Frankenpad x225

Lenovo ThinkPad x220 with the x230 motherboard

October 23, 2018


I am a big fan of ThinkPad laptops which explains why I have a whole bunch of them. I was using ThinkPad x220 as my daily driver for several years. It is a compact, Sandy Bridge-powered, 12-inch laptop with an excellent keyboard and robust chassis. It still performs nicely but I decided on a small upgrade when I found a cheap x230 motherboard on eBay. The x230 motherboard has identical dimensions and fits x220 chassis nicely.

ThinkPad x230 is a generation update which shares many components with the previous x220 model. There are still some differences - new chicklet keyboard, slightly different palmrest or a mini DisplayPort instead of the full-size DisplayPort. Most importantly, the x230 uses Ivy Bridge chipset which outperforms its older brother, especially when it comes to the integrated graphics card.

As always, there are few pros & cons if you decide on the motherboard swap.



  • x230 is not officially compatible with x220 batteries (you need to flash the embedded controller)
  • You lose the CapsLock LED indicator on the keyboard
  • COA Windows sticker does not match the OS
  • TPFanControl does not show all sensors for the Ivy Bridge chipset
  • A weird hole around the mini DisplayPort connector

The gallery below shows the motherboard swap process. In general, you need to:

  1. Obtain the x230 motherboard (I paid 35 € for mine)
  2. Replace the thermal paste under the CPU heatsink (optional but recommended)
  3. Take the laptop apart and replace the motherboard (HMM)
  4. Modify the keyboard
  5. Put everything together
  6. Flash the EC controller
  7. Enjoy your x225 FrankenPad :-)

Step-by-step in pictures

Does it make sense?

Well, yes and no. If you are after a new-old laptop with the classic ThinkPad keyboard, then modding the x230 model is probably a better idea. However, the x225 FrankenPad makes sense if you already have the x220 or you get a one with a dead motherboard.

Why Frankenpad?

ThinkPad aficionados use the word FrankenPad for a ThinkPad laptop built out of components from various models. Examples list T601, x62 etc.