Thinkpad T61p upgrades

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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Bready_To.Toast
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Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#1 Post by Bready_To.Toast » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:31 pm

I want to make some upgrades to my Thinkpad and the current specs are as follows:
Core 2 Duo T9500 at 2.60GHz
Nvidia Quadro FX570M at 475MHz (theres some sort of factory OC to 513MHz) with 16 CUDA Cores
4GB (2x2) DDR2 RAM
60GB Edge Boost Pro SSD
15.4 Inch 1920x1200 Screen
Runs Zorin OS 11

I want to upgrade the T9500 to a Core 2 Extreme X9000 and upgrade the RAM to 6 or 8GB and expand the SSD to 128GB but is it worth it? especially with the inflated price of Core 2 Extremes

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#2 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:54 pm

A T9500 is a plenty fast CPU for that machine. If you want to boost it up, get a SLAQD CPU. It is like a T9900 but without some of the extra power saving features. It is a cheap upgrade for you. The problem with the X9000 and QX9300 is that the chips get too hot. The T61p is just not equipped to handle the heat and modding it is possible but not easy.

8GB RAM from 4 is expensive but likely worth the upgrade. More worthful than a X9000 chip.

60GB SSD is kinda a joke. Get the 128 to boost performance significantly, SSDs benefit significantly from alot of free space. A Middleton BIOS will also help, giving you sata II speeds instead of sata I.
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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#3 Post by ajkula66 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:52 pm

I wouldn't touch the CPU, but would max out the RAM if you can afford it and go for a good MLC 240GB SSD. Anything smaller does really not cut it it nowadays once the drive has been over-provisioned.

This post brought to you courtesy of T61p with T9300, 8GB RAM and a Sandisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#4 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:58 pm

Personally, go for a Samsung 850 Evo. Have used the Evo drives for 5 years now and still as fast as it was out of the box. One of the fastest drives on the market. While Im not sure how fast ajkula66's Sandisk is, I havent had the greatest luck with them. The one in my W700 is performing quite poorly for an SSD and so is the one in my X301. Your mileage may vary though.

If you plan on using 256gb, get a 512. If you plan on using 128, get a 256. SSDs perform the best when they have alot of space open, it is proven and it is just how they work. I used up my 1TB up to about 80gb left and performance is heading south. I need to transfer data. Same happened on my 512gb drive.
Welcome to the jungle, we have FrankenPads
If you want it you're going to bleed, but that is the price to pay
And you're a very rare mobo, very hard to get
You can see the blinky lights, but you won't get them for free.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#5 Post by Bready_To.Toast » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:42 pm

if im reading all this correctly upgrade the RAM first, SSD 2nd and CPU last

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#6 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:24 am

Bready_To.Toast wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:42 pm
if im reading all this correctly upgrade the RAM first, SSD 2nd and CPU last
I'd start with SSD>RAM and then CPU if you feel that you really want it...
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

AARP club members:A31p, T43pSF

Abused daily: T61p

PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#7 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:53 am

ajkula66 wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:24 am
Bready_To.Toast wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:42 pm
if im reading all this correctly upgrade the RAM first, SSD 2nd and CPU last
I'd start with SSD>RAM and then CPU if you feel that you really want it...
I'm not starting at SSDs. That is a given that they are upgradable. Even the FRUIT has upgradable SSDs on their new machine, if they make it upgradable, well just about any other machine should have it upgradable no matter what!
Welcome to the jungle, we have FrankenPads
If you want it you're going to bleed, but that is the price to pay
And you're a very rare mobo, very hard to get
You can see the blinky lights, but you won't get them for free.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#8 Post by Raidriar » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:37 pm

George and others may disagree, but I strongly advocate springing for the X9000 (I will be doing so soon as well).
The crucial part here is you download a freeware program called Throttlestop (written by Unclewebb), as it is crucial to maximizing efficiency of your processor.

I pretty much have a sister to your T61P
15.4" Wide
Intel T9500 (at following settings: 14x @ 1.0875V, 13x @ 1.0250V, and 10.5 at 0.9250V {lowest possible voltage for the T9500, at a significantly higher clockspeed than what IEST would dictacte})
Nvidia Quadro FX 570M (undervolted from the obscene stock voltage of 1.10V down to a paltry 0.9V, a HUGELY important thing to do. keeps power consumption low, temperatures lower than they would normally be, no sacrifice in performance, prolongs life of the chip)
2x2 GB DDR2 matched RAM
64GB Intel X25-E SLC Sata II SSD (PM965 chipset limited to SATA II speeds anyway... and SLC has the highest durability of any type of SSD)
1680x1050 Display (trying to find a 1920x1200 panel...)

In order of importance:
1. CPU
2. SSD
3. RAM

The FX 570M is reaching its limits on navigating the web these days. HD video streams, though at a very lagging pace. Where the FX 570M cannot keep up, the CPU will have to step in and try to assist as much as possible. No amount of RAM is going to fix this limitation, and CPU will help only slightly. however given the price for a set of DDR2 8GB sodimm (at least $100+) vs $40 for the Intel X9000, you will much more likely to see benefit from the X9000. I have 4GB of ram, and I've never had to have the computer resort to pagefile usage under typical office settings of web browsing, typing, and watching a video. The SSD...well you're limited to SATA II. You could get a SATA with better IOPS, as the peak speeds no longer matter since its all capped to 250MB/s anyway. I chose to go with reliability/durability over speed since any SSD will pretty much be a major upgrade over a HDD. Intel X25-E 64GB has been torture tested and (I think) found to have a TBW endurance of 2-3 petabytes, which is obscene and will likely outlive any TLC SSD produced today. Very snappy for my needs, WEI rates it as 7.6 in my setup. RAM would be a final thing to do if you REALLY want to max the machine, but I cannot justify paying that price for 8GB of DDR2 ram in 2017.

Your most important things to do is optimize CPU voltage and reduce GPU voltage to make sure it runs as cool and efficient as possible.

I keep my unit as a "museum piece" since many T61Ps have succumbed by now to their GPU flaws and not many out there were willing to replace the system board.

Hope this helps!

Written from my T61P as specified in this post!

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#9 Post by Bready_To.Toast » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:13 am

Raidriar, im on Linux so i don't really know if i can undervolt but i would really appreciate if i can find some sort of tutorial that would be great and i think my thinkpad has the motherboard that was manufactured after February 2008 the build date of my thinkpad was 2/20/2008 (according to the BIOS) and my thinkpad does really struggle with 720p video i still use my thinkpad on the daily and would really like to stretch usage as much as possible, when i finish my main build ill consider putting parts into my Thinkpad but i also have a T60 with a bios locked motherboard that i wanna franken pad., thanks for the help

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#10 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:45 am

Bready_To.Toast wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:13 am
Raidriar, im on Linux so i don't really know if i can undervolt but i would really appreciate if i can find some sort of tutorial that would be great and i think my thinkpad has the motherboard that was manufactured after February 2008 the build date of my thinkpad was 2/20/2008 (according to the BIOS) and my thinkpad does really struggle with 720p video i still use my thinkpad on the daily and would really like to stretch usage as much as possible, when i finish my main build ill consider putting parts into my Thinkpad but i also have a T60 with a bios locked motherboard that i wanna franken pad., thanks for the help
That's the date of the BIOS version itself, not of the machine. The sticker that holds your serial on the bottom also shows the actual production date in the YY/MM format.

Do you have Middleton's BIOS installed? If not, that should be your first stop although there are other modded BIOSes - and Raidriar would be more familiar with them - that would offer similar benefits such as whitelist removal and unlocking SATA II speeds in the main bay.

Having said that, your system shouldn't be struggling with 720p videos IME. The one that I'm typing on doesn't but it's not running Linux either.

Good luck.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

AARP club members:A31p, T43pSF

Abused daily: T61p

PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#11 Post by Raidriar » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:47 am

Bready_To.Toast wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:13 am
Raidriar, im on Linux so i don't really know if i can undervolt but i would really appreciate if i can find some sort of tutorial that would be great and i think my thinkpad has the motherboard that was manufactured after February 2008 the build date of my thinkpad was 2/20/2008 (according to the BIOS) and my thinkpad does really struggle with 720p video i still use my thinkpad on the daily and would really like to stretch usage as much as possible, when i finish my main build ill consider putting parts into my Thinkpad but i also have a T60 with a bios locked motherboard that i wanna franken pad., thanks for the help
Ah, being on linux makes things well...not so good. I'm not sure what the latest nvidia driver is on Linux, but for windows, the latest is from November 2016, which is quite excellent support as the FX 570M is from 2007/2008. Also some of the ACPI calls in the BIOS may not be fully supported in Linux where they would probably be better supported in Windows, which is why I've stuck with Windows 7 on the T61P. However, if you intend to stick to Linux, the GPU undervolt done by Highsun's modded BIOS should have the GPU undervolt stick in any OS, as this is a vBIOS level modification. The CPU however, may run a tad warm if you choose the X9000, as undervolting is crucial to keeping it cool. If you intend to stick to linux, I would look at the intel p9700 CPU instead, as it is a lower TDP chip while running at 2.8Ghz (capable of 3.0 ghz using intel dynamic acceleration).

If you decide to come back to windows, definitely push for the X9000.

Highsun's BIOS is the one you want, it has even more features than Middleton's BIOS.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#12 Post by Bready_To.Toast » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:33 pm

Raidriar, where do i get Highsuns bios? do i need windows to install it? or do i boot off of a USB stick

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#13 Post by Bready_To.Toast » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:03 pm

Raidriar, is the P9700 supported by the Thinkpad T61p?

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#14 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:24 pm

For Highsun BIOS, a CPU-mod is required first: viewtopic.php?t=110620
Lots of reading over the weekend!
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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#15 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:26 pm

I would need to read War and Peace to install a BIOS. Is there no accept the terms and conditions? Well, there is a first for everything :D .
Welcome to the jungle, we have FrankenPads
If you want it you're going to bleed, but that is the price to pay
And you're a very rare mobo, very hard to get
You can see the blinky lights, but you won't get them for free.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#16 Post by Raidriar » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:59 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:24 pm
For Highsun BIOS, a CPU-mod is required first: viewtopic.php?t=110620
Lots of reading over the weekend!
That is true only if you want to use a FSB 1066 CPU (like the P9700 or X9100) I did not pin-mod my system in order to use my T9500, and the intel X9000 is a FSB 800 CPU, so it will not require a pin-mod either.

German forum and instructions here, use google translate:
https://thinkpad-forum.de/threads/17258 ... ndervolten

The BIOS you want is the 专门网论坛_T61-BIOS(0.95)_ASPM.rar
That one drops the GPU voltage to 0.95 as that is the more stable place to start. If it tolerates the 0.95V well, you may try the 0.9 edition which drops further to 0.9V. You need a DOS USB bootable key to flash the BIOS, and you will have to ignore the checksum mismatch fault the BIOS flasher will try to warn you about, as modifying the BIOS extensively like this will cause it to fail Phoenix/Lenovo's checksum.

There are other BIOSes available with quad core support but I think it is way too much hassle and inadequate cooling capability for the T61 to handle.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#17 Post by Bready_To.Toast » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:46 pm

ok im gonna have to scrap the P9700 becuase thats way to complicated and it involves bioses and stuff i already have a locked T60 i dont need a locked T61p im gonna go for the X9000 and undervolting.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#18 Post by cadillacmike68 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:27 pm

Did you mean bricked instead of locked? Locked usually means a lost PW, while bricked is what I recently did to a T500 while attempting a BIOS flash... AKA FUBAR'd :evil:
760LD 9547 FUBARd
T21 2647; T22 2647 4@ 900MHz, 1@ 1GHz SXGA+; T23 2647 2@ 1.13GHz, 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+, WiFi
T30 2366-88U 2GHz; 2366-83U 1.8G; 5@ 2366-LU0/66U; 2367-KU6 FUBARd
T61 8897, 2.4GHz SXGA+; 8898, 2.4GHz; 6463, 2.4 & 2.1GHz WSXGA+; 7658, 2.5GHz; T61p, 3 more T61s
T500 2

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#19 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:37 pm

cadillacmike68 wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:27 pm
Did you mean bricked instead of locked? Locked usually means a lost PW, while bricked is what I recently did to a T500 while attempting a BIOS flash... AKA FUBAR'd :evil:
That is not FUBAR'd.
This is FUBAR'd.

Image

F***ed
Up
Beyond
All
Recognition

I can't even tell what model that is.
Welcome to the jungle, we have FrankenPads
If you want it you're going to bleed, but that is the price to pay
And you're a very rare mobo, very hard to get
You can see the blinky lights, but you won't get them for free.

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#20 Post by cadillacmike68 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:56 pm

Whoa!!!!!

Look on the bottom for the MTM! :P

The R can also mean Repair, so a bricked mobo could be considered to be FUBAR'd.
760LD 9547 FUBARd
T21 2647; T22 2647 4@ 900MHz, 1@ 1GHz SXGA+; T23 2647 2@ 1.13GHz, 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+, WiFi
T30 2366-88U 2GHz; 2366-83U 1.8G; 5@ 2366-LU0/66U; 2367-KU6 FUBARd
T61 8897, 2.4GHz SXGA+; 8898, 2.4GHz; 6463, 2.4 & 2.1GHz WSXGA+; 7658, 2.5GHz; T61p, 3 more T61s
T500 2

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#21 Post by Deagon » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:41 pm

I managed to get my thinkpad t61 (7661) working with the exp gdc beast pci-e dock connected to the express card 54mm slot on the left side of the machine. I've successfully paired it with an nvidia gtx750ti i had from my hp proliant game stream server that just died. Whilst not plug & play all it needs to work with windows (7 i've tested.) is a dsdt override to allocate more memory space and allow the graphics card to work without code 12. You also need to use setup 1.35 to boot windows, i used it with a hdd image onto SSD.

You're able to use the nvidia gpu to render games on even the internal screen with little to no more lag than on an external screen. This old T7300 isn't the best for gaming and that express card slot only being pci-e 1.1 is a bit of a killer but it still gets about 20~25 fps coh 2 with high settings 1280x720 windowed. It's turned this T61 into a fine 3d workstation.

It's definitely breathed new life into this 2007/8ish intel gpu based t61, I have the middleton bios. I'm not sure if the pci-e white-listing effects e-gpus on other slots than the 2nd mini pci-e that's inside. Middleton bios might be necessary for using exp gdc beast. I presume the whole setup can be made reasonably portable with a 3d printed enclosure and a lipo power supply or desktop psu as part of the dock & enclosure. I'm definitely up for trying a core2quad if i can get away with it. I have also have a samsung 240GB ssd 4gb ddr2 ram, that probably helps.

I wish i knew how to setup exp gdc & a dsdt override (as pci=noCRS & pci=noacpi don't work) with arch linux on this particular machines setup but i'll keep trying. I may write up tutorials with my machines specific settings needed in a new thread for win 7 (10 & *nix hopefully.) :D

LINKS;
https://www.techinferno.com/index.php?/ ... -error-12/
https://egpu.io/egpu-setup-13x/

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#22 Post by Bready_To.Toast » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:49 am

So raidriar, Ive moved to windows 10 as Linux was just too buggy and unreliable for me i would like to know if there is any software to undervolt the Quadro 570M 60C idle temp is horrible and that before I overclocked it, under medium to heavy load the temp s around 70-73C and doing something like video editing will take the GPU all the way up to 80C, and software to undervolt my T9500 (and X9000 in the future) would also be greatly appreciated and when it comes to the Silicon Lottery i hot the jackpot because i can push this 570M to 648MHz with clockspeeds to spare meaning i can push it harder but for the sake of this aged quadro I dialed it back a little bit

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Re: Thinkpad T61p upgrades

#23 Post by SirionRazzer » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:54 pm

@Bready: Speaking of GPU, there is some BIOS mod available. CPU undervolt is quite easier, try ducking ;) (or googling) "Undervolting Guide" -> RMClock + signed driver for 64bit systems.

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