Imagine a 17" laptop, with both the benefits of solid state disk (aka SSD, ideal for boot partition as C:), and the speed and size and affordability benefits of RAID0 (data partition as D:). This impressive combination can be made to work, but as far as I know, not with preconfigured parts ordered directly from Lenovo's order site (as of Oct 22). And if you want to see some photos, eyeball them here:
I'm very happy about how my upgrade from a T61p to a W700 is working out, with excellent speed, about 2-3x faster overall, due in part to Quad Cores and big cache, and the unique (but somewhat tricky to configure) SSD/RAID0 combination. I'm so relieved I got it working at all really, after many hours of hair-pulling and thinking I may have made a big mistake. At first, I just couldn't seem to get any RAID combination booted and functional.
You can hopefully benefit from my lessons learned, and hopefully avoid learning "the hard way" that I experienced.
All feedback appreciated, please post here!
EXTREMELY FAST W700 COOKBOOK: by email@example.com
If you need both space AND speed, this document is for you!
If you consider yourself a do it yourselfer, and you don't mind these compromises:
---always using external DVD drive like the self-powered DVD burner 41N556502 (or perhaps Blu-ray drive)
---you have something like Windows Home Server for daily backups (since RAID0 is twice as likely to have data loss due to inevitable drive failure)
---you don't mind placing multiple orders for all the parts
---you don't mind mildly diminished battery life (3 drives total)
---you don't mind being in potentially an unsupported configuration, as if you need service to system, you'll likely not want to ship any of the 3 HDDs, and need to be able to reconstruct above steps upon receipt of a new mainboard
---you don't mind installing Vista yourself (or you know how to clone your preload to the new SSD)
Then by all means, build yourself an extremely fast W700 system, perhaps with the following now-tested parts. I chose to scrimp a bit on the discreet graphics memory at 512MB, since it could technically be upgraded later, and I felt the hundreds saved, coupled with more hundreds saved buying better drives elsewhere, outweighed the benefits of a preconfigured system for me. My intended use of this system is primarily for work, which involves occasional travel, with laptop use on AC power 95% of the time. I'm not a gamer, but am a bit of a photographer. And I actually like the tortured learning method of research coupled with trial and error, as I tend to learn better that way, and sometimes stumble on new ways of doing things.
So, still interested in learning more? Read onward...
HERE'S THE SHOPPING LIST FOR SUPER FAST STORAGE:
$650+$50+$20+$160+$30=$910 TOTAL ESTIMATED COST
---(external Optical Drive extra)
---(remember, you're saving some $ by not ordering the maxed out Lenovo configured system though)
0) One ThinkPad W700 (all have RAID ability built in)
Choose the cheapest drive option, since you'll likely be setting it aside (unless you can fully backup the preload before redeploying it elsewhere)
1) Qty 1 "THINKPAD SERIAL ATA HARD DRIVE BAY ADAPTER II" part # 43R1980, ~$50
Probably makes sense to order straight from Lenovo with your W700 order, as it'll ship in advance, and at no additional shipping charge
2) Qty 1 Intel X-25M SSD in Ultrabay, ~$650
http://computers.pricegrabber.com/hard- ... /st=query/
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/in ... spx?i=3403
(you'll likely change your mind about Lenovo-bundled SSD after reading article above)
3) Qty 1 rubber rail kit (2 pieces, plus metal sled for mounting the 2nd drive), ~$20
(I'm using the 250GB my system came with for other projects)
Here's exploded parts diagram, the rubber rail kit is FRU 41V9756, but not sure how to also order the metal sled:
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... R-70561#18
Here's an option that includes rails and the little metal sled and the screws, only the screws were a different color than the actual rubber/cage/screws that came with my W700's original drive, took about 3 days for shipping cross country:
http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-Thinkpad-Hard-D ... dZViewItem
this person has found a way to get the actual IBM parts here:
http://www.buy-a-thon.com/reviews/W700- ... -caddy.htm
Here's a 3rd party option you might consider:
http://newmodeus.com/shop/index.php?mai ... ucts_id=36
4) Qty 2 fast 7200rpm drives, ~$160 total (for 2 Seagate 7200.3 320GB drives)
OEM version of drive packaging will do, as you don't need big fancy box and manuals & screws & such
You probably want both the same size, though a mismatch will work, but you only double the capacity of the smaller drive, a restriction in the integrated Intel ICH9M RAID0.
Also note, you can't mix internal HDD0 (Port0) or HDD1 (Port1) with Ultrabay (Port5) for the RAID array, the ICH9M wizard won't even allow you to try. This helps explains why my instructions are so particular, having learned the hard way.
I chose Seagate, self-parking-if-dropped (even without software) Momentus 7200.3 320GB drives, see review:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/not ... 006-6.html
see pricing (about $80 per drive)
http://computers.pricegrabber.com/hard- ... sv=button/
5) Qty 1 "repair kit" for screws, ~$30
The hardware maintenance manual recommends new screws, whenever you replace a part, given the threadlock that's preapplied but comes off easily. So, buying this kit will make replacing your own keyboard, removing your Turbo Memory (if you enable RAID, see manual), etc less worrisome. I had a similar kit for my T61p, and it has the locking screw for the Ultrabay, to keep from accidentally ejecting your primary boot drive. I think it's quite likely the kit for the W700, referred to on page 149/141 of the maintenance manual, will have the same short/chubby screw that you need, but it's hard to find that FRU 43Y9789 kit now:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls= ... &q=43Y9789
So I do know that the T61p kit found here will have many if not all the spare screws you could need, including the critical Ultrabay lock-down screw, which most likely is this part, "M3 × 3 mm (black), wafer head (5)" which has one long slot for regular screwdriver, or you can also use the small cross in the middle for Philips head:
6) Optionally, External USB Optical Drive
(if you don't already have one)
"Lenovo USB 2.0 Super Multi-Burner Drive with LightScribe", ~$225
Here's the currently available model:
Here's the model # 41N5565 currently available:
http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/cont ... 4EDF98188B
I have the older/cheaper "Lenovo USB 2.0 Super Multi-Burner Drive - Disk drive - DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM - 8x/8x/5x - Hi-Speed USB - external - business black - LightScribe - Lenovo 41N556502 (41N5565-02)"
http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_geto ... ightScribe
HERE'S THE ASSEMBLY OVERVIEW:
1) Set aside original hdd (I'd recommend backing it up prior to ever booting it, with something like free Clonezilla, or Ghost 11 or Acronis)
2) borrow the drive shell and rubber rails from the original hdd, and install on one of the two purchased 7200rpm drives
3) install 2nd metal cage and rubber rails (from purchased kit) onto the 2nd purchased 7200rpm drive
4) insert both drives in internal drive bays in the W700, screw down cover (see page 76 of pdf, which printed shows page 67 at bottom)
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... MIGR-70385
DO NOT POWER ON without rubber sleds in place, as shorting and mainboard failure can occur if you skip this step (plus metal clips kind of get caught on naked drive anyhow).
5) Power on boot system, press F1 at ThinkPad splash screen
6) Go into Configuration, SATA, then change from factory default AHCI to RAID mode, save changes and exit
7) Reboot, press Ctrl+I when prompted by Intel ICH9M utility during boot, to configure RAID0 (VERY quick and easy, since only 2 blank drives are present), save and exit, reboot,
watch Ctrl+I splash screen to confirm a healthy volume approximately double the size of your drive, then (upon error in finding OS), reboot again
8 ) Press F1 at ThinkPad splash screen, go into Configuration, SATA, change from RAID back to AHCI mode, save changes and exit, power off (the RAID volume will still be visible to SSD C: drive where you'll install your OS, it's just not boot-from-RAID)
9 ) Install Intel X-25M SSD
install Intel X-25M SSD in Ultrabay adapter
eject DVD drive unit that came with system aside, keep it, as some firmware flash utilities from Lenovo won't work in external USB DVD readers
insert Ultrabay with SSD
Note: never eject it while powered on (which would crash OS). There appears to be an optional lock-down screw on the W700 underside to prevent accidental ejection, anybody have that part#?
10) Power on, press F1 at ThinkPad splash screen
11) Go into startup sequence, ensure that the Intel SSD shows in the boot device list, and you should exclude the RAID volume
12) Install Vista Ultimate 64
This part is trickiest of all. You need to have the media, which you can order for an extra fee from Lenovo. Or you need to have Window Home Server recovery media, but it won't restore to smaller drive. So, it'd seem that cloning the preload to the new Intel SSD would be the way to go, Ghost 11 boot CD, or Acronis, should do nicely. I personally already had a Ghost 11 backup of my T61p C: drive with 65GB or data, cloned it to SSD and it resized automatically, then I booted off WinPE 2.0 CD and had to run "chkdsk c: /f" on the resized C: drive on my Intel SSD, it then booted, and worked flawlessly. Added ICH9M driver from Lenovo Support:
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... MIGR-70337
then restored my T61p D: drive to the new 600GB RAID0 Volume, could then see the data no problem. But this whole cloning topic is really a whole 'nother discussion.
Hope I've helped others, and sure wish Lenovo would offer a preconfigured system with this work done for you!
2757CTO Lenovo W700 (rec'd Oct 20 '08)
17"1920x1200,NVIDIA Quadro FX2700M
C: UltraBay Intel X25-M 80GB SSD,Vista 64 UltSP1
D: Seagate 7200.3 320GBx2 RAID0
Port Replicator 43R8782
trying T61p's EVDO Sierra MC5725 mini-PCI in Turbo Mem slot w/UWB antenna (unsupported)