Y510 Ideapad upgrade to 802.11n?

Discussion in 'IdeaPad & Essential' started by Hawk521, Feb 23, 2008.

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  1. Hawk521

    Hawk521 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I got my Y510 3 weeks ago. So far it has worked flawlessly for my needs.

    No complaints.

    However - I've just also installed a HDHomerun "network attached tuner" device for digital television viewing and recording. The bandwidth of my 802.11g Buffalo Turbo G router runs pretty much at a peak of 54Mhz and it is borderline fast enough for the HDTV streaming across my wireless. The times it glitches a little bit are when my wife fires up some download or something significant on her wireless notebook.

    So - I obviously could use a bit more bandwidth on the local wifi LAN. This got me wondering if I could upgrade my Y510 to the 802.11n (draft N) wireless adapter (item# 4965AGN).

    My Y510 came with the 3945ABG (802.1g) wireless mini-PCI card installed. I have noticed that the Y710 and some Y510 models come with the 4965AGN (Draft-N of 802.11n). Some of the documentation I received indicates that the Y510 could ship with either of these two cards installed. Hmmmmm... Well, it only costs a little bit to check this out. And for the heck of it, I went ahead and ordered a TrendNet 631BRP modem with the same 802.11n (Draft-N). The Trendnet had some good reviews for its speed and backward compatibility with 802.11g devices.

    I have the 4965AGN card on order($38). Has anyone successfully done a transplant of the 4965AGN for the factory 3945ABG card? A quick peek inside the back of the Y519 showed me only that the card form factors are quite similar. However, the existing card has only 2 antenna wires visible.

    I'm not counting on it (the 4965AGN can work with only 2 antennas) but am hopeful that there exists a third antenna wire laying in there out of sight under the existing 3945ABG card. Does anayone know?
     
  2. Hawk521

    Hawk521 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ok - I've spent the better part of a day researching this.

    To recap what I think I have learned:

    1. Only a Lenovo branded 4965AGN miniPCIe card will likely work in my Lenovo Y510 notebook. I'll find out for sure when the generic card I have on order arrives. If it won't boot with this card I will endeavor to purchase the correct version of the card.

    2. It is possible that my notebook has 3 antennas in place with only 2 connected. When I pulled the cover off I saw only the two antenna wires connected, but am hopeful that since the Y510 is sold with either the 3845abg or the 4965agn card it may be that they put three antenna wires in all of them. I hope to find a third wire tucked safely under the existing 3845abg card but won't know until I get into it deeper. Will advise once I know for sure.

    Have I missed anything important? Has anyone out here already been down this path with the current Y510 notebook?

    Thanks for any insight.
     
  3. wernst

    wernst Notebook Enthusiast

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    I haven't been down this road with the Y510, but based on my experience with other notebooks, I bet the generic MiniPCI card will work just fine, and I am also betting that the third antenna lead is safely tucked away somewhere.

    But do let us know what happens.

    -Warr
     
  4. Hawk521

    Hawk521 Notebook Enthusiast

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    2-29-2008 LEAP DAY UPDATE...

    First the bad news... My Lenovo Y510 bios rejected the generic 4965AGN much as I had thought it might. Immediately upon pressing the power button the bios displays, "Unsupported Network Device Detected. System halted." This is a bump in the road though, as I am on the hunt for a Lenovo branded version of this same mini-PCIe card. My research indicates that Lenovo, in their infinite big brother inspired wisdom, has set the bios on many (if not all?) of their wireless equipped notebooks so that the use of a generic replacement wireless card will not run. They actually check info right off the 4965AGN chip firmware to verify that it is one "branded for use in a Lenovo." If not, they just refuse to let the notebook boot. Unfair! Unfair! But alas, who you gonna call?

    Anyone need a generic 4965AGN or want to trade a Lenovo branded one for my generic Intel version?

    Now for the good news... My Lenovo Y510 did indeed have 3 antenna already wired into the notebook at the factory - just as I had hoped. The third one was lightly taped underneath the existing 3845ABG miniPCIe card and had a small piece of clear plastic tubing slipped over the end to prevent it from shorting against anything. So at least I'll have the full benefit of all three antennae when I do get the 802.11n working.

    Does anyone know a good, reliable source for a Lenovo branded 4965AGN miniPIC card? I've seen someone on eBay offering "refurbished" Lenovo branded 4965AGN cards but I don' know whether that is worth the risk.

    I'll post more after I get this actually working.
     
  5. GridGI

    GridGI Notebook Consultant

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    Question, is your hard drive loud? My experience is with Y410, when accessing HD the drive access sound is very loud. I would say more than 3 times louder than T61, which is barely audible. Y410 has a 160GB Hitachi HD.
     
  6. Hawk521

    Hawk521 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Mine must not be loud as I've never heard it - other than if things are extremely quiet I might hear it "click" once in a while when apparently it has powered down and then something wakes it up.

    Actually I have grown to really like this Y510. I have recommended it to several others who now own one. My only gripe is that Lenovo is so paranoid that someone might put a non-Lenovo purchased add-on PCI card in it that they've precluded that without advertising the fact. They SHOULD NOT be allowed to advertise it as miniPCI Express compatible.

    Anyone know where I can buy the 42T0865 (Lenovo PN) version of the Intel 4965AGN miniPCI card? I've found some "refurbs" that I'd rather steer clear of, and a few at exhorbitant prices that will never part that much money from my wallet. Am keeping my eyes open...
     
  7. GridGI

    GridGI Notebook Consultant

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    Enter your model number and select view all, the WiFi cards are listed near the bottom - http://shop.lenovo.com/us/accessories.
    I like the Y410 as well, in any case I will be getting a larger HD so this HD noise will not be an issue, I'm just a bit disappointed that Lenovo would settle for lower quality HDs. I called support but they can only replace faulty drives and the loud drives do not fit the category.
     
  8. Hawk521

    Hawk521 Notebook Enthusiast

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    My Y510 came with a 250Gb Hitachi drive. It is quiet. It runs at 5400 rpm - a bit slow compared with our servers, but then, this isn't a server!

    From a practical point of view, the tradeoff in a notebook is heat vs performance. I think the Y510 is right in the middle of the sweet spot! :)

    The Lenovo accessories site doesn't yet recognize my model number. And they probably won't ever list the 4965AGN miniPCIe card for it because they have deemed that a component that the user should not mess with. But since they sell this same notebook with that card, I know it will work. Finding one at a reasonable price may be a different story. There is someone in HongKong selling them on eBay - but that just seems a bit desperate to me. I might get to that point, but not just yet.

    Thanks for the help. I'll follow this up when/if I make some progress.
     
  9. Hawk521

    Hawk521 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I just ordered a "Lenovo brand" 4965AGN miniPCIe for my Y510 notebook.

    Am going to sell the new Intel 4965AGN card at a good price.

    [NOTE: 4965AGN card has been sold.]
     
  10. wernst

    wernst Notebook Enthusiast

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    Where'd you order it from?

    (and I agree with you that the Y510 is kind of in the sweet spot of performance versus price - especially if you get the rebate thing going. My Y510 was $529 after rebate. Talk about the deal of the year...)

    -Warr
     
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