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things I break/fix for fun and learning

Dec 20, 2018 - 3 minute read - Comments

Final Modification for X220 - Upgrading to Intel 7260 Wireless AC

This will be the last and final hardware modification I will be doing for my Thinkpad X220. Almost all aspects has been upgraded, except for the WIFI. I will be upgrading the wifi chip from Intel 6205N to Intel 7260 AC. I need this modification so that I can regain my bluetooth back after doing the internal USB mod. Intel 7260 AC is the last generation of Intel WIFI cards that is compatible with the X220. Succeeding generations are in a different form factor and they are physically incompatible.

Installing the Intel 7260 AC is straightforwad, although there are some precautions. This are the steps I did to make it work on my X220 -

  1. The X220 has a BIOS whitelist. Only approved wifi cards can be installed and unfortunately the Intel 7260 AC is not on the officially supported list. The X220 will not boot if the Intel 7260 AC is installed without removing the BIOS whitelist.

  2. Flashing a modified BIOS will remove the whitelist. I had to boot to a Windows partition as flashing the BIOS only works in Windows.

  3. Once the modified BIOS is installed, the BIOS whitelist is removed and the Intel 7260 AC will work. Remove the old Intel 6205N and install the Intel 7260 AC.

  4. For bluetooth to work, PIN51 should be covered / removed. If not, the bluetooth capability of the card will not be detected.

  5. WIMAX must be enabled in the BIOS settings. If WIMAX is disabled, the bluetooth will not function. Even if my X220 has no WIMAX card, this step must be performed.

Once I did all this steps, the wifi and bluetooth works!

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Intel 7260 AC wifi chip intel 7260

Intel 6205N currently installed intel 6205

Intel 7260 AC - PIN51 is covered with tape. PIN51 is the last PIN on the right of the card pin51 covered with tape

WIMAX Enabled in BIOS Settings wimax enabled

BIOS Whitelist - Laptop wont boot without removing the whitelist BIOS whitelist

Intel 7260 AC installed and detected via lspci lspci 7260

Missing firmware for Intel 7260 AC needs to be installed 7260 missing firmware

Install missing firmware via YUM, and remove old Intel 6205N firmware 7260 firmware install

Bluetooth detected and enabled bluetooth enabled

Final Thoughts

I have reached the stage wherein I want my X220 the way it is. Final specs of my X220 -

I decided not to upgrade the screen to IPS. I will leave it as is to complement the retro keyboard, making it a vintage retro style laptop but with modest specs that can easily beat entry level computers of today!

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