IBM thinkpad 380xd processor upgrade from pentium mmx to pentium II

michaelWeaser

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Oct 27, 2012
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I have this old IBM Thinkpad 380xd which is the Pentium MMX model , I want to upgrade this computer to the Pentium II version, I got the Pentium II for it, and plugged it into it, it just beeped at me, which means can't recognize processor, I did some research, and i found out there where 2 separate bioses for each model, the Pentium mmx had a different bios, and the Pentium II had a different bios. The model that i have is the Pentium MMX , which means it has a Pentium MMX bios. Can I switch the bios from the Pentium MMX version to the pentium II bios? If its possible, I think its possible since both Pentium MMX and Pentium II use the same motherboard, but just uses different Bioses.
 

jaguarskx

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You will need to get the BIOS that allows you to use the PII CPU and the software tool that allows you to flash the BIOS chip. They may be difficult to find because IBM likely no longer have the BIOS and software to upgrade such an old laptop since they sold their ThinkPad division to Lenovo back in 2005 or 2006. Lenovo will likely not have them either.

I do not think it is worth the effort in my opinion. I have a ThinkPad T40 with a Pentium M CPU that is a derivative of the Pentium III CPU that I purchased back in 2003. I tried to use it to surf the net back in 2009 since it is still fully functional. But it was not powerful enough because of all the Java code and flash running in the background. I recall it took over 1 minute to load certain websites. The internet has become even more demanding since 2009.

You will likely not be able to even use it to watch videos on Youtube, because the old integrated graphics lacks the video codecs to decode any playback modern videos.
 

michaelWeaser

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I'm only using for old games, Because there was 2 bioses for this machine, since there was 2 models , the Pentium MMX model and the Pentium II model. Since it's a Pentium MMX machine, it has the pentium MMX bios, switching it to the pentium II Bios should make the Pentium II work on this laptop?
 

jaguarskx

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If there is a BIOS for that specific laptop model that recognizes the PII CPU, then yes, you should be able to install the CPU.

The problem is acquiring the BIOS file and the install program... unless you have already found them.
 

michaelWeaser

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It should work unless the motherboard where different. In the IBM replacement part list, they have 2 different motherboards , maybe thats because , they had the BIOS preinstalled on them, with the pentium MMX, and the Pentium II bios, and if you needed a replacement , they just installed a motherboard that had the correct bios installed possibly.

 

jaguarskx

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Yes, that could be a possibility. It seems you will have to do a bit more research to determine if that is correct. If it is, then that means there may not be a BIOS for you to download. You would need to purchase the other motherboard to install the PII CPU.
 

michaelWeaser

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I want a real laptop to do it on, I really don't like emulation or even virtualization, like virtualbox , But I will use it, if needed , and if i want to use an old computer, if im not at home, i will use those programs
 

michaelWeaser

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I am starting to think its a different motherboard, Like for example some components are different for each motherboard, like for example the dc/dc board, the board that charges the battery , is different on both motherboards, and also plastic parts are different in some places, on the replacement parts list, But they could be the same, Apparently the fan was slightly bigger on the pentium II model , so they probably had to rearranged, and change the size of things, for it to fit.
 

michaelWeaser

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Oct 27, 2012
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Update its not going to work:

The motherboards are the same, but pentium II isn't going to work still, the Pentium II has a different voltage. Which means there is a different DC converter board, So ibm had 2 different DC converters for this machine for the processors
 
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