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Smurfatacus Tutor
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Upgrade Intel 3160 AC card to Intel 7260 AC card?

Envy 15-k220nr
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Hi-

I'm in the same boat as some other folks and trying to get as clear an answer as possible before I move forward - I have an HP Envy 15 k220nr that came with the intel 3160 1x1 AC card.  I want to upgrade to at least a 2x2, if not a 3x3, AC card to get the fastest possible speeds from my AC1900 router.  The safest bet, outside using an external USB 3.0 adapter (which would be bulky and problematic) appears to be installing the Intel 7260 2x2 AC card.

 

Has anyone done this?  Did it install without much trouble?  Did it work once installed?  Did you see a significant speed difference?  Any problems with the new card?  Any tips for the install?  Were you able to confirm the K220NR has two antenna wires internally to support a 2x2 card (or, and I doubt I'm this lucky, does it have 3 antennas)?  Please let us know - I want to upgrade, but want to be sure it will work before ordering everything and completely disassembling the laptop again (I've already done it once to install a 500GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, and it wasn't a ton of fun).

 

Also, to you or anyone else paying attention, since I'm going to be opening up the laptop anyway, is there any reason I should NOT upgrade the RAM at the same time?   It appears the laptop supports DDR3L 1600 ram; I'm thinking about upgrading from 8GB to 16GB - any problem foreseen with doing this, will any RAM work or is there a whitelist, is there any reason I should avoid it (beyond the RAM being the hardest thing to access when disassembling this model)? 

 

Any help, guidance, info on how it worked for you, things to watch out for, etc... would be much appreciated.  I welcome answers to questions I didn't as or thoughts in general about doing this.  Thanks!

-Dan

 

HP Envy 15-k220NR

Intel i7 4720MQ

8GB RAM

500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD

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Upgrade Intel 3160 AC card to Intel 7260 AC card?

Hi @Smurfatacus,

 

 

Thank you for your query.

 

 

 

I grasp you are inquiring about upgrading your WLAN card to a   Intel 7260 2x2 AC and would like to know it it will work.

 

Here is a link to the HP ENVY 17 Notebook PC HP ENVY 15 Notebook PC HP ENVY m7 Notebook PC Maintenance and Service Guide.  Please note chapter 3, page 16, item 5 for a list of recommended replacements and that card is listed.

 

Please note chapter 6, page 56 for removal and replacement of the WLAN card.  Please be aware if you are in warranty replacing the card yourself could void it.  The WLAN card is listed under the authorized service provider parts in the removal and replacement section.

 

 



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Sparkles1

Smurfatacus Tutor
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Upgrade Intel 3160 AC card to Intel 7260 AC card?

Sparkles1-

One of the things that gives me concern is the caveat listed on the same page:

 

"Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 802.11 ac 2x2 WiFi + BT 4.0 Combo Adapter non-Vpro version for use with HP ENVY 17 Notebook PC models only" [emphasis added]

 

Are you confirming the Intel Wireless AC-7260 will work in the HP Envy 15 k220nr?

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Upgrade Intel 3160 AC card to Intel 7260 AC card?

Good Morning @Smurfatacus,

 

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

 

As you stated the manual does note that it is for the Envy 17 only and therefore is not a recommended replacement for the Envy 15.     People have installed non recommended cards and had them work but that it not a recommendation I can make.

Sparkles1

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Upgrade Intel 3160 AC card to Intel 7260 AC card?

I can now confirm that the Intel AC7260  Wireless-AC adapter DOES work PERFECTLY in an HP Envy 15t, specifically an HP Envy 15-k220nr (Intel i7 4720MQ, 8GB Ram, factory installed Intel AC 3160 Wireless Adapter).  It works with Windows 10 Pro x64 great - I can't speak to Windows 7/8/8.1 as I upgraded before installing (which I recommend), but I would expect it to work on Windows 8/8.1 for sure, and probably on Windows 7 without an issue.

 

I purchased the card from Amazon; the specific model is "Intel Network 7260.HMWG.R" - the .R is important as it is revised version of the chip with improvements over the original.  This is, per reports from Intel, the same as the card SKU 7260.HMWWB.R - the different SKUs simply represent different packages.  Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MV3N7UO

 

At the time I did this, the card cost was $26.50.  This is a Mini PCIe card, which is the type the computer uses.

 

This was a surprisingly simple upgrade.  I simply shut down my computer, which was already upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.  As with all installs, follow appropriate control measures for static (clean room, wrist band), tracking which screws go where (easier in this case as they're mostly identifcal when disassembling the machine), and general best practices for servicing a system.  I would not recommend this upgrade be done by an amateur - this is a more complex install since you have to access the mainboard and disassemble the enclosure rather than simply open an access port on the bottom of the computer.  That said, for having to open the base enclosure, this is a very easy process (relatively speaking) with this laptop.  It helps that the service manual is very thorough.  Be careful, as if you are not an authorized service provider and your computer is under warranty, you could void your warranty by opening the machine.  Also, don't foget to keep the old card so you can reinstall it and restore your computer back to factor specs if you need to send it in for warranty service or want to sell it but keep the newer card.

 

It took my about 20 minutes to disassemble, install, test, and reassemble.  BEFORE YOU START, download the new drivers you'll need - the HP drivers are working great, and I always go with current manufacturer drivers over the OEM drivers when possible as they're often optimized for the system.  You can also download the drivers from download.intel.com, but I would recommend getting the current network wireless WLAN driver from the HP download page (http://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/HP-ENVY-15-Notebook-PC-series/7527530/model/7685078#...).  For this card, you want the same drivers as for the AC-3160 card as they use the same drivers.  Download BOTH the WLAN and Bluetooth drivers - as of this writing the drivers were updated 10/15/15 and are:

  • Intel Bluetooth Driver, version 18.1.1525.1470 Rev.F
  • Intel Wireless Driver, version 18.12.0.3 Rev.P

 

After downloading the drivers, put them on your desktop or somewhere else easy to access as you'll need them as soon as you reboot following the install, and the wireless will NOT work initially, so if you don't have the drivers you'll gave to get them with a wired connection or from another computer. 

 

I disassembled the machine per the Service Manual (http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c04510889).  Remove the battery and the base enclosure, disconnect the ribbon cables for the keyboard, mouse and fingerprint sensor, and flip up the base cover and rest it against the monitor.  BE CAREFUL - this shifts the computer's center of gravity, and makes the computer want to tip over backward as I learned when I caught mine from flipping back off the table I was working on - just be careful.

 

After you open up the enclosure, installation is incredibly simple.  The WLAN card is located in the back of the computer near the middle - back where the monitor hinges connect to the computer, centered between them.  You simply pop off the two wireless antennas (YES - this laptop, despite shipping with only 1x1 AC Wireless Card options, DOES HAVE two factory installed antenna, so it can fully support a 2x2 card), and then remove the screw holding the card in place.  The card will pop up; slide it back (small fingers help - I have big hands and this was tricky since the card is pressed up against the back of the case) and pop it out.  Insert the new card, press it down, screw it in, and reattach the antennas, making sure the wire connected to "Main" on the original card is connected to "Main" on the new card, and the "AUX" wire is connected to "AUX".  On my computer the black wire was the main antenna, the grey wire was the second antenna.

 

If you're like me, after you install, you may want to set reconnect the keyboard/mouse/finger print sensor and reboot the machine before screwing everything back together to be sure it works.   Just be careful if you do this.  When you restart, wireless will not be working.  Run the installers for the drivers you downloaded at the beginning - I found installing the wireless dirver and then the bluetooth driver worked best.  After they install and you restart, everything should be working great, including bluetooth.  I had absolutely no issues with getting everything to work. 

 

Now the funnest part: performance.  The card is hands-down incredibly faster then the stock card.  The 2x2 MIMO streams virtually double your upload/download performance (assuming you have at least at AC1200 router that supports the speeds the card does).  I use an ASUS AC1900 RT-AC68U, an awesome router worth every penny.  From speedtest.net, my laptop on wireless now easily keeps up with my 60MBPS internet service, going just as fast as my wired connection (with the old card, it maxed out for download around 50MBPS; with the new card, it uses the full bandwidth, closer to 70MBPS for us.  Upload speeds were around 4.5-5MBPS, to be expected given our internet service. 

 

File transfers are literally about twice as fast as prior to the upgrade.  I've maintained sustained actual download speeds of over 8 MB/s when about 40 feet from the router with 3 walls and some other items in the way.  File transfer speeds are great, getting over 40MBPS transferring files to my NAS, compared to closer to 20 with the original card (also from 40 feet with 3 walls and other obstacles).  

 

Overall, the performance is markedly better than the original card, as expected, the install was simply and quick, and everything works flawlessly.  I strongly recommend this upgrade.

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