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W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

W500/W510/W520 and W700/W701 Series
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wsalomon
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W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#1 Post by wsalomon » Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:14 pm

If I recall correctly, the i7-2960-XM was the fastest CPU made for the T/W-520 (beyond the i7-2860-QM, correc?t). I remember there were a number of issues regarding the heat generated by the XM version - 55 vs 45 Watts, and that this might be an issue with the T-520 heatsink-fan. Having just replaced my T-520 motherboard with a W-520 board with the Nvidia Quadro 2000-M GPU, I noticed that the new heatsink-fan looks "beefier" than the T-520 version, presumably due to the GPU.

Cost aside (if one can find the XM CPU at all), can the heatsink-fan handle the the extra thermal load? My "extreme" use case here is extensive database crunching (with a full 32 GB of RAM) in reasonable ambient-temperature environment. My use is really not heavy graphics such as video editing or gaming.

Thoughts? And thanks in advance.

theterminator93
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#2 Post by theterminator93 » Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:34 pm

I did some thermal and power consumption testing on my W520 with the i7-2860QM (highest clock at 45W TDP, presumably not much less heat than the 2960XM at the marginally higher clock rate) and the Quadro 2000M. Mine came with the beefiest heatsink available from the factory so the numbers can be considered "best case" scenario figures to start from...
theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:01 pm
Spectacular, this machine.

Got the A/C adapter this afternoon and have been running the usual suite of tests and benchmarks on it as I would any "new" machine. As it turns out, it will draw about 150W from the wall outlet at full load (Furmark running while encoding video in 8 threads), and the temps will pretty quickly shoot up into the mid 90s. I think it may need some fresh (better) thermal paste since I recall there being a few degrees difference in peak temps when I re-pasted the T420.

For the curious, it draws just under 90W with all four cores pegged, and about 120W with a single CPU core and the GPU pegged. If it was charging the battery at full load... I can clearly see where the need for the 170W adapter comes into play. I'm not certain how efficient the adapters are but I figure with 150W wall draw the laptop is actually consuming at least 135W, so that leaves a healthy 35 additional watts for battery charging at full load.

I finished moving all the data I had on my T61p over to it today as well, so I've finally shut it down in favor of a different laptop for the first time in over eight years...

All in all, very pleased with this unit. I should have no problem using this as a primary for the next five years or so.
theterminator93 wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:41 pm
I decided to replace the thermal paste with Arctic Silver 5 this evening, and while I was at it I decided to do some temperature measurements before/after the reapplication. The results speak for themselves. The heat sink and fan was already cleaned before either of these trials, so the only variable was the thermal paste.

Conditions:
CPU: Core i7-2860QM @ 2.5 GHz (3.6 GHz Turbo)
GPU: nVidia Quadro 2000M
Ambient temperature: 19-20C

Multi-threaded Prime95 CPU and FurMark GPU torture

Before AS5 application, I loaded 8 threads of Prime95 for small FFT testing (maximum heat). After a short time the CPU temperatures stabilized at 80C, with CPU-Z reporting the clock at 2.5 GHz, occasionally jumping to 2.6 GHz. TPFC fan speed was 64 (maximum) at roughly 4700 RPM. To load the GPU after this, I loaded FurMark. After five minutes the temperatures stabilized with the GPU at 89C (or 75C as reported by FurMark) and the CPU up at 96C, although the CPU had throttled back to 2.4 GHz, occasionally dropping to 2.3 GHz.

After the AS5 application, I repeated the same series of tests. 8 Prime95 threads for small FFT tests had the CPU stabilize at 72C - with the fan running at level 7 (3800 RPM) AND the clock rate was 2.6 GHz, occasionally dropping to 2.5 GHz. Five minutes after loading FurMark, the GPU ramped up to and stabilized at 91C (or 77C as reported by FurMark), although the CPU only reached a peak of 87 at a steady 2.5 GHz. Quite an improvement (at least in CPU temps)!!!

Single-threaded FurMark GPU torture

Five minutes after unloading the CPU of the Prime95 torture (only FurMark running), the CPU was mostly 3.3 GHz, occasionally jumping to 3.5 or peaking at 3.6, regardless of pre or post application. Temps before application were CPU - 81C, GPU - 71, after application CPU - 73C and GPU - 72.

Conclusions

Overall, the GPU temperatures didn't change enough to warrant any claim that the AS5 paste reapplication improved or worsened its temperatures. The reapplication of AS5 to the CPU, however, showed impressive results in both temperature and throttling. The multi-threaded tests ran 8C cooler while at a lower fan speed setting AND a higher clock frequency. Multi-threaded tests with a loaded GPU allowed the CPU to run 9C cooler without throttling back to less than full clock speed.
In short, yes, it should handle the extra heat. What you will run into is, depending on ambient temperature and GPU loading, you will end up throttling your CPU to keep temps in check. So you'll only really be able to take advantage of the extra 100-200 MHz of clock speed while the CPU is running relatively cool. Higher clocks at load is what puts out more heat.

Since doing those benchmarks 5 years ago, and having used the machine regularly in that time, most often the CPU runs in the high-70s/low 80s when I'm doing intensive single-threaded work, and with video encoding it usually gets into the mid 80s. I rarely see more than 3.3 GHz turbo with single threaded loads; fully loaded it's usually 2.7-2.8, give or take 100 MHz.
T480 with T25 keyboard | T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T601F T9900·NVS 140m·LED AFFS UXGA
T420 IPS FHD | X220 IPS FHD | T61p·T61·43·42p|X220T·301·41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote
600|770Z|770E|760XD|760EL|365XD|701C|755C

wsalomon
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#3 Post by wsalomon » Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:25 pm

Thanks so much!!!

I was also a "loaded" T-61 user for years and had a similar experience (although not nearly as detailed as your with stress-tests) using Arctic Silver 5 and fastidious preparation with the Arctic Silver cleaning solutions, prepping the surfaces as suggested with a smidgen of AC-5 worked in with a credit-card, and then the actual application.

Some may call it way too obsessive-compulsive but if you're going to spend several hours on a rebuild that you hope will last at least 5 years, then it seems to be time well-spent.

In this case, since these are the last of the non-Chiclet keyboards and are really built to take a beating, it will hopefully last for 10.

theterminator93
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#4 Post by theterminator93 » Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:33 pm

Yeah, it's been a reliable workhorse since I've had it. I still use my T601 FrankenPad at work daily and am grateful to own both a T25 and T480/T25 FrankenPad. The T601F is a little long in the tooth for me to use as my main personal machine but the expansion ports (enhanced with the various UltraBay accessories I have for it) are just unbeatable - especially where in K12 education environments you need to be prepared to deal with both the latest and 20-year-old technology.
T480 with T25 keyboard | T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T601F T9900·NVS 140m·LED AFFS UXGA
T420 IPS FHD | X220 IPS FHD | T61p·T61·43·42p|X220T·301·41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote
600|770Z|770E|760XD|760EL|365XD|701C|755C

atagunov
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#5 Post by atagunov » Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:09 am

theterminator93 wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:33 pm
enhanced with the various UltraBay accessories I have for it
Mr Terminator :) could you please indulge us a bit - what have you got? I appreciate T601F is a T61 motherboard in a T60 body?
X220, 2 *T520

theterminator93
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#6 Post by theterminator93 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:44 am

Yes, that's about the size of it. The goal is to have the UXGA 15" IPS/AFFS display of the T60p and enhance it with the performance of the later generation Core 2 CPUs which can be used on the T61 hardware. This is further enhanced by the ability to use up to 8GB RAM, SATA-II SSDs, and (with the 1066 FSB mod) quad core CPUs.

Mine is a T60p with the Hydis HV150UX2-100 AFFS LED UXGA panel and a T61 motherboard with the nVidia Quadro NVS 140m GPU. It is not a "safe date" GPU but I have been using it regularly for several years now and it has been fine. I have modded the motherboard for 1066 FSB CPUs and have a T9900 (dual core 35W TDP 3.06 GHz) installed along with the max. 8 GB memory (also overclocked to run at a bit over 800 MHz). The modded BIOS has also both undervolted and overclocked the GPU; as such I also have a 512GB SATA-II SSD and an Intel 802.11ac wireless card installed. I have a pair of spare UltraBay batteries, the UltraBay serial/parallel port adapter, both types of UltraBay HDD adapters (for SATA and IDE HDDs), as well as a DVD±RW drive.

With exception of native digital video output via DP or HDMI, and newer USB 3.0/3.1 or USB-C type connections, I can handle anything I come across. I have a VGA-HDMI adapter to overcome the first hurdle and have yet to be restricted due to the lack of a USB-C port (in fact the opposite is true of many newer computers).
T480 with T25 keyboard | T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T601F T9900·NVS 140m·LED AFFS UXGA
T420 IPS FHD | X220 IPS FHD | T61p·T61·43·42p|X220T·301·41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote
600|770Z|770E|760XD|760EL|365XD|701C|755C

atagunov
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#7 Post by atagunov » Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:33 pm

Great machine you've got there, fitting your username :)
theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:44 am
Hydis HV150UX2-100 AFFS LED UXGA
Envious noises.. I wish USPS hadn't lost mine..
theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:44 am
With exception of native digital video output via DP or HDMI, and newer USB 3.0/3.1 or USB-C type connections, I can handle anything I come across
I understand that with a 2504 dock you've also got a DVI output right? Which could probably be connected to HDMI directly via a cable? I wish some more compact solution was available for you to do that.. Lugging around a 2504 is no fun!

BTW I have spotted a fine "little" toy that can be connected to a Frankenpad like yours and like the ones I plan to build: eGPU adapter! In that video they use EXP GDC Beast V8.5c ("base" + an "expresscard card" connected bizarrely by something that looks like an HDMI cable), a Dell DA-2 D220P-01 PSU, one extra power cable and a random desktop GPU. A regular desktop PSU could be used instead..

I thought a T61 wouldn't have an ExpressCard slot only a CardBus one, but when I checked the one I got here in my room.. Ta-da! It's got a double slot: CardBus at the bottom and ExpressCard (e.g. one lane PCI Express 1.0) on top of it! So this "EXP GDC Beast" should be able to work with a T61 mobo! Further I imagine other ExpressCards could fit including perhaps some USB 3.0 adapter if we wanted it :)
theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:44 am
have yet to be restricted due to the lack of a USB-C port (in fact the opposite is true of many newer computers).
Amen! I'm partly wishing my long awaited and still forthcoming X2100 had a DP not a USB-C, or better still a regular docking connector.. So great is my mistrust in USB-C longevity and stability
Last edited by atagunov on Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:53 pm, edited 8 times in total.
X220, 2 *T520

atagunov
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#8 Post by atagunov » Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:43 pm

wsalomon wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:14 pm
If I recall correctly, the i7-2960-XM was the fastest CPU made for the T/W-520
theterminator93 wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:34 pm
I did some thermal and power consumption testing on my W520 with the i7-2860QM
So guys why not a quad core i7-3xxx? It should fit too right, perhaps with some BIOS flashing?
X220, 2 *T520

axur-delmeria
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#9 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:02 pm

atagunov wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:43 pm
So guys why not a quad core i7-3xxx? It should fit too right, perhaps with some BIOS flashing?
The stock BIOS does not have any support whatsoever for Ivy Bridge CPUs.
You need to flash Coreboot in order to get them working. But of course, Coreboot has its own set of problems.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

wsalomon
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#10 Post by wsalomon » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:11 pm

@ theterminator93 & atagunov -

I also have two T-601F's that I've used for more "vertical" text editing where wide-screen is really a pain. Lying in wait are two Hydis HV-150-UX-2-100 UXGA/LED screens, but I lack the conversion modules. Last I knew, whoever it was, they were behind in production so I'm waiting for the right time to get the modules and finish the job. If you know a current source, please let me know.

I too looked around and found the double-height Express Card / Cardbus cage, and dropped in the T9500 CPUs, although I suppose X9000s might be the conventional icing on the cake except for heat. Fortunately, the GPUs are in the "safe" zone, as far as I can tell. Samsung SSD's certainly make difference, just wish they ran at SATA-3. There is the usual 8 GB of DDR2-800 / PC2-6400 RAM I just sent off for some "re-carded" Intel AX-200 mini PCIe WiFi cards for all my machines.

I'm curious - what you did to get the T9900 to run at 1066? Was this a physical mod to the motherboard, or a BIOS thing (I'm using the standard Middleton BIOS)? And doing that, could you use DDR2-1066 / PC2-8500 RAM or is this a chipset limitation?

It always amazes me, even now, as to what a following they have.

atagunov
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#11 Post by atagunov » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:56 pm

wsalomon wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:11 pm
Lying in wait are two Hydis HV-150-UX-2-100 UXGA/LED screens, but I lack the conversion modules. Last I knew, whoever it was, they were behind in production so I'm waiting for the right time to get the modules and finish the job. If you know a current source, please let me know.
https://www.theboardroom.info/led_mods2.html - this is RealBlackStuff's website :) You send the 15" 4:3 T60 (compatible) cable, the inverter (of the right type) and then receive them back, modded.
If really pressed I imagine you could DIY it (1, 2, and you still need to know how to connect power correctly to the panel backlight.. something like 4 wires go from right points on inverter to the connector on HV150UX2-100, two of them power and two control - on/off and brightness pwm, 3) at least I was going to try. In the worst case you kill one cable and one inverter, neither is too expensive. Hope neither of us kills the panel %)
wsalomon wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:11 pm
I'm curious - what you did to get the T9900 to run at 1066? Was this a physical mod to the motherboard, or a BIOS thing (I'm using the standard Middleton BIOS)? And doing that, could you use DDR2-1066 / PC2-8500 RAM or is this a chipset limitation?
I have some links saved for 1066FSB mod: 1 2 3

If I remember correctly there is some soldering involved on the motherboard + you need the right BIOS + you re-program SPD on RAM sticks. I actually was under impression user Highsun on 51nb forum was offering the best selection of BIOS-es for T61 though I never tried any of them myself. I point to the BIOS-es which I believe to be the best from this post. As a shortcut my post points here. The other link in my post points to some kind of a description of this selection of BIOS-es. I believe the BIOS-es in my links are fresher than those you can find in el-sahef's post on DE forum. They are from the same source just fresher, this is my understanding.
Last edited by atagunov on Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
X220, 2 *T520

theterminator93
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#12 Post by theterminator93 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:04 pm

Yes, there's a little of everything involved. It's not difficult, but you need to take your time and be certain you're doing exactly what needs to be done. There is a trace to cut and a jumper wire to solder, IIRC - just be certain you're cutting the right trace and putting the jumper in the right places! Then the BIOS needs to be flashed with the microcode for the 1066 FSB chips. The CPU runs at the correct clock rate but Windows underreports the clock speed.

The RAM will run 33% faster as well (since we're overclocking the FSB from 800 to 1066, or 100 MHz to 133 MHz base) so you need to find RAM that can have the SPD reflashed to run at slower timings. The RAM will think it's running at 667 MHz but in reality run at 890 - so if you can find PC2-6400 with a flashable SPD, just copy the timings from the 800 MHz speed to the 667 MHz profile. That's all detailed in the 1066 thread, IIRC.

To get a quad in, there are a few more jumpers to run and some pins to drill out in the socket. I have a few spare T61s for parts I could hack up to do it... just haven't had the time.
T480 with T25 keyboard | T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T601F T9900·NVS 140m·LED AFFS UXGA
T420 IPS FHD | X220 IPS FHD | T61p·T61·43·42p|X220T·301·41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote
600|770Z|770E|760XD|760EL|365XD|701C|755C

atagunov
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#13 Post by atagunov » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:52 pm

theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:44 am
UXGA 15" IPS/AFFS display of the T60p ... T61 hardware ...

With exception of native digital video output via DP or HDMI and ... I can handle anything I come across. I have a VGA-HDMI adapter
I was thinking.. suppose you obtain a 2505 docking station which seems pretty worthless on its own.. Suppose you rip it apart to get the T61 style docking connector out.. Would you then be able to attach an HDMI cable to it? 2504 docking station which uses the same connector somehow has got a DVI output.. It should be possible to connect DVI output directly to HDMI input via the right cable.. Assuming there is no special hardware inside 2504 doesn't it mean that there are some pins on the docking connector you can solder a HDMI cable to? That would be a rather compact solution which wouldn't sacrifice quality by going via analogue VGA interface
X220, 2 *T520

wsalomon
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Re: W-520 - i7-2960XM CPU upgrade

#14 Post by wsalomon » Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:21 pm

Denouement -

I put in the i7 2960-XM with the stock heatsink-fan with Arctic Silver 5, and 32 GB (x4 modules) of G. Skill F3-1866-C11D-16GRSL RAM / DDR3-1866 CL11-11-11-32 1.35v / PC3L-14900 8GB-2.

CPU-Z shows the RAM as DRAM Freq 797 MHz, FSB:DRAM 1:6, CL 10-10-10-28, 1.35v.

HW-Monitor under minimal load shows CPU 45°C 110°F and Nvidia 41°C 105°F.

Working with Oracle, SQL-Server, and MySQL databases show improved table searches and mass data updates, so for my purposes, this was well worth doing.

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