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ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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yha
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ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#1 Post by yha » Sun May 03, 2020 12:43 pm

Hello,

This is my first post here. I did some research here and on Reddit and elsewhere before making this post, so I hope I am not repeating questions that others may have asked...

I'm a huge ThinkPad fan (both new and old models), and my X60 has just arrived from eBay (it's the 170947U model). I want to make it as fast (usable) as possible by maxing out the RAM and replacing the mechanical drive with a SSD. My questions are:

1. From my research, I know that the chipset on the X60 cannot work with more than 3GB of RAM, but does that limit my RAM stick options? Is it like a physical limit? Meaning, suppose I have a single 8GB stick. Can I use that (knowing only 3GB of it will be utilized) or will it not accept that and maybe want me to put one 2GB stick and one 1GB stick?
2. Is the RAM configured to support dual channels? I currently have 2x1GB sticks but I want to get 2x2GB sticks so I can hit the maximum usable RAM AND get whatever small increase in performance/throughput I can from dual channel mode (no matter how small). If that mode is not supported by the motherboard, then I would just replace one of the current 1GB sticks with a 2GB one to get a total of 3GB.
3. From what I've read, the storage interface on the motherboard is SATA I, and SATA I SSDs are pretty rare. Is there any advantage to using an older SSD (e.g. SATA I or SATA II) because it would be "designed for SATA I" or should I just get a good SATA III SSD (I know they are backwards compatible with SATA I and II, and if there is no advantage to using a SATA I drive, then I'll just get one of these... they probably consume less power). Of course, I do realize that actual data transfers will be limited to SATA I speeds.
4. Is there some kind of limit to the capacity of the SSD I can use (much like there is a limit by the chipset on the maximum allowed RAM)?
5. I would like to replace the Intel WiFi card with something that doesn't run as hot. Where can I find a list of whitelisted cards? I know I can Libreboot this thing, but I already have a Librebooted X200, and given that the X60 is easy to install Libreboot on (all through software), I would like to keep it as it is for now. Any recommendations of X60-compatible wireless cards?

Thanks!

dr_st
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#2 Post by dr_st » Sun May 03, 2020 2:31 pm

Welcome to the forum. :)

They don't even have 8GB sticks for this generation. 4GB are rare but won't work. You can put 2x2GB, but only 3GB will be usable, as you know. Yes, it will support dual channel.

A good SATA3 SSD is what you need. There is no advantage to finding a "SATA1 SSD" (I don't even think they exist). SSD weren't a thing before SATA2. No capacity limit.
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#3 Post by ajkula66 » Sun May 03, 2020 2:39 pm

Welcome to the forum!
yha wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 12:43 pm
Hello,

1. From my research, I know that the chipset on the X60 cannot work with more than 3GB of RAM, but does that limit my RAM stick options? Is it like a physical limit? Meaning, suppose I have a single 8GB stick. Can I use that (knowing only 3GB of it will be utilized) or will it not accept that and maybe want me to put one 2GB stick and one 1GB stick?
The system would refuse to boot with a single 8GB stick, not to mention that such a DIMM does not exist in the DDR2 world. You can use 2+2 or 2+1 GB. A single 4GB stick will prevent the system from booting.

2. Is the RAM configured to support dual channels? I currently have 2x1GB sticks but I want to get 2x2GB sticks so I can hit the maximum usable RAM AND get whatever small increase in performance/throughput I can from dual channel mode (no matter how small). If that mode is not supported by the motherboard, then I would just replace one of the current 1GB sticks with a 2GB one to get a total of 3GB.
You'll get a dual-channel mode using 2x1GB. It won't make a difference from using 2+1 whatsoever IRL and I would opt for either 2x2 or 2+1
3. From what I've read, the storage interface on the motherboard is SATA I, and SATA I SSDs are pretty rare. Is there any advantage to using an older SSD (e.g. SATA I or SATA II) because it would be "designed for SATA I" or should I just get a good SATA III SSD (I know they are backwards compatible with SATA I and II, and if there is no advantage to using a SATA I drive, then I'll just get one of these... they probably consume less power). Of course, I do realize that actual data transfers will be limited to SATA I speeds.
Any SATA 2.5" SSD will be just fine, no limit on storage capacity.
5. I would like to replace the Intel WiFi card with something that doesn't run as hot. Where can I find a list of whitelisted cards? I know I can Libreboot this thing, but I already have a Librebooted X200, and given that the X60 is easy to install Libreboot on (all through software), I would like to keep it as it is for now. Any recommendations of X60-compatible wireless cards?
Look for Zender's modded BIOS for X60, that will allow use of any wi-fi card. The best "stock" card is Lenovo abgn which is Atheros-chipped, FRU 42T0825

EDIT: oops dr_st beat me to it... :thumbs-UP:
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

FlexView AARP club members:A31p, T43pSF

Abused daily: T520, X200s


PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

yha
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Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait

Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#4 Post by yha » Sun May 03, 2020 3:54 pm

dr_st and ajkula66: thanks to the both of you.
ajkula66 wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 2:39 pm
You'll get a dual-channel mode using 2x1GB. It won't make a difference from using 2+1 whatsoever IRL and I would opt for either 2x2 or 2+1
So just to confirm, you said I'll get dual-channel mode using 2x1GB? So 2+2 won't work in dual-channel mode (because of the 3GB limit)? That will help me decide whether to buy one 2GB stick or two (I already have 1+1).

Thanks once again!

dr_st
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#5 Post by dr_st » Sun May 03, 2020 4:35 pm

Actually even 2+1GB will work in dual channel, because asymmetrical dual channel is supported with that chipset generation.

2x2GB will work in symmetrical dual channel which may give a tad more performance in very specific cases.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#6 Post by ajkula66 » Sun May 03, 2020 4:56 pm

dr_st wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 4:35 pm
Actually even 2+1GB will work in dual channel, because asymmetrical dual channel is supported with that chipset generation.

2x2GB will work in symmetrical dual channel which may give a tad more performance in very specific cases.
I couldn't have said it better myself... :bow:

At today's prices for DDR2 RAM, getting a 2x2 set shouldn't be cost-prohibitive at all.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

FlexView AARP club members:A31p, T43pSF

Abused daily: T520, X200s


PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#7 Post by ThreeIguanasPerSecond » Sun May 03, 2020 8:51 pm

8 GB DDR2 modules actually do exist, but with a very big catch: they were only available in FB-DIMM form. which means it won't work with anything that doesn't have support for registered/buffered memory, unfortunately.
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#8 Post by TPFanatic » Mon May 04, 2020 10:03 am

Interesting, but ultimately not contradictory in the context of this discussion, as those will never fit a laptop.
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Kingair
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#9 Post by Kingair » Wed May 06, 2020 2:48 pm

Upgrade to Middleton BIOS
Turns HDD / SSD speed from SATA I to SATA II
I did it on my X61 and its noticeable

ajkula66
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#10 Post by ajkula66 » Wed May 06, 2020 3:15 pm

Kingair wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 2:48 pm
Upgrade to Middleton BIOS
Turns HDD / SSD speed from SATA I to SATA II
I did it on my X61 and its noticeable
None of that works on a X60.

Zender BIOS is what's needed, there's no MIddleton for X60.

Also, regardless of the BIOS hack the speed will stay at SATA I, there's no way of upgrading that on *60 series.

*61 series is a whole different ballgame from *60.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

FlexView AARP club members:A31p, T43pSF

Abused daily: T520, X200s


PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

Kingair
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#11 Post by Kingair » Wed May 06, 2020 8:21 pm

@ajkula66 Learned something today
But I don't own a X60 to be honest
Only X61 and I use it daily

ajkula66
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Re: ThinkPad X60 memory/storage limits

#12 Post by ajkula66 » Wed May 06, 2020 8:31 pm

Kingair wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 8:21 pm
@ajkula66 Learned something today
That's a good thing... :thumbs-UP:
But I don't own a X60 to be honest
Only X61 and I use it daily
Fair enough, but this thread was/is about X60 and not X61.

Keep on ThinkPaddin'...
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

Cheers,

George (your grouchy retired FlexView farmer)

FlexView AARP club members:A31p, T43pSF

Abused daily: T520, X200s


PMs requesting personal tech support will be ignored.

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