85 Comments

  1. Robert: I think you can run 3 monitors via DVI using the setup you described. I can’t test it, but I believe you can use the internal video card, as well as one in the dock, at the same time. A better bet might be to get a Matrox card with 3 (triple-head) DVI outputs. This would keep you from having to mess with configuring 2 video cards and any potential conflicts 2 cards simultaneously might bring (such as remembering which screen is one the left, the resolution of each screen, etc.).

  2. Morten is right, I’m afraid. I was thinking T61, not X61. I’m pretty sure it does use a different docking system.

  3. Thanks for the info, guys. In continuing my research, I came across some pretty interesting information regarding the Advanced Docking Station:

    http://www.tradersworld.com/computers/ThinkpadT60p%20with%20Advanced%20Docking8.htm

    The ThinkPad Advanced Dock offers full connectivity and desktop expansion for users of next generation ThinkPad systems.

    It is ideal for notebook users who use high-end graphics or multiple monitors. It has been tested and works with three multiple monitor cards. The PNY NVS 285 (2-DVI Ports) , the NVS 440 (4-DVI Ports) and the Matrox P65MD0E125 (2-DVI Ports) QIED128PAE video cards (4 DVI-Ports).

    Now I realize this is not the same as a statement from tech support, but it’s the first source I have seen that offers me a solution, and I am encouraged by the specificity of the cards that it claims are supported. I may try Lenovo now to see if they can confirm this.

  4. I am posting this to see whether or not I was hallucinating when I ordered my T61 (in early October).

    I went through the Lenovo site, specifically my company’s employee purchase program (nice discount). I *believe* I selected the upgrade to 2 yrs of Norton Internet Security (from the free, included 90-day trial subscription). When the laptop arrived, there was no Norton product key. I checked my email receipt and no mention of Norton, trial or otherwise. I went on the Lenovo site and the prices were all the same as when I ordered, *except* that there were no options for anti-virus at all (now this seems strange, Lenovo will sell you additional Corel graphics software, but no anti-virus, whether from Norton, McAfee or otherwise??). Well, I went ahead and configured my system the same as I ordered it (this time without anti-virus, as it was/is not available on the website) and lo and behold, it came in ~$80 cheaper, about the same as what I believe I paid for the 2 year upgrade.

    So am I imagining things or did the Lenovo site used to offer the purchase of anti-virus software?

  5. No, I don’t think that you are imagining it. I have been contemplating the T61P 14.1 Widescreen for some time, and I am certain it used to be there. Similarly, you could also get the WXGA+ with the camera. That’s no longer available. I ordered this week, and needed to call customer service to correct the order from Vista to XP, and was told then that the 7 cell battery was going to push my order into January. The 7-cell battery is no longer on the web site either. My current estimated ship date (with a 4 cell!) is Mid November, ordered 10/22.

  6. Wow, sounds like many of the options I selected aren’t readily available now. I’m glad I got the cofig I wanted, but I wonder what the deal is with availability. It’s strange to be in that much of a back-order situation.

  7. I purchased a T61 with the Advanced Dock so I could run 4 monitors.
    My T61 has the nVidia Quadro NVS 140M internally.
    I purchased four 17″ external monitors.
    To run the monitors, I got an nVidia Quadro NVS 440.
    I am running Vista Ultimate.

    When I installed the Quadro 440, the laptop will not boot to Windows. It displays the BIOS screen, and then shows the Microsoft Corp screen with the green progress bar. Then the screen goes blank and the login for Windows never displays. I have gone into BIOS and set the PCIe graphics card as primary, and the display to the correct setting. The laptop simply will not boot. Lenovo support has been unable to help, and neither has the company which sold me the screens and graphics card. Lenovo claims the Quadro NVS 440 should work.

    Anyone know why this combination would be having problems?

  8. An update to my postng of Oct 24th. My new laptop arrived Monday 10/29! Dispatched 3 days after order. Not sure what happened to the month delivery time, but this was a pleasant surprise. I’m gradually getting things installed. Having trouble with a blue tooth mouse which is causing a blue screen and IRQL_LESS_THAN_OR_NOT_EQUAL error, but apart from that, I love it!

  9. Carlton,
    Are you running your Dell 3007WFP directly off of the DVI port on the Docking station or did you install a separate PCIe video card into the dock? If so, what card? nVidia’s site indicates that the max res on the Quadro NVS 140M is only 1600×1200.

    I bought a T60 back in June and cannot get anything to work with my 3007WFP.

  10. Robert:

    The article with the instructions for setup of advanced dock with PCIe graphics is for the T60, not the T61. These laptops are different.

    At this time, I cannot confirm that the NVidia NVS 440 works in the advanced dock. I have this card and my laptop will not boot to windows when this card is installed in the dock. Digital Tigers is sending me a ATI FireMV 2400 PCIe so I can test that. I will report back with my findings next week.

    FYI – I called Lenovo tech support to ask them if they have a T61 laptop working with the advanced dock and a PCIe graphics card. They said they did not have one at the support center. I asked if they could give me a list of approved cards. They said they could only say that the Lenovo ATI cards work. But those cards are both only capapble of 2 displays. This is pointless because the onboard graphics card for the T61 can run 2 monitors on it’s own. In Vista, you can’t run simultaneous graphics cards by different manufacturers. (ie you can’t run an ATI card at the same time as the internal NVidia) So buying a Lenovo grpahics card would be pointless because you can already run 2 monitors with the internal graphics.

  11. Robert:

    My suggestion to you is to not purchase any monitors or the advanced dock yet. I have not been able to talk to a single person who has actually seen the T61 laptop work in the advanced dock with a PCIe graphics card. At this point, there is no assurance that the advanced dock performs as Lenovo advertises.

    Don’t get any equipment yet. Wait until we can confirm that this setup indeed works. I have a feeling that Lenovo made a serious goof with the T61. They assumed that since the T60 works, the T61 should too. But they did change graphics cards and this seems to be affecting things.

  12. I received a different PCI-e graphics card today to test with my advanced docks. This time I was trying an ATI FireMV 2400.

    It would not work either. Laptop will not boot with the card in the dock.

    I called Lenovo tech support. I asked them a very simple question:

    “Has anyone seen a T61 laptop work in conjunction with the Advance Dock and a PCIe graphics card? Any graphics card.”

    Their answer: “No”. And he asked his supervisor who also said No.

    So Lenovo is unable to confirm if the Advanced Dock can do the very thing it was designed to do. Sounds like false advertising to me.

  13. This is very disappointing. I specifically asked about the compatibility of the T61 and the advanced dock, was given a “no problem” response, which I took with a grain of salt, but given that the T60 was compatible, I went ahead and purchased the T61. I am out over $2500 for the laptop, dock and the NVS 440 card I bought… And the laptop does not do the one thing that I need it to do… I have a feeling I am in for a nasty fight with Lenovo, because I am NOT a satisfied customer.

  14. It is not your fault you listened to Lenovo. They advertise that the Advanced Dock works with PCI-e graphics cards. I trusted them, too. I spent a lot of money on a T61 laptop, Advanced Dock, four Samsung monitors, and two different PCI-e graphics cards during my troubleshooting process.

    Fortunately for me, Digital Tigers has been very helpful. They are the company which sold me the monitors and graphics cards. They are allowing me to return the graphics cards for a refund, and they are sending me an additional monitor stand. That way I can take two monitors home and keep two at the office. I will be able to use all four of the monitors I purchased, just not at once as I had hoped.

    I have returned the extra Advanced Dock back to Lenovo, along with a detailed letter about the issue. There is also an open tech service ticket on the issue. In my letter, I went over every step in my troubleshooting process. I am hoping they will escalate the issue to a higher level at Lenovo, and perhaps find a solution. My feeling is that this is a BIOS problem.

    I will continue to post my progress here for everyone.

    Robert – You say you have the dock and NVS 440? Do you have the same problem with the laptop not booting to Windows when the card is in the dock?

  15. Hi John,

    I do have the T61, advanced docking station (along with an extra DVD drive that I was going to use in the ultrabay enhanced slot) as well as the NVS 440. I bought my stuff around the same time that you did, but I got so busy with work that I never got around to opening the docking station, DVD drive or NV@ 440. After your experience, I think I will leave everything in their boxes.

    This may be one of those cases where I should have stuck with what works for me (my current Latitude D810 and a Digital Tigers box). I do like to upgrade every so often for more storage, speed, and in the case of the T61, I love the AT&T built in wireless WAN card, which was not available when I bought my D810 about 2 1/2 years ago.

    In an effort to salvage at least the T61 itself (which I do like quite a bit), what is your setup to get 2 external monitors working? I suppose I could give away one of the three that I currently have in my home office and make due with two, as I don’t find myself working from home nearly as much as I used to (and I have three monitors with my desktop in the office).

  16. If you have the T61 with NVidia internal graphics card, then you can run 2 external monitors by getting any of the Lenovo docks. I recently ordered a R61 for a co-worker along with the mini-dock. She is running 2 external monitors with that setup. The advanced dock will drive 2 monitors, as well. It has a DVI and a VGA output on the back.

    Digital Tigers has been great. Way more help than Lenovo tech support. They are taking back the graphics cards they sent, too.

    FYI – I called tech support at Lenovo again, and they have agreed to escalate my issue to a Lenovo Service rep. (I don’t know what that is, but they said it was the next step in the hierarchy) I will hopefully have a chance to discuss this with someone more knowledgable. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

    For now, the best thing to do might be to continue waiting. I may have more info soon, assuming Lenovo contacts me back. As curious as I am to hear what happens with your NVS 440 and T61, I cannot in good conscience tell you to try it out. 😉

  17. Argh.

    I specifically “downgraded” to the integrated graphics adaptor because the battery life is supposed to be better than with the nVidia graphics, and I figured that when I needed nice graphics I would have my T61 hooked up to my advanced dock/NVS 400 setup. So my investment continues to fall short of its promised capabilities.

    I agree that Digital Tigers is very supportive, the problem with their product is that fewer and fewer laptops are being produced with cardbus controllers that allow the use of their SideCar product (which I own and use with my Latitude D810). None of the current Thinkpads are compatible, and only one Dell (the beastly Precision M5300) is compatible.

    I wish you luck in hearing back from your Lenovo rep, but I would not hold my breath.

  18. It may still be possible to run dual monitors with the integrated graphics. I honestly don’t know. I just said that the NVidia does work because that’s what I have and it is working for me with 2 monitors on my dock.

    Then again, the fact you don’t have the NVidia graphics might also be a good thing with respect to the dock. I’m only guessing here…. but perhaps the lack of a graphics card would be the difference?

  19. John,

    You make a good point. My initial assumption was that I would set the T61 so that when in the docking station, it would use only the NVS 440 card and would completely bypass the onboard graphics chip on the motherboard. Maybe the fact that I chose integrated graphics will work to my advantage here. Somehow I doubt it but may be worth a shot. I might have to unpack my gear this weekend and try. It will all depend on if my schedule allows it.

  20. Spoke with a Lenovo rep just a minute ago. Gave him all the details about my issue. He wasn’t really prepared for dealing with something so technical. I asked him to please check with engineering to confirm if anyone has seen a T61 laptop with Vista work with the advanced dock and a PCI-e grpahics card. If so, please identify the card that works. He said they would get back to me about it.

  21. Well I am still not overly optimistic that I will get my setup working, but it is at least worth a shot, since I have the onboard graphics chip (vs. your nVidia card) and am running XP Professionsl (vs. your Vista)… so maybe, just maybe, that will make a difference. So when I go to set things up, is the key to install the NVS 440 in the docking station first, and then set the T61’s BIOS so that it looks to the docking station graphics card alone? Or do I just need to muddle through it and see what might work?

  22. Yes.

    Install card in dock.
    Place laptop in dock.
    Turn on laptop, begin tapping F1 key.
    Laptop goes to BIOS Setup.
    In BIOS, select Config then Display.
    Change Primary Graphics Card to “PCI Express”
    Change Default Display to DVI or VGA, whichever you are using as your primary.
    Save Changes and exit BIOS.
    Laptop will reboot.
    If your setup works, the laptop will boot to Windows normally.
    Once Windows has booted, insert CD-ROM for installing drivers.

  23. Before you do this, however…. I suggest you do the following:

    1. Boot laptop normally, outside of the dock.
    2. Run Lenovo ThinkVantage Updater. Get any Critical Updates, and then look in the Recommended Updates for any BIOS Updates.
    3. Make a Restore Point for your OS, just in case you need to recover.

  24. Dear all,

    How can I downgrade my OS from Vista Home Premium to XP Professional ?

  25. OK I went ahead and tried out the NVS 400 with the advanced dock.

    Didn’t work. No matter what I did to the BIOS, the T61 would not get past the Thinkpad initial screen (didn’t even get to the Windows XP screen.

    I thought maybe it was this particular card, and so I went to Best Buy and picked up a PNY nVidia GeForce 7900 GS and an ATI Radeon X 1650 Pro. Both offer dual DVI output, so I was hopeful that I could get one of the cards to work and at least run 2 external DVI monitors, or use the onboard graphics on the T61 to drive one external monitor and let one of these cards drive the other two (Windows XP allows this, and this is exactly how I drive 3 external monitors with my Dell Latitude D810; one from the DVI port on the docking station using the D810’s onboard graphics, and the other 2 with a Digital Tigers box using the D810’s PC card slot).

    No dice with either of these cards either. Same problem, will not get past the Thinkpad loading screen. Again, this was despite whatever BIOS settings I tried.

    It seems that the mere inclusion of any PCI-E card in the docking station locks up the system.

    Now that I have the docking station unpacked, I have the T61 driving 2 external monitors (one with the DVI port on the dock, the second with the VGA port on the dock). While this is better than one external monitor, this was not what I bargained for.

    Best Buy cards go back today. Probably will have to eat a loss on the NVS 440. Not sure what I will do with the T61, dock and accessories.

    Not happy.

  26. Robert,

    I’m very sorry it did not work for you, either. But I do sincerely appreciate your reporting back on the matter.

    Since my last post I have not heard back from Lenovo engineering dept. On my last call with Lenovo, the customer care rep did not have any answers for my question about the T61 and Advanced Dock. He said he would have to escalate the issue and they would reply to me. So I remain hopeful they will contact me again soon.

    I will be mentioning your experience to Lenovo when I speak with them again. It seems quite evident this is not an isolated problem. Both of us have tried different PCI-e cards, and I have even tried different docks. Our results have been nearly idential. Laptop fails to boot to Windows when any card is installed in the dock.

  27. Yes, it does appear that yours was not an isolated experience. I did make one mistake in my post though. I actually only tried the dock with the ATI Radeon X 1650 Pro, but not the PNY nVidia GeForce 7900 GS. The GeForce is not a half-length card and did not fit in the dock (couldn’t tell from the Box at Best Buy and thought I would give it a shot). I just made a mistake typing this morning as I was staring at the 2 boxes that needed to go back to Best Buy. But it still looks like the T61 + Advanced Dock + PCI-E graphics card is a losing combination, whatever card you nay try (until we hear of one that works).

  28. I also have fell victim to the Advanced Dock Muiltiple Monitor Money Pit. I have the T61 with the Intel onboard graphics and the PNY Nvida MVS 440.

    I have installed the card and updated the BIOS and the laptop will not boot on the docking station. I have tried several combintations to get this card to work. After several different cards the result is the same. It does not work (Boot to Windows).

    The best luck I have had is starting the laptop and then docking. This did prompt for the installation of the drivers disk. I was thinking I was home free, but once docked the device mananger registers two NVIDIA Quadro NVS 440 with the following alerts.

    This device cannot find enough free resources that it can use. (Code 12)

    If you want to use this device, you will need to disable one of the other devices on this system.

    Click Troubleshoot to start the troubleshooter for this device.

    Both of the Device manger instances are located at the following locations:

    PCI Slot 4 (PCI bus 17, device 0, function 0) and PCI Slot 4 (PCI bus 15, device 0, function 0)

    If I undock they vanish as they should dock back after three flashes of the LCD they ar back.

    It appears to me that there is a direct conflict at bootup in the dock that causes a halt do to a automatic resource complication.

    Anyone got any ideas??? I was thinking of uninstalling the Intel 965s and see what happens, but I am afraid that would leave me with no video or a way to recover. I was trying to boot into safe mode on the dock, but I can neiter enter Bios or get to a point to hit F8 for safe Mode.

  29. You can delete the Intel drives without worry. Windows will revert to basic VGA drivers that will work with any video card, though your resolution will be intollerably low until you re-install the correct drivers. But I think you’d be better off to simply disable the driver for the Intel video card (Device Manager -> find the card -> right-click -> disable). I’m not sure either will work though. Seems like you are having issues well before Windows start to load drivers. I think this is a hardware-level conflict, not software/driver. But I’m not positive.

  30. Getting into the F8 menu is difficult because of the precise timing necessary. I have been successful in getting to the F8 menu while docked, but it took about 15 tries. Once I was in the F8 menu, I did a low res mode boot. It still would not boot.

    This is definitely a hardware issue. My laptop does not reach the point where drivers are being loaded. And Robert has shown us that Win XP fares no better.

    Lenovo remains distrubingly silent on this issue after I posed a simple question to a Lenovo Service Manager. “Has anyone antually seen a T61 laptop work with the Advanced Dock and a PCI-e graphics card? Any graphics card?”

    They said they would consult with engineering. No word back, after a week.
    Seems like a rather simple question to have answered. Not sure what it taking so long?

  31. Early this year, I got myself a T60 (2007-GCU). I also ordered the ThinkPad advanced dock, having the plan to get a setup with three external monitors to run. Sure enough, I could not get it to work. I tried all sorts of different PCIe graphics cards from different manufacturers, had all sorts of different trouble. Most graphics cards were not even properly recognized by the BIOS. I think I had some form of success with the Matrox card I tried, but the system was not very stable, very loud for the PCIe fan and undocking the system was not possible because the driver did not support that. The Matrox driver did not support the 1400×1050 resolution I wanted, and even though Matrox tech support sent me a beta driver with that resolution added, the overall experience was far from satisfactory.

    At some point decided that I have real work to do. I then used the two external monitor connectors for a two screen setup, which worked well (with XP professional).

    I opened a support call with Lenovo, but they were unable to come up with a list of supported graphics cards.

    Being relatively happy with the dual external monitors, I recently upgraded to a T61p with the NVIDIA FX 570M chip. I wanted a larger mobile display and I also hoped that Aqua would run on both external screens with this chip (the ATI chip in the T60 would not do that). I was a rather annoyed to see that this does not work! Even though the internal display as 1900×1200 resolution and it works fine with an additional 1600×1200 monitor, I cannot use two external monitors with 1600×1200 and 1400×1050 – The driver does not allow me to select the 1400×1050 solution for the VGA port. I tried shopping nvidia.com for newer drivers, but they do not directly support notebook chips and the driver that Lenovo delivers has not been updated since Juli 2007.

    All in all, my ThinkPad experience has been rather bad lately. Don’t buy the advanced dock.

    -Hans

  32. Sounds like a class action lawsuit in the making.

  33. Funny how this thread morphed from a discussion of Carlton’s new laptop to the definitive source of information for the T61 + Advanced Dock + PCI-E video card. Carlton, sorry if we hijacked your forum.

    At any rate, I am not really sure what alternatives are out there. My old setup worked great with the Digital Tigers box, but Digital Tigers is in for a problem if the current wave of laptops is any indication. The Digital Tigers box only works with certain PC card carbus controllers, and I am at a loss to find a new laptop (that I am interested in) that uses a compatible cardbus controller (the closest candidate right now would be the Dell Precision M6300, but I am not looking for a massive beast like that. I think the Sony VAIOs will work as well, but unless I could get something like the TZ 150 to work, I’m not interested. So I guess for now it’s use one DVI and one VGA external monitor with the advanced dock. Not very advanced, but better than nothing I suppose.

  34. Yes. I found this forum by doing a google search for “T61 Advanced Dock.” This is certainly the definitive source for info on that.

  35. Lenovo e-mailed me back.
    They said that the only “approved” PCI-e card that will display 4 monitors currently only works under Windows XP. Of course, they did not identify which card it was so I e-mailed them back to ask for a list of all approved cards.
    Awaiting their reply.

  36. Interesting. I specifically bought the NVS 440 because it was confirmed to work with the T61/Advanced Dock. I will buy whatever card Lenovo says works with the T61 and report my findings. I will, however, make sure that wherever I buy the card from provides a suitable return policy.

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