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Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

X200/X201/X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300/X301 Series
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DC69
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Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#1 Post by DC69 » Tue Jul 02, 2024 3:36 am

Good morning everyone,

My X220T died recently due to a charger failure which caused a power surge. And since it was connected via the Ultrabase the damage was not contained in the charging port, frying the motherboard :cry: leaving me a very good dead laptop that I really want to bring back to life. And since I will have to tinker with it, why not make it the best possible?

So the question is, where can I find the best possible replacement motherboard and what would that be?

From a quick search the most obvious choice would be one of the offers from AliExpress, for example this one with the 2640M: https://pt.aliexpress.com/item/1005005999780890.html Is there a better option available, for example modded motherboards similar to the 51nb that are plug and play for the X220T? If not and if I have to stick with stock parts, what would you recomend I get and from where?

Thank you!
DC

ZaZ
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Re: Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#2 Post by ZaZ » Fri Jul 05, 2024 7:53 pm

I haven't seen any modded X220T motherboards, though I wasn't really looking either. I suspect the X230T motherboard would fit, but would probably require some modification to work for not much of a bump processing wise. If you want better performance getting a newer machine is likely the best path to achieve it. Good luck my friend and welcome.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

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Re: Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#3 Post by dr_st » Sat Jul 06, 2024 1:52 am

DC69 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2024 3:36 am
My X220T died recently due to a charger failure which caused a power surge. And since it was connected via the Ultrabase the damage was not contained in the charging port, frying the motherboard :cry:
Oh wow, sorry to hear that. I never thought about this - but it generally true that connecting through a dock provides less protection against power failures? Are the charging ports in the docks not similarly isolated as those on the laptops themselves? :eek:
DC69 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2024 3:36 am
From a quick search the most obvious choice would be one of the offers from AliExpress, for example this one with the 2640M: https://pt.aliexpress.com/item/1005005999780890.html Is there a better option available, for example modded motherboards similar to the 51nb that are plug and play for the X220T? If not and if I have to stick with stock parts, what would you recomend I get and from where?
I would second both ZaZ's recommendations.

An X230 Tablet motherboard should fit with minor modifications. X230-->X220 transplants are common; can't see why it would be different for the tablets, but I would wait for a confirmation with someone a bit more experienced. The CPU speed bump would be almost negligible, but you would gain a more powerful GPU, USB 3.0 and better compatibility with Windows 10 (maybe also 11?) Still, it is worth it only if you can score one for a reasonably low price. And keep in mind, that applying a patch to the Embedded Controller is required to support X220T keyboards and batteries.

So I also suggest seriously weighing it against the alternative of just getting a newer and more modern laptop. Unless you are attached to the 7-row keyboard or the swivel tablet design.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T16 Gen 3 (21MQ), 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

axur-delmeria
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Re: Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Jul 06, 2024 6:45 am

Been reading about X220 --> X230 conversions (since I'm on the fence as to whether to revive mine or not), and the following things stand out:

* file down the small protrusion in the lower chassis near the left-side USB port under the Expresscard slot. The protrusion supports the back of the USB port, but the X230 has a USB 3.0 port in that location, which is slightly deeper than the USB 2.0 port that used to be there. The protrusion hits the port itself, lifting it up and warping the system board slightly. Filing or sanding it down resolves the issue.

* Need to flash the embedded controller with modified firmware to support X220 batteries as well as the 7-row keyboard

I don't know if any or all of these are applicable to an X220T --> X230T conversion.
Planned Purchase: T480s i5-8350 FHD Touch
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RIP: X220 4291-C91 X61 7676-A24 760XD-U9E :cry:

DC69
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Re: Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#5 Post by DC69 » Sat Jul 06, 2024 5:55 pm

dr_st wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2024 1:52 am
DC69 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2024 3:36 am
My X220T died recently due to a charger failure which caused a power surge. And since it was connected via the Ultrabase the damage was not contained in the charging port, frying the motherboard :cry:
Oh wow, sorry to hear that. I never thought about this - but it generally true that connecting through a dock provides less protection against power failures? Are the charging ports in the docks not similarly isolated as those on the laptops themselves? :eek:
DC69 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2024 3:36 am
From a quick search the most obvious choice would be one of the offers from AliExpress, for example this one with the 2640M: https://pt.aliexpress.com/item/1005005999780890.html Is there a better option available, for example modded motherboards similar to the 51nb that are plug and play for the X220T? If not and if I have to stick with stock parts, what would you recomend I get and from where?
I would second both ZaZ's recommendations.

An X230 Tablet motherboard should fit with minor modifications. X230-->X220 transplants are common; can't see why it would be different for the tablets, but I would wait for a confirmation with someone a bit more experienced. The CPU speed bump would be almost negligible, but you would gain a more powerful GPU, USB 3.0 and better compatibility with Windows 10 (maybe also 11?) Still, it is worth it only if you can score one for a reasonably low price. And keep in mind, that applying a patch to the Embedded Controller is required to support X220T keyboards and batteries.

So I also suggest seriously weighing it against the alternative of just getting a newer and more modern laptop. Unless you are attached to the 7-row keyboard or the swivel tablet design.
Good evening everyone and thanks for the advice. Yes, I considered transplanting a 230 motherboard but that would be too fiddly for a marginal performance gain. I was thinking more about a custom x220t motherboard that is plug and play, but I guess that would be hard to find given that the 220 is not the most popular in the modding community and that tablet motherboards are different from their standard 220/230 counterparts.

The thing is that I already have a more modern laptop serving as my main workstation but the x220t was my "on the move" machine, first because I really love the keyboard, which is much nicer than modern chiclet keyboards, second I have the big slice battery that is good for a full day of meetings if a power outlet is not available on the meeting room, third I have a smart card reader on the PCExpress socket, which I often use to sign documents. And last but not least, busting out that bad boy in a world of macbooks and ultrabooks is like a huge middle finger to all the minimalists and I really like to be the disruptive element in the room :lol:

So I guess I will probably go with a stock motherboard replacement and take the opportunity to upgrade the memory, wifi card and storage, along with a clean install of Linux. Since I will basically be using it for writing, email, PDFs and some light browsing that is probably enough to keep it rolling smooth.

In my online ramblings I did, however, find a reddit page that pointed towards this: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1 ... 7855296576 I didn't delve deep into it but it might be worth a look when I have the patience to translate the page.

In regards to the isolation of dock charging ports, I am not a tech expert but no, I would say they are not. You see, the standard charging port connects to the charging circuit and from there to the rest of the computer, giving room for an isolated point of failure. On the dock everything runs directly to the motherboard: charging and data. You can see here a picture of the ultradock, with a single rectangular connector in the middle: https://technet.pt/3378-thickbox_defaul ... e-x200.jpg on that taobao motherboard you can see where it connects, it's the black rectangle under the "3615" on the top text box. So yeah, it's everything pretty exposed to a critical failure in case of power surge. I'm guessing the newer Thunderbolt, connecting via USB-C, provide a bit more protection.

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Re: Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#6 Post by ZaZ » Sat Jul 06, 2024 7:25 pm

I don't mind the new keyboard, but if you're a fan of it, I got nothing for you. The best you'll do from the factory with the old keyboard is the T25, but they're insanely expensive. I would point out the X280 with the touch screen is a pound lighter than the X220T, which makes it more moveable in my experience, and offers significantly more processing power than the 3612QM board for sale on Taobao. As usual when you upgrade you gain in some areas and lose in others.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
ProBook 470 G5 - 1.6GHz Core i5 | 16GB | 2.2TB | 17" FHD | Mint

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Re: Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#7 Post by dr_st » Sun Jul 07, 2024 1:13 am

DC69 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2024 5:55 pm
In regards to the isolation of dock charging ports, I am not a tech expert but no, I would say they are not. You see, the standard charging port connects to the charging circuit and from there to the rest of the computer, giving room for an isolated point of failure. On the dock everything runs directly to the motherboard: charging and data.
Oh yes, I understand this. I was just wondering if perhaps the charging port of the dock itself (which is usually the same kind that the laptop takes) would be similarly isolated. It would be strange that they would not use the same mechanism that they do for the laptop. I guess one can take a part a dock and take a look.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T16 Gen 3 (21MQ), 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

DC69
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Location: Lisbon, PT

Re: Guidance needed for a X220T motherboard replacement.

#8 Post by DC69 » Sun Jul 07, 2024 6:44 pm

dr_st wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2024 1:13 am
DC69 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2024 5:55 pm
In regards to the isolation of dock charging ports, I am not a tech expert but no, I would say they are not. You see, the standard charging port connects to the charging circuit and from there to the rest of the computer, giving room for an isolated point of failure. On the dock everything runs directly to the motherboard: charging and data.
Oh yes, I understand this. I was just wondering if perhaps the charging port of the dock itself (which is usually the same kind that the laptop takes) would be similarly isolated. It would be strange that they would not use the same mechanism that they do for the laptop. I guess one can take a part a dock and take a look.
Oh, yeah. You are absolutely right. It didn't even occur to me. Next weekend I might try to open mine and post some pictures just for curiosity sake.

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