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X230 new RAM compatibility issue

X230 through X280, plus X390 series specific matters only
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X230 new RAM compatibility issue

#1 Post by OlegAryutkin » Fri May 10, 2019 10:03 am

Hi everybody ,I've been reading the forum for a while, and just decided to register, hoping to get some help from the dedicated community.

So I got me an X230, it's a wonderful machine. Mine has an i5 processor,
and came with 2 sticks of 1600MHz RAM, 4 GB each (total 8GB), both sticks 1.5V only I think, both by SK Hynix.

I decided to upgrade the RAM and got myself a single stick of 8GB ram by HyperX (kingston)
and it's rated at 2133MHZ CL11. the RAM stick datasheet clearly specifies it also supports 1600MHz operation with CL9 timing.
it also supports both 1.35V and 1.5V operation.

now the fun part:
the machine won't turn on with just the new RAM installed. the screen turns on for half a second to display the ThinkPad logo, and the machine goes dark.
No beeps.

The machine, however, boots fine with this config:
1 old RAM stick (166MHz 4Gb) - runs at 1.5V
1 new RAM stick (2133MHz 8GB HyperX kingston) - runs at 1.35V

both sticks run, of course, with 1600MHz.

this seems really weird to me, as the new RAM supports "slow" modes - PC1600 @1.5V according to it's spec
the new RAM is also working, I've got windows booted right now with CPU-Z showing 12GB of RAM present (new * + old 4)

my goal is to get another 8GB stick eventually and run 16GBs, hopefully at 2133MHz.
But I'm suspecting if I swap the remaining old 4GB stick for a new 8GB, the machine won't work.

Is there a BIOS update or something like that for this issue?

does anyone have experience running HyperX RAM with the X230?

does anyone have experience running 2133MHz modules with the X230?

link to the RAM stick datasheet:

ThinkPad lover: T42, Edge 50, X230, T460p

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Re: X230 new RAM compatibility issue

#2 Post by w0qj » Fri May 10, 2019 12:41 pm

We have X230 with 8 GB RAM, running under Win10 64-bit.

The PSREF (Product Specifications) link as below.
Inside the PDF, it did state that some X230 models the maximum is 16 GB RAM, but with a footnote #7 as caveat.
I could find what that footnote #7 is all about (I did look at each and every page).

Anyways, here it is as below.
Good luck!

http://psref.lenovo.com/syspool/Sys/PDF ... d_X230.pdf
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
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Re: X230 new RAM compatibility issue

#3 Post by Tasurinchi » Mon May 13, 2019 4:32 am

I have few X230's in different configs (mostly i5 or i7) and they all work fine with 16GB. But I in all of them I use DDR3-1600 RAM, (I normally stick to the original specs).

I have used mostly Corsair Vengeance or Kingston Hyper-X RAM modules. But never 2133MHz ones, and I personally avoid mixing 1.35v & 1.5v.

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