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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:22 pm 
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Hello x301 enthusiasts,

I am looking for information on how to convert the DVD bay on x301 to a hard drive bay.

I thought there might be a HDD caddy to replace the DVD drive for x301, but I couldn't find one on lenovo or ebay sites. I know there is something like that for T61s.

I would appreciate any leads.

Thank you in advance!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:41 pm 
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Welcome to thinkpads.com!

From what I gather (don't have anything near as new as an X301), the 7mm height Option Bay is currently limited to an optical drive or battery. Since there are standard hard drives and SSDs made in the 7mm form-factor, it could be possible that such an adapter will be sold but like you, I could not find anything at the moment. My guess is that the factory would recommend an external USB drive if you need more storage space.

The older T6x systems used the Ultrabay Slim (9.5mm) format and there are adapters available from the factory and aftermarket sources.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:16 pm 
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Thank you for responding.

I found an article on Tom's Hardware "Install A Solid State Drive In Your Notebook"

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-notebook-portable,1913.html

that says :

"Be careful, because some subnotebooks, such as the Lenovo X300, have a bay but won’t take a hard disk because they’re too thin"

So I guess I'm not so lucky....


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:03 am 
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the bigger issue is that the DVD interface is EIDE, not SATA.   while you could get a 1.8" micro-SATA drive to fit since they're only 5mm thick, you would have to find some way to bridge the SATA interface to EIDE.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:00 pm 
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Thanks. I didn't think about that. So I won't be able install a SATA drive in place of DVD drive. I will need an EIDE drive with 1.8" from factor, which will probably be impossible. Besides that I'll have to live with performance implications.

Oh well, it seems that my best option is to get go with an external drive.

Thanks for narrowing my options!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:19 am 
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x301_user wrote:
Thanks. I didn't think about that. So I won't be able install a SATA drive in place of DVD drive. I will need an EIDE drive with 1.8" from factor, which will probably be impossible. Besides that I'll have to live with performance implications.

Oh well, it seems that my best option is to get go with an external drive.

Thanks for narrowing my options!


I feel your pain.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:17 am 
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In theory, this could be done, but in practice, I doubt anybody would be willing to do that due to effort/cost involved & small potential market.

The problem as I see it is at least twofold:
- X300/X301 bay is only 7mm thick
- X300/X301 bay is IDE (PATA), not SATA

There are two solutions:

1: use a PATA drive - AFAIK the only drives that fit are the Toshiba 1.8" single platter IDE/PATA drives (GAL series; 5mm thick). The largest one is MK1231GAL, only 120GB, puny by today's standards.
http://sdd.toshiba.com/main.aspx?Path=S ... 31GAxSpecs
Effort needed:
- create the plastic part (possibly by modifying the "travel cover")
- create the PCB with (proprietary?) X300/301 bay connector on one end & HDD connector on the other

2: use the new 7mm high standard single platter 2.5" SATA HDDs (by several manufacturers) - currently at 320GB with larger capacities coming in the future
Effort: same as 1., with addition of IDE to SATA chip on the PCB (the one that enables SATA HDDs to be used in PATA systems) - like used in this adapter (with different PCB design, of course):
http://www.satacables.com/html/sata_to_ide_adapter.html

It's a no-brainer that the only viable option is 2. Now we just need enough people wanting this & somebody to actually do it 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Has anyone found a solution?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:13 am 
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fortexg wrote:
In theory, this could be done, but in practice, I doubt anybody would be willing to do that due to effort/cost involved & small potential market.

The problem as I see it is at least twofold:
- X300/X301 bay is only 7mm thick
- X300/X301 bay is IDE (PATA), not SATA

There are two solutions:

1: use a PATA drive - AFAIK the only drives that fit are the Toshiba 1.8" single platter IDE/PATA drives (GAL series; 5mm thick). The largest one is MK1231GAL, only 120GB, puny by today's standards.
http://sdd.toshiba.com/main.aspx?Path=S ... 31GAxSpecs

Actually, MK1231GAL won't work because it has some "firmware encryption", so that it works only with iPod Classic (6th gen and newer) and Zune 120. However, there is MK1634GAL (single platter, PATA, 160GB) without such a limitation.
Also, there are 256GB PATA 1.8" SSDs.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:10 pm 
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Gonna try something like this next week. I'll post back with the results.

Image


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:57 pm 
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Interesting! The 90 degree turn looks like it would pose problems though..


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:25 am 
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Hello, any update over this?
Interesting discussion, but still no adapter or anything available for the x3** series!

Consider that creating this would surely be a good business as many people would be interested in buying it to expand x300/x301s drive capabilties.... !

C'mon PCB experts... ! :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:34 am 
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the socket at the top of that cable is incorrect.   i highly doubt anything came of it.

there's a slim chance that the cable below would work.   assuming the goal is to use a SATA drive, you'd need an IDE to SATA converter small enough to fit a drive and have to live with the limited transfer speeds of the ATA-133 bus.

Image

disclaimer: i've not seen, used, or tested the above cable and make no guarantees as to its compatibility.   while the connector appears to be correct, i'm judging by the photo alone and no other data.   proceed with your own risk.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:58 pm 
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A large issue once you get past the hardware limitation would be whether the bios can support a hard drive at that port. It'd be worth it to get a eide to sata cable and find out before going through all of it for naught.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:27 pm 
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vinuneuro wrote:
It'd be worth it to get a eide to sata cable and find out before going through all of it for naught.

err... that's the whole point of this discussion.   no one makes such a cable.   this isn't a plug-and-play event, even just for test purposes.

so you're aware, this is the IDE socket on the X300/X301 optical drive:
Image


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:31 pm 
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I'm aware of what the socket looks like, I had an X301. :) Didn't know EIDE was that obscure.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:27 pm 
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vinuneuro wrote:
I'm aware of what the socket looks like, I had an X301. :) Didn't know EIDE was that obscure.


Are you sure the X301 uses a PATA optical drive? I can understand the ICH8M-equipped X300 would use one but pretty much all ICH9M systems went to to SATA optical drives. I believe ICH9M doesn't even have a PATA interface on it so Lenovo would have had to add a sata-to-pata bridge to attach such an optical drive.

EDIT: X301 schematic confirms Lenovo added a sata-to-pata bridge for the X301's optical drive. Serious modders may look at bypassing that bridge to get a second native sata connection for improved performance and lower power consumption.

IThe pictured optical drive appears to use a standard JAE50 PATA connector. Only dilemma then is the 7mm height and the sata-to-pata conversion.

The latter is solved easily - there are plenty of sata-to-pata optical bay caddies on the market. eg: US$42 Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy (OBHD9-SATA-B), Black, 9.5mm. I have one of these. The top would need to be cut down so could fit in a 7mm cavity. The faceplate removed since it's too big.

It would be easier to disassemble the X300/X301 and just manually affix the a sata-to-pata board + 7mm SATA drive within the chassis then reassemble and close the optical bay gap to protect against dust. In which case you may even want to get the ebay caddy for the board. It uses a Marvell bridge chip which performs slightly better than the newmodeus one, plus supports TRIM if you were thinking of mounting a SSD instead. It's an entirely feasible project to extend the storage capacity of a X301. Oh.. and if getting the newmodeus caddy I'd suggest getting their 2510P version - it has a master/slave jumper. Might come in handy of the X301 bios is expecting a slave device.

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Last edited by nando4 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:12 am 
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one japanese successfully mod the one to SSD:o

http://anoato.blogspot.com/2009/07/thin ... ndssd.html

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:05 am 
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ha... i have one of those adapters sitting on my desk!   hilarious! :D

sonysg - thanks for the info!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:00 pm 
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I have been looking at this as a possible way of increasing the storage on my X301 (currently have a 256GB SSD), and have come across the following product: http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=134 ... 4422&prc=1 (its in Chinese). Has anyone seen or used this before?

I'm going to China next month, so will probably get one of these to try out.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:51 am 
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If you do go to China, would you consider buying a few of those?
I'd probably be interested in 2 if so.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:19 am 
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loopf wrote:
If you do go to China, would you consider buying a few of those?
I'd probably be interested in 2 if so.


Can you put me down for one please!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:08 pm 
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For anyone interested in getting one of these, send me a PM in the new year. I'm flying out on 20th Jan. I might be limited on how many I can bring back, as I am planning on bringing back a fair amount of stuff.
I'm taking my X301 with me so I will try to test one I'll get before buying others.

EDIT: I also found a similar item on ebay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2nd-SSD-hard- ... 956wt_1344 However it will probably take almost as long as it will take for me to get one from China, so I'm going to wait until I go there, but thought this might be of interest to the others who are looking for a device like this.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:24 am 
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Obviously a type 2.) solution from my previous post now exists :D

Back in October 2010 I bought one of these:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/9-5mm-2nd-SATA- ... 483f91461b

This unit is 9.5mm thick, so it wont fit in the bay, but it was the thinnest available in 2010. I removed the circuit board (it has the required 50pin IDE connector, SATA connector & PATA to SATA bridge chip) and was able to fit it into the X301 bay. The board itself is ~7mm thick at the IDE connector.
I did not have a 7mm HDD on hand to test it though. I planned to buy a SATA extension cable to test it with a standard 2.5" HDD, but never did...
The plan was to buy an X300/X301 bay travel adapter like this "blank CD bezel":
http://www.ebay.com/itm/260900639263?ss ... 1423.l2649
And then modify it to be somehow able to fit the circuit board (with hot glue) & 7mm HDD.
Since this seemed to be quite messy (the two support beams in the middle would have to be cut off) & the end product would be flimsy at best, I did not pursue it further.

I did test the caddy in the optical bay of my trusted old Dell D600 with an old (2006) 5400 RPM HDD. The highest transfer speed I got was 30MB/s, but this was limited by the old HDD & old computer, not PATA to SATA bridge.

And now we finally have the X301 bay HDD caddy available as a finished product :-)
The one from Deyi & the one on eBay (Nimitz?) look similar, if not identical...

I did measure the power consumption though. The caddy alone consumes ~0.7W (the SATA to PATA chip is active even with no HDD in the bay). Since the D600 has hot swap (X301 does not), you can disable (remove device) the bay adapter & the HDD stops and power consumption of the bay hdd goes to zero (same as if physically removing it).
Since X301 does not have bay hot swap, it would be interesting to know if disabling the hdd (or bridge chip) in device manager reduces power consumption (without actually pulling the caddy out) - important when your battery is running out...

sonysg & others: can you measure the power consumption of the hdd+caddy & caddy alone?
I assume it is still in the range of HDD consumption + 0.7W for the bridge chip.
Can you also try to disable it in device manager & check if the power consumption drops?

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Last edited by fortexg on Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:37 am 
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This is great news for X300/X301 owners. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:32 pm 
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Thanks for everyone posting to this thread, I've been wanting a second hard drive for my X301 for quite some time now.

Based on what you guys said, I ordered this: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0914686538 and this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822145530.

I got those yesterday and installed them but in my case Windows 7 32-bit didn't boot with the caddy + hard drive in the UltraBay until I changed to IDE mode. Windows startup repair (press F8 at boot) wasn't able to fix the change from AHCI to IDE for some reason so I had to do it manually. Some/all of these steps may/may not apply to you, depending on your setup.

1) Turned on the laptop without the caddy in the UltraBay
2) enabled IDE in Windows Registry by setting the value for "Start" to "0" in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Pciide
3) rebooted and changed the BIOS setting for SATA from AHCI to Compatibility
4) rebooted and let Windows install the "new" IDE hard drive (=my Toshiba 128 GB SSD)
5) Shut down the laptop, inserted the caddy + drive in UltraBay and rebooted to Windows
6) Windows detected and installed the drive. Rebooted once more just for fun.

Depending on your current setup the caddy might work just fine without any of those steps. I guess my problem was the lack of IDE devices/drivers (I always used the travel cover in the UltraBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0521459188) and hence the IDE drivers were not enabled. I tried re-enabling AHCI after step #6 but Windows didn't boot again, even with AHCI enabled in Registry, so I guess I have to run my 128 GB Toshiba SSD in Compatibility/IDE mode from now on.

The seller Nimitz shipped the caddy promptly and it arrived from China to Seattle, WA in only nine days, despite the New Year holidays in between. He also answered my question in under 24 hours. The product itself appears to be of high quality and fits well in the slot. As of writing this I've had it running only a couple of hours but it seems to work fine and writing dummy random data to it with TrueCrypt shows a consistent 70 MB/s write speed to my non-SSD hard drive.

I highly recommend using the bottom screw to hold the caddy in place. Happy 2012 to everyone.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:49 pm 
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Some time ago I did this on a friend's Vaio (sata SSD in place of the original HDD, and the original HDD placed on a SATA to PATA caddy).

It worked w/o a problem with the original AHCI configuration, the only "problem" was the reduced bandwith because the SATA2PATA bridge.


Last edited by The Solutor on Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:05 pm 
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TXFI wrote:
The product itself appears to be of high quality and fits well in the slot.


Does it sit flush against the rest of the laptop? Does it look similar to the travel bezel in colour, blending into the laptop as if it were OEM?

Cheers

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Glad to hear that these caddies work, at least on one occasion. I'll definitely be picking one up in two week's time.

TXFI, is there much impact on the battery life of the laptop with a second hard drive installed? Also, I second the question as to whether the caddy colour matches the laptop itself.

I just picked myself up an X300 off ebay last week, which only has a 64GB SSD, so this caddy might be more beneficial for that rather than my X301.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:26 pm 
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u751920 wrote:

Does it sit flush against the rest of the laptop? Does it look similar to the travel bezel in colour, blending into the laptop as if it were OEM?

Cheers



It is not quit flush on mine but sits in about half a mil. I have never seen a travel bezel, so I can not say other than it is made of hard shiny plastic. The finish is nothing like the rubberized coating on X301. I do not find it noticeable. Overall, I think it is a well built unit.

I tried it with three different OS: Win7 Ult 64, Win XPP 32, Ubuntu 11.10 64.

Following the guide by TXFI, I got the caddy, w/Intel 320 Series 160GB ssd from a T420s installed, working w/Win7. The guide did not work for Win XPP. I tried different combination's of of BIOS and registry settings but nothing worked so I do not use the caddy w/Win XPP. The Ubuntu was easiest. I changed the BIOS and rebooted. Finished. Streams races and movies beautifully.

A bit more info:
Win7 is on a Crucial C300 256GB ssd.
Win XPP is on the 128GB Samsung ssd that can with the X301 when I bought it.
Ubuntu is on an identical 128GB Samsung ssd that I bought used.

I am thinking about getting one of the new Hitachi 320GB 7mm hdds for more storage in the caddy. If I do get one, I will update my post w/the results.

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