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published: Saturday 21 August 2021
modified: Monday 15 November 2021
author: Hales
markup: textile

Adventures using and repairing an X131e laptop from 2011

Replacing wifi coax, modifying bios to allow new wifi cards, unsticking tired clock chips, DIY custom power suppy plugs, de-flickering backlight and more. Somehow my best laptop yet.

As usual: prettiest picture is at the very bottom of the article.

This article covers several repairs, one including reverse engineering the BIOS to allow replacement parts. Feel free to scroll down and skip to this content.

I few years ago I was using a Dell 3160 11.6” laptop (left), it had a pile of annoying issues including phantom stuck keys whilst typing. I bought myself a Lenovo x260 thinkpad (right) second hand for about $200AUD:

Alas we’re going to completely ignore that x260. I ended up giving it to my brother (and he reports he is still very happy using it).

Then my Dell died and COVID hit worldwide. Suddenly second hand x260’s were $650 on eBay, not $200.


That’s a lot of timtams.

I tried to repair my Dell — it’s screen backlight was not turning on — it looked like a screen cable failure (already replaced once) or mainboard issue (gah!). After ordering the wrong screen cable I got angry and decided I needed a working laptop quickly, work was getting hard without one.

I needed something small and with an ethernet port. Both of these features are fashion faux pas these days. My choices were limited so I had to dig further back in time than I was comfortable with.

Enter the Thinkpad x131e from 2011/2012, a special education model given to high school students under Kevin Rudd’s Year-9 laptop program:

$120 from the shadiest looking computer store in Kogarah. Totally worth every dollar, it has been serving me well for more than a year now. Bonus is that it is red.

It’s a chonky boy at about 1.9 18650s (that’s 34mm in metric).

For (not in scale with above) comparison: here is a stack of other 11.6” laptops in my house. Top to bottom: DELL 3160, Thinkpad 11e, Acer R3-131T. Notice the clever pschology of tapering the edges to make the laptops look slimmer.

This x131e laptops huffs and it puffs. Literally, the fan control algorithms are very annoying. I really miss my passive cooled laptops, but overall this replacement one has had less problems; or more accurately I’ve been able to fix its problems better :)

BIOS bootsplash:

“Laptop trackable, monitored and identfiable by police. If found please return to your nearest NSW Public High School or call 1800 338 488 to arrange its return”. They really should have added a “don’t bother if it’s 10 years down the track” clause to the engraving on the rear cover, these were all given to the students after they graduated anyway.

I’ll stop stalling, let’s get on with the open heart surgery.

Wifi repair saga

Bad card?

The unit came with a Broadcom wifi card that needed some fiddly drivers on Linux, but it worked. Initially.

Over a few weeks: wifi started becoming less reliable. I couldn’t use it in the backyard any more, it kept disconnecting and dropping lots of packets. Over time it got to the point where where I had to stand within a few meters of my access point for it to work at all >:|

Luckily I had a similar model Broadcom card at hand and swapping it fixed my problems.

Bad card again?

Hmm, my wifi was getting worse over time again. How could this card be dying like the old one?

Then it hit me: wiggling the screen on its hinges would sometimes restore the wifi performance. Knocking the lid could take it offline again. Oh dear.

I tried switching the wifi card over to using the long-range broadband (3G/4G/LTE) antennas but I think this was a mistake, causing even more damage to the cards. These antennas are tuned to a completely different frequency range to wifi antennas.

Coax swap

Time to change the coax cables that go through the screen hinges and up to the wifi antennas. These have UFL connectors on one end to plugin to the wifi card and on the other end are soldered onto the antennas at the top of the screen.

The easiest way to change these is to replace the entire cable + antenna combo as one unit. I used a spare set I had taken out of a different model of laptop (it looks like the coax lengths might be standardised, it was almost a perfect fit).

You of course have to completely disassemble the laptop, including the motherboard, just to re-snake these cables:

Old antennas are black things at the top (combined wifi + mobile broadband):

New antennas are smaller bent-metal structures (wifi only):

This repair has been reliable and effective.

Technically: changing the antennas will change the radiation patterns too, however I suspect peak measurements will only be off by a few dB and it is highly unlikely the laptop is now a source of notable interference or disturbance to other wifi users. This is not like using high gain directional wifi antennas which definitely cause problems for your neighbours if used incorrectly (don’t strap these to your laptop!).

Cards still bad?

Wifi performance was dramatically better after the coax swap (and jiggling the screen no longer had an effect on performance), however it was still poor overall. I tried swapping the wifi card back to the original and noted that it was even worse.

I suspected that my two wifi cards were now damaged. Running them with the damaged coax probably caused intermittent signal reflections at full power. This is known to damage (some?) wifi cards. I have seen wifi routers with warning labels about not running them with the antennas removed for this very reason.

All was going to be OK! I realised that I had a nice (and much newer) Intel mPCIE wifi card that I could use. Intel wifi cards are generally better quality and have better driver support. I swapped it in assuming that it would surely fix all of my remaining wifi problems.

Lol no


I’ve heard stories about laptop companies blocking non-stock wifi cards. Apparently this is because they worry that changing the wifi card will invalidate RF emissions tests for the whole laptop, but I think this is garbage:

I think I might know the real reason:

This table is from the Thinkpax X131e Product Specifications Reference (PSREF).

I don’t have the actual prices but it’s safe to assume that units with better wifi cards would have cost more. Depending on how they structured their pricing: it may have been been cheaper to get the lower-end units and install your own wifi cards rather than buy the higher-specced ones from the factory. By blocking owners from using 3rd-party parts the laptop manufacturer can squeeze more money out of customers, but in doing so also deprives the customer of traditional upgrade rights and repair rights.

This left me with three pathways:

  1. Throw away the entire laptop as e-waste because repairs have been blocked by the manufacturer.
  2. Buy another period Broadcom wifi card and install that
  3. Modify the system to accept other wifi cards

Option (1) is wasteful and stupid.

Option (2) is what I would call an “inappropriate repair”. We know that the cards are delicate and do not perform well. This would be like a mechanic recommending you install another factory-original diff on your car after the first two died early due to weaknesses/flaws in their design.

Option (3) is what I call an “appropriate repair”. Replace the problematic part with something that is of better quality so the fault does not keep re-occuring and the repaired value of the device is not diminished. This is a car mechanic recommending an aftermarket diff that is about the same price (or cheaper) and doesn’t have the fatal flaws of the factory original part. It would be a scam for the mechanic not to recommend this pathway.

Wifi card whitelisting is in effect an anti-repair feature regardless of what the manufacturer intends. I was furious.

Mere bytes on a device I own are stopping me from repairing it

I had never modified a BIOS before so this was a steep learning curve. For this article I’m conflating BIOS and UEFI for which I provide zero apologies.

Getting the BIOS in and out

BIOSs are almost always stored on a little 8-pin SOIC flash chip on your motherboard. These are surprisingly standardised and can be read or programmed in-situ using a SOIC clip and programmer. Here I was using a cheap CH340 programmer and a cheap SOIC8 clip off eBay (less than $10AUD combined):

My cheap programmer took about a minute to program & verify (faster alternatives are available) and the SOIC clip is not perfect, sometimes losing contact.

I used flashrom to operate my programmer. It’s a great little utility. You can sometimes even flash your own BIOS on a running system but that leaves you no recovery options when you make mistakes, so an external programmer (like above) is effectively mandatory.

To reverse engineer and modify your BIOS: you need a “real” copy of it pulled off an actual chip. BIOS updates and other BIOS files downloaded from the manufacturer are not in a final/usable form, they’re typically re-arranged and compressed. Don’t waste your time with them, get a real and working copy off your device’s flash chip instead.

My X131e had two SOIC8 flash chips. One for BIOS, the other likely for the onboard system microcontroller. I ignored the latter once I worked out which was which. I’ve read somewhere that you are supposed to update both of these in a certain order.

You need to keep a backup of your BIOS! Many of the changes I tested broke boot, reverting my changes was as easy as flashing the original back BIOS on.

Reverse engineering the BIOS

Modern UEFIey-thingy BIOSs (read: BIOS wasn’t complicated enough so we added more comittees) are lots of individual chunks of code called “EFI Apps” smooshed together. UEFItool is your friend in extracting each of these and then also putting your modified chunks back in.

Note: I had to build UEFItool from source to get the modification/editing functionality to even show up in the menus, at the time these features were disabled & invisible in normal release builds. I was very confused until I found this out.

I found which chunk of the UEFI I needed to work on by searching for the string “Unauthorized network card”. This is the LenovoWmaPolicy chunk.

To reverse engineer the BIOS I used Ghidra. It’s a brilliant tool that even tries to make up equivalent C code to match the assembly it decodes. There are lots of screenshots of it below. Unfortunately there were no function names stored in my BIOS (I believe these are called ‘debug symbols’?) so I had to guess and work these out on my own.

I found a few really useful writeups on the web by people performing similiar BIOS mod work.

ps0358 has published a complete guide to removing wifi whitelisting on a lenovo laptop, my BIOS was somewhat similar.

erfur’s Analysing an EFI Application with Radare2 was brilliant even though I didn’t use radare2. Finding the standard string functions was a great suggestion to start me out:

I was not very familiar with x86 assembly yet I still managed to work out quite a few other functions on my own:

It took me many days of trial and error, with lots of repeated BIOS flashing & boot tests. I slowly got closer and closer:

One annoyance with Ghidra was that it was sometimes blind to things it had already found. It would list some function arguments as variables/registers declared at the start of a function rather than as actual function arguments. Manually fixing each of these dramatically cleaned up a lot of assembly, especially just before function calls. Here is an example, note the pile of local “variables” at the top of the function:

Changing the hard-coded MAC addresses didn’t seem to work for me and they seemed to be stored in various different ways in different places.

Eventually I found a single function that was the wifi whitelist check:

Simply modifying its bytecode to RET immediately (essentially making the function do nothing) was enough to disable the wifi whitelist. My laptop booted and the wifi worked. This was absolutely elating, especially after many days of work banging my head against the assembly.

This final fix required modifying only two bytes of the BIOS to disable the wifi card whitelist:

Wifi was now back to 100% performance again.

I was over the moon. I had performed open heart surgery on my almost 10 year old laptop and won, saving it from e-waste and giving me a working device once again.

That was until I discovered the wifi broke after suspend.

Pestis cruento marana computatis


The wifi worked from cold boot. If you suspended and resumed: the card would be disabled. The ‘rfkill’ utility reported that the card was “hard-blocked”, ie not something that can be fixed in software.

Down the rabbit-hole of hard-blocking wifi cards

Long story short: it turns out to be the fault of changing mPCIe standards

Pin 20 used to be “undefined” then later on it was changed to “disable this card if high”. My laptop was setting this pin after resume for some reason.

Initially I covered the pin on my wifi card with tape:

Don’t stare directly at the fuzzy dust

This worked for a while, but the little metal fingers in the socket would slowly cut through the tape and contact the pad again. This kind of makes sense: these fingers were designed to cut through debris & grease to ensure a permanent and reliable electrical connection with the pads on the card.

Eventually I just cut the pin off the socket instead:

Wifi has never had a problem ever since (it’s been more than a year now). This saga was finally at its end.

Proprietary charger plug

The charger has 3 wires: +, - and sense. The sensing protocol is very simple: a resistor tells the laptop how much current/power the charger can deliver. That’s it. This compares favourably to my Dell that required digital comms back and forth before it would start charging.

Knowing this helped me out in a pinch when I had left my charger at work one weekend. I was able to charge my laptop using nothing more than another 20V laptop charger, aluminium flashing, thin double-sided tape, a nail as a center pin, some hand-mouldable plastic and a 10K resistor:


The center pin is the sense line. The main + and - are the inside and outside of the metal barrel. I insulated these two layers from each other using the double-sided tape (squint to see it).

Needless to say: not to be used without supervision! My plug was actually a bit too small, so at one point it had poor contact and heated up slightly, melting the white plastic plug at the rear. Nothing some wiggling and a computer fan didn’t fix >:E

If I ever design a laptop it’s going to have:

The day the clock stopped

My laptop froze and then never booted again.

When in doubt: treat it like a car. A car needs fuel, air and ingition for the engine to run. A processor requires power, peripherals and clock.

Power rails all seemed OK. Peripherals (eg graphics card) were all in-built into the processor (or perhaps its southbridge?) anyway. Screen seemed fine. That left the clocks.

I found two oscillators on the board: one near the southbridge and one near the USB 3 chipset. I assumed the former would be a good place to start:

I probed it: no clock signal! After a few more probes and pokings: it suddenly came to life and my laptop miraculously POSTed. What on earth?


The latter seems less likely given that the problem has not reoccurred.

LCD backlight flicker

This laptop flickers its backlight at a super-annoyingly low frequency. I can’t stand it, whenever I move my eyes I see lots of discrete images scatter across my vision and I miss my mark.

Long story short:

I have to run this command every time my screen turns on (unless I want to modify the driver sourcecode to fix it permanently). I have bound this command to a button next to the brightness controls on my keyboard to make enabling it convenient. My eyes and brain have really appreciated this fix.

End notes

Performance of this almost decade-old laptop has surprisingly been good. An SSD really helped. VMs of Windows 7 are fine but VMs of Windows 10 are completely molasses (something seems to be wrong/missing with the HW VM acceleration of this processor).

My laptop currently has 16GB of DDR3 installed because I had some spare 8GB DDR3 1.5V sticks from a free broken laptop I harvested for parts years ago — getting that much in a modern laptop would require a single 16GB DDR4 stick (at least $100AUD on its own). In fact that’s more RAM than my desktop has. I really wish modern 11.6” laptops still came with 2x DIMM slots, it really helps lengthen their useful service lives.

Battery life is not amazing, I get 3 to 6 hours depending on the load, I think that’s fantastic given the battery is almost a decade old. Youtube videos tear (likely a graphics driver issue) so I watch them in mpv instead for the most part.

Whilst I was reverse engineering the BIOS I may have made a few other changes:


This laptop and I have had a monumental journey and we’re still fighting strong, just missing a small amount of ablative case armour.

I’ve been wanting to write this article for a year but have never found the time. As usual: I’ve given up on “making it perfect” because otherwise I would never publish anything.

I really hope this article inspires other people to attempt repairs that they never thought they could be capable of; it’s a shame that so much useful stuff gets thrown out because complex or nefarious systems get in the way of legitimate repair.

Prior similar laptop articles: Snow notes and State of my ARM Chromebook

Comments & discussion from other places on the web (please tell me if I have missed any):

-.- - Saturday 21 August 2021

thanks for the great article. i laughed and learned a lot while reading it.

Hales - (site author) - Saturday 21 August 2021

Glad you enjoyed it :) Sorry if there were lots of confusing or boring bits, my writing is never as well structured as I like and I always miss explaining important details.

hanno - website - Saturday 21 August 2021

Thank you so much for writing down and sharing your journey! I think it is very inspiring to see how much life one can breath into old hardware with the right tools and know how -- and I am therefore so grateful to to anyone sharing the results for everyone's benefit!
My weekend I will likely spend with my stereo system which broke down on me again recently and next on the list is an old macbook; but the latter is an example of unnecessary obstacles to repair (and thus in my eyes even ownership) of a device while there exists service manuals with detailed schematics for the former. I am now taking repairability more and more into account when making purchase decisions!

TheOtherNick - Saturday 21 August 2021

Perfect. Simply perfect. Enjoyed the confusing and boring bits, as they were completely absent!
- written from a thinkpad with binder clips pressing on the LCD keeping the display from wonking out.

itisits - Sunday 22 August 2021

*its screen backlight

Dave - Sunday 22 August 2021

This is super cool. Nice job

jake - Sunday 22 August 2021

Just had someone comment on my x230 "hey mate is that one of those school laptops??"

Dr. Jochen L. Leidner - website - Sunday 22 August 2021

Thanks for this post- Brilliant article, and worthy HN material.

It's sad that with human being so expensive, repairs are becoming less likely. A lot of broken laptops
have only minor issues, and could make perfect first laptops e.g. for a kid or teenager to gather their
first programming experiences.

I enjoyed the earlier Lenovo laptops, especially the x61's form factor and fabulous keyboard and the x230
was my all-time favourite machine (better than many of its successors).

keithp - website - Sunday 22 August 2021

Wifi repair: As a lazy person, my Option 4 was - remove the wifi module and use an external usb wifi dongle. This has two unforseen benefits a) reduced power consumption b) psychological friction on remembering to plug in the wifi dongle means more writing gets done when I can't be bothered.

This was on a Thinkpad X60 from 2007 by the way.

Hales - (site author) - Sunday 22 August 2021

Hanno: keep at that stereo. I modified an old 80's unit to fit into my desk and used it for years as my main computer's amplifier (with bonus radio). The biggest problem I had with it were the contacts in the anti-turnon-pop relay charring over time (likely due to too low of a wetting current). I only recently got rid of it because I remodelled my desks and built my own amplifier, which has since died.

Note to self: TRS jacks are electrically nasty when inserted/removed live, ESD/HV protection is a must with discrete FET inputs.

> example of unnecessary obstacles to repair (and thus in my eyes even ownership)

"Obstacles to ownership" is a revealing phrase. Indeed, being able to repair and use a device are important parts of ownership. If you can't do these things then you may as well not own the item.

TheOtherNick: Hahaha thankyou. Are you on a touchscreen or non-touchscreen model? The latter are _much_ easier to get replacement parts for (you only have to replace the panel, not the entire screen & lid assembly). For fun I recommend looking up the model numbers of your current unit on panelook.com to see if there are any docs on it.

If you're lucky it might be something like a single DP lane on a 30pin eDP connector, which I think *might* (emphasis on might) be reasonably standardised. This is an area I want to dive into, there seems to be a lack of generalised information about LCD panel compatibility on the web.

If you are lucky then your binder clip will last you a long time. It's always a gamble with panels, the thin glass internal layers are delicate.

Dave: thankyou.

> "hey mate is that one of those school laptops??"

"I'm doing work Miss, totally not playing COD 1 over ad-hoc wifi with history next door. Yeah, they've got a sub."

DJ LL: I've read a lot about the x230. Those are actually slightly newer than the x131e I repaired in this article :P

> It's sad that with human being so expensive, repairs are becoming less likely.

COVID supply chain shortages have spun this a little bit on its head. Once upon a time you had pretty much guaranteed access to cheap and plentiful parts, now suddenly the value of all old stock and 2nd hand gear has gone up because it's hard to get anything. If I could have found another $200 x260 then I would have gone for that instead, and _maybe_ (hah!) had less issues overall.

I've found it very weird living and working in a world where I can't hop onto Digikey and buy all of the parts I want. Some of my work projects are having to get heavily redesigned to suit what's avaialble.

> my Option 4 was - remove the wifi module and use an external usb wifi dongle.

How dare you sir. You threaten me with the Dongle Life (TM)? I'll have you know that this laptop has a *real* ethernet port complete with steam jets and a teasmade. I will coutenance no inferior substitution.

Thankyou for bringing this up, I completely forgot to list it as an option.

> a) reduced power consumption

Hmm, I guess that the more modern chipsets would probably draw less than the older Intel card I installed. Despite using an inferior antenna they might also perform better too.

Alas this laptop draws many watts at idle and carries more 18650s than a sherman tank, so the wifi power draw would probably be rounding error compared to the rest of the unit. Even the 1.5V dimms get warm in this thing :D I did say there was a teasmade.

Having all the peripherals safely "built inside" this laptop is important for me, I carry it around in my bag often and anything plugged in gets trashed. Perhaps a good car metaphor would be: I need to replace the bad diff (wifi card), not install a second one below it with wheels wide out the sides.

For fun reading: I have had some less than collegial relationships with my USB wifi dongles https://halestrom.net/darksleep/blog/032_helix_wifi/#donglescutopen

sbrg - Monday 23 August 2021

Wow! You're a hacker in the truest sense of the word.

I'm not sure whether I'm most impressed by your dedication or horrified by your willingness to submit yourself to this in order to use some ancient hardware. Either way, I know that I wouldn't want to be on your bad side; the single-minded dedication is terrifying!

Perhaps we could use your powers for good: Set up a scenario where you can only repair your laptop if you first invent a cure for cancer.

mkg - Monday 23 August 2021

INSPIRATIONAL! "Mere bytes on a device I own are stopping me from repairing it" is the perfect summary of the current situation with right to repair etc.

Hales - (site author) - Monday 23 August 2021


> I'm not sure whether I'm most impressed by your dedication or horrified

You make my repair sound very extrme. From my perspective it's not much different to my day job of admin work.

Admin job: fixing other people's paperwork. You know something takes very little actual change to fix (eg removing an incorrect billing line from an invoice) but you have to wade through another company's complex organisational structure to get it done; often they make it difficult in the hope you give up.

Laptop repair job: fixing other people's designs. You know something takes very little actual change to fix (eg a few bytes in a BIOS) but you have to wade through another company's complex organisational structure to get it done; often they make it difficult in the hope you give up.

mkg: Thanks.

It seems we care about the methods used in repair more than the repair outcomes (consequences) or the affected parts (subjects). That's an interesting reflection on our societal values. It's a very practical perspective (our time & effort is limited) but I worry it also unintentionally pervades into the _ethics_ of repair too. Eg legal challenges for and against rights to repair being based on judging the legality of the repair method rather than the repair outcomes or affected parts. Can one justify the others? Is one more important than the others?

Ray - Tuesday 24 August 2021

Your efforts and knowledge required to accomplish this goal are to be commended.

I too am a fan of reviving old hardware to serve useful purposes. I have several old Toshiba laptops from 2010 that serve me well. Luckily for me most of my resurrections have been from faulty hard drives, batteries, fans or RAM. I've also had to get creative to read the windows 7 keys off of very very worn down windows key stickers.

I do have a question for you though. Where and how did you discover the resolution to the WiFi suspend issue?

I'm asking because I have a newer HP Omen laptop for gaming that sufferers from a similar issue. When resuming from suspend or hibernate the WiFi card does not work. However a cold boot will not resolve it. The workaround that I've found is to go into the uefi bios and reset it to defaults. I then have to save the changes and finally go back in to setup my custom settings. I had complained to HP on this but their support kept stalling on it and did so until the warranty ran out. I love a lot of functions of this laptop but always cringe when my kids knock the power cable out of it when I'm not around and I have to go in and perform the work around, especially late at night when I'm really tired.



Testato - Wednesday 25 August 2021

exceptional work. congratulations and thanks for sharing

Ethan - Wednesday 25 August 2021

Part of me wonders if the oscillator issue was a "tin whisker" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)

Chris Sadler - website - Wednesday 25 August 2021

Fantastic! Well done. Hope it inspires others. Chris

zedman - Thursday 26 August 2021

I was on the project that deployed these laptops to year 9 students way back when !

Part of the project included installing lowjack code into the bios (from a vendor in the USA, and for the life of me I can't remember their name!). We had no end of trouble with it, or them.

The point of the lowjack was to try and stop the students installing different hardware or selling the device. It gave us the ability to track the device as the lowjack sends regular heartbeat signals back to home base in the US with IP address and a bunch of other date and telemetry that could be used to track the laptop. It also gave is the ability to disable or brick it. So you might want to throw Wireshark at it and see if the heartbeat packets are still being sent.

Hales - (site author) - Thursday 26 August 2021

Ooh that'll be interesting. I'll try both ethernet and wifi; presumably the former will work better.

I did remove a small optional module from inside the laptop. I couldn't find a purpose for it so I assumed it was related to the asset tracking:


Hales - (site author) - Thursday 26 August 2021

Actually lol that might just be bluetooth. Normally it's integrated into the wifi card, but perhaps not in this model.

zedman - Thursday 26 August 2021

Yes, that's just the BlueTooth card - https://www.harisinghy.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=82794

The lowjack is totally BIOS based. We installed it as a step prior to laying down the operating system - Win7. If the OS was ever wiped, reloaded, a new version installed, or totally different OS, then the lowjack would continue operating and sending back telemetry.

Hales - (site author) - Thursday 26 August 2021

Just to make my life a bit easier: was it "lowjack" branded? Or a different company brand? Eg computrace services, Intel AT. This will help me when searching for strings in the BIOS.

I note the BIOS lists "Intel AT Module Activation: Current Setting Disabled, Current State: Not Activated"; but this might be a completely different product and red herring.

Thankyou for sharing this zedman, I won't ask for any more ;)

zedman - Thursday 26 August 2021

I've remembered now, thanks for the prompt - It was Computrace

Sam - Friday 27 August 2021

Fun journey! Thanks for sharing the learning along the way, and kudos for making this thing live a far longer useful life than intended. I learned a few tricks! :)

Laurence "GreenReaper" Parry - website - Friday 27 August 2021

Nice fix! Regarding the fan on those netbook Thinkpads, I have an x120e and use RW-Everything to write registers to undervolt on boot/resume with a scheduled task (takes effect when the CPU speed transitions) and TPFanControl to set custom smart fan curves.

Together this can get my fan to idle when unused and low mode almost all the rest of the time - and at least a steady speed under a specific load. Much nicer!

Still use it as my main PC along with a Surface Pro, though the screen died, and I'm looking forward to Rembrandt as a possible replacement.

Other Forty William - Friday 27 August 2021

I did not expect to find this site again while purposefully jumping down an advert rabbit hole…
Glad to see you’re having fun Hales.
Incidentally, would you be willing to take some hardware off my hands? I still have my DEC laptop but the battery might be dead. You probably have more use for it than me

guy - Sunday 5 September 2021

Fun read. Thanks for sharing m8.

metalinchains - website - Monday 13 September 2021

Come to visit my realm and drop a message :) your page in dark mode looks georgeous. Black background and Greenyellow text... sweet. I'm starting a roleplay campaing with friends so i will update my page with a lot of "fantasy stories" and lore. We already have custom maps.
I hope you are doing fine.
See ya!

Toni - website - Saturday 25 September 2021

very instructive site, thanks for sharing the knowledge ;)

Wouter - Wednesday 1 December 2021

Thanks for the great writeup. I learned a lot (also on not giving up on hard problems). Really enjoyed it, thanks!

Miles - Thursday 6 July 2023

Depending on the laptop sometimes the whitelist gets removed in future BIOS updates (IE when there is no chance of reseller shenanigans messing with their profit margins on higher end models)

Now that your whitelist is gone you can use an mPCIe to m.2 adapter and put a wifi6 card in there XD

Hales - (site author) - Thursday 6 July 2023

> Depending on the laptop sometimes the whitelist gets removed in future BIOS updates (IE when there is no chance of reseller shenanigans messing with their profit margins on higher end models)

Punish the end users in order to control resellers. Just like how DRM punishes paying customers in order to control non-paying ones.

I question the benefits and dislike the downsides.

I didn't know that BIOS with less restrictions are sometimes published. I'm more used to hearing that later BIOS impose more restrictions, not less.

> Now that your whitelist is gone you can use an mPCIe to m.2 adapter and put a wifi6 card in there XD

I might have to add some extra holes to make everything fit :)

I'm now on an x260/x270 laptop. It's the last of the 12-13" line that has ethernet jacks. Both models are very similar, to the point where I'm now using a chimera (one broke, so I bought another and moved across many of the parts). They're relatively cheap now, during COVID a second hand x260 demanded $600AUD+. Not sure what I'll move onto after this, everything has gotten so expensive.

Nelo390 - Thursday 24 August 2023

Don't have much to say, but Sick! I have this same computer and get stopped on the bios and no Key lets me to continue, but maybe I'll buy that CH340 and SOIC8 and see if I can do anything productive with it XD. Totally not qualified but sounds like a fun wall to bang my head against.

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