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9.5mm HDD in T420s/X1/X220

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by vinuneuro, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    So it looks like 9.5mm does fit at least in the X220.

    I'm now almost certainly going to go this route instead of the Z5K500 since it gives the options of 640 and 750gb. 640gb 9.5mm drives are the same price as the Z5K500. There's only a .05 lb weight penalty and no power consumption difference.

    However, I just tried the method in the link above I don't like it. Good news is that a 9.5mm does fit fine in the bay and the cover goes on no problem. Getting the drive in is easy enough, but getting it out is a total b*tch. The drive goes in at an angle which means you have to push the hdd down with one hand to keep it from pulling on the sata connector on the systemboard up; this is fine. But when removing it, unless you have someone to push down while you pry it out the drive does make the connector on the motherboard deflect enough to make me nervous about doing this more than once.

    The root cause of all this is is four small tabs on the upper part of the chassis (facing down) where the hard drive cover goes on. I don't why they even bothered adding that as it does nothing (there are hooks at one end of the hdd cover, a couple along the line and the screw at the end). The fit is so close and tight that once I removed the stickers from the spare Seagate I had it's possible to slide the drive straight in.

    So the solution is to just file/grind down those four tabs and 9.5mm hdd's will slide in/out without any problem at all.
     
  2. LastSilmaril

    LastSilmaril Notebook Consultant

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    Can you take a picture of those tabs? I would love not to waste money on 7mm drives, and am considering simply waiting a bit so I can get a 1TB drive in there. (Take that, MBA!)
     
  3. Thors.Hammer

    Thors.Hammer Notebook Enthusiast

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    Or you could just use a 7mm drive. :D
     
  4. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    To clarify, just removing the stickers from both sides of the spare Seagate allows it to slide in but with quite a bit of force (there'd be no hope of getting it out without taking the bezel off again). Once the tabs are ground down it will definitely slide in with ease (I haven't done it yet, need to find my Dremel grinding attachment <- magnesium chassis.)

    Drive installed, hdd conver on, all good:

    [​IMG]

    You can see the tabs just are just barely in the way:

    [​IMG]

    You can clearly see them now. Started using sandpaper before realizing magensium is metal and will need to be ground down with the thin Dremel grinding attachment. It'll be much more accurate than the sandpaper as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. erik

    erik modifier

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    people actually want large, heavy, mechanical HDDs in their ultraportables? &#160; what's next... everyone wanting to go back to windows 3.11 to speed up boot times? :p

    joking aside, kudos for figuring out the geometry. &#160; hopefully pushing on the HDD cover when typing or the lack of rubber rails doesn't cause any issues down the line. &#160; it'll be interesting to see how this plays out long-term.
     
  6. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I ordered the 500GB Z5K500. I hope it comes, but if it doesn't, I'll make due with the 320GB I have now. It's already 300GB more than my X200 or X200t could offer me.
     
  7. Zuwxiv

    Zuwxiv Notebook Guru

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    I've got to think that, if one seems to fit but little things were put in to prevent them, there's got to be a serious design constraint that required that.

    I doubt the Lenovo engineers would be like "Let's add a 9.5mm height bay, then toss in some tabs that stop you from putting the drive in."

    I can't think of any problems it would cause though, and I hope you don't experience any.
     
  8. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    I did try putting a 9.5mm drive (without the rubber rails) into my T420s. It went in part way and then hit resistance. There seemed to be insufficient height in the bay nearest the front edge of the computer but the shortfall is small. Perhaps if I had forced the drive in it would have gone, but would never come out again.

    John
     
  9. aax

    aax Newbie

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    I needed more space for my virtual mashines so I ordered 640gb drive from https://www.superbiiz.com/detail.ph...00rpm-SATA2-16MB-Notebook-Hard-Drive-2-5-inch ( best price I found , and no, I'm not affiliated with them).
    Putting the drive was a royal PTA. Basically you are forcing the drive in. I had to wiggle it to get it going and to get it out, you had to pry a little on the side of the drive. This is on x220t.
    Works like a charm now.
     
  10. LastSilmaril

    LastSilmaril Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the pictures vinunero.
    Is it difficult to use a dremel tool effectively for this if I've never done it before?
    Eh. In any case, it's difficult to justify a basically unnecessary HDD purchase right now. Let's see if I could hold off for a yr and then go for a 1TB drive. This Samsung looks very tempting though:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152290
     
  11. erik

    erik modifier

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    if you have to ask, it's probably safest to assume the answer is "no." &#160; then again, i've seen an equal amount of damage done by people who say "i can do that." :D
     
  12. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    That's right. All recommendations in this thread are "do at your own risk." :)

    That said, no it's not hard. Check on youtube to see what you're dealing with. Use an attachment like this one.

    953 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone / Model: 953

    Btw, thinking about it I can't really see any disadvantage of going this route. Hard drives are rated for very high amounts of shocks these days. Between that and Thinkpad APS, there shouldn't be much risk of damage in an accident. As for the pressing on the hard drive cover when typing, how much of a concern is it really? You don't push down on keys very much, and the keyboard itself is pretty rigid so I can't see transmissibility being very high. Whatever force does go through is spread over that grid in the keyboard bezel above the hard drive, so pressure on the cover will be really pretty tiny.
     
  13. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    Ok I just ground down the tabs with the dremel. Seriously, this can't possibly be any easier. It takes 2min to do all four tabs since magnesium is a soft metal. Just go back and forth across each tab slowly (don't stagnate over on point to avoid peaks and valleys) and don't apply too much pressure.

    The Dremel attachment I used is probably just some wood grinding material. Since magnesium is so soft you don't need something hard like aluminum oxide or a carbide bit.

    End result: You can slide a 9.5mm height hdd in and out with the caddy. There's no room to fold the tail though so cut off enough so there's around .5" left. With this much you can put the hdd cover on no problem and still have enough to grab to pull the hdd out with ease.

    I feared that maybe vibration would be a problem with no rubber rails, but I can't feel any at all with this Seagate 7200.4. Hopefully the current 750gb 5400rpm drives are just as good.

    12.5", 3lbs, IPS, insane processing power for occasional video encoding, 80gb ssd boot drive, 750gb internal storage (1TB like by the end of the year), will drive 2-3 monitors. WOW.
     

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  14. LenovoGringo

    LenovoGringo Notebook Consultant

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    Do at your own risk and will obviously void warranty.

    If all that needs to be done is shaving down 4 tabs, Lenovo should have done this a long time ago.
     
  15. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    Fyi these tabs are maybe .25mm tall. What component's warranty are they going to void, the chassis? Is that something anyone has ever had replaced except under accident protection. And when are they going to discover that four shallow tabs underneath the hard drive cover, facing down, have been very slightly been reduced in height.

    Btw, this 7200rpm drive is at <35C right now for anyone concerned about heat like a couple people were in the German forum.

    This is a far more innocent and less invasive mod than the infamous AFFS swap in the X200 and X201, not that that was very much so.
     
  16. LastSilmaril

    LastSilmaril Notebook Consultant

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    Anyone care to recommend an actual model Dremel tool for me? I feel like there are a few things it may be useful for, even if I decide to hold off for a 1TB drive.
     
  17. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    Where do you live? I initially started off with one of those starter kits from Sears which comes with the dremel tool and an assortment of attachments (one of which I used for this). Eventually ended up buying a ton of cut-off wheels when I needed to cut some really rusted exhaust bolts in my car.

    Looking at prices, this is such a no brainer. The 750gb 9.5mm Hitachi is almost exactly same price as the 500gb 7mm Hitachi (and actually available). Just debating now whether I need 750gb or spend less and get the Hitachi or WD or Samsung 640gb.
     
  18. LastSilmaril

    LastSilmaril Notebook Consultant

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  19. Zuwxiv

    Zuwxiv Notebook Guru

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    Is it actual pure Magnesium in the frames, or an alloy?

    I'd be careful with cutting Magnesium, that stuff burns and does so in a blindingly bright light.
     
  20. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    That looks like the exact same kit I've got. If I had to buy one today (got mine years ago, it's still going strong despite heavy use), I'd look at the cordless ones too. Make sure to check reviews on the cordless ones before buying.

    Amazon.com: Dremel 8000-03 10.8-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Rotary Tool: Home Improvement

    I'm now considering putting off getting the 750gb one and maybe going for something like a WD5000BEVT or 5K500.B for the time being and wait for high-density drives to mature a bit more. They're also 50% cheaper ($50+ vs $75+). WD is the only one that's got decent experience with these Advanced Format drives and the initial 5400rpm ones were so so in performance. The WD7500BEKT is very fast though so maybe they've come to grips with the firmware and the 5400rpm ones are ok now too. I have my eye on the 5K750 since it's the cheapest at $75, but have the same fear of unoptimized firmware since it's their first Advanced Format drive out (along with the Z5K500).

    Of course it's an alloy. Pure metals are rarely ever used for anything. And no it doesn't burn like pure Mg would.
     

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