Device donations

We are currently accepting laptops to donate to people who don't have a device for online learning. If you have an old desktop, laptop, or other device, please feel free to donate it to us. It doesn't have to work--no matter the conditon, we will accept it and repair it. We always format the drive and reinstall the operating system, so none of your personal data is at risk.

Make sure to back up any important data that you have on your device. We will completely and irreversibly remove any personal data that remains on the device. We are not responsible for any loss of data.

Guides, tools, and parts

iFixit is a great electronics repair company the provides repair guides, replacement parts, and toolkits (which we use). If you want to try a simple repair yourself, try taking a look at their site.

Supported devices

Although we have years of experience and the vast majority of devices can be repaired, some devices are unfortunately not designed to be repaired or upgraded. As such, these devices will be partially or completely unserviceable. Below is a list of most devices that apply:

Laptops

    • Retina Macbooks, Macbook Pro 13" 2016 and later, and all Touch Bar-equipped Macbooks are not eligible for RAM or storage upgrades. We can replace the battery, but since it is glued down and very hard to replace, the process may take some time to complete.

    • All models of Macbook Air and 12" Macbooks are not eligible for RAM upgrades.

    • Windows laptops: Upgradeability depends on the model. If you send us the model number of your device via the repair request form under "Submit a device", we can assess it for you.

      • Generally, thick pre-2014 laptops allow CPU upgrades, and almost all devices allow RAM, battery, cooling, and storage upgrades and repairs.

      • Surface Pros 1, 2, and 3 allow storage upgrades. Subsequent Surface Pro models do not have any upgradeable components.

      • Surface Book laptops are eligible for storage upgrades.

      • The Surface Laptop 3 only allows storage upgrades. Surface Laptops 1 and 2 are welded together and cannot be opened.

      • A portion of Ultrabooks do not allow for RAM upgrades, such as the new XPS 13.

Desktops

    • Any Windows desktop in the standard "brick" form factor is almost always completely repairable.

      • OEM desktops (built by Dell, HP, etc.) may use more expensive proprietary components, which may affect repair and upgrade costs.

    • NUCs usually do not allow CPU/GPU upgrades. Some higher-end models do permit these upgrades.

    • Windows devices in the "iMac" form factor are also usually serviceable, but we will need the model number to confirm this.

      • The Surface Studio only allows storage and thermal upgrades. Some repairs will depend on availability of components.

    • Most iMacs allow CPU, RAM and storage upgrades as well as thermal upgrades, except 21.5" Late 2014 and Late 2015 models. "Thick" iMacs may allow MXM GPU servicing depending on the model.

    • The iMac Pro is not eligible for storage upgrades, since the T2 chip encrypts all data and the SSDs are proprietary. GPU upgrades are not available since it is soldered down.

    • The 2019 cheesegrater Mac Pro allows CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage upgrades (although parts are expensive and SSDs are proprietary), along with many other repairs.

Phones

  • Folding phones are more difficult to repair due to their complex design. Our team does not yet have experience with folding phones.

  • Most iPhone repairs are quite trivial, despite proprietary screws. The IT Club has the specialized tools needed to service iPhones.

    • The Essential Phone cannot be easily repaired because opening it is significantly harder than many other phones, and the process is often destructive.

    • Replacing the headphone jack and charging port is usually possible, but it may require replacing the entire motherboard on some models (where all the expensive parts and your data are located), which can increase repair costs. We'll figure it out for you if you send us model information.

    • Replacing the motherboard on phones is usually possible. Make sure to back up all your photos and other files before sending it to us. Otherwise, your data will be lost.

    • Replacing the screen is usually feasible but this also depends on the model. This may lead to software problems on more recent Apple devices due to their opposition to third-party repair.

    • Fairphones 2 and 3 have modular components and are far easier to repair than many other phones on the market.

Consoles

    • CPU, RAM, and GPU upgrades cannot be done on any console, since these components are soldered down.

    • Thermal upgrades can be used on Nintendo 64 consoles and later, PlayStation 2 and later, and any Xbox model.

    • Storage upgrades can be done on all PS3/PS4/PS5 console, as well as the original Xbox and Xbox 360. The Xbox One and Series X|S consoles do not officially support storage upgrades, but they are possible in the Xbox One, and we are working on an upgrade path for the Xbox Series X|S.

    • Dust can be cleaned out of any console.

    • We can fix Joy-Con drift for all Nintendo Switch consoles and official accessories, including the joysticks on the Switch Lite. We can also replace the console battery as well as the Joy-Con batteries.

    • We do not recommend having us replace APU thermal paste on the PS5, since it comes factory-applied with a high-end liquid metal thermal solution.

      • However, we can definitely increase the memory cooling capabilities to extend the lifespan of the device.

    • The KFConsole is eligible for CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage upgrades. We can also clean out food grease.

Terminology

CPU: Stands for Central Processing Unit, essentially the brains of a computer. It handles general-purpose operations like web browsing, Google Docs, etc. Some models come with an integrated graphics processor, although these are weaker compared to discrete GPUs. CPUs consist of a small number of large cores (little processing units) (2-16 usually, up to 64) clocked at a high frequency (up to 5 GHz).

GPU: Graphics Processing Unit, which handles 3D and compute workloads like gaming, Folding@Home, etc. Integrated GPUs (iGPUs) can be included in the CPU. These are fine for low-power workloads but they generally aren't very powerful. Discrete GPUs (dGPUs) consume far more power, but they can also be much more powerful than an iGPU. GPUs consist of many small cores that may number in the thousands, at a lower frequency (usually under 2 GHz).

RAM: Stands for Random-Access Memory, and should not be confused with storage. This stores short-term data that can be accessed quickly. When you turn the computer off, the RAM contents also disappear. RAM can come soldered to the board, or upgradeable as SODIMMs (laptops) or DIMMs (desktops). Adding more RAM will allow the computer to handle more things at once (like opening more browser tabs). Notably, a higher RAM frequency will improve the performance of the iGPU.

Storage: This is where all your important files are, including the OS (Windows, MacOS, etc.). It is much slower than RAM, but it is fine for its purpose. The two types of storage are HDD and SSD. HDDs (hard disk drives) use rotating discs to store data, making them more fragile and slower than an SSD. An SSD (solid-state drives) have data stored on chips. Thus, the lack of moving parts makes them very fast. Hard drives currently use the SATA interface, while SSDs can use SATA or NVMe, which is much faster than SATA.

Thermal paste: A white or gray toothpaste-like substance that fills out surface imperfections between two surfaces to improve thermal transfer. Laptops and desktops will overheat without thermal paste! The default paste that comes out of the factory with the device is usually hard, dry, and much worse than aftermarket alternatives, like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, Noctua NT-H2, and Arctic MX-4. It is sold by the gram, and even a small tube should be enough for most devices. Replacing the thermal paste can greatly improve temperatures and extend the lifespan of a device.

Overheating: Also referred to as "thermal throttling", this is when a chip lowers its frequency (and therefore its performance) to reduce its heat output when it reaches a critical temperature. For most processors, this occurs at 100 C or lower. Every 10 C reduction in processor temperatures doubles the lifespan. Frequent overheating can lead to the early failure of a component.

Heatsink: A piece of copper and aluminum that increases the surface area for heat dissipation. Without one, many components like the CPU, GPU, etc. would fail almost immediately.