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Z60m - tell me some good things

R30/R40, A30/A31, G40/G50 and Z60/Z61 Series. NOT for AMD-Ryzen.
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Z60m - tell me some good things

#1 Post by ThinkDan » Tue Aug 22, 2023 10:10 am

OK, I'm a bit of a snob for T-series and X-series ThinkPads, but have just acquired a Z60m to scratch the Z-series itch. Ye gads, it's an ungainly lump. Next to a T4x or T6x it's an awkward big lump of plastic and lead.

I get that it has the 15" widescreen not then available elsewhere in the range, discrete ATI graphics, media card reader, but it feels like a budget machine and how thick is that screen/lid assembly?! Why a titanium lid on a heavy/bulky/budget model? Good to see that it's a proper SATA 2.5" drive, though. Checking the timeline, it would be 2 years before the T61 brought multiple widescreen options to the T-series.

Why does it exist? Tell me some good stuff about it, please!

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Re: Z60m - tell me some good things

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Aug 22, 2023 11:20 am

Congratulations, you own the slowest 20V ThinkPad. :D

To be a fly on the wall in IBM's Raleigh office in 2005... I can only conject on what they planned the Z-series to be but I figure a few things:

- Establish widescreen models. Of the 15.4" models, the same basic planar shape and port arrangement would be re-used on T60 Wide, T61 15", T500, and R counterparts. They were close enough I even managed to frankenstein T500 and R500 motherboards into my own Z60m. The 14" models are more novelty.

- Experiment consumer influences such as that titillating lid. If it was popular enough, I bet it'd have spread to the T-series.

The Z has been described as a widescreen R series with its very plasticky construction. There's also Z61e, very economic model.

The most interesting one to me was the Z61p, the first ThinkPad offered with 1920x1200 and the most powerful ThinkPad for the time. Reminds me of R50p, the only -p suffix R series and the only ThinkPad offered with 2048x1536.

I think T60(p) Wide sold much more than Z-series because I've seen a lot more of them around.

I also have a Z60m, mine has the ATI X600 so it's comparable to a T43p but with much less legacy hamstringing. Real SATA port, 20V power, CS05 Dock.

I also have a Z61m and Z61t.* Z60/1t batteries have been out of production and it's financially unreasonable to acquire one. I managed enough surgery on both a T400 battery and my Z61t for it to "fit", but it falls out too easy. Best option with Z60/1t is to use the Ultrabay battery.

There's an annoying flaw with the Z60m's ATI driver in Windows, it does not work with 1920x1200 LCD retrofits, it will only let you set resolution up to 1600x1200 or 1680x1050. This is ATI's fault as the chipset is capable of driving 1920x1200. In fact, 1920x1200 works fine in Linux.

In the end it's really tough for me to justify any use for these models. 4:3 models are better for retro gaming. It's the darn titanium lid, nothing else, that sells the Zs. That darn lid.

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Re: Z60m - tell me some good things

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Aug 22, 2023 11:23 am

This ugly duckling is not a T60/R60 groupie, but just a slightly souped-up, SATA-modded, widescreen T43/R52 concoction, except this is the first official Thinkpad with SATA drive and 20V charger.
Can't really have any good word for it, but YMMV.
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Re: Z60m - tell me some good things

#4 Post by ZaZ » Tue Aug 22, 2023 9:19 pm

I thought the titanium lid on the Z61m review unit I got from Lenovo was rather handsome, if a bit scratch prone. I put a couple noticeable ones on it in the six or so weeks I had it as I recall.

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Re: Z60m - tell me some good things

#5 Post by dr_st » Wed Aug 23, 2023 3:24 am

The Z series sort of set the trends for the R series in the *61/*00 generations.
You could even say that the R61 inherited some aspects of R60 and some of Z6x.

15.4" models were significantly bigger and bulkier than their T counterparts, while 14" models were a lot closer to the T.
The T/R61 and T/R400 even share the same HMM, these are almost the same machine.

I really liked the design of the Z60t/Z61t, found it much more attractive than the T61/T400. It was more compact too, but the compactness came at a price -
the hard drive and Ultrabay would not fit next to each other, which forced the hard drive to the left of the chassis, and in turn cause all USB ports to be on the right. Plus there was no room for a dual-card cage, so Z series only have CardBus, not ExpressCard. Not the best thing usability-wise.

Still the Z series were, IMO, the best-looking widescreen models in the CS05 era. It's too bad that the battery situation makes Z61t impractical even as a retro system.
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Re: Z60m - tell me some good things

#6 Post by astral » Wed Aug 23, 2023 10:04 pm

nothing stopping you from rebuilding an original battery with new cells, i'd imagine.
there's a place in canada that does rebuilds with proper equipment and such.
i'm going to send one of my batteries at some point as a test run, but they have good reviews.

avoids the problem of crappy ebay batteries/unavailability.
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Re: Z60m - tell me some good things

#7 Post by Sweater Fish Deluxe » Tue Sep 12, 2023 7:18 pm

dr_st wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2023 3:24 am
It's too bad that the battery situation makes Z61t impractical even as a retro system.
I can only assume Lenovo was trying to segment their market for mo' money because there's literally no difference between the Z61t battery the 14" T61 batteries except the latches, insertion rails, and a few mm of clearance. I once managed to get a T61 battery to go into the Z61t slot, but I had to cut away some of the plastic and hold it in with tape. (I later totally disassembled that battery and put the 18650 cells in an empty powerbank shell that I still use, so I guess that's pretty good.)

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