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So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

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ioixd
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So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#1 Post by ioixd » Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:48 pm

It's a shame because I absolutely love the feel and size of this laptop, and I really got used to using it, even despite it's low specs. And then it shut off while I was using it. To clarify, it's a GPU problem, and the research I've done leads me to find that this is a known issue with these Intel chips and while the solution is said to be reballing, more research has told me that reballing does not work and the best solution is to straight up replacing the GPU, and doing so costs as much as another Thinkpad. On that note...

I'm wondering if anyone knows what the most similar Thinkpad is. This is what I look for from the laptop, but I don't expect one to meet every one of my needs. As long as it's a cheap Thinkpad it's fine.

- it isn't $100 un-refurbished (because price scalpers are the bane of Ebay and buying old hardware).
- it has a 4:3 screen (because I personally don't care for widescreen laptops and I greatly prefer having a smaller laptop)
- it doesn't have a known problem that makes it irrepairable (the USB controller on this laptop also failed, apparently...)
- it has reasonable specs (this one ran a 2GHz CPU with 2GB RAM before dying.)
- it has a standard form drive bay (this especially is not required but it would be nice to be able to put in something like a second battery instead of a DVD drive)

So what Thinkpad best suits those bullet points?

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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:27 pm

The last 4:3 ThinkPads are 14.1" T61 4:3, 15" R61 4:3 (kind of rare model, more common in Europe), and the 12" X61, X61s, and X61 Tablet. Skip any T61 4:3 with the Nvidia GPU, they're susceptible to premature failure (and dGPUs always fail eventually anyway).

They're all typically Core 2 Duo dual core units and they can take up to 8GB of DDR2 RAM. The T61 and R61 will use the same Ultrabay battery as your R51! Sorry I was mistaken.
Last edited by TPFanatic on Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lenovo T420 i5 2520m 16GB QHD w/ eGPU GTX 960
lenovos T520 i7 2720qm 8GB FHD, T420s i5 3320m 8GB QHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD, T430 i5 3320m 8GB FHD w/ Optimus, S1 Yoga i7 4600u 8GB FHD
IBM X601 Tablet L7500 8GB SXGA+
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ioixd
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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#3 Post by ioixd » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:40 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:27 pm
The T61 and R61 will use the same Ultrabay battery as your R51!
That's precisely the problem. I have found no Ultrabay Enhanced Batteries. Thanks anyways, I'll look into these.

kfzhu1229
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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#4 Post by kfzhu1229 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:46 pm

TPFanatic wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:27 pm
The T61 and R61 will use the same Ultrabay battery as your R51!
AFAIK the T61 and R61 uses all the same Ultrabay devices except for the battery and the legacy port thing on the T61 (and the things that do work also has a different face plate).
The T6x and R6x Ultrabay battery has the connector in a different location than the T4x and R5x!
But I do agree that since T4x mostly suffer from chassis flex problems, T6x and R6x remains the obvious choices. Unfortunately if you want a T61 you have to pay quite a bit more these days than what the specs are actually worth (on a Dell Latitude or HP elitebook for example as those come with 16:10 screens only).
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:06 am

Any T40/T41/T42/T43/R50/R51/R52 motherboard will fit in that R51. See here for a list.
For T43/R52 you will need a different CPU, fan and RAM, but the rest of your R51 can be reused.
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Covid-19: Mask it or Casket!
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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#6 Post by cadillacmike68 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:26 am

If it's just the board, you can find a replacement board on fleabay. If you want a different system, the T61 is the way to go. 8GB max ram, Middleton BIOS for W7, T510 recovery works to put W7 on it, and it has your preferred screen size. Just make sure to get an Intel graphics one. Type 8897 and 8898 are 14" 4:3 with intel.
600, 600X
760LD FUBARd
T21 2647 T22 2647 1@ 1GHz SXGA+ 4 more; T23 2647 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+ 3 more
T30 2366-88U 2GHz; 2366-83U 1.8G; 5@ 2366-LU0/66U; 2367-KU6 FUBARd
T41 T42 T43
T61 8897 2.4GHz SXGA+; 8898 2.4Ghz; 6463 2@ WSXGA+; 7658 2.5GHz; T61p; 6 more T61s
T500 2
T530 W530

atagunov
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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#7 Post by atagunov » Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:53 am

From more powerful to less powerful, from more expensive to less expensive:

T420/T430/T520/T530
bad: they're 16:9 not 4:3
bad: they're a little more expensive
good: they have (*20) or can be fitted (*30) a classic keyboard
good: they will serve you another 10 years like R51 did without getting obsolete (my personal prediction)
good: they take DDR3 up to 16Gb

T400/T410/..
bad: they're 16:10 not 4:3
good: classic keyboard even more similar to R51 than the one mentioned above
good: they take DDR3 up to 8Gb

15" 4:3 R61
good: takes up to 8Gb
bad: takes DDR2 not DDR3 - super rare/expensive in 4Gb sticks
I've seen these on UK ebay.. closer to £80-100 than to £40-50

Update: added on dr_st's suggestion:
14" 4:3 T61/T61p with Intel graphics (X3100) or 08/08 or 08/09 date (these probably don't exists or are super-duper rare)
Very similar to R61 and might be easier to find/cheaper

15" or 14" 4:3 T60/R60
good: cheap
bad: up to 3Gb RAM only (DDR2 but dirt cheap at this size)
good: can later be upgraded with a 14" 4:3 T61 motherboard (only ones with Intel graphics X3100 advised, not nVidia ones on grounds of reliability) taking up to 8Gb of DDR2 (again: super rare/expensive in 4Gb sticks); the board goes into both 14" and 15" 4:3 bodies, I think; for 15" 4:3 T60 no extra parts needed, for 15" 4:3 R60 the "interposter" board from T60 needs to be purchased separately (FRU-s: 41W1055, 39T0482, 41W1130)
Last edited by atagunov on Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:48 am, edited 6 times in total.
X220, 2 *T520

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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#8 Post by dr_st » Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:29 am

Good summary.

Personally, since OP prioritizes 4:3 screen and smaller size, but also wants an Ultrabay, and did not mention IPS as a requirement, I would suggest a 14" 4:3 T61/T61p. It's a great well-rounded machine. It's possible to settle for 4GB (2x2GB RAM sticks), which is very affordable, and in any case a big improvement over the 2GB of the R51, and wait for a good deal/opportunity on 4GB sticks to max out the RAM down the road.
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

kfzhu1229
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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#9 Post by kfzhu1229 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:52 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:06 am
For T43/R52 you will need a different CPU, fan and RAM, but the rest of your R51 can be reused.
You will also need a different PCMCIA cage as they come with one expresscard one PCMCIA instead of two PCMCIA
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Lat D830 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#10 Post by atagunov » Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:15 am

dr_st wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:29 am
Personally, since OP prioritizes 4:3 screen and smaller size, but also wants an Ultrabay, and did not mention IPS as a requirement, I would suggest a 14" 4:3 T61/T61p. It's a great well-rounded machine. It's possible to settle for 4GB (2x2GB RAM sticks), which is very affordable, and in any case a big improvement over the 2GB of the R51, and wait for a good deal/opportunity on 4GB sticks to max out the RAM down the road.
You're right! Updated the summary! You've just made me irrationally want one too :)
ioixd, if you want reliability get an Intel graphics T61. nVidia T61-s which bear 08/08 or 08/09 on the TYPE sticker at the bottom are also good but are rare as hen's teeth - I've tried.. Save your time :)
X220, 2 *T520

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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#11 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:17 am

atagunov wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:15 am
nVidia T61-s which bear 08/08 or 08/09 on the TYPE sticker at the bottom are also good but are rare as hen's teeth - I've tried.. Save your time :)
Such NOS (New Old Stock) T61 nVidia motherboards, dating from 2011/2012 (!) are still available here!
NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown till December 2020!
Covid-19: Mask it or Casket!
Check out The Boardroom for Mods and Other Services.

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Re: So my R51 broke and it's unrepairable. What's the next best model that doesn't break?

#12 Post by cadillacmike68 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:23 pm

^^
Yeah I'm going to get one or two more of those.
600, 600X
760LD FUBARd
T21 2647 T22 2647 1@ 1GHz SXGA+ 4 more; T23 2647 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+ 3 more
T30 2366-88U 2GHz; 2366-83U 1.8G; 5@ 2366-LU0/66U; 2367-KU6 FUBARd
T41 T42 T43
T61 8897 2.4GHz SXGA+; 8898 2.4Ghz; 6463 2@ WSXGA+; 7658 2.5GHz; T61p; 6 more T61s
T500 2
T530 W530

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