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Upgrading thinkpad w510

2017-10-30, 4:23 AM

My w510 has a TOSHIBA MK3261GSYN 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive, Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU Q 720 @ 1.60GHz, and 7904 mb ram most of it unused. I am using puppy linux for my operating system and I have tried lubuntu as well, both are very fast but when I browse youtube videos my computer slows down greatly. I want to upgrade the hardware to try to solve this. I found the Kingston 2.5" 120gb SATA III SSD and I want to install it to replace my hdd. Will this be enough to help my computer speed? I don't know what CPU I should upgrade it with or whats compatible with my computer but I will appreciate any reccomendations. I have never touched my computers hardware before, and the installation videos I've seen for upgrades of it on youtube just show removing the screws and parts, then installing the part, but I've also read that you need firmware and BIOS updates. Would I need to update my firmware before I install any of these parts? I will appreciate any advice.


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Re: Upgrading thinkpad w510

2017-10-30, 7:39 AM


The 120GB Kingston 2.5" SSD should provide a nice performance boost to your ThinkPad W510. 


Theare are two compatible CPUs which the ThinkPad W510 can be upgraded to:


•  Intel Core i7-820QM

•  Intel Core i7-920XM


I would guess that you would see a small (up to 10%) performance boost in some operations from upgrading to the 920XM, at the tradeoff of generating more waste heat and a slightly shorter battery life.


The Lenovo ThinkPad W510 Hardware Maintenance Manual does explain how to disassemble and reassemble the unit, so you could carefully follow the instructions to disassemble the unit, install a new CPU and reassemble the unit.  You would also need to thoroughly clean both the new CPU and the heatsink and apply new thermal paste to them, and it would be a good idea to clean out the insides of the unit while you have it open (blow out dust with can of compressed air and a small paintbrush, cotton swaps with isopropyl alcohol to get into corners, etc.).


Your system can take up to 32GB of RAM in the forum of four 8GB PC3-10600 DDR3L SO-DIMM memory modules. Such an upgrade might offer more of a performance improvement than a CPU upgrade, depending upon where the bottleneck is in performance.  Even install 16GB (four 4GB memory modules) would offer an improvement to memory-constrained activities. 


I would recommend just starting with a HDD to SSD upgrade, since that is the simplest upgrade, and see what difference in performance that makes.


Replacing the HDD with an SSD is a relatively straightforward upgrade, requiring one screw to be removed from the bottom of the unit to open up the door on the bottom of the unit, and one screw to remove the drive tray from inside the ThinkPad W510.  The drive tray has four screws, which are removed, and then you can take the HDD out of it.  Then you reverse the process to install the SSD into the drive tray, and put the drive tray back into the computer.  The hardware maintenance manual explains how to do this.


It is always a good idea to update a computer's BIOS firmware (on newer models, it is called UEFI firmware) to the latest version.  The latest BIOS firmware for the ThinkPad W510 is Version 1.45 and it can be found on Lenovo's End of Life Device page.  Here are some direct links:


ThinkPad W510 BIOS Update v1.45 Bootable CD (ISO)
ThinkPad W510 BIOS Update v1.45 Read Me (TXT)


I would suggest putting the old 320GB Toshiba SATA HDD inside an external USB enclosure so that you can use it as a storage device for backups, etc.




Aryeh Goretsky


I am a volunteer and neither a Lenovo nor a Microsoft employee.

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Re: Upgrading thinkpad w510

2017-12-16, 13:02 PM
I have a W510 and it works fine for Youtube and general daily computer work. I wouldn' desrive it as a power-user workstation anymore (since it's 7 years old), but the keyboard is great, the display (at 1600x900) is bright and readable and the system is very stable. I have done the following and recommend all of these: 1. Upgrade the OS disk to SSD. I'm using a Samsung. I also got an Ultrabay HDD caddy and have an HDD mounted there in place of the DVD player. 2. Upgrade to 16 Gb with 4 Gb SIMMS. This is more than enough memory for my needs. In fat, even my 2016 system only has 16Gb. I have the I7-720 CPU. This is rarely under any kind of real load, and I wouldn't see any likely performance gain from a minor upgrade. I I was gaming or doing CAD on the W510, han I'd have replaced i long ago. Bu programming and browsing on i is a pleasure and I expect o use i unttil he hardware dies.
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