Rejuvenate Your Old XOs with OLPC's Upgrade Kits


Resumen en español al final del artículo

Don't shred your old XOs, you can upgrade them!

It's very easy to get excited about the latest and greatest hardware and all the improvements it will bring - I know, I've been there. However let's not forget that the vast majority of pupils and teachers around the world currently use XO-1 and XO-1.5 laptops and won't be able to benefit from the significant advances that the current XO-1.75 and future XO-4 models provide. Or will they? Or put differently: Are you working with XO laptops that need an upgrade?

In that post on OLPC's blog Martin Langhoff (OLPC Association's Senior Software Architect and Technical Director) writes:

Part of our focus is to support deployments that have made a long term commitment to work with us. When we have new models, we work hard to provide them as an upgrade. This means that if you have today XO-1 or XO-1.5 laptops you can purchase an upgrade kit that will turn it into an XO-1.75. It does require that you perform the motherboard replacement, but the savings can be significant.

In a separate e-mail John Watlington (OLPC Association's Vice President of Hardware Engineering) then shared more details about these motherboard upgrade kits:

We've supported this from the beginning by design. Kits have been available as spare parts for deployments to purchase. Upgrading an XO-1 to an XO-1.5 or higher motherboard requires the insertion of a small metal bracket to hold the WLAN card. The XO-1.5/1.75 chassis are mechanically identical. Upgrading an earlier laptop to an XO-4 motherboard will require a small rubber piece inserted to change the size of one chassis hole from USB to micro HDMI.

While this is all mighty exciting for small and large OLPC implementations there's also one small caveat:

Unfortunately, the mechanics of XO-4 Touch mean it cannot be retrofitted. You can get the higher performance by upgrading to an XO-4, but sadly no multi-touch support.

Aside of that the upgrade kits offer everything you need to rejuvenate old XOs:

A kit includes all the parts needed to upgrade a particular laptop model. In addition to a motherboard (if XO-4 with an internal connector missing) this generally includes a new heat spreader, a WLAN card (if needed), and conductive foam/tape as needed to improve the ESD shielding of the earlier chassis.

Now if the price of the upgrade kits is right, the hardware swapping isn't too time-consuming and costly, and the logistics can be organized in a cost-efficient way then this really looks like a well designed and viable choice for projects with many XO-1 and XO-1.5 in the field. If you're interested in purchasing such upgrade kits then get in touch with OLPC via

I think OLPC really deserves a round of applause for making such upgrade kits available. This doesn't just look like an interesting option from a cost-perspective but also makes sense from an environment point of view. Or as Martin Langhoff put it:

Do you know of any laptop manufacturer that supports upgrading 5 year old models to the latest and greatest with a motherboard change, and at a fraction of the cost?

Resumen en español: OLPC está ofreciendo kits de actualización que permiten sustituir la placa madre de un XO-1 o XO-1.5 con una de la version XO-1.75. Si el precio de los kits de actualización es correcta, el intercambio de hardware no es demasiado complicado y costoso, y la logística puede ser organizado de una manera costo-eficiente esto realmente se ve como una opción viable y bien diseñado para proyectos que tienen muchos XO-1 y XO-1.5 en el campo. Si usted está interesado en la compra de estos kits de actualización debería ponerse en contacto con OLPC a través de


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Are you saying that an individual (who purchased an XO-1 during the Get One/Give One program) can upgrade one unit (as opposed to a country wanting to upgrade 30,000 units)?

If so, how do you do it?

And can an XO-1 be upgraded to an XO-4 (without the touch capabilities)?

At this point it's unknown whether OLPC makes thede upgrade kits available on an individual basis. However given their current approach to XO sales I would doubt it.

Having said that maybe ilovemyxo or other groups/organizations can aggregate some orders until the minimum order quantity for OLPC is met.

And my interpretation of Martin's blog post and John's e-mail is that yes, one should be able to upgrade an XO-1 to an XO-4. But it's probably best to ask for a confirmation.

So apparently they wont sell it individually.. but you can buy 100 packs...

Sean, thanks a lot for the heads-up!

Sean, if you could buy a single upgrade kit to turn your XO-1 into a XO-1.75, how much would that be worth to you? (I’m looking into the possibility of purchasing a hundred upgrade kits, mostly for resale, and am curious to know whether it would be worthwhile.)

Also, which SKU does your XO-1 have? (It can be found in the battery compartment.)

I'd be happy to help distribute the kits if someone was to purchase 100 pack of upgrades to make available to G1G1 folks like us. I would sign up to purchase 2 myself if they are available.

Canis, since a 100-pack would be shipped to a single address, helping with a kit distribution would probably be possible only if you happened to live close to that address.

I’d like to ask the same questions of you that I’d posed to Sean: since you’ve expressed an interest in acquiring two XO-1-to-XO-1.75 upgrade kits, how much would it be worth to you to have two such kits delivered to your door, and which SKUs do your XO-1s have?

has this gone anywhere, I have 2 XO-1 G1G1 vintage and would be interested to see what m/b upgrades could be available?

b shaw, to my knowledge it has not gone anywhere yet.

I’ll ask the same question of you that I’d put to both Sean and Canis above: since you’ve also expressed an interest in acquiring two XO-1-to-XO-1.75 upgrade kits, how much would it be worth to you to have two such kits delivered to your door?