01-25-2011 08:46 PM - edited 01-28-2011 05:28 PM
I've had my Thinkpad laptop now for around 8 years, since I was a first year at secondary school and got it with a grant, now that I'm at uni I've taken it out again to use as my main machine; however, even though I try to keep its' software quite memory light, it still sometimes: pauses, freezes, slow down after doing many things and I would never think of running two proactive tasks at once. I even think that the reason I now need to update my anti-virus manually is because the 256MB of RAM can't handle Avera's large updates during the other startup procedures.
I know that basic hardware facts mean that I'll never be able to play games or do 3D work on the machine, however I'm fond of it and so I have been meaning to update the Ram at least for quite some time now. From reading old forum post I know that the specs are deceiving and my 'A31 2562-P3G' can handle 2x1GB modules. However I need to need to know whether it can safely use pc3200/DDR400 Corsair value select RAM.
Specifically I need to know
*If that speed is okay for this system
*If the modules will actually run at that speed?
*If I can slow down the modules, until I get a good laptop cooler? (As I know heat reduces lifespan and this machine has already probable been cooked a few times on soft surfaces.)
*I've read here about upgrading fans and USBs? Finally, CPUZ says, that I'm running bios '1.03' and I don't know whether I should update it because: I know flashing can be risky; I never have before and I don't have a floppy drive. Does anyone know whether subsequent updates concern the memory controller, RAM size or system stability?
Sorry for such a long first post and thanks in advance to anyone taking the time to read this.
01-26-2011 07:12 PM
Welcome to the forum!
I've never used PC3200 but PC2100 or 2700 will work in any A31/p, and 2GB is the max. No BIOS update needed. Stay away from "value RAM" offerings, ThinkPads are quite often allergic to those. Whatever you install, the machine will always run at PC2100 (DDR 266) speed.
Your current CPU is 1.9 and although you can upgrade up to 2.6 I'd suggest getting a newer/faster hard drive and maxing out the RAM instead. 1.9 and 2.0 are pretty much the sweet spot on these machines, without producing excessive heat. Laptop coolers - especially on a closed-up design like A3x - are a waste of money. Clean and/or replace the fan, apply fresh thermal paste and call it a day.
BTW, you can get a Floppy for these machines on eBay for a couple of quid, if you ever choose to upgrade the BIOS and EC.
01-28-2011 05:25 PM - edited 01-28-2011 05:26 PM
Thanks for confirming the running speed for RAM and suggesting a hard drive upgrade. I wouldn't normally choose value RAM for a machine, but because DDR1 is considered legacy now and the prices have gone up so much compared to the modern types I have more or less resigned myself to getting second hand sticks and testing them a lot myself, as this worked fine for my family desktop.
I was hopping that as the DDR400 was rated for a much higher speed, meaning it should be higher quality and more stable, it would balance out a bit against it being value RAM. I'll be more cautious now, but if I can get it for around £10 then I might still risk it.
Even though the laptop shouldn't need much virtual memory if I get 2GBs of physical memory, the idea of upgrade still seems good for faster data access and a larger drive should have more outer cylinders. You wouldn't know off you head the connection type and speeds of drive that can be fitted would you?
01-28-2011 07:22 PM - edited 01-28-2011 10:45 PM
Well, here's the thing with the hard drives and A3x series...
Do bear in mind, first and foremost, that we're talking about a design dating back to 2002. What you need is a PATA/IDE 2.5" laptop drive. No one makes these in 7200rpm guise any more, if you can find a sealed NOS drive you are likely to pay a hefty premium...
With that said, newer 5400rpm drives are almost as fast - and in certain respects faster - when compared with the old 7200rpm drives. You will be limited by transfer speeds of the machine itself, though.
If I were to have one hard drive in an A3x unit at this day and age, it would probably be Samsung 160GB. If more space is needed, WD 250 (my preference) or 320GB are your friends.
The A31p in my signature holds a 80GB/7200 Seagate as a boot drive, and 250GB/5400 WD as a "storage facility"...
02-04-2011 01:00 PM
Hello George, please forgive this slightly off topic question. I have a T43/p 2668-L3U think pad. I really like it, but it has only a 50GB drive. I am considering replacing that drive with a much larger drive, but have read about the 1802 and 2010 error messages when people have installed the Samsung 160 GB drive in it. I was wondering what your recommendation for my T43 would be for increasing the drive size.
p.s., I have Windows 7 Ultimate as the O/S.
02-07-2011 12:52 AM
I have an A31P, and never had success in getting a WD320GB drive to get recognized in the BIOS. I took it out and put it in a Dell Latitude D520 and it worked fine. No problem with a smaller 250GB version. These were great machines, and while certainly not for running anything intensive or Vista/Win7, for XP and general use they excel. And they are built very well. Proof is in the fact they are still out here "in the wild" almost a decade later with daily use. Mine is in very good shape, no cracked plastics or loose hinges. From back in the day when it was IBM at their finest.