08-28-2016 07:04 AM
So it looks like I got a lemon of a T450s. Since day 1 it has been nothing but trouble. Operating systems don't easily install (crash at different points during the install), all applications and system utilities keep on crashing, it reboots randomly etc. There is much whaling and gnashing of teeth.
To me it seems like a bad memory issue, but memtest shows up nothing after running for 48 hours, and all the Lenovo diagnostic tests run successfully. I've changed the hard drive twice, and removed the additional 4GB RAM that is not soldered to the board. I am guessing the issue is with th RAM that is soldered to the board.
The unit was bought in the US, where I am not, and apparently I don't have IWS, even though I bought the extended 3 year warranty.
As a next step, I am going to replace the system board myself. The model is 20BX-CTO1WW and from what I gather the system board I need is part# 00HT736.
Finally to my question: I was wondering if someone could tell me if I have any other system board options for this model type, as I may be interested in upgrading the CPU while I am at it.
Solved! Go to Solution.
08-28-2016 07:25 AM
If memory tests run and don't find errors, it is unlikely to be a memory problem. Have you looked in the event log for errors. Do you have the latest BIOS? Install TPFancontrol and watch the CPU temperatures. How high at idle? Run something like prime95 and watch again? If it is a heat problem, that will find it.
08-28-2016 07:51 PM
Yes, I've run various flavors of Ubuntu Linux and been watching the logs. There is nothing very consistent to report. They show segfaults from crashing applications and system utilities, occasional disk read / write errors (which prompted me to switch out storage devices), the usual Intel graphics garbage (which shows on all Thinkpads of this generation), wifi and sound related errors etc. For reference, I've tried both M2 and SATA SSDs, as well as the HDD that came with the machine.
I have been updating the BIOS in the hopes that it would resolve things, but it hasn't made a difference. It is running BIOS 1.24 currently.
I have run heat tests with cpuburn and lm-sensors, and just did it again to verify. Running 4 instances of burnK7 (one for each CPU thread) in an un-airconditioned room (ambient temp around 28C), none of the CPU cores breach 90C. It also didn't cause anything to crash when running at high temps. The fans came on as expected and seem to do their job well. I have cleaned the CPU fan / fins a couple of times to make sure it is clear - not much dust. At idle the temps hover around mid to high 40s, which is 20C lower than my X250 with a docking station in the same environment (the docking station seems to cook these machines - the T450s has no docking station). The X250 runs flawlessly despite the heat.
The fan tests run during the Lenovo diagnostics tests (F10 at boot) also worked perfectly.
I don't believe this is a heat or disk related problem.
To give you an idea of crash frequency, just this morning in 3 hours of work, Firefox crashed 3 times, LibreOffice crashed twice and XFCE panel (part of the XFCE desktop) has crashed once along with one other XFCE desktop related application (maybe the thumbnailer, can't remember now). The machine is basically unusable.
08-28-2016 08:02 PM
08-30-2016 12:09 AM
Gentle bump - I would like to verify which system boards are compatible with my T450s type 20BX so I can replace it myself.
I've done a parts lookup and see that the one "as built" is part # 00HT736, but if I select "Generic parts" I can see a lot of other system boards too (see attached image). Are they all compatible? If I am replacing the system board anyway, I may as well upgrade the CPU, but I don't want to get the wrong one...
Any risks of choosing a system board with a higher cpec CPU?
10-01-2016 03:52 PM
For any other poor souls with similar issues, I'll post the outcome of my saga here.
Because I didn't get any feedback here with regard to system parts, and because Lenovo refused to help me directly despite having paid extra for a 3 year warranty, I went ahead and bought a 00HT736 system board on ebay, which was the "as built" part in the machine originally. I paid $159 for the part (used).
I followed the hardware maintenance manual (which is excellent!). Exchanging the board (carefully!) took me about an hour and a half. When I removed the heatsink assembly I noticed that there was no heat paste applied a portion of the CPU (I think this the integrated GPU portion). I don't know if this is intended or not:
After reassembly, I reinstalled the OS (Linux in my case) as I was concerned the OS had become corrupted with all the crashing going on previously.
Outcome: A perfectly stable, problem free system. It has been running for the past week with not a single application or OS-related crash. Bliss!
I suppose we will never know what was really wrong with the original system board, but I would put my money on bad RAM (despite memtest showing it to be good). It sucks that RAM has to be soldered to the system board these days so it can't just be swapped out!