Opening Up The Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5214

This week I will show you how to void your warranty and walk you through the steps to open the Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5214 and map out the available, easy access upgrades: HDD and RAM.

RAM Update:  2015/01/04

I have confirmed that this model can have RAM upgraded to at least 8GB. Please see the RAM section below for additional details!

2014/05/31 – Mark Harmon has stated in the comments below that he has upgraded successfully to 12GB of RAM.

2015/06/20 – SuzyD has confirmed in the comments below of a successful upgrade to a full 16GB of RAM. I was unable to track down the specs for the CPU that lists the max, but this is the most you can purchase as it only comes in a max of 8GB per 204pin stick.

Wireless Update:  2015/01/31

I have found the wireless module and confirmed that you can upgrade it.  Please see the Wireless Module section below for additional details!

User Upgradable

Before I purchased this laptop I did some research to see what kind of upgrades would be easy. I assumed that like all laptops I have been in contact with before that RAM and HDD were a given. However, while looking this machine over on Best Buy’s website, one line struck me as odd. The RAM listed itself as not being expandable and that 4GB was the max. This concerned me as there is an increasing number of laptops, especially low cost or ultra thin devices, that soldier the RAM to the motherboard. This is usually ok, as long as you never have to upgrade and the RAM doesn’t die on you within the devices working lifetime. As with it being soldiered to the motherboard, the only solution to bad RAM or upgrades is to buy a new machine.

With that said one of the reviewers stated that they had upgraded their RAM to 8GB using an empty expansion slot which increased the APU’s video RAM to a full 1GB instead of the 512MB that is used with its default 4GB. Seeing this, I figured that it was then possible to upgrade the device and ended up purchasing it under the assumption that I could upgrade both the RAM and HDD without too much trouble.

Solid Bottom Case Design

Another item I noticed while researching this laptop is that the bottom of it is solid. No covers or slots for easy access to any internals. Even the battery appeared to be melded into the case. It turns out however, that this case design is easy to open up and I can’t imagine the process be any simpler. So don’t be fooled by it’s solid design.

The Procedure

WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT IF YOU ARE NOT EXPERIENCED WORKING WITH COMPUTER COMPONENTS. THIS PROCESS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY AND YOU MAY DAMAGE YOUR SYSTEM. IF YOU PROCEED IT IS ADVISED THAT YOU USE PROPER STATIC PROTECTION TO MINIMIZE RISK OF DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER OR ITS PARTS.

Want to see how to disassemble this in video format? Check out this video, else read on below!

To open the C55D-B5214(and its brethren) you will need to remove a dozen or so screws and pop the rear case off. To start, first ensure the laptop is powered off. Then remove the battery screws listed in the diagram below. Once removed, the battery will slide out the back by pulling it away from the rest of the machine. This is much simpler than anticipated and makes this an easy to replace item in the future. (One major concern is taken care of!)

Laptop screw location diagram.
Toshiba C55D Laptop Screw Locations

Now that the battery is removed we can continue disassembly. It is now you will want to put on any static protection gear such as an anti-static wrist strap.

The DVD drive is the next component to remove. Unscrew the single screw holding it in place and slide the drive out of the casing.

To remove the DVD drive, remove the shown screw and slide the tray out.
DVD Drive Screw Location

After removing the DVD drive, you can now remove the remaining screws listed in the first diagram. Do not worry about getting them mixed up, they should be all the same size(mine were).

After removing all remaining screws, you are ready to remove the bottom panel. Use the DVD drive opening as a starting point and slowly pop apart the bottom from the rest of the laptop. At this point they are only snapped together so it should be straight forward to separate them. This is best completed with the laptop resting upside down on a flat surface. Some of the connections may refuse to come apart easily so grab a tiny flat head screwdriver(such as an eyeglasses screwdriver) and gently pry the connections apart. Once done, the entire panel will lift off and leave you with easy access to it’s components.

C55D-B5214 Motherboard and hardware.
Under the bottom cover of the laptop. Most hardware is easily accessible.

What Is All This Stuff?

Here are the items of most concern: HDD, RAM and DVD Location (for placement reference).

Other items that are not labeled include:

  • CPU Fan
  • SD Card Reader (Half Size)
  • Motherboard with connections to daughter boards. One for power, Ethernet and USB 3.0 and another to the touchpad and card reader.
  • CMOS Battery – Not labeled as it doesn’t exist. Looks as if the motherboard could have a mount added in the grey circle area under the fan and above the HDD. This unit uses the regular main battery for this purpose. This is the reason removing the battery always results in a clock reset however settings such as CMS/EFI boot remain. Not the way I would expect it to work.

HDD

HDD in isolator case which holds the drive in place.

The HDD that came with the laptop is a basic 1TB 5400RPM drive. This is a decent size for a drive, however from my experience the 5400 RPM speed was causing much of the sluggishness I noticed when using it. As noted in my post on Windows 10 Technical Preview, I upgraded the HDD to an SSD. Below is the process for removing and replacing the drive.

Remove the blue tabs from the casing as shown. Then slide the HDD away from its connection.

Start by removing the blue tabs at the end of the HDD and then slide the drive out of its slot by pulling the silver tape tab that is connected to the drive.

Once out, the rubber casing can be removed and a new HDD can be slid in to replace it. After replacing the HDD, simply slide the rubber case back into place and set the tabs into their slots.

Below is a picture of the drive replaced with an old Samsung 830 128GB SSD. I have folded the tabs to make the drive fit better and the SSD is not as thick as the mechanical hard drive.

SSD in HDD Isolator
SSD fitted into the HDD slot. Tabs are folded over in the rubber case to ensure a tighter fit.
HDD (left) is thicker than the SSD (Right)
SSD’s come in multiple physical sizes. Some SSD’s(right) are thinner than HDD’s(left) and other SSD’s. If upgrading be sure to get the right size for your device.

 RAM

SK hynix 4GB RAM module that was preinstalled.

As shown in the diagrams above and mentioned earlier, this device has an empty RAM slot just waiting for you to fill it. With what RAM you ask? The A8-6430 in this device can handle up to 1866 MHz ram (per the AMD Product Description) however I am not sure what the motherboard is rated to handle. [Update 2015/09/17: Motherboard 1866MHz compatibility confirmed by Alison B in the comments below!]

The stock RAM that is installed is SK hynix brand. According to their Product Document Page and their Part Decoder Page this module is 4GB of 1600 MHz 11-11-11 1.35v RAM. Although usually it is best to buy sticks of RAM at the same time and all from the same brand, to save costs, you can use this information to purchase aftermarket items.

Note: I am not sure what the max RAM is for this laptop. However, given that it’s an entry level 2 GHz quad core CPU, I wouldn’t think that you need more than 8GB unless you have a very particular work load that requires it.

Update: 2015/05/31 – Mark Harmon has confirmed in the comments below that 12GB of RAM is supported.

Update 2015/06/20 – SuzyD, from the comments below, confirmed that you can install the max of 16GB without any issues.

Update: 2015/01/04
I have successfully upgraded this machine to 8GB of RAM. To do so I purchased RAM with the exact same specifications as listed for the pre-installed stick. If you are looking to upgrade this yourself and want to use something verified to work, I purchased the RAM shown below.

crucial notebook memory.

This is a 4GB stick of 204 pin 1600Mhz 11-11-11 1.35v crucial Notebook RAM.

To leave our blog and visit this product’s page on Amazon.com, click here: Crucial 4GB Notebook Memory

Update 2015/07/13 – Novice Computer user has confirmed in the comments below that the following Kingston RAM worked with their C55D-B5102.  You can find this RAM on Amazon by following this link(Will navigate you to Amazon.com): Kingston Technology 4GB 204 Pin RAM
-End 2015/07/13 Update-

Installing the RAM

Installing the RAM is the same as all other laptops that I have seen and worked on.  For those who haven’t installed laptop RAM before but worked with Desktops you may be confused at first.  Basically you insert the RAM slightly angled into place and then push it down into the module holders.  Below is how the stick rests when not clipped into place.

Installing RAM to the C55D-B524.

After installation no other changes to the computer are needed. The new 4GB of RAM is automatically detected. Windows shows that 6.94GB of the 8GB installed is usable and that 1GB is reserved for the integrated R5 GPU. This effectively doubles the VRAM for the GPU which should allow you to increase your graphics settings in any games you play. I haven’t tested this to see what the new scores are so perhaps that should be another post? Let me know in the comments or through our contact page!

-End of 2015/01/04 update-

-Start of 2015/01/31 update-

Wireless Module

toshiba_C55D-B5214_wireless_module_crop

The default wireless in this machine is 2.4Ghz wireless N300. Not bad for this machine considering its price range, but what if you want to upgrade your home network or connect to any available access point? Well, the good news is that this is also upgradable. The wireless module requires some additional disassembly to get to but it’s nothing difficult.  To get to it you will need to get underneath the cable held down with silver tape shown in the image below.

toshiba_c55d-b5214_wireless_module_location

To do this, first remove the yellow tape holding it in place, then remove the silver tape from the chassis and slide the cable out of it’s resting slot.  Once complete you should be able to gently fold the cable up but be careful not to bend or crease it.

toshiba_C55D-B5214_wireless_module

After getting the cable out of the way you will see a tiny wireless module in an M.2 format expansion slot. I determined this after some internet research as the M.2 format is referenced as the standard expansion slot used in modern laptops and small form factor devices. I also matched the size and pin layouts of the cards used in these slots to help be more confident in it’s type. However, I never found any print documents that explicitly identified this slot type.  I can confirm that the M.2 format wifi card I purchased does fit and works without issues, so I would think most cards of this type should work.

From here you just want to unscrew the single screw holding the stock wifi module in place and slide it out and replace with whatever card you wish and reassemble in reverse order of disassembly. The wireless card I chose is an Intel 7260 dual band wireless card as it runs both 2.4 and 5Ghz bands as well as A/B/G/N/and AC wireless up to 867Mbps (108 Megabytes per second). It even includes a Bluetooth 4.0 module which is a great bonus (although I cannot get it to work). This covers all current standards and wasn’t too expensive (paid about 40$ at time of writing on Amazon). Not bad considering Wireless AC only USB sticks sell for similar prices.  Below is an image of the new wireless card installed.

toshiba_c55d-5214_new_wireless_module

I have done some initial testing and the card does work out of the box with Windows 8 however as of writing Windows 8.1 shows Bluetooth as disabled and greyed out.  Unsure of why as I installed Intel’s drivers, however I will update this section if I can get it working. Update: I am unable to get Bluetooth working with my machine. I am unsure if I have bad hardware or if perhaps there is some other hardware limitation.  I am also experiencing issues getting over 20 Megabytes per second transfer as well.  So if you get this specific module, it may be something to consider, although I have a feeling this is a configuration issue on my part as usually the hard part is finding hardware that is recognized.  I may have some driver conflicts as well that I haven’t had a chance to look at yet either.  I should have updates to this before the end of February( 2015) if you would like to know for sure.

If you would like to upgrade your wireless with the same module you can click this link to leave NautilusMODE and view the product on Amazon: Intel 7260NGW

-End of 2015/01/31 update-

-Update 2016/06/18-

Motherboard Jumpers

After receiving a number of comments asking about resetting the CMOS/BIOS password I disassembled my machine to take a closer look. The jumpers are present but very hard to find(tiny). Below is a diagram showing where they reside. They are just below the second RAM slot above the CPU when you remove the main back panel. If you can’t read it or see it, click the image to view it on it’s own.

toshiba-c55d-b5214-jumper-locations

The JCMOS section should work to reset the CMOS functionality while JPW should be related to the password(PW) set to the BIOS.(Per superuser.com)

Unfortunately while testing this out I managed to damage my machine presumably out of repair. So I will stress again, please proceed to use this information AT YOUR OWN RISK as it is possible your machine could suffer the same fate. Not so much because of using the jumpers but I believe I was poorly insulated against static shock. My machine only boots without any video(even when forced as I mention in the comments below). So unfortunately I can’t verify this will work. For some hints I found this link that may help from superuser.com(same link as in the previous paragraph): http://superuser.com/questions/983997/where-is-the-jumper-to-reset-bios-on-toshiba-satellite-p855

The section that is most helpful from the link above is the second portion offering additional troubleshooting if it doesn’t work. I hope this can help solve all your BIOS lockout issues.

-End of 2016/06/18 update –

 Closing Thoughts

This turned out to be the easiest laptop to take apart and upgrade that I have seen which makes me even happier with my laptop purchase.  Although I had also hoped to find the wireless module to upgrade as well(currently stuck with 2.4 Ghz Wireless N300) I feel that it may be tucked away under the keyboard.  That investigation will need to happen at a later date.  Possibly when I add the extra 4 GB of RAM into the extra slot.  If and when that happens I will be sure to update this post.  These upgrades were completed. Sorry for such a messy article, but there were a lot of updates from the original findings. ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you think about this article?  Was it helpful or interesting? Would you like to see more of this type of article? Am I crazy for voiding my warranty within the first two months of owning it?  Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for more info on this machine? Check out my other posts!

Article Update: Upgrading the Wireless Card in the Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5214

October 2015 Toshiba Laptop Update: Bluetooth and Trackpad

Author: Trevor E

Technologist. Programmer. Artist. Gamer.

78 thoughts on “Opening Up The Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5214”

  1. You seriously deserve like a thousand Internets. Thanks for the insight with the cmos battery. What an odd configuration. Found out that the battery going g out was affecting the I ternal clock and was through in off the boot as well. New battery solved it all

    1. Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad to know I could help Matthew!

      If you look closely above it even appears there is a spot to solder connectors in place for a real CMOS battery (the grey circle like spot between the fan and the HDD area) but it seems they decided to opt for it to run purely off the main battery which is very strange. If I have some free time I should do some more research to see if it would be possible to add one in this spot. Might be a fun project. Too bad my laptops case is starting to crack and fall apart from about a dozen disassemblies. Maybe I can fix some of the screw mounts that broke when I do this as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hey Trevor

    So this is my current state. I found the sensor and I am able to see the screen and boot it into the advanced settings. Now I bumped into another problem. I get this loop of “diagnosing your PC” and “preparing automatic repair.” I read on another forum that I could fix this by going into the advanced settings and bring up a command prompt and typing these 3 commands and then restarting:

    Bootrec /fixMBR
    Bootrec /fixboot
    Bootrec /rebuildBCD

    I’m not 100% sure about the legitimacy of this but I tried and I still get the loop. Any ideas on how to fix this?

    And thank you for the support and the time you spent helping me!

    1. Hi Albert,

      Depending on your situation, it may be easiest to just wipe and reload the entire OS now that you can get reliable video out. What OS were you using previously? If it’s Windows 8 you can easily download and make an installer on a USB stick to attempt a repair or install from scratch. However, there wouldn’t be any harm in running those commands to see if it fixes it first. What those do is rebuild the master boot record which tells the hardware where to find the OS when your PC boots. So it shouldn’t cause any harm(although any HDD actions do have the possibility of failing and doing more damage). However if it doesn’t, you can try the following:

      I have written up a Windows recovery guide here: https://nautilusmode.com/2015/08/16/laptoppc-windows-recovery-informationguide/
      This should have all the details you need to wipe and restore your OS.

      I would suggest a wipe and reload due to what seems to be a corrupt install or other possible issues. If you do go this route and need to gain access to your files that are not backed up and you have not used bitlocker (or other encryption software) you should be able to boot using a Linux USB (guide to do that here: https://nautilusmode.com/2015/09/13/how-to-try-linux/ see the section on LIVE USB). Once booted via LIVE mode (DO NOT INSTALL) you should be able to mount the main HDD and then copy your files to an external drive.

      Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Michael,

      I haven’t seen one inside this machine. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have read multiple places online that removing the main battery for at least 30 seconds should cause all settings to reset. This may need to be extended, and it also wouldn’t hurt to attempt to power on the machine to fully drain all power from it after removing the battery. I will give this a test later to see if it works.

  3. Trevor,

    Thanks for your help with this computer. I am hoping to change the ethernet Card because it has a limitation of 100mb I like to put a gigabit ethernet card. Do you know is it possible to change or is it soldered to the motherboard. Otherwise, I will have to get a wireless module that support 5ghz or dual band. My preference the ethernet card because it is much more faster for my use. Thanks again in advance.

    1. Hi Phil,

      In the new video I embedded in the article above you can see it’s part of a custom daughterboard. As shown above you can upgrade the Wifi, however if you are looking for wired, I would suggest getting a USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter. They usually go for about 15$ and will provide the full Gigabit speed so long as it’s used in the single USB3 port on this laptop.

  4. Thanks for the awesome write up Trevor! I upgraded the c55d 5212 to 8 gigs using this ram.. Kingston Technology 4GB 1600MHz DDR3L PC3-12800 1.35V Non-ECC CL11 SODIMM Intel Laptop Memory KVR16LS11/4.

    What a huge difference. Gaming has improved as shared memory went from 512 to 1024 for the gpu. Almost want to try 1866 ram.

    1. Hi D,

      Happy to hear this was of help to you! ๐Ÿ˜€ I looked into the difference between 1600 and 1866 RAM and wasn’t able to find much. I did find this article on bit-tech.net which is for it’s older brother for the desktop(Kaveri which is the predecessor to Beema which this APU is) which you should check out: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2014/01/14/amd-a8-7600-kaveri-review/11

      It shows that there is a small difference between speeds (in games) and I would think with the tech being so close you would find a similar scaling although I have no proof to back this assumption. So, it looks like for the minimal gain, I would personally stick with 1600MHz ram as you already have it and put that extra cash away for something else. Hope this is also of use to all who may be curious about the performance gains. Unfortunately I don’t have any 1866 notebook ram for testing or I would gladly run some benchmarks myself.

    1. Hi chris, yes you should be able to. After looking up your model, yours seems to be the same spec wise as my B5214. The only difference that I see is that the HDD is smaller at 500GB instead of 1TB. Given it’s the same otherwise it should have a similar if not the same motherboard and an empty RAM slot. To confirm, it’s pretty easy and straight forward to remove the bottom cover and check. I would suggest doing this to ensure that you get what you are expecting.

    1. Hi Steven,

      Technically the answer is yes, however logistically the answer is probably no. The only issue would be finding an M.2 slot compatible mobile GPU that can take it’s slot. However that catch comes that it would most certainly need some form of cooling. Of the dozen or so laptops I have worked on for people, I have always found the GPU to be part of the greater CPU heatsink. I haven’t worked on any high end gaming machines, so perhaps they have their own cooling loop. Either way that GPU would probably fry without any cooling system. So, as long as it would fit the limited space for it, it “could” work technically. However a custom cooling solution would be needed. So, unfortunately without a lot of effort to take care of the heat problem, it won’t be possible.

  5. I have a Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5214
    It has been some how bios password locked. To clear it I have to find the jumper locations under the ram stick. However I could not locate those two soldered locations. could you please identify the jumper locations. Any other method on how to remove the bios passwoed would also be appreciated.
    Thanks

    Albert

    1. Hi Albert! I took my machine apart again to locate them and added in a new section showing the location of the jumpers in the article above. Unfortunately I am unable to verify if they work to reset the password as I believe I have damaged my machine beyond repair(details in post above). So if you try this yourself, please be sure to use proper static protection and do this AT YOUR OWN RISK. Sometimes things can go wrong and bad things happen. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  6. Hey Everyone!

    Just saw this as cool way to upgrade my laptop until I have enough components to build a Desktop PC. After some research, I have some questions that I don’t know the answer to.

    1. Where is the PCIe port on my laptop? What generation is it?

    2. I am planning on getting an NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics card. I currently have a RG630-S12, which runs at 630W continuous. What PCIe adapter board should I buy?

    3. Will I need to download any software or change my booting sequence to make this work?

    4. Will this run VR with an additional 4 gb of RAM?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Zach,

      To answer your questions:

      I believe the Wifi Card slot shown above uses M.2 as it works with an M.2 upgrade card, however I don’t have any manufacturer documentation to prove this(so take this information as is and without warranty). M.2 runs as PCI-E 3.0 speeds, so a converter may work, but a path for the cable would need to exit the laptop to be able to then have space to place a full sized GPU.
      There are adapters that would allow you to have external connectors for internal GPU’s, however I haven’t worked with any myself. I know they come in USB 3 format, but an M.2 to PCIE adapter should work, but would also require an external power supply.
      As for any software changes, if using the M.2 slot, it should be recognized so long as the GPU has power during boot as the machine should read the M.2 slot the same as a PCI slot in a desktop. As for the USB options, I haven’t worked with those either, so some web searching would be in order.
      Will this run VR? No, any of the CPU’s I have seen in these series laptop are not powerful enough to run VR. At minimum you would need a desktop class i5 or FX-8350 or higher based on the VR solution you are attempting to use. I would recommend you consult the manufacturer of your desired VR solution for proper system requirements.

      Now for a non VR upgrade, technically I can’t see why hacking the conversions together wouldn’t work but it doesn’t mean you should (based on the CPU. More on that later). This is also merely my guess as I haven’t done so or tested it myself. So I can’t stress enough that if you attempt this, do so at your own risk as it may or may not work as expected. Additionally, the CPU would most likely bottleneck the system to such a degree that spending any money on the upgrade would seem to be more of a waste than putting it towards a newer system with better specs.

      I would recommend against such an upgrade. Save the cost and look to build your desktop or buy a better laptop(although there are no laptops that I am aware of that can push VR yet).

      Sorry if this is disappointing. However unfortunately the hardware wouldn’t be able to handle the task. Thanks for stopping by and asking! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

  7. I was wondering if it would be possible to tell me what type of motherboard I need to replace mine in a Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5308 I have done all my research and can not seem to find anything telling me what kind i can use for it.

    1. Hi NoNamedDemon, unfortunately the motherboard is not replaceable except with an exact copy from the manufacturer. If you are in need of another I would think you may find luck looking for one on ebay. Plenty of people salvage parts form devices and sell them online, so you will have to look to someone having that specific model to replace yours. Good luck with your repairs!

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