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Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

T400/T410/T420 and T500/T510/T520 Series
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adamgrant82
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Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#1 Post by adamgrant82 » Fri Jul 09, 2021 8:03 am

Hi I just bought a ThinkPad T520 that don't look like it was used very much the battery was only showing a 3.5% wear level there's only two very light small scratches next to the keyboard the rest of the laptop looks like it's brand new. I have already started upgrading it just posting this to see what others think.
So far I love this laptop
Spec's
Intel i7-2670QM 2.20GHz Quad core
16GB DDR3L 1600MHz
Samsung EVO 860 1TB SSD
Windows 10 Pro
Creative Sound Blaster G3 Portable External USB DAC
ASUS USB-BT400 USB Bluetooth Dongle

imthedoctor
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#2 Post by imthedoctor » Tue Jul 27, 2021 1:21 pm

Nice, it’a a nice laptop and its good to see Creative Soundblaster is still a thing

atagunov
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#3 Post by atagunov » Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:54 pm

Congrats! I myself hit jackpot on ebay with T520 a few years ago: paid the price of a used machine and got a new in original box, probably not opened before :)
Yours is kitted out nicely: quad core processor, full RAM, 1Tb SSD - enjoy!

I never found bluetooth useful btw.. but isn't there one built-in normally?
P.S. friendly advice: check that SSD is installed on correct rails (7mm -> 9mm step up rails) or is prevented from vobblying around through thoughtful insertion of filler material into SSD compartment; T520 has got compartment for a 9mm thick HDD but your SSD is 7mm thick; the other thing to check is that Computrace is disabled as thoroughly as possible in the BIOS
X220, 2 *T520

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#4 Post by adamgrant82 » Tue Jul 27, 2021 6:26 pm

The laptop works great just one small problem but it could be normal for this laptop as I seen other laptops have to keep the battery in even when plugged in for them to work right. If I was to remove the battery and run the laptop plugged in the CPU runs at 0.79GHz and no turbo not sure if there's a setting I have to change or if this is just normal for this laptop that you have to keep the battery installed all the time. I only use Bluetooth for my headphones and the WiFi card that came with this laptop don't have Bluetooth and it only cost $20 to add that so I didn't mind.

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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#5 Post by atagunov » Wed Jul 28, 2021 6:17 am

adamgrant82 wrote:
Tue Jul 27, 2021 6:26 pm
If I was to remove the battery and run the laptop plugged in the CPU runs at 0.79GHz and no turbo
Hey could you please confirm which PSU you're using? The power supply has to have enough watts I think. I usually run my T520-s on 90W power supplies, but then they have i5-2520m CPU-s, e.g. 2-core not quad. If you were running on a 60W PSU that would explain the behaviour you're seeing. But honestly I don't have yet any first-hand experience with a quad core in T520/T530. I know that W520/W530 - which I believe all have quad core cpus - become fussy unless they think they have at least 135W to play with. From factory they were coming with horribly large/heavy 170W power bricks these W520/W530.

Update: i5-2520m has got TDP of 35W, i7-2670QM has got TDP of 45W. Not a big difference but who knows what embedded controller "thinks" of this. Also do you happen to have a discrete video card?
X220, 2 *T520

adamgrant82
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Location: Bridgewater, NS Canada

Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#6 Post by adamgrant82 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 9:59 am

The laptop came with a 90W power brick should I have a higher wattage one to run this laptop?

mikemex
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#7 Post by mikemex » Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:12 am

atagunov wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 6:17 am
i5-2520m has got TDP of 35W, i7-2670QM has got TDP of 45W. Not a big difference
One has to be careful not to fall into the magical mindset and genuinely believe that the extra cores come for (nearly) free.

As it's been stated elsewhere many times before, TDP is not a power consumption figure, but more of a guideline for the amount of power the cooling solution must dissipate in order to keep the CPU package operating within its temperature specifications under normal operating circumstances. A quad core processor of the same architecture will always consume significantly more power than a dual core (perhaps not twice because other components in the package such as the GPU and cache are not duplicated, but close). So why the TDP 'only' rises from 35 to 45W? Is it misleading?

Thing is, thermodynamics favor the quad core because it has a larger die area due the extra cores and this maximizes heat transfer. In other words, a quad core CPU will always find it easier to dissipate the power it uses into the cooling system, which helps a lot to keep core temperatures low. Since the TDP only cares about CPU temperature, and not actual power consumption, for short bursts (which is what "normal operating circumstances" really means) a 45W solution is enough.

Actual power consumption is quite different, though. Just to give you an idea, I've got both a T530 with a dual core and a W530 with a quad core. The T530 works fine with a 90W power brick, while the W530 requieres 170W.
Main (x2): 6700 | RX170Q | 32GB | 1TB SU800 | 4TB HD | Radeon 7850 | 21.5 FHD
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 400GB S3610
T420s: 2640m | 16GB | 128GB PM831 | HD+ 4200M | FP | BT
W530: 2740qm | 24GB | 1TB SU800 | FHD K1000M | FP | BT
X1C4: 6600U | 16GB | 512GB SM951 | WQHD
(soon to be sold) X220 | T420 | T530

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#8 Post by adamgrant82 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:22 am

I just ordered the 135 watt ThinkPad power adapter hope this will let me run the laptop plugged in without the battery. I know I have been upgrading this laptop since I got it so I'm sure that don't help lower the wattage and I just ordered a 9 cell battery and a mSATA 1TB SSD that will give this laptop 2TB worth of storage

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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#9 Post by atagunov » Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:50 am

adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:22 am
I just ordered the 135 watt ThinkPad power adapter hope this will let me run the laptop plugged in without the battery. I know I have been upgrading this laptop since I got it so I'm sure that don't help lower the wattage and I just ordered a 9 cell battery and a mSATA 1TB SSD that will give this laptop 2TB worth of storage
Hi, was it difficult/expensive to find a 135W power adapter with a round plug? I read they used to be supplied with W500.

I've got one with a square plug here, my plan was to replace it with a specially modified round plug precisely to work with a quad core T530 but I haven't gotten around to do it (yet?). Needless to say I will have some trouble because purchasing correct round plug separately from adapter is virtually impossible..

Just to be clear the limitation of CPU frequency - if indeed related to the wattage of PSU that you're using - which is likely - comes from a decision taken by Thinkpad's "second brain" - its majesty the Embedded Controller. The EC knows what power adapter you have plugged in, it knows what CPU you have and takes decisions accordingly. When it has both a low-wattage PSU and a battery it can in theory draw power from both to feed a hungry CPU. If there is an nVidia on board then power requirements are even higher. We had one user on this forum who "hacked" the system making his EC think it has a 135W power adapter while in reality he only had a 90W one. This is not hard to do but the danger is Thinkpad will not constrain itself and may draw too much current from the PSU. That user claims things work fine for him. I'm probably not brave enough :)
Last edited by atagunov on Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
X220, 2 *T520

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#10 Post by adamgrant82 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:55 am

This laptop does have the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 4200M GPU and I have upgraded the memory from 8GB to 16GB added a 1TB SSD and the external DAC with wireless mouse and keyboard and USB Bluetooth

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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#11 Post by atagunov » Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:58 am

adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:55 am
This laptop does have the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 4200M GPU
Okay, so the EC is probably erring on the side of caution. It's probably "thinking": okay I have this 4 core CPU and I have this video card and only a 90W PSU.. Better be safe then sorry.. Smth like that :)
adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 11:55 am
and I have upgraded the memory from 8GB to 16GB added a 1TB SSD and the external DAC with wireless mouse and keyboard and USB Bluetooth
I don't think RAM amount has any bearing on power consumption. Likewise I don't think EC knows or cares what devices are plugged into USB, it's probably just making sure there is headroom to provide some predefined amount of current out of USB ports if need be..
X220, 2 *T520

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#12 Post by adamgrant82 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 12:57 pm

Okay so buying the 135 watt power adapter should fix the problem

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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#13 Post by atagunov » Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:26 pm

adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 12:57 pm
Okay so buying the 135 watt power adapter should fix the problem
I hope it will. Over here viewtopic.php?p=856871#p856871 it is stated that when W530 thinks it's got a 135W adapter it doesn't throttle down the CPU. This is my reading of that topic.

Have you managed to find such an adapter? Was it difficult/expensive? I was under impression the huge/heavy 170W with round plug were more common that 135W with round plug.
X220, 2 *T520

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#14 Post by adamgrant82 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:01 pm

I was able to find a 135 watt OEM ThinkPad charger and it only cost me $62 Canadian counting shipping

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#15 Post by adamgrant82 » Wed Jul 28, 2021 3:19 pm

I also noticed another thing if the battery is out and then I try to run Prime95 stress test on the CPU the CPU only goes up to 0.82GHz at a max of 38% usage but if I was to rerun this same test but with the battery installed while plugged in the CPU runs at 2.2GHz at 100% load

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Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#16 Post by WarMachine » Wed Aug 04, 2021 3:52 am

atagunov wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:26 pm
adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 12:57 pm
Okay so buying the 135 watt power adapter should fix the problem
I hope it will. Over here viewtopic.php?p=856871#p856871 it is stated that when W530 thinks it's got a 135W adapter it doesn't throttle down the CPU. This is my reading of that topic.

Have you managed to find such an adapter? Was it difficult/expensive? I was under impression the huge/heavy 170W with round plug were more common that 135W with round plug.
Hello,

The W520 I bought last week was shipped with a 135 W adapter and everything runs fine (I have an i7-2640M for the moment, it will be replaced by the end of the month by a 2860QM). If I plug a 90 W adapter, I get a warning : the adapter is not usable on the laptop It can charge the battery, but only where the machine is shut down (and the same adapter goes on the T420 with the same CPU, more RAM and an hard disk coupled to the SSD).

I bought a 170 W adapter because it's what Lenovo provides with the laptop. It arrives tomorrow. I bought it on ebay from a german seller : simpex4u. Great communication, quick shipment, nice prices. My 170 W adapter cost me 47,80 € shipping included ! I thought I would have to pay something like 80 € for the adapter only, given the fact that it's a 170 W one. Great bargain ! :) And I had the choice. Not difficult to find.

The only thing I fear is that it will be delivered by UPS, and the guys from UPS here are not serious. One parcel leaved at 7 km from where I live because the guy didn't find the address (it's written in big in front of the building – the sign is a 2-meter square one !!!). And the second parcel I received, the guy rang at the door, I replied I came. I went to the door (it took me like five seconds, the guy was already gone, and the parcel left alone at the door. Pitiful ! I wish I could have punished him with gravel and rusty blades dipped in lemon (I'll not say where everything is supposed to go, for the sake of your eyes and mind) ! :evil: :D

Back to the adapters ! The 135 W one seems to be harder to find. On ebay, I have just watched, the models sold are those with rectangular socket, for more recent laptops. There are rectangular towards round adapters, but it's not a very elegant solution.

W.
IBM ThinkPads 701Cs | 755Cs | 560 | 2× 600E | 3× T23 | X20 | X24 | 3× X31 | T30 | T41p | T42 | T43 | X41.
lenovo ThinkPads 2× T60 4/3 | T60 15″ WS | T61 14″ WS | R60 | X60t | X61s | X61t | X301 | T400 | T400s | W500 | X200 | X201 | T410 | T410s | 2× X220 | T420 | T420s | W520 | T430 | T440.

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#17 Post by adamgrant82 » Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:33 pm

I got the 9 cell battery today and the 135 watt charger but first I tried the 90 watt charger and it couldn't charge the battery and run the laptop at the same time the i7 was running at 0.79GHz to 1.20GHz max but after switching to the 135 watt charger it's working like it should. I haven't tried removing the battery and trying to run it like that I'm doing 3 or 4 charge/discharge cycles like what was said to do in the paper that came with the laptop but being a 9 cell battery even at everything set to high that's going to take a few days. It said you have to do this to sync the chip that's in the battery to the laptop so it will give you the right readings but after a full charge it's showing over 8 hours even with everything set to the highest settings.
Does anyone know how long the 9 cell battery should last? I ran Hardware info it's showing this battery being the same as the OEM 6 cell version both are made by the same company so I am guessing it's the same as the 9 cell OEM battery that would have came with this laptop.

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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#18 Post by atagunov » Thu Aug 05, 2021 1:01 pm

adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:33 pm
I'm doing 3 or 4 charge/discharge cycles like what was said to do in the paper that came with the laptop but being a 9 cell battery even at everything set to high that's going to take a few days. It said you have to do this to sync the chip that's in the battery to the laptop so it will give you the right readings
To be pedantic I don't think this is syncing the chip in the battery to the laptop. Instead it allows the chip inside the battery (which is actually a microcontroller - a very low power computer consisting of CPU + RAM + EEPROM) so it allows this chip inside the battery to "learn" what full battery capacity is. Thinkpad asks the battery "how are you dear?". This chip responds: my design capacity is 69Wh, last full charge was 71Wh, remaining charge is 53Wh. And Thinkpad believes this. Microcontroller inside the battery can be right. It can be wrong. In either case it's its own doing. It is to a degree autonomous from the Thinkpad. Doing full charge/recharge cycles allows this microcontroller to acquire a better understanding of the condition of battery and report better numbers to Thinkpad.
adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:33 pm
but after a full charge it's showing over 8 hours even with everything set to the highest settings.
Does anyone know how long the 9 cell battery should last?
I think I'm getting around 4 hours on 9-cell batt made in 2012 on a T520 with i5-2520m running Ubuntu with TPM managing performance. My battery is probably around 80% healthy, e.g. full charge - according to battery controller's own estimation - is around 80% of what it was supposed to be for a new battery. I think if I start running heavy loads - like compiling software from sources - I will be getting shorter run times.
adamgrant82 wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:33 pm
I ran Hardware info it's showing this battery being the same as the OEM 6 cell version both are made by the same company so I am guessing it's the same as the 9 cell OEM battery that would have came with this laptop.
So I understand this is an "aftermarket" e.g. non-original battery, right? Nothing wrong with that, I'm using a 6-cell KingSener on my X220. But on my T520-s I got what I think are original batteries. So the thing with aftermarket batteries is that their controllers can be less accurate than controllers in original batteries. Take anything this battery reports with a grain of salt. You're saying "same compnay"? C'on, give me a break :) This is just a string of text that the non-original battery is reporting to Thinkpad. I suppose it's extremely likely the name of the company there has nothing to do with who actually made this non-original battery. 9-cell battery in some way "same as" a "6 cell"? That's dodgy. Why would the battery report itself as something other than what it actually is?

Nothing here is a crime. It is entirely possible that this battery gives you good service. Test it out. Try it out. Use it for what it is. Just don't trust too much what it's telling you :) BTW for a while my X220 running a 6-cell KingSener has been behaving like this: I charge it to 100%, I start using it on battery, all is good, but soon after the battery reaches 30% it "tanks down" - charge goes to 0 in less than 3 minutes. What is this? Well the microcontroller has been too optimistic. It was telling Thinkpad that 30% of charge was remaining but in truth the battery was almost empty. Don't be discouraged by that. It does happen on non-original batteries. I think I've even seen it on an original one. The battery is still useable. BTW I think my KingSener has stopped doing this now for some reason.
X220, 2 *T520

adamgrant82
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Re: Just bought a like new ThinkPad T520

#19 Post by adamgrant82 » Thu Aug 05, 2021 1:18 pm

I charged this 9 cell battery and then did a full discharge like the paper said to do I have to do 3 or 4 of these charge/discharge cycles to sync the batteries chip with the laptop but after a full charge I wanted to drain the battery the fastest so I set everything to highest settings with seen at 100% brightness and set the power setting to not turn off the screen or the laptop and not to turn on battery saver and it still took just over 8 hours to kill the new battery. The listing of the battery said it's using Samsung battery cells. And Hardware info shows the OEM battery is made by Sanyo and it's saying the same for the new battery. My guess Sanyo uses Samsung battery cells for their laptop batteries. I am not sure how much longer it will last on battery if I was to turn on battery saver or set everything to balance but 8 hours on the highest setting isn't bad. I seen a site that said this laptop with the 9 cell battery that comes with it when new was rated for 11 hours not sure if I believe that or not. But I do have this laptop fully upgraded and I had the USB DAC, wireless keyboard and mouse(using the same USB dingle) all plugged in. Also I just added a mSATA 1TB SSD so it has 2 SSD's installed

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