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X61 still relevant in 2020?

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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iamdmc
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X61 still relevant in 2020?

#1 Post by iamdmc » Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:39 am

I was reading through this great topic from 2015 and was thinking - 5 years on - is the X61 still relevant?
viewtopic.php?f=30&t=119071&p=767393#p767393

Assuming you've done some/all of the mods below, is the X61 still useable or is it now a museum piece?

Mod list (by no means complete)
-Middleton bios to unlock dual IDA, SATA II, wifi whitelist
-Dell DW1705 wifi half height card to reduce heat & pinmod overclock without soldering
-in addition to overclocking, undervolt to reduce temps and re-paste CPU with Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
-8GB (2x4GB) DDR2 RAM
-Decent recent model SSD
-SXGA+ (X61T screen) mod - with or without LED conversion
-add webcam mod
-change PCMCIA to Expresscard using miniPCIe (x1 PCIe gen1) slot mod
-add touchpad mod
-USB C charging mod with ZYPDS board
-Change X61 heatsink to all-copper model

and of course bought a new battery (or rebuilt one successfully) so you can actually use it mobile


Any thoughts? any mods I've left out?
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

TPFanatic
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:31 am

X61 is the smallest form factor fully featured ThinkPad. It also happens to be a classic design with the 4:3 screen nearly completely filling its lid area.

The biggest problem with using old ultraportables in their intended purpose is that good batteries are not easily accessible, plentiful, or affordable. I have a neat little X60s that behaves well with an SSD but it's good for an hour at most off the charger. Recelling is an option, but it is not easily accessible, plentiful, or affordable.
lenovo T420 i5 2520m 16GB QHD w/ eGPU GTX 960
lenovo T520 i7 2720qm 8GB FHD, lenovo T420s i5 3320m 8GB QHD, lenovo T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, lenovo T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD w/ Optimus, lenovo S1 Yoga i7 4600u 8GB FHD
Enable 2 finger scroll on old Synaptics touchpads.

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#3 Post by Cigarguy » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:42 pm

I'm still using a T60 as my daily putter around laptop. For what I do it's perfectly fine and relevant. My T42, nice machine to have around, but not very useful anymore.

If a product is still useful to you then yeah it's still relevant. What relevant for some is useless for others and that's fine.

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#4 Post by dr_st » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:46 am

With that list of mods, yes, it can be still relevant. My T60 is weaker by far than a top-end modded X61 can be and I still use it as a backup-of-backup machine, as well as for testing some old games that don't work well on anything newer than WinXP.

The one weakness of an X61 (other than getting a good battery) is that there is no reasonable way to get digital display out or dual external monitors. Although maybe some eGPUs can work with the ExpressCard mod to give you digital display, dunno.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T490 (20N3), 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

iamdmc
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#5 Post by iamdmc » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:48 am

TPFanatic wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:31 am
X61 is the smallest form factor fully featured ThinkPad. It also happens to be a classic design with the 4:3 screen nearly completely filling its lid area.

The biggest problem with using old ultraportables in their intended purpose is that good batteries are not easily accessible, plentiful, or affordable. I have a neat little X60s that behaves well with an SSD but it's good for an hour at most off the charger. Recelling is an option, but it is not easily accessible, plentiful, or affordable.
imho greencell batteries seem to have a pretty good reputation as far as aftermarket batteries go
Edit: n of 1, but got my greencell x61 battery doa. Won't hold a charge

duracell also makes some aftermarket batteries for some thinkpads (not X60/61 sadly)
Last edited by iamdmc on Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#6 Post by iamdmc » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:01 am

dr_st wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:46 am
With that list of mods, yes, it can be still relevant. My T60 is weaker by far than a top-end modded X61 can be and I still use it as a backup-of-backup machine, as well as for testing some old games that don't work well on anything newer than WinXP.

The one weakness of an X61 (other than getting a good battery) is that there is no reasonable way to get digital display out or dual external monitors. Although maybe some eGPUs can work with the ExpressCard mod to give you digital display, dunno.
You can always use a VGA-to-HDMI digital converter cable. They need to be powered by USB but they work and are compact. I've bought one and am waiting for it to come before I can confirm that it works

If you want DVI, just buy something like the Lenovo USB-to-DVI adapter which gives a DVI out. They go for a tenner on ebay. I've tested this and it works well.

I've been using the USB-to-DVI adapter with a DVI-to-HDMI adapter with my external T450s-based screen/driverboard mod I did a while back. 14" 1080P LED-backlit screen on the X61 - you can make a great frankenpad that way. I bought the VGA-to-HDMI converter cable to take 2 converters out of the mix (USB-to-DVI and DVI-to-HDMI) and am hoping to wire it from the underside of the motherboard (where the VGA connector is, or from the docking connector) to drive a Surface Pro 3 12.1" 3:2 2160x1440p LED-backlit LCD panel. Currently the USB-to-DVI and DVI-to-HDMI solution means the screen won't receive a signal until Windows has booted, but the VGA workaround (and BIOS 'display to external monitor') should mean that I get picture from boot.

Yes I know VGA technically maxes out at 2048x1536 so I probably won't get the full 2160x1440, but it just might work... or if it doesn't I'll try to force a lower 3:2 res like 2056x1368, 2040x1360 which imho are close enough. And Yes I know the panel is technically 13mm taller than the X61's OG screen, but that's nothing a bit of creative dremeling can't fix. And Yes I know you need a special LCD driver board for that screen as it doesn't use the standard 30-pin or 40-pin eDP connectors, but I just bought one yesterday for $35 and it's estimated to be delivered in 1-2 months from China (fingers crossed!) which should fit snugly behind the panel in the thick (my today's standards) X61 screen assembly/lid. And yes I know I have to find a panel that's already be delaminated from the glass or figure out how to myself (I actually just found a source yesterday so fingers crossed)

I've got the SXGA+ mod (1440x1050) on the X61 (148ppi, 1.5mil pixels) but wouldn't the extra pixels and colour space of (approx) 2160x1440 (216ppi, 3.1mil pixels) just be sublime? I think it would...
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#7 Post by iamdmc » Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:21 pm

Update: vga to hdmi cable arrived and works both on boot and in windows.

Minor issue with screen res/scaling to be fixed. 1920x1080 currently shows as squeezed with black bars on right/left side of screen. No such distortion at one step down 1600x900. Oddly, display settings offer 2560x1440 even though it's a 1080p screen - but that's probably because vga is analog and thus isn't getting mobo isn't getting any info on the panel

Baby steps...
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

Hyena
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#8 Post by Hyena » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:02 am

Yes it definitely is still relevant in 2020! My X61s is still my daily driver. It will still browse the web like a champ, handles youtube with no problems, plays DVDs and ripped video. I am working from home on it every other week.
I did an SSD upgrade, middletons bios, an extra Gig of ram, making a whopping 2 GB... I decided on Linux Mint xfce, as this is the best balance between modern features and resource nimbleness that I have found in an easy to install package. I perhaps could stand to install some more ram still. Web pages continue to get more and more bloated and I have a bad habbit of accumulating dozens of browser tabs. Anyone got an opinoun on that? Is going from 2 to 4, or even 8 gb worth the money?
Great laptop! Has stood the test of time more gracefully than anything I have ever owned. As others lament, I just wish someone still made a battery that wasn't instant garbage.

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#9 Post by Kingair » Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:51 pm

For sure
Typing all this on my X61 T7300
My daily driver next to the X201s
Gonna do the DW1506 mod and add a new screen
SSD & Middleton have been installed already
But looking for a X62 / X63
The ultimate X61 !

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#10 Post by Jake.Werecat » Sun May 03, 2020 3:26 pm

I made a my X61 frankenpad a few months ago, partialy for fun, partially because of nostalgia. It's X61s mobo, with X60 cover and solid one-piece X60 WWAN antenna (IMHO better, no extendable stick that can bent or break), modern WLAN and WWAN card, Middelton BIOS, SSD drive, 8GB RAM and color IBM logo and it runs just fine. I also used body pieces from 6 different laptops to find the least scratched and best looking panels and it looks almost brand new. I love it, but consider i to be rather a toy then a daily machine. I'm sticking with T430&X230 on daily bases, and it's hard to adjust back to X61 in both terms of better performance, and better display. I was crazy about X62 some time ago, but due to its price, and dropping availability I gave up.
X61f, 2x X230, 2x T430

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#11 Post by Kingair » Wed May 06, 2020 2:51 pm

The X62 and X63 are the fastest out there
Thinking to get one
Only hard to find and muchos money

atagunov
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#12 Post by atagunov » Wed May 06, 2020 6:41 pm

There are people who won't settle for a non-classic keyboard (me)
There are people who crave 4:3 not 16:9 16:10 3:2 - X61 is for them

With 8Gb DDR2 (pricey) and maxed out CPU X61 should be okay
With a screen mod it should be nice :)
X220, 2 *T520

Kingair
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#13 Post by Kingair » Wed May 06, 2020 6:52 pm

@atagunov I bought another X61 T7300 since I love the size
That one came with 2 x 4GB DDR2
Ordered a SXGA screen and cable and ready for the modification
Upgraded the BIOS with Middleton and made the SSD run SATA II so its became faster
Actually I use my X61 as a daily driver

E350
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#14 Post by E350 » Thu May 21, 2020 12:49 am

iamdmc would you please provide the links to the vga to hdmi cable and usb to dvi cable?

And yes X61 is relevant to me as my preferred daily driver with:

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T8300 @ 2.40GHz Penryn 45nm Technology
Crucial 2Tb SSD
8.00GB Crucial Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 332MHz (5-5-5-15)
Middleton's BIOS
upgraded Bluetooth Daughter card: Bluetooth 4.0 Card FRU: 60Y3303 60Y3305 Use For T400 T410 T420 X200 X201 X220 from ebay
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
And new OEM Lenovo battery. See my thread here:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=129039

Daily driver except when I need a widescreen when I use my T61p 15.4.

wujstefan
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#15 Post by wujstefan » Thu May 21, 2020 6:14 am

TPFanatic wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:31 am
X61 is the smallest form factor fully featured ThinkPad. It also happens to be a classic design with the 4:3 screen nearly completely filling its lid area.
S235 is smaller :)
dr_st wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:46 am
The one weakness of an X61 (other than getting a good battery) is that there is no reasonable way to get digital display out or dual external monitors. Although maybe some eGPUs can work with the ExpressCard mod to give you digital display, dunno.
It does, and does so perfectly :)

All in all it depends on what you actually want from this system. For web browsing, little 4:3 fun or playing music it is still (and possibly will be ) fine. LCD is a weakness here...
Too many thinkpads not enough time!
(stable under reduction)

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#16 Post by E350 » Thu May 21, 2020 4:29 pm

wujstefan how do you send video from an X61 to a HD TV?

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#17 Post by wujstefan » Thu May 21, 2020 4:33 pm

TV? Never tried that really. I do not own a TV, that may be a bit of an issue ^^ I guess wireless communication with smart TV would not be feasible for system this old.

BTW. I just booted my workpad Z50. Memories :)
Too many thinkpads not enough time!
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E350
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#18 Post by E350 » Fri May 22, 2020 1:25 am

OK then, how do you guys attach the X61 to an HDMI or DVI input monitor?

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#19 Post by Kingair » Sat May 23, 2020 1:18 am

Here's what I did earlier today
Installed Arch on my X61 T7300
Since my X61 is my daily driver I had to give it a shot
Arch looks good with KDE Plasma and it's probably me but my CPU seems to run somewhat cooler
Definitely need to check that for a while
I pulled the trigger for Arch since yesterday I tried EndeavourOS and it's pretty impressive I have to say
Also a much easier way to run a Arch distro
I like Thinkering with my X61 series
Hopefully soon my SXGA screen arrives so we can bring it up to the next level

X61 running Arch + DBE:
https://i.imgur.com/0VQ5p0q.jpg

X61 running EndeavourOS:
https://imgur.com/gallery/vMejO81

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#20 Post by iamdmc » Fri May 29, 2020 2:11 am

E350 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 12:49 am
iamdmc would you please provide the links to the vga to hdmi cable and usb to dvi cable?

And yes X61 is relevant to me as my preferred daily driver with:

Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T8300 @ 2.40GHz Penryn 45nm Technology
Crucial 2Tb SSD
8.00GB Crucial Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 332MHz (5-5-5-15)
Middleton's BIOS
upgraded Bluetooth Daughter card: Bluetooth 4.0 Card FRU: 60Y3303 60Y3305 Use For T400 T410 T420 X200 X201 X220 from ebay
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
And new OEM Lenovo battery. See my thread here:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=129039

Daily driver except when I need a widescreen when I use my T61p 15.4.
I used a generic vga to hdmi, which works but not perfectly.

The usb to dvi is the Lenovo model made some years back

I'm waiting for a better startech usb 3.0 to hdmi (up to 4K) which is just an ocean and most of a continent away at my family home right now
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#21 Post by atagunov » Fri May 29, 2020 7:19 am

iamdmc wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 2:11 am
I'm waiting for a better startech usb 3.0 to hdmi (up to 4K) which is just an ocean and most of a continent away at my family home right now
Just being curious - doesn't X61 normally lack USB 3.0 ports?
X220, 2 *T520

iamdmc
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#22 Post by iamdmc » Sat May 30, 2020 3:15 am

Yes but I added with startech usb 3 mpcie card
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

axur-delmeria
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#23 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat May 30, 2020 5:30 am

iamdmc wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 3:15 am
Yes but I added with startech usb 3 mpcie card
How's the palmrest heat? :O
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:

iamdmc
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#24 Post by iamdmc » Sun May 31, 2020 3:39 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 5:30 am
iamdmc wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 3:15 am
Yes but I added with startech usb 3 mpcie card

How's the palmrest heat? :O
Not unbearable
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

nico75
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#25 Post by nico75 » Sun May 31, 2020 2:49 pm

hi,

I'm also working on my "brand new" X61.
Which card are you using for usb 3 ? this one https://www.startech.com/fr/Cartes-Addi ... EXUSB3S22B ? or something more like this https://www.amazon.fr/Mini-adapter-conv ... B07BJ45JXD?

Thanks
X220 - main / X230 - next computer / X61T - old for sale / X61 - T9300 lastest buy upgrade in progress :banana:

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#26 Post by iamdmc » Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:21 am

nico75 wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 2:49 pm
hi,

I'm also working on my "brand new" X61.
Which card are you using for usb 3 ? this one https://www.startech.com/fr/Cartes-Addi ... EXUSB3S22B ? or something more like this https://www.amazon.fr/Mini-adapter-conv ... B07BJ45JXD?

Thanks
Yes the star tech card

What have you got planned for your brand new X61? We could collaborate
ThinkPad T480s
i7-8550u | 16+8GB RAM | 500GB Samsung 970 2280 M.2 M-key PCIe x4 | FHDtoQHD upgrade | 2242 M.2 B-key PCIe x2 @WWAN slot | Intel AX200

The X61 is dead... long live the X61

Past IBM ThinkPads: T450s, X250, X230, X220, X300, T410, X61s, T60p, T41, X31, T23, A21m

nico75
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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#27 Post by nico75 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:46 am

I plan a lot of classical and less classical improvements :-)
I will create another thread soon with all the details and questions but I will be happy to collaborate on the numerous problems we will both encounter in our quests :D

best regards !
X220 - main / X230 - next computer / X61T - old for sale / X61 - T9300 lastest buy upgrade in progress :banana:

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#28 Post by Kingair » Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:46 pm

nico75 wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:46 am
I plan a lot of classical and less classical improvements :-)
There are definitely nice modifications / upgrades possible for the X61
Depends what effort / money you want to put into it
Best proof is the X62 and X63

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#29 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:15 pm

Someone on the Thinkpad subreddit soldered a T9500 into his X61. https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... stein_x61/
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:

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Re: X61 still relevant in 2020?

#30 Post by atagunov » Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:42 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:15 pm
Someone on the Thinkpad subreddit soldered a T9500 into his X61
Plain crazy but good kind of crazy innit? Of course we don't know what rework station he used..
It took 4 tries and 5 hours to finish it
..but probably not a professional one! No surprise then it took 4 tries! I wish there was such a crazy person in the vicinity of London :)
X220, 2 *T520

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