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GatsbyGlen
Token Ring
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎08-20-2014
Location: US
Views: 19,418
Message 1 of 51

W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

I'm interested in getting the W541, but with the cheapest drive and RAM. I'd like to get my own and use that. I was thinking of going with Crucial. I also thought about Corsair, but have heard potential issues with that brand. As for an SSD, perhaps the Samsung 850 Pro, or with Crucial as well. I'm also considering removing the optical drive and going with another SSD. 

 

Thoughts? Any potential issues I need to be aware of? Does Lenovo provide the OS key for me to reinstall? I would like to start with my own clean install.

 

Thanks.

Guru
Posts: 9,598
Registered: ‎12-26-2009
Location: CA
Views: 19,365
Message 2 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

None that I can see; your plan seems fine.

Do make sure your RAM is the low-voltage 1.35V modules; the newer chipsets won't take the more abundant 1.5V modules. Corsair has indeed been problematic in the past, though this may have changed by now.

If you're planning on using the exact same version and architecture of Windows as was shipped, it (being Windows 8 and later) should be able to pick up the hard-coded key in the BIOS automatically.

Do run through a checklist of what's working and what's not before making any hardware or software changes to the machine though; it helps establish a baseline for diagnostics.

W520: 2960XM, Q2000M @ 1091/1380, 32GB RAM, 500GB&750GB HDD & 500GB SSD, FHD&MB168B+
X61T: L7500, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, XGA screen, Ultrabase
W550s: 5600U, K620M at 1164/1281, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3K touchscreen
X200s: SL9400, 6GB RAM, 64GB SD card, WXGA+ screen
TPT1: 1839-23U
GatsbyGlen
Token Ring
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎08-20-2014
Location: US
Views: 19,360
Message 3 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

Thanks for the feedback. I do plan on using Win 8.1 Pro x64, so that is what I will order. I am assuming all 4 memory slots are available to change? Just want to make sure one isn't integrated into the motherboard or something. I plan to buy 4 x 8GB chips.

 

Thanks!

Highlighted
Guru
Posts: 9,598
Registered: ‎12-26-2009
Location: CA
Views: 19,355
Message 4 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles_pdf/t540p_w540_w541_hmm_en_sp40a26003_02.pdf

Seems to be the same chassis as the W540, which had no soldered RAM. You'll probably also need the quad-core CPU to get all 4 DIMM slots to work.

W520: 2960XM, Q2000M @ 1091/1380, 32GB RAM, 500GB&750GB HDD & 500GB SSD, FHD&MB168B+
X61T: L7500, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, XGA screen, Ultrabase
W550s: 5600U, K620M at 1164/1281, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3K touchscreen
X200s: SL9400, 6GB RAM, 64GB SD card, WXGA+ screen
TPT1: 1839-23U
GatsbyGlen
Token Ring
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎08-20-2014
Location: US
Views: 19,345
Message 5 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

Guru
Posts: 9,598
Registered: ‎12-26-2009
Location: CA
Views: 19,342
Message 6 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

I see a two dollar difference between the two, so might as well grab the higher clocked one anyway.

W520: 2960XM, Q2000M @ 1091/1380, 32GB RAM, 500GB&750GB HDD & 500GB SSD, FHD&MB168B+
X61T: L7500, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, XGA screen, Ultrabase
W550s: 5600U, K620M at 1164/1281, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3K touchscreen
X200s: SL9400, 6GB RAM, 64GB SD card, WXGA+ screen
TPT1: 1839-23U
Shawn3090
802.11n
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎10-26-2010
Location: US
Views: 19,338
Message 7 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

I did exactly what you have described on my W540 when I bought it. I used that same PC3-12800 kit and an Samsung 840 EVO, and it was a very simple install. Removing one panel from the bottom gives access to the SATA and RAM slots. Just unscrew the HDD caddy from the existing HDD and screw it onto your new SSD. Then you can slide it in and it is good to go.

As to installing the OS, you need the ISO of the exact version of Windows you purchased the machine with (ex: Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8.1). The key is stored in the motherboard, and it will be automatically detected for the installation.

W540: i7-4700mq, K2100m, 16 GB RAM, 500 GB Samsung 840 EVO
T510: i7-620m, NVS 3100m, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB Samsung 840 EVO
GatsbyGlen
Token Ring
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎08-20-2014
Location: US
Views: 19,271
Message 8 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

Odd - the higher clocked RAM is $5 cheaper than the PC3 12800 on Newegg Smiley Happy

Guru
Posts: 9,598
Registered: ‎12-26-2009
Location: CA
Views: 19,244
Message 9 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

Arbitrage opportunities are short lived. Smiley Happy

(Unless it's lower priced for a reason.)

W520: 2960XM, Q2000M @ 1091/1380, 32GB RAM, 500GB&750GB HDD & 500GB SSD, FHD&MB168B+
X61T: L7500, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, XGA screen, Ultrabase
W550s: 5600U, K620M at 1164/1281, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 3K touchscreen
X200s: SL9400, 6GB RAM, 64GB SD card, WXGA+ screen
TPT1: 1839-23U
GatsbyGlen
Token Ring
Posts: 153
Registered: ‎08-20-2014
Location: US
Views: 19,241
Message 10 of 51

Re: W541 - Replace SSD and RAM

I think I will go with the PC3 12800. There is a comment on Newegg about the higher clocked RAM not working with the W540, and the person had to replace with the 12800. See below from http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA24G28M5356

 

Not Compatible with ThinkPad W540

 

This review is from: Crucial Ballistix Sport SODIMM 16GB (2 x 8G) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Laptop Memory Model BLS2K8G3N18AES4


Pros: Nice, reusable packaging.

 

Cons: Didn't work in a ThinkPad W540 despite the fact that Crucial.com indicates "Guaranteed-compatible with the Lenovo ThinkPad W540 (Quad Core)"

 

Other Thoughts: I experienced POST failures and memory errors using Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3L-1866 CL10 (PC3-14900) in a ThinkPad W540 with the latest BIOS v2.09. I exchanged the SODIMMS for Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3L-1600 CL9 (PC3-12800) and these pass repeated, extended memory tests in Lenovo diag's and pass Win-8 mem' test. While the Crucial.com memory finder did "guarantee" compatibility of DDR3L-1866 memory for W540 my experience has shown that it is not compatible. Big thanks to NewEgg for an easy return process.

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