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W541 GPU Upgrade

W530/W540/W550 series specific matters only
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thealphaoverseer
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

W541 GPU Upgrade

#1 Post by thealphaoverseer » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:34 pm

Hi everyone,
I recently saw an interesting thread on Lenovo's forums where someone claimed to be upgrading their GPU to a K4100M. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear what happened, because someone kindly informed him that the GPU is soldered. He sounded thoroughly disappointed. So, is it extremely difficult, or outright impossible?

Screamer
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Re: W541 GPU Upgrade

#2 Post by Screamer » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:45 am

Likely impossible, as most GPU substrates are known to use wildly differing electrical pin-out layouts.

The second issue would be the BIOS, as it has to be capable of detecting the GPU via its own specialized VBIOS (which is normally a part of the BIOS).

ThinkPadMiami
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Re: W541 GPU Upgrade

#3 Post by ThinkPadMiami » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:24 pm

ThinkPads are cool!
Last edited by ThinkPadMiami on Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Screamer
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Re: W541 GPU Upgrade

#4 Post by Screamer » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:44 am

There is, but it is not elegant or convenient in any shape or form.

One such example is the widely available ExpressCard/34-to-PCI-E adapter, which are very cumbersome and may require the use of a power supply unit to provide the external GPU with sufficient power. While it is true that they do give a decent step-up in performance, they are still limited to one PCIe lane due to the ExpressCard slot's limitations. This would mean a significant bottleneck, as most GPUs would generally need sixteen PCIe lanes (whether if they do make use of the entire bandwidth given is another question).

axur-delmeria
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Re: W541 GPU Upgrade

#5 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:45 am

Screamer wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:44 am
One such example is the widely available ExpressCard/34-to-PCI-E adapter, which are very cumbersome and may require the use of a power supply unit to provide the external GPU with sufficient power. While it is true that they do give a decent step-up in performance, they are still limited to one PCIe lane due to the ExpressCard slot's limitations. This would mean a significant bottleneck, as most GPUs would generally need sixteen PCIe lanes (whether if they do make use of the entire bandwidth given is another question).
Based from all the eGPU threads I've read (was considering one for my X220 at one point), I've learned two things:

- an external power source is required. The popular EXP GDC Beast has inputs for a +12V barrel connector, a Dell DA-2 external PSU for the Optiplex 745, 755, and 760 USFF , and a standard ATX power supply.

- midrange GPUs like the GTX 1060 are the maximum recommended, as the limited bandwidth of the Expresscard severely bottlenecks more powerful cards.
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:

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