ASUS X50R Hardware Tips

CMS, Website, Technical

Posted by Sam Bartle on 1 Feb 2019

BIOS Battery Replacement

I've been having some problems recently where the laptop would power on (the power LED is lit), but nothing appeared on the screen, and no boot sound was played. After accidentally leaving it in this state I noticed that it had managed to limp into the BIOS with a funny rainbow coloured logo in place of the usal white one At this point I rebooted it and it came up with the usual BIOS logo and a message stating that the CMOS battery was running low. Excellent I thought I'll just go and change that and the problem will be solved. It turns out this is easiser said that done as the battery has been located deep inside the laptop, you can see it by removing the large panel on the laptop, but to get full access to change the battery you would need to take the whole machine apart and remove the motherboard. Now if you know me you will know that I'm not one for unneccessary work, so I looked for a more laid back approach. I was about to cut the plastic away to get access when I had a brainwave to get the battery out. What follows is documentation to show you how to do this easily and without needing to break anything. You will need a new CR2032 (These Ones) 3V coin cell to replace the used one.

You could do irreversible damage by following any of the information on this page. You are obviously on your own if you try anything here. I offer no guarantees, however I have personally tried everything here and it all worked for me.

  1. Disconnect the PSU and remove the battery from the laptop.
  2. Place the laptop upside down on a soft cloth.
  3. Unscrew the 5 screws holding the larger removable panel in place.
  4. You should now be able to gently prise off the panel, revealing the Wireless NIC, CPU, GPU and cooling, now would be a good time to hoover out all the dust in there.
  5. If you now look under the plastic between the Wireless NIC and the back edge of the case you should be able to just see the battery.
  6. To remove the battery you will need to remove the Wireless NIC, this is acheived by gently popping off the two aerial connecting wires, and unscrewing the two screws, the card will automatically pop up at this point and you can gently remove it.
  7. Now you can see the battery you must remove it. The easiest way to do this is to bend the third of the small metal hooks in the plastic upwards, leaving access under it through the small hole in the black plastic.
  8. What you need to do here is insert a thin screwdriver into the hole you have created, and put it between the two white edges of the battery holder.. then gently ease the battery to the left (as you look at it from the front), which allows it to pop out. You can then shake it out of the case through the Wireless slot space.
  9. The tricky bit is getting the new battery in.. The key is to gently push it (right side up) into the gap aiming to get it lodged under the left hand clips and sticking up, and then gently push it down from above (via the magical hole again)
  10. The last step is to put everything back where it was and reconnect everything and power it all back up.

CPU Upgrade

The X50R appears to use a Socket M CPU (Despite the socket in the laptop suggesting otherwise), the CPU supplied with the laptop is a pretty average Intel Core Duo T2250, which is a 32bit only CPU and lacks the Intel VT extension required for proper virtualisation. Unfortunately the Socket M CPU is physically the same as two other Intel sockets, but not electrically, which could easily result in disaster. In order to avoid this I did some research into compatible CPU upgrades, and decided that the best choice would be the Intel Core 2 Duo T5600 CPU, as it is faster, supports 64-bit, has VT support and it's really cheap on ebay (It's not the absolute fastest you could fit but its the most reasonable price/performance ratio). It's available in two socket types (Socket M and BGA479) one of which will work in the X50R (the Socket M one). There appear to be 3 steppings (revisions) of the Socket M variant which are: SL9U3, SL9SG and SLA4E - In theory any of those 3 should work, but the only one I have personally verified is the SL9U3 one. Incidentally SL9U3 is a great unique search term to use on eBay when searching for this CPU

BIOS Update

There are a severe lack of BIOS updates for this model (the one on the ASUS website (0502) is actually the same one that my laptop shipped with) The good news is that the BIOS for the F5R appears to be identical as if you diff the 0502 version for each model against each other they are bit-for-bit the same (I tried this as I also have an F5R and they appear to be 97% identical hardware), based on this I took a risk and flashed the 0505 BIOS from the F5R to my X50R, I can confirm that it worked fine for me. Now I'm not saying you should flash this update, but if you do update the CPU and find it doesnt work it might be worth a try (my upgrade above was done after I flashed 0505 so im not sure if it would work without it)  

WARNNG: You could do irreversible damage by following any of the information on this page. Cross flashing BIOS is usually a BAD IDEA. You are obviously on your own if you try anything here. I offer no guarantees, however I have personally tried everything here and it all worked for me.