Lenovo Thinkpad T430 Upgrades: Quad Core i7, 8GB DDR3, 1600×900 Screen, 9-cell

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I recently replaced my IBM / Lenovo Thinkpad T60 with a Lenovo Thinkpad T430. The T60 was a great all around laptop for school and basic productivity tasks and it was by far my favorite laptop of 2016. If you just need a cheap beater laptop (I bought mine for 10 USD off eBay) then look no further than the IBM T60.

However, my work flow is changing and I needed to change up my hardware to accommodate my increasingly mobile production environment. I bought a Lenovo T430 off ebay for $125, it came equipped with 4GB DDR3 RAM, an Intel i5 3230m dual core processor, 1366×768 TN display, and Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. This is a great base configuration for a high end office machine but it’s just not enough for video editing.

In this video I am going to be upgrading this laptop with a quad core Intel I7 3612qm processor, 1600×900 tn display, back-lit keyboard, 9-cell battery, and I also attempted to upgrade the laptop with 16GB of DDR3 but unfortunately that did not go as planned. When all was said and done, I had a powerful and portable editing rig.

I know that I could have bought a new laptop with what I paid for the Thinkpad and all of these upgrades but that is not what I wanted. I wanted something that would last, something that will actually survive the day to day abuses of being thrown and smashed around inside a backpack. I wanted a Thinkpad, and that’s what I got.

If anyone is curious about how much I paid in total here is a quick list: 8GB of DDR3 from friend (I am returning the other stick) $30, Intel i7 $107, 9-cell battery $69, 1600×900 display $28 + $7 shipping, backlit keyboard $24, base laptop $125. Total = $390 Keep in mind that this is not the net cost to me because I am taking the old parts and reselling them on ebay, so I do make some money back (approx. $100 back).

T430 unboxing:

Parts links and link to T430 seller:

T430 seller:

9-Cell battery:

1600×900 display:

backlit keyboard:

slice battery:

8GB DDR3 (it worked, I just could not use it because of the RAM slot fiasco):

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45 COMMENTS

  1. Okay….. So I pulled the laptop back apart and put the i5 back in and both RAM slots worked again. So several things could be wrong. Something might be wrong with the CPU, the laptop's BIOS and the CPU might not be playing well together, ect… I am not really sure what I am going to do at this point, because besides the memory issue everything is working great. I keep having to edit this comment because I keep running into conflicting evidence as to whether I can use a 16GB dimm in the T430. The i7 DOES support 32GB of RAM according to the Intel spec sheet (though that might not be referring to a 2X 16gb dimm config) but I am not sure if the T430 BIOS/chipset supports 16GB dimms. Some say yes and some people say no. Any input on this would be appreciated.

    Update: I just upgraded the T430 to the latest BIOS and that did not change anything (which was super easy, I am not sure where I read that it would be difficult, they were wrong). The top RAM slot still does not work not matter what configuration I try.

  2. Vid is awesome, quick question, i have a t430s, supposedly the i5 processor is soldered in, can i replace the motherboard with an i7? is this the solution to make it faster? Thanks for your time

  3. The computer came clean it was easy to set up with the normal procedures.♒>JustU.Faith/Thinkpad_T?玉 The delivery was quick and the computer was packed in safely. Well worth the investment🤗

  4. For half of what you spent on the computer and the upgrades, I think you could have gotten a t450s with 1080p touch 16gb with i7

  5. is it because its single row Ram? i know you moved on from the T430 but its still the best classic / modern thinkpad there is. I have tired many and I always find myself going back to the T430 especially with the FHD 1080p mod. there is actually a 2K 1440p panel mod now for the T430!

  6. You can update display upto 1920×1080, j upgraded with stock i5 12 GB RAM 240 GB SSD, FHD IPS display and backlit keyboard.

  7. I know this is an old video! But did you flash the bios to current one? I am upgrading a T420 i5 to an i7. I flashed first!

  8. So if you use a slice battery on the bottom of your computer will that affect the cooling of the computer? as you know when a laptop is not on a straight surface it tends to overheat and what I want to know is since I was planning on buying a cooling fan for the bottom of my laptop if I were to purchase the slice and use it that would prohibit me from using the cooling fan correct? Or is there a way around this issue?

  9. Wait… That's like my old laptop… Hmmm maybe tryinn to upgrade too

    Or transform it into a desktop type.

  10. Good Try! Your problem is in the Memory, Dual channel and Memory Density! look it up! Got to give it you, but it takes a bit more than pop in pop out and taking out screws! Memory!

  11. Hey importat question! Did you have issues charging your laptop with a 90W charger after you installed a quad core CPU? From what I have read online, it is possible that 90W are insufficient to properly charge a quad core swapped T430

  12. I'm sure it's been figured out by now, but you showed DDR3L RAM on the screen. The T430 takes regular DDR3 RAM; my T430 screen is cracked and needs replaced. The link in the description is now invalid, so if you or anyone has an eBay link or something to a new screen I'd appreciate it!

  13. My t430 had a 4th Gen i5/quadro/1 dead ram slot, 1600×900 and it cost me $225 as is.
    Strange yours doesn't have a thinklight
    9 cell Battery is good for an hour and slice failed but it is still a beast

  14. 2-1/2 years after this video was posted I bought a Thinkpad W520 with near identical
    specs to your post-upgrade T430. Cost was about $150, including shipping.

  15. Just wondering… Have you ever tried gaming on it? I'm thinking of getting this setup and play some Guild Wars 2 sometimes.

  16. did you fix the RAM issue? I had problems upgrading to DDR3 non L on a laptop, I returned the DDR3 and picked up a DDR3L instead (low voltage .. 1.35v) and worked..

  17. Here are my two cents on your laptop issues one T430 I5 uses so dimm 204 ddr3 1600mhz pc3-12800 ram I7 so dimm 204 ddr3 1333mhz pc3 10600 ram I own T420 I7 am T430s I5 2.Also always update bios before any cpu or ram changes Some ram will not be compatible

  18. I had a very similar problem with a Dell Optiplex 9020 where I did a CPU swap and suddenly half my RAM wasn't working but not only half the RAM wasn't working but it was only operating in single channel mode. The board supports 4 sticks of RAM in dual channel mode. Anyway long story short what turned out to be the problem for me was either a slight bit of dust/lint that made it's want into the CPU socket during the CPU swap. Or the other thing it might have been simply was one or more of the pads on the bottom of the CPU was dirty due to me accidentally touching it or some other form of contamination. In any case upon blowing out the CPU socket and cleaning the bottom of the CPU itself I put it back in and magically everything worked as normal. It's probably long over due tips to try now but if you or anyone else is having a similar RAM issue following a CPU swap clean the bottom of the CPU and blow out the socket itself. Even if you can't see anything, something might still be there. I learned this lesson from first hand experience.

  19. 9 cell battery?
    How cute
    https://imgur.com/a/kYmbT37
    Meet my behemoth, a T420s with a modified main battery that can get up to 51hrs of screen on time (around 20hrs of moderate intensity usage)

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