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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Good day!

I have for a time a T60 (2007-6QU). It has a second mini PCI-e slot other than the WLAN card-occupied. As far I know, it was only for WWAN-upgrade possibility. I don't want use internal WWAN (I don't have the required antennas or the SIM card slot and I prefer external WWAN cards - I have a good Option Globetrotter unlocked PCMCIA card for that purpose), but I think about the utilization of this second mini PCI-e slot.

As I did my homework about that, this second slot is no "real" mini PCI-e, it can only use USB. Can an internal SDHC slot like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/MR04-SD-SDHC-Card-Reader-for-Laptop-Mini-PCI-Express-Booting-up-32GB-/170844718537?pt=PCC_Drives_Storage_Internal&hash=item27c72385c9 work in this slot? Is whitelist-removed BIOS needed?

I have a 80 GB SSD in my T60, but it would be nice to have additional storage (like a 32 GB SDHC card) for documents and media (mainly e-books, pdf-files and mp3/flac stuff - nothing that stresses a class 6+ memory card beyond its limits).

Any insights would be helpful.

Thank you!

Oh, and usual, sorry for my English, that could be better, I know.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:15 pm 
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I also would love to know if this is possible
Same scenario as OP but 60GB SSD...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:31 pm 
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I don't see why not. You probably do need the whitelist-removed BIOS though.

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T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:30 pm 
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I see the seller indicates it's not bootable. I wonder if that's 100% so. I know I can't boot from SD in the reader slot, but I wonder if there were a way for an SD card to be bootable in some other way...on a T61, though. IIRC, another thread showed how some soldering could make an SSD work in the turbo memory slot, but that would be a little more costly and risky.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:27 am 
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Radioguy wrote:
I see the seller indicates it's not bootable. I wonder if that's 100% so.

The seller only states (with broken English) that the card is not bootable for a Windows installation, i.e. you can't install Windows to the card and boot it from there. This is a restriction on Microsoft's part: Windows cannot be installed on removable devices, and this card, being a USB SD card reader, is a removable device.
The card might very well be bootable like every other USB drive out there, e.g. for Linux installations.

Radioguy wrote:
I know I can't boot from SD in the reader slot, but I wonder if there were a way for an SD card to be bootable in some other way...on a T61, though.

An SD card in a USB card reader may be bootable, depending on whether the BIOS like the card reader or not. :roll:

Radioguy wrote:
IIRC, another thread showed how some soldering could make an SSD work in the turbo memory slot, but that would be a little more costly and risky.


I don't think that's possible. Any chance you could find that post and link it?

_________________
X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:18 am 
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twistero wrote:
The seller only states (with broken English) that the card is not bootable for a Windows installation, i.e. you can't install Windows to the card and boot it from there. This is a restriction on Microsoft's part: Windows cannot be installed on removable devices, and this card, being a USB SD card reader, is a removable device.
The card might very well be bootable like every other USB drive out there, e.g. for Linux installations.


If this mini-pci-e card were confirmed as bootable, in that I could put a bootloader there and choose OS's from it over two HDDs, then it would be worth buying to me.

twistero wrote:
An SD card in a USB card reader may be bootable, depending on whether the BIOS like the card reader or not. :roll:


I'm talking about the internal reader in my T61. The T61 BIOS doesn't list that card reader as a bootable device. Of course, I can boot from SD in a USB reader, but that's recognized as a thumbdrive. Not good enough for me. I'd like to boot from an SD card from the internal reader, but even better would be via mini-pci-e.

twistero wrote:
I don't think that's possible. Any chance you could find that post and link it?


I thought there was a thread about the ssd mod with pics, but all I could find at the moment was this (the last few posts in this discuss it somewhat):

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=102387

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:27 am 
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Radioguy wrote:

If this mini-pci-e card were confirmed as bootable, in that I could put a bootloader there and choose OS's from it over two HDDs, then it would be worth buying to me.

Why not buy it and test it yourself? It's not that expensive. :mrgreen:
Oh, and I'm sure you have a good reason why you don't want to touch the boot loader on your two HDDs, but in general it's pretty easy to add a menu item to boot the other HDD in any modern boot loader, including the Windows 7/Vista one.

Radioguy wrote:
I'm talking about the internal reader in my T61. The T61 BIOS doesn't list that card reader as a bootable device. Of course, I can boot from SD in a USB reader, but that's recognized as a thumbdrive. Not good enough for me.

The internal reader is not bootable because it is a PCI device. The BIOS cannot read from it, and I have yet to come across a PC boot loader that can use PCI SD card readers.

Radioguy wrote:
I thought there was a thread about the ssd mod with pics, but all I could find at the moment was this (the last few posts in this discuss it somewhat):

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=102387

Yeah, and the "mini PCIe SSD" they are talking about is really a SATA SSD with non-standard pinouts. It's possible to mod one of those to conform to mSATA pinout and use it in a mSATA slot, but modded or unmodded they can not be used in a mini PCIe slot.

_________________
X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:54 am 
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twistero wrote:
Why not buy it and test it yourself? It's not that expensive. :mrgreen:


Because my drawers are full of such experiments. I'll wait for some confirmation this time around. ;)

twistero wrote:
Oh, and I'm sure you have a good reason why you don't want to touch the boot loader on your two HDDs, but in general it's pretty easy to add a menu item to boot the other HDD in any modern boot loader, including the Windows 7/Vista one.


I'm cautious when it come to the Win loader. If there were a way to boot everything with it, I would, but it's too easy to accidentally overwrite it with GRUB, Chameleon, Refit, etc. Having a dedicated bootloader drive that's not a partition on another is appealing to me.

twistero wrote:
The internal reader is not bootable because it is a PCI device. The BIOS cannot read from it...


I know the reason why (it being PCI), but it doesn't help. :(

twistero wrote:
...and I have yet to come across a PC boot loader that can use PCI SD card readers.


Theoretically, isn't the fact it's a PCI bus that is the issue? If somehow the BIOS recognized the internal reader as bootable, would there be any other impediment?

twistero wrote:
Yeah, and the "mini PCIe SSD" they are talking about is really a SATA SSD with non-standard pinouts. It's possible to mod one of those to conform to mSATA pinout and use it in a mSATA slot, but modded or unmodded they can not be used in a mini PCIe slot.


It was the opposite mod that was theorized that I remembered. There was some other thread (could be at NBR, I suppose), where someone tried that. I wish I could remember where.

Thanks for the info, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:28 am 
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Radioguy wrote:
I'm cautious when it come to the Win loader. If there were a way to boot everything with it, I would, but it's too easy to accidentally overwrite it with GRUB, Chameleon, Refit, etc. Having a dedicated bootloader drive that's not a partition on another is appealing to me.

It is kinda possible to boot everything from the Windows Boot Loader by chainloading Grub4DOS. The entire Grub4DOS boot loader is contained in an ordinary file, and you only need to add in the Win boot loader one menu entry pointing to the file. No writing to the MBR is necessary.

Radioguy wrote:
I know the reason why (it being PCI), but it doesn't help. :(
Theoretically, isn't the fact it's a PCI bus that is the issue? If somehow the BIOS recognized the internal reader as bootable, would there be any other impediment?

The "issue", so to speak, is that the BIOS only knows how to read data from the internal hard drive, optical drive, standard USB mass storage devices, etc., but not the PCI SD card reader. Think of it as the BIOS only having a limited set of drivers, which does not include one for the PCI SD reader.

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X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:40 am 
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Good news. I bought an MR15, pretty much the same as the MR04 except it takes 2 microSD cards. It is bootable in my X60 tablet just like any other USB drive.

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X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:04 am 
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twistero wrote:
Good news. I bought an MR15, pretty much the same as the MR04 except it takes 2 microSD cards. It is bootable in my X60 tablet just like any other USB drive.


Works with "normal" BIOS, or needed whitelist-removed BIOS to get work?

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T60 2007-6QU|14" SXGA+|T7400|3 GB PC2-5300 RAM|OCZ Vertex 2 120GB SSD|DVD multi-burner|9cell battery|Win 7 Pro x86|Advanced Dock|500 GB 5400rpm Hitachi HDD
Z61p and X61t in the process of becoming fully functional again


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:39 am 
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I believe it needs the whitelist-removed BIOS.

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X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:53 am 
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In regards to..."Windows cannot be installed on removable devices". That's not accurate. There are thousands of people booting windows from USB key-drives and HD's.

Search for the program "WinToFlash"....that seems to be the currently-preferred utility to accomplish it; although there are many others.

Two excellent forums for this kind of stuff are...

http://www.msfn.org/
www.reboot.pro

In regards to...."you can't boot from it because it's a PCI device, not USB" (paraphrased)....I'm pretty sure that the USB ports -are- PCI devices. :) ....as are pretty much -all- PNP hdw functions in a t60/t61 era pc.

The later post which described the problem as a BIOS limitation is probably the most accurate way of phrasing what the problem/issue really is.

It'd sure be nice to have a user-FRIENDLY bios, eh? :bow:

fwiw...I kinda like the PLOP bootloader.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:01 am 
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dozer wrote:
In regards to..."Windows cannot be installed on removable devices". That's not accurate. There are thousands of people booting windows from USB key-drives and HD's.

Search for the program "WinToFlash"....that seems to be the currently-preferred utility to accomplish it; although there are many others.


Why, yes, there are ways to install Windows on removable devices if you try hard enough to circumvent Microsoft's limitation. However WinToFlash is not one of them. WinToFlash prepares a Windows installation flash drive from a Windows install DVD or ISO image; you can boot from that flash drive and install Windows as if you're using a DVD, but it's not the same as having a full Windows system on the flash drive. Of course you can argue that the Windows installation environment is Windows PE, i.e. a "Windows system", but I'm pretty sure that's not what the OP meant. :roll:

dozer wrote:
In regards to...."you can't boot from it because it's a PCI device, not USB" (paraphrased)....I'm pretty sure that the USB ports -are- PCI devices. :) ....as are pretty much -all- PNP hdw functions in a t60/t61 era pc.

My emphasis was on the "not USB" part. The BIOS in a T60 is equipped to boot from a USB mass storage device. The SD reader is not a USB device unlike in later generations of ThinkPads, and the BIOS is not equipped to read data or boot from it.

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X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:20 am 
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the open-source bios gods are sooo asleep at the switch... :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:32 am 
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twistero wrote:
Of course you can argue that the Windows installation environment is Windows PE, i.e. a "Windows system", but I'm pretty sure that's not what the OP meant. :roll:


You're right, because I didn't seek for an alternate boot option (my SSD is working great /knock on wood/ ), instead my concern was a bit of extra storage only. :)

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Z61p and X61t in the process of becoming fully functional again


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:53 am 
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twistero wrote:
Good news. I bought an MR15, pretty much the same as the MR04 except it takes 2 microSD cards. It is bootable in my X60 tablet just like any other USB drive.


What do use your internal SD cards for? Is it too slow (USB 2.0 speed) to have Linux running on them?

Can you please give us an update on the general read and write speeds that you have manages to achieve?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:27 am 
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Matthew_Greening wrote:
What do use your internal SD cards for? Is it too slow (USB 2.0 speed) to have Linux running on them?

Can you please give us an update on the general read and write speeds that you have manages to achieve?


I haven't actually used it, mostly because I don't have many microSD cards lying around.

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X60 tablet 6363-P3U, 3GB ram, 128GB SanDisk Extreme SSD, SXGA+ screen, Intel 6300
T61 Frankenpad in 15 inch T60 body, UXGA LED-lit AFFS LCD, T9300, 6GB RAM, NVidia NVS140m, Intel 6205, 128GB Crucial M4 SSD, 1TB HGST HDD + eBay caddy in Ultrabay
701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Matthew_Greening wrote:
What do use your internal SD cards for? Is it too slow (USB 2.0 speed) to have Linux running on them?

Can you please give us an update on the general read and write speeds that you have manages to achieve?


Actually, I have the MR04 with Samsung SDHC 32 GB (class 10) card. It's "normal"-sized SD, not micro-SD. I don't use Linux on my T60 (I don't need that with a properly functioning Windows 7 OS), but I can give a screenshot of the card's speed with CrystalDisk Mark, if that helps.

Personally I wanted to utilize the empty mini-PCI-e slot and I do not need an internal WWAN or Broadcom Crystal HD card. For me, the SD card functions as a little data partition for music, documents and ebook.

Edit: I got as test results 16-17 MB/s read and 9-10 MB/s write speed which is not much for running any OS with the SD card. A decent HDD easily outperforms these results.

_________________
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Quote:
I got as test results 16-17 MB/s read and 9-10 MB/s write speed which is not much for running any OS with the SD card. A decent HDD easily outperforms these results.


Its not just about read speed - what matters also a lot when talking about usability of computer is random disk latency. The latency of a SD card is much lower than any spinning spindle-head hard disk since it is based upon NAND technology which does not require having to position any mechanical moving head to get the first write. Thus - using a program such as Eboostr to use your SD card as a cache could be beneficial to speed up random accesses to files (that snappy feel that we all want from our PC - things load up instantaneously and there is no lag).

So -- has anyone tried this yet and can confirm if this 'MR04 MiniCard adapter' works with Thinkpad T60/T61 or not? And can they confirm if modded BIOS really is necessary and which one and where to get this 'white-listed BIOS'? I have a T61 to which I would like to add such a SD internal card to use as cache. Also the SD card would be ideal to put all your applications as PortableApps onto -- loading applications off of a SD card is much more snappy than a hard drive.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:00 am 
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UPDATE: Found the location of the Middleton BIOS:
download:
http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo/ ... ost6501443
instructions:
http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo/ ... ost6510253


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:31 pm 
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robertcollier4 wrote:
So -- has anyone tried this yet and can confirm if this 'MR04 MiniCard adapter' works with Thinkpad T60/T61 or not? And can they confirm if modded BIOS really is necessary and which one and where to get this 'white-listed BIOS'?


You quoted from my post about the confirmation (and earlier twistero confirmed that too with his X60 tablet, which uses the same chipset as my T60). Yes, the MR04 works with T60 (I don't have T61, but I'm 99% sure about this adapter works without any problems in it), but modded BIOS is necessary, otherwise won't boot.

As I wrote earlier, I don't need the SD for any boosting/booting/running OS functions - I have SSD for that (former an Intel X25-M G1 80 GB, currently an OCZ Vertex 2 120 GB). I only wanted extra storage space. The other option for using the second mini PCI-e slot would be a WWAN card (talking about my T60, but I'm content with my PCMCIA WWAN card for now).

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Tim82 wrote:
Edit: I got as test results 16-17 MB/s read and 9-10 MB/s write speed which is not much for running any OS with the SD card. A decent HDD easily outperforms these results.

What card, though? The speed of the card (The "Class" rating) would also come into play here unless the limitation is in the chipset on this reader. Unless it is, I would guess that a class 10 or 12 SDXC card would perform better.

Incidentally, there were quite a few SanDisk media sales over the weekend. One could have found both standard and micro SDHC 32GB and SDXC 64GB cards for $18 and $37 respectively, as well as 32GB Cruzers for $8. Staples still has the Ultra 64GB SDXC on sale until tomorrow for $33, but it's currently OOS.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:00 am 
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Thank you for the confirmation.

There is also a more expensive MR04R version which is titled as "MR04R (SDHC/SDIO Card to mPCIe adapter ver1.1)" The MR04 uses a "USB 2.0" interface whereas the MR04R uses a "PCIEx1 Interface" and shows up in Device Manager as a "SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller"

Here are links to the product pages for reference:
http://www.bplustech.com/cardreader/MR04.html
http://www.bplustech.com/cardreader/MR04R.html
http://www.bplustech.com/CardReader/MR15.html

Model Comparison - http://www.bplustech.com/PDF/SD%20cardr ... arison.pdf - Here they list all the models of PCI Express Mini Card Readers that are sold.

Also the MR04 line has a "Ricoh RSU880" controller whereas the MR15 has a "Alcor AU6472" controller which could be faster or slower.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:54 am 
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robertcollier4 wrote:
Also the MR04 line has a "Ricoh RSU880" controller whereas the MR15 has a "Alcor AU6472" controller which could be faster or slower.


That's something I'd like to know.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Location: Budapest, Hungary
Radioguy wrote:
What card, though? The speed of the card (The "Class" rating) would also come into play here unless the limitation is in the chipset on this reader. Unless it is, I would guess that a class 10 or 12 SDXC card would perform better.


Actually I mentioned in the same post from you quoted, a brand Samsung SDHC (class 10 speed, non-micro, normal size SD) card. :) In Device manager it identifies itself as a Ricoh R5U880 USB flash media device (thanks to the MR04 adapter). If you need the exact card model, I can look into that.

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Z61p and X61t in the process of becoming fully functional again


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:19 pm 
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The class designation of SD cards only guarantees sequential read/write speed, not random read/write. Of the several microSD cards I tested, some have very good sequential speed but atrocious random access speed, and some has the opposite.

robertcollier4 wrote:
There is also a more expensive MR04R version which is titled as "MR04R (SDHC/SDIO Card to mPCIe adapter ver1.1)" The MR04 uses a "USB 2.0" interface whereas the MR04R uses a "PCIEx1 Interface" and shows up in Device Manager as a "SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller"


Which means the MR04R will not work in the WWAN slot of a T60/X60 because the WWAN slots only have USB lanes, not PCIe.

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701c butterfly, 75MHz 486DX4, 40MB ram, 1GB CF card


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:39 am 
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Since it seems that the only way to get notifications on a subject, is posting a reply..
I'm interested in this thread. :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:55 am 
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks for a very informative discussion. I am not an T60 owner, but there isn't much info about PCI-SDHC adapters on the web, so I ended up here.

I have a specific problem, which one of you might be able to help me with. I am looking for a PCI card with a fast (better than USB 2) SDHC reader to install inside a desktop PC. I intend to use it for booting Linux.

The built-in SD-card readers on my laptops give me less than 20MB/s read/write speeds independently of the speed of the card (have tested with class 4 and class 10). That translates to a less-than-optimal performance. It is evident that the bottleneck is the USB 2 speed limit of the built-in SD readers.

I would ideally like to have a solution that maxes out the SD-card speed, and one that I can use inside a desktop with several available PCI slots. A faster SDHC miniPCI-e adapter for my laptop similar to the MR04 discussed here is also of interest.

I apologise for being off-topic and reopening an old thread, but my searches on the Internet yielded only this site with a discussion resembling my interest. Any suggestions of suitable products will be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Since it's a desktop is there any particular reason not to use a SATA-to-CF adapter with a CF card instead?

Also, a quick Google reveals microSD and SD to SATA adapters including a RAID card. :eek:

Example:
http://meitk.en.alibaba.com/product/650 ... apter.html

I have no idea if you could hang a PCI SATA controller with such an adapter and reliably boot from it though it's possible depending on what your BIOS can detect. I'd rather limit the amount of extra hardware involved when booting from any medium.

I boot a CF card in a Syba enclosure in the Ultrabay of my Thinkpad and on other PCs for troubleshooting. Cheap and effective.
I have the versions without the enclosure but I like this better since it can bang around in my repair kit:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6812186099

EDIT, I just searched Ebay for "SD to SATA adapter". I'll be getting one to play with thanks to your question making be curious.
I have a severe boot fetish (not that kind!) and want to boot from everything.

Wikipedia link for card reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital


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