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T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:04 pm
by KeatonR
Hi,
I have a T520 that I've barely used since I bought it new a handful of years ago, but I now have a need for it and am looking into upgrades for it. One sorely needed upgrade is the screen, as I have the 1366 x 768 resolution display, which seems entirely inadequate by today's HD standards.

I found this site, which walks you through the process of replacing the display with a recommended HD option, the AU Optronics B156HW01 V.4. But apparently that display is no longer available in matte. There's a glossy version available, apparently (see http://www.laptopscreen.com/English/scr ... 6HW01~V.4/). I'm tempted to try that, but I like the matte finish of most thinkpads.

So, anyone upgrade their T520 screen with something they're happy with? Something I can still buy today? I'm otherwise tempted to find a T520 with a better screen on ebay and move it over to mine, but that seems a bit wasteful.

Thanks in advance

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:34 am
by Tasurinchi
You can still find some if you're patient enough, and there are no better options if you want to stay "matte".

I have tried few screens on W-T510 and W-T520 models, I have a B156HW01 V5 (glossy model, I think I put it in a W510), which kind of ok, but darker than v4. I also tried a LP156WF1-TLB2, which was better than v5, yet a little inferior to V4 (although is a little bit brighter then v4).

Head for panelook.com or similar sites, the list of compatible panels is rather long :wink:

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:56 pm
by TPFanatic
I installed the Chi Mei Innolux N156HGE-L11 used in high end Dell workstations in my T520 and it's the best panel I've ever seen short of the UXGA Flexview.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:32 pm
by theterminator93
I shoehorned an LG LP156WF4-(SL)(B5) into my W520, but it's not a direct swap by any stretch of the imagination. Not one of the best IPS panels out there, but IPS nonetheless.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:12 am
by KeatonR
Thanks for the responses, everyone.

I've been considering all kinds of options, all over the map really, including some nice looking W530 machines, but I'm thinking I'll stick with my T520 mostly because it has hardly even been turned on over the past five years.

So now I'm looking for a screen that I can purchase today, without having to look obsessively over the next few months for a discontinued model. To that end, I read that the LP156WF1 TL B2 is compatible (see https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-IdeaPad ... 1438.l2649).

Does anyone know if that's true? I'm looking for an easy swap, without having to redo cables or anything like that.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:31 am
by Tasurinchi
KeatonR wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:12 am
I read that the LP156WF1 TL B2 is compatible...

Does anyone know if that's true?...
Dude! I just wrote that few posts above! :-D

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:17 pm
by KeatonR
Tasurinchi wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:31 am
KeatonR wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:12 am
I read that the LP156WF1 TL B2 is compatible...

Does anyone know if that's true?...
Dude! I just wrote that few posts above! :-D
Oh ... duh! I think I got nervous b/c the model it appears from, while a Lenovo, is quite different. But I will go ahead and get it -- thanks!

So, installation of that model wasn't too hard?

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:40 pm
by Tasurinchi
KeatonR wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:17 pm
So, installation of that model wasn't too hard?
Plug and play... :wink:

Edit: provided it's an original one and not a "compatible" model...

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:27 pm
by KeatonR
I'll likely order the LP156WF1 TL B2 and install it after the holidays. I'll report back.

Also I've also located a W520 screen (still in the casing, just removed from the laptop itself), and it's apparently 1080p. If that's what came with that machine, it might be the AU Optronics screen, no? And would that be even easier to install (take my entire screen and case off of my laptop, put the W520 one directly on)?

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:52 pm
by Tasurinchi
KeatonR wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:27 pm
If that's what came with that machine, it might be the AU Optronics screen, no? And would that be even easier to install (take my entire screen and case off of my laptop, put the W520 one directly on)?
Yes, the assemblies are the same, provided that nobody messed around with the panels, chances are high that it's the V4. But better to ask the seller, just in case... ;-)

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:14 pm
by KeatonR
Just a follow up: I ordered an LG LP156WF1 TL B2 screen off of ebay. It was out of another model of Lenovo. There was a full HD screen from a T530 available, which I was thinking may have been the AU Optronics (b156hw01-v4) screen that I was initially after, but there didn't seem to be a way of verifying that (that screen was for sale in its housing). In the end, if figured the LG screen was newer, and the seller was portraying it as "grade A" condition, so I went for it.

Anyway, I just completed the installation, and WOW! What a difference! I am absolutely thrilled, and I highly (highly!) recommend that anyone with the 1366x768 display take the time to swap it out for 1080 screen. Huge difference.

Thanks to all who chimed in. Big help!

Next up, RAM upgrade, then I'll do an mSATA installation and migrate the OS and everything else to it.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:03 am
by kfzhu1229
Well, as you are getting yours replaced, I just got mine replaced today too! I took the public transit for 61km for this but it is worth every single bit of it. Did the same to my friend's T520 when he broke the original HD+ display.
I had never seen a brand new display (TFT/IPS LCD at least, since all my phones have AMOLED) in my hands for so long
The AUO display that I used today has pretty vibrant colours and decent viewing angles when viewed left to right, but not so on top or bottom (and that is the part my Flexview displays beat it to its knees).
Well, this cleared up the reasons I did not try to use my T530 as a daily driver. (slow HDD and crap screen) mSATA drive + AUO LCD costs me around CAD$150 to upgrade from the same local seller.
As for RAM upgrade, beware that T520 is a bit more picky about 8GB RAM sticks, with 16 chip configuration only or something that I don't remember, while that is not the case with my T530i since even DDR3L works fine.
I personally find the mSATA SSD upgrade sweet spot to be around 128-256GB, since you can still make use of your original mechanical HDD at the same time.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:30 am
by MikalE
It is the T500 that is RAM particular.

My T520 has booted on anything I've installed.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:52 pm
by thinkpadcollection
Remember T520 is DDR3 only while T530 ivybridge can take either DDR3 or DDR3L up to 1333 if using 1333 or 1600 modules also Ivy bridge up to 1600. Haswell notebook processors are DDR3L only up to 1600. Any of these can take 1600 but will run at 1333 on sandy bridge. Also all of them can take 1333 as 1333 but performance hit penalty occurs on any computers that can take 1600.

And correct on 16 chips per module (2Rx8) up to Ivy bridge, from good OEM memory module makers with few exceptions: Mushkin and Kingston.

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:48 am
by JayNYC
Hi, have been following this thread in lurk mode. What's the recommend IPS 1920x1080 sRGB (not Adobe wide gamut) matte panel that is a 'drop in' replacement on a T520? Looking for the 'best and easiest' to minimize installation hassles.

Thanks

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:27 pm
by TPFanatic
I have DDR3L in my T520, it runs at the normal voltage. RAM speed is dependent on the BIOS version.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:54 am
by Tasurinchi
JayNYC wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:48 am
Hi, have been following this thread in lurk mode. What's the recommend IPS 1920x1080 sRGB (not Adobe wide gamut) matte panel that is a 'drop in' replacement on a T520?
There are lots of compatible matte panels! The LP156WF1 TLB2 and N156HGE-L11 mentioned above as examples. You have then the AUO B156HW01 in its many versions (v1, v3 and v6 are matte if I remember correctly, v4 is also matte but is the high color gamut version).

I'd recommend you check panelook.com and enter B156HW01 in the search field, you will see then a long list of panels :wink:

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:43 pm
by JayNYC
Tasurinchi wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:54 am
JayNYC wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:48 am
Hi, have been following this thread in lurk mode. What's the recommend IPS 1920x1080 sRGB (not Adobe wide gamut) matte panel that is a 'drop in' replacement on a T520?
There are lots of compatible matte panels! The LP156WF1 TLB2 and N156HGE-L11 mentioned above as examples. You have then the AUO B156HW01 in its many versions (v1, v3 and v6 are matte if I remember correctly, v4 is also matte but is the high color gamut version).

I'd recommend you check panelook.com and enter B156HW01 in the search field, you will see then a long list of panels :wink:
thanks @Tasurinchi
I think my question is still open because I'm looking for an IPS panel; those 3 you mentioned seem to all be TN (LP156WF1 TLB2, N156HGE-L11, AUO B156HW01) if I am reading the specs correctly. Looking for 'drop-in' replacement IPS 1920x1080 sRGB.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:52 pm
by theterminator93
The factory FHD panel I had in my W520 was the B156HW01 V4 panel.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:00 pm
by JayNYC
theterminator93 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:52 pm
The factory FHD panel I had in my W520 was the B156HW01 V4 panel.
@theterminator93 , would you be willing to share more details on how you installed the LG LP156WF4-(SL)(B5) into your W520?

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:34 pm
by theterminator93
It's anything but a drop in replacement; there's cutting involved as well as the need to cement new standoffs/screw mounts into the lid to hold the screen in place. The only easy part of it is that the screen is electrically compatible with the system as-is, so there are no adapter/converter boards required.

There are a good number of photos and details on the process I underwent in this thread: viewtopic.php?p=772446

It's not perfect (in fact I still have yet to finish fixing the 'bulging' along the LED card, but the lid I have was a little damaged before I did the mod and was coming apart at the bottom left before, so in reality I really need to get a better lid and re-retrofit the panel into it) but it's been pretty solid since I've done the mod. No regrets.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:00 pm
by kfzhu1229
Well, just go with the AUO panel if you don't want trouble. Experienced similar issue when putting the famous IDTech IAUX14S into my 15" T43. Ending up with a cable that may go fuzzy due to the cable bend and rendered the thinklight useless.
It is not like the AUO panel is unbearble like the original HD panel. Still is vibrant, just viewing from top and bottom is a problem. Possibly a VA panel.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:17 pm
by wsalomon
I'm a "glossy" person, and after looking "forever", found an AUO B156HW01 V.7 in China (checked the specs in www.panelook.com). The colors and contrast are brilliant, if you don;t mind the reflections.

Re: T520 screen upgrade options

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:25 am
by kfzhu1229
wsalomon wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:17 pm
I'm a "glossy" person, and after looking "forever", found an AUO B156HW01 V.7 in China (checked the specs in www.panelook.com). The colors and contrast are brilliant, if you don;t mind the reflections.
For those AUO panels, the number for V.x is the one that indicates whether the panel is matte or glossy. On sites like eBay, many times even the seller doesn't know what versions are glossy and what versions aren't, and they put the wrong number up there. That said, you can always just buy a glossy one (if it is the cheapest one you see) and if you don't like glossy, just apply a matte screen protector on top of it and call that a day.