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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:16 am
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Location: Ry, Denmark
Bought a T520i roughly a month ago. It was specced with an Intel Core i3-2350M running at 2.3GHz with its two cores. It does feature HyperThreading, but no Turboboost. The laptop had 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM running at 1066MHz. Sporting an onboard graphics chip and a 1600x900 230 NIT display to keep the eyes happy and a 320GB Harddrive. Condition is great overall, nice tight hinges, no bald spots on either palmrest or keyboard. The build quality seems slightly worse than on my previous T410, as the T520i has a plastic case, while the previous version was a metal case.

Anyway, here's a picture of it:
Image



I quickly got the thought that I wanted a bit more power, as I use the laptop for CAD work with AutoCAD and Revit, but also other heavy programs such as Photoshop and Sony Vegas. I started looking for the price of a new CPU, but they were all in the $100 dollar range here, which I thought was too much, considering I only paid around $320 for the T520i. A friend of mine told me that the screen of his Dell laptop had gone bust, so after an insurance claim and a new laptop, he sold me his old Dell XPS L502x for a mere $80. Sporting an Intel Core i7-2630QM running at 2GHz with all four cores, this was an ideal solution for my problem. Furthermore, the Dell had 6GB of RAM, a 500GB Hard drive and an Nvidia GT540M, so should be easy to sell on once I exchanged the CPU's.

Here's a picture of the Dell, condition is fine, although used. The screen is as beforementioned, busted:
Image



As I began disassembling the Dell to retrieve the i7, I quickly started appreciating the ease of disassembling the Thinkpads. Here is a picture of the Dell XPS L502x next to the Thinkpad T520i once the keyboard and palmrest had been removed. As you can see, I still have to get through another layer to get to the CPU on the Dell, while on the Lenovo I simply had to remove the heatsink:
Image



After disassembling both laptops until I got down to the CPU (note: The Dell required me to actually remove then entire display assembly just to get to the CPU!), I cleaned off all the old solidified cooling paste from both CPU's and heatsinks. - I used turpentine to initially loosen it, then moved on to ordinary household spirit to cleanse off the last of it. Finally dried it off with a dry piece of paper. Below are two pictures, first one with the solidified cooling paste on, followed by one of a cleaned CPU:
Image

Image



Next problem was that the heatsink of the T520i's surface was too small to actually cover the entire face of the new i7-2630QM, therefore I had to cut off some of the black plastic.
Before:
Image

After:
Image



ASAP I started assembling the T520i again, powered right up with just the keyboard connected without the surrounding bezel and palmrest, and after a quick boot into BIOS it showed up fine with no errors or anything at all :D :thumbs-UP::
Image



Afterwards I put the rest of it back together and replaced the 2x2GB RAM with a faster set of 2x4GB 1333MHz DDR3 RAM I had, and I also installed my 120GB OCZ SSD in it to make it noticably faster. It runs very fine and stable with good temperatures on the standard heatsink with Arctic Cooling Silver 5 cooling paste on the CPU. Around 40-45ºC in idle, and peaks at 80ºC while at Full load for 30 mins in Prime95. Never gets over 76ºC on all four cores, so I am very happy with the standard cooling solution in this laptop, even though I discovered that the rear exhaust vent is actually blocked by a piece of plastic in the i-version of the T520.

Image



So, what I have now, is a T520-not-so-i. The only valuable upgrades left being a Full HD 270 NIT display and the NVS 4200 graphics card, although it would hardly be worth it for me, as I would then need a completely different motherboard too. But this laptop with maxed out RAM and a lightning fast SSD is certainly not anymore a low-end budget Thinkpad!



Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed as much as I did while both performing this upgrade and writing this thread. :)

_________________
Current: T520i, T400s, Dell XPS L502x, Vostro 1500, Vostro 1510

Past: T430, T420, X220T, 2x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:55 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:20 am
Posts: 5939
Location: Israel
Lovely upgrade, and thank you for the thorough write-up and picture documentation. :bow:

Cola wrote:
Next problem was that the heatsink of the T520i's surface was too small to actually cover the entire face of the new i7-2630QM, therefore I had to cut off some of the black plastic.
Fascinating that it actually comes with a full-size copper heatsink, only one that's concealed by a plastic layer. I would imagine one would have to get a whole different heatsink for a quad-code. Good to know that isn't so.

Cola wrote:
I am very happy with the standard cooling solution in this laptop, even though I discovered that the rear exhaust vent is actually blocked by a piece of plastic in the i-version of the T520.
Is it blocked internally, or is the chassis itself different? And can it be unblocked without an ugly break?

_________________
Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X61 7673-V2V
Collectibles: X32 w/ IPS Screen, A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad
Past: Z61t 9440-A23, T60 2623-D3U, X32 2884-M5U


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:32 pm 
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Posts: 263
Location: Ry, Denmark
dr_st wrote:
Lovely upgrade, and thank you for the thorough write-up and picture documentation. :bow:

Cola wrote:
I am very happy with the standard cooling solution in this laptop, even though I discovered that the rear exhaust vent is actually blocked by a piece of plastic in the i-version of the T520.
Is it blocked internally, or is the chassis itself different? And can it be unblocked without an ugly break?


You're welcome! :-)

Actually, if you take a close look at this picture; Only the large of the two black things on the fan is actually a heatsink. The other smaller piece is merely a piece of plastic for blocking the rear vent.
Image

_________________
Current: T520i, T400s, Dell XPS L502x, Vostro 1500, Vostro 1510

Past: T430, T420, X220T, 2x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:49 am
Posts: 445
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines
Quote:
Actually, if you take a close look at this picture; Only the large of the two black things on the fan is actually a heatsink. The other smaller piece is merely a piece of plastic for blocking the rear vent.

The HMM lists two heatsinks for the T520: one for integrated graphics, and the other for discrete graphics.

The blocked vent is where the cooling fins of the GPU heatsink would be.

_________________
Just in: X220 4291-P79
Daily driver: X61 7676-A24 C2D T9300 :D with Ultrabase X6.
Operational: X61 Tablet 7762-B22

In pieces: X60s Core Solo U1300 [board only], X61 7676-A27 [battered chassis, no LCD]
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E: P166MMX, 64MB EDO, 3GB HDD, Mwave DSP 2780.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:38 am 
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axur-delmeria wrote:
Quote:
Actually, if you take a close look at this picture; Only the large of the two black things on the fan is actually a heatsink. The other smaller piece is merely a piece of plastic for blocking the rear vent.

The HMM lists two heatsinks for the T520: one for integrated graphics, and the other for discrete graphics.

The blocked vent is where the cooling fins of the GPU heatsink would be.



Oh okay, that makes sense. Would be amazing to be able to use both vents for just the CPU though. Of course one of them is already capable of keeping the heat build up down, but would still be pretty cool. I'd like to see how it runs with the i7-2860QM or one of the i7-29X0XM's.

_________________
Current: T520i, T400s, Dell XPS L502x, Vostro 1500, Vostro 1510

Past: T430, T420, X220T, 2x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:41 am
Posts: 155
Location: New York, NY
I hate how on some Dell and HP laptops, the palmrest is just one giant piece and is such a PITA to remove.

_________________
T60: T7200, 3GB RAM, 64mb ATI X1400, 128GB SSD, XP
HP ZBook 14: i7 4600U, 16GB RAM, 1GB FirePro M4100, 512GB SSD, 7-64
Build: i7 3770K, 16GB RAM, 2GB 7870, 256GB Samsung 840 SSD, 1TB HD, 7-64


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:20 am
Posts: 5939
Location: Israel
Palmrest/bezel is one piece on some Thinkpads as well (X3x, and 15" T4x, for instance). Whether it's a PITA to remove, in comparison, I'm not sure.

_________________
Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X61 7673-V2V
Collectibles: X32 w/ IPS Screen, A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad
Past: Z61t 9440-A23, T60 2623-D3U, X32 2884-M5U


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:19 am 
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:49 am
Posts: 445
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines
Quote:
Palmrest/bezel is one piece on some Thinkpads as well

X60/61 non-tablet models too.

_________________
Just in: X220 4291-P79
Daily driver: X61 7676-A24 C2D T9300 :D with Ultrabase X6.
Operational: X61 Tablet 7762-B22

In pieces: X60s Core Solo U1300 [board only], X61 7676-A27 [battered chassis, no LCD]
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E: P166MMX, 64MB EDO, 3GB HDD, Mwave DSP 2780.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:16 am
Posts: 263
Location: Ry, Denmark
Even worse is when the huge bezel/palmrest all-in-one panel is also connected via a ZIF type connector like the one seen here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... nd_FFC.jpg

I loved the T6x and x500 models, as well as the T4x-series, where there was two parts: The palmrest, connected with a normal connector on the motherboard, and the keyboard bezel, just there for the looks. Was so much easier, and not so flimsy!

_________________
Current: T520i, T400s, Dell XPS L502x, Vostro 1500, Vostro 1510

Past: T430, T420, X220T, 2x X220, 2x X220i, 2xT410, T510i, 2x W500, T500, T400, 3x X61s, 3x T61p, 2xT61, T60, X41, 2x T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:43 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Gabrovo, Bulgaria
Hi, I'm going to do similar upgrade these days - changing my i5 2520m with i7 2630qm on my T420. The only thing that boders me is the power adapter - I have two 65W, did you buy a 90W or 135W or everything works fine with the 65W? Thanks !

_________________
Lenovo Thinkpad T420 - i7-2630QM quadcore(2.90GHz/6MB)/16GB DDR3/240GB SSD/9-cell/DVDRW/3G/BT/2xUSB3.0/90W/Win7
Lenovo Thinkpad T500 - T9550 dualcore(2.66GHz/6MB)/8GB DDR3/WUXGA 1920x1200/160GB HDD/6-cell/DVDRW/BT/90W/Win7
http://bgthinkpads.eu/forum/


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:20 am
Posts: 5939
Location: Israel
I wouldn't run a Quad-core CPU on a 65W brick. 90W at least, 135W preferred (otherwise it may throttle at times).

_________________
Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X61 7673-V2V
Collectibles: X32 w/ IPS Screen, A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad
Past: Z61t 9440-A23, T60 2623-D3U, X32 2884-M5U


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:05 am
Posts: 190
Location: Plymouth Meeting, PA
I agree with dr_st that I would use a 135 W power adapter. I know we are talking about a T520 but on my T530 with i7 Quad, it came with a 135 W power adapter.

Good luck,
John

_________________
701c, 600x, 240, T30, T43, T60, T61p (x2), T601 (TuuS Built), X61s, X301, X200T, X200s, X220, T400, T410i, T420, T530 (Quad), W530, T440p (Quad), ThinkPad Twist
Sold: PalmTop PC110, T420


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:43 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Gabrovo, Bulgaria
It's done. Everything OK but the power supply - new one arriving tomorrow. Cheers ! :)

Image
Image
Image
Image

Edit : with the 90W brick works just fine. Meanwhile I sold the old CPU with my 4GB RAM, so I had to buy another 8GB - it's 16GB now and is a real beast ! :twisted:

_________________
Lenovo Thinkpad T420 - i7-2630QM quadcore(2.90GHz/6MB)/16GB DDR3/240GB SSD/9-cell/DVDRW/3G/BT/2xUSB3.0/90W/Win7
Lenovo Thinkpad T500 - T9550 dualcore(2.66GHz/6MB)/8GB DDR3/WUXGA 1920x1200/160GB HDD/6-cell/DVDRW/BT/90W/Win7
http://bgthinkpads.eu/forum/


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:44 pm
Posts: 289
Location: Dinuba CA
Wow that is awesome! I wonder has anyone tried that with a W520 with an i7 dual core to quad core? I was reading that it was not possible.

_________________
____________
Lenovo Thinkpad W520

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Intel Core i7 2620M 2.70 Ghz
12 GB DDR3 RAM
750 GB 7200 RPM HD Seagate Momentus XT 8GB SSD NAND+Adata SSD 24GB mSATA
Intel HD 3000/Nvidia Quadro 1000m 2GB GDDR3
15.6 inch 1920x1080 HD LED
CD-RW/DVD-RW Lite Scribe HP Multiburner


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