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T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:34 pm
by amstel78
After close to 13 years of ownership, my 14.1" 4:3 T61p with 1400x1050 matte screen finally died. It was running well one night when I left it on. Came back to a completely dead computer the following morning. To cut a long story short, the FX570m GPU finally gave up the ghost.

I spent about a month looking for a replacement board. I've discovered that there are many boards on eBay, both new and used for widescreen models, but not much for the 4:3 units. After inadvertently buying the wrong board for a 14" widescreen T61, I ended up sourcing a brand new NV140 board from a man named Don and put everything back together this afternoon. Fortunately, the board swap went without issue and the laptop (which is in mint condition), finally came alive again.

In the end, it probably wasn't worth the money or time replacing the board on a 13 year old computer considering for the price paid, could have bought a newer albeit refurbished Intel i5 desktop. But, I do like this Thinkpad and believe it's one of the better models Lenovo actually released. It's easy to repair, and with 8gb of RAM, a T9300 processor, SSD drive, and Windows 10 Pro, does 95% of what I need it to do. The NV140 isn't as fast as the FX570 it replaced, but it does a well enough job for the things I need it to do which is serve as a control and logging computer for my amateur radio station.

Anyway, just wanted to share my story. Hopefully I'll get another 3-5 years out of it until software dictates the need for a faster machine with newer architecture. :banana:

Re: T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:02 pm
by cadillacmike68
That would probably be the member here called TuuS. Good guy.

Re: T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:12 pm
by amstel78
cadillacmike68 wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:02 pm
That would probably be the member here called TuuS. Good guy.
Yes, I believe that's the person who sold the board. Found it via this website:

Re: T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:51 pm
by cadillacmike68
That's the right person. I bought a couple of those boards as well.

T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:07 am
by go2moorthy
Dear sir,

I own T61p model laptop with product id 6459-cto s/n: L3-E4740

Now my motherboard died , give me the most reliable motherboard series/serial no for the same. ..

Looking to hear from you guys as soon as possible....

Re: T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:42 am
by RealBlackStuff
That is a 15.4" widescreen T61p.
Best put a WTB (Want To Buy) ad in our Marketforum.
Specify that you will want one with a manufacturing date of 08/08 (2008/August) or newer.
It may be rather hard to find one, so be patient.

Re: T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:17 pm
by atagunov
go2moorthy wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:07 am
I own T61p model laptop with product id 6459-cto s/n: L3-E4740
Now my motherboard died , give me the most reliable motherboard series/serial no for the same. ..
Hi, all FRU-s are here:
You want the last section "15.4 widescreen"
If you're prepared to flash "midleton BIOS" you don't care if you get a "merom" or "penryn" board

If you're content with Intel X3100 graphics - you have a relatively easy task to get a board
If you want either of Nvidia options (you probably had 256Mb before) you're in for a tough choice:

- get a board from a pre 08/08 T61 or T61p (15.4 widescreen of course) and pray it works as long as possible - doable - but it may die
- look for a 08/08 or later board (I think only 08/08 and 08/09 exist)

I've been through this latter process. I was hunting high and low for a >= 08/08 15.4 nVidia board. It was hell on Earth. I was obviously hunting for whole Thinkpads as finding just a board alone with a new nVidia chip is a mission impossible task for this board size (TuuS may still have one or two in 14" 4:3 size which can probably also fit 15" 4:3). But in 15.4 size there is no source of such boards. So I was hunting for a whole Thinkpad. I saw two of them in about 2 months of search. One was on German ebay and it ended up selling for over EUR 80. It was a nice machine overall and came with a good docking station and two chargers too. The other I found in UK where I live on I found it cheap for £40 inclusive of delivery. But the day seller sent it Hermes had an issue and they only delivered a month later. It did arrive. Quite battered. Perhaps it was battered before. Perhaps it suffered in transportation - the seller did not use any box. Keycap or two missing, battery looks like it has melted a little, HDD won't go into the bay because the bay is skewed. But I have a working board :) I'm not selling it btw, sorry.. And in both cases these were nVidia NVS 140m boards with 128Mb or RAM. These were not nVidia fx570m with 256Mb or RAM like yours in T61p.

The advice to put a LF post on this forum is a good one. Though I don't hope that much for a positive response. Given my experience it's extra-hard to get 08/08 or 08/09 board.

If your fault is a dead nVidia.. perhaps you can find a workshop that can do BGA reballing - they could put in a new chip on your board. I was crazy enough to start looking into it myself, but it's a rabbit hole.. In best case I'd only have the machine in half a year.. or maybe I will give up :) Update: checked, you're in India. Can this be the best option for you? I mean finding a workshop that can do the job. Perhaps you can find somebody. This work requires a special machine: it heats the whole motherboard from bottom and then the chip from the top. Some people do it with very basic tools - a couple of halogen laps at the bottom and heat gun at the top.. I wouldn't advise going to them. You need somebody with a proper machine. But these machines very often are DIY. This is okay. This is good. Just needs to be a nice well made machine. Or a ready-made one. BTW there are machines that only heat up a small portion of the motherboard. For instance if they use the machine for repairing sellphone boards.. That's not good. You need a machine that can heat up all of the motherboard from the bottom. A relatively big machine. You'd also need to source yourself or have them source the right chip for you.. I think the chip you have there "natively" is probably G84-950-A2.. definitely some G84-.. you can check your motherboard, there's this name on the chip. I suspect G84-951-A2 may be a compatible and slightly improved version of G84-950-A2 (though I'm not sure). You also want chips with fresh dates, definitely after 2008-08-08, the fresher the better. Incidentally the string of characters on the chip itself ending in A2 is probably the date.. I think there may be chips on AliExpress and TaoBao, or ebay.. No idea if they're good ones. That all is relevant if your board actually did die because of nVidia chip failing. These failures are common but not necessarily the only way the boards can fail.. I think there is some tool that can be attached to.. some serial or parallel port (on the docking station) that can analyse where the boot problem is - e.g. if the fault is actually with nVidia or not.. I've forgotten what the tool is called.. POST analyser?..

Lastly, since it's 15.4" 16:10 machine is there that much reason to revive it? Is it worth the effort? You should be able to get plenty of 16:10 Thinkpads with better specs and without these hated nVidia issues. You can find a machine which takes DDR3 not DDR2 and DDR3 is way cheaper these days. BTW if you have 8Gb of RAM in that dead Thinkpad (e.g. two sticks of 4Gb each) you can probably sell them for a very nice profit - they cost insanely much these days. Well in excess of £70-75 for two of them I'd say. You could try to sell some other parts I guess like the keyboard or perhaps the battery if it's a reasonably good one. If you don't have 8Gb of RAM in the dead T61p there's even less reason to bring it back to life.. DDR3 is much cheaper than DDR2 for 8Gb. There's a lot of hassle around 15" 4:3 machines. This is because some people really want to keep using 4:3 like in the days of their youth. But I'm typing this now on a T520 with 16:9 screen. I don't like 16:9 conceptually. I prefer 4:3. But this machine is perfectly useable and has good enough specs for me.. So perhaps you don't have to limit yourself to 16:10 machines either, there is life on 16:9 too.

Re: T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:39 pm
by cadillacmike68
@ atagunov

One correction to the above.

T61s did Not come in 15"STD 4:3 That was a T60 only size. T61s came in 14.1" STD 4:3, 14.1" WS 16:10 and 15.4" WS 16:10

And you are correct. Finding a 15.4" WS board with nvidia (either type) Aug 2008 or later is VERY DIFFICULT. Much easier to find an intel graphics board.

Re: T61p motherboard finally died...

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:49 am
by TuuS
Hello guys, one of our forum members bought all my 15.4" inventory of post August 2008 boards a couple years ago. I do have a couple Intel boards, maybe even new in box.

Its the 4:3 boards that were really rare as there were none made in August 2008, but IBM had some manufactured in 2011-2012 for their corporate customers, Lenovo simply used the older problematic boards for both warranty and cash repairs and ultimately declared the series "end-of-life", even though they are still quite usable today.