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Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

W500/W510/W520 and W700/W701 series specific matters only
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Commando303
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Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#1 Post by Commando303 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:00 pm

Hello, I am curious to the maximum specifications to which I can upgrade my Lenovo ThinkPad W500 laptop. At present, I have 8 GB of R.A.M., and an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (@ 2.80GGz) C.P.U.

Does anyone know whether it would be possible to install additional R.A.M. (e.g., 16 GB, 32 GB), and/or a faster C.P.U.?

Thank you very much for your help.

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#2 Post by Commando303 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:05 pm

P.S.: Do the following make a substantial difference in performance:

1. FireGL V5700, versus ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650?
2. Intel Core 2 Duo T9600, versus T9800, versus T9900?

Thank you, again.

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#3 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:41 pm

I believe you can go up to a T9900. the Extreme edition CPUs and Quad cores might not be possible without bios and/or socket mods. Unfortunately the T9900 is extremely expensive for what performance it gives you and doesnt quite make a lot of sense when you have a t9600.
Dont think you can upgrade beyond 8gb of ram either.
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#4 Post by TPFanatic » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:38 pm

Fastest CPU it can use is Core 2 Duo X9100 3.06 ghz with unlocked multiplier.
Fastest GFX for the unit is already equipped on every W500, the FireGL V5700 which is just a Radeon 3650 with 512 MB of VRAM.
Max RAM is 8GB, with two 2rx8 4GB sticks.
Best screen resolution is 1920x1200.
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Any 2.5" SATA drive works.

None of the simple plug and play upgrades are worth it on a machine of this vintage, except 8GB of RAM and an SSD if you will use it as a primary machine. Today, all Core 2 Duos are the same, slow!! Quads can be installed after significant modification to hardware, which I may possibly attempt someday as I am familiarizing myself with soldering, and a BIOS mod.
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#5 Post by TPFanatic » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:54 am

There is no point paying the inflated value of a T9900 ever, and if you're already running a T9600, the performance effect of such an incremental clock speed increase is negligible and the practical effect of any incremental CPU upgrade is nonexistent. Celeron to a C2D I understand, but C2D to C2D is a waste of effort with little to no ROI.
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#6 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:42 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:54 am
There is no point paying the inflated value of a T9900 ever, and if you're already running a T9600, the performance effect of such an incremental clock speed increase is negligible and the practical effect of any incremental CPU upgrade is nonexistent. Celeron to a C2D I understand, but C2D to C2D is a waste of effort with little to no ROI.
Agreed. The only reason why I have one is because I am extremely lucky to find one included in a Latitude E6400 that only cost me C$50. These days in this pandemic the prices for the CPU itself is already almost as much.
We are talking about the same family of processors and just a mere clock speed boost from 2.83Ghz to 3.06Ghz for the comparison of a T9600 to a T9900. This is nowhere near the kind of performance difference upgrading from the likes of a Merom C2D to a T9300/T9500 on a T61.
On a side note, is it possible to BSEL overclock a T9300/T9500 to run at a FSB of 1066Mhz on a W500?
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#7 Post by unixed » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:57 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:42 pm
On a side note, is it possible to BSEL overclock a T9300/T9500 to run at a FSB of 1066Mhz on a W500?
It will lock at multiplier X6, i.e. both will run at 1.6 GHz.

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#8 Post by Commando303 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:23 pm

Thanks, everyone. So, it sounds as if upgrading from a T9600 to a T9800, or even a T9900, simply will not yield any noticeable improvement in performance.

How about going from the Radeon 3650 to the FireGL V5700? Worth it?

Thank you very much, again.

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#9 Post by Commando303 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:24 pm

(P.S.: I already am running n 8 G.B. of R.A.M., and operating on an S.S.D.)

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#10 Post by TPFanatic » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:52 pm

Correct. W500 already has FireGL. Note, however, that the W500's FireGL's performance is the CAD equivalent to the Radeon 3650. It has double the VRAM but this is of no practical effect.
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#11 Post by Commando303 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:10 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:52 pm
Correct. W500 already has FireGL. Note, however, that the W500's FireGL's performance is the CAD equivalent to the Radeon 3650. It has double the VRAM but this is of no practical effect.
The Device Manager on my W500 states, under Display Adapters, "ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650," rather than "FireGL V5700." Does this matter?

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#12 Post by Commando303 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:11 pm

How would one even approach changing the C.P.U. of the W500 laptop? Is the process straight-forward?

Thank you.

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#13 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:19 pm

Yes, you just swap the CPU for the appropriate other one for that Thinkpad model.
And of course you apply fresh thermal paste.
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#14 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:39 pm

Commando303 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:11 pm
How would one even approach changing the C.P.U. of the W500 laptop? Is the process straight-forward?

Thank you.
Grab a copy of the W500 Hardware Maintenance Manual. It contains the needed disassembly instructions. Scroll up to the top of this page. Just below the site banner there's a link labeled "HMM". Open it in a new tab, then use the browser's find function to get to the W500 HMM. Click the link, and a PDF file will be downloaded.
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#15 Post by TPFanatic » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:14 pm

Why swap the CPU though... most W500s already came with higher specced Core 2s and there is functionally no practical difference between any of the Core 2s ever equipped in a W500. If you need more CPU you need a new computer.
lenovo T420 i5 2520m 16GB QHD w/ eGPU GTX 960
lenovos T520 i7 2720qm 8GB FHD, T420s i5 3320m 8GB QHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD w/ Optimus, S1 Yoga i7 4600u 8GB FHD
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#16 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:14 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:14 pm
Why swap the CPU though... most W500s already came with higher specced Core 2s and there is functionally no practical difference between any of the Core 2s ever equipped in a W500. If you need more CPU you need a new computer.
I suppose if you have a T9600, maybe getting a X9100 might be justifiable if you can get the X9100 for cheap (which you cannot atm due to this pandemic).
Going from a T9800 or T9900 to a X9100 is kinda pathological.
Alas the W500 series don't support any quad cores without modding. Don't know why they do that because if Dell can squeeze enough VRM to do so on a 15.4" Precision M4400, there isn't a reason Lenovo can't do it.
A QX9300 can be a lot more justifiable perhaps if it were just a drop in upgrade.
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#17 Post by Commando303 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:45 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:14 pm
TPFanatic wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:14 pm
Why swap the CPU though... most W500s already came with higher specced Core 2s and there is functionally no practical difference between any of the Core 2s ever equipped in a W500. If you need more CPU you need a new computer.
I suppose if you have a T9600, maybe getting a X9100 might be justifiable if you can get the X9100 for cheap (which you cannot atm due to this pandemic).
Going from a T9800 or T9900 to a X9100 is kinda pathological.
I'm a bit surprised to hear going from a T9600 (2.80 GHz clock-speed) to a T9900 (3.06GHz) wouldn't yield a noticeable improvement in performance — especially if Windows Task Manager shows, occasionally, maxed out C.P.U.-capacity.

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#18 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:36 pm

Commando303 wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:45 pm
I'm a bit surprised to hear going from a T9600 (2.80 GHz clock-speed) to a T9900 (3.06GHz) wouldn't yield a noticeable improvement in performance — especially if Windows Task Manager shows, occasionally, maxed out C.P.U.-capacity.
Um I said that going from a T9600 to a X9100 might make sense with that kind of performance gap.
But for the price tag of a T9900 I really don't think anyone should get it. If you have a T9550 or weaker, just get a T9800 because that's like half the price! A X9100 at the same price tag would at least perform another some 10-15% better when overclocked, like the difference of a T9600 vs T9900
I am just extremely lucky a C$50 Latitude E6400 has a T9900 inside as that T9900 costs basically as much as that entire laptop. Granted that's the reason why I got that E6400 in the first place as the seller put the service tag without seeing it for himself (Dell's service tag is more powerful than ThinkPad's MTM because it's unique to every machine and it goes down to every single component inside the laptop - even things like what stickers are placed on the palmrest! The exact date of purchase is also recorded onto the service tag)
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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#19 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:09 pm

I don't even advise going from a P7350 (2.0 ghz) to an X9100 (3.06+ ghz), even though that's at least a 50% increase in clock speed, clock speed past a certain point has little effect on practical performance. 2.0 ghz is enough to get things done. Dual core, two threads is enough to tolerate inefficiency (four threads is better though, but practically unachievable in a W500). If you want more performance, you need a new computer.
lenovo T420 i5 2520m 16GB QHD w/ eGPU GTX 960
lenovos T520 i7 2720qm 8GB FHD, T420s i5 3320m 8GB QHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD w/ Optimus, S1 Yoga i7 4600u 8GB FHD
IBM X601 Tablet L7500 8GB SXGA+
Enable 2 finger scroll on old Synaptics touchpads.

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Re: Maxed Out ThinkPad W500 Specifications?

#20 Post by Commando303 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:55 am

Hi, I think I could get my hands on an Intel X9100 C.P.U., for ~$40.00 — per the above comments, I hope this might yield some improvement over my current T9600 model.

Would I need thermal paste to execute the exchange, or do you suppose it could be forgone? (No sense in opening up the laptop, if I won't be able to make the swap.) Also, would people advise I switch out my Radeon 3650 with a FireGL V5700 (I have an extra of the latter), or would this really amount to nothing?

Thank you very much.

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