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256 Posts

07-16-2008

Evergreen, CO

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DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-05-01, 19:54 PM

My P50 arrives tomorrow morning which isn't a day too soon...my T61 is on life support.

 

Assuming the cost is reasonable (haven't checked pending running the idea here first), my plan is to:

1. Install a new fan (currently making bad noise in the upper left corner which is the fan location.

2. See if I can install any quicker chips. Per curcial's scan, 4GB is installed and was the maximum memory for this machine.

3. Replace the drive with an SSD SATA II/Middleton custom BIOS for the T61 that enables SATA II at full speed (this could be dicy given having to match up the models of the two BIOS' + if you fail, you really fail and could ruin the machine. In my case that's not a problem given its current state)

 

I' m for certain the drive is killing the machine's performance. However, If there's another problem(s) of consequence (processor, motherboard part(s), who knows) then the $'s and time spent doing 1,2,3 would be down the drain. Any software that tests hardware that I've run into doesn't grade the hardware's relative performance to new of the same but either gives an ok/no okay or relative performance that makes no practical sense.

 

If the $'s for the above are ~ less than $300, then to have a spare, just in case, machine might be worth the risk.

 

Any opinions from people who have done this sort of thing?

 

Mark

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4489 Posts

07-24-2013

Switzerland

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Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-05-05, 21:29 PM

In case of doubt about the RAM I would let run a memtest during the night, let at least go thru 5 passes...

 


wrote:

You cleverly didn't say anything about the trickest part of my plan--using the 3rd party BIOS patch that would enable the full speed of a SATA II SSD ;-)


Sorry about that. Your understanding is correct, current BIOS is limited to SATA I speeds only, so if you plan to use an SSD then the Middleton BIOS is a must IMHO. That would fully use the SSD capabilities. 

 

I have several T61's as well as other machines from the same generation using the modded BIOS and it works like a charm. My personal recommendation is to burn the BIOS using an external CD and have a battery fully charged. Please read the instructions provided with the BIOS carefully.

 

Good luck with the upgrade and keep us posted how it worked. :smileywink:

 

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4489 Posts

07-24-2013

Switzerland

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  • Message 2 of 12

Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-05-04, 20:57 PM

Replacing the fan shouldn't cost much. As for upgrades, the best you can do is upgrade RAM and swap the HDD with an SSD, so your idea is good. :smileyhappy:

 

Keep in mind your T61 max RAM is 8GB and not 4GB, however, you need DDR2 RAM and prices for 8GB won't be cheap, unless you're very lucky and find some good deal.

 

Good luck with the upgrade!

 

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256 Posts

07-16-2008

Evergreen, CO

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  • Message 3 of 12

Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-05-05, 13:32 PM

If current RAM passes a RAM test then is RAM either good/bad and a pass=good, or are there various stages of degradation that a test would not pickup. The machine should only need 4GB given its intended status/use as a backup so if what I have is good then I'd just as soon let well enough alone.

 

You cleverly didn't say anything about the trickest part of my plan--using the 3rd party BIOS patch that would enable the full speed of a SATA II SSD ;-)? From what I've read on overclocking forums I think the T61 BIOS left alone will only support a SATA I. More importantly, whether it was a I or II the BIOS for some reason (maybe it was the state of SSD's at the time) will really cripple the potential speed of the drive?

 

Mark

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4489 Posts

07-24-2013

Switzerland

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  • Message 4 of 12

Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-05-05, 21:29 PM

In case of doubt about the RAM I would let run a memtest during the night, let at least go thru 5 passes...

 


wrote:

You cleverly didn't say anything about the trickest part of my plan--using the 3rd party BIOS patch that would enable the full speed of a SATA II SSD ;-)


Sorry about that. Your understanding is correct, current BIOS is limited to SATA I speeds only, so if you plan to use an SSD then the Middleton BIOS is a must IMHO. That would fully use the SSD capabilities. 

 

I have several T61's as well as other machines from the same generation using the modded BIOS and it works like a charm. My personal recommendation is to burn the BIOS using an external CD and have a battery fully charged. Please read the instructions provided with the BIOS carefully.

 

Good luck with the upgrade and keep us posted how it worked. :smileywink:

 

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256 Posts

07-16-2008

Evergreen, CO

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Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-05-06, 1:58 AM

Can't find where you can indicate you solved the question or give you a thumbs up?

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4489 Posts

07-24-2013

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Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-05-08, 12:01 PM

You can click on "Accept as Solution" under my signature (and the Kudos button for a thumbs up) :smileywink: 

 

I'm glad it worked fine for you, a T61 with a SSD is still a very capable machine for office and browsing tasks  :-)

 

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2253 Posts

01-02-2011

United States of America

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  • Message 7 of 12

Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2016-06-02, 15:39 PM

The middleton bios is very easy and straightforward to use, If you have a 32bit windows version installed, you can flash the bios from windows, otherwise the cdrom boot disc is an easy option, but be certain your disc burn is clean with no errors (double check the burn),  Of course if the flash fails, your motherboard could be toast, but if done carefully there is little risk. There is only one bios for the T61, but middleton has offered it two ways, with and without "Fn-Ctrl" swap, If you're not sure what that is, then you don't want it. 

ThinkPad W-510 i7-820QM(1.73-3.06GHz) Quad Core... ThinkPad T500, T9900, 8gb SSD...FrankNpad T-60p/61p (X9000 2.8ghz) 8gb SSD ips FlexView...ThinkPad T-61p (T9300 2.5ghz) 8gb ram...Thinkpad X-61 Tablet 8gb ram.
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256 Posts

07-16-2008

Evergreen, CO

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  • Message 8 of 12

Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2017-04-11, 15:12 PM

I'm just now getting around to doing what we discussed in this thread.

 

Regarding the memory--

 

1. I visited http://www.memtest86.com, (not knowing much about memory other than mine which is definitely degrading), I don't know which of the various memtest versions I need?

 

2. Also, I can't find the reply at the moment but I'm certain that a Lenovo person had said either here or another board that the T61's max mem is absolutely 4GB not 8GB?

 

3. Lastly, if the memory onboard passes the overnight memtest I'm not sure it's even worth the time/money to upgrade since my understanding is the fastest compatible would be 4GB running @ 667 MHz which would seemingly only add only minimal additional performance?

 

Mark

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4489 Posts

07-24-2013

Switzerland

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  • Message 9 of 12

Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2017-04-11, 15:49 PM

wrote:

 

1. I visited http://www.memtest86.com, (not knowing much about memory other than mine which is definitely degrading), I don't know which of the various memtest versions I need?

 


Memtest86 is fine, no need of the Pro version

 


wrote:

2. Also, I can't find the reply at the moment but I'm certain that a Lenovo person had said either here or another board that the T61's max mem is absolutely 4GB not 8GB?

 


That's not correct, maximum RAM for this generation ThinkPad is 2x 4GB. I have one or two T61's with this config.

 


wrote:

@3. Lastly, if the memory onboard passes the overnight memtest I'm not sure it's even worth the time/money to upgrade since my understanding is the fastest compatible would be 4GB running @ 667 MHz which would seemingly only add only minimal additional performance?


Problem is the price, DDR2 RAM is expensive, and while 8GB will give you some performance improvement, it will cost you quite some money.

 

How much RAM do you currently have?

 

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256 Posts

07-16-2008

Evergreen, CO

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  • Posts: 256
  • Registered: ‎07-16-2008
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  • Message 10 of 12

Re: DIY T61 Rejuvenation?

2017-04-12, 15:05 PM

The test was successful.

 

I'm now thinking, given the minimal use planned for the machine, just replacing the fan and the drive/BIOS.

 

Mark

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