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Thinkpad X230


The X230 is the fourth model in the X2xx series and was manufactured from June 2012 to August 2014. It is the successor to the successful X220.

The biggest difference compared to previous X2xx models is the new ThinkPad Precision Keyboard, which is now installed in all ThinkPads.

The X230 was also produces in the following variants:

  • X230 Tablet - Tablet variant
  • X230i - weaker variant with i3 CPU

Significant differences to the predecessor (X220)

  • New processors (Ivy Bridge)
  • New backlight Precision Isolation Keyboard in 6 rows with backlight (optional)
  • Dolby Advanced Audio v2 speakers
  • New graphics chip (Intel HD 4000)
  • miniDisplayPort (mDP) instead of DisplayPort (DP)
  • USB 3.0 now in all models
  • New fingerprint sensor

Technical data

The versions available from the factory and the maximum possible expansion stages are listed.

All CPUs support vt-x, not all support vt-d (PCIe passthrough via the help of IOMMU).

  • Intel 3rd Generation Core CPUs (Ivy Bridge), CPU frequency: base frequency/turbo frequency:
    • Intel Core i3-3110M (2.4/2.4 GHz, 3MB L3 cache, VT-d: no)
    • Intel Core i5-3210M (2.5/3.1 GHz, 3MB L3 cache, VT-d: no)
    • Intel Core i5-3230M (2.6/3.2 GHz, 3MB L3 cache, VT-d: no)
    • Intel Core i5-3320M (2.6/3.3 GHz, 3MB L3 cache, VT-d: yes)
    • Intel Core i5-3360M (2.8/3.5 GHz, 3MB L3 cache, VT-d: yes)
    • Intel Core i5-3380M (2.9/3.6 GHz, 4MB L3 cache, VT-d: yes)
    • Intel Core i7-3520M (2.9/3.6 GHz, 4MB L3 cache, VT-d: yes)
    • Intel Core i7-3667U (2 GHz, 4 MB cache, ULV) (we have never seen this CPU out in the wild)

Upgradeability: It is not (easily) possible to replace the CPU as it is soldered to the mainboard.

Graphics chips

  • Intel HD 3000 (for Sandy Bridge models)
  • Intel HD 4000

Although the Intel HD 4000 graphics is capable of driving 3 screens simultaneously, this is not intended for these Thinkpad models. Therefore, only two screens can be used at the same time, either two external monitors or one external monitor and the internal display. Of course, this restriction also applies to operation in a docking station/Ultrabase.

  • 12.5“ 1366×768 HD, LED backlight
  • 12.5” 1366×768 Premium HD, LED backlight, IPS panel


2.5“ SATA II hard drive or SSD with a height oft 7mm height can be installed. The installation of hard disks & SSDs with 9.5mm height should also be possible if the caddy is removed.

An SSD with mSATA connection can also be installed in the WWAN slot (mini PCIe slot left of the WLAN slot).


  • PC3-12800 1600MHzDDR3, up to 16GB (2 x 8GB)

Case material

  • Magnesium top cover
  • Magnesium base unit


  • Intel QM77 Express

Extensions (ex factory)

  • MiniPCI Express Slot 1 (right side), with one of the following components:
    • Blank
    • ThinkPad 11b/g/n
    • Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2200]]
    • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205]]
    • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300]]

It is only possible to install a half-height only adapter as the necessary brackets for a full-height adapter are missing.

  • MiniPCI Express Slot 2 (left side) with one of the following components:
    • Empty
    • WWAN Ericsson H5321gw (GPRS/WCDMA/HSPA/HSPA+)
    • Intel 310 mSATA SSD

It is not possible to WLAN adapters due to missing PCIe lanes.

  • 1x ExpressCard 54mm
  • 4-in-1 card reader (MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC)
    • 256GB SDXC card: PNY Elite SDXC Class 10 UHS-I 90MB/s has already been successfully used in the X230 tablet

Other special features

  • Fingerprint reader (optional)
  • 720p webcam (optional)
  • Dual digital microphone
  • ThinkLight and Backlight (optional)


  • 1x audio in/out combined
  • miniDisplayport
  • VGA
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0 powered
  • Gigabit Ethernet, Intel

Batteries & power supply units

  • 4 cells, Li-Ion, 1950mAh, 195g, battery 44, 0A36305
  • 6-cell, Li-Ion, 5600mAh, 345g, battery 44+, 0A36306
  • 9-cell, Li-Ion, 9000mAh, 510g, battery 44++, 0A36307
  • 9-cell, Li-Ion, 5800mAh, 750g, Slice battery 19+, 0A36280

Size and weight

  • 305mm x 206.5mm x 19.0-26.6mm; from 1.34kg - 1.67kg, depending on the battery supplied

ThinkPad Mini Dock Series 3 Docking Stations

To our knowledge, the following docking station options exist for the Thinkpad X230 (sold at Vikings as bold text).

All Lenovo docking stations for the X230 come with 1x VGA, 1x Ethernet (RJ-45) and 1x Kensington Lock.

ThinkPad Port Replicator

  1. ThinkPad Port Replicator Series 3 with USB 3.0 (Type 433615W, FRU ?), 4x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0

ThinkPad Mini Dock Series 3

  1. ThinkPad Mini Dock Series 3 with USB 3.0 (Type 433715U, FRU ?), 5x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, DVI-D, DP, Microphone in, Audio out
  2. ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 with USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 2x DVI, 2x DP, Microphone in, Audio out
    1. (Type 433815U (came with 90W PSU), FRU 04W3939)
    2. (Type 433835U (came with 170W PSU, FRU 04W3939)
  3. ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 with eSATA1) (Type 4338, FRU 04W1815), 6x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA, 2x DVI, 2x DP

ThinkPad UltraBase

  1. ThinkPad UltraBase Series 3 (Type 0B67692, FRU 04W6846), 4x USB 2.0, 1x DP, Microphone in, Audio out

Known issues

Built-in USB 3.0 ports issues with SATA adapters

It has been reported 2) 3) 4) that the two USB 3.0 ports on the left appear to suffer from read and write errors when USB to SATA adapters are being used on any supported coreboot version with a SeaBIOS payload.

USB 3.0 sticks work fine and the USB 2.0 port on the right does not have this problem.

This may be isolated to the SeaBIOS payload.

This is being investigated (with low priority, don't expect an update soon); we'll update this article once we know more.


hardware/x230.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/26 14:22 by thum