T61/X61 SATA II 1.5 Gb/s cap - willing to pay for a solution

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by dubak, Feb 14, 2010.

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Would you be willing to spend some money for a solution enabling SATA II on your T61/X61

  1. YES

    228 vote(s)
    71.3%
  2. NO

    92 vote(s)
    28.8%
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  1. jketzetera

    jketzetera Notebook Evangelist

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    I have now tested Middleton's patched BIOS and it worked!!!!

    I flashed the BIOS of my "expendable" T61p (model type 6457-85M) in Windows XP. The flash update went without any problems and I put in my Windows 7 setup and booted it.

    I opened the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Application and it was now showing Generation 2 instead of Generation 1 as the SATA transfer mode of my Intel G2 SSD.

    I ran CrystalDiskMark and it confirmed what the Intel Application was saying. For the first time ever, thanks to Middleton's BIOS the SATA-I speed barrier has been broken on a T61p!!! (Please note that my G2 only has less than 3GB of total free space, which influences the benchmark negatively)

    I will proceed with the comparative benchmarks but have to postpone them for a few days to some unfortunate and unforseen events.

    However, many many kudos to Middleton who managed to pull of an awesome feat (even without having a Thinkpad himself). Also, many thanks to Nando4 who has been actively involved in trying to find a fix and who also did a lot of needed background research!

    Now, if only one could combine a WWAN whitelist BIOS with the SATA-II patch, then my T61p QXGA Frankenpad would be the ultimate notebook (at least to me ;) )
     

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  2. XStoneX

    XStoneX Notebook Enthusiast

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    These are really great news. Seems, that everythings run fine and the benches are much better than before! If you want - and for sure with the agreement of middleton - I also try it in combination with my S-ATA Ultrabay Adapter in the T61 Dockingstation. If there are no problems with the compatibility of the Ultrabayadapter (with 500GB Samsung HDD), I think middleton could release the BIOS finally.

    I am not able to receive PMs at the moment, my E-Mail is ....... (edited)

    Greetz,

    XStoneX
     
  3. jketzetera

    jketzetera Notebook Evangelist

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    More testing is always better than less testing. However, while Lenovo might have had a legitimate reason for capping the speed to SATA-I, a coherent and valid explanation for this has never been given (at least not officially).

    The official explanation given can only be categorized as either nonsensical or incomplete.

    The full official statement from, Mark from Lenovo can be found at

    Re: t61 does not operate at SATA-II speeds?! - Page 6 - lenovo community

    Below is the relevant excerpt:

    “All,

    I've investigated this issues at length through engineering and have received the following explaination of SATA data rates available on the Santa Rosa ('61) and current Montevina based systems (T400/T500, W500, W700, etc)...

    "For Santa Rosa-based systems, the Intel ICH8 supports a SATA bus speed of up to 3.0 Gb/s. Lenovo made a design decision to prioritize maintaining compatibility with Ultrabay disk drives, which are connected via a SATA-to-PATA conversion chip which could not handle a 3.0 Gb/s SATA bus speed reliably. Therefore the system was standardized to 1.5 Gb/s.” “


    So by reading the above we see that Lenovo states the following reason for capping the speed:

    “…maintaining compatibility with Ultrabay disk drives, which are connected via a SATA-to-PATA conversion chip which could not handle a 3.0 Gb/s SATA bus speed reliably. “

    Unfortunately, the above stated reason does not make any sense whatsoever for the following reason:

    The Ultrabay in the 61-series Thinkpads is connected to the ICH8M PATA controller and not the SATA controller of the ICH8M chipset. Any device connected to the Ultrabay, be it a PATA HDD or a SATA HDD will communicate over the ICH8M PATA interface.

    In order to use a HDD in a 61-series Thinkpad Ultrabay one needs to use an Ultrabay adapter. There are two different categories of Ultrabay adapters, one for PATA HDDs and one for SATA HDDs.

    The Ultrabay adapter for the PATA HDDs is just a simple mechanical adapter, connecting the pins of the HDD PATA interface to the internal Ultrabay PATA interface.

    However, the Ultrabay adapter for SATA HDDs contains a SATA-to-PATA bridge chip which is needed for SATA HDDs to be able to communicate over the Ultrabay PATA interface.

    It is this bridge chip that Mark is referring to in his “explanation”. However, how the speed setting on the ICH8M SATA interface can have anything to do with the onboard SATA-to-PATA bridge chip in the Ultrabay adapter (that is connected via the ICH8M PATA interface) is beyond me and beyond anyone else as it simply does not make any sense.

    In the thread in the Lenovo forums, myself and others asked Mark for a clarification on his official statement given the above but he never bothered to respond.

    Given that Lenovo gave a nonsensical reason for capping the speed and never cared to elaborate when asked about it, my gut leans toward that this fix will work well. However, only testing will tell for sure.
     
  4. User Retired 2

    User Retired 2 Notebook Nobel Laureate NBR Reviewer

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    Awesome! I knew it would work without any hiccups. Expect positive affect on the resale value of a T61p/X61.

    It would seem Lenovo chose to limit the sata primary bay to function with the same HDDs the ultrabay would function with. This providing 'overall compatability' as supposedly the ultrabay adapter has incompatability issues with sata-II drives. Unusual claim by Lenovo given the same Marvell sata-to-pata bridge chip is shown working perfectly well here with a OCZ Vertex SSD and Scorpio Black HDD using the same ICH8M I/O PATA interface.
     
  5. middleton

    middleton Notebook Consultant

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    XStoneX

    I've just sent the BIOS on your email.


    jketzetera

    The same story was with CTRL-FN swap. Lenovo made CTRL-FN BIOS switch only for new ThinkPads but not for the old ones. They unofficially explain this fact by hardware issues which don't allow to make CTRL-FN switch for old models.

    As you know I managed to make CTRL-FN patch. After that I decided to compare my patch with the ThinkPad T510 BIOS (which has the official CTRL-FN switch). I was surprized when I saw absolutely the same code for keyboard handling therefore lenovo didn't change hardware in new ThinkPads - they still use Renesas Embedded Controllers based on Hitachi processors. Moreover: lenovo's keyboard handling code performs CTRL-FN switch just like I do in my patch. It's very funny.

    So I think there are no hardware issues in these two cases (SATA II speed limit and CTRL-FN switch). It's only marketing. Lenovo forces users to buy new ThinkPad models.


    nando4

    I forgot to thank you for your researching. I had the complete picture of the problem after reading your posts. Your work significantly speeded up creating the SATA II patch.
     
  6. XStoneX

    XStoneX Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you, middleton.

    I'll patch your BIOS in the next few minutes. I saw, that you wrote it for a 32-bit OS. Is there a problem patching it under Windows 7 64-Bit?
     
  7. middleton

    middleton Notebook Consultant

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    There is no BIOS update for T61/X61 which you can flash under 64-bit Windows (you can check this on lenovo's official site).
    Lenovo recommends you the following: "If Windows Vista or 7 64-bit is already installed on your system, then you must use the bootable CD ISO format of this BIOS update".

    Check you email. I sent you bootable CD-image in ISO format.
    There is an alternative way: you can install 32-bit Windows on another partition of your hard drive.
     
  8. 996GT2

    996GT2 Notebook Consultant

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    Wow, finally a working solution to the issue! I haven't looked into this issue much since ZaZ closed down my thread and Lenovo tech support gave me nothing more than a "there is no issue".

    Thanks nando4 and middleton for all of your work!

    Middleton, I've PM'd you about possibly testing the beta BIOS on my T61. I have an X-25M G2 as the main drive and a 640GB Samsung hard drive in the Ultrabay. Please let me know if it would be possible for me to beta test the BIOS and post relevant performance results.

    By the way, I am using Windows 7 x64, so I will require a CD-ISO version of the BIOS in order to test.
     
  9. XStoneX

    XStoneX Notebook Enthusiast

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    Congratulations to middleton & nando4, it's really done.

    I flashed the BIOS via bootable CD (because I use Windows 7 64-bit), while flashing, there is no difference to the official BIOS versions so far. But afterwards my Windows 7 is booting about 4 seconds faster than before and the benchmarks tells me, that everything is fine ;)

    The Ultrabay HDD runs at S-ATA I like before, see the HDTune screenshot for details. But my Intel G2 160GB SSD runs like hell now! :biggrin:

    I've tried several tests, put the T61 out of the docking, changed the HDD in the UltraBay with my internal DVD-Burner,... No problems here. Also the CPU usage while running the AS_SSD Bench is like before.

    From my side you'll get green lights to make your great BIOS public. Now I'll make the first donation for your great work. :notworthy:

    Greetz from Austria & big thx again,

    XStoneX

    EDIT: Pictures attached. Nr. 2 is the Benchmark before flashing the Mod-BIOS!
     

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  10. middleton

    middleton Notebook Consultant

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    PM me your contact information. After you test the patch I'll put it in public access. I think three tests are quite enough.
     
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