Panasonic Toughbook CF-52, how much can it be upgraded?

I want to pick up a simple laptop for work and studies, but i just can’t stand those standard, small and lightweight laptops like the Ideapads and Inspirons. i like the heavy and durable ones like the Thinkpads, Latitude Rugged and, well, Toughbooks.
I came across this Panasonic Toughbook CF-52 (socketed or BGA, afaik, not sure which one the Toughbook has), quite the simple machine with an i5-520M, 2gb of RAM, 160gb HDD, but very well kept, apparently came from a VAS6150A ECU diagnostic system (?).
Of course its not going to be a machine to chew up games, but rather for daily web tasks and to watch a few HD videos on the go.
If i was to pick this one up, how much can i upgrade it? HDD would be swapped for an SSD, of course, RAM should get a hefty upgrade to 8gb (which i already have), but i’m also thinking about getting another CPU for it, but which one? Can i even change the CPU on it?

Any help would be appreciated!

It’s soldered in, so technically yes if you want to desolder a CPU, but in practice it wouldn’t be anywhere near worth it. Being mobile Westmere based we’re talking about CPUs from ~2010.

That’s assuming the BIOS would permit anything other than the stock CPU.

1 Like

Hmm, that’s no bueno, but how decent is the 520M? As long as it matches the i5 670 i have on the computer at my job, i’m set.

looks like it supports 4Gb ram, having 4Gb would keep most OSs off of your swap/drive. throw an SSD in the mix and you have a reasonable computer with that i5.

Good enough for Windows 10 x64, i suppose?
Also, its the one with the Centrino Duo that supports 4gb max, the one with the i5 supports up to 8gb:

I can’t help with the ToughBook, however given your original post on types of more chunky/rugged laptops you like I noticed you didn’t mention the HP Elitebook series - example: HP EliteBook 8470p
These are quite cheap ex-lease and it very easy to upgrade the memory and 2.5" sata bay. Various models have 720p type screens and some have 1600x900.

1 Like

Wasn’t aware of these models, i’ll search for it, thanks a lot for the suggestion!

Nice machines these HPs, cheaper than the Toughbook as well, i may pick one of those up!

Looks promissing enough, it could either have an i5-2520m or an i5-3230m, just waiting on the seller to tell me which S/N it has.

I used to service those on a few government contracts that I worked. Honestly, with most tough books, the only ones that are worth your while are the 4,000 USD plus models. The lower end models are basically new old stock that they have kludged together and sold to organizations that like the word “certified” at an grossly inflated price.

But, these things are rugged I have had tough books that were run over, burned, submerged in fuel, and dropped on the deck from 30 feet and these things kept going after op check. Compared to other rugedized laptops, I would not recommend anything over a tough book if you are going to be in computer hazardous areas.

1 Like

I was planning to buy the Toughbook for garage use, like under the car, near the engine compartment, stuff like that.
What do you think about the newer MK6 CF-19s? Its the one i’m after.

I have used the 19, 21, 29, 30, and 31. That looks like a mostly better version of the 19/31 but with swivel. We never used the swivel tops due to that being the weakest point when dropped on the deck while open.

In general I would say go for it. They are super handy under the car and very oil and debris resistant. Garage use is the perfect use for them.

How much are you looking to spend though? I would say no more than 400 USD since this model seems to be discontinued from my quick Google searches.

Equivalent to US$600, tops, i’m trying to bring the price of that one down.

I think that you could talk them down to 400 USD.

1 Like

I will try for sure, if it doesn’t work out i’ll pick up the Elitebook 8470p for US$150 just to trash around, i’ll have to take easy with it, not exposing it to danger as much.