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speeding up x61

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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dlbeaty
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speeding up x61

#1 Post by dlbeaty » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:15 am

My thinkpad is running XP pro 32 bit with 3 gig ram, t8300 @ 2.4 ghtz, Hitachi 500gb 5400rpm HD. The 7200rpm drive I had before was smaller, and had problems, so I changed to this one, and could not really see a performance difference in my usage.

The main lag I have is on the internet. My wireless is the Intel 4965agn. I am using several 16 bit programs that I like and do not want to upgrade, so I am staying with XP for now. Would an SD drive make a difference, or is there a software option?

Other more modern laptops seem faster when family and friends bring them over, so I do not think it is my wifi, unless there are settings I need to try with this PC. Any suggestions? I can afford a newer thinkpad right now, but as I said I like older apps that might not work well on later OS.

Thanks for any advise coming my way.

Dan

Dekks
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Re: speeding up x61

#2 Post by Dekks » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:33 am

Yes a SSD would be an immediate upgrade in speed, are your wifi drivers the latest? XP is end of life so doesn't get any security updates now, what 16 bit apps are keeping you on XP?
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FryPpy
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Re: speeding up x61

#3 Post by FryPpy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:18 pm

dlbeaty wrote: The main lag I have is on the internet. My wireless is the Intel 4965agn. I am using several 16 bit programs that I like and do not want to upgrade, so I am staying with XP for now.
You can upgrade wifi up to 6xxx series of intel adapters. (7xxxx series can be used but there is no drivers for XP;) For this you need flash Middleton's BIOS (to stop whitelist checks) and get bracket for half height miniPCIe cards and replace adapter. Many thinkpadders have walked this way (and i have) primary for minimise heat generation to palmrest. But you can get normal 2x2 wifi-n adapter.

Check if your 4965 is defenitely wifi-n. Some thinkpads was shipped with 4965 with n-disabled.

BTW
Midleton's BIOS can speed up sata to SATA-II and it helps you if you place SSD in X61.

brchan
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Re: speeding up x61

#4 Post by brchan » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:12 pm

The problem could be with outdated/corrupt wifi drivers. Maybe try installing a newer version? Also, if you need to run 16 bit apps, you could always install Windows 7, then create a Windows XP virtual machine and install the apps there. This way, you get the much better security of Windows 7, and you are still protected when you use the XP virtual machine, since it is kept separate from the main Windows 7 drive.
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Re: speeding up x61

#5 Post by McDonnell » Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:25 am

I would definitely go for the following upgrades.

Intel n-6200 ½ size wifi card.
SSD of somekind (I can recommend Intel and Samsung).
The 2 above would require Middleton BIOS in order for SATA-II and being able to boot with a non-lenovo wifi card.

In addition to that you could upgrade to 2x2 GB RAM (total 4GB) or the more expensive and rare 2x4 GB RAM (total 8GB).

The above plus SXGA+ AFFS are the upgrades my X61 has been through and I still use it on a daily basis.

dlbeaty
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Re: speeding up x61

#6 Post by dlbeaty » Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:09 am

Thanks for the tips. I did go into the wifi card settings and made some changes. N seems to have been enabled. Internet connection is stated as faster and things have improved. I will have to learn more about the other upgrades. I can change the drive myself, but the other upgrades may take more time to understand.

Dan

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Re: speeding up x61

#7 Post by Bibin » Sat Jul 19, 2014 9:39 pm

Please upgrade to a modern operating system. 16-bit applications is not a very good reason to continue to use XP, as its 16-bit support is through poor emulation. DOSBox does a much better job in almost every scenario, and will run on the most modern systems. The only exceptions are if you are using 16-bit applications that use the old Windows API. Even then, you can run Windows 3.11 in DOSBox..
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Re: speeding up x61

#8 Post by dlbeaty » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:17 pm

I have a question about modern OS and DOSBox. Would not the additional resources required slow the x61 down? It has always been my experience with older PCs. I am semi retired now, and do not want to purchase and learn a new accounting software. So I will probably just keep things like they are and get a new/newer laptop for everything else.

It is just that the x61 and XP does everything I need fine except that the internet is a bit slow.

Dan

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Re: speeding up x61

#9 Post by dr_st » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:12 am

dlbeaty wrote:The main lag I have is on the internet.
What exactly is lagging? Can you describe? Pages load slow? Video is stuttering? Computer becomes slow when switching between multiple browser windows/tabs? With your generic description, you've been receiving various tips, which may be completely unrelated to your actual problems.
dlbeaty wrote:I am using several 16 bit programs that I like and do not want to upgrade, so I am staying with XP for now.
What programs are these? Are these DOS programs or 16-bit Windows programs? What is the reason for continuing to use them, and are there no alternatives? (Sometimes there are and sometimes there are not, that's why I'm asking.
dlbeaty wrote:Other more modern laptops seem faster when family and friends bring them over, so I do not think it is my wifi, unless there are settings I need to try with this PC.
It may simply be the fact that your laptop is, well, old and slow compared to newer and faster ones. 5 generations of CPUs have changed since your X61. Each one is a small boost, but together they are significant. Storage, whether SSD or rotational HDD, is also probably faster than your 5400RPM drive.
dlbeaty wrote:I have a question about modern OS and DOSBox. Would not the additional resources required slow the x61 down?
Just having something installed does not slow you down, unless you use it.
dlbeaty wrote:I am semi retired now, and do not want to purchase and learn a new accounting software. So I will probably just keep things like they are and get a new/newer laptop for everything else.
OK, this answers my previous question somewhat. :) Yep, accounting software is tricky. In my experience, it is precisely this type of applications that people often cite that keeps them using old, obsolete hardware and software, just for compatibility with said application.

In any case, I see nothing wrong with keeping your X61 just for this purpose, but other alternatives exist. DOSBox runs most DOS applications perfectly now, and for old Windows applications you can run Windows XP inside Microsoft VirtualPC, under any more modern Windows version (at least the Professional/Business/Ultimate variants).
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Re: speeding up x61

#10 Post by Allstar » Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:34 am

I'm curious if by any chance on the market is a Mini PCI-E wifi dongle with HD decoder (Broadcom Crystal)?

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Re: speeding up x61

#11 Post by FryPpy » Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:45 pm

Allstar wrote:I'm curious if by any chance on the market is a Mini PCI-E wifi dongle with HD decoder (Broadcom Crystal)?
I don't see these.
But i know threre is WiFi + WWAN (3G) modules on market. It can free WiFi slot if WWAN is needed. But i don't know if they usable in thinkpads.
(NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR T(X)60 series because WWAN slot haven't PCIe lenes)

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Re: speeding up x61

#12 Post by GpsPasSion » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:54 pm

Bibin wrote:Please upgrade to a modern operating system. 16-bit applications is not a very good reason to continue to use XP, as its 16-bit support is through poor emulation. DOSBox does a much better job in almost every scenario, and will run on the most modern systems. The only exceptions are if you are using 16-bit applications that use the old Windows API. Even then, you can run Windows 3.11 in DOSBox..
What Windows OS would you recommend for the X61T? I'm running XP on mine and I'm wondering if some of the slow response isn't coming from there...I never use the Tablet features so I'm not too bothered if there are no drivers for that recommended OS, thanks!

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Re: speeding up x61

#13 Post by ajkula66 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:03 pm

GpsPasSion wrote:
What Windows OS would you recommend for the X61T? I'm running XP on mine and I'm wondering if some of the slow response isn't coming from there...I never use the Tablet features so I'm not too bothered if there are no drivers for that recommended OS, thanks!
I've ran W7 Pro on a plethora of X61T units and it was great.
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Re: speeding up x61

#14 Post by GpsPasSion » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:31 pm

Thanks, and the specific tablet drivers are easy to come by? Directly on Lenovo's site?

I'm finding that WinXP guzzles down my 3Gb of RAM and the page file increases regularly...would I need to go up to 4Gb for Win7 ? If memory serves WinXP couldn't handle more than 3Gb?

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Re: speeding up x61

#15 Post by ajkula66 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:33 pm

GpsPasSion wrote:Thanks, and the specific tablet drivers are easy to come by? Directly on Lenovo's site?
Well, given that Lenovo has been dropping support for older models recently, I'd hurry up if I were you...
I'm finding that WinXP guzzles down my 3Gb of RAM and the page file increases regularly...would I need to go up to 4Gb for Win7 ? If memory serves WinXP couldn't handle more than 3Gb?
If you're running a 32-bit version of W7 3GB is fine, for a 64-bit version at least 4GB is recommended IMO.

But Middleton's BIOS and a SSD should come first...you'll be surprised how young that X61T will feel once again.

Happy upgrading.
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Re: speeding up x61

#16 Post by Cigarguy » Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:37 pm

With 3 GB all you really need is Win 7, 32 bit. You need a 64 bit OS if you want to use 4+ GB. Win XP 32 bit was a really good OS but is old. Win XP 64 bit was very buggy.

A T61T will run great with Win 7 even with 2 GB. 3 GB is more than sufficient for Win 7. Drivers are easily downloaded from Windows Update and Lenovo. I could never get the tablet functionality working properly with Win 8, 8.1.

I'd also highly recommend a SSD, this is where you'll notice the biggest improvement.

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Re: speeding up x61

#17 Post by E350 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:13 pm

I would like to second what everyone else has said here (except I have been happy with Seagate Hybrids in lieu of a full SSD).

Question for all of you, where can I get Windows 7 64-bit upgrade for a good price?

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Re: speeding up x61

#18 Post by GpsPasSion » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:01 pm

Cigarguy wrote:With 3 GB all you really need is Win 7, 32 bit. You need a 64 bit OS if you want to use 4+ GB. Win XP 32 bit was a really good OS but is old. Win XP 64 bit was very buggy.

A T61T will run great with Win 7 even with 2 GB. 3 GB is more than sufficient for Win 7. Drivers are easily downloaded from Windows Update and Lenovo. I could never get the tablet functionality working properly with Win 8, 8.1.

I'd also highly recommend a SSD, this is where you'll notice the biggest improvement.
Thanks for the tips. I received my Intel 520 SSD, installed Win 7/64 and the X61T is indeed flying...and silently as well with TPFanControl. Hard to believe it's the same computer really!

Only problem is that my 3Gb memory seems to be maxed out as Task Manager shows : Physical Memory 93% with my usual apps (FFox, Outlook, Excel, Access) open. The memory hog is FFox of course. I'm thinking that paging won't be as big a problem with the SSD as with the HD, but still...In my experience Windows OSs are pretty good at gobbling up your RAM in any case so I'm not sure 4Gb would make that big of a difference. Unfortunately the X61T uses DDR2 and they seem to be more expensive than the DDR3 chips, albeing still less expensive than what I remembered.

As a side note about "speed", the X61T can't use an ExpressCard with USB3 ports, right?

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Re: speeding up x61

#19 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:52 am

E350,

One of my clients bought a retail Win 7 box and it came with 1 DVD for 32-bit, another for 64-bit, but only one product key. This implies that you can reuse a key from a 32-bit install to 64-bit, but of course you have to "retire" the 32-bit Windows install.
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Re: speeding up x61

#20 Post by E350 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:01 am

I have been very happy with Core Temp and its related desktop gadget. It lists total journal max, shows temp, core percentage use, and ram use - both in numbers and graphs all at the same time in a very small desktop gadget.

http://alcpu.com/CoreTemp/

(If anyone has any concerns with this free program feel free to warn me.)

RBS, I believe said that I would not use my 8Gb's ram and it is only rare that I exceed 50% ram usage, but I do occasionally.

auxr-delmeria: Brick and mortar for retail W7? I cannot remember the last time I was in a brick and mortar electronics store. Should I start cruising for W7 there?

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Re: speeding up x61

#21 Post by Qing Dao » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:30 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:E350,

One of my clients bought a retail Win 7 box and it came with 1 DVD for 32-bit, another for 64-bit, but only one product key. This implies that you can reuse a key from a 32-bit install to 64-bit, but of course you have to "retire" the 32-bit Windows install.
This is correct. Windows product keys are not tied to a 32 or 64-bit version.

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Re: speeding up x61

#22 Post by dmdsoftware » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:23 am

E350 wrote:I have been very happy with Core Temp and its related desktop gadget. It lists total journal max, shows temp, core percentage use, and ram use - both in numbers and graphs all at the same time in a very small desktop gadget.

http://alcpu.com/CoreTemp/

(If anyone has any concerns with this free program feel free to warn me.)

RBS, I believe said that I would not use my 8Gb's ram and it is only rare that I exceed 50% ram usage, but I do occasionally.

auxr-delmeria: Brick and mortar for retail W7? I cannot remember the last time I was in a brick and mortar electronics store. Should I start cruising for W7 there?
With real OSes, you will utilize all your RAM. What's the point of having it if it sits 50% unused typically. With operating systems like Linux, any used space is used for caching, to speed up system performance. When something "memory hungry" starts up, the memory is quickly freed.

When I moved from Windows to Linux, it was of my first mysteries -- why is all my memory used up.
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Re: speeding up x61

#23 Post by GpsPasSion » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:24 am

Talking of RAM, I'm finding that W7x64 deals a lot better with the 3Gb on my X61T than XP that was quickly down to its last 300Mb and increasing the paging file, which meant trouble with my 500Gb Seagate HD. I haven't reinstalled the utility (RamCleaner I think) that gave me that info but there have been no such warnings/problems with W7 and looking at the physical RAM percentage in the Task Manager I've never seen it higher than 85%. Don't think I'll need to go up to 4Gb after all!

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Re: speeding up x61

#24 Post by dmdsoftware » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:34 am

GpsPasSion wrote:Talking of RAM, I'm finding that W7x64 deals a lot better with the 3Gb on my X61T than XP that was quickly down to its last 300Mb and increasing the paging file, which meant trouble with my 500Gb Seagate HD. I haven't reinstalled the utility (RamCleaner I think) that gave me that info but there have been no such warnings/problems with W7 and looking at the physical RAM percentage in the Task Manager I've never seen it higher than 85%. Don't think I'll need to go up to 4Gb after all!
Interesting finding. I would have suspected that any 64bit OS would have had a bigger memory foot print, but perhaps the memory optimizations are better in Win7 over XP. After-all, what the average memory in a system back in XP's 2002 release days anyways?
X62 & X62s & X62T SXGA+ i7 5600u 8-16GB
Helix i7
Carbon X1 i5 UHD
W520 4x-i7
Sony Vaio P799 (8" LED 1600x768)
"Think" Ultrabook i7
LegoThinkpad 11"

in storage:
X131e AMD
X60/X60s, X61/X61s/X61T, T61, T420, X30

past:
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Re: speeding up x61

#25 Post by GpsPasSion » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:56 am

I was surprised too but I'd come to the conclusion that XP gobbled up whatever you through at it! Saw that when I upgraded my X31 from 1Gb to 2Gb, was still running short, same with my X61 when I went from 1 to 3Gb. Need to check if RamCleaner is compatible with W7x64 to see what it has to say about that.

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Re: speeding up x61

#26 Post by Bibin » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:20 pm

XP, in some of its most recent updates, had a really bad debilitating bug that has some service process go nuts and eat an entire CPU core. Look at task manager next time it feels slow, and look for "services.exe" eating 50% on your X61. You can kill it, it's something to do with automatic updates. It happens even if updates are turned off, by the way,
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Re: speeding up x61

#27 Post by jdrou » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:24 pm

Bibin wrote:XP, in some of its most recent updates, had a really bad debilitating bug that has some service process go nuts and eat an entire CPU core. Look at task manager next time it feels slow, and look for "services.exe" eating 50% on your X61. You can kill it, it's something to do with automatic updates. It happens even if updates are turned off, by the way,
Given there will be no more updates you can actually go further than turning updates off. Just turning updates off doesn't stop the update service from running; if you go into the administrative tools - services app you can change the update service startup from "automatic" to "disabled" and it might prevent that issue. With the service disabled even running Windows Update manually won't work.
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Re: speeding up x61

#28 Post by ilakast » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:36 pm

dmdsoftware wrote:When I moved from Windows to Linux, it was of my first mysteries -- why is all my memory used up.
That reminds me of http://www.linuxatemyram.com/ :wink:
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Re: speeding up x61

#29 Post by GpsPasSion » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:14 pm

I upgraded to 4Gb of RAM a couple of months ago although 3Gb felt fine under W7 but I wanted to free up a 1Gb stick for my old MSI Netbook (ironically I just found the original X61T stick I knew I had somewhere) and the X61T is still doing the job. I got an aftermarket battery as the original one was really weak and the new one is fine on paper, a bit less in the field as it suffers from sudden % drops on occasion...your typical aftermarket battery I suppose.

The only area where the X61T falters (100% CPU) is on 720p YouTube videos but I suspect that's got more to do with the (ever more) bloated Adobe Shockwave plugin rather than actual abilities of the X61T. In fact when it's not installed the 720p videos stream pretty happily under HTML5...

There are some X201's (with an i5) coming out of the woodworks now for ridiculously low prices and I'm tempted to pick one up as a "backup" of sorts (or for the kids, the X23 is really struggling now...) but I'm concerned that the 1280x800 resolution on the similarly sized 12.1" screen just won't give the same experience, i.e. I've been starting at a 1024x768 12.1" for 10 years (9 on an X31) and my eyes never got tired. Has anyone else been down that road before?

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Re: speeding up x61

#30 Post by MisterB » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:43 pm

GpsPasSion wrote:
There are some X201's (with an i5) coming out of the woodworks now for ridiculously low prices and I'm tempted to pick one up as a "backup" of sorts (or for the kids, the X23 is really struggling now...) but I'm concerned that the 1280x800 resolution on the similarly sized 12.1" screen just won't give the same experience, i.e. I've been starting at a 1024x768 12.1" for 10 years (9 on an X31) and my eyes never got tired. Has anyone else been down that road before?
I bought one recently. I like it but haven't used it much yet. I can deal with the 1280x800 display but I much prefer 4:3 display's. I use the tablet's switchable display to read illustrated books and magazines in portrait mode and it works much better on a 4:3 display. I use my X41 a lot more due to this. The X201 with an i5 is quite a bit faster than my T60. It does make a good media player for HD video. It is a bit thicker and chunkier physically than the X4x and X6x tablets as well. The battery life is really good on mine, 4 to 5 hours.

After the X201, I bought two X61 tablets in need of an OS this week to play around with. I want a Thinkpad tablet that is faster and less limited than the X41 with a 4:3 display. The price of the X61s is even more ridiculously low these days.
Currently using: A W500, a W520, two X201Ts, an X220T, an X61T, a 14" T60P, a 15" UXGA T60P, and a W701.
Currently idle: A spare W500, a spare X61T, a 14" T61, a 15" SXGA+ T60, a 14" T60, and my first Thinkpad, a 770X.

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