Some time ago (April 2020), I received a family member's ThinkCentre M910t desktop, type 10MM. It had a top-of-the-line i7-7700 CPU, but was otherwise minimally configured, with only a 1TB SATA drive, no optical drive, no wireless/bluetooth, nor anything else except a system board, power supply, and RAM. I decided to retrofit it with additional drives, wireless, and other improvements.
More recently (2021) I decided to replace this with an M920t, and have updated this page with details relevant to this newer model. The M920t is the last ThinkCentre model that supports the Front-Access Drive Bay, and that is an essential luxury for me.
Questions about retrofitting ThinkCentre desktops are fairly common, so this page includes all the information I've found. You won't need my advice on expanding RAM or finding replacement hard disks.
Most of these options are suitable for both the ThinkCentre M910t and the M920t; exceptions are noted below.
Note: It is impossible to retrofit a Thunderbolt port to a ThinkCentre M910t, as it does not have the required header on the system board. I haven't tried adding a Thunderbolt card to the M920t.
The best source for most of these items is lenovo.encompass.com. Unfortunately, many of these items are listed as out of stock, but some can be found on eBay. I've noted alternate sources where I know them. FRUs are in bold, followed by the sometimes-obscure part name used by Lenovo.
I haven't included information on adding a second COM port (possibly FRU 00XL199) or the cover presence switch (possibly FRU 41R6116). If anyone wants to provide details, please feel free to get in touch via the address at the foot of this page. A solenoid-based E-Lock is FRU 01AG931.
A bracket with two USB 2.0 ports, for one of the rear-panel card slot openings, is FRU 00XL286. With the M920t, you will need a card like this to use a USB keyboard or mouse with Windows 7, unless you are able install USB 3.1 drivers as described in the section about 32-bit Windows and the M920t below.
You can replace the red-and-black handle (FRU 01EF623 Mechanical 332AT P-Handle) with a simple flat cover (FRU 01EF614 332AT Handle Cover).
Note: 332AT seems to be Lenovo's code for the ThinkCentre 9x0t tower model; 332GT seems to refer to the Small Form Factor series.
I triple-boot my M910t machine with 64-bit Windows 10, 32-bit Windows 10, and 32-bit Windows 7 (with extended security updates). Safe boot must be turned off, and the BIOS set to boot from either Legacy or UEFI. The only problems I encountered when installing drivers on the 32-bit systems were these:
I triple-boot my M920t machine with 64-bit Windows 10, 32-bit Windows 10, and 32-bit Windows 7 (with extended security updates). I seems to be impossible to install 32-bit Windows on the M920 series, so I copied the 32-bit systems from an M910t machine to the M920t. Safe boot must be turned off, and the BIOS set to boot from either Legacy or UEFI. I had numerous driver problems, but was able to solve most of them:
Consult the video guides on this Lenovo page. The page with videos about the M910t is less complete than the page with videos about the M920t, which should be consulted if you can't find the relevant video on the M910t page.
Hardware maintenance manuals:
M910t (HTML version; PDF version)
M920t (HTML version; PDF version)
M910t (model 10MM)
M920t (model 10SF)
01EF811 or (at Lenovo.com) 4XF0P01011 - ThinkCentre M.2 SSD Kit. For the M910t. This is also required for adding a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card. Add your own M.2 drive. No screws or other hardware required. Probably the same as FRU 01YW257; possibly the same as FRU 02CW375.
The M920t may require a different adapter: 02CW375 or (at Lenovo.com) 4XF0U53614 M.2 SSD Kit II.
4XF0P01009 (at Lenovo.com) - ThinkCentre Tower 2.5" Storage Kit. This is the most flexible option for installing 2.5-inch drives, either in a separate bracket or in an existing 3.5-inch bracket. Other options are also available (e.g. 01EF817 Foxconn 3.5 to 2.5 HDD bracket; and 01EF605 332AT 2.5 Hdd Bkt Kit).
45K0493 - Super Multi DVD-RW Burner GUE0N. Other optical drives with the same dimensions are also available.
01EF622 - 332AT Slim ODD latch kit. This attaches the drive to the slim optical drive slot.
No part number: Small bezel for the front panel: search eBay for "Tower Adding Optical Drive Bezel". I can only find this part on eBay; it replaces the blank slim bezel in a ThinkCentre tower that shipped without an optical drive. Note: This may be the same as 01EF985 "Double ODD Gap Cover," but I can't be certain of this.
Note: Instead of buying the part listed above, you could replace the entire front bezel with 01EF619 332AT Front Bezel-assy (for the M910t) or 02CW266 (for the M920t). The M920t model lacks the pull-down door over the port cover on the M910t version, but otherwise these seem to be interchangeable, except for the port cover next to the power button, so you could probably use either one, perhaps replacing the port cover with the one from your existing machine if necessary.
00XL204 - SATA PWR Cable (300+210+120); also called Lenovo ThinkCentre Mini 4 Pin to 2 SATA 1 Odd Power Cable. This is the most useful combined SATA/power cable for use with the slim optical drive; it has two other power connectors for additional drives. Also consider FRU 01EF622, which also has a combined power/data connector for the slim optical drive, but no other power connector.
01EF667 (replaces 00XD789) or (at Lenovo.com) 4XF0N87467 - ThinkStation Front Access Storage Enclosure. This hot-swap drive sway lets you add and remove hard disks while the computer is running. If you prefer, you can use any third-party hot-swap drive (including trayless ones), but the Lenovo model has the best fit and finish. It ships with a bezel designed for ThinkStation models; for the ThinkCentre tower, It requires instead:
01EF613 (for the M9210t) for 02CW224 (for the M920t) Mech Asm 332AT 5.25 Odd Asm Kit. This contains the replacement front bezel for the computer case (it replaces the standard blank rectangular bezel), and includes a bracket for attaching the drive.
03T8795 or (formerly at Lenovo.com) 4XF0G94539 - 2.5 HDD to 3.5 HDD Conversion Kit, blind plug (also called ThinkStation 2.5" HDD to 3.5" HDD Conversion Kit). This ingenious adapter (which requires no screws) lets you install a 2.5-inch drive in the Front Access Storage Enclosure. Some but not all third-party adapters will also work.
00XL204 - SATA PWR Cable (300+210+120); also called Lenovo ThinkCentre Mini 4 Pin to 2 SATA 1 Odd Power Cable. As noted above, this is the most useful combined SATA/power cable for use with the slim optical drive; it has two other power connectors for additional drives, one of which can be used with the Front Access Storage Enclosure.
You will also need any standard SATA data cable. Note that the data cable must be connected to the SATA connector marked as "14" in the HMM, which is the only connector that supports hot-swapping (and is listed as SATA 4 in the Setup screen). A small label on the system board also identifies the four SATA connectors.
The Front Access Storage Enclosure has a small fan and a cable for connecting it to the system board. The fan is exceptionally noisy, so I simply removed it, and I've noticed no problems with heat.
In the M910t, I installed an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, which seems to be the same card that Lenovo shipped in Wi-Fi-enabled systems. In my M920t, I plan to install the Intel Wireless-AC 9560. Presumably other cards will also work, but there may be an approved list in the BIOS, so use only a card known to be compatible.
01EF811 or (at Lenovo.com) 4XF0P01011 - ThinkCentre M.2 SSD Kit for the M9210t. Also required for adding an M.2 drive.
The M920t requires a different bracket: 4XF0U53614 M.2 SSD Kit II. Again, also required for adding an M.2 drive.
04X2749 - Lenovo Front Wireless Antenna (FRU 00XJ115 and FRU 00XJ099 should also work).
04X2750 - Lenovo Rear Wireless Antenna.
02CW509 - Lenovo Rear Antenna Cover.
01MN426 - Lenovo Wi-Fi Card Small Cover (not required, but seems useful for protecting the connections), Also consider the AVC Wi-Fi Card Big Cover (FRU 01MN425).
Note: For the SFF versions of these machines, the same M.2 kit and front antenna should work, but the rear antenna requires a rear antenna cable, FRU 00XJ010; a PCIe slot cover, FRU 01EF942; and a Dual-band dipole antenna, FRU 03T7203.
43N9149 - ThinkCentre PS2 Extension cable.
04X2763 - Lenovo ThinkCentre M800 2.0pitch Parallel Port Cable LPT Printer. You can also use 04X2764 but you will need to swap the low-profile bracket for a high-profile one. Recent ThinkCentre models use a smaller LPT connector than the ones used in older systems, so this cable is required.
I have not tried to retrofit my system with the 7-in-1 card reader, but these seem to be the necessary parts. The reader cable attaches to the one of the internal USB headers.
01AJ839 - 7 in 1 card reader.
01EF606 - 332AT 7 in 1 CR Bracket Kit (or perhaps 01EF814, but this may be a different model) - this part is for the M910t (I have not looked for the corresponding M920t part).
01EF609 - 332AT 7 in 1 CR Bezel. This replaces the standard front bezel that has USB ports and sound jacks. - this part is for the M910t (I have not looked for the corresponding M920t part).
I have not attempted to retrofit my M910t system with front-panel USB Type C. Instead I installed a StarTech USB-C/USB 3.1 card that adds one USB Type C and two USB 3.1 (type A) ports to the back of the machine. (Lenovo has a two-Type-C-port card, FRU 00FC999). These seem to be the relevant parts for front-panel USB Type C:
00XL305 - 300mm type C FPIO w/o audio. This is the module with the actual front-panel USB Type-C ports. It has a cable that seems to end in a male USB Type-C connector that attaches to this PCI-e card:
01AJ865 - Sunix PCIEx16 Type C card HP. I have not found any other PCI-e cards that have an internal female USB Type C connector.
01EF607 - 332AT USB-C Bkt kit. This is the bracket the holds the front-panel USB Type C module in the metal IO bracket.
01EF608 - 332AT USB-C Bezel or 01EF610 - 332AT USB-C & CR Bezel. One or the other of these bezels is required for access to the front USB Type-C ports. The first FRU has two USB Type C ports plus the standard USB 3.0 and sound jacks; the second FRU has two USB Type C ports plus a card reader slot and standard USB 3.0 and sound jacks.
Because I prefer a silent machine, but wanted faster video than the system-board-based graphics, I installed a fanless Nvidia GT 1030 card; it takes up two slots on the system board. I chose the ASUS GT1030-2G-CSM, the "Corporate Stable Model." A gamer won't want it, but it's ideal for my purposes. Windows automatically installs drivers for it under Windows 7 and Windows 10 and more advanced drivers are readily available from Nvidia.