A year later however I've began to find that the pre-installed Ubuntu and hardware were getting long in the tooth, so I recently decided to take the plunge and update the machine. I went online and found some guaranteed compatible Ram and SSD from Crucial (2x4GB DDR3 12800 + 120GB SSD), then downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop.
Of course having the opportunity to pop open the lid of the laptop to change it's hardware I thought I'd be best off to share some photos, and run a couple of quick benchmarks.
Under the hood:
Seating the new Ram and SSD was straight forward, then I reassembled the machine. I will note that Crucial included with the SSD a spacer that made fitting the new drive snugly into the drive bay quick and easy.
After install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS I decided that I should run a few benchmarks to see how much improvement had been made.
Test building Apache Karaf 2.2.x branch took 3 minutes, 58.9 seconds -- the original gear took 6 minutes 7 seconds (latest branch code, Maven 3.1.0, Java 1.7).
ActiveMQ KahaDB Disk Benchmark produced a Sync Write score of 101.3 writes / second -- the original gear scored 18.6 writes / second (Java 1.7, AMQ 5.8.0 release kit).