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ThinkPad released in 2011. This version of the T420 is thicker than the T420s and lacks integrated USB 3.0. The T420i uses the same chassis, so most T420 repair guides work interchangeably.

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How to test an SSD for failure or compatibility problems?

Since I got this T420 ~6 months ago, I have noticed a few issues crop up. However, these issues are not the main point. However, I will mention them in case they are related.

  • Keyboard has some dying keys
  • Motherboard has a damaged Ethernet jack (probably repairable; I already looked into the cause; ~3.4 ohms on the orange coil and 193.3 for blue)

Basically, the keyboard has problems with the I key, primarily (other keys are dying as well) and the Ethernet is damaged. I can repair both problems and get the computer back in working order but before I do that, I need to test the SSD and rule out hidden motherboard damage. The problem I am having is the system lags for ~30 seconds at random. It doesn't do this all the time but it happens a fair amount.

I installed the SSD shortly after I bought the laptop because the drive it came with (WD5000BEVT) had problems, was 7 years old and had ~13.2k hours. I still have it, but the drive is never going back into use because of the pull reason. What I had to hand when it failed was a 240GB Crucial M500 I bought on Black Friday a few years ago and barely used before shelving it. It has 97% life left and 2,926 hours on the clock, so it's still a very new drive. Here is a picture of the SMART data aqnd Crucial Storage Executive:

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As you know the WD (WD5000BEVT) drive you had in the system was a Fixed SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive.

From what I can find out for your Lenovo ThinkPad T420 the drive port in your system is only able to support SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) or SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drives.

You'll need to check out your Crucial SSD's specs to see if it can run in a SATA II system.

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The T420 is SATA III for 2.5" drives. It's the WWAN slot that caps at SATA II speeds, but it does work with SSD's as well as a WWAN card. It's laid out here.

The M500 I have installed is the 2.5" SATA variant.


Lenovo is not very good in documenting their systems SATA port spec. So that always makes it difficult to know what will work. This is the only online listing I could find that even gives us a clue here: CNET - Lenovo ThinkPad T420 It clearly lists the port as SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) a.k.a. Serial ATA-300.

I would double check things by giving both Lenovo & Crucial a call to make sure here.

The posting you have linked to is from another user, not directly from Lenovo. So it's not verified. True he maybe able to get the drive to work in his system but you might not be able to in yours.

What complicates things is what the custom drive cabling in the system is able to support. Just because the systems chip set can support SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drives does not mean it can.


Let me see what the approved drives and HMM say. That might provide a hint.

If something else is weird about the motherboard, I wouldn't be surprised since the previous owner cooked the Ethernet coils, but not the chipset. That's why I want to make sure before I get some Ethenet jacks or coils and solder a new one on; if the motherboard is unstable I'll probably look at a board or bad LCD machine and move my HD+ panel, LVDS cable, RAM and SSD over if I repair it.

One of the drives in the 500GB group (I used this since it's what mine came with) is undocumented, but looks like the drive I pulled (45N7221) and the Hitatchi is listed as SATA II (45N7309). The 250GB 7.2k (42T1163) is also SATA II.


@nick - Any news??


I looked at the SSD online, and Crucial says the M500 is SATA II compatible. I have nothing on the computer yet, and I have found absolutely nothing in the HMM for specs, and the fourms are useless for information on the T420. The 520 is better documented on forums then the 420 and the machines are similar, but I don't think it's a good idea to use 520 information as a reference for my machine in this situation.

I will probably call Crucial to double check, but Lenovo needs to get their act together and actually document the design specs of their machines. I love the build quality and reliability of their hardware, but finding technical info is a absolute nightmare. This is exactly why I documented the T420 and T420i to the best of my ability, and I'm glad I did. Finding info on their machines is such a nightmare when you actually end up needing it in situations like this one. As soon as I can get it, I'm putting it in the Wiki.

My only hope is they don't make me pay for a support session just to get the answer and someone actually knows.

Edit: I talked to Crucial and they tell me the T420 is SATA III capable and that the IRST driver sometimes causes the lag problems in W7. I have updated the Wiki to clear the air on this, but warned to use a SSD with a SATA II fallback just to be safe.


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Install Storage Executive by Crucial. Your drive may be new enough to be supported.

A) it will let you check for bad sectors

B) it will let you update to the latest firmware if any

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Crucial Storage Executive isn't useful for much, unless you enable the SED functions of the drive or want to erase the drive.


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Nick sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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