Motherboard How do I find the pinout of a proprietary header? (Thinkstation P360 Ultra)

Nilithium

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Jul 6, 2023
20
7
Hello everyone!

It's not my conventional approach, but I was enamored with the tiny size of Lenovo's Thinkstation P360 Ultra and decided to buy one. Thorugh parts deals I have it loaded with an i9-12900, 48GB of SODIMM memory, dual WD SN850X SSDs alongside an Optane 900p where my OS lives and an RTX A2000. While DLSS does a ton of heavy lifting at 3440x1440 I would like more graphical grunt. However, the proprietary card Lenovo offers for this build (the laptop A5000) will cost me a cool ~$4500 direct from Lenovo.

Ouch.

That said, the RTX 4000 SFF has hit the market with better specs, 4 extra GB of memory and most importantly, a active 8 pin header from where more performance can be extracted. However, the motherboard uses a custom port to attach the GPU. If I wanted to figure out what each of the header pins does without destroying the board, how would I do that?
 

REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
REVOCCASES
Silver Supporter
Apr 2, 2020
2,083
3,364
www.revoccases.com
if you already got an P360 Ultra with the A2000 you could just upgrade the GPU to the 4000 SFF ADA since your P360 should have the special riser card installed... or do you mean another header?

1688707748121.png

1688707686080.png
 

Nilithium

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Jul 6, 2023
20
7
if you already got an P360 Ultra with the A2000 you could just upgrade the GPU to the 4000 SFF ADA since your P360 should have the special riser card installed... or do you mean another header?

View attachment 2594

View attachment 2593
This is true, but I've heard of shunt modded RTX 4000 SFFs that can draw up to 115W at full tilt. It just so happens that Lenovo has a dedicated header to the custom MXM graphics solution they sell, but it's ludicrously expensive. Nonetheless, it provides an extra 45W of power, as seen here:
In order to get this extra power, it connects to a header on the motherboard with the help of a ribbon cable. The PCIe specs lists 75W of power delivery at max. While it might be "safe" to overdraw by 10W or so, 45W would put already hot components to their breaking point under load. Therefore, to get to the spec listed by the A5000 Mobile on that sheet, it uses another header. It's listed in the HMM, page 53 header 8:

However, it has no pinout. I know you're really talented with SFF mods; any advice?
 

Nilithium

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Jul 6, 2023
20
7
OK, now I see...

Do you have a multimeter to check where you could grab some additional +12V off that motherboard header to realize the +12V power cable mod?
Unfortunately my multimeter probes are a little large for those very tiny pins. I hope I can avoid shorting them; I'll open up the machine and strip out the internal components down to the CPU/1 DIMM before I begin probing.
 

Nilithium

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Jul 6, 2023
20
7
OK, now I see...

Do you have a multimeter to check where you could grab some additional +12V off that motherboard header to realize the +12V power cable mod?
Relevant question to you though: does the A2000 have any pads or whatnot onboard that power could be routed to?
 

Nilithium

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Jul 6, 2023
20
7
OK, now I see...

Do you have a multimeter to check where you could grab some additional +12V off that motherboard header to realize the +12V power cable mod?
I finally have some time this weekend to probe the case. I'm new to probing; can you recommend a guide or advice on how I should do this?
 

joelypolly

Efficiency Noob
Jan 13, 2020
7
14
Coming a bit late to the party but I believe this is a JST SHD 30 pin connector. I haven't had a chance to test the pin layout yet but going to go out on a limb and say its probably one row of ground and one row for 12V
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phuncz

Nilithium

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Jul 6, 2023
20
7

bingsoo

Chassis Packer
Feb 8, 2023
17
7
This is true, but I've heard of shunt modded RTX 4000 SFFs that can draw up to 115W at full tilt. It just so happens that Lenovo has a dedicated header to the custom MXM graphics solution they sell, but it's ludicrously expensive. Nonetheless, it provides an extra 45W of power, as seen here:
In order to get this extra power, it connects to a header on the motherboard with the help of a ribbon cable. The PCIe specs lists 75W of power delivery at max. While it might be "safe" to overdraw by 10W or so, 45W would put already hot components to their breaking point under load. Therefore, to get to the spec listed by the A5000 Mobile on that sheet, it uses another header. It's listed in the HMM, page 53 header 8:

However, it has no pinout. I know you're really talented with SFF mods; any advice?
Hi @Nilithium! I was wondering where you did you find the PCIe specs? I wasn't able to find it in the P360 User Guide or Hardware Maintenance Manual.

I'm also considering the RTX 4000 SFF Ada Gen for my P360 Ultra and I'm not sure why you're hesitant. Doesn't that GPU only draw 70 W? Are you specifically talking about the shunt modded version?

In any case, I would be interested to find where you got the 75 W value. Thanks!~
 

REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
REVOCCASES
Silver Supporter
Apr 2, 2020
2,083
3,364
www.revoccases.com
Hi @Nilithium! I was wondering where you did you find the PCIe specs? I wasn't able to find it in the P360 User Guide or Hardware Maintenance Manual.

I'm also considering the RTX 4000 SFF Ada Gen for my P360 Ultra and I'm not sure why you're hesitant. Doesn't that GPU only draw 70 W? Are you specifically talking about the shunt modded version?

In any case, I would be interested to find where you got the 75 W value. Thanks!~

Unless you want to shunt mod your card, you can use a RTX 4000 SFF Ada without additional mods since the PCIe 16x slot can deliver up to 75W. The 75W limit for 16x PCIe cards is specified in the PCI-SIG standards.

PCI Express - Wikipedia

I've seen a couple of P360 builds with the A2000 and 4000 SFF Ada and Lenovo also sells pre-builds with those cards.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bingsoo and rfarmer

bingsoo

Chassis Packer
Feb 8, 2023
17
7
Thanks @REVOCCASES! Didn't know that 75 W is the standard limit for 16x PCIe cards!

I believe Lenovo sells RTX 4000 SFF Ada with the P3 Ultra but not the P360 Ultra, which is why I'm not sure. Also, in general, I don't know if anything other than the GPU is different between the RTX 4000 SFF Ada and the non-RTX 4000 SFF Ada models that Lenovo sells. But knowing that others have successfully paired the RTX 4000 SFF Ada with the P360 Ultra gives me a peace of mind!

I also found definite evidence for the power bandwidth on Lenovo's documentation, for those who chance on this thread in the future and are interested.


Source: https://thinkstation-specs.com/thinkstation/p360-ultra/#section2_slots
 
  • Like
Reactions: REVOCCASES

REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
REVOCCASES
Silver Supporter
Apr 2, 2020
2,083
3,364
www.revoccases.com
concerning GPU compatibility there's absolutely no difference between the P3 and P360 - they both work totally fine with any 75W low profile cards like the A2000 and RTX 4000 SFF ADA

only thing I don't know for sure is, if the PCIe riser is included when you purchase an ULTRA without any GPU - but you can check if you already have one on hand ;)

also found below installation video... maybe this helps...

P360 Ultra Walkthrough and GPU Installation (youtube.com)
 

bingsoo

Chassis Packer
Feb 8, 2023
17
7
concerning GPU compatibility there's absolutely no difference between the P3 and P360 - they both work totally fine with any 75W low profile cards like the A2000 and RTX 4000 SFF ADA

only thing I don't know for sure is, if the PCIe riser is included when you purchase an ULTRA without any GPU - but you can check if you already have one on hand ;)

also found below installation video... maybe this helps...

P360 Ultra Walkthrough and GPU Installation (youtube.com)
Okay, thanks for the confirmation!

I purchased the P360 Ultra with the A5000 mobile which has an MXM connector and the PCIe riser was not included in that case. Hence, I cannot imagine that the riser is included in a non-GPU configuration.
 

robbee

King of Cable Management
n3rdware
Bronze Supporter
Sep 24, 2016
871
1,372
You can buy the riser separately from Lenovo here (page 2, part number 5C51D95675). It's also on Ebay and Aliexpress, but those are more expensive than the ones from Lenovo themselves.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phuncz

REVOCCASES

Shrink Ray Wielder
REVOCCASES
Silver Supporter
Apr 2, 2020
2,083
3,364
www.revoccases.com
Thanks for posting this and I'm aware this is an old thread, but does anyone know of another source,
or have access to the board design and components lists.

AFAIK, the design is not open source, but you can buy it through Superbuy.com if you have no access to Taobao
 
Last edited: