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SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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visitor
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SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#1 Post by visitor » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:44 pm

Hi everybody,
I could use some shared experiences as to which SSD models have been successfully installed in X60s Thinkpads.
I'm sure any survey of the kind would prove very valuable to other users as well as potential users who are looking for a cheap and good laptop solution.
From my own experience, let me tell you that despite owning other machines that are more recent and more powerful, I can still see use and value in older ones. In fact, I find that each computer model can have some beauty of its own.
I can testify this with both Thinkpads and an Apple MacbookPro that is as old as my X60s. For their respective purposes, both can handle well their good OS versions (Windows XP, Windows 7 and Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, El Capitan) as well as good application versions.
Obviously, industry pushes on users to keep buying the latest, and installing the latest, and even makes older options unavailable (can you buy any Windows version other than 10 nowadays ? can you freely upgrade a Mac to OS other than Sierra ?)
In such great oldies, no matter what someone tells you, it's perfectly possible yes to have a great computing experience in most cases. The limitations to be aware of are: rendering edited video will be slow, and depending on the CPU the video resolution might be limited. Other than that and opening dozens of web pages at same time, you'll likely be able to do anything, even pro audio.
Now back to my suggested survey: on top of what I've said above, the SSD technology makes thinks even better, and an old machine will perform close to nowadays models, because HD storage was always an important bottleneck. I had at hand a 160gb Intel SSD which failed in my X201s (replaced nicely with a Samsung 830) so I decided to give it a try just for testing in the X60s. And yes, it's like a new machine. So the question is : which current SSD models are compatible with the X60s. I've read threads mentioning success with Samgung Evos (840 ? 850?), Intel (which current model ?), Crucial (even though Crucial's site doesn't list any model as compatible with the X60s), and there's Kingston whose site lists the X60s as compatible with SSDs A400 and U400, even though specifications state SATA 3 backwards-compatible with SAT 2, while we know the X60s is only SATA 1.
So, X60s users out there with SSDs, please share your experiences as to which model has worked for you.
Thanks for reading, I'm sure any advice would benefit not only me.
Best regards.

My Thinkpad history:
In the past: T23, T42, X31.
Currently: X60s, X201s, W520

ajkula66
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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#2 Post by ajkula66 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:18 pm

Any 2.5" SATA SSD will work. The space required and your budget are the only limitations.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

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visitor
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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#3 Post by visitor » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:10 pm

Hi ajkula66, I liked the King Crimson quote.
So what you are saying is : any SATA III SSD is compatible with the SATA-1 form.
It's a strong statement that I'm inclined to take in consideration. I have read many reports of SSDs not being compatible reason why I came to propose a survey. Maybe then those failures have occured because of something other than SATA III / SATA I compatibility.
I live outside the US and my options aren't many for respected brands, otherwise based on experience with my other machines I would go straight to a Samsung 850. Aside from Kingston A400, Western Digital Green and Sandisk Plus, the best I see are these two:
Intel / SSDSC2CT120A3K5 330 Series 120GB 2.5IN SSD SATA3, Flash Nand 25 nm (Kit)
Samsung / MZ7LN128HCHP SSD 2.5“ SATA III 128GB (OEM)

It would be nice to learn anyone's experience with either of the above models.
My experience with a much praised Intel was a sad one. As to Samsung, the above model being OEM means it will not qualify for Samsung's SSD software. I have an OEM Samsung and fortunately I never needed the software anyway, but that's an 830, one of the highest regarded SSDs in terms of reliability.
Many thanks for helping clear out this subject.

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#4 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:09 pm

I had a Micron C300 (SATA 2) 128gb in my X60s for awhile but it was overkill for the machine which is limited to SATA 1 and the Core Duo is very slow.
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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#5 Post by ajkula66 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:51 pm

@visitor:

I'm not familiar with either of the drives that you're considering, but would advise going with at least 240GB nowadays, smaller drives are always slower...and the price difference is usually not huge...

And yes, I've ran SATA III drives in SATA I systems on quite a few occasions.

Do you have an option of buying something via Amazon or eBay?
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

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AARP club members:A31p,T43pSF

Abused daily: T61p

PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

visitor
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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#6 Post by visitor » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:26 am

Thanks TPFanatic for relating that the Micron worked. As to "overkill" and the X60s core duo being too slow, it can be debated because it all depends on what you do with the machine. I have a Quad-core W520 with three SSDs inside for the sole purpose of fast rendering bulks of video. Other than that, everything else I do can be done almost as fast in the X60s with an SSD. provided a series of system tweaks are applied. I don't do heavy graphics editing which I believe would reveal the Core Duo limitations. But this X60s will be basically used for MS Word and internet so the potential bottleneck will be the connection bandwidth. Despite the X60s being SATA-1, the transfer rates will be fast enough to make a big difference compared to running a hard disk. This is what I'm truly experiencing with a faulty Intel SSD, before it finally colapses.

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#7 Post by visitor » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:38 am

ajkula66 ,

I agree about storage never being enough. In the particular case of the X60s it is a calculated risk to accomodate price and quality. I've read decent reviews about the Intel model which I can get in-store for an excellent deal, cheaper than online. I believe the discount has to do with the SSD's 9mm form factor which would render it unusable in newer laptops that require 7mm size.
I have considered 240gb but good pricing would limit options to those models I first listed since Intel/Samsung/Crucial are way pricier. So I find 120gb will handle the 30gb installation of Windows+applications that my wife will be using and she has an external HD, besides a 27in monitor from a now defunct tower. Thanks again for clarifying about SATA-1 compatibility. All the best !

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#8 Post by jaspen-meyer » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:40 pm

The intel 330 is six years old. Newer models (520, 530, 535) draw less electricity and have lower latencies.

Another way to speed up 'hard drive' performance is to use the hard drive less. Lower the number of disk operations either by off-loading the operations to ram, for example with a ram disk, or by eliminating services (logging for example) which do disk operations.

Do not get the Samsung 840 Evo. It had serious performance problems which were never fixed.
T420 i7 3612QM seabios; T420 i7 3630QM; T400 Q9100 seabios; T61 P9600; T60 libreboot; x62; x60s libreboot, led; x24 xiphmont led

visitor
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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#9 Post by visitor » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:59 pm

Thank you jaspen-meyer, yours is a sound advice. I did disabled some services in my other Thinkpads besides a few registry chances and things are running well. I read about problems with the Samsung 840 Evo, but I hear the 850 Evo is more reliable. I went ahead and bought the Intel for the X60s (now standing-by for some family break to carefully install it). Even though I've had a bad experience with the Intel X-25 160gb (S.M.A.R.T "End-to-End errors") Intel still is, as Samsung and Crucial also usually are, a more trustable brand than cheaper Sandisk/Kingston/WD. So I'd rather have a more trustable brand with less space than a larger drive that mixes components that aren't specified (like the Kingston A400). I believe I was just unlucky with the Intel X-25-M which in the past was a well regarded unit. This Intel 330 120gb was a special sale with 6-month store warranty which fit nicely in my current budget. I believe the discounted price has to do both with the trend for larger capacitiess and the 2.5 form factor which render this SSD incompatible with many newer slimmer laptops. I think it will do well in the X60s doing basicly Microsoft Word and web browsing.
And yes the ram-disk trick is nice but first I'll try to get a 2gb RAM chip to sum up 4gb in the X60s, that way the 1gb that Windows 7 doesn't see can be acessed directly by ram-disk software. A while ago I did experiment with it and was able to direct all temporary stuff from browsers to the ram-disk. I remember the one thing I wasn't able to acomplish was setting the Windows paging file (virtual memory) in the ram-disk. It allowed it to be configured and all but in practice it just didn't seem to function.
It's nice and gratifying to share experience. Best regards

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#10 Post by jaspen-meyer » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:08 pm

x60s will not see 4gb of ram. It will see 3gb.
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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#11 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:36 pm

visitor wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:59 pm
I remember the one thing I wasn't able to acomplish was setting the Windows paging file (virtual memory) in the ram-disk. It allowed it to be configured and all but in practice it just didn't seem to function.
When operating system runs out of free RAM (like when opening too many browser tabs), it will try to free some memory by dumping some of the RAM's contents into the paging file, so trying to put the paging file into a RAM disk is completely pointless.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#12 Post by visitor » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:05 pm

jaspen-meyer, you're right, there's the 3gb chipset limitation in the X60s.

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#13 Post by visitor » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:31 pm

axur-delmeria, your decription of the paging file is correct. As to it using ram-disk being "pointless" thal will depend on the context. Take for example a Thinkpad that supports 8 gb RAM such as the X201 but uses Windows 7 32-bit with an SSD instead of a hard disk. Windows will only see a little over 3gb of the installed RAM. Nevertheless, software such as SuperSpeed will see those almost 5gb of missing RAM and will create a ram-disk of that size. This already allows for preserving the SSD from degradation by assigining caches and temp files to the ram-disk. In theory at least, the same principle would apply to a swap/paging file, keeping it from being written to the SSD, using the ram-disk instead, especially since it would not be sacrificing usable Windows RAM. To me, it would make perfect sense to spare the SSD if you can have almost 5gb of virtual memory that is not taxing the system nor wearing out the SSD. Unfortunately, not being knowledgeable enough I wasn't able to prove the theory in practice and that was one of the reasons which had me turning towards 64-bit Windows. If had found a solution for the paging file actually being processed in the ram-disk I would be quite happy in machines that don't remand huge amounts of RAM, unlike workstations such as the W520. Sadly as pointed, there is no spare RAM in an X60s, its chipset won't allow. Thanks for sharing ideas.

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#14 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:31 am

^
The SuperSpeed software you mentioned is interesting, and quite useful if one is stuck with 32-bit Windows. Fortunately I'm free from such restrictions. :D
Sadly as pointed, there is no spare RAM in an X60s, its chipset won't allow.
The issue is the 32-bit memory address space of the Intel 945 chipset (used in the X60/X60s), limiting it to 4GB max.
Some of that address space (usually at the highest memory locations, above 3GB) is reserved by the BIOS for devices like the Cardbus controller, LAN, etc. So even if you install 4GB RAM, the chipset doesn't have enough addresses to cover all of it.

In the Intel 965 chipset (used in the T61 and X61), the address space is 8GB, as a result the reserved areas are higher up, in the 7GB region.
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:

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#15 Post by visitor » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:58 am

Thanks axur-delmeria for the detailed explanation.

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Re: SSD in an X60s - which model will work ?

#16 Post by TPFanatic » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:55 am

I replaced the C300 in my X60s with a 7200 rpm HDD and the only diffierence is it takes 10-20 seconds longer to bootup. The desktop / UI / browsing performance is the same.

The problem with using the X60s effectively is its battery life is very poor even with the 8 cell, and any new old stock 8 cells for sale will be quite depreciated by now.
lenovo X230 i5 3320m IPS 8GB
lenovo T430 i5 3320m FHD 8GB
lenovo T500 P9700 WUXGA 8GB


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