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Just in: new-to-me T480

T430 and later, plus T530 and later series specific matters only
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theterminator93
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Just in: new-to-me T480

#1 Post by theterminator93 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:53 am

Since stumbling across the article describing the possibility of transplanting the T25 keyboard and top cover onto a T480, I've been mulling over the possibility of picking up such a machine to try it on. Last year I filed a warranty claim for a replacement keyboard for my T25 because the left trackpoing button sometimes didn't respond, and they sent me a new keyboard but didn't ask for the return of the old one. So aside from the T480 itself, all I need is the top cover and some buttons and such to try the mod.

Around last Thanksgiving I started looking at specs and details of the T480 to see what configs were available, and what I would want configured. The availability of the WQHD display and quad core i7 in the 14" chassis was very appealing so I did some research and settled on 20L5000XUS with the dedicated GPU and fastest available 8th gen mobile i7 since those can't be upgraded later. New units are still available but just recently a pair of "refurbished" machines came up for roughly half the cost of new, so I received approval from the wife to acquire one and it arrived today.

It looks virtually new, and is in warranty for another 17 months. No OS was present, so I pulled the factory recovery using my serial number and let it do its thing this evening. I must say, the display with no DPI scaling offers very generous real-estate which will be very nice to work from once I get it set up the way I want. I initially didn't have a huge aversion to the feel of the 6-row chiclet keyboard (key response is similar to the T25) but after a few moments I started to get annoyed with the immobile plastic "bars" between keys, which makes it very uncomfortable to press two adjacent keys with one finger (e.g. ctrl+shift+esc for task manager). I also miss the dedicated buttons for mute/volume etc. and some of the other function key mappings. I also much prefer the finish of the T25's palm rest over the T480's textured plastic. It's not quite as finely grained, if you will, as my X/T/W *20 machines and feels... well, cheap.

Aside from my aversion to the keyboard, I am disappointed that there is no USB-A port on the left. There's the two on the right, along with the Thunderbolt 3 type-C port on the left, but that just means an adapter or a somewhat awkward cabling arrangement if the need ever arises to connect something on the left of the machine. This is also my first machine which can clock higher than 4 GHz, so there's a bit of a rush anytime I see it peak out at 4.2 GHz during CPU intensive tasks, which surprisingly happens rather often (more often than my others peak out at their max. turbo, relatively speaking anyway).

Once I sort out getting the T25 keyboard and palm rest on it, I can see that I will be quite pleased with this unit. More to come on that later, as I gather the remaining parts and have a co-worker 3D print up the necessary additional pieces parts!
T480 | T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T601F T9900·NVS 140m·LED AFFS UXGA
T420 IPS FHD | X220 IPS FHD | T61p·T61·43·42p|X220T·301·61T·41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote
600|770Z|770E|760XD|760EL|365XD|701C|755C

dr_st
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Re: Just in: new-to-me T480

#2 Post by dr_st » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:02 am

theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:53 am
Last year I filed a warranty claim for a replacement keyboard for my T25 because the left trackpoing button sometimes didn't respond, and they sent me a new keyboard but didn't ask for the return of the old one.
I really really hate you. :lol: But I hate Lenovo much more. :twisted:
theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:53 am
Aside from my aversion to the keyboard, I am disappointed that there is no USB-A port on the left. There's the two on the right, along with the Thunderbolt 3 type-C port on the left, but that just means an adapter or a somewhat awkward cabling arrangement if the need ever arises to connect something on the left of the machine.
There are two type-C ports on the left, but yeah, missing the USB-A on the left was a necessary but a bit disappointing compromise. I actually hit a similar issue once with the TP25, because the mechanical dock blocks the left USB-A port, and it just happened that all other ports were inconvenient at that particular desk arrangement.
theterminator93 wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:53 am
Once I sort out getting the T25 keyboard and palm rest on it, I can see that I will be quite pleased with this unit. More to come on that later, as I gather the remaining parts and have a co-worker 3D print up the necessary additional pieces parts!
I believe so. I may buy such a modded unit at some future point, if it's convenient, just to get the quad-core upgrade. I wonder whether it can be applied to a T490 as well.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), 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

theterminator93
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Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:45 pm
Location: North Ridgeville, Ohio, United States

Re: Just in: new-to-me T480

#3 Post by theterminator93 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:34 pm

dr_st wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:02 am
I really really hate you. :lol: But I hate Lenovo much more. :twisted:
Right!? I was really surprised as well, but for the occasional need to triple-click, that's worth saving $200 for another keyboard!
dr_st wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:02 am
There are two type-C ports on the left, but yeah, missing the USB-A on the left was a necessary but a bit disappointing compromise.
Guessing the charging port is wired for USB 3.1 then? I had assumed it was just there for charging.
dr_st wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:02 am
I wonder whether it can be applied to a T490 as well.
I thought I had read at some point that they altered the design of the chassis for T490, for the first time since T450 came out. The T490 has the speakers above the keyboard again, similar to the A2* series, so if it is possible, there'd be a lot more modding for the top case. I haven't had my hands on a T490 for long enough to really digest the differences beyond that though.
T480 | T25 | W520 i7-2860QM·Quadro 2000m·IPS FHD | T601F T9900·NVS 140m·LED AFFS UXGA
T420 IPS FHD | X220 IPS FHD | T61p·T61·43·42p|X220T·301·61T·41T·24·23·22|G41|A31p·22m|i1200|TransNote
600|770Z|770E|760XD|760EL|365XD|701C|755C

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