sec

It turned out to be approximately the same.

Conclusion

In summary, we can say that it is possible to upgrade systems using eMMC without any particular problems. However, this netbook uses UEFI, so the drive is only used as a storage device. At the same time, such a trick will not work for smartphones, since you need to create the necessary disk partitions and write the bootloader. However, I consider the results of this experiment to be important and useful.

Thank you all for your attention!

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