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Advice needed on t430s

T430 and later, plus T530 and later series specific matters only
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Dro
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Advice needed on t430s

#1 Post by Dro » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:49 pm

Hello all, new member here but I've been occasionally reading the forum for a pretty long time.

I just bought a mint condition t430s core i5 3320m plus a NOS t420s palmrest, a NOS NMB keyboard (so I can do the classic keyboard mod), and 2 ultrabay batteries all on their way and I'm trying to get my ducks in a row.

16gb ram, 256 msata ssd, 1tb hdd, looking to upgrade to wifi ac, any ideas on the best card?

I plan to swap the cpu with a 3520M in the very near future or with a 3612qe if I can find something I can scavenge it from (they are more rare than hens teeth) if anyone has any creative ideas I'm definitely listening! (I know that the CPU is soldered, I do have access to the equipment needed)

Aside from the fact that obviously I'd appreciate any suggestions for upgrades that I might have missed my main question is regarding the screen, a lot of you have gone with the FHD mod and some with the WQHD any drawbacks with the WQHD? If I get the chance I'll buy both FHD and WQHD but if it comes to one over the other I'd like to know pros/cons

Thanks for any replies!

Edited for clarification.
Last edited by Dro on Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

axur-delmeria
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:03 pm

The CPU in the T430s is soldered to the board (not mounted on a socket), so it's impossible to remove/upgrade without specialized equipment (BGA rework station).
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
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Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#3 Post by Dro » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:26 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:03 pm
The CPU in the T430s is soldered to the board (not mounted on a socket), so it's impossible to remove/upgrade without specialized equipment (BGA rework station).
Thanks for the reply, I know that it's soldered, I do have access to a BGA rework station through a company I work with and they will be doing the swap.

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#4 Post by Dro » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:12 am

A little update, T430s arrived and it looks stunning, it was a huge risk buying from a seller with 0 feedback but boy did it pay off, it came with it's original box and looks like new! No wear, no scratches, battery has 37 cycles and reports very close to it's original capacity.

https://imgur.com/GZ6IgFn

I also received the NMB keyboard and it's very tempting to try it out but I'll wait for the the 420s palmrest and the FHD first so I can put everything together in one go, but fiddling a little with the keys it's exactly what I needed.

On a side note although I dislike chiclet keyboards, t430s keyboard seems to be a cut above the rest.

Any ideas on the best wifi card to get?

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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:15 am

You'll have to remove the wifi-whitelist from the BIOS first.
This requires a fair bit of electronics knowledge with an SPI programmer.
BIOS-updates are extremely crippled now since they introduced that UEFI-stuff.
https://www.bios-mods.com/forum/Thread- ... kpad-T430s
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#6 Post by Dro » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:27 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:15 am
You'll have to remove the wifi-whitelist from the BIOS first.
This requires a fair bit of electronics knowledge with an SPI programmer.
BIOS-updates are extremely crippled now since they introduced that UEFI-stuff.
https://www.bios-mods.com/forum/Thread- ... kpad-T430s
Hi, thanks for shedding some light on this, I was under the impression that when you did the classic keyboard mod it was also removing the whitelisting but I guess I was wrong, any suggestion on a lenovo branded wifi ac card that will fit the t430s? I opened a recent E series model and the form factor of the card was completely different.

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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#7 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:47 am

That xx30 KB-mod can also remove the xx30 battery-check, but that's it.

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#8 Post by Dro » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:31 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:47 am
That xx30 KB-mod can also remove the xx30 battery-check, but that's it.
That's a pity, so the only hope is basically a lenovo branded card, thanks for the input though, much appreciated:)

markjitsu
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#9 Post by markjitsu » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:14 pm

Where did you get your ultrabay batteries from? Are you confident they're going to have a decent charge to them?

I'm in the same boat. Figuring out what I want to do with the ultrabay and expresscard slot. I only bought a 64GB for the MSATA to boot the OS onto and a few other items.

However, I plan on putting a 500gb SSD into it. I've already purchased the alienware 14" display to upgrade mine. Having some problems with my bezel snapping back tight. Never run into this issues.

Actually, I was having a problem taking the bezel off completely. The two knobby portions close to the hinges on the bottom have me stumped.

What kind of ram did you put in and where did you get it? Cost?

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#10 Post by Dro » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:04 am

markjitsu wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:14 pm
Where did you get your ultrabay batteries from? Are you confident they're going to have a decent charge to them?

I'm in the same boat. Figuring out what I want to do with the ultrabay and expresscard slot. I only bought a 64GB for the MSATA to boot the OS onto and a few other items.

However, I plan on putting a 500gb SSD into it. I've already purchased the alienware 14" display to upgrade mine. Having some problems with my bezel snapping back tight. Never run into this issues.

Actually, I was having a problem taking the bezel off completely. The two knobby portions close to the hinges on the bottom have me stumped.

What kind of ram did you put in and where did you get it? Cost?
I got the batteries from ebay, both used, the first one has 254 cycles and reports 78% of the original capacity, the second I'll let you know when I receive it, I'm on the fence about getting a new one but they are expensive and who knows how much they have deteriorated over the years they were unused, if you look for used don't pay anything over $20 shipped.

Did you use the service manual? https://thinkpads.com/support/hmm/hmm_p ... 538_02.pdf it looks pretty straightforward though I'll let you know how it went when I get the second t430s and start the swap.

About the expresscard don't you already have a card reader there?

Can't really comment about the ram, I've used Crucial 16GB Kit 2 x 8GB DDR3 1333 MHz but that's because I had it at hand along with a 256gb msata, you might want to shop around but you should be able to get 2x8gb from a decent brand for about $100, I haven't used it much yet because of the crappy screen but the extra ram and ssd seem to have made a huge difference.

Did you get an i7 motherboard after all? How much did you pay for it?

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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#11 Post by markjitsu » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:21 am

I did get the i7 motherboard! I probably paid too much for it, but because the t430s itself was free, I was willing to donate some cash.

I got it on ebay and made an offer, haggled for a bit. 128.00 + free shipping.

Thanks for the manual. I definitely think something was/is wrong with my bezel. Watched a few videos on youtube that have me convinced.

I'm going to be searching for another one. Maybe I can find something nice for 10 bucks.

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#12 Post by Dro » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:32 am

markjitsu wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:21 am
I did get the i7 motherboard! I probably paid too much for it, but because the t430s itself was free, I was willing to donate some cash.

I got it on ebay and made an offer, haggled for a bit. 128.00 + free shipping.

Thanks for the manual. I definitely think something was/is wrong with my bezel. Watched a few videos on youtube that have me convinced.

I'm going to be searching for another one. Maybe I can find something nice for 10 bucks.
Seems like a fair price, plus you have a board in reserve if anything happen.

I might be going down the same route, I planned to upgrade the cpu as I work with a company that does BGA and SMD repairs but the enticing thing about the i7 board it's that it has a thunderbolt port, I'll see how much the second t430s will bring after I swap out the FHD board and LCD

Btw if you are interested I found this http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-Thinkpad ... SwmtJXXs2R

Since it's so hard to remove the whitelisting so we can upgrade the wifi that's the next best option

I'll keep updating as I go along, feel free to do the same:)

Update: Card doesn't get past the whitlist, the ebay listing was misleading.
Last edited by Dro on Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

markjitsu
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#13 Post by markjitsu » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:18 pm

Will do! I'm definitely interested in that BGA rework station. How much does it cost to get access to it to do a swap? I'd like the quad core if I could get my hands on it. I'm also curious what the shipping might be to armenia...

If you're willing and up to it, I would love to be able to send it out. Unless anyone here in the states knows a guy who knows a guy?! I'm in Virginia.

I'm also wondering if there are third party companies that do this?

EDIT: Update, that board arrived dead. Returning to ebay.

EDIT 2: Have you looked at this? http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i7-3 ... e-i7-3520M

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#14 Post by Dro » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:22 am

markjitsu wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:18 pm
Will do! I'm definitely interested in that BGA rework station. How much does it cost to get access to it to do a swap? I'd like the quad core if I could get my hands on it. I'm also curious what the shipping might be to armenia...

If you're willing and up to it, I would love to be able to send it out. Unless anyone here in the states knows a guy who knows a guy?! I'm in Virginia.

I'm also wondering if there are third party companies that do this?

EDIT: Update, that board arrived dead. Returning to ebay.

EDIT 2: Have you looked at this? http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i7-3 ... e-i7-3520M
Pity about the motherboard but at least you can send it back, I also hit a bump with the 420s palmrest either post lost it or seller didn't ship (no tracking number was provided so hard to tell) I think I might bite the bullet and buy it locally even though the price is almost double and paying $80 for a palmrest makes me cringe.

Second t430s arrived and already swapped out the FHD board and screen (looks gorgeous btw), you were right, fitting back the bottom part of the bezel is tricky but I noticed that if you start from right to left it clicks back into place without much effort, at least that how it worked for me, how do you like your new screen? it should be quite an improvement over the original panel.

I did look at the comparison in cpuboss before and I will agree it doesn't make much sense, take a look at this: https://forum.51nb.com/forum.php?mod=vi ... id=1602437 it's from a x230 but if you look at the passmark picture the 3612qe pulverizes the 3520m which makes much more sense.

There are plenty of companies stateside that do this sort of work, the problem is that their services are pretty pricey, The company I work with offered to do it for free but their prices in general are about 1/4 of what I would expect to pay in Europe or US, the hard part is finding the cpu, you can only find it for crazy prices or scavenge it from a specialized board, if you do find a source for the 3612qe let me know, and if you do get the cpu but you can't find someone to do it for a reasonable amount in the US I'll be glad to help, even with the shipping it will probably be still under 1/3 of the cost.

Are you going to exchange the i7 board or just get a refund? if you get a refund you might wanna look at getting a whole t430s this time, they often go for under $150 usually without hdd and caddy (my guess they are mostly ex corporate lease) you can swap out motherboards, caddy is about $5 and even if you don't have an old hdd laying around you can get a 500gb for about $20, if it's in reasonable condition you should be able to flip it for close to what you paid for, giving you a free i7 upgrade in the process, at least that's what I'm doing with the second t430s that I swapped the screen and the FHD board from.

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#15 Post by Dro » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:29 pm

So I've searched high and low to find a t420s palmrest locally and in the end I did, I also got an i7 motherboard (mainly for the sake of the thunderbolt port), installed the t420s keyboard and flashed the ec, in addition I ordered an intel 7260 AC card http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-Thinkpad ... SwmtJXXs2R

I really hope to eventually get my hands on a wqhd board and/or a 3612qe cpu but till then at least my t430s is what lenovo should have designed in the first place, (minus the fact that it doesn't have a 16:10 screen, now that would have been a dream machine!)

If anyone is interested, here's a photo of my little beauty:) https://imgur.com/vQrZNrN

Thanks to everyone for their help! this is truly an amazing community!

dn
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#16 Post by dn » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:25 am

Nice build! Regarding other "mods", you could look at eGPU via EC or MiniPCIE - I did Mini PCIe which was fun, but I had to sacrifice my wifi card slot (and the wifi card wouldn't work in the WWAN port).

Someone mentioned a problem with removing the bezel - you need to remove two 'stickers' (horizontal rectangles) that are covered a screw on each side.

@Dro - you don't happen to have photos of your FHD board install do you? I'd like to see more detailed photos on how you routed the cable under the tray and also how it folds into the hinge!
T430s i5, 16GB, GDC Beast eGPU (sometimes) - pending FHD mod!

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#17 Post by Dro » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:24 am

dn wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:25 am
Nice build! Regarding other "mods", you could look at eGPU via EC or MiniPCIE - I did Mini PCIe which was fun, but I had to sacrifice my wifi card slot (and the wifi card wouldn't work in the WWAN port).

Someone mentioned a problem with removing the bezel - you need to remove two 'stickers' (horizontal rectangles) that are covered a screw on each side.

@Dro - you don't happen to have photos of your FHD board install do you? I'd like to see more detailed photos on how you routed the cable under the tray and also how it folds into the hinge!
I am thinking about an e-gpu but thankfully I have a thunderbolt port so no need to sacrifice the expresscard or the mini pcie, unfortunately I didn't take any pictures when I was putting it together but I'll be getting a wqhd board and screen so I'll do it then if you can wait that long, but I'm sure you should be able to find pictures from other builds

What I would really love now is to get my hands on a 3612qe and it will be almost perfect, I'm still debating if it worth $500 for the upgrade.

wojtekS
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#18 Post by wojtekS » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:37 pm

Did you finally managed to put the 3612 qe ?

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#19 Post by Dro » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:46 am

wojtekS wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:37 pm
Did you finally managed to put the 3612 qe ?
Unfortunately no, can't find it anywhere for less than $400 and at this point I'm not sure it's a sensible investment, if I ever get my hands on one for ~$150 I'll do it and post pictures/benchmarks, though I'm not sure there would be anything new as it has already been done with an X230.

wojtekS
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#20 Post by wojtekS » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:08 am

Chinese taobao.com - you can find for ~200 USD.

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#21 Post by Dro » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:05 pm

wojtekS wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:08 am
Chinese taobao.com - you can find for ~200 USD.
Thanks for trying to help, unfortunately I tried that already, it's listed but when you message the sellers they say they are out of stock and suggest other options, I've searched high and low before giving up, but if you do actually find it at that price anywhere and in stock I would love to give it a shot, not to mention use the 3520m on my x230.

Matteone
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#22 Post by Matteone » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:09 am

Did you really need the 420s palmrest?

My resaerch results was that the T420s does not fit on the T430s base. I thought I am able to put the old Thinkpad keyboard in the T430s with T430s plamrest.

Please clearify Dro.

Thank you very much!

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#23 Post by Dro » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:27 am

Matteone wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:09 am
Did you really need the 420s palmrest?

My resaerch results was that the T420s does not fit on the T430s base. I thought I am able to put the old Thinkpad keyboard in the T430s with T430s plamrest.

Please clearify Dro.

Thank you very much!
I didn't even try to fit a classic keyboard with the T430s palmrest, I swapped it immediately with the T420s palmrest and i can confirm it fits perfectly like it was made for it, I believe you can modify a classic keyboard to fit but you might end up butchering the whole thing, it's up to you I guess.

The only issue I can recall was with the touchpad ribbon cable, it doesn't align perfectly, you'll need to play a little with it but you'll figure it out, it took me maybe 30 extra seconds, it's not difficult just be aware of it.

It also might, or might not be relevant but the x230 for sure will not accept a classic keyboard without modifying the palmrest and/or the keyboard, and believe me, on that one I tried, in the end had to use a palmrest from a x220 to get a perfect fit.

Matteone
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#24 Post by Matteone » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:24 am

Thank you very much.

How about the Intel 7260 AC? Did you flash the Bios on your t430s or how did you removed the whitelist?

Dro
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Re: Advice needed on t430s

#25 Post by Dro » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:34 am

Matteone wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:24 am
Thank you very much.

How about the Intel 7260 AC? Did you flash the Bios on your t430s or how did you removed the whitelist?
Haven't yet attempted to remove the whitelist, but it's in my to do list eventually, the ebay listing for the card was unfortunately misleading.

you might want to take a look at this link: https://www.bios-mods.com/forum/Thread- ... kpad-T430s that was provided by member RealBlackStuff in one of the above answers.

If you do attempt it let me know how it went.

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