Ultrabay

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UltraBay drives

IBM UltraBay

UltraBay is IBM's name for the swapable drive slot. With IBMs words: "The ThinkPad UltraBay, also standard with the system, is an intelligent bay that switches its pinout signals to allow the installation of standard and optional features in what would normally be just the FDD bay." Introduced back in the times of the 770 Thinkpads, this technology has gone through redesigns with almost every new generation of Thinkpad models, possibly leading to some confusion that is hopefully cleared up here. The following table gives an overview of the different UltraBay types, in which models they occurred and what drives are available for them. Note that the optical drive bay in G series Thinkpads is not an UltraBay in that the drives are fixed and not removable.

On the media side different UltraBays relate to the form factor of the drives they accept, e.g early A, T and X series models can accept UltraBay devices up to 12.5mm in thickness, whereas current T and X series machines are limited to devices no more than 9.5mm thick.

Overview over UltraBay types and available devices
UltraBay Type featured in available drives
Icon20 ultrabay.png UltraBay 760C, 760CD, 760E, 760ED, 760EL, 760ELD, 760LD, 760XD, 760XL, 765D, 765L Icon20 floppy.png Icon20 cdrom.png1 Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 battery.png, 2.88 MB diskette, PCMCIA Cartridge, IBM Wireless Modem ARDIS, IBM Wireless Modem
Icon20 ultrabayii.png UltraBay II 770, 770E, 770ED, 770X, 770Z, SelectaDock III Icon20 floppy.png Icon20 cdrom.png Icon20 dvd.png Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 battery.png, ZIP-100, ZIP-250
Icon20 ultrabayfx.png UltraBay FX 390, 390E, 390X, i Series 1720, i Series 1721 Icon20 floppy.png Icon20 cdrom.png Icon20 dvd.png Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 cdrw.png
Icon20 ultraslimbay.png UltraSlimBay 600, 600E, 600X, UltraBase Icon20 floppy.png Icon20 cdrom.png Icon20 cdrw.png Icon20 dvd.png Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 battery.png, ZIP-100, ZIP-250, LS-120
Icon20 ultrabay2000.png UltraBay 2000 A20m, A20p, A21e, A21m, A21p, A22e, A22m, A22p, A30, T20, T21, T22, T23, Dock, Dock II, UltraBase X2 Icon20 floppy.png Icon20 cdrom.png Icon20 cdrw.png Icon20 dvd.png Icon20 combo.png Icon20 multiburner.png Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 battery.png, ZIP-100, ZIP-250, LS-120, LS-240
Icon20 ultrabayplus.png UltraBay Plus A30, A30p, A31, A31p, R30, R31, R32, R40, T23, T30, UltraBase X3 Icon20 floppy.png Icon20 cdrom.png Icon20 cdrw.png Icon20 dvd.png Icon20 combo.png Icon20 multiburner.png Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 battery.png, ZIP-100, ZIP-250, WorkPad Cradle, Numpad
Icon20 ultrabayslim.png UltraBay Slim T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p, T43, T43p, UltraBase X4, ThinkPad X4 Dock Icon20 dvd.png Icon20 combo.png Icon20 multiburner.png Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 battery.png
Icon20 ultrabayenh.png UltraBay Enhanced R50, R50p, R51, R52 Icon20 multiburner.png Icon20 combo.png Icon20 dvd.png Icon20 hdd.png Icon20 battery.png
Compatibility Matrix (read columns as slots with rows as devices that are compatible)
Slots
Devices
Icon20 ultrabay.png
UltraBay
 
Icon20 ultrabayii.png
UltraBay
II
Icon20 ultrabayfx.png
UltraBay
FX
Icon20 ultraslimbay.png
UltraSlimBay
 
Icon20 ultrabay2000.png
UltraBay
2000
Icon20 ultrabayplus.png
UltraBay
Plus
Icon20 ultrabayslim.png
UltraBay
Slim
Icon20 ultrabayenh.png
UltraBay
Enhanced
UltraBay yes Adapter - - - - - -
UltraBay II - yes - - - - - -
UltraBay FX - - yes - - - - -
UltraSlimBay - - - yes - - - -
UltraBay 2000 - - - - yes yes - -
UltraBay Plus - - - - - yes - -
UltraBay Slim - - - - Adapter Adapter yes yes
UltraBay Enhanced - - - - Adapter Adapter - yes

Characteristics

  • UltraBay: no hot swapping
  • UltraBay II: supports hot swapping, blending has cut out egde on the right
  • UltraBay FX: the combined floppy drive and CD-ROM, DVD or CDRW mechanism found in the 390/390E/390X
  • UltraSlimBay: supports hot swapping; Frame, rectangle like blending
  • UltraBay 2000: supports hot swapping; Frame, blending has cut out egde on the right
  • UltraBay Plus: same as UltraBay 2000, but can take the UltraBay Plus Device Carrier which in turn can hold the UltraBay Plus WorkPad Cradle or the UltraBay Plus Numeric Keypad
  • UltraBay Slim: supports hot swapping; notably thinner than UltraBay 2000, cut out right edge in blending
  • UltraBay Enhanced: supports hot swapping; slightly thicker than UltraBay Slim, but accepts UltraBay Slim devices

Linux Support

The pinout switching is done by the BIOS and hardware, so that it is completely transparent to the operating system. Hence, all IDE drives are supported by the IDE driver in the linux kernel. SCSI emulation is possible. Floppy drives are supported by the standard floppy driver. ZIP drive support is possible through the ide-disk driver. Batteries are BIOS controlled, anyway.

Hotswapping is supposed to be supported as well, using hdparm to (un)register devices. NOTE: This seems to be broken with 2.6 kernels. If UltraBay Plus devices are supported is not known.

External Sources


FOOTNOTES [Δ]
  1. CD-ROM not supported in 760C, 760CD, 760L, 760LD