Upgrading the Lenovo ThinkCentre M600




Introduction: Upgrading the Lenovo ThinkCentre M600

About: Slinky Harmonics Engineer by day...

Ever since IBM sold their PC manufacturing unit to Lenovo, it fell off the radar for me... That was until I wanted a small portable desktop. Here is what I was looking to buy first:

The Infocus Kangaroo: www.infocus.com/kangaroo/

PLUS: Great company, really small form factor, modular, fingerprint scanner and built-in battery.
CONS: For $100 USD you only get 32GB SSD / 2GB RAM non-upgradeable. Windows 10 will eat 32GB in 2 updates and Kangaroo's customer support left me flat (I knew more about their product than they did.)

So, even though the Kangaroo is a great little gadget it is not really meant for road warriors. You might be asking yourself, why not a laptop? well in these circumstances a laptop does not cut it. So, that is out of the question.

There are other options from HP and DELL but Lenovo's Price tag of $300 USD plus a coupon for 25% discount really made my day...

The Thinkcentre M600 "Tiny" has an Intel N3700 Quad-Core 1.6GHz CPU which turbos to 2.4GHz, upgrades to 8GB of RAM comes with tons of USB ports and display options (DP / HDMI / DVI / VGA.) AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 all inside a military tested 7x7 inch form factor.

I'll be upgrading the M600 from the stock 4GB of RAM and 500 GB HDD to 8GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD. You will need the following:

- The cheapest DDR3L 1600 SODIMM you can find. (I found a "Mushkin Essentials" 8GB for $30)
- A pretty good SSD, the best you can afford. (I got a "Mushkin Triactor" 480GB for $120)
- Apricorn's Wire 3.0 kit
- Phillips screw driver.
- ESD protection
(wrist strap, grounded workspace, etc. / There is an instructable available on ESD protection... )

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Step 1: Let's Copy the Disk...

If you have never used Apricorn's upgrade kit, it is really easy to use... Pretty much just plug your new SSD to the Wire 3.0 and plug it to a USB3.0 port on your M600. Either download Apricorn's EZ GIG IV software from their website (to use from within windows) or use the included DVD...You can also create a USB bootable drive if you want.

Follow the steps outlined by the EZ GIG wizard...

Select source: That would be your HDD drive.

Destination: That is your new SSD drive.

BTW, sometimes people report problems for A or B reasons with their new copied drive. Sometimes depending on your setup, you'll need to use other apps such as :

Macrium Reflect (http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx)

Again, Apricorn's EZ GIG IV is free and so is Macrium Reflect so you have nothing to lose here... (well, except maybe 1 hour of your time.)

Step 2: Let's Crack It Open...

In case you paid for the 3 or 4 year warranty from Lenovo. These upgrades will not void your warranty since these are parts deemed as "CRU" or Customer Replaceable Units. You will need to keep your original HDD and memory just in case for warranty claims...

1 - Start by removing the BIG black phillips screw from the back of the unit. I really think this should be replaced with a thumbscrew but sadly the screw is not "standard."

2- Now with your thumbs push the cover away from you and lift up and out of the way...

Step 3: Inside!

I've provided a small description of all the parts visible to us...

Pay special attention to the Wi-Fi ant. positions...

In case you are wondering, yup, the AUX Wi-Fi ant. is mounted to the HDD tray via this rectangular "black box."

The HDD is mounted to the tray via a rail system. So, you don't need to remove the Wi-Fi ant. connections
(well, unless you feel masochistic.)

BTW, my MAIN Wi-Fi ant. connector was touching the screw which could cause problems so I moved the connector a little after the whole upgrade... You might want to check yours too...

Step 4: Let's Get That Memory!

After you push both retainer clips away from the memory module, the module will pop up at a 25 or 45 degree angle. You'll need to insert the memory at the same angle.

Also make sure the new module is making all the correct connections. You might need to push it a little bit more...

Step 5: Replace the HDD With the SSD Drive

There is a big black thumbscrew next to the rear of the HDD. You'll want to remove it.

The HDD tray is supported by 4 contact points. Two of those are next to the AUX Wi-Fi ant. so be very careful.

Now, just push the HDD tray out. This will also disconnect the SATA connector at the same time.

One thing I did not clearly mentioned before: the HDD is only 7mm. So, you'll need to find a SSD drive which is also 7mm (most new SSDs are 7mm , older models are 9mm.)

The HDD is mounted to the tray via a rail system. Just push the HDD out of the tray.

Remove the 4 red (sometimes blue) soft plastic covered screws. You'll need to install them on the new SSD

Insert the SSD into the HDD tray in reverse order.

Now, connect the HDD tray back to the M600 in reverse order. (push the tray back to the 4 support contact points, replace the thumbscrew.)

Step 6: A Few Other Things You Should Know...

There are a few things which the M600 has on the motherboard. These could be used with the help of a few add-ons (hacks) or with the purchase of extra parts from Lenovo.

The board has a COM port / USB 2.0 /LPC / Display Port to HDMI / DP to DP connectors available. Lenovo sells extra parts for the M600 via their website.

So you can hack your M600 all you want...

Also, under the HDD tray you'll find the M.2 SATA connector for an extra SSD. This connector takes both long and short boards. So, you could have a total of 1TB of SSD space in this little unit...

I have not found a S/PDIF connector on the board yet...
( my life would be complete if it did have one with easy access :p )

Finally , If you did everything correctly, when you turn on your M600 it should just boot up back to Windows 10. Depending on your setup, it might take a second restart before you see the speed increase (You can thank the UEFI on your computer).

– Cheers!

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    1 year ago

    I bought one of these today for some light gaming on very old titles, such as the original Half-Life game, and a little Half-Life 2 and I am thoroughly impressed with the performance that such a tiny box provides!! I see 100+FPS in HL1 constantly, and even Half-Life 2 on medium settings manages 30+ FPS.

    Overall, I would agree completely with this guide, but I would recommend opting for the highest quality RAM that you can buy, because the integrated graphics chip shares memory with the System RAM, so faster system RAM = faster GPU VRAM