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Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

X60/X61 and X60t/X61t Series
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albertserene
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2022 10:45 am
Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#1 Post by albertserene » Sun Sep 25, 2022 10:56 am

Hi,

I am an enthusiast of laptop PCs. I have total of 12 laptops from different era. Out of which, I have 2 Thinkpads. The Thinkpad x250 I purchased long ago. Then I just purchased an used X61 recently. I reason I chose X61 is because it is the last Thinkpad X series with 4:3 screen ratio and without a touchpad. Furthermore, I always like laptops with thin bezel. I found it to be very usable except the screen brightness(or lack of).

I have added the RAM to 4GB, a new battery, and new SSD. There are only 2 things that bother me. One is the new battery(4-cell) only last an hour. I watch the previous thread and found it to be normal. I guess there is no way to improve it. I don't want the 8-cell because it adds too much size and weight.

The other thing is screen brightness is very dim. I have laptop even older than this X61 but with much better screen brightness. Is it a normal thing with X61? Anyway to improve the CCFL backlit other than replace it with LED?

Thanks a lot.

albertserene
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2022 10:45 am
Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#2 Post by albertserene » Fri Sep 30, 2022 3:05 am

No answer, so I guess I just have to find a replacement screen. Even the LED kits are not avialable anymore.

On the other hand, I have upgrade my BIOS to 2.22 and install a new SSD. According to Crystal Disk mark, the speed is 276MB/s. The machine now runs pretty fast. Still good as a daily driver.

axur-delmeria
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Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#3 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Sep 30, 2022 4:53 am

Replacing it with LEDs is the only sensible option TBH. I mean, the only reason I would swap out a CCFL and replace it with yet another CCFL is if the original lamp was busted, and I already have a spare lamp at hand (taken from a broken screen), which is exactly what I did with an X61 screen around 3 years ago.

I'm glad that you find the X61 good enough as a daily driver. I love its size and form factor, but its capabilities are woefully inadequate for my needs these days. I still have one on standby though. :D
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

unixed
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Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#4 Post by unixed » Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:23 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Fri Sep 30, 2022 4:53 am
.. but its capabilities are woefully inadequate for my needs these days.
Whatever the issue there are workarounds, some of which are posted on this site, ranging from offloading processing to a networked remote or local unit (anything from a server to a SBC connected to a power bank like that of the thinkpad stack) to changing the CPU. I can run both cores of my X61 at 2.7 GHz, my R61 at 2.8 GHz and of my R500 at 3.2 GHz and access all the resources from any combination of them (and more powerful units) from one, but I don't have to and can continue to utilize the high aspect ratio and resolution flexviews and superior keyboard. I use task spooler and the usual unix process management tools to avoid having to wait for a process to finish.

albertserene
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2022 10:45 am
Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#5 Post by albertserene » Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:33 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Fri Sep 30, 2022 4:53 am
I'm glad that you find the X61 good enough as a daily driver. I love its size and form factor, but its capabilities are woefully inadequate for my needs these days. I still have one on standby though. :D
Thanks a lot for the reply. I am glad to hear from another X61 owner. I loved the machine for the form factor and screen aspect ratio also. I am running Windows 10 using mostly just Google Chrome and emails. It actually feel quite snappy running those task. I have another notebook 2022 LG GRAM 14 which I used to run games and emulators.

axur-delmeria
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Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:56 pm

unixed wrote:
Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:23 am
Whatever the issue there are workarounds
Things that can't be solved:

Anemic graphics
Screen resolution too low (already broke an SXGA+ screen, not gonna try again) :cry:
No Expresscard / USB 3.0
RAM upgrade too expensive
CPU heat (already undervolted it)
Video output restricted to VGA only
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

unixed
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Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#7 Post by unixed » Sun Oct 02, 2022 1:21 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:56 pm
Anemic graphics
Here I generally agree but if you have a T8100 you can overclock the graphics via the FSB. You can actually change the CPU to overcome that limitation, there's a very good thread in this forum. If I needed this I would look to modify the vBIOS first though. If you do the expresscard mod you can use an external graphics card, see below. I find using framedropping and caching switches on mplayer for example, suffices.
Screen resolution too low (already broke an SXGA+ screen, not gonna try again) :cry:
Patience and a dremel* is all that's required (well, a modified vBIOS and cable allso). I have an SXGA+ flexview in both a X61 and X61s and a XGA flexview in a X61. Nary a scratch swapping them in. (*) Go parallel to the frame not perpendicular, let the wheel do the work rather than pushing the dremel.

No Expresscard / USB 3.0
You can use one of the mPCIe to get an expresscard. This is detailed on the German forum.
RAM upgrade too expensive
Check the appropriate forum section, but yes. However compared to swapping out the CPU throwing money at it is an easy fix.
CPU heat (already undervolted it)
I find the T9300 okay, but you could go for the T8100 or T8300. If this was an issue for me I'd use a P9700 with 800 MHz FSB. Easy enough to experiment first on a R/T61 to see if the results are worth the effort.
Video output restricted to VGA only
There are PC Card adapters and expresscard adapters that'll give you DVI ports. I would check the vBIOS first just in case it can be fixed there and the schematics to see what the docking port provides, but probably not. With the expresscard mod there are a couple of docking stations that'll give you DVI output.

axur-delmeria
Senior ThinkPadder
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Posts: 3402
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:49 am
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines

Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#8 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Oct 02, 2022 8:10 am

That's a lot of mods and expenses for a machine that's around 15 years old. Not worth it IMO.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

unixed
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Posts: 284
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:41 pm
Location: Oxford, UK

Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#9 Post by unixed » Sun Oct 02, 2022 12:36 pm

The machine interface is 15 years more advanced (and growing) in the X61 to current offerings. It is easier to compensate for aging electronics if you have to, than for inferior form-induced functionality. You don't have to choose between an X61 and a current machine, just learn how to optionally use one as an interface to the other. For many tasks like writing and typesetting a paper or book, C or assembly programming or firmware disassembly and a myriad others where typing and context are of paramount importance or lateral space is at a premium it is not only sufficient standalone but superior.

Sweater Fish Deluxe
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Location: Ukiah, California

Re: Thinkpad X61 screen brightness

#10 Post by Sweater Fish Deluxe » Thu Oct 13, 2022 10:20 pm

albertserene wrote:
Sun Sep 25, 2022 10:56 am
One is the new battery(4-cell) only last an hour. I watch the previous thread and found it to be normal. I guess there is no way to improve it. I don't want the 8-cell because it adds too much size and weight.
The 4-cell battery is 28WHr, so if yours is really only lasting 1 hour, that means you're averaging 28W power consumption which is not normal at all, I don't think.

Of course, everyone‘s usage is different, but the kind of stuff you mentioned doing (email, word processing, etc.) shouldn't eat 28W at all. I tend to average about 10-12W doing similar things on my X61 and my (somewhat worn) 4-cell battery lasts around 2 hours.

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