T400 Ultrabay Question

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by Gossling, Jun 4, 2009.

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  1. Gossling

    Gossling Notebook Guru

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    Hello,

    I am rather confused by the Ultrabay drive. ThinkWiki cites IBM as defining the UltraBay as: "...an intelligent bay that switches its pinout signals to allow the installation of standard and optional features in what would normally be just the FDD bay."

    I understand that the FDD bay is a floppy drive. Am I right in assuming that this has been replaced by the optical drive? And that today, the UltraBay drive is installed in the optical drive's place?

    My T400 configuration's optical drive is:
    "DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer, Ultrabay Slim"
    Does this selection merely mean that I have the option of installing an UltraBay, or does it mean that it is already installed? I would have assumed the latter, had I not noticed the "ThinkPad Serial ATA Hard Drive Bay Adapter II" option for $40 extra in the Accessories section.

    Do I need to select both in order to install an extra hard drive or 3-cell battery in place of the optical drive? Or does the optional accessory provide an additional slot? When I talked to a sales rep, he didn't mention that an accessory was required to take advantage of this feature.

    Where is the best place to buy a weight saver for the UltraBay slot. The HP dv4t (this notebook's only current competitor for my money) provides one by default, and I am a little disappointed that it is so difficult to find one (the sales rep didn't even know what I meant.) After a bit of googling I found that this accessory is called a "travel cover" and its part number is: 44C0690. How much weight would this accessory actually save? In other words how heavy is the optical drive?

    Other than the fact that the 3-cell is used before the main battery, are there any disadvantages to using the UltraBay to add battery life? I only plan on using the 3-cell for long trips (airport/airplane, road, etc.), and it will, for the most part, be kept at home, so I don't think I'll lose capacity too quickly.

    Thanks for any answers you may provide!

    (p.s. should probably be questions plural...I guess I had more to ask than I realized!)
     
  2. mattmcss

    mattmcss Notebook Deity

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    I can only answer your first questions.

    If you want to add a 2nd hard drive to your thinkpad, you need the "ThinkPad SATA hard drive bay adaptor II", you don't need this to install the 3 cell battery in the ultrabay. You simply remove your entire dvd drive, and in the empty space goes the battery.

    The Ultrabay is already installed, and the different things you can buy for it fit in there, its simply an opening.
     
  3. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    The optical drive is about a half a pound. The modular battery because it always discharges first tends to wear out quickly. I think you're better off getting the larger battery if you can live with the weight.
     
  4. jonlumpkin

    jonlumpkin NBR Transmogrifier

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    The original UltraBay is an older technology that I believe was first offered on the ThinkPad 700 a long time back. This is why it mentions floppy drive.

    The UltrayBay was followed by the UltraBay 2000.

    Your T400 has the UltraBay SLIM (9.5mm). You only have one UltraBay and it can accept ONLY ONE of the following at any one time (they are swappable):

    Optical Drive - DVD+RW, DVD/CD-RW, Blu-Ray
    Slim SATA II HDD adapter with a 2.5" HDD or SSD
    3 cell bay battery.

    You can swap these without turning the computer off as long as you eject them first.
     
  5. Gossling

    Gossling Notebook Guru

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    So the "ThinkPad Serial ATA Hard Drive Bay Adapter II" accessory is basically an add-on to the UltraBay that allows for a storage device? If so, thanks for clearing that up!

    What is the max capacity HDD or SSD that will fit in the UltraBay Adapter II? Will the extra storage reduce battery life or produce additional heat? Is there a significant advantage to keeping the operating system files on a SSD over a HDD?

    I expect the price of high capacity SSD's to drop significantly over time. Would it be wise to buy a HDD as the main drive for now and upgrade to a similar capacity SSD in the future?

    If I were to replace the notebook's main HDD, could I still use it externally via cables?

    I plan on using a 9-cell as the main battery and reserving the 3-cell for especially long powerless trips. This way, the 3-cell would last longer than under normal use, right?

    Thanks for the replies
     
  6. mattmcss

    mattmcss Notebook Deity

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    You got that right, the hard drive bay adapter simply allows space for a 2.5" hard drive. The highest capacity 2.5" hard drive out now is 500GB.

    I plan on upgrading to a SSD for my main drive, but I'm waiting for 2 things,
    1. prices to drop and capacities to get higher
    2. Windows 7 to come out - It can take advantage more of the higher speeds the ssd offers, something that vista can't take full advantage of.

    So hopefully around christmas time prices will be lower or at least capacities will be higher, and windows 7 should be out by then as well (microsoft says Oct. 22nd right now).

    I know you can re-use your original drive as an external hard drive if you want to re-format it. You would just need a 20 dollar enclosure that can be found all over the place.
     
  7. jonlumpkin

    jonlumpkin NBR Transmogrifier

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    The UltraBay Adapter II will accept the highest capacity SATA 2.5" wide and 9.5mm high HDD you can find. At the moment, this is a 500GB drive although a future 1TB drive should also work.

    The extra storage will reduce battery life slightly. However, if you allow the second drive to spin down when not in use, the difference will be very small (<0.5 watts in most cases). If you keep the OS files on an SSD it will be far faster than the HDD; additionally this will allow the HDD to spin down most of the time; further, you can remove the HDD and swap in the optical drive if you need to install a new program or use a DVD. I think a small (30-80GB) SSD for your OS/applications, and a large 5400RPM drive for your media files is the best way to go (I would have done this if my x200 supported it).

    You can use the original HDD externally using a SATA enclosure (USB or FireWire). However, it will be slower than an internal option and you won't be able to boot from it.

    My personal opinion about SSDs is that size doesn't matter too much (especially if you can utilize a hybrid storage solution). Just purchase a small SSD that performs well (any Samsung, Intel, Mtron, or Indillix [OCZ Vertex] SSD) and upgrade the HDD as your media storage needs increase.
     
  8. Gossling

    Gossling Notebook Guru

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    Off topic question: are you certain that your T500 is compatible with Windows 7? I ask because I'm almost tempted to wait until Windows 7 comes out and products come preloaded with it. But if the T500/400 are compatible with the OS, then I may just pull the trigger now.

    If I used a HDD in the UltraBay slot for media, how would I rip music straight from a CD to my media folders if those folders are contained in my UltraBay HDD. I guess I'd be forced to use an external hard drive then, making the Hard Drive Bay Adapter pretty much useless, right? But holding media on an external hard drive is not practical.

    Unless (and I just thought of this now), I use an external optical drive which I'll be using less than anything. Is this possible/efficient? Is it possible to connect a former internal optical drive externally? If so, I could have SSD (as main drive for OS and such), HDD (for media, connected through UltraBay), and optical (for use mainly at home for ripping media). But I have this feeling that there is no good way to connect an optical drive externally...tell me I'm wrong!

    Thanks again
     
  9. jonlumpkin

    jonlumpkin NBR Transmogrifier

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    You would not be able to rip a CD straight to the HDD. However, you could eject the HDD, rip the files to the SSD, load the HDD, transfer the files from the SSD to the HDD for long term storage.


    An external drive is a fine alternative and this is what I do for my x200 Tablet. I DID harvest a laptop DVD+RW as my external (using this enclosure). However, the T400 uses a slim-line drive and it thus more complicated to find a proper enclosure, but it is possible.
     
  10. Gossling

    Gossling Notebook Guru

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    Did you connect through 1394 or USB? If I were to buy an external DVD RW, would you definitely recommend something with a 1394 connection, or is there virtually no functional advantage in this case?
     
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