Legion 5 and Yoga support for Intel Killer AX Wireless m.2 Cards

So I was looking to upgrade my Wireless cards in my Legion 5 17IMH05H and my Yoga C740 15ML Type-81D and was interested in the Intel Killer cards because everything I read said these are amazingly fast cards, but they will only work on certain laptops who have an available m.2 slot with the following warnings which seem quite daunting....

The cards I was looking at were the Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 Module – Dual Band, 2x2 Wi-Fi 6/11AX, Bluetooth 5.1, M.2/NGFF (Gig+).  I was really interested in these because I prefer a wired ethernet connection since my ISP supports 1.2Gbps download, and if I can't use a wired connection either because like the Yoga, it has no Ethernet plug, or because I am in an area where I don't have access to a wired connection, being so spoiled wit my speeds, I wanted the wireless to be as fast as possible, and my router, an ASUS GT-AX11000, which supports WIFI6 (802.11AX), I need speed! LOL

The daunting warnings....

"PLEASE READ: Module is 22x30mm and should only be used in Laptops with an M. 2 connector and a standard Key A or E socket. It WILL NOT work in the M. 2 slot in a Desktop.
PLEASE READ: Use only on Intel based systems that are running Win10 64. DO NOT use on systems with BIOS lock.
(example: older Lenovo). Do not use on a motherboard that contains an Intel 9560 CNVi part "

Everything I read said that these were not whitelisted by Lenovo, and it seemed many laptops can't run them. However, I did as much research as I could, and found no one solid article of whether Lenovo laptops could support it, or if it matched the hardware restrictions for the card or not. Since they were listed under $50 each, I decided to take a gamble and bought 2 of them, one for each of my laptops, the Legion 5 and the Yoga C740. Just prior I reached out to Intel because my Legion 5 is running the insider build of Windows 11. Intel could not help me on the hardware side and said they probably would not work, but more importantly they said they definitely would not work because they didn't support Windows 11. So I decided to ignore them, and figured since this is such a popular Gamer card, I figure it would be quickly supported. 

So I got them in the mail the other day and I installed them in both laptops, and to my delight and surprise, they worked perfectly in both laptops. The Killer Intelligence Center (a Windows Store App) is able to see them just fine, and provides valuable data about your connection. While Windows did install a default Killer driver for them, I  used the Intel Drive Update and Support utility which found newer drivers for them, interestingly Intel released Windows 11 Supported drivers only a week after I reached out to them and they told me it didn't support Windows 11. I have never had a manufactured actually release drivers so quickly after my request so either they were already working on them, or I am extremely persuasive, lol I don't know which, but I like to think the latter. Smiley

So, if you are considering using the Killer cards on your laptop, I would just make extra certain in you can that your laptops hardware is compatible before purchasing these, however, even if it is, there still may be no guarantee they will work. If you have the exact same laptop models, I can't see why they wouldn't though. 

This card is ridiculously fast and it's hard to tell if your using wired or wireless. The speed of AX, and this card in particular is amazing and you will wonder how you ever made it by with anything less. It will bring a whole new reality to your gaming experience with no lag what so ever. 

Thus far, the Lenovo laptops seem to have been designed with upgrades in mind, though Lenovo would have you believe that everything voids the warranty, from hardware upgrades to OS upgrades, and that no upgrades are supported and that you can only use the extremely minimalistic and very lethargic choices of whitelisted hardware. This is just not so. They support far more hardware upgrade choices then they will admit (my previous post explained my venture into upgrading the RAM from the 16GB it comes with to a faster, 32GB of performance RAM, which I could have upgraded to 64GB had I chose too, but figured 32GB was enough for my purposes), Having the ability to upgrade your laptop gives you an extended life to your machine, and will take what is already great systems and make them even better. You will get more uses for your machine, be it gaming, 3D Rendering, or Video Editing. I am impressed with the flexibility these machines have which Lenovo will not admit to, perhaps they just want you to upgrade to the latest machine (which I wish I could afford the upcoming Legion 7, as that seems like it's going to be an amazing laptop (which I read may natively support or even come with the Intel Killer Wireless card.

I hope that this information is useful for some of you as that was the intent of this and my previous upgrade post. Good luck and happy gaming! I would be interested in any upgrade you guys have done which Lenovo has also said just isn't supported..

Cheers!

John

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  • Great amount of detail! That being said it's not really fair to point the finger directly at Lenovo for lack of information though. This whitelisting information is provided to Lenovo through the vendors of parts used and if the vendor does not update Lenovo then they would not know. It's rare for a System Integrator to do additional research on future whitelistable products as it incurs R&D research that does not improve sales or benefit the company in any way. The same would apply to all Integrators like Dell, HP, etc. Drivers are their responsibility yes but again those are provided to them through vendors. If a vendor drops the ball then Lenovo cannot do much about it. Some will push vendors to do their job but in a market that generally thrives in volume sales and the biggest buyers have the most say its a hard thing to push onto Lenovo. 

    Secondly, when it comes to upgrades etc those are also not really determined by Lenovo but again by the vendor. Intel who might have supplied the processor, and wireless card is the one who designs how much available bandwidth each slot can consume from total available lanes and also what those lanes can support. This is where your chipset driver comes into play. This would be mostly designed by Intel just the same. This is also provided my Microsoft in windows where if it cannot find a chipset driver it uses a default which would not ensure all devices are detected or working. It will only provide what was developed by Microsoft through their dealings with vendors and why you found it hard to find clear information for yourself without having to experiment. 

    I'll give you a quick example. Take Dell as this example. If you look on their support page for drivers. You will find all you need to satisfy windows and use all connected drivers. However, if you bypass dell and go straight to the vendor's site, you will notice they have a newer more updated driver there than what is available on Dell's support page. Why might that be? It's because Dell was not provided the latest and instead the vendor did not feel obligated contractually to spend additional time and resources to update Dell and left it on you to go fish out the latest and greatest only if you were so inclined to do so. So does this fall on Dell for not providing you this information? Or the vendor for not updating Dell? Intel FYI is one such vendor that typically has more updated information than the System integrator. Just so happens that's the vendor you have been talking about in your post. Even go to Intel's site and see how they offer you their own personalized upgrade tool to get the latest and yet Dell, HP, etc do not have this tool on their site? Well there you go! 

    Hope this helped a bit as well!!

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  • Great amount of detail! That being said it's not really fair to point the finger directly at Lenovo for lack of information though. This whitelisting information is provided to Lenovo through the vendors of parts used and if the vendor does not update Lenovo then they would not know. It's rare for a System Integrator to do additional research on future whitelistable products as it incurs R&D research that does not improve sales or benefit the company in any way. The same would apply to all Integrators like Dell, HP, etc. Drivers are their responsibility yes but again those are provided to them through vendors. If a vendor drops the ball then Lenovo cannot do much about it. Some will push vendors to do their job but in a market that generally thrives in volume sales and the biggest buyers have the most say its a hard thing to push onto Lenovo. 

    Secondly, when it comes to upgrades etc those are also not really determined by Lenovo but again by the vendor. Intel who might have supplied the processor, and wireless card is the one who designs how much available bandwidth each slot can consume from total available lanes and also what those lanes can support. This is where your chipset driver comes into play. This would be mostly designed by Intel just the same. This is also provided my Microsoft in windows where if it cannot find a chipset driver it uses a default which would not ensure all devices are detected or working. It will only provide what was developed by Microsoft through their dealings with vendors and why you found it hard to find clear information for yourself without having to experiment. 

    I'll give you a quick example. Take Dell as this example. If you look on their support page for drivers. You will find all you need to satisfy windows and use all connected drivers. However, if you bypass dell and go straight to the vendor's site, you will notice they have a newer more updated driver there than what is available on Dell's support page. Why might that be? It's because Dell was not provided the latest and instead the vendor did not feel obligated contractually to spend additional time and resources to update Dell and left it on you to go fish out the latest and greatest only if you were so inclined to do so. So does this fall on Dell for not providing you this information? Or the vendor for not updating Dell? Intel FYI is one such vendor that typically has more updated information than the System integrator. Just so happens that's the vendor you have been talking about in your post. Even go to Intel's site and see how they offer you their own personalized upgrade tool to get the latest and yet Dell, HP, etc do not have this tool on their site? Well there you go! 

    Hope this helped a bit as well!!

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