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NMB keyboard...

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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cchsiao
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NMB keyboard...

#1 Post by cchsiao » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:39 am

I ordered an NMB keyboard for T60 (FRU 39T0958) from IBM this week, and got it very soon (about 2 days after I placed the order). However, I found something weird. At the bottom of the keyboard, you can see one white sticker covering the original information of this keyboard. Beside that white sticker, IBM put another sticker showing this is a 39T0958. However, when you look very carefully on the original information, it reads FRU 39T7178 which is a Chicony keyboard. So... it looks like IBM did something weird to the keyboard.

So... my point is, if somebody wanna buy a real NMB keyboard, probably it's not a good idea to buy from IBM. Although you can only find some refurbished NMB keyboards on various website, it's still the one we want (since I got one from somewhere, and the information shows that it's a real NMB).

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#2 Post by perry_78 » Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:23 am

That's kind of gay :S
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ryengineer
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Re: NMB keyboard...

#3 Post by ryengineer » Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:56 am

cchsiao wrote:So... my point is, if somebody wanna buy a real NMB keyboard, probably it's not a good idea to buy from IBM.
Well, I doubt IBM will send keyboard like yours to all of their customers so I don't see ANY real reason of not buying it from them.

Also, I don't think few stickers can ruin the performance of a keyboard. About the FRU, it could be a case that they accidently put wrong FRU first then realized their mistake and affixed the right one afterwards.
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#4 Post by NS » Sun Apr 29, 2007 11:23 am

So you are telling us that you judge a keyboard by the stickers???

Well, i think you should judge the keyboard by using it (the quality)..

I am using chicony keyboard on my R60 and it is almost the same as my R52 NMB keyboard.. :-) Both produced clicky sounds... :D

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#5 Post by Alltweed » Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:16 pm

Now Now...

He speaks the truth. I too ordered the same NMB keyboard only to find a white label over the part number for the Chicony keyboard.

You see - I have the chicony on my T60 and its the same exact KB they sent me. Very light and clicky. My T40 is NMB more resistance and quiet!! I prefer NMB. To each their own.

I worked hard with th parts dept to help me and them correct this issue. Yet, after 3 calls with a sympathetic person - she was unable to make any progress.

Techincally, all three keyboards listed on the fru parts page are compatable. They must use what ever is in stock. Could be a case the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

The part number on the box they shipped is correct for NMB, but the label on the bottom of the kb has two PN's. One for NMB and one for Chicony with a white label over it but you can still read it.

Very dissapointed. I also searched the web - found no NMB. Plus - given this problem from lebovo direct - I would now be suspect of any reseller.

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#6 Post by bri » Tue May 01, 2007 9:17 am

I think there is something going on with the part number switching. I just dug up the original keyboard that shipped with my T60 to list for sale and looked up the FRU. It shows as Chicony 39T7178 on lenovo's part number pages, but I could have sworn that at the time I took it out last year I saw it listed as NMB. Maybe they are one and the same? That would be unfortunate because both of them are not as clickety as the NMB on prior Thinkpads I've had (T40, T23, X20).
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#7 Post by RonS » Tue May 01, 2007 10:30 am

What web site did you find to order a real NMB keyboard? I've been wanting one for a while.
Apathy is on the rise, but nobody seems to care.

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#8 Post by cchsiao » Tue May 01, 2007 2:55 pm

I got mine from upgradebay.com but it's a refurbished one. However, according to my typing experience, it's a real NMB keyboard (and it should be because I also take one keep off the keyboard to see the structure, it's totally different from the Chicony one). I guess the only reall NMB keyboard can only be obtained in a refurbished fashion...

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#9 Post by RonS » Tue May 01, 2007 6:20 pm

I just ordered one from UpgradeBay.

I also found two 39T0958 keyboards on e-bay and I sent an e-mail to each seller, describing the sticker on back covering up the original Chicony part number. They both confirmed that their keyboards had the sticker. I hope I get the genuine article from UpgradeBay.
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#10 Post by WPWoodJr » Tue May 01, 2007 8:31 pm

RonS wrote:I just ordered one from UpgradeBay.

I also found two 39T0958 keyboards on e-bay and I sent an e-mail to each seller, describing the sticker on back covering up the original Chicony part number. They both confirmed that their keyboards had the sticker. I hope I get the genuine article from UpgradeBay.
Please keep us posted. Why do you like this keyboard so much more?
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#11 Post by archer6 » Tue May 01, 2007 8:40 pm

The "new" NMB keyboards are not like the "old ones" built prior to November 2005. To the best of my knowledge after much continuing research from time to time over the last year, the NMB with the same tactile feedback as those in the past, is no longer available. I have had many NMB keyboards in the past most specifically in my T models and the new ones are not the same.

The reason I know this is because I have purchased many ThinkPad T series not only for myself but also for my company, where we deploy a few hundred T models, and 2006 was the year for us to purchase new ThinkPads for the company. Since March 2006 and the present I have purchased many new T60 and T60p models.

I wanted one each, of the first T60 & T60p models for myself, so I placed an initial order with Lenovo for 10 of each. Upon receipt of these I unpacked them and performed a "blind test" by trying each and every one, choosing the two based on which ones had the best tactile feedback from the keyboards. I was very happy with the results and did not find the keyboards inferior or significantly different in any way.

With that done, I then proceeded to take them apart to see which brand of keyboard they had, and much to my surprise they both had Chicony keyboards. Keyboard preference is such and individual thing that I'm not suggesting that for everyone the "new Chicony" is the ultimate.

However I spend a tremendous amount of time on mine, as I work in the tech sector and spend at the majority of the day everyday on a T series ThinkPad. Now having used mine for a year I must say that I'm 100% satisfied with the keyboards.
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#12 Post by Alltweed » Tue May 01, 2007 8:51 pm

Uhm...

So we now have 3 keyboard options that all appear to be like a chicony? Why not produce one keyboard and one part number?

Begs question:

Comparison report on new NMB(chicony like) and actual Chicony. IBM still keeps separate FRU part numbers for 3 keyboards.

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#13 Post by archer6 » Tue May 01, 2007 8:58 pm

Alltweed wrote:Uhm...

So we now have 3 keyboard options that all appear to be like a chicony? Why not produce one keyboard and one part number?

Begs question:

Comparison report on new NMB(chicony like) and actual Chicony. IBM still keeps separate FRU part numbers for 3 keyboards.
Like most mfgs of mass produced products, Lenovo must have more than one supplier for their components.

For a period of time last year (approx 6 months) the NMB part number dropped of the list entirely. However there are now (once again) three suppliers. It's my understanding that the "new NMB" is manufactured a bit differently than those of the past, hence the entirely different tactile feel.
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39T7148 keyboard with NMB Sticker (i.e. 39T0958)

#14 Post by heyzeus123 » Wed May 02, 2007 12:47 am

I don't want to throw a wrench into this discussion, but I am. :evil:

I just ordered a replacement NMB keyboard from IBM (under warranty), and got a 39T7148 ("New Chicony", I think) keyboard with the white sticker and the NMB Sticker (i.e. 39T0958).

Now here's the weird thing. I like this keyboard!! As a matter of fact I like the new Chicony (firmer and shorter keystrokes) BETTER than my old ALPS (firmer but longer keystrokes) keyboard. :D

This replacement keyboard is:


1. Very similar to the China-made NMB keyboard that came with my wife's Z60t (one year old). Firmer and shorter keystrokes.

2. Feels different than a Chicony keyboard (also with white sticker and NMB sticker) that I bought off of eBay about a month ago.

So, my conclusions are:

1. You can NO LONGER order a new "Real" NMB keyboard.

2. If you do order a new NMB keyboard, you will not get a NMB. What you will get is either an old noisey Chicony or the new improved Chicony.

3. The quality, i.e. the keyboard feel, of Chicony keyboards are improving.

BTW, another good source for refurbished NMB (39T0958) keyboards is from Compuvest. I have NOT ordered a keyboard from them, so if anyone orders from them, please let us know what you get?

http://www.compuvest.com/Description.jsp?iid=418648

Good Luck Yaw!
Last edited by heyzeus123 on Wed May 02, 2007 11:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#15 Post by cchsiao » Wed May 02, 2007 3:44 am

I did try to do some investigation on these two Chicony, and found that the older one (the one comes with my Thinkpad) is worse than the one IBM shipped. I mean, I tried to tear apart the keys and check the mechanical structure. The structure of the new Chicony looks quite similar to the real NMB keyboard. The only difference is that material they are using: the rubber under the keys are different. However, the older Chicony keyboard uses a totally different approach of getting the keys bouncing back, and actually that mechanics is quite bad in my opinion.

So... I would say, the new Chicony probably feels like the old NMB, but since there are still difference on the material, they are still different (but probably acceptable).

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#16 Post by perry_78 » Wed May 02, 2007 10:44 am

So, the following question arises, has Chicony perhaps acquired NMB or at least the division responsible for the laptop keyboards?
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#17 Post by Alltweed » Wed May 02, 2007 11:48 am

I wonder what you get if you order the alps from lenovo direct which has its own fru #.

It looks like I am going to go thru this all again as I did with Lenovo driect. I returned the NMB/Chicony labelled KB.

I then ordered what I thought was the real deal from a posters lead: upgradebay.com. I spoke with the rep and told him the confusion.

He assured me these were NMB keyboards or he will not ship to me. They are refurbished and they charge same price as lenovo direct for new one. This will not work if I am only getting a used (new style) chicony like NMB.

Its on its way now, so I guess I have to check it out.

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#18 Post by rsramirez » Wed May 02, 2007 11:59 am

+1 on all counts

Same situation - ordered the NMB, got that label situation.

Same feel experience - had a Chicony when I first got my T60p last year - HATED it. Replaced it w/ an ALPS. Much better but it wasn't like the NMB on my T42p. The new NBM/Chicony I put in I would have to say is 10x better than the original Chicony from last year, and I would say marginally better than the ALPS I recently replaced.

Is it up to par to the NMB on my T42p - no. But I would rank them as follows, 1=worst, 10=best

T42p NMB: 10
T60p New "NMB/Chicony": 8.5
T60p ALPS: 8
T60p Last years' Chicony: 2 (Very "mushy," for lack of a better word)

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#19 Post by shalliday » Wed May 02, 2007 3:22 pm

I just called upgradebay.com and ordered a refurbished 39T0958 as well.

When I spoke to the salesman he could not confirm at the time whether it was an actual NMB keyboard but he agreed not to ship unless it was. I told him the keyboard must have 39T0958, not 39T7178, as the part number and to make sure it was not just printed on a white label stuck to the back.

Did I miss anything? Is this enough information to verify that it is a NMB keyboard?
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#20 Post by Alltweed » Wed May 02, 2007 3:50 pm

I think the issue at this point is that the keyboards can be labelled correctly as NMB, but it will be the new NMB(more like chicony) and so I have my doubts that what they(upgrade.com) send me is the Older vinatge NMB KB.

I spoke to the same guy and he said he would ship if NMB. But I suspect he will not know whether its old NMB or the new style. As someone stated earlier - vintage nmb may be long gone.

This time, I'll install what they send me to see if its better than pure chicony style for me needs. If its not vinatge nmb - might as well order the newer style from Lenovo direct new vs refurbished if its better than chicony part number KB.

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#21 Post by gunston » Wed May 02, 2007 5:25 pm

thailand made keyboard is hard to get now.
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#22 Post by perry_78 » Wed May 02, 2007 6:02 pm

thai nmb never made it to the T60 to the best of my knowledge.

I guess I'm one of the few lucky ones who got a system last August with the chinese NMB? It's funny, I know that a lot of czech keyboards [such as mine] were NMBs, and so were quite a few german ones I've heard. These are from systems with a build date prior to Oct. 06 btw.
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#23 Post by axiom » Wed May 02, 2007 6:43 pm

I am hearing a lot of keyboards going around here.
Could someone please state their distinguishable features concretely?
Alps, Old Chicony, New Chicony, Old NMB, New NMB, China NMB, Thai NMB, White-out NMB, Label Chicony.

A lot of people stating their differences to be:
keyboard XXX FEELS 0.12 stiffer than keyboard YYY,
keyboard ZZZ FEELS like it bounces my finger up 3.14159265 faster than keyboard WWW,
and keyboard AAA sounds like it clicks 0.577215665 quieter than keyboard BBB.

For people having used only one or two IBM keyboards are really confused by this kind of relativistic talking regardless of how interested they want to know about their keyboard in the ranking.

I understand people say keyboards are judged by 'feelings', but I think it's also at a point where the 'feelings' need to be made concrete to reduce confusion.

No offense to anyone

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#24 Post by foodle » Wed May 02, 2007 6:53 pm

perry_78 wrote:That's kind of gay :S
I fail to see what notebook keyboards have to do with homosexuality.
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#25 Post by shalliday » Wed May 02, 2007 11:28 pm

I own three IBM X31 Thinkpads and all three have the NMB (FRU 08K5073) keyboard made in Thailand. When I first received my T60p in February of this year, one of the first things I noticed was that the keyboard felt different compared to the X31 keyboards. It did not have as nice a tactical feel to it and the keys made a slight clicky sound. While I preferred the feel of the X31 keyboards, the differences were not that distinguishable.

Recently however the T60p keyboard was damaged by an onsite service technician so he ended up replacing it with a new one. Since I was not home when the new keyboard was installed, I do not know the model number of the one removed or at that time, the model number of the new one he installed. As soon as I used the "new" keyboard I noticed the difference. The keys felt flat and like they bottomed out when pressed. They were also noisy, making a very noticeable clicky sound.

Earlier today I removed the "new" keyboard and discovered it has the big white label with the NMB FRU 39T0958 on it. It is placed over the top of a smaller label which has the Chicony FRU NO.39T7187. So I guess it's a safe bet that this is actually a Chicony keyboard and not a NMB. If so, then I definitely prefer the NMB keyboard over the Chicony. In my humble opinion, the NMB is by far the better of the two keyboards.
axiom wrote:I am hearing a lot of keyboards going around here.
Could someone please state their distinguishable features concretely?
With the X31 NMB keyboard on one side and the T60p Chicony keyboard on the other here is my best effort in describing what I consider to be the "distinguishable features" of the NMB keyboard:

The 39T0958 NMB keyboard keys have more of a spring loaded feel, requiring slightly more pressure to depress. As a result the keys feel more firm and solid resulting in a superior tactical feel whereas the 39T7187 keys are somewhat weak and seem like they bottom out when pressed. The 39T0958 NMB keyboard is also more quiet and do not have that annoying clickity clack sound like the 39T7187.

Recognising I am no keyboard expert, I hope this at least in part, helps answer your question.

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#26 Post by cchsiao » Thu May 03, 2007 3:07 am

Alltweed wrote:Uhm...
Begs question:

Comparison report on new NMB(chicony like) and actual Chicony. IBM still keeps separate FRU part numbers for 3 keyboards.
The new NMB is certainly better than the old Chicony. I say this because the mechanics (or material) used in this two model are different. My English is not that good, so I cannot explain that in details. I would say the old Chicony is far worse than the new NMB.

However, this totally depends on the guy who types. So...

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#27 Post by perry_78 » Thu May 03, 2007 12:52 pm

foodle wrote:
perry_78 wrote:That's kind of gay :S
I fail to see what notebook keyboards have to do with homosexuality.
It's a figure of speech that is carelessly thrown around by the youth of today.

In it's literal meaning, I suppose this situation is far from gay. I don't feel particularly happy or full of glee at new chicony's being rebranded as NMBs.
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#28 Post by foodle » Fri May 04, 2007 3:18 pm

perry_78 wrote:
foodle wrote: I fail to see what notebook keyboards have to do with homosexuality.
It's a figure of speech that is carelessly thrown around by the youth of today.
In it's literal meaning, I suppose this situation is far from gay. I don't feel particularly happy or full of glee at new chicony's being rebranded as NMBs.
Yes, it's a "figure of speech" that implicitly denegrates people of a certain sexual orientation. I suppose I should have said:
I fail to see why this type of language and implicit bigotry are tolerated on this board.

Back on topic: My X60s has an NMB keyboard and my T60p a Chicony. While I like the NMB better, the Chicony has been fine (and still miles ahead of most other notebook keyboards).
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#29 Post by laundromatt » Tue May 08, 2007 4:04 pm

i'm thinking that we could all better tell between keyboards by describing to each other the mechanism used underneath each of the keys.

i have what i believe is the "old" chicony, assuming that there is such a thing. under each of the letter keys is a rubber nipple, surrounded by a white-plastic scissors mechanism.

do all of the keyboards use this same exact approach/mechanism? what does the fabled NMB mechanism look like? what about this "new" chicony board?
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#30 Post by shalliday » Thu May 10, 2007 10:09 pm

I just finished replacing the Chicony (relabeled) keyboard on my T60p with the refurbished 39T0958 NMB keyboard I purchased from upgradebay.com. The refurbished NMB is not quite as firm or quiet as the NMB keyboards in my X31 thinkpads. The differences however are very insignificant and most importantly, IMO, it is far better than the relabeled Chicony it replaced.

I did notice that the T60p NMB was made in China where the X31 NMB keyboards were all made in Thailand. Not sure if that has anything to do with the differences between the T60 vs. X31 NMB keyboards.

When I get a few minutes I will pop the cap off of the T60 Chicony, the T60 NMB and the X31 NMB keyboards and take a look at the mechanisms underneath. Plan to take a few pictures and post back what I can see to be the differences between them.
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