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Mods, etc

T400/T410/T420 and T500/T510/T520 Series
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Mods, etc

#1 Post by GeneL » Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:05 pm

I have a T420, the original Win7 pro, newly installed, and I would like to get the bottom row of 2 buttons below the touchpad working. I havesearched for those buttons to activate them, but no luck.

2nd, any worthwhile mods for these? From what I've read, perhaps a Nvidea graphics card, higher resolution display, and a I 7 CPU.

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Re: Mods, etc

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:58 pm

Best performance will come from running your OS and programs off an SSD then maxxing the RAM to 16GB. CPU upgrades are debatable as to whether they're really worth it and the highest end CPUs produce a lot of heat which induces throttling, and then it's not very fast anymore.

My favorite mod for T420 (and T420s, T430, T430s) is the IPS mod, using either a FHD or QHD adapter board and a compatible screen. It's pricey but effectively modernizes the machine, increases productivity and helps reduce eye strain.
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2 finger scroll on old Synaptics touchpads.

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Re: Mods, etc

#3 Post by GeneL » Sat Aug 07, 2021 12:20 pm


Could you point me to a source for more information about that mod?


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Mods, etc

#4 Post by WarMachine » Sat Aug 07, 2021 12:44 pm


For the display mod, there's a sticky topic above this one, here :

About what you said concerning the buttons, they can ben enabled/disabled in the BIOS, but with the touchpad. If you want to enable them without the touchpad, it's not possible. I think it would need a BIOS mod, but that's a domain on which I have no knowledge.
For the upgrades, the nec plus ultra is the SSD. It doesn't increase performance, but it gives more reactivity to the laptop and it's very nice for day to day use. On mine, I have an mSATA SSD, coupled with a 7 mm 500 GB hard drive. To have 8 GB of RAM or more is also interesting. It depends of the usage. If it's for office/surfing and multimedia, 8 GB is sufficient. If you want to do a lot of mutitasking, if you want to work on videos, 16 GB will be better. i7 can bring more performance too, again, it will depend on what you do.
Be careful with quad-cores : their TDP is more important than the one of dual-core processors. Forty-five watts (quad-cores), compared to thirty-five (dual-cores). It mean that there is more heat, so you must have the best cooling system (there are various versions). And if the heat can't be properly dissipated, then you'll face a decrease of the CPU frequency (so the CPU isn't as quick as it should be and performances are reduced.
And sometimes, the frequency decreases, increases, decreases and increases, and so on… rapidly and it's very difficult to use a PC in these conditions. It's called throttling (and it can ben very noisy too).
If you go quad-core, I advise you to install the good cooling system and, as I said in another topic of yours, to use liquid metal to apply on the cooling system and the CPU (expensive, but very efficient, but also dangerous, you'll have to be very careful when doing the assembly).


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Re: Mods, etc

#5 Post by GeneL » Sat Aug 07, 2021 1:00 pm

thx for the info. I'm not going to upgrade the cpu, but I might be interested in the display mod.

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Re: Mods, etc

#6 Post by Saucey » Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:35 pm

Utilize the ExpressCard slot!
There are a few with either 1 or 2 USB 3.0 ports.
I haven't seen any with USB-C type ports tho...
Also there is the ThinkMods m.2 2242 NVMe adapter, but you'll be stuck with SATA 3 speeds due to limitations.
For the UltraBay you can get the HDD Caddy, or get a 2nd battery, tho they don't last as long as the regular battery due to cell type & i think it gets drained first when in use.

One nitpick i had was the TrackPad buttons.
I can't find the image, but once I was able to swap those buttons from a T430 style keyboard.
Since T430 style is thinner, I had to place a small folded piece of paper underneath it.

Otherwise the FHD upgrade is probably the best thing to happen, other than the issues the original run had.
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Old Favorites: A31p, T43p, T430s

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Re: Mods, etc

#7 Post by flapjackfiasco » Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:41 pm

I know this is like a year and half old, but I wanted to clarify that the T420 cannot use the UltraBay battery. The T420s can, but not the T420. :(

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