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USB-C in t420/t430

T400/410/420 and T500/510/520 series specific matters only
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USB-C in t420/t430

#1 Post by t420poklop » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:47 pm

I would love to make my thinkpad more future-proof, so I am looking for USB-C options and I found this PCI-E usb-c adapter:
[url] https://www.amazon.com/IO-Crest-PCI-Exp ... B01L83UJE4 [url]
Will it work? If not, will there be in the future some option to get usb-C working in thinkpad t420/t430?

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Re: USB-C in t420/t430

#2 Post by SaskFellow » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:44 pm

That could possibly work, but the biggest issue is getting the USB-C port to the side of the machine. You'd have to modify stuff and try to find a way to mount the female end in the side to keep it anchored while finding safe routing for the cable. They make some pretty thin USB-C cables but if they have 'extension' cables that are in that 5-10cm range and where to put it, so you wouldn't be causing a space conflict.

It's definitely a possible, with a hacked bios to remove the whitelists for what's allowed to be in those mpci-e slots. The Asmedia USB3 controllers are quite well regarded as far as I know.

If you proceed with this, let us know and maybe post a walkthrough as I'm sure others would be quite interested in this mod. I'd be really interested in it, to be honest, but I just don't have the time to be hacking up my laptop at the moment.
T61 14.1 WXGA+ 220nit, T9300, Owl blade fan cooler, 8GB PC2-6400, 2010 revised NVS140M, Samsung 840Pro 240GB, AR9390 N, BT4.1, NMB keyboard, T400 palm-rest, 33++ battery.

T420s 14.0 HD+, i7-2460M, 16GB PC3L-12800, NVS4200M, Samsung 850Pro 512GB, Intel 7260AC, BT4.1, Chicony KB, 81+ battery

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Re: USB-C in t420/t430

#3 Post by CatfishChronic » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:30 am

Just a few thoughts

* While you may be able to add USB-c connectivity to your thinkpad, it'd still be bottlenecked by the limitation of pcie speed. PCIe 2.0 caps out at 5 gbps.

* Another possibility, although slightly unwieldly, is to go for a expresscard based solution. The EXP GDC is often used to connect a desktop graphics card to laptops through the expresscard slot, but you could just as easily use it to connect an expansion card. Something like https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters ... PEXUSB312C might be an option, giving you usb c slots

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Re: USB-C in t420/t430

#4 Post by t140568 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:34 am

Depending on whether you use your CD/DVD drive, you could remove it and replace it with a modified hard drive adapter fitted with a USB c hub and run the wire over from that adapter card. As long as you find the right hub, you'd be set. Could 3d print any necessary mounting parts if you needed something to hold the hub in place.

You could even have a few USB ports not exposed to the outside of the casing for things like Bluetooth adapters, Logitech Unifying receivers, etc.

I think I know what my next project may be!
Some call me...Tim.
T420 - i7-3632QM/250gb SSD/16gb/FHD via converter board/AW-CB160H AC/Coreboot/Internal Logitech Unifying Receiver
T500 - C2D-P8700/64gb SSD/6gb/WUXGA

Past: X61T || X60T || R50 || X30 || T30 || A31p || 3xx || 600E || Intellistation Z Pro

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