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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:53 am 
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Hi, all.

I needed to add more GigE ports to my x201 (for VMWare) and recently purchased a Startech EC2000S dual NIC Expresscard (uses a Realtek chipset). The problem is that the laptop won’t boot when the card is plugged in – the system freezes at the Thinkpad logo. The only way to get this combo to work is if I pull the card out during the POST and plug in the card after the OS loads.

I’ve tried changing various BIOS settings including: setting PCI interrupts to Automatic (the default is 11), disabling the PCI Express Active-State Power Management, disabling anything related to the network card and bootup, etc.

I am not running the latest BIOS which is dated Dec-2011, but am on a fairly recent version which was updated in Q1-2011 and after reading the release notes, I’m not too optimistic that upgrading the BIOS will help for my case. (I’ll try the BIOS upgrade this weekend anyway.)

I did some Googling and found a thread on Lenovo’s Thinkpad forum with a similar issue – T420 not booting with a eSATA Expresscard, but nothing in there about whether the poster found a solution.

I was hoping for two things:

1) Does anyone have any ideas on what else I can try to get this hardware combo to successfully boot while the card is plugged in?

2) Does anyone have any experience or recommendations with compatible GigE Expresscards that will work with the X201 (single or dual NICs)?

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:25 am 
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Not sure if this will help, but try setting the bios boot order to choose your internal hard drive as the first boot device.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:43 am 
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Yep, I tried that last night with no luck. There was also a network boot order and I set that use the HD first but that didn't make a difference either.

GomJabbar wrote:
Not sure if this will help, but try setting the bios boot order to choose your internal hard drive as the first boot device.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:21 am 
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FYI, updated the BIOS alast night but still the same issue. I'm going to try the card in my X200 and see if it has the same issue...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:12 pm 
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Just a possibility. After booting successfully and then plugging in your card, open Windows Device Manager and see which IRQ's and Addresses's it's using (click on device, then click on the Resources tab). Change setting from Automatic to Manual and manually enter the same information.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:17 am 
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GomJabbar wrote:
Just a possibility. After booting successfully and then plugging in your card, open Windows Device Manager and see which IRQ's and Addresses's it's using (click on device, then click on the Resources tab). Change setting from Automatic to Manual and manually enter the same information.


The question is which PCI channel maps to which IRQ? On my BIOS config, channels A-H all use 11 which allows the chipset to manage the mapping.

Image

The two entries that I need to set are the Realtek ones, -5 and -3. I may have to trial & error each channel individually on a manual setting but without knowing which channel corresponds to which memory range, this could be hit or miss.

I tried the Startech card in my X200 and X200S and they both boot-up fine with the card installed. Unfortunately, those two machines have slower CPUs which make them less ideal as a VM host.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:20 pm 
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A new thought came to me. When using an internal NIC card that is not whitelisted in the BIOS, that will prevent a laptop computer from booting. I thought NIC's plugged in an ExpressCard slot or PC Cardbus slot or USB port should not encounter this problem however.

Perhaps a BIOS update would fix this issue.

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