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Lenovo Upgrading


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#1 wolfeking

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:45 AM

This is my first post, so if something is wrong with it, please let me know and I will edit it to fit. Thanks for understanding. 

 

Edit: Sorry, missed the system specs announcment the first time. 

 

Specs: 

Lenovo T61p 

Intel T7300 CPU 

4GB Samsung DDR2-667 RAM 

Nvidia FX570m GPU 

Hatachi 160GB 7200 RPM HDD 

9 Cell Battery PSU 

 

What is wrong? 

I am using my Thinkpad T61P for work and as a desktop replacement machine, but I need to make some changes to make it acceptable to run on a daily basis. There are several things that I simply am not willing or able to do to fix it though. The first is to buy a new system. I work outdoors and need the laptop to be out in the truck all day, and that generally means that it gets damaged quite often, and replacing $1500+ machines multiple times a year is not worth it (to me). It is quite easier to just buy a different mach for $250 or less when they break. (this is an economic decision and I understand it, I hope you do too.) I guess what I am saying is that I am not wealthy, and I don't have money for new machines when something gets broken. (by broken it is generally either broken chassis or busted LCDs.) 

 

What have I done to track the problem? 

 

I started with testing the system to see what it is capable of. Running programs that I use all day to see how they perform on this machine, and tracking temps to make sure nothing is too far from comfort.  

 

With Google Chrome, everything was acceptable except for flash video. Flash videos had an issue of when going full screen they display the video stays the same size and is surrounded by black screen. It only happens on chrome, so it is not an issue with the computer and I am fine with watching flash video in a different browser. No hard feelings there. CPU use is flat nothing (as in maybe 1% more) and RAM usage by chrome never reaches 100% (using task manager for numbers). So I am fine here. 

 

With office (abiword and MS Office) there is no bottleneck at all either, so that is fine. 

 

With games, CNC3 (favorite game) runs CPU to 100% and gets almost 40FPS on medium settings. That is fine with me. ETS2 is not likely to run at all, but 18WOS:ALH will likely

run fine (as it ran maxxed wiht a T7200 and NVS135m on past computers), so that is not that bad. Same type of game experience. I don't expect to run many games, and ETS2 runs on the desktop, so no foul there. All that can be expected from an aging computer. 

 

With basic system performance, there is some work to be done. More below. 

CPU: 

This is an issue, but only a little bit. The processor is a touch slow for my wants, but it is fine (I like to have a little overhead instead of just enough), however that is not the major issue. The major issue is temperatures are too high. At full load (CNC3) it runs in the upper 80s (*c as seen via realtemp). There are actions that I can take to reduce temperature, like changing the thermal paste, and cleaning out the heatsink, but I have a question (below in solutions). 

 

GPU: 

It works, however there is a driver issue. More in solutions. 

 

RAM: 

It works fine. 4GB is more than enough for my uses, and 8GB, while nice, requires buying more RAM that just isn't justified on a P/P ratio (as in $120+ is too much to maintain an overhead). More speed here would not really net anymore benefits on a daily basis. 

 

Storage: 

This is where the problem really is (other than processor).  The installed 160GB hard drive (it is a 7200RPM SATAI Hatachi) is dead slow in sequential reads and writes. Here is a bench mark done when diagnosing the problem. 

10300743875_2d2f253d5f_o.jpg
Don't get me wrong, I am fine with hard drives, but this is as slow as an IDE hard drive, which is too slow on a daily basis. Using a Samsung 830 to diagnose, it is definitely a drive problem. Here is the bench to be show. 

See solutions for findings. 

 

 

 

Solutions: 

Processor: 

Here, I have a few ideas on what could be done.  I am running a T7300, which has stock vCore of 1.225V at full load and a core speed of 2 GHz.  A little research shows that a T9300 will work with the motherboard, but a modded BIOS is needed to avoid an error message (I am already running said BIOS to enable SATA II usage), and it should run a little cooler (I think as it is a smaller lithography with the same TDP) maybe. Either way, it has higher cache and higher core speed should allow the overall experience better. Getting a new processor (T9300) only cost $40 ish, so the performance to investment should be pretty good (and I can sell the old one, making the investment very small indeed) 

 

Hard Drive: 

Seeing as the SSD shows that the read/write issue is the drive and not the system, the solution is to replace the drive. I personally do not want to use an SSD, as personally I have not seen a large enough improvement in battery life or boot times (other than in this one case) to justify several hundreds of dollars when 4x the volume is the same price with hard drives. Just stating that to avoid misunderstandings. 

Max size of the drive is 9.5mm tall (from Lenovo specs), so I should be able to pull a 1TB in there, if I am lucky. Something like these maybe? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236561 and 


Edited by wolfeking, 17 October 2013 - 05:28 AM.

If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

 

I personally do not trust new products or webcams. This is why my desktop is 3 years old, and my laptops older than that. 


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#2 TsVk!

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:53 AM

seems like you already answered your questions Wolfie...



#3 wolfeking

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:55 AM

may seem like it, but I am more or less running the solutions past someone else to make sure I am not missing something.  And making sure the hard drive idea (about platter size) is correct. 


If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

 

I personally do not trust new products or webcams. This is why my desktop is 3 years old, and my laptops older than that. 


#4 TsVk!

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:08 AM

well. IMHO...

 

Go for it with the processor upgrade if it is compatible with the mobo and BIOS, and you feel confident... sure.

 

Faster disk drive is better. Yes there is a difference between the 7200 and 5400 that you will feel if you game on the machine at all, believe the manufacturer specs about the size of the machine, the 9.5 mm disk (the black) is the cheapest and fastest... lucky you have a slightly older machine, not one of these super slim thingies....



#5 wolfeking

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:22 AM

Do you think that the processor will make a big enough difference though? The way I was thinking (have not done a whole lot of research though) is the T9300 has a 500 MHz clock advantage (which if it mattes, is a bigger difference than the total clockspeed of my first desktop. Now I feel old. :( ) a smaller lithography, and a larger L2 Cache size.  For games, it is likely going to make a difference, but probably not enough to run higher settings (due to the weak GPU). 

 

Hard drive wise, that makes total sense. However, will it make a large difference otherwise? I mean, sure it will load levels faster, but it does not make a FPS difference, does it? (I honestly don't know.) I could see how that the black is a better value with performance internally, and should it need more space later, I can always go to the hot swap bay (I forget the name Lenvov uses. It is the DVD drive port). Or maybe even a external drive (has expresscard54 that could be used for eSATA and Firewire 400 that could be used in addition to USB 2 (exoresscard could probably do USB 3 also). That's the good thing about workstations, no limits on expansion options. 

 

Again, thanks for the help. 


If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

 

I personally do not trust new products or webcams. This is why my desktop is 3 years old, and my laptops older than that. 


#6 TsVk!

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:44 AM

www.cpubenchmark.net is the place to go to get all the lowdown on your cpu questions, I'd just be regurgitating what I'd read there if I answered your question. They really are top notch at what they do.

 

FPS is generally dictated by your ram and graphics processor memory as far as i know... not really the hdd (to a certain point), I agree with you there.

 

Lenovo are bleep machines in my experience, I hope you have a better experience with yours than I have had with mine.



#7 wolfeking

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:24 AM

Honestly, I think I have the CPU solved for now. Mainly it seems that it will help the FPS if I run a CPU dependent game (which I do. CNC3 you are almost strictly cpu limited with more than 50 units on screen). Thermally, it is not likely to change much going to the new CPU unless it is lucky enough to get a lower vCore chip (the T9300 ranges from 1.00V to 1.250V by intel spec. If I get a 1.250V there will be no change as my chip is also 1.250V), but with the range, I would also get a newer gen chip with more cache, higher speed, and higher IPC which would make for an overall better experience. 

Though, I do think it would be far better if they (all laptop OEMs) were to standardize laptop design (ATX mobile anyone?), thus allowing Phanteks, Cooler Master, Noctua, et. al. to make higher performing coolers for them. If only. :( 

 

Just an F.Y.I., FPS depends on RAM, CPU, GPU, and vRam. As long as none are at 100%, then you will not have any bottleneck. (well actually, the GPU will be at 100% unless you have vSync enabled) If you run out of CPU, Ram, or vRam you can have quad Titans and it will still not be an enjoyable experience (that is as long as you are not bottlenecking at the 120+ FPS level, in which case it is not going to matter as much) (also anyone that is not knowledgeable enough to get a decent CPU and RAM to match 4 Titans deserves a bottle neck (sorry)). 

 

This is by far not the first IBM/Lenovo that I have had, and honestly they have never gave me an issue. I've ran everything from an A20m/p (well several) to a T400 and aside from software issues (Thinkpads come with far too much crapware from the factory and as an extension any factory restore. The best thing anyone can do is a fresh install of Windows/Unix/Linux/DOS.) The only mobile computers that I would really use are Dell Latitude/Precision and Thinkpads (A/R/T) as they can take the abuse I throw at them, and there are plenty of maintenance manuals and spare parts available. (HP probably has some decent workstations too, but never used one so can't comment until I use one).

Honestly I would no't have a problem currently if I bought new. That is not an option though as I can not afford a $1500+ investment multiple times a year when they get broken (LCDs, Motherboards, and chassis. RAM, CPU, HDD/SSD, keyboard, Ultrabay, etc. are easy to replace and not too expensive.)  


If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

 

I personally do not trust new products or webcams. This is why my desktop is 3 years old, and my laptops older than that. 


#8 wolfeking

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 05:12 PM

Okay, so a touch of updating with this.

 

So far I am coming along a ways, but still not happy.

 

1. Attempted to upgrade the OS to Vista Ultimate (Using the key on the bottom of the laptop) and it fails to install throwing an error message. Have tried all the various SATA settings in the BIOS one at a time to see if that is the issue, and it did not help. Have also pulled a WD Blue 500GB off the desktop RAID array to try, and install fails with it too. Currently redownloading the three parts of Vista to recreate the .iso file (as for some reason microsoft did not see the path to release the .iso themselves) to see if that will fix that issue. If it does, then I will update the OS. If it does not, then I will try and install XP/8 on it to see if that works, or if i can find a copy of the 7 .iso, I may try that. Not too sure yet, one step at a time.

 

2. The hinges on the LCD are coming a little loose now. Not exactly a bad thing, but I will eventually find some replacements and install them to get them tight again.

 

3. Have not ordered the CPU yet, as I am a bit too short on funds right now, but I do know I need to get that soon. Current one runs cool enough though with the heatsink cleaned and a new apply of AS5 (I know it is not that great, but it is what I had on hand).

 

So still a little ways to go, but I am getting there.


If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

 

I personally do not trust new products or webcams. This is why my desktop is 3 years old, and my laptops older than that. 





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