Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

T400/410/420 and T500/510/520 series specific matters only
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Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#1 Post by mh9162013 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:30 pm

I have a few questions about the T500, T510 and T520 laptops.

1. Will a 90W OEM Lenovo charger that works for the T400 also work for the T500? How about T510 and T520? I'm pretty sure it'll work with the T500, but not sure about T510 or T520.

2. For regular/typical use (except gaming), what will provide better overall performance: a T500 (T9600) with a dedicated GPU (Radeon 3650) and 8GB RAM running Win 7 Pro 64 bit or a T510 (i5-520M) with an integrated GPU, and 8GB RAM running Win 7 Pro 64 bit? Assume they can be both purchased for the same price.

Thoughts and opinions will be appreciated.

Thanks!

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:40 pm

1. A Lenovo 90w psu with the barrel tip will suffice for any Lenovo from the first Z60 and T60 series all the way to the **30 series, eg, T400, T500, T530, X230. Only most models of the W series need a bigger psu.

2. A T510 should give a better overall experience in my opinion, because it is faster, but it can vary depending on the options. The LED screens will be brighter and a T510 with an FHD screens, at least, should be good looking. The T500 has some nice screen options (WSXGA+ and WUXGA) with good viewing angles but they use more power and are dimmer than LED screens. The T510's processor should be snappier, faster, better for multitasking, and better for playing videos. Even local 1080p .mp4s, if they have high enough bitrate, are a little more than what the T500 can handle while the T510 should take it easily. The T500's radeon GPU is meanwhile decent enough to handle a niche's worth more games / higher settings on old games than the T510 with either gpu - and it's not much. Also oddly enough, the T500 may get better battery life than the T510 - T500 is also a slimmer but taller laptop.

They're both good machines that are a little old, and the T500 is an older design. For example you can remove the keyboard without removing the palmrest on T510, but on T500 you have to take off the palmrest first. Others will probably recommend you go further and get a nice T520, which is faster than the T510 with better battery life too.

I'm very happy dailying my T500 but my recreational usage is very dependent on the web, so any time Google decides youtube's servers aren't slow enough the T500 easily becomes less fun to use. On good days I can play youtube 1080 @60fps, but all of a sudden I can't do that anymore. It makes no sense at all. Then if I were using my computer strictly for academic purposes I can get by with an R50p. :roll:
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#3 Post by mh9162013 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:56 pm

Thanks for the informative reply! Do all T510 laptops have LED screens? I have two T400 laptops, one with the LED screen and the other with the CCFL screen and the difference is tremendous (I like LED so much better).

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#4 Post by TPFanatic » Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:15 pm

Yes all T510s have LED screens. I read the HD+ 1600x900 may be better in quality than the 1366x768 screens too, though I haven't seen any of them in person but I imagine they're all usable.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:36 pm

Click on the HMM link at the top of this page, to download the manual for the laptop you are looking for.
Under Parts list/LCD FRUs you'll find all the info.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#6 Post by brchan » Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:40 pm

The 1366x768 screens are very poor quality, and makes even displays on $200 netbooks look gorgeous :mrgreen: . Go for FHD, or at least 1600x900.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#7 Post by mh9162013 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:23 pm

Thanks for the help everyone!

Seems like a T510 is better than a T500, even if the T500 has a dedicated GPU and the T510 does not, as long as I'm not playing graphic intensive games (which I won't be). I also like being able to get an LED screen, too.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#8 Post by mh9162013 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:14 pm

Update: I'm looking on eBay for some T500, T510 and T520 models. I added T520 to my watch list just in case I can snag one for a good price (I noticed the price ranges of each model overlap, so there's a chance I can get lucky). However, I think I'll probably end up getting a T500 or T510 given my budget. I know if I get the T510, I will avoid any models with the 1366 x 768 screen.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#9 Post by zephxiii » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:59 pm

For gaming you def want Nvidia T510 or above....

There's no reason you can't score a Nvidia T510 and above with 1600x900 screen, I buy them for work all the time. I just bought a Nvidia 1600x900 T510 off ebay for 135ish bucks. Don't get one with 768 screen because the panel quality is pretty crappy.

I would try to get a Nvidia T520 or T530 though if you can as the GPU power increases nicely.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#10 Post by brchan » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:04 pm

A T510 or even T520 makes more sense than a T400/T500. Significantly faster overall, led screen, and the chassis doesn't have the dreaded cracking hinge/LCD frame that so many T500 models suffer.

I would not bother trying to run any games on Thinkpads, especially since the gpus in these older machines are just too outdated, anyway. You can build a fairly decent gaming machine for ~350 USD if you choose your parts wisely. Now if one does insist on a thinkpad for gaming, get a newer one with a thunderbolt 3 port and you can hookup an eGPU pretty easily. However, Nvidia drivers for eGPUs using thunderbolt 3 is still in beta, and getting the adapter + enclosure will be quite costly. Still, it is a lot less than forking over more than $1000 to upgrade to a top spec quadro which still won't perform nearly as well.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#11 Post by mh9162013 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:04 am

Thanks for the help guys.

I would not use these laptops for gaming. That's what my Game Boy Color and PS Vita are for. And if I want to game more, I'd get a PS4 or build my own gaming desktop, but alas, those are toys for the future when I have the funds.

I'm leaning away from the T500, but I'm keeping my options open since I want the laptop I get to comes with Windows 7 Pro 64 bit.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#12 Post by mh9162013 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:06 am

zephxiii wrote:For gaming you def want Nvidia T510 or above....

There's no reason you can't score a Nvidia T510 and above with 1600x900 screen, I buy them for work all the time. I just bought a Nvidia 1600x900 T510 off ebay for 135ish bucks. Don't get one with 768 screen because the panel quality is pretty crappy.

I would try to get a Nvidia T520 or T530 though if you can as the GPU power increases nicely.
That seems to be the going rate, but finding one like that which comes with Window 7 Pro 64 bit and is ready to go (all I'm going to do is upgrade the RAM and install Office 2010) requires a little patience.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#13 Post by mh9162013 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:05 pm

zephxiii wrote:For gaming you def want Nvidia T510 or above....

There's no reason you can't score a Nvidia T510 and above with 1600x900 screen, I buy them for work all the time. I just bought a Nvidia 1600x900 T510 off ebay for 135ish bucks. Don't get one with 768 screen because the panel quality is pretty crappy.

I would try to get a Nvidia T520 or T530 though if you can as the GPU power increases nicely.
Does this sentiment about the T510's 768 screen also apply to the T520's 768 screen?

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#14 Post by brchan » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:52 pm

Does this sentiment about the T510's 768 screen also apply to the T520's 768 screen?
Yes.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#15 Post by Tasurinchi » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:21 am

The 1600x900 panels are not much better either... :(

If FHD is not too small for you I would go that way. The best panels are the AUO B156HW01 V4 (matte) and B156HW01 V7 (glossy) and are not much expensive than HD+ ones (at least it was so few months ago when I got my last FHD panel)
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#16 Post by mh9162013 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:37 am

Tasurinchi wrote:The 1600x900 panels are not much better either... :(

If FHD is not too small for you I would go that way. The best panels are the AUO B156HW01 V4 (matte) and B156HW01 V7 (glossy) and are not much expensive than HD+ ones (at least it was so few months ago when I got my last FHD panel)
Those are harder to find on eBay and if I find them, are usually more powerful laptops out of my price range.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#17 Post by TPFanatic » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:12 pm

From what I've seen a well spec-ed T500 is substantially cheaper than a mid or high end T510 if you don't want to spend more than $100. Also T500s seem to have depreciated again since last year when I bought mine. :? I was lucky enough to snag some high end T410s for cheap last month, with 900p screens, under $100, but quality wise both screens were very bleh, worse than the WXGA in my R500, so I won't consider any T410 model very high end anyway. T410 also has a plastic lid with no rollcage, others have some glass frame of sorts.

One thing I realized again that I forgot before is the T500 has different feeling, thicker plastics than the T410, and presumably the T510 as well. The T500 plastics are more rugged feeling and it's less creaky than the T410 (a comparably very creaky laptop). I don't know for certain about the T510 since I haven't felt one yet, but I am getting a T520 to touch soon.

So I can vouch that the T500 has a very solid feeling palmrest, and both the T500 and T510 are made of carbon fiber in the base, so I figure the T510 is just as solid belowdeck. (personal funfact, the Z60m construction wholly of ABS plastic is the flimsiest Thinkpad I've worked on)


In conclusion if budget is a major concern you might have to go for T500.
Daily driver: lenovo T500 P9700, WUXGA, 8GB
Ultraportable: IBM lenovo X60s
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#18 Post by brchan » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:18 pm

One thing I realized again that I forgot before is the T500 has different feeling, thicker plastics than the T410, and presumably the T510 as well. The T500 plastics are more rugged feeling and it's less creaky than the T410 (a comparably very creaky laptop). I don't know for certain about the T510 since I haven't felt one yet, but I am getting a T520 to touch soon.

So I can vouch that the T500 has a very solid feeling palmrest, and both the T500 and T510 are made of carbon fiber in the base, so I figure the T510 is just as solid belowdeck. (personal funfact, the Z60m construction wholly of ABS plastic is the flimsiest Thinkpad I've worked on)
I've owned a 15.4" T61p, which is essentially the same chassis but with some perforated metal in the LCD frame vs solid in the T500. General quality, especially plastics, do feel nicer and less likely to chip than on my W530. The T410 has been known to have issues with QC + durability and is quite a step down from a T420 or T510.

However, even though the T510 has slightly lower exterior quality, it has very robust hinges and no structural issues AFAIK. T/W500 units are susceptible to breaking usb ports, cracking near the hinge and on the LCD frame, if care is not taken. If you do end up wanting a T500, make sure you ask the seller if it has any of these problems.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#19 Post by TPFanatic » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:13 am

brchan wrote: However, even though the T510 has slightly lower exterior quality, it has very robust hinges and no structural issues AFAIK. T/W500 units are susceptible to breaking usb ports, cracking near the hinge and on the LCD frame, if care is not taken. If you do end up wanting a T500, make sure you ask the seller if it has any of these problems.
Very true. My T's middle USB port's plastic piece got ripped out. Luckily none of the pins were bent and I didn't plug anything in backwards in the interim - I glued it back in and it's been okay since. But others have had it worse. As for the hinge issue, it happened to my sister's W500, and again I got lucky since only the hinge cracked, but the shock can take out the entire corner of the lid and magnesium too. T500 parts are fairly inexpensive, though, I don't know about T510 but it shares enough parts with T520 and T530 it shouldn't be too expensive to service either.

T500 is still good in my book, but, ultimately, T510 is more desirable if you can get one. :??: I recall seeing a feebay T510 missing an OS, and probably low specs, but it might have been 80-90 usd.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#20 Post by mh9162013 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:09 pm

I'm leaning strongly toward a T510 or T520 right now. I'm closing watching some ebay auctions right now.

EDIT: I just ordered this T510 from eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/192042769629?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

The only drawback is the screen, it's 768, but I got tired of waiting for a 900 screen that also came with my other requirements and from a seller that posted completed information about what they're selling or at least answered questions in a prompt matter. *sigh*

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#21 Post by somethinkpad » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:42 am

mh9162013 wrote:I'm leaning strongly toward a T510 or T520 right now. I'm closing watching some ebay auctions right now.

EDIT: I just ordered this T510 from eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/192042769629?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

The only drawback is the screen, it's 768, but I got tired of waiting for a 900 screen that also came with my other requirements and from a seller that posted completed information about what they're selling or at least answered questions in a prompt matter. *sigh*
well, conratulations mate for the T510, hows the unit? all good with the HD display?
ive got mine too on january, bit little bit expensive, its 1600X900 display, 4GB RAM, 120GB SSD and 9 cell battery in a mint condition for around 200$ USD.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#22 Post by ashbury04 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:20 pm

TPFanatic wrote:From what I've seen a well spec-ed T500 is substantially cheaper than a mid or high end T510 if you don't want to spend more than $100. Also T500s seem to have depreciated again since last year when I bought mine. :? I was lucky enough to snag some high end T410s for cheap last month, with 900p screens, under $100, but quality wise both screens were very bleh, worse than the WXGA in my R500, so I won't consider any T410 model very high end anyway. T410 also has a plastic lid with no rollcage, others have some glass frame of sorts.

One thing I realized again that I forgot before is the T500 has different feeling, thicker plastics than the T410, and presumably the T510 as well. The T500 plastics are more rugged feeling and it's less creaky than the T410 (a comparably very creaky laptop). I don't know for certain about the T510 since I haven't felt one yet, but I am getting a T520 to touch soon.

So I can vouch that the T500 has a very solid feeling palmrest, and both the T500 and T510 are made of carbon fiber in the base, so I figure the T510 is just as solid belowdeck. (personal funfact, the Z60m construction wholly of ABS plastic is the flimsiest Thinkpad I've worked on)


In conclusion if budget is a major concern you might have to go for T500.
I have been reading your posts and appreciate your inputs, I am thinking of upgrading from my T30 which has treated me very nicely over years, to a T500/510 with system recovery cd's. in case I have to reset to factory settings. However, no one on eBay offers the cd's. Any suggestions or ideas, please

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#23 Post by thinkpadcollection » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:19 pm

Go with T530 with GPU, also uses same 90W adapter as well. The GPU is much better due to 128bit data path to GPU's VRAM.

T410/T510 is no better than core 2 at high end vs i7-640m, see how I did last night; I already did back to back web browsing between my optiplex 780 with 3.33GHz E8600, T410 i7-640m 2.8-3.8GHz boost with integrated GPU and T420 i7-2640m 2.8-3.8GHz boost with HD3000 (integrated GPU).

Result is both 780 and T410 stuttered lot on certain advertising panels in ebay during scrolling. Passmark performance is also close tie on both. T420 did better and less stuttering, but the 1 core passmark score is close compared to those two as well. Need advertising to go easy or start enabling multi-core processing feature in windows and programs.

I also compared 1 core scores on many processors of different generations and they are pretty close, only thing that exceed 1,200 to 1,600 is 4GHz-4.4GHz Haswell i7 socket 1150 with 1 core score of approx 2,000. Downfall of this haswell socket 1150 is 16 lanes. Need more than that for future computing.

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#24 Post by mh9162013 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:31 am

The T510 has served me well. The 768 screen is not a problem for me, since it's LED.

The only thing I don't like is the case: it cracks and chips like it's nobody's business. With 8GB RAM and Win 7 Pro 64 bit, I never have issues with slowdown.

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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#25 Post by cadillacmike68 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:10 am

brchan wrote:A T510 or even T520 makes more sense than a T400/T500. Significantly faster overall, led screen, and the chassis doesn't have the dreaded cracking hinge/LCD frame that so many T500 models suffer.

I would not bother trying to run any games on Thinkpads, especially since the gpus in these older machines are just too outdated, anyway. You can build a fairly decent gaming machine for ~350 USD if you choose your parts wisely. Now if one does insist on a thinkpad for gaming, get a newer one with a thunderbolt 3 port and you can hookup an eGPU pretty easily. However, Nvidia drivers for eGPUs using thunderbolt 3 is still in beta, and getting the adapter + enclosure will be quite costly. Still, it is a lot less than forking over more than $1000 to upgrade to a top spec quadro which still won't perform nearly as well.
You can put the T500 in the Advanced dock and fit an external graphics card and a 1920x1200 WUXGA monitor. That'll give you more gaming power if you want, and a 1920x1200 screen is perfect for viewing 2 pages at once for work. Even the T500s WSXGA+ 1680x1050 is good for work.

You can't use the Adv dock for and T/W 4/5 /10-20-30 systems, and the new cop-out of a dock has neither an Ultrabay or a PCI slot any more.
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Re: Question about T400, T500, etc. laptops

#26 Post by Hans Gruber » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:11 am

I have a couple of T510's and a couple of W500's w/3.06ghz C2D and several T500's with anywhere from 2.4ghz to 2.8Ghz processors. If you throw in a SSD into a T500 you won't see much of a difference between the T500 and T510 in speed. I have the Nvidia graphics in the T510 and they are not really much better than integrated graphics. The benefit of the T500 is the 16x10 ratio vs the 16X9 ratio of the T510. I like both the T500 series and the T510 series.

None of these machines are speed demons today but they are good for anything but gaming. As a previous poster said no thinkpad is really meant for any gaming. Older laptops with Nvidia 280M, Geforce GT 330M or GTX 460M, Geforce GTX 570M GPU's would be better geared for gaming of that era 2009-2011. None of the GPU's listed were the very top of the line of that era but top tier mobile GPU's.

You can't go wrong with a T500 but I would suggest getting a 1920x1200 panel on the T500 or the 1680x1050 panel at the minimum.
:beer: T43p,T61,X200,X200s,x201,T500,W500,T510,T410,T410s,T420s,T430,T430s :parrot:

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