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What is a Frankenpad?

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Blindbroccoli
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What is a Frankenpad?

#1 Post by Blindbroccoli » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:31 pm

It was the mid to late 1990s...I had a Thinkpad. I think it had 7 rows. It may have been a T600X. I loved it.

It got lost in the shuffle...I'd like to replicate it, but with more modern modifications such as N wireless, the best processor that it can handle, maximum possible RAM and SSD drive.

Is a Frankenpad a pre-Lenovo 7 row IBM Thinkpad with modifications? And if so how would I go about getting one? I am not, personally, "technischbegabt" so this would be a purchase not a do-it-yourself project. Due to repercussions of my own age and health problems I couldn't do it myself even if I wanted to.

theterminator93
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Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#2 Post by theterminator93 » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:40 pm

FrankenPad is a 4:3 15" T60/T60p shell with a 14.1" 4:3 T61 or R61 motherboard transplanted into it. They are often referred to as T601 due to the combination of model numbers/parts.

The appeal is the ability to use 4:3 WUXGA IPS/AFFS displays with boards supporting up to 8GB RAM, SATA-II hard disks, better graphics, and faster processors.

The X220/T420/T520/W520 are the newest ThinkPads with 7 row keyboards and "classic" design elements, anything newer will have a 6 row island/chiclet keyboard and few-if-any status LEDs. There is a movement within Lenovo to design and release a "Retro ThinkPad" which reincorporates these classic design elements, however details about the actual unit to be produced have not yet been revealed. More information about it is in this thread... http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=118165

Since any "FrankenPad" is a labor-of-love created by enthusiasts they can't be bought except by someone who built one or bought one from someone who built one. An example of one for sale now can be found here: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=119373
Last edited by theterminator93 on Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Daily: T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T420 i7-2640M·NVS 4200m·IPS FHD | X220 i7-2640M | T601F T9900·NVS 140M·IPS UXGA
Wife's: T61p T9500·2010 FX570m·WUXGA | X220T i7-2640M
Others: T61p·61·43·42p|X41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote|380D|365XD|701C|755C

RealBlackStuff
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Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:50 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Basically a FrankenPad is a 15" Standard non-widescreen T60 with a 14.1" T61 motherboard.
The variety is in the motherboard, CPU, RAM and the screens, and of course HD/SSD.

There has been plenty of stuff written about FrankenPads on this forum.
I suggest you begin here: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=90020

You could buy one here: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=119373
Or I could build you one, if your requirements/wishes are different.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

axur-delmeria
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Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:57 pm

A Frankenpad is basically a "Frankenstein Thinkpad", built from parts from different Thinkpad models, either to correct/repair real or perceived faults or issues with certain Thinkpad models, or improve/upgrade/extend its functionality and features beyond what IBM or Lenovo ever offered.

Some of the earliest Frankenpads were from the T40/41/42/43 era, where issues with the system board (GPU or southbridge chip failure) forced Thinkpadders to look for alternative sources of replacement boards, which they found in the R50/51/52 series. The system boards of the T40 and R50 series are physically compatible-- the size,shape, and screw hole locations are identical.
Further modifications included using the R50p's QXGA (2048 x 1536) LCD panel on 15-inch T40 series, upgrading the screen to IPS, among other things.

The next wave of Frankenpads came with the dissatisfaction with the T61's lack of available IPS screens, once again forcing Thinkpadders to take matters into their own hands. By transplanting the system board of a 14.1-inch 4:3 (non-widescreen) T61 into the chassis of a 15.0-inch non widescreen T60, it allowed the use of the T60's IPS panels while at the same time providing additional capabilities such as SATA II speed (great when upgrading to SSDs), 8GB maximum RAM, and faster (and cooler-running) Penryn Core 2 Duo CPUs. Bluetooth modules from later models (T410/420/430) are sometimes installed (to provide BT 4.0 functionality), and the WLAN cards are generally upgraded as well.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60/s Frankenpad Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E, X61 T7500
:cry:

Blindbroccoli
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Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#5 Post by Blindbroccoli » Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:27 am

Maybe a T4XX series would work for me. The older models seem like a lot of work for not much power. But ahhhh that old time Thinkpad typing experience! Were T400, 410, and 420 all made by IBM? Ahh, mechanical key switches! Key travel! That's what I miss in modern laptops. I don't care about "thin and light" or long battery life.

axur-delmeria
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Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:17 am

The older models seem like a lot of work for not much power.
Well, it depends on your preferences and computing needs.

One of the motivations for building T60 Frankenpads is being able to use gorgeous IPS displays, which were only available on the 15-inch non-widescreen models of the T40 and T60 series. Since the 14.1 and 15.0 non-widescreen models shared the same motherboard, the conversion was doable. If IPS isn't in your list of want-to-haves, or you already have a Core 2 Duo laptop but still need more CPU power, then a Frankenpad probably isn't for you.
Were T400, 410, and 420 all made by IBM?
Lenovo bought IBM's PC Systems Division in 2005, but they had a deal where IBM would continue putting the IBM logo on Thinkpads and Thinkcentres (for a few years) in order to ease the transition.

If you want the feel of the classic keyboard, go no further than the *20 generation (T420, T520, W520, X220) as it is the last set of Thinkpads with the old keyboard design and layout.
Here is the X220's keyboard:
Image

The *30 generation and later switched to chiclet keyboards.
X230 keyboard:
http://www2.pcmag.com/media/images/2933 ... ?width=630

The quality of the newer keyboards didn't decrease, as laptop review sites still laud them in review articles, but yeah, key travel is probably an issue.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
Toy: X60/s Frankenpad Core Solo U1300
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E, X61 T7500
:cry:

Blindbroccoli
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Location: Buffalo NY

Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#7 Post by Blindbroccoli » Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:50 pm

So can one get a T420 with an IPS display? How is the 420 different from the 410 and 400, and can they all be modified, and if so how? (Processor, graphics, wireless, bluetooth e.g.)

theterminator93
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Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#8 Post by theterminator93 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:26 pm

The T420 unfortunately never came with an IPS panel; there is a mod out there which allows you to install one but there are known issues with it and the mod kits are no longer available until fixed kits can be produced.

The T400 is aesthetically most similar to a T61 14" widescreen model. The touchpad is a little bigger and there are minor refinements to the case compared to the T61.

The T410 and T420 look very similar to one another but are different than the T61/T400. The T420 switches to a 16:9 aspect screen which differs from the 16:10 aspect screens in the T410, T400 and T61 widescreen.

The T400 uses the 1066 MHz FSB Penryn Core 2 Duo CPUs with DDR3 8500.
The T410 uses the first generation Core i series with the same memory as the T400.
The T420 uses the second generation Core i series with DDR3 10600.

You can fairly easily upgrade the processors in any of these, but graphics cannot be upgraded. All of these offer switchable graphics models, and the T420 allows the OS/drivers to control which GPU is used to save power.
Daily: T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T420 i7-2640M·NVS 4200m·IPS FHD | X220 i7-2640M | T601F T9900·NVS 140M·IPS UXGA
Wife's: T61p T9500·2010 FX570m·WUXGA | X220T i7-2640M
Others: T61p·61·43·42p|X41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote|380D|365XD|701C|755C

Blindbroccoli
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:31 pm
Location: Buffalo NY

Re: What is a Frankenpad?

#9 Post by Blindbroccoli » Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:34 pm

Many thanks for all your replies. Since (I think) I would use the computer mostly for writing because of the keyboard, I suppose a less than speedy processor and lack of an IPS screen would be okay. So I'll keep my eye on the marketplace depending on how motivated I am to pursue this.

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