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Lenovo's struggle with keyboards on its AMD-powered ThinkPads

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Puppy
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Lenovo's struggle with keyboards on its AMD-powered ThinkPads

#1 Post by Puppy » Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:19 am

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-s- ... 790.0.html

Lenovo has been putting out BIOS/EC updates periodically for some of these units to try to fix this issue, but the results have been mixed. Some users report the issue is gone, while others just report that it only decreased the number of times the scrambling was happening. The issue for more recent ThinkPads is largely mitigated, but if you press ASDF at the same time on your keyboard, you will likely get something close to FDSA.

It’s important to note that AMD’s Ryzen mobile processors aren’t to blame for this problem. It likely has something to do with the changes Lenovo has had to make to the ThinkPad's motherboard for the Ryzen processors, not the processor itself. Unfortunately, a machine that released in May 2019 took until November of the same year to have a functional keyboard, but I'm happy that the manufacturer took the time to track down the problem and fix it.
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dr_st
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Re: Lenovo's struggle with keyboards on its AMD-powered ThinkPads

#2 Post by dr_st » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:23 pm

I'm kinda sick today, so I may have only perused the information in the links, but from what I got - we are talking about an issue that has been present since, well, forever, on most classic Thinkpads (one which Lenovo 'inherited' from IBM)? I could easily reproduce the described problems on my X220 as well as on my A31p (a system from 2002). Moreover, I learned that some of the "lesser" Lenovo Thinkpads, such as E-series are actually free of this issue.

Was the issue somehow worse on the Ryzen platforms that actually required remediation? Because if it's the same magnitude that I experience on my Thinkpads, then I'd say it's grossly blown out of proportion. That Thinkpad keyboards are garbage when it comes to registering multiple keypresses has been known for decades, but it only manifests itself as a real limitation for gaming, where you have to press and hold down keys actually simultaneously. When typing, the effect is quite negligible, unless all you do is type 'ASDF' or 'LOAD' real fast all day long.
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Puppy
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Re: Lenovo's struggle with keyboards on its AMD-powered ThinkPads

#3 Post by Puppy » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:28 pm

dr_st wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:23 pm
unless all you do is type 'ASDF' or 'LOAD' real fast all day long.
Which is problem. It must be really bad as there is dedicated article. Why other (even cheaper) brands don't have the issue? Is it the same reason my cheap Huawei laptop has much better display than any three times more expensive ThinkPad? Cheap components and cheap software developers to maximize the profit?
Last edited by Puppy on Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dr_st
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Re: Lenovo's struggle with keyboards on its AMD-powered ThinkPads

#4 Post by dr_st » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:49 pm

Puppy wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:28 pm
Which is problem. It must be really bad as there is dedicated article. Why other (even cheaper) brands don't have the issue? Is it the same reason my cheap Huawei laptop has much better display than any three times more expensive ThinkPad? Cheap components and cheap software developers to maximize the profit?
Did you miss the point? It's a problem that has existed since the days of IBM. Go ask them why. I will also suggest that since it's a problem that has existed for more than a decade and a half (and likely before that), and we only now have someone do the research (although a handful of complaints have been logged before), then it's not a serious problem.

And in fact, Lenovo appears to be at least trying to fix it, which IBM never bothered with. There are plenty of real bad things to say about Lenovo's handling of Thinkpads, no need to make additional ones up.

Edit: Having read a bit more into the article, I have to suppose that there was something especially wrong with the latest AMD-based Thinkpads, because there are so many complaints specifically about them. In which case, I'll have to say that the research conducted by the Reddit community which shows this to be affecting much older machines may not be as relevant as some think (and so it is unfortunate that it's the first link in that article).

It looks like - someone spotted a big problem, and then someone did research to show that a similar, but much smaller problem, has existed for ever, but is it actually the same issue? Maybe not, and even if it is, the magnitude matters a lot.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

samveen
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Re: Lenovo's struggle with keyboards on its AMD-powered ThinkPads

#5 Post by samveen » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:55 am

dr_st wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:49 pm
<snip/>
And in fact, Lenovo appears to be at least trying to fix it, which IBM never bothered with.
<snip/>
Funny you should say this. It's almost exactly what I felt about IBM when I read this 2011 article about the trackpoint, the main complaint being that the designer and implementer of the trackpad made a lot of improvements to the trackpoint that IBM just threw away...

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