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Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

P1/P40/P50/P70 Series
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IBMfan700
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Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

#1 Post by IBMfan700 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:45 am

Does anyone know if it's possible to install a graphics card in the P71, that's better than the P5000?
For example, the RTX5000 card in laptops such as the Dell Precision and HP ZBook use the same MXM graphics card slot as the P71 has.

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Re: Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:48 am

P53 and P73 can use RTX 5000, P71 is probably too old already.
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Re: Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

#3 Post by axur-delmeria » Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:29 pm

I doubt it. The Thinkpad line has a history of BIOS shenanigans that have made it impossible to upgrade MXM GPUs.
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Re: Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

#4 Post by Brad » Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:08 pm

The P53/P73 has the GPU integrated to the board so it may be more difficult to replace.

P73 Xeon E2276 RTX5000
https://download.lenovo.com/Images/Part ... 2163_A.jpg

P71 Xeon E1535 no GPU [fits in vertical slot on far right)
https://download.lenovo.com/Images/Part ... V390_A.jpg

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edit: added picture links for P71 and P73
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Re: Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

#5 Post by Screamer » Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:13 am

IBMfan700 wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:45 am
the RTX5000 card in laptops such as the Dell Precision and HP ZBook use the same MXM graphics card slot as the P71 has.
The Precision machines don't. The Precision 7540 and 7740 utilize a proprietary daughtercard that does not fit in MXM slots of any kind (Dell Graphics Form Factor or DGFF for short), this also applies to the newer Precision 7550 and 7750.

The ZBook 17 G6 is the only one out of the two that you've listed which has an MXM slot, and that does not guarantee compatibility. From what I've seen, the P70 had employed a VBIOS whitelist which checks the MXM card's VBIOS for any sort of 'Lenovo branding/certification'. That will get in the way, and I'm fairly sure that it still exists on the P71.

Then, you have another issue which is the MXM card itself. The screw mounts' positions may be different (rarely, but it's possible for a pseudo-standard), and the height of the card is another potential issue. Components such as the inductors on the card may be too tall, and it might collide with the heatsink. Honestly, why bother?

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Re: Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

#6 Post by IBMfan700 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:50 am

So, I guess the other option would be using the Thunderbolt 3 port, to use an external graphics card.
Would that mean you would have to use an external display, instead of the display that the P71 has?

Does anyone know the maximum amount of RAM a P71 can hold- is it 64GB, or 128GB? Some sources on the net say that it is 128GB.

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Re: Thinkpad P71- MXM graphics card upgrade?

#7 Post by Screamer » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:59 pm

Yes, as there are no video signals going back to the P71's display panel.

I believe the maximum is 64 GB. I've never seen a Kaby Lake or a Skylake-based system with four 2Rx8 32 GB RAM modules, but I did see some of them with 2Rx4 32 GB RAM modules. Those won't work in a non-server Kaby Lake/Skylake system though, as they lack support for registered ECC RAM modules and 4-bit wide RAM chips.

However, I did see a post which experimented with Samsung M471A4G43MB1-CTD 2Rx8 32 GB RAM modules. The results are as what I'd expect, it's either a UEFI misconfiguration or the Top of Memory register was set to allow only 64 GB of RAM to be used.

Seems like a motherboard with a Pentium G4400 and a 82Z170 platform controller is capable of using 128 GB of RAM, surprisingly. Although, the UEFI image was modified as the factory UEFI image couldn't support 128 GB of RAM. Now, I suppose you have your answer; yes, but it's complicated. Are you willing to perform modifications to the UEFI image, and do you have an SPI programmer of any kind? If you don't, I don't think you can proceed with the modification.

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