Thinkpad T440p Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Thinkpad T440p Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Like most people, I like fast laptops. But damn, those can be really expensive! Is there an alternative? The short answer is: Yes.

Unknown to most people, the Thinkpad T440p is a classic business laptop made in November 2013 (5 years!) by Lenovo. It’s one of the most customizable Thinkpad T Series I’ve ever seen!

Let’s see how we can mod and upgrade a used T440p to build a cheap but powerful laptop (about 500€) that can match nowadays high-end laptop performance.

Buying a Unit

Since I discovered the joy of upgrading and modding laptops, the T440p standed out of the crowd as the best laptop for my needs. Of course, if you don’t like to mess with hardware, you won’t feel comfortable here. But, trust me, there is a huge satisfaction when you entirely tear-down a laptop, mod it, reassemble that beast and see it boot again as if nothing happened.

The first thing to do obviously is to acquire a used T440p. And there are many things to check when buying a used laptop. That’s why I wrote this article!

Why the 440p?

This model also rapidly caught my attention because it’s:

  • Rock Solid: it’s been designed to meet military specs (MIL-SPEC) including extreme vibration, humidity, temperature and altitude tests. Much more resistant than any crappy laptop you can buy for 500€,
  • Easily Upgradable: installing a new Intel Haswell CPU, RAM or SSD is like a breeze,
  • Dirt Cheap: you can grab a used unit with an i5 / 4GB RAM / spinning HDD for around 150€ on Ebay,
  • Powerful: well, once CPU, RAM, Disk and LCD have been upgraded,
  • Proven Reliability: when you buy new hardware, you’re never quite sure if it will last. When it’s 4 years old and still working like a charm, it’s a different story,
  • Repairable: laptops today are increasingly difficult to repair, that’s a shame. I want something I can fix myself without any special tools (other than screwdrivers) needed,
  • And Quiet: I don’t like to work near a Jet Turbine constantly spinning up and down each time I press a keyboard key,

But, there’s also some bad news:

The factory hardware sucks. The dual-core i5 is completely outdated and the HD+ 1600x900 TN LCD Panel is completely garbage. Needless to say 4GB RAM is pretty tight nowadays too. The spinning HDD is terribly slow.

The good thing is it’s awesomely upgradeable laptop base which supports high-end mobile CPUs, Sata 3 SSDs and tons of RAM (well 16GB max, but that’s still good enough) for almost nothing. Plus, I like the idea of reusing old hardware instead of throwing them in a landfill.

Overall, the T440p build quality is great, even better than the T430 for several reasons:

  • Faster CPUs,
  • Better build quality,
  • Option for a 1080p IPS display without mods,
  • Better on-board graphics,
  • Better thermals with quad-core,
  • And Much easier to service.

Where to Buy

Ebay Auctions

Fortunately, that’s pretty easy. There are tons of them on Ebay. In the USA, you can find some on Craigslist too. In France, we have Leboncoin which is pretty similar.

Ebay is my favorite place to scour for used laptops:

  • Tons of sellers: while ebay has widely declined in use, it’s still an awesome place for used computer hardware. You can find pretty much every single piece of hardware there. There are private used as well a companies selling there,
  • Secure Transactions: always make sure to pay via Paypal. If you don’t have any Paypal account, go create one now. Paypal protects you in case you never receive the good or if it’s damaged.

If you see items listed on ebay with a price too low to be true, with Wire Transfer payment, this is probably a scam. Don’t buy anything on Ebay without Paypal or you could end up being scammed.

If it’s too good to be true, then it’s too good to be true.

  • Reputable: I’ve used Ebay for years without any issue. Plus, you can check the sellers credibility by checking his selling history. Make sure to buy from people with tons of good reviews and selling hardware for years.

Tip: scammers sometimes buy account with an already existing history. Pay attention to the items priorly being sold. Someone mostly selling baby clothes and suddenly selling tons of shiny new laptops for 1/3 of the price is suspect.

Another Tip: occasional sellers who sell their own hardware can be great deals, especially with auctions. Make sure you can pay them via Paypal. Those sellers have fewer transactions as obviously these are private people selling their own stuff.

I made the greatest deals by buying stuff via Free Auctions or Make an Offer options. Free auctions is when the lower price is not protected. If you’re the only one to auction, you can get the item for as low as 1€.

Which Price

A used T440p with Intel I5 4300m, 4GB RAM and an HDD (usually 320GB) can be found around 150€ shipped to your home. You will see many units sold as Immediate Buy for much more. Simply ignore them.

Greatest deals are around 100€ shipped for a used unit in good condition. (more about that later)

Tip: when looking for items on ebay, use the search Show Only > Sold Items option. Example: Sold T440p. That way, you can estimate the current price at which items are sold.

Ebay Items Sold

It seems like this guide is transforming into an Ebay buyer’s guide! Just to make things clear: I’m not endorsed by Ebay in any sort. It’s just that Ebay is a great place to buy used computer parts.

Always be vigilent when the price seems too low. Double-check the description of the unit. Usually, lower priced units have either been damaged or missing parts. That naturally brings us to the next part:

Pay attention to used computer Grade.

Used Laptop Grades

Damaged Phone

Used Laptop Grades is a letter (A, B or C) which defines the overall state of the laptop:

  • Grade A: usually as new, or in mint condition. Safe to buy but usually much more expensive (because obviously rarer),
  • Grade B: fully functional but may show some minor signs or wear, cosmetic damages like scratches, used keyboard, dents on covers and more. The unit is perfectly working but shows minor signs of use. While those are usually safe to buy, always check the pictures provided along with the item description to make sure it’s not damaged too much,
  • Grade C: major signs of wear or damaged. Although fully functional, you may expect to replace some parts of the computer case to bring it down to a Grade B. Screen may be blemish and worn out, keyboard keys may be missing.

Try to stick with Grade A or B items. While great deals can be found on Grade C items, those items can quickly be expensive to fix. Covers and others body laptop parts can be expensive.

Used Thinkpad T440p on Ebay Cheap, but no battery and no optical drive are provided

If you intend to buy a damaged laptop (but fully functional), make sure it’s less expensive to repair it than a unit in better condition. Beware of missing components (like a battery or an AC Adapter): it can quickly add up to the bill.

Local or Foreign Units

Don’t be afraid by items described in German or any other language. The wider you expand your research field, the most likely you are going to find the greatest deals. You just have to be aware that:

  • Keyboard may need to be replaced: In France, we have AZERTY keyboards, in Germany it’s QWERTZ and most other countries use QWERTY keyboards,
  • Power Adapter may be needed: UK units for example may need a replacement power cable as the electrical norms are not the same. Check the AC adapter supports both 110v and 220v input,
  • Operating System language: while Windows 10 Pro language can be changed, beware of Family Edition which cannot.

Other than those points, laptops should be identical between countries. Make sure to add the price of those changes into the balance when evaluating an item total price. Laptop Keyboards are usually expensive (50€+). If you are keen to use a QWERTY keyboard, it’s can save you quite a bit of money.

Hardware Upgrades

Let’s see all the components which the T440P contains and how each can be upgraded.

Disassembly

Thinkpad T440p Disassembly Disassembly is easy: only 2 screws to get access to almost all the components!

Thinkpad T440p Disassembly is an extremely easy process:

  1. Unscrew the two screws on the back,
  2. Remove back-panel,
  3. Done!

You instantly gain access to most of the components:

  • CPU: The central processing unit is the brain of the computer, performing all the computation. Performance varies depending on the type of CPU you use. Can be upgraded up to I7 4910MQ,
  • CPU Heatsink: removable without tearing-down the entire computer,
  • RAM: 2 sodimm DDR3L (1.35v) supporting up to 16GB 2133Mhz DDR3 (See Corsair Vengeance 2133Mhz DDR3 Sodimm),
  • Storage: supports one SATA3 HDD or SSD. Prefer the later one, performance difference between HDD and SSD is like night and day,
  • And WLAN card: contains an Intel card by default, people willing to hackintosh it will use DW1560 wifi card instead (compatible with macOS).

CPU

The factory CPU is usually a boring I5 4300m, sometimes an I7 4600M. Both are dual core CPUs who lack a bit horsepower, but come with a nice 37W TDP.What is that exactly?

CPU TDP is an estimation of the heat being generated by the CPU while running at full throttle. Given we’re in a laptop with limited cooling capabilities, 37W TDP is nice to keep temperature low (as well as fan noise).

The T440P supports Haswell Mobile family CPUs on socket FCPGA946. Basically, any mobile I7 4XXXMQ will do just fine. there are pretty interesting replacement CPUs to consider:

  • I7 4702MQ: 4 cores, 8 threads, 3.2Ghz Turbo, 37W TDP. This is a reduced TDP quad-core CPU which is topping at 3.2Ghz turbo boost. A very good performance to heat ratio,
  • I7 4712MQ: 4 cores, 8 threads, 3.3Ghz Turbo, 37W TDP. Slightly faster than the 4702MQ, 100Mhz more. Also a great balance between CPU power and heat.

Those CPUs have 6MB SmartCache and all support up to 32GB RAM (4x slots needed, thought). Both can be found around 100€ on ebay. But, those are pretty rare. If you want a bit more horsepower, you can take a look at those CPUS:

  • I7 4810MQ: 4 cores, 8 threads, 3.8Ghz Turbo, 47W TDP,
  • or even I7 4910MQ: 4 cores, 8 threads, 3.9Ghz Turbo, 47W TDP.

I’m not even mentioning the intermediate CPUs like 4700MQ, 4800MQ or 4900MQ. All those have a 47W TDP: they generate more heat, which means more fan noise to cool them down. While the T440P can handle those CPUs, I strongely recommend you to use a good thermal paste like Artic MX4.

A word on Grizzly Thermal Conductonaut: while providing much better thermal conductivity, this thermal paste is electrically conductive. Any leak from the CPU core and it can short the motherboard. I wouldn’t recommend it: if it leaks from the CPU, it could short the motherboard.

On the other side, Grizzly Thermal Kryonaut is one of the best thermal paste available with 12,5 W/mk thermal conductivity. See expected gains for more information.

Those CPUs have an integrated 4600HD graphic card which is plenty enough for a development workstation, web browsing, video and photo editing.

The Extreme variants like the 4940MX should be avoided: with a 57W TDP, those beasts are running pretty hot. The T440P simply cannot cool them properly (but they fit). Also, you will have to upgrade the AC Adapter if doing so (135w or 170w AC Adapter recommended, look for Thinkpad w540 AC Adapter).

The 4702MQ or 4712MQ are sweet-spot. They provide a great performance boost over dual core CPUs with the same 37W TDP. From my point of view, 4800MQ or higher are not worth it: there is only a marginal performance gain but those CPUs dissipate much more heat.

Officially, those CPUs are not listed by Lenovo as compatible. But all have reported to work fine.

There is always a trade-off. Faster CPU means more heat, which in turn means hotter operational temperature. This could lead to thermal throttling, thus reducing performance gains to nothing.

HD4600 or GT730m

The T440P is available in 2 versions:

  • Intel HD Graphics: the graphic card used is the one integrated to the CPU. In this case heatsink with part number 00HM902 is used,
  • Intel HD4600 + NVidia GT730M: using Nvidia Optimus, graphic card being used is dynamically switching from HD4600 to Nvidia GT730M depending on the load. Heatsink part number 00HM903 is used.

Some users reported the GT730m was only slightly faster than the HD4600, while still being unable to run most video games. Given GT730m is an added component prone to failure (and graphic cards fail often), it’s probably better to stick with an HD4600 only motherboard. The simpler the better!

If you plan to install macOS, it’s better to stick with the HD4600 version only. Nvidia Optimus GPU switching isn’t supported on macOS (they use a proprietary equivalent named GMUX).

Meanwhile, you can still upgrade the fan to the Nvidia variant at the same time ;)

Heatsink / Fan

According to Lenovo T440P specs, they have four iGPU versions: 004X1853 (Toshiba fan, deprecated), 00HM902 (Toshiba), 04X3915 (AVC) and 04X3917 (Delta). The dGPU version are: 004X1854 (Toshiba fan, deprecated), 00HM903 (Toshiba), 04X3916 (AVC) and 04X3918 (Delta).

From user experience, the Delta and Toshiba variants are the quietest. Toshiba fan, deprecated should be avoided as those are fans reputable for making a lot of noise.

Thinkpad T440p Disassembly With Nvidia GPU cooling left, and iGPU only on the right

According to a user who upgraded the heatsink:

The only problem for me is that the dGPU (Nvidia Discrete GPU) fan makes a terrible noise in my opinion, so I decided to replace it by the iGPU (Intel only) fan.

So the best solution is probably a mix: use the iGPU fan, while using the dGPU heatsink.

RAM

The T440p supports So-dimm DDR3L (1.35v) RAM modules with up to 16GB Total RAM (2x 8GB). Max supported speed is 2133Mhz according to some users who successfully ran G-skill 2133Mhz 8GB CAS11 sticks.

Thinkpad T440p 2133Mhz RAM G Skill 2133Mhz RAM installed and running!

While 2133Mhz RAM can increase performance a bit, those sticks are extremely hard to find and very expensive (be prepared to pay up to 200€ for 16GB RAM). Standard 16GB 1600Mhz 1.35v Sodimm cost about 80€ on Ebay.

If you find cheap 2133Mhz RAM, go for it. Otherwise, given RAM speed barely improves performance, 1600Mhz sticks will be fine. There is no point in paying more for the RAM than for the entire laptop.

HDD and SSD Storage

If you have an HDD (Mechanical Disk Drive), Upgrade to a SSD asap. Like said before, that’s the single most important bottleneck on the computer: disk speed. SSDs are easily 10x to 30x faster than HDDs, at the expense of storage space. SSDs cost nowadays about 80€ for a 500GB SATA III disk. 1000GB (1TB) HDD can be found around 50€.

But I have even better news:

Thinkpad T440p supports up to 3 storage devices.

How? By using the following tricks:

  • WwAN M2 Port: the WWAN card m2 port support an m2 2242 SSD. You can easily find a 256GB m2 2242 SSD for about 50€,

Thinkpad T440p 2133Mhz RAM M2 slot can be filled with an M2 2242 SSD (up to 256GB)

  • 2.5 inches disk bay: it’s the built-in disk bay which can be used to either put an HDD or an SSD,
  • Optical Drive Replacement: by using an an HDD Drive Caddy Adapter, you can mount a second HDD or SSD by removing the optical drive (which has no more use nowadays).

SATA Bay

Thinkpad T440p 2133Mhz RAM Removing Optical Drive to fit an HDD bay

Generic SATA bay aren’t usually of best quality. According to saperkus, after a year or two of usage the HDD may not be recognized every few reboots. He suggest ThinkPad 9.5mm SATA Hard Drive Bay Adapter IV may be a much better deal. A gallery on imgur shows how to install it.

Thinkpad SATA Bay Generic (Chinese) SATA Bay which replaces the optical drive

Thinkpad Official SATA Bay ThinkPad 9.5mm SATA Hard Drive Bay Adapter IV (FRU 04X1602)

That makes it pretty easy to fit 2x1TB SSD along with a 256GB m2 SSD inside the machine for a whopping 2TB SSD Storage! Or, you could fit 2x 2TB HDDs to reach more than 4TB or storage inside a 14 inches laptop. This way, you can for example setup a RAID1 using mdadm on linux with the 2x1TB HDDs while enjoying the lightning speed of the SSD for the operating system.

Keep in mind M.2 2242 SSD with only SATA interface are supported. Forget about NVMe ones. Some models to consider:

  • 256GB ZTC Armor M.2 NGFF,
  • or Transcend TS256GMTS400.

AC Adapter

The T440p comes with a 135W AC Adapter (part number 20AN000GUS) by default. There is also a 170W AC Adapter. It can be wise to upgrade to the 170W adapter when using Intel Extreme Edition CPU, especially if you have an Nvidia GPU.

LCD Panel

Most T440p come with the crappy 1366x768 or 1600x900 TN LCD Panel. This TN panel has really poor colorimetric results and view angles. Most people change it for a better panel. According to a LCD list found on reddit, these are the panels you could use:

Make Model Type Size FRU Coat Color Resp. Cont. View Angle Bright. Power
AUO B140HAN01.1 (AUO113D) IPS FHD ? Matte 16.2M 25ms 700:1 89 300 cd/m² 5.4W
AUO B140HAN01.2 (AUO123D) IPS FHD Y Matte 16.2M 25ms 700:1 89 300 cd/m² 5.4W
AUO B140HAN01.3 (AUO133D) IPS FHD ? Matte 16.2M 25ms 700:1 89 300 cd/m² 5.4W
AUO B140HAN01.4 IPS FHD ? Matte 16.2M 25ms 700:1 89 200 cd/m² NA
LG LP140WF3-SPD1 (LGD046D) IPS FHD ? Matte 262K 25ms 700:1 80 300 cd/m² 4.6W
Innolux N140HCE-EN1 Rev. C2 (CMN14D2) IPS FHD ? Matte 262K 25ms 700:1 89 300 cd/m² 3.98W

Thinkpad T440p LG IPS Showing LG LP140WF3-SPD1 LCD panel whose FRU is 04x5916

It’s an IPS panel. IPS panels have much better colorimetry and view angles than TN panels, but higher response time. After discussing with someone customizing a lot of T440p and selling them on Ebay, he suggested the LP140WF3-SPD1 (LGD046D) (FRU 04x5916) is the best for this laptop. Several users have reported better brightness and much better colorimetry, even compared to B140HAN01.2 or B140HAN01.3.

Thinkpad T440p 2133Mhz RAM TN Panel (left) vs IPS Panel (right) on a Thinkpad T420. TN looks blueish while IPS is much more natural!

This is definitely a must have upgrade since the original TN panel is really awful. Those panels can be found around 50€ including shipping on Ebay too. If you plan to buy N140HCE-EN1 (CMN14D2), make sure to get Rev. C2 (thanks daftguy) as Rev C1 and Rev B3 have screws holes placed differently. The screen won’t fit in that case.

My two cents on how to find a good panel:

  • Avoid non-IPS: some sellers are selling non-IPS screens. IPS screens have better view angles and much better colorimetry,
  • Avoid Compatible Brands: compatible LCDs are usually cheaper chinese copies with issues like backlight bleeding, dead pixels or bad color calibration. Double check the seller’s description doesn’t include something like You may receive a compatible LCD if out of stock,
  • Seek 72% Color Gamut: the LCD panels mentioned above have 72% color gamut (which is pretty good). If you find another brand, use PaneLook to check the LCD specs,
  • Be prepared to pay a higher price: original LP140WF3-SPD1 or N140HCE-EN1 Rev. C2 are usually more expensive than compatible brands. But always double check, some sellers buy compatible screens at high prices too,
  • Buy on different websites: If you can’t find any on Ebay, try AliExpress.

Always make sure the item description doesn’t talk about compatible LCD. Here is a video explaining how to replace the LCD (takes about 15 minutes).

T440p LCD can be replaced easily!

You can also Download the T440p maintenance manual and check the instructions from Chapter 9, sub-section 2010.

Trackpad

Some people complain about the flat touchpad introduced on the T440 series. The T450s touchpad can be retrofitted on the T440p.

Thinkpad Trackpad Replacement Old vs new trackpad (see reddit topic)

The thing is the touchpad exists with two brands:

Here is how to differentiate them: look at the back.

Thinkpad Alps Trackpad Synaptics vs Alps Trackpad

Let’s see the differences between them.

Thinkpad Synaptics Trackpad Thinkpad T450 Synaptics Trackpad

Thinkpad Synaptics Trackpad Also a Thinkpad T450 Synaptics Trackpad

Synaptics. Notice the (red/blue) buttons at the top, the double-lined sticker with B149220xx, the ‘dots’ in the metal backplate, the embossed number near the bottom. The Synaptics trackpad has rugged metal backplate and visible button clips. Sadly, it’s even more complicated than that.

Thinkpad Alps Trackpad Thinkpad T450 Alps Trackpad

The Alps trackpad has smooth metal backplate.

Thinkpad Synaptics Trackpad Alps or Synaptics?

This is either another Alps Crap-Pad or a Synaptics Knock-Off. It has the dots, but wrong buttons, wrong sticker, no embossed number.

Make sure to always buy the Synaptics trackpad. Unfortunately, many trackpads sold on Ebay by chinese sellers are Alps. Ask the seller if not sure, but also double-check the item pictures.

You will possibly have the following issues:

  • Drivers on Windows 10: For W10 drivers, you need to change the Group Policy to stop W10 from updating drivers all the time. Otherwise, on each reboot, Windows 10 will overwrite the driver with the broken one rendering the trackpad unusable,
  • Difficult to replace: the touchpad replacement requires you to tear down the computer completely.

Most users report the Synaptics touchpad works better than Alps. Here is a possible fix to the trackpad driver issue on Windows 10. If you’re using Linux or even macOS on your T440p, you won’t experience the drivers issue faced with Windows 10.

Thanks to T440/p CLUNKPAD: Pics and installation of T450 Synaptics and Alps Touchpad+buttons, here are the procedures to install those trackpads (after replacement) on a t440p on Windows 710.

T450 Synaptics Driver in a T440/T440p

Setup

  1. Download the latest Synaptics T450 driver from Lenovo, do not install yet!
  2. Go to Control Panel\Programs and Uninstall your current Synaptics/Alps drivers,
  3. Reboot,
  4. Doubleclick the T450 driver you just downloaded, run it, but UNtick the option to install now. It will unpack to C:\DRIVERS\Win\UNAV,
  5. Go to C:\DRIVERS\Win\UNAV\WinWDF\X64\SynPD.inf for 64-bit (or X86\SynPD.inf for 32-bit),
  6. Edit SynPD.inf: Find and delete all lines with LEN0036 in it. Find all lines with LEN200E and change LEN200E into LEN0036. Save the file. LEN0036 is the T440 hardware ID for both clunkpad and touchpad+buttons. LEN200E is the T450 hardware ID for the touchpad+buttons,
  7. Go to C:\DRIVERS\Win\UNAV and doubleclick on Setup.exe. When Windows complains about unsigned stuff, click on Install anyway,
  8. Reboot.

ALPS driver in a T440/T440p

How to install an ALPS touchpad+buttons driver in a T440/T440p:

  1. Download this (Lenovo Yoga 14) ALPS driver: gh09ww.exe, do not install yet!
  2. Go to Control Panel\Programs and Uninstall your current Synaptics/Alps drivers,
  3. Reboot,
  4. Doubleclick the ALPS driver you just downloaded, run it, but UNtick the option to install now. It will unpack to C:\DRIVERS\Win\ALPSUNAV,
  5. Go to C:\DRIVERS\Win\ALPSUNAV\Vi64\Apfiltr.inf for 64-bit (or Vi32\Apfiltr.inf for 32-bit),
  6. Edit Apfiltr.inf: There are NO lines with LEN0036 in it, so we use another (not needed) LENxxxx one. Instead, find all lines with LEN002D and change LEN002D into LEN0036. Save the file. LEN0036 is the T440 hardware ID for the clunkpad. LEN002D is an UNKNOWN TO ME hardware ID, but it’s not needed here,
  7. Go to C:\DRIVERS\Win\ALPSUNAV and doubleclick on Setup.exe. When Windows complains about unsigned stuff, click on Install anyway,
  8. Reboot.

Keyboard

Keyboards can be replaced too. I’m going to replace the QWERTY backlit keyboard with a French Azerty (FRU 04x0112).

There are four keyboard vendors who made keyboards for the t440p:

According to a user:

I was able to compare two of them - Chicony (FRU 04x0101) and LiteON (backlit QWERTY US layout, FRU 04x0139). LiteOn was superior in case of build quality, typing feeling and backlit (it wasn’t hurting my eyes, like Chicony’s keyboard).

You can also find a comparison between Chicony and LiteOn Keyboard where the user prefers the Chicony. I think this is really a matter of personal taste. I guess most people will be fine with both of them.

Wi-fi Card

Thinkpad T440p wi-fi card Wifi card is easy to physically replace

The most commonly replacement card being used is the DW1820A, especially if you want to hackintosh the T440p. Other than that, you may want to replace the original wifi card because it doesn’t support the 802.11AC protocol, which claims up to 867Mbps bandwidth.

The thing is, you probably need a bios mod otherwise the laptop may reject the wi-fi card due to Wi-fi whitelist. Not sure why Lenovo annoys the users with Wi-fi white lists, anyway I found bios 2.32 to 2.35 may have buggy whitelist:

There is a bug in 2.32-2.35 BIOS versions on T440 and T440s that allows to use an unbranded Wi-Fi (looks like the whitelist isn’t checked due to the bug). Most probably there is the same bug on T440p.

If your bios is older, try to upgrade it to 2.32 and put the new wi-fi card in. Also, avoid upgrading the bios to the latest version as usually there is no possiblity to downgrade it, or downgrades may be restricted.

Battery

There are 3 different batteries available:

  • 6 cell (48Wh) so called 57. This battery was primarly shipped with Thinkpad L440 and L540,
  • 6 cell (56Wh) called 57+,
  • and 9 cell (99Wh) called 57++. This battery is slightly bigger than the battery slot, creating a convenient handle.

With the 9 cell battery, you can expect up to 7h battery life (14W per hour are consumed on lowest brightness).

Software Upgrades

Bios Mod

Remember the bios mod I did on the Helios 500? You can do the same on the T440p. Another forum to look for is Bios Mods. Dude2002 is a well known guy who can mod you bios within 30min once submitted!

Thinkpad T440p Bios Chip location Bios chip is located near RAM sticks, directly accessible by removing cover

Bios mods are for a good reasons:

  • Wi-fi Whitelist: if you wish to install a new wifi-card (to replace the stock Intel card) like the DW1560. By default, the bios blocks any unauthorized wifi card which is not white-listed by Lenovo,
  • Advanced Menu Unlock: advanced menu unlocking can enable features like CPU and RAM overclocking and other very advanced features (like adjusting DVMT memory for hackintosh).

In most cases, modding the bios is useful to install macOS on the T440p. Undervolting the CPU directly from bios is a plus too: you don’t have to mess with Intel XTU or ThrottleStop to lower the CPU voltage.

Intel XTU / ThrottleStop

Intel XTU and ThrottleStop are useful software to tweak the CPU settings. Most people use it to undervolt the CPU.

Undervolting consists of lowering the CPU voltage to decrease CPU power consumption. Main benefits are high battery life, cooler CPU operation and lower fan noise.

Of course, you can’t lower the CPU voltage beyong a certain threshold because the CPU will become unstable. Your system may crash. The good news is you can’t harm the hardware by doing so. Better than 1000 words, here is a video explaining how to undervolt your CPU.

Lowering CPU Temp is interesting to extend CPU and battery life

Hackintosh

The T440p is also popular because macOS can be installed on it thanks to Rehabman.

Thinkpad T440p Hackintosh High Sierra 10.13.6 and Mojave 10.14.1 have been reported to work fine too!

There is an excellent guide on TonyMacx86 and you should also find tons of help on InsanelyMac.

the T440p will easily match the performance of a 2018 MacBook Pro 13 inches which costs 1800+€ with a quad core Intel 8th generation 8259u. All of that for about 500€, which is about 4x cheaper than the macbook.

The downside? It requires advanced technical knowledge to get a t440p working on macOS. It’s not unfeasable, but it’s difficult for beginners. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, I encourage you to buy a macbook pro. Much easier, but costly.

When you build a hackintosh, you essentially trade ease of use for money.

Funny thing, some people are even ditching their Macbook to get used thinkpads. The reason?

I just missed being able to upgrade my laptop and the T440p offered that.

Final Thoughts

I hope I haven’t missed anything important related to the T440p possible mods and upgrades. It took me some effort to build this article, neverless I think it’s worth it! While all those information was readily available from various websites, I felt it would be really useful to have them all in a single place.

The Thinkpad T440p is a fantastic machine which really deserves to be known by the folks. If you feel like something is missing or incorrect, feel free to post a comment!

By - CTO.
Tags: Thinkpad T440p Haswell Intel

Comments

Jaroslav Benc  

Hi Jérôme, Thanks heaps for this post, made me buy one T440p on ebay and fine tune it using your suggestions!

One question regarding CPUs, any experience with aliexpress in this regards? eg. https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20181115062349&SearchText=I7+4702MQ Can’t find many CPUs on ebay so aliexpress looks like a good option?

Thanks again! Cheers, Jaro

Reply

Jerome
In reply to Jaroslav Benc
 

Hi Jaroslav, There are a lot of CPUs available on Aliexpress. It’s always worth looking on several websites to find good deals. I think mobile Core i7 4th generation are currently a bit overpriced, certainly because those CPUs are still performing well nowadays. Ebay is a bit starved on those CPUs these days.

I have ordered many items on Aliexpress without any issue so far. Never ordered CPUs there, but should be a problem if they are genuine. Make sure the seller has already sold some units with good reviews.

Jaroslav Benc  

Hi Jerome, cool that sounds good, thanks again for all the information!
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Sigi  

Hi Jerome,

I’ve tried to pull the BIOS using the SOP8/SOIC clamp but I can’t seem to get a grip on the chip.. I am not sure if these are my fatty fingers or I need to disassemble the whole unit to get the mobo out? I’d assume there’s enough space without it, but seeing as the clamp is constantly ‘slipping off’ I was wondering how did you do it?

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Jerome
In reply to Sigi
 

Hi, I haven’t modded the bios yet. I haven’t had the need to. I think there is not enough space to clamp the clip, you need to remove the entire backpanel.

Trov  

There is one more interesting mod I’ve only seen in a couple posts here and there:

Supposedly, some sellers on Taobao are selling the Haswell CPUs (i7-4770HQ, 4780HQ) used in the 2015 Macbook Pro, soldered onto an LGA adapter board. This allows what are normally BGA CPUs to be installed into the T440p, granting Intel Iris Pro integrated graphics. It should be a notable boost over the GT 730M.

I’m going to try it for myself and see what happens.

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Jerome
In reply to Trov
 

Hi Trov, I haven’t mentioned this upgrade because this upgrade is risky. Out of 3 people who tried the upgrade on Reddit, it did only work for one. I wouldn’t advise this upgrade for this reason. Also, Taobao is in chinese, which makes it difficult to order a CPU. Anyway, let me know if you could upgrade it successfully!

Graz  

Hello, I’m glad I found this blog because it corresponds to what I experienced independently. We have the same vision of things, it’s nice. I do not like 2 things about the T440p: The m.2 slot is not full The loss of the HDD led Do you know any changes to add the activity led? Thank you.
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Jerome
In reply to Graz
 

Hi Graz, the wan card slot can be used with a m2 SSD up to 512GB. I don’t mind having no HDD led, it’s not really useful especially with SSDs.

Bart  

Hi Jérôme, your post sealed the deal and I bought T440p as replacement for X230 last week. I bought my unit on eBay from German seller in basic config i5-4300M/4 GB RAM/320 GB HDD/768p screen for €117. Unit is in almost perfect condition, there are white points on screen but since it is low resolution one I will be changing this to FHD IPS sometime soon. It came with 90W power adapter and my unit doesn’t have fingerprint reader. HDD was clean and there is a Windows 7 license sticker underneath battery. Battery lasts for ~2 hours on medium load. Security chip was Inactive. Intel AT Enabled and Computrace disabled. I tried to look for genuine screens that are recommended but it is not easy thing. I came across a lot of auctions where seller was offering replacement for genuine part which sucks and make the search for good part more difficult. Maybe it will be worth to mention this somewhere in your post, alongside with information to check if there are passwords set up and AT and Computrace activated. Same goes for the touchpad, most of them are crappy ALPS. It is possible to find Synaptics but price is higher, of course :) Anyway, great job with detailing what can be upgraded and what parts are best to use.
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Jerome
In reply to Bart
 

Hi Bart, That’s a good price for a used units nowadays. You will also have to replace the keyboard as the German t440p have QWERTZ keyboards. You’re right: it’s important to check there is no bios password set within the auction description. It’s very difficult to get ride of a bios password. Usually, it ends with a motherboard replacement.

I also had a hard time finding a Synaptics T450 Trackpad and paid almost 35€ for a used one pulled from a T450 (thankfully, in good condition). Mine came with a 65w AC Adapter from a UK seller.

Bart  

Hi Jérôme, update to my previous post: I bought other parts and now I am awaiting deliveries :) Also I noticed that coils in my unit are whining, but only when I am booted to Linux. In Windows they are quiet. Breakdown of prices: *Item bought outside Poland are shipped to Ireland, where I live currently. It made more sense this time of year when I could missed delivery because it took longer than during less busy time of year. Parts bought in Poland are shipped domestic (flying home on holidays). T440p: €117 + €25 shipping (ex-office, Germany) SSD 2.5: I am using one I had lying around HDD 1 TB (in optic drive bay): as above Screen: €70 + €6 shipping (it is darn hard to find LG screen in Europe. Eventually I bought brand new B140HAN01.3 from UK seller) Keyboard: €40 + €17 shipping (US layout, backlight, used, Germany) T450 touchpad (genuine Synaptics): €33 + €2 shipping (used, Poland) CPU - I7 4702MQ: €80 + €2 shipping (used, Poland) Dock station: €27 + €2 (used, with keys, Poland) Total: Laptop + parts = €367 | £331 | $419 shipping = €54 | £47 | $62

Shipping cost from Germany are crazy. It is recommended to check with store if the offered screen is the model you really want to buy. I went through many offers advertised as LP140WF3-SPD1 and send few email to find out that most of them are in fact B140HAN01.3 or similar. When comes to keyboard I found out that sometimes seller describes one as unit with backlight but after asking for details turns out it is 3rd party keyboard without backlight. So frustrating. I bought as well programmer and SOIC8 clip for €11. Planning to do BIOS mod in near future.

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Jerome
In reply to Bart
 

Hi Bart, Thanks for the update! Which hdd bay did you use? I ordered one from China and sadly got a defective / non-compatible one. Mine only works with an old 250GB 2.5 inches hdd. It doesn’t work with a 1TB hdd: the disk is recognized but not readable. In France, we use AZERTY keyboard which are rather expensive: it’s about 50€ + shipping for an azerty backlit keyboard. Thankfully, I could sell the original QWERTY keyboard shipped with my T440p for about 30€ + shipping to cover part of the expense. I ended up ordering the keyboard on AliExpress and got a brand new azerty keyboard with backlit for 38€ shipped. Sadly this seller stopped selling them after.

You got a pretty good deal on the CPU! Most Haswell mobile CPUs are well overpriced on Ebay from my opinion: they range from 100€ to 150+€! Overall mine costed me a bit more: 500€ for the laptop with 4712MQ, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, FHD IPS Panel (LG). I upgraded it with: T450 trackpad (35€), azerty keyboard (38€), TP-Link Nano Wifi (8€), hdd bay (6€). That’s about 560€ for the upgraded laptop, after selling replaced parts.

If you plan to mod the bios, ask Dude2002 on bios-mods, he’ll mod your bios within a few hours if you donate some money for the work.

Bart
In reply to Bart
 

Hi Jérôme, €500 isn’t that much considering that you planning to buy, upgrade and use this laptop for next few years. I would pay the same final price as you, if I would decide to buy m.2 drive and 16GB RAM. It is a pity that I cannot use msata drive because I have one I bought sometime ago. Few weeks of saving money and I’m buying m.2 drive.

I’m using some cheap sata bay that I bought for T410. It is not compatible - there is a bit of plastic that needs to be removed in order to fit into T440p bay, but few minutes with nail file does the job perfectly. On the side note: my laptop was equipped with dummy sata drive and it’s perfect tool to keep the screw in groups while dissembling the device :)

I’m planning to mod BIOS so thanks for tip, I will contact that guy when I will receive programmer (I hope it won’t take few months).

TayGumi  

Hey Cool Overview, short question. Is the Heatsink of the T440p and from the T540p the same or is the Heatsink on the T540p bigger?.
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Jerome
In reply to TayGumi
 

Hi TayGumi, the Thinkpad T440p and T540p doesn’t have the same heatsink. T540p heatsink is bigger and the same as the w540 and w541 (the last one having the physical buttons trackpad).

That being said, the T540p can be upgraded and modded as much as the T440p. It’s just a bit heavier (2.49kgs vs 2.13kgs) and has a bigger screen (15.4 vs 14.1 inches). The T540p supports up to 4 drives, which is pretty insane for a laptop! If you need to carry the laptop often, I would rather go for the T440p.

ThiccpadUser  

Hey, I just wanted to ask, is this the last CPU upgradeable ThinkPad, and is it worth getting over the T430 (also greatly upgradeable) ?

Thanks ahead !

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Jerome
In reply to ThiccpadUser
 

Hi ThiccpadUser, the T440p supports the fatest Haswell Mobile CPU: the 4910MQ. Some people also report it works with the 4980HQ, which has a much better internal graphic card (Iris Pro 5200).

DarConall  

I got a T440p with the i7-4600M and 16GB of Ram for a total of 115. No SSD/HDD and there’s some slightly more white spots on the screen (they don’t actually bother me).I just ordered a 128GB SSD for 25 euro and a B140HAN01.3 for 50 euro (from China). Had the guy make me several pictures and confirm that he’ll be sending an exact model and not a copy or compatible panel (really wasn’t too sure he understood what I was saying).

The laptop is actually surprisingly fast with just the dual core i7, wasn’t expecting that. For a total of 190 including the (hopefully genuine) screen and ssd I can say it’s totally worth it.

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Jerome
In reply to DarConall
 

You got an awesome deal!

Ross  

I tried a new WiFi card on my t440p with 2.32 bios. Unfortunately the whitelist does work (I.e. I get the unauthorized WiFi card message). So I guess I’m looking at flashing the bios. Also, the WiFi card linked to above DW1560 will not work in the t440p - you need one with two slots in the connector edge like this one: DW1820A
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Peter  

Hi i have 1 question, I have oportunity to buy NEW 20AN00E3GE for 680euro, but iam aftraid about nvidia card because ai i undesrtand if nvidia card fail i will be unable to run whole laptop right?
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Jerome
In reply to Peter
 

Hi Peter, I think it’s a bit pricey for the specs. For about 600€, you can build a grade A T440p with a 4900MQ, 16GB RAM, 512GB to 1TB SSD, FHD IPS screen and T450 Trackpad. That being said, the Nvidia GT730M doesn’t perform much better than the HD4600 integrated within the CPU, but adds up to power consumption (and heat). Also, the GT730M is another component prone to failure, so that’s another point to consider.

I would prefer a T440p with the HD4600 only: better battery life, possible better reliability and overall same performance.

Carlos Carrillo  

I’ve just bought an used T440p, because equipment renovation in my job. I supposed that a RAM update and replacing the HDD unit with an SSD is enough, but this laptop has great potential. Thank you and greetings.
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Jerome
In reply to Carlos Carrillo
 

Hi Carlos, Glad you like your T440p! The upgrade which provide the greatest performance boost are, as you already know, replacing the HDD by a SSD and upgrading to 8GB or even 16GB RAM. The i5 4300m is very close to a 4700MQ in single threaded tasks, which makes it a good choice when you only use the laptop for internet browsing, light photo editing and writing.

volmanal  

I currently have a L440 I have upgraded the screen to an IPS 1080p, SSD, hard drive caddy and 16 gb of ram. Will the M2 2242 SSD work in the L440’s also?
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Kris  

Thanks for the information you shared on your site! I upgraded the LCD to the LG 1080p display and it a huge improvement! One problem I had was that the display worked during the BIOS boot screen but would not work in Windows, the solution was to change the video memory in the BIOS from 256MB to 512MB now it works fine. Hope it can help someone else!
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Carlos Carrillo  

Hi: as you said in your answer to my previous comment, my T440p has a Core i5 4300M. But I’ve founded an used Core i7 4600m CPU, the seller’s description says that runs at 3.60 GHz with a TDP of 37 W. You don’t talk about this CPU in this page, so I want to know: it’s a good CPU updating option? Thanks for your information.
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Jerome
In reply to Carlos Carrillo
 

Hi Carlos, The i7 4600m is a dual-core CPU, like the i5 4300m. You won’t see any major improvement upgrading to this CPU from the i5 4300m. Seek for a i7 4700MQ (or any other haswell quad core), those are usually the cheapest Haswell quad-cores you can get. The price will probably be close to the i7 4600m, but the CPU has 4 cores instead of 2.

That being said, the i5 4300m is surprisingly good if you don’t need higher multi-threading performance.

Neal  

Hi Jerome, GREAT webpage you have here! (Thumbs up!) I actually live in the U.S. (Texas, to be exact), where these computers, and parts, are cheaper. I currently have 5 of the T440p ThinkPads, including my “Daily Driver” ( I collect ThinkPads, and have 50, or so)

i7-4700 (soon to be i7-4810) nVidia GeForce GT730m HD4600 16gb/PC3-12800 512gb SamSung EVO 860 SSD 1tb HGST/7200rpm HDD in the drive bay Backlit keyboard 1600x900 panel. Total invested? $325 USD.

IMHO, The T440p, is the best computer ever built, by anyone, at any, given time.

I bought mine three years ago, broken, off Ebay for $100 USD. I haven’t changed the display, simply because I use it with a 32” HP Gaming Monitor. Speaking of gaming, I do a lot of it, and I’m going to disagree with you here JUST a LITTLE bit :).

The HD4600 isn’t half bad for just about any older games. Sims 2 is smooth as glass on high settings, as is Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 2, among many others.

I find the GT730m Graphics chipset to be 25-30% better than the on-board graphics, which means 25-30% better performance, and 25-30% more games you can play with great frame rates, if you tweak your nVidia software, even a little better. I play Skyrim, Sims 3/and 4, Mass Effect 3, The Long Dark, and several other decent games with VERY comfortable frame rates, with no hitches, or problems.

If you’r GT730m goes out, it’s because the heat sink to the GPU is slightly bent. Some come from the factory that way. This causes poor contact between the heat sink and GPU. You NEED to closely examine the heat sink on ANY T440p/nVidia you purchase, and either carefully adjust it, or replace it with another one. I’ve been repairing computers since 1978, and when on-board GPU’s came out, a bent heat sink was almost ALWAYS the culprit.

All my T440p’s have the nVidia chipset. I’ve NEVER had any problems with throttling, or excessive heat. All perform beautifully. Check your heat sink!

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Jerome
In reply to Neal
 

Hi Neal, First of all, thanks for your awesome feedback! It makes sense for most people to stick with the HD4600 because they don’t game with such laptop. The T440p is great, but not well suited for gaming. But, it’s still good to know the GT730m is providing a nice graphics performance boost. Have you heard about the 4980HQ? Some people put a 4980HQ in their T440p. The Iris Pro Graphics is even faster than the GT730m.
 

Thank you

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