T420 slots

T400/410/420 and T500/510/520 series specific matters only
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karotlopj
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T420 slots

#1 Post by karotlopj » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:27 am

At the right hand side of my T420 I've noticed an eSATA port and two other ports but am not sure what they are for... One seems to be an SDHC slot, but have no idea what the other one is...

As for the eSATA slot, how do I attatch a disk to it and would it appear as a local disk that I can boot from? I do know that the same port can be used as a USB port.

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Re: T420 slots

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:21 am

Regarding the ports on the right side, this might help: https://support.lenovo.com/ph/en/solutions/pd025332

I've never used an eSATA port, but since it's electrically the same as an normal SATA port, I guess you just have to find the right cable (eSATA to normal SATA cable) for the hard disk you'll be using, and a separate power adapter since the eSATA port doesn't provide any power. Then go to the BIOS setup and check if it appears in the boot sequence.
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Re: T420 slots

#3 Post by karotlopj » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:22 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:21 am
Regarding the ports on the right side, this might help: https://support.lenovo.com/ph/en/solutions/pd025332

I've never used an eSATA port, but since it's electrically the same as an normal SATA port, I guess you just have to find the right cable (eSATA to normal SATA cable) for the hard disk you'll be using, and a separate power adapter since the eSATA port doesn't provide any power. Then go to the BIOS setup and check if it appears in the boot sequence.
Many thanks for the link.

As for the eSATA port, I was looking for a cable to provide power and wondered if there was a USB to SATA power cable, but then came across this on EBAY:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-5-3-5-HDD-H ... SwbYZXXH78

which leaves me a bit confused as to how it can work if the eSATA port does not provide power...

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Re: T420 slots

#4 Post by dr_st » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:01 am

The eSATA port on the T420 is an eSATAp (eSATA+USB), so it does provide power. Thus, you would need an eSATAp to SATA+SATAp cable (unless you are using an eSATAp enclosure).
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Re: T420 slots

#5 Post by karotlopj » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:51 am

dr_st wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:01 am
The eSATA port on the T420 is an eSATAp (eSATA+USB), so it does provide power. Thus, you would need an eSATAp to SATA+SATAp cable (unless you are using an eSATAp enclosure).
Would one of these suffice to connect up an external sata disk? :-

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-5-3-5-HDD-H ... SwbYZXXH78

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Re: T420 slots

#6 Post by dr_st » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:48 am

2.5" - probably, 3.5" - probably not, as I doubt the T420 provides +12V.

Read more here:
https://superuser.com/questions/435738/ ... -12v-power
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Re: T420 slots

#7 Post by w0qj » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:25 am

Just for the sake of completeness, in case anyone with T410 Thinkpad is reading this:

1. The T410 just has the eSATA port but but cannot power external HDD (unlike the T420).
(Both T410 and T420 do not have USB3 ports).

2. We have successfully used the eSATA of the T410 to connect to an eSATA/USB3 external hard drive dock, giving it very fast transfer speed even for 2.5" HDD drives!
~But it requires external power AC adapter, which is less convenient...
~The eSATA transfer speed of T410 is comparable to the USB3 port speed.

www.orico.cc/goods.php?id=4997

(Again, both the T410 and T420 do not have USB3 ports).
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Re: T420 slots

#8 Post by thinkpadcollection » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:32 pm

Or get a external box with ESATA using usb plug as power or an SATA to eSATA with USB as power adapter cable. I have a line on one so I can do it since I have number of computers of all types that are unpowered eSATA ports.

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Re: T420 slots

#9 Post by w0qj » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:32 am

Someone in another Forum posting mentioned that he is using ExpressCard for USB3 connections x2.
There was apparently also another ExpressCard for eSATA connections x2 which was powered.

But obviously this is very laptop model specific equipment requirement...
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Re: T420 slots

#10 Post by AlphaKilo470 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:27 am

A thought I had was to stick an MSATA SSD in the slot on the bottom side of the computer. It will only run at SATA II but that's still sufficient to boot off of. Since the system is running off that, you can just keep a screwdriver and a collection of old SATA 2.5" drives handy and use them as secondary since they literally just slide in and out of the machine.
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Re: T420 slots

#11 Post by Dragunov » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:13 am

karotlopj wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:51 am
dr_st wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:01 am
The eSATA port on the T420 is an eSATAp (eSATA+USB), so it does provide power. Thus, you would need an eSATAp to SATA+SATAp cable (unless you are using an eSATAp enclosure).
Would one of these suffice to connect up an external sata disk? :-

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-5-3-5-HDD-H ... SwbYZXXH78
You don't need it. The eSATA port, functions as a USB3.0 port. A standard USB cable will work fine. Just use a little more care, when plugging into it or unplugging it. It's kind of a tight fit.. I use my "eSATA" port to image my drives, because it's the fastest port on my T420.

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Re: T420 slots

#12 Post by dr_st » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:17 pm

Dragunov wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:13 am
The eSATA port, functions as a USB3.0 port.
No, it does not. Or at least this is the first time I hear about it.
Dragunov wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:13 am
A standard USB cable will work fine. Just use a little more care, when plugging into it or unplugging it. It's kind of a tight fit..
But he wants to connect a SATA drive.
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Re: T420 slots

#13 Post by Dragunov » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:16 pm

dr_st wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:17 pm
Dragunov wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:13 am
The eSATA port, functions as a USB3.0 port.
No, it does not. Or at least this is the first time I hear about it.
Dragunov wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:13 am
A standard USB cable will work fine. Just use a little more care, when plugging into it or unplugging it. It's kind of a tight fit..
But he wants to connect a SATA drive.
Oh, I see. Please excuse me. I was really tired this morning when I responded. However, It most certainly does act as a USB3.0! As a matter of fact, I'm downloading to a thumb drive, via eSATA port, as I type this. I'm downloading drivers for my new T440p!. Try it, and see for yourself! :)

I said earlier that I plug my external drive into my eSATA port to image my drive once a month, using a standard, USB cable. I hope you don't think I was trying to BS anyone.

As I said USB3.0 (OOPS! I meant eSATA), actually, is a little faster than USB3.0. I actually use my eSATA port to clone my hard drives exclusively, because of the speed. I also watch movies that I have on my external drive through eSATA. They stream a lot better through it, than through one of the 2.0 ports.

Don't take MY word for it, Try it yourself, and find out just how fast it is! :mrgreen:

I figured this out the first day I got it. It LOOKED like a USB connector would work, so, I plugged a thumb drive in it, and BAYUM! It worked.

I'm kinda sad that my T440p, doesn't have eSATA.
Last edited by Dragunov on Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:09 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: T420 slots

#14 Post by kfzhu1229 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:34 pm

Dragunov wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:16 pm
As I said USB3.0, actually, it's a little faster than USB3.0. I actually use my eSATA port to clone my hard drives exclusively, because of the speed.
I usually use the CD bay to do such a thing so that I have a less chance of yanking the port or dropping the hard drive (I broke 2 hard drives and a USB adapter already for that).
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Re: T420 slots

#15 Post by Dragunov » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:40 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:34 pm
Dragunov wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:16 pm
As I said USB3.0, actually, it's a little faster than USB3.0. I actually use my eSATA port to clone my hard drives exclusively, because of the speed.
I usually use the CD bay to do such a thing so that I have a less chance of yanking the port or dropping the hard drive (I broke 2 hard drives and a USB adapter already for that).
Yeah, but I don't have a secondary caddy for my machine, and for me, it's just easier to use the eSATA port. The eSATA is a VERY useful tool. Besides that, I'm always sitting at my computer while imaging. My External drive, sits behind a 32" T.V. I use for a monitor, and isn't likely to get knocked over, or yanked.

I meant to say the eSATA is a little faster than USB3.0. I'm really tired, coincidentally, today is the day my local customers come in for their bi-annual maintenance, and clean up, so I've been up well over 24 hours cleaning up, on roughly 25 Lenovo's :P . It's part of the "Limited lifetime warranty" I give my local customers who purchased refurbished Lenovo's from me. It's been a fun day. :)

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Re: T420 slots

#16 Post by dr_st » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:52 pm

That is a combo port: eSATA + USB 2.0. It is physically connected both to the SATA controller, and to the USB controller. The USB controller, however, is 2.0. There is nothing USB 3.0 in the T420.

The fact that eSATA (when connected to a SATA drive) is faster than USB 2.0, and often faster than USB 3.0 is also known. However, if you connect a USB device to the port, it will function as USB 2.0 only.
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Re: T420 slots

#17 Post by kfzhu1229 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:46 am

dr_st wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:52 pm
That is a combo port: eSATA + USB 2.0. It is physically connected both to the SATA controller, and to the USB controller. The USB controller, however, is 2.0. There is nothing USB 3.0 in the T420.

The fact that eSATA (when connected to a SATA drive) is faster than USB 2.0, and often faster than USB 3.0 is also known. However, if you connect a USB device to the port, it will function as USB 2.0 only.
Is it hot swappable? While I don't have such a port because T530 ditched it in favour of USB 3.0, my desktop also happens to have one on its motherboard, though it is literally a SATA port and will not be able to plug USB devices in. If it is hot swappable, it might be convenient to transfer bigger files (i.e. games) in the future when I have a drive that runs that fast (my current portable HDD is 160GB IDE and will not work, nor does the HDD run that fast) as my mobo only have USB 2.0 controllers and I have zero PCIe lanes to spare (the only lane is occupied by a GTX 1050 Ti)
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Re: T420 slots

#18 Post by dr_st » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:59 am

Yes, it is. Really, any SATA drive is hot-swappable, except I think there is a bit somewhere that tells the OS whether to treat it as a fixed drive, or a removable one, and eSATA ports should have it always enabled.
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Re: T420 slots

#19 Post by Dragunov » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:23 am

dr_st wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:52 pm
That is a combo port: eSATA + USB 2.0. It is physically connected both to the SATA controller, and to the USB controller. The USB controller, however, is 2.0. There is nothing USB 3.0 in the T420.

The fact that eSATA (when connected to a SATA drive) is faster than USB 2.0, and often faster than USB 3.0 is also known. However, if you connect a USB device to the port, it will function as USB 2.0 only.
I must make an apology here..... Needless to say, I'm a little :oops:. You ARE correct. I was told (in error) that the T420 worked at 3.0 speed with normal USB . I should've done more research on the subject, instead of taking one, or two others word for it.T420 eSATA does indeed work at 2.0 speeds.

Now I understand why it works better with my eSATA HDD's, but not my thumb drive. Well, at least my regular USB devices work on it, just not as fast.

I've been working with computers since 1978, I should've known better. :x
Lesson learned? research EVERYTHING.

Ok, Got it!

Well, ANYways... Thank you Dr_ST for correcting me. :bow:

I AM here to learn about ThinkPads!

On another note, I need to STOP posting when I'm that tired, and have the I.Q. of a Sloth.

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Re: T420 slots

#20 Post by Elmer Fishtwanger » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:25 pm

I use the eSATA cable in the link with my T420. You need to plug in both the eSATA and the USB plugs. If the external drive is bootable you can select to boot from it using the Thinkvantage button. I used it to clone my old disk to an SSD and use it now to copy from the SSD to the old disk for backup. eSATA gives faster disk transfers than USB 3. If you want USB 3, you can get an adapter that goes in the expresscard slot, but those seem to get bad reviews.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... lsrc=aw.ds

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Re: T420 slots

#21 Post by kfzhu1229 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:50 am

Elmer Fishtwanger wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:25 pm
If you want USB 3, you can get an adapter that goes in the expresscard slot, but those seem to get bad reviews.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... lsrc=aw.ds
As far as I know, expresscard slot bus speed and width isn't as fast as USB 3.0, so you are getting speed somewhere inbetween USB 2 and 3. At least that is true for my T43p
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Re: T420 slots

#22 Post by shawross » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:57 am

I was under the impression that the xx20 machines had expresscard 2 which came out about 2010. If true this will be different to the T43.
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Re: T420 slots

#23 Post by dr_st » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:55 am

shawross wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:57 am
I was under the impression that the xx20 machines had expresscard 2 which came out about 2010. If true this will be different to the T43.
Yes, it's true. Thinkpads up to **01/10 series have PCIe Gen1 ExpressCard (2.5Gbps), **20/30 series have PCIe Gen2 ExpressCard (5Gbps).
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