The Ultimate Studio 1558

Updated March 4th, 2021 to reflect current hardware. You might want to look at my post “The Dell Studio 1558 – Still a nice laptop in 2021” for a more recent perspective, or see a list of all of my Studio 1558 articles here.

A number of people have asked me what changes I made to my 1558 to describe it as “one killer system” (in a comment replying to a poster in the antenna entry). Here’s what I can think of, off the top of my head:

  • Upgrade CPU from Core i5-450M to Core i7-740QM
  • Upgrade memory from 6GB to 16GB (system limit)
  • Upgrade display from glossy 720p to matte 1080p
  • Upgrade keyboard to backlit model
  • Upgrade DVD burner to Blu-ray burner (UJ-235A)
  • Replace lid with one that has all the antennas in “brushed silver” (previously I had a lid which matched the color of my race car, but over the years the matte surface got sticky)
  • Replace palmrest with one that has a topo map pattern instead of the default chainlink (which also includes a new touchpad)
  • Upgrade wireless LAN card to Intel Ultimate-N 6300
  • Install Bluetooth 365 module
  • Install DW5808 mobile broadband / GPS card
  • Replace 320GB HD with 1TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD
  • Upgrade battery from 6-cell to 9-cell (aftermarket as Dell no longer sells replacement batteries for the 1558)
  • Make the power supply more sleek – replace the “hammerhead” power cord with a normal one and remove the rubber strap (I use Velcro cable ties to manage all of my cables)
  • Install Windows 10 LTSC x64 instead of Windows 7 Home Premium x64
  • Use a nice Targus “Unofficial” 16″ slipcase to carry the system

As configured, it gets a Windows 7 Experience Index of 5.7 (yuck!), but that’s due to a poor desktop graphics score from the Mobility Radeon HD 5470. [Of course, the integrated graphics option would probably be a lot worse – if you have a score for that, let me know in the comments.]

7 Responses to “The Ultimate Studio 1558

  • 1
    September 11th, 2011 14:55

    I’ve got the 1558 with i5-430m and I’m getting 4.6 (Graphics) and 5.6 (Gaming graphics). Not too horrible!

  • 2
    September 16th, 2012 18:57

    Hi Terri,
    just chasing the upgrade options for Studio 1555 and found that the board from 1558 will fit.
    So I’d like to ask when you upgraded from i-5 to i-7 did you change the motherboard as well? Seems that there is different chipset needed for i-7 PM55 in difference to HM55 for i-5.
    I was just wondering if the i-7 board could accept i-5 cpu?

  • 3
    September 16th, 2012 18:58

    Oh, forgot to ask for the Dell number of the board 4DNKR?

  • 4
    Terri Kennedy
    September 17th, 2012 04:06

    @bulldoser20 – The Studio 1558 I upgraded had the Mobility Radeon graphics option in it. If I remember correctly, the i5 had built-in Intel Graphics while the i7 did not. So if you wanted to upgrade the CPU on a system that didn’t have the add-on Mobility Radeon graphics, you would need a new motherboard. On my system, the i7 was a drop-in replacement.

  • 5
    September 17th, 2012 13:22

    Hi Terri,
    thank you for the response. The plan is to replace the 1555 (socket P) board with the 1558 (socket G1) board with integrated ATI 5470 1GB. At the moment I won’t bother about the i-7 as i-5 580M will suit my needs more.

  • 6
    meidad raz
    October 26th, 2012 04:30

    Hi terry

    i tried to upgrade my Dell studio 1558 WLAN card to Intel’s N-6300 with same model as yours (633ANHMW),. The card is recognized and i installed intel driver ver 15.2, but in the device manager i get an error that the device cannot start. i have win7x64 installed.

    do you have any clues or leads for me? and diagnostic programs or tests i can run?

    i tried to check the cable connection, but they seems fine. (my display lead have only 3 anttena wires White,Gray,Black)

    thx alot , Meidad raz

  • 7
    Terri Kennedy
    October 26th, 2012 23:13

    Where did you find the Intel driver 15.2? When I searched Intel’s site for it, I found this (link will probably stop working at some point). Oddly, it lists Version 14.3.1 as “latest” and Version 15.1.1 as “previously released”. What does your card show up as in Device Manager? I get “Intel(R) Centrino(R) Ultimate-N 6300 AGN” and I’m running the driver.

    If you see the same description, then your card was properly detected. Even a disconnected antenna cable wouldn’t cause this problem.

    Try going into the BIOS setup menu (F2 at boot) and verifying that in the Advanced / Wireless section the Internal WLAN option is set to Enabled. When you exit the BIOS setup, let it do “Save changes and exit” to update anything it thinks changed.

    You may have a bad card or it might not be fully seated in the mini-PCI slot.

    If none of that solves it, I’d suggest downloading the 14.3.1 driver from Intel (in the above link). Make sure you select the “Recommend for end-customers” version. You may need to do this on another system and burn the file to a CD or USB memory stick if you can’t get any network connection on the 1558. Boot Windows, and the first thing you do, go into Device Manager and select the 6300 network adapter. Right-click on it and select Uninstall. Now go to Control Panel / Programs and Features, select the Intel wireless software (listed as “Intel(R) PROSet/Wireless WiFi Software” on my system), right-click to uninstall it, and reboot after that finishes. Next, install the 14.3.1 driver and reboot. If the card isn’t detected automatically after that reboot, go to Device Manager and select Action / Scan for hardware changes”.

    Other than that, I’m not sure what to tell you – the “Device cannot start” error sometimes needs advanced editing in the registry, and some people have found that simply reinstalling Windows from scratch was easier than trying to fix the problem.

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