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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

X220 Resources


Congratulations, you chose the best laptop - the Lenovo Thinkpad X220. Below is a collection of information, tips, and tweaks for your X220. Some of this information is applicable to other Thinkpads and laptops in general.


OEM Displays

OEM displays are limited to 1366x768; IPS and TN options available. Models from LG begin with LG125WH2 and end with four characters. Information of models collected from datatsheets are below. Color gamut (area) is calculated from color coordinates from datasheet and are not 100% accurate.

A comparison of SLB1 and SLT3 panel can be found here.

Datasheets can be found here.

Sub-model SLB(1/3) SLB2 SLT1 SLT2 SLT3 TLB1 BX125XW01 V0 LTN125AT01
Manufacturer LG LG LG AUO Samsung
Typ. Power 4.78W 4.33W 3.9W 3.0W ?
Weight max 290g 205g 270g 270g ?
Contrast Ratio 500 500 300 200 ?
Brightness nits 300 300 200 200 200
vs sRGB 69.66% 69.81% 64.80% 63.58% ?
vs aRGB 51.64% 51.75% 48.04% 47.14% ?
vs NTSC 49.34% 49.45% 45.90% 45.04 ?
Compatibility Y N% Y N$ N% Y Y Y

Visualization of color gamut in CIE xy colorspace
$ - Mounting tabs on top and bottom
% - No mounting tabs
  • IPS panels have a tendency to develop bright spots, possibly due to pressure on the LCD. There is no known fix.
  • SLB1 is noted for ghosting.
  • SLB3 has no ghosting.
  • SLT1 has no ghosting and has reduced power consumption and weight due to use of newer AH-IPS technology.

LG125WH2-SLB1 Measurements

Measurements of the SLB1 panel in my X220 using a X-Rite Colormunki Display colorimeter are here. You can find a color profile for my display here. Brightness was set at 6 out of 15. The huge dE on highly saturated colors is due to the limited gamut of the display.

Some additional measurements of my calibrated display.
Brightness is more or less linear. Contrast ratio more or less remains the same.


Modifications to upgrade screen to FHD (1920x1080) and WQHD (2560x1440) exist. These rely on the Display Port from the docking connector instead of LVDS used for the original display. It is not posible to use LVDS for resolutions greater than 1366x768 since Lenovo cheaped out and decided not to route the second LVDS lane. FHD/WQHD mods are not covered here. Your search engine is your friend.

Other notes

  • Intel Graphics Control Panel -> Power -> Power Source: Battery
    • Disable "Display Refresh Rate Switching" to stop it changing refresh rate when on battery
    • Disable "Display Power Saving Technology" to stop it changing colors on your screen when on battery. Claims to save power but it does hardly anything but annoy you.
  • Refresh rate other than 50Hz and 60Hz is not possible. I have tried everything from fake EDID to fake drivers with no luck.
  • I move the taskbar to the left hand side to save precious vertical space. Darn you 16:9.
  • The SLB1 LCD uses about 1.5W at minimum brightness and about 5W at maximum brightness according Lenovo Power Manager. This agrees with values in the datasheet.
  • There is a small trim pot on the LCD controller board which controls gamma.


All keyboards FRUs for the X220 can be found here. From left to right, the manufacturer is NMB, ALPS, Chicony. NMB keyboards is said to provide the best key feedback, YMMV.

The blue "ThinkVantage" button can be remapped to do something useful by changing the below registry value to your favorite application/script. Personally I have it set to turn off my LCD.


Trackpoint & Trackpad

Remove mouse acceleration

Guide on how to do this can be found here. This does make using the trackpoint/trackpad on large displays a pain though.
I use these settings. (To use this: save the below into text file and change the file type to .reg and open)
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse]


[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Mouse]


Synaptics settings

  •  Setup as gestures, sensitivity as you please
  • TURN OFF Edge tap filtering
    • This causes taps at the edge of the trackpad fail because it limits the tap area on an already small trackpad

  • TURN OFF Gesture filtering

    • Similarly this causes half of the gestures to fail because it limits the gesture area on an already small trackpad

  • Turn off the trackpad (optional).

  • Trackpad firmware

    Lenovo has released a firmware update to stop the trackpad interference when using the Ultraslim 90W AC adapter. Firmware and instructions can be found here.


    • The X220 can run up to 16GB (2x8GB) at 1866MHz DDR3.
    • Use an unlocked BIOS to use 1600MHz and 1866MHz RAM.
      • Install the original 1.43 BIOS then the unlocked 1.43 BIOS. Download here MD5 hash: 38ae7f20e1dfa6d3b5aa034653e0eec7
    • The BIOS will limit RAM frequency to maximum speed in SPD.
    • If you are brave enough, you can overclock your RAM by writing new SPD profiles. Info here.
    • In the advanced BIOS set 'OneN Mode Support' to "1T" to use a Command Rate of 1T -- gives a small performance increase.
    • Always use two sticks even if size/timings are not matched. Dual channel greatly improves GPU performance.

    Some memory benchmarks.
    TLDR; lower CL = better, duh.

    Config Read MB/s Write MB/s Copy MB/s Latency ns
    2x4GB 1600MHz CL9 15440 14061 15768 54.1
    4+8GB 1600MHz CL11 14791 14023 14370 59.6
    vs 2x4GB 95.80% 99.73% 91.13% 110.17%

    • Everest 5.50.2100.0, i5 2520M, Maximum Performance profile, 2 runs


    The X220 uses the Intel HD 3000 which integrated into the Sandy Bridge CPU. It is not upgradeable, but an external graphics card using the ExpressCard slot is an option.


    Everything you need to know about eGPUs is here. Use Web Archive if the links in the thread do not work.

    VRAM Settings

    TLDR; VRAM settings in BIOS do nothing.

    Run Prealloc MB Aperture size MB Max Alloc MB 3DMark06
    Run 1 64 258 256 5200
    Run 2 128 258 256 5200
    Run 3 128 512 256 5190
    Run 4 128 512 Max 5180

    • Maximum performance profile, airplane mode, Lenovo Turbo Boost+, 3DMark06 defaults, Intel driver, 2x4GB 1600MHz CL9.

    3DMark06 Scores

    TLDR; maximum fan speed = maximum performance. Negligible difference between 8GB and 16GB RAM. X230 is at least 23% faster than the X220.

    Configuration 3DMark SM2.0 SM3.0 CPU WinSAT* Driver
    2x4GB 1600 CL9 5211 1757 2133 3601 6.4
    Rerun 5178 1758 2097 3578
    2x8GB 1600 CL11 5113 1717 2084 3595 6.4
    Rerun 5077 1704 2069 3579
    IGD thermal control: enabled 5170 1732 2119 3564
    Fan BIOS mode, LPL 36W SPL 56W, ~89c, 3D perf 5388 1825 2198 3613
    Fan BIOS mode, LPL 36W SPL 56W, ~92c, App specific 5307 1795 2163 3601
    Fan 64, LPL 36W SPL 56W, max temp ~85c, 3D perf 5407 1833 2207 3611
    X230 3320m 2x4GB 1600 CL9 6614 2144 2862 3902

    * 3D graphics score
    • i5 2520M, Maximum Performance profile, airplane mode, Lenovo Turbo Boost+, 3DMark06 default unless other stated
    • IGD thermal control - advanced BIOS setting
    • LPL - Turbo "Long Power Limit" option in advanced BIOS
    • SPL - Turbo "Short Power Limit" option in advanced BIOS
    • 3D perf/App specific - 3D options in Intel Graphics Control Panel
    • Fan 64 - Level 64 in TPFanControl

    Unreal Engine Heaven

    TLDR; Negligible difference between 8GB and 16GB RAM. X230 is at least 47% faster than the X220.

    X220 X220 X230 X230 vs X220 2x4GB
    RAM frequency = 1600MHz 2x4GB CL9 4+8GB CL11 2x4gb CL9
    Intel Graphics Driver
    Average FPS 8.2 8.1 14 171%
    Score 206 203 352 171%
    Min FPS 5.1 5.3 10.3 202%
    Max FPS 17.7 18 26 147%

    • i5 2520M, Maximum Performance profile, airplane mode, Lenovo Turbo Boost+, Heaven 4.0


    Storage Options

    • The X220 has a 7mm 2.5" SATAIII slot and a mSATAII slot.
    • mSATA drive is bootable.
    • The docking connector has SATAIII for use with Mini Dock 3 eSATA port and Ultrabase 3 Ultrabay slot.
    • The Ultrabase 3 Ultrabay slot can accept an optical drive or a 2.5" disk caddy.
    • There is a mod to add a mSATA slot using the SATAIII port from the docking connector.


    • X220 and X230 heatsinks are cross compatible. Below is information on the SV (standard voltage) processor heatsinks listed in the X220 and X230 parts list.
    • Do not bother getting a LV (low voltage) processor heatsink, even if you have a LV processor, as only has one heatpipe and thus has worse thermal performance.
    • Both 3 and 4 wire fans can have their speed monitored and controlled.
    • Look out for a sticker on the heatsink with "Rc=x.xx" on the heatsink. I believe this related to the thermal resistance of the heatsink -- the lower the better.
    • The fan speed can be increased to maximum using the Lenovo Power Manager in the "Basic" menu with the "Lenovo Turbo Boost+" option. Alternatively TPFanControl can be used for complete control of fan behavior.
    • A higher fan speed = more thermal headroom for Turbo Boost = more performance, at the cost of noise.
    • BIOS 1.16 and above change the fan behavior to reduce noise.

    FRU Laptop Fan Model Blades Voltage Amperage Bearing Wires Max RPM^
    04W0435 X220 Toshiba M-235C-1 41 5 0.29 Fluid bearing 3 ?
    04W0435 X220 Delta KSB0405HA 37 5 0.30 Fluid bearing 4 ~5300
    04W6921 X230 Delta KSB0405HA 41 5 0.30 Fluid bearing 4 ?
    04W6922 X230 Toshiba 235-1 41 5 0.23 Fluid bearing 3 ~6700
    04W6923 X230 AVC BATA0507R5U 41 5 0.45 Fluid bearing 4 ?
    Notes ^ - Level 64 in TPFanControl
    Visual differences between heatsinks. Images stolen borrowed from the internet. (Source: Aliexpress)


    Stock X220's run pretty hot. Repasting reduces temperatures around 10C temperature and also lowers fan speed i.e. less noise. Procedure takes about 30-60 minutes. Instructions here - section 1120, page 84.
    Config Load Temp C Delta C RPM Speed GHz Idle Temp C Delta C RPM Speed GHz
    Stock 70 46 3788 3.06 44 20 1962 0.988
    Repaste 64 40 3431 3.09 46 24 2916 3.02
    Repaste + 1 spacer 62 39 3424 3.09 47 24 2940 3.02
    Repaste – thin 60 38 3414 3.09 46 24 1964 2.99
    • Pi benchmark software - 4 threads, i5 2520M, no keyboard installed.
    • Repasted with Arctic Silver Ceramique 2.
    • Spacer involves adding four thin washers on the heatsink bracket to provide additional travel for the heatsink screws i.e. more mounting pressure; makes negligible difference.
    • Thin repaste means less paste was used.
    • Unfortunately I could not keep the fan speed/CPU frequency consistent as I was using a live Linux OS.


    • The X220 can be fitted with a 3, 6, 9-cell cylindrical battery, and an additional 6-cell slice battery.
    • X230 batteries are compatible.
    • The slice battery has a capacity indicator and be plugged in and charged separately.
    • Cylindrical batteries can be charged externally with a battery charger.
    • An X220 weighs 2.54lb or 1.16kg without a battery.
    • The 9-cell battery gives the best power/weight ratio.
    • Some batteries are affected by a recall.
    • Battery charging thresholds, limits, and battery guage reset can be accessed through Lenovo Power Manager.

    Battery options are summerized below.

    Battery Part No. Cells Capacity WHr Weight lb Weight g Battery Life* Notes
    44 (or 29) 0A36305 4 29 0.43 195 4.1 Flush with rear and bottom
    44+ (or 29+) 0A36306 6 63 0.80 345 9.2 Flush with rear, 0.35" (9mm) from base
    44++ (or 29++) 0A36307 9 94 1.10 510 13.8 1" (2.5cm) from rear, 0.35" (9mm) from base
    19+ 0A36280 6 64 1.66 940 9.4 Adds 0.5" thickness

    * - according to PSREF. Actual battery life will differ.



    • You can install Dolby Home Theater drivers for a different experience -- it breaks some things but gives you more control. More info here
    • Smart Audio stores its setting in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Conexant\
      • You can change the equalizer presets here. Most things are self-explanatory. For gain settings, they are stored dBx10 in signed hex e.g. -14dB -> -1400 -> FFFFFA88h, and +14dB -> 1400 -> 578h.
      • Have not bothered to figure out the BW setting yet

    Headphone Out

    • Also has mic in; OTMP configuration.
    • Quality is good enough for everyone except audiophiles. Find measurements with RMAA measurements taken with a Creative X-Fi Music here.
    • The Conextant audio driver limits headphone/line out volume unless disabled. To do this:
      • Plug in a set of headphones/line out cable
      • Open the SmartAudio control panel
      • Open the first tab (level settings)
      • If using Multi-Stream, click on the headphone icon
      • Click the heaphone image above the balance slider


    • Speakers are pretty crap, unfortunately.
    • The graphic equalizer is your friend.
    • Night mode helps a bit with low volume.
    • Make sure left-right balance is set to middle.
    • Someone has sucessfully replaced the speakers with phone speakers. Info here


    Advanced BIOS

    Do not have it? Download here MD5 hash: 38ae7f20e1dfa6d3b5aa034653e0eec7

    Unlocked BIOS adds these features:
    • Whitelist removal
    • Unblocked AES-NI
    • Unblocked advanced menu
    • Unlocked memory speed
    • Unblocked AES MSR 0xE2
    • New vbios Intel 2119
    • 16Gb 1866 + eGPU solved

    Advanced BIOS Options

    I have changed these options in the BIOS without bricking. Always be careful. Never change the PCIE SR-IOV setting unless you want a brick. Turns out it doesn't - still, be careful.

    Boot Configuration
      |  Quick boot
      |  High resolution graphics (disable messes up text)
      |  Diagnotistic splash screen
      |  Diagnotistic summary screen
      |  BIOS level USB
      |  USB legacy
      |  UEFI boot
      |  Legacy boot
      |  Boot in legacy video mode
    ACPI configuration
      |  ALS support (ambient light sensor)
      |  FACP PM Timer flag value
    Processsor Configuration
      |  Fast strings (^ speeds up mem copy instruction REP MOVSB)
      |  Enabled XD
      |  Machine Check
      |  Processor Power Management
      |    |  Turbo Mode Power Limit Lock
      |    |  Long/short power limit (maximum 36/56)
      |    |  Processor long/short power limit (max 36/56)
      |    |  Long power limit time (does nothing?)
      |    |  IA curent limit (default is 776 (97A))
      |    |  C-State Auto Demotion (# demotes C1/C3 to C0)
    HDD Configuration
      |   PortTopology
      |   ALPM Mode Select
    Memory Configuration
      |  Mem freq (will default SPD max)
      |  Max TOLUD
      |  OneN Mode Support (command rate)
      |  Scrambler support (scrambles RAM preventing cold attack)
    System Agent Configuration
      |  Graphics Configuration
      |    |  Aperture Size
      |    |  DVMT Prealloc (actual VRAM size)
      |    |  DVMT Total Gfx Mem
      |    |  Render Standby (RC6 state)
      |    |  IGD thermal control
      |    |  IGB turbo mode
      |   PEG Port Configuration
      |    |   PCIe ASPM
      |    |   PCIe Active State Power Management
      |    |    |   ASPM L0s
      |    |    |   PCIe ASPM L1 Support
    South Bridge Configuration
      |   SB PCI Express Config
      |    |   PCI Express Controller DMI Setting
      |    |   PCI Express Root Port x
      |    |     |   ASPM
      |   SB Azalia config
      |    |   Azalia PME (sound card stops working when enabled)
    Thermal Configuration
      |   CPU Thermal Configuration
      |    |   DTS
      |   Platform Thermal Configuration
      |    |   Active Trip Point Hi/Lo Fan (no effect?)

    ^ Read the discussion about fast strings here.
    # A more detailed explanation of auto-demotion here.

    BIOS Password

    The supervisor password is stored on a EEPROM on the motherboard. You can circumvent the password by disrupting ess to the EEPROM chip as you try to login. To do this:
    • Expose the chip U42 on the motherboard (close to the docking connector pins)

    • Location of U42 is close to the docking connector pins

    • Prepare to bridge pin 5 and 6 of U42, SCL and SDA respectively.
      • A small dot on the chip next to a pin indicates pin 1. Pins count up anticlockwise.
      • A small cutout on a chip indicates the top of the chip. Pin 1 is on the left of the cutout. Pins count up anticlockwise.

      Pinout of the EEPROM chip U42

    • Turn on the X220 and wait for the boot logo.
    • Bridge the two pins and mash F1.
    • If all goes well, it should say give an error along the lines of "DATA data access error"
    • Press F1 to continue into BIOS.
    • Remove the bridge.
    • Set the supervisor password as you please.

    Timing is key; it took a few tries. The BIOS must be intialized before you short the pins.



    • Uninstall bloatware
    • Trim services
      • Disable Power Manager Service - Dynamic brightness control using ambient light sensor, not applicable to the X220.
      • Disable Conexant Audio Message Service - no use?
      • Disable Conexant SmartAudio Service - no use?
      • Lenovo Platform Service - for Windows 8+, disable on Windows 7
      • Lenovo Doze Mode Service - Related to Instant Resume, disable if feature not used.
    • Trim scheduled tasks
    • Run TRON
    • Check 4k alignment, TRIM enabled, defrag disable for SSD
    • Turn off write-cache buffer flushing
    • Install Intel RST drivers
    • Update software and drivers
    • Immunize system with Spybot S&D
    • Run your favorite 'Windows tweak application'


    • Create a WiFi hotspot to share your internet connection.
    • Change WiFi MAC Address
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0015
        Add a string "NetworkAddress"
        Pick 12 hex digits, making sure the second digit is even e.g. xExxxxxxxxxx
        Reset network adapter
    • Change LAN MAC Address
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0012
        Add a string "NetworkAddress"
        Pick any 12 hex digits
        Reset network adapter
        Can also be changed in LAN adapter properties in Device Manager
    • Enable remote desktop server in WIndows 7 Home Premium, here
    • Enable disconnected devices in Device Manager
      • Open an elevated command prompt
      • Open Device Manger
      • Open Device Manger -> View -> Show hidden devices
    • Restart OSD
      • Create a batch file with the below:
        • taskkill /f /im tponscr.exe
          net start TPHKSVC
          net stop TPHKLOAD
          net start TPHKLOAD
      • Run with eleveated priveliges

    Power Saving

    I get ~3.5W with screen OFF, Maximum Battery profile, airplane mode, no WWAN installed, IPS display, no USB devices, BX100 250GB SSD. This translates to 26.1 hours of battery life with a 94Whr 9-cell battery. This is a completely unrealistic situation though.

    I get ~5.0W idling with minimum brightness and conenect to WiFi. This translates to 18.8 hours of battery life with a 94Whr 9-cell battery.

    I get ~10W doing light tasks at a reasonable brightness level and conenect to WiFi. This translates to 9.4 hours of battery life with a 94Whr 9-cell battery.

  • Enable HIPM/DIPM Power Options (does not work for me)
  • Enable and configure all power settings in Power Options
  • Enable ASPM (marginal power savings)

    • Requires GRUB to change FACP values in the BIOS before booting into Windows. Add the below to your grub config. You may experience lockups when resuming from sleep.
      • menuentry 'Windows 7' {
            insmod part_msdos
            insmod ntfs
            # Change drive as necessary
            set root=(hd0,2)

            # Enable ASPM
            # Change IA_PC_BOOTARCH (ASPM support bit)
            # If using 64MB VRAM use 
      •     # Byte location changes depending on memory config. Check your own system first.
            write_byte 0xDAFE706D 0x03
            # Fix checksum
            write_byte 0xDAFE709 0x30

      •     chainloader +1
    • Enable D3 state on sound card (negible power saving?)
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0007\PowerSettings
        CoversationIdleTime - does nothing?
        IdlePowerState - (D) 0,1,2,3
        PerformanceIdleTime - idle time
        PerformanceIdleTime = 0x0000012c (300 seconds), and IdlePowerState = 0x00000003 (device power state D3).
    • Change LAN settings for power saving
    • Use Performance Monitor to check which applications causes wakeups regularly and close them on battery.
    • Run "powercfg -energy" and eliminate problems. Ideally, you should see no errors.
      • USB not suspend problems
        • Remove/disable USB devices
        • Enable USB Selective Suspend with Gobi 2000 WWAN card
          • Edit package.xml in extracted installer to include "ss=1". Read the installer readme for more options.
        • If webcam (USB\VID_04F2&PID_B217) does not suspend, restart the Lenovo Camera Mute service.
        • Fixing a problematic device solves the suspend errors for the USB hub as well
      • If the the sound card does not suspend try the follow:
        • Stop audio sources
        • Close SmartAudio control panel if open.
        • Disable and re-nable suspected busy output and input devices in Sound Control Panel.
      • Timer Resolution Request warnings
        • Some applications increase timer resolution when responsiveness is required. Close these if not needed.
    • Set IA32_ENERGY_PERF_BIAS register (address 0x1b0) in CPU MSR for power saving bias.
      • Maximum Battery profile automatically changes register to 0 (maximum power saving).
      • Power Optimized profile automatically changes register to 5.
      • Maximum Performance profile automatically changes register to 7 (maximum performance).
      • There is approximately 2.5% difference in performance between level 0 and 7 when running Pi benchmark.
      • Use RW Everything to manually change the register.



    • 'Fn' can wake the laptop from sleep.


    • The Bluetooth 4.0 card (FRU 60Y3303 & 60Y3305) has better range and recption that the Bluetooth 3.0 card (FRU 60Y3271 & 60Y3275).
    • Most Bluetooth connectivity problems can be solved by:
      • Enabling 'Bluetooth Discovery' under Bluetooth Settings.
      • Disabling "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" in Power Management tab of the Bluetooth device properties in Device Manager.


    • SIM card is inserted with chip towards in the display and missing corner visible.


    • First time using GPS takes a life time to lock on.
    • Following uses are slightly faster.


    • It is possible to install a mPCI-E to NGFF M.2 (A+E) adapter to use newer WiFi adapters. 
    • IPEX MHF4 to IPEX MHF1/u.FL adapter will be needed for the different antenna connectors.


    Docking Stations

    • Mini Dock Plus Series 3 (4338)
      • My dock of choice - plenty of ports, easy to dock/undock one handed, comfortable to use the laptop when docked, and compatible with other Thinkpads. No real negatives.
      • Some have USB 3.0 to use with the X230.
    • Mini Dock Series 3 (4337)
      • Similar to Plus version except missing one DisplayPort, one DVI, and eSata.
      • Some have USB 3.0 to use with the X230.
    • Port Replicator Series 3 (433610W)
      • Basic port selection; not recommended.
      • Some have USB 3.0 to use with the X230.
    • Ultrabase 3 (0A33932)
      • Good selection of ports for it's size, has an Ultrabay for a DVD/HDD (Ultrabay battery not compatible). But. It is rather awkward to undock with one hand as there is not good place to pivot off to pull the latch. I end up pushing off the laptop, causing it to rotate out of the dock, possibly scratching the underside...You are also supposed to press the undock button on the side before undocking to safety unmount the Ultrabay device - a small nuisance. There are two metal tabs at the front of the dock which is suppose to ground the dock/laptop via the foam pad on the X220 near the speakers. The tabs end up scratching off the coating near the foam bits on the laptop. Finally, the whole setup is super thicccc . The palm rest ends up about >1.25" above the desk. It is really awkward to type on...

    Expresscard Devices

    There is not really that many useful Expresscard devices aside from eGPU or unless you need a specific port. Here are some things you can fit in there:
    • A blank, duh, Despite what people say on the internet, this does not reinforce the palmrest over the EC slot.
    • A 3D printed SD card/Unifying receiver holder. Cool!
    • A port you need e.g. USB 3.0, more USB 2.0, Firewire, SATA, serial, card reader etc.
    • Remote/presenter (unfortunately this is not flush with the slot)
    • Bluetooth mouse
    • Smartcard reader
    • Wifi/WWAN//LAN card
    • TV tuner
    • Sound card
    • SSD (not bootable without Coreboot)
    • Addon Expresscard from FHD/WQHD mod - adds a mSATAIII, USB 3.0 port, and internal USB 2.0 port.

    Mod Ideas

    Additional PCIE Link

    On non-i7 versions of the X220, the 1xPCIE lane for USB3.0 is unused. This lane is routed to where the USB3.0 chip would sit. It may be possible to solder wires to these pads for an additional PCIE lane for eGPU use. C225 and C226 would need to be soldered on as well; the capacitance does not matter as it is just there to AC couple the signal.
    PCIE configuration
    Location of the USB3.0 chip

    USB NFC Reader

    The fingerprint reader is connected via USB via a split ribbon cable which also carries PS/2 for the touchpad. It is possible to repurpose the fingerprint model ribbon cable and connect something else such as this or other thin USB device. The cable only carries 3.3V though which limits what can be connected. The device will require a modified connector to interface with the ribbon cable, be thin enough to sit where the fingerprint reader is, and be able to run off 3.3V. If only NFC was useful on a laptop....
    Fingerprint reader ribbon cable carries 3.3V and USB data lines.

    Additional Antenna

    X220 are limited to 4 antenna plus webcam or 5 anntena without webcam. There is indeed not enough space to fit 5 antennas and a webcam in the LCD bezel. However, it is possible to install a flexible antenna somewhere else in the chassis. Somewhere like the palmrest could be suitable location. The foil on the underside of the palmrest needs to be removed of course for reception. I may try this if I decide to upgrade to a 3x3 wireless card.
    Thin antenna that can be stuck somewhere (Source:Taoglas)

    Additional USB Port

    Some modder has developed a nifty little circuit board which replaces the Bluetooth Daughter Card (BDC) with a full sized USB port and fitted a Logitech Unifying reciever -- genius. Of course this means you lose Bluetooth unless you have a WiFi card with Bluetooth.
    Nifty place for a Unifying reciever (Source:Taobao)

    Additional space

    Some 2.5" SSDs are smaller than their case. By removing the case and connecting the circuit board directly to the SATA/power connector you gain a bit of space for modding. Some ideas for what to do with the extra space:

    Not all 2.5" SSDs are 'full' (Soruce: CDRLabs)

    • Add an external WLAN/WWAN antenna connector on the HDD cover.
    • Add an a USB dialup modem for desperate moments/nostalgia/for kicks.
    • Add some USB card reader.
    • Add more USB ports.
    USB ports can be stolen from the mPCIE/mSATA slot, fingerprint reader, dock etc.

    My X220


    Component Part
    CPU Intel Core i5-2520M (2.5GHz, 3.2GHz Turbo, 3MB cache)
    OS Windows 7 Home Premium + Linux Mint
    Display 12.5" 1366x768 LED IPS - LG125WH2-SLB1
    Memory 2x4GB 1600MHz CL9 DDR3
    Storage 250GB SSD
    WiFi Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 2x2 agn
    WWAN Gobi 2000 Sierra Wireless EV-DO/HSDPA
    Bluetooth Thinkpad Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery Thinkpad 29++ 9-cell 94Whr & 29+ 6-cell 63Whr
    Weight 3.23 lb (6-cell) / 3.68 lb (9-cell)
    Purchased August 2011 direct from Lenovo

    Long Term Review

    Pros: (in no particular order)
    • Reliable, portable, and modular.
    • Good battery life
    • Decent IPS screen - contrast, and brightness.
    • Excellent input devices
    • Visual status indicators
    • Fast enough for everything but heavy 3D work.
    Cons: (in that order)
    • Display - IPS bright spots, limited to 1366x768, only 65% coverage of sRGB.
    • Heat - ~90C core temperature at maximum load even after repasting.
    • Lid design - metal tabs holding plastic lid prone to breaking. Lid and palm rest contour not matched. Small bumps on edge of lid dig into palm rest causing weakspots near touchpad. Would have liked a physical latch instead of the ineffective magnetic latch.
    • Plastic - corners of LCD bezel and palmrest are prone to chipping off. Thin plastic bezel near touchpad prone to cracking.

    My trusty X220 after years of use


    All information may not be 100% correct. Sources of information are referenced where applicable.

    Reference Documents


    X220 Links

    Other Links


    1. I would like to flash the modified BIOS and check the Boot Configuration -> Boot in Legacy Video Mode [Enabled] option. Can you check if the change to [Enabled] will not brick the computer? Do you still use version 1.43. At the moment there is version 1.46 mod - http://x220.mcdonnelltech.com/resources/

    2. Drill some holes like this:

    3. Hello, how could you reach 7w per hours? I have i7-2640m, the lowest possible is 9w, which is high... I want it to be like yours... if possible :|

      When browsing web, I could reach 17w, which is very high... I just hope to keep this X220 forever... (new thinkpad keyboard doesn't have thinklight :'( sadd )