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Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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atanasoff
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Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#1 Post by atanasoff » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:26 pm

I have an X61T, factory CPU 1.6ghz "core 2 duo L7500". It has an SSD, that helps a bit. It is functionally obsolete, but in physically excellent condition, but I like the solid feel it has and would like to keep it around for casual use, if it can be accelerated by about 50%. I know it'll still be unable to handle HD video, I'm OK with that. Much less than 50% speedup probably won't help.
I'm not a hardware hacker, but am fine with swapping out another CPU into the factory socket. Is there a plug-in CPU which is worth installing, or is this thing simply too antique to bother with? It does have a great keyboard.

Cigarguy
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#2 Post by Cigarguy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:53 pm

For my computing needs, a X61T is still very useful. I don't do anything too CPU/GPU demanding on my laptops as I have desktops for this purposes. The CPU on a X61T is soldered on so it's not an easy CPU swap. A SSD, T7700 CPU, 8 GB RAM and a decent wifi card is about as high an upgrade as I'm willing to go.

olex126
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#3 Post by olex126 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:45 pm

The fastest you can get in an X61T processor is 1.8 Ghz, and they are soldered to the motherboard which means a planar replacement.

Upgrade the IPS screen with a LED back-light kit for brighter viewing. Upgrade to an SXGA-resolution screen if you only have 1024 x 768.

Upgrade RAM to a maximum of 8 Gb, although this can be an expensive proposition due to the elevated pricing for DDR2 4 Gb modules.

Get an X6 docking station for the extra USB ports and spare bay slot. (No USB 3.0 unfortunately).

If you don't use cellular data, install the Broadcom CrystalHD Decoder card in the slot, it will help considerably in the decoding of certain video file formats.

I have five of these X60T/X61T models around the house, doing various chores, one set up with Android to run Kodi and my Internet TV service, one for personal use as a tablet (I enjoy the pen use!). I've replaced almost every component on these units that is replaceable ( in the last month alone I've replaced the fans in both a 60T and 61T model.

They're fun to play with, relatively inexpensive (parts, too), and, unless you're into 3-D modelling or Calculating the Mass of the Universe, will perform the majority of office tasks and most Web browsing effortlessly. I find an ad blocker like Ghostery in Firefox helps in considerably increasing Web page loading.

Regards.

Dave
Previous Thinkpads: 701C A22m A30/A31p T23p x2 T30 T41 X31 various 750's 760's & 390's.

Current Daily Drivers: Various X60T & X61T's, various T42p-T43p's, x200 x201 x220 x230 W520 T601F LED (T9500/8Gb/250SSD/W7 Ultimate)


"Life Is A Journey...Enjoy The Ride!"

axur-delmeria
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:38 am

Unfortunately. the X series Thinkpads are not upgradable CPU-wise. This is because the CPU itself is soldered to the system board, which makes it impossible to remove without specialized equipment.

What program are you using to watch HD video? From my video playback tests, the Core 2 Duo L7500 is capable of playing HD video (1280x720 H.264 video codec) on a media player application (Windows Media Player, MPC-HC, mpv, etc.). Streaming video from a web browser might be too much, since the browser itself has a hefty CPU overhead. If it's just youtube, you can try a standalone viewer like Minitube.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

jaspen-meyer
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#5 Post by jaspen-meyer » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:42 am

atanasoff wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:26 pm
if it can be accelerated by about 50%.
Could you give three examples of what 'accelerated by about 50%' could be?

My hunch is you could easily get 50% improvement by either tweaking your software or using different software.

Is Middleton bios installed?
T420 i7 3612QM seabios; T420 i7 3630QM; T400 Q9100 seabios; T61 P9600; T60 libreboot; x62; x60s libreboot, led; x24 xiphmont led

atanasoff
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#6 Post by atanasoff » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:53 pm

Thanks all!

Respones:
" LED back-light kit for brighter viewing"

I didn't know that was possible. I have the 1400x900 screen, without that I'd have no use for the machine. It IS a dim display, washes out even indoors near a window.
SO, how do I do that? Special tools needed, or just screwdrivers?

"T7700 CPU"
How much? But if cpu is soldered down, then how can it be replaced? Considering the cost of commodity machines and tablets, it would not be wise to spend a real $$ to upgrade.

"Upgrade RAM to a maximum of 8 Gb"
It does need more RAM, I see it frequently maxed out from rather ordinary use. It's on Win 7 x64, that may be a mem hog. How much would it cost to go to 8GB?

atanasoff
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#7 Post by atanasoff » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:02 pm

jaspen-meyer wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:42 am
atanasoff wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:26 pm
if it can be accelerated by about 50%.
Could you give three examples of what 'accelerated by about 50%' could be?

My hunch is you could easily get 50% improvement by either tweaking your software or using different software.

Is Middleton bios installed?
Re HD video, I mean inline in Chrome, Inline in Chrome, so browser. That doesn't work, the machine can't keep up at all. But for watching, say, a news broadcast, it is the standard mode of delivery, I'm not aware of a better one. I don't own a TV, so am unfamiliar the the various TV/PC options in existence.

Re an example of 50% accel. 50% more CPU, and not too bottlenecked by disk access. So a net user experience speedup of 30-50%.

Re the BIOS, I think this currently an issue slowing the machine.
I don't have the Middleton BIOS installed, I do have an SSD. Looks like I need to change the BIOS, but I don't know how - that's after checking the forum here, there are many discussions but I don't see a step-by-step how-to. Also I don't want to change the key layout, some threads say that M bios remaps 2 keys.

atanasoff
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#8 Post by atanasoff » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:04 pm

OK I just noticed there's a huge thread on how to convert to an LED backlight. I hope the actual process is shorter than the forum thread!

jaspen-meyer
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#9 Post by jaspen-meyer » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:42 pm

atanasoff wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:02 pm
Re HD video, I mean inline in Chrome, Inline in Chrome, so browser. That doesn't work, the machine can't keep up at all. But for watching, say, a news broadcast, it is the standard mode of delivery, I'm not aware of a better one. I don't own a TV, so am unfamiliar the the various TV/PC options in existence.
Try palemoon in place of chrome:
http://www.palemoon.org/palemoon-portable.shtml
T420 i7 3612QM seabios; T420 i7 3630QM; T400 Q9100 seabios; T61 P9600; T60 libreboot; x62; x60s libreboot, led; x24 xiphmont led

ajkula66
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#10 Post by ajkula66 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:58 pm

atanasoff wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:02 pm
Also I don't want to change the key layout, some threads say that M bios remaps 2 keys.
Only if you choose to. The change is optional.

Burn a CD (ISO file, bootable) using ImgBurn or a similar program, boot from the CD. flash the BIOS. Done.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

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axur-delmeria
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#11 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:35 am

atanasoff wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:02 pm
Re HD video, I mean inline in Chrome, Inline in Chrome, so browser. That doesn't work, the machine can't keep up at all. But for watching, say, a news broadcast, it is the standard mode of delivery, I'm not aware of a better one. I don't own a TV, so am unfamiliar the the various TV/PC options in existence.
The only thing I can think of is to get a Broadcom Crystal HD video decoder and hope Chrome still supports it with its native Flash player.
If you're using Windows 10, forget about it-- friend of mine has an X61 with that card, and confirms that it doesn't work on Win 10 (maybe due to the driver not having been updated).
Re an example of 50% accel. 50% more CPU, and not too bottlenecked by disk access. So a net user experience speedup of 30-50%.
The FSB overclock mod comes to mind. Not an easy mod though.
I don't have the Middleton BIOS installed, I do have an SSD. Looks like I need to change the BIOS, but I don't know how - that's after checking the forum here, there are many discussions but I don't see a step-by-step how-to. Also I don't want to change the key layout, some threads say that M bios remaps 2 keys.
Middleton BIOS helps SSD performance by unlocking the SATA II (300MB/s) speed. Stock BIOS limits it to SATA I (150MB/s). It also removes he wifi whitelist, allowing you to install newer wifi cards, as well as the aforementioned Crystal HD card.

The key remap (Fn and left Ctrl swap) is in a separate folder, explicitly labelled "BIOS update + CTRL-FN swap" inside the Middleton BIOS zip file. :D
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

Shredder11
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Re: Can an X61T be upgraded to a useful extent?

#12 Post by Shredder11 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:51 pm

I have a Broadcom in my X61 and it was well worth the money, which is next to nothing. However I use it for offline viewing because browser support ended in 2015, and even that year it only worked with Internet Explorer.
Z61p x3 (C2D T7600, 3GB, 500GB SSD, BCM70015, Advanced Dock x1, Mini Dock x2)
W520 (C2Q i7-2720QM, 8GB, 60GB SSD)
X61 (C2D T7500, 3GB, 250GB SSD, BCM70015)
X61s (2GB, 120GB SSD)
T43p (P M 760, 2GB, IBM Port Replicator II)
G41 (P4 3.46GHz, 2GB, 40GB)

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