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Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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jacobw
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Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#1 Post by jacobw » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:10 pm

I recently took an interest in this legendary model but I'm not really sure how to approach buying one. I don't want an X60s or tablet. I want a model that has the IBM logo(for obvious reasons). And I want one that has a fingerprint scanner.

Is it unrealistic to strive for a model with a T7200 processor?
Alternatively, is it possible to change the motherboard entirely in order to get the T7200?
Is it even worth it to upgrade to SSD, T7200 and 4gb of RAM?

If changing the motherboard is not completely unreasonable, has anyone done it? Tips?

Is buying a new battery worth it?
...

If it isn't clear by now, my plan was to buy a faulty one(poor battery, potentially even something like computrace or locked bios, or faulty hdd) for very cheap and restore.
Is this a horrible strategy?

ctoph0
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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#2 Post by ctoph0 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:04 pm

Get an x62
Past: A22M T61P X41T X200 X201
Present: X201 X220 X61s T420
Future: Upgrading the present!

axur-delmeria
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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#3 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:28 am

4GB? Due to chipset and BIOS limits, the max usable RAM is around 3GB.

T7200? My experience with the X60 in general is that they ran quite hot due to a less-than-optimal heatsink design. My aunt uses an X60 with T5600. It took some undervolting to stop the CPU from being toasty. You could upgrade it with an X61 heatsink though.

SSDs? Usable, but not optimal due to the SATA I (150 megabytes/sec) hardware limit on the ICH7M southbridge chip.

IBM logo? Some guys here managed to buy some on ebay.

The X61 is much more capable (8GB max RAM, Penryn CPUs, 300MB/s SATA II with Middleton BIOS). I suggest getting it instead, if you manage to find IBM logos.

Swapping boards? X61 board is a drop-in upgrade. I've already done it before.

New battery? Depends on how long you use it unplugged. New 8-cell gives around 3 hours I think.
If it isn't clear by now, my plan was to buy a faulty one(poor battery, potentially even something like computrace or locked bios, or faulty hdd) for very cheap and restore.
If you can find broken ones for cheap, why not? Once I got lucky and managed to find a "dead" X60 for 10 USD (converted from my country's currency), installed an X61 board and called it a day. Then it turned out that the "dead X60 board" was alive and well (whoever sold it didn't know how the X60's quirks regarding the RAM slots), and had to find another X60 carcass. Next time wasn't so lucky, since it took me 2 years until I got a mostly dead X61 (gives 1-3-3-1 error beep code even with known good RAM), but for 20 USD. *shrug*
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: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#4 Post by jaspen-meyer » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:53 am

The x61 and x60 are, basically, the same physical machine. There are very minor physical differences between them. The x61 is faster and can accept more ram. Motherboards from one can be used in the other.

Alternatively, is it possible to change the motherboard entirely in order to get the T7200?

Yes. Process is remove: 11 screws, keyboard, palm rest, motherboard.

Is it even worth it to upgrade to SSD, T7200 and 4gb of RAM?

Worth what exactly? In my x60s machines I use an SSD because it is silent and much quicker than a spinning drive. For ram I use between 512mb and 3gb.

Is buying a new battery worth it?

What is 'it'? I buy used, original, batteries because they last more recharge cycles than cheap non-name battery packs.

If it isn't clear by now, my plan was to buy a faulty one(poor battery, potentially even something like computrace or locked bios, or faulty hdd) for very cheap and restore.
Is this a horrible strategy?


An alternate plan would be to buy two machines. At least one of them should have an original 8-cell battery, with greater than 4.00 Ah. Also get three motherboards: T7200, T8100, L7400; an SSD and a HDD. With this plan, you can compare the machines against eachother and figure out which is 'better'.
T420 i7 3612QM seabios; T420 i7 3630QM; T400 Q9100 seabios; T61 P9600; T60 libreboot; x62; x60s libreboot, led; x24 xiphmont led

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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#5 Post by dr_st » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:15 am

Welcome to the forum. :D
  1. Get an X61, not an X60 - same looks, better hardware. You can find boards with T8xxx CPUs easily, can install 8GB RAM and do the SATA2 mod.
  2. If IBM logo is really important to you, get compatible stickers on eBay (from an IBM X3x/X4x) and swap. Note that T/R series logos are bigger and will not fit. Certain X61 units had the IBM from the factory, but these are rare and I wouldn't count on finding one.
  3. With how old these machines are, and how cheap they generally sell, I don't think that buying a broken one and swapping in parts is economically feasible (especially when factoring in the time).
  4. Battery life is a problem with these machines (especially the non-s, full voltage CPU variants). The 4-cell battery barely lasts for 2-3 hours, and that's when new. The 8-cell lasts for twice as much but makes the machine big and back-heavy.
  5. I would exercise some patience and hunt the marketplace here for a machine that someone already modded with an IPS LCD. The stock LCD is really not so good, and the mod itself is not very easy. However, if you are up for modding, you may do it yourself, and then you might be able to save some bucks by buying a system with a bad LCD for cheap.
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

jacobw
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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#6 Post by jacobw » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:47 pm

Thanks for all the responses.

I read them this morning and have been thinking about them throughout the day.
I think i'm going to buy the X60. My interest is nonsensical... I specifically want the X60 written on the screen(possible with IPS mod?)
also.. libreboot

To me, half the point of buying is the modding and restoration. I don't know if I would mind the screen, but if I end up minding I would be happy to mod on my own.

I found one auctioning on ebay and that will allow me to determine a price but I would love to get a quote from someone knowledgeable.
What I'm gonna do:
- buy a thinkpad, as long as it has a fingerprint reader, ibm logo and fine condition, i hope for a top price of 37 usd(converted from local currency)
- buy two motherboards, one t7200 and one low voltage
- consider buying a battery, I like the charm of the 8 cell one... I was hoping to find a slice battery at a flea market or something
- buy an x61 cpu cooler and mod
- consider buying ram
- i definitely will not run windows...
- consider buying replacement hdd

I have a different laptop that I will use for anything that isn't typing or browsing this forum.

axur-delmeria
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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#7 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:14 am

You don't need to buy an X61 cooler right away.
Monitor the temps first. If it's high, clean the heatsink and apply new thermal paste. Then try undervolting the CPU.

If the temps are still high after doing both should you then consider an X61 fan.
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: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#8 Post by madicetea » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:34 pm

This is an interesting thread to me and gave me a good chuckle.

A professor who threw away his x61 laptop during our University recycle day and carelessly forgot to smash it, remove data, or do anything (well there was no battery, but TWO AC chargers were lying right next to it) is what started me on an IBM downspiral (my x61 was one of the very early IBM designed ones with the tricolor logo). Was a cool computer to use.

Anyway, good luck.
Last edited by madicetea on Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#9 Post by SynbiosVyse » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:30 pm

It sounds like what you want is an X60 shell with X61 Penryn motherboard. The best ones are T8100, T8300 and T9300. In this day and age, I would personally not settle for anything else. The T9300 is very rare but the T8300 should be attainable. The 2X4GB DDR2 kit will be very expensive and elusive, but almost necessary.

IMO, the 1024x768 resolution is debilitating today. The 1400x1050 is beautiful as hell, but the mod is very difficult. It's possible to find them pre-modded for sale around here. On top of that mod, the LED backlit mod is also sought after.

All in all, it's probably very unlikely that you can find a from-factory config of these old models that are suitable for everyday usage. Either be prepared to mod it yourself or buy one pre-modded.

Regarding LibreBoot, it only works on the older X60 motherboards. For some reason, Penryn X61/T61 models were skipped for the X200/T400. I have never be able to get a clear answer as to why this was the case - considering the high appeal of the T601 and X601 frankens.

Regarding IBM logos The stickers are not completely compatible. I have an X60 lid for the IBM logo, but my X61s bottom was originally a "Thinkpad logo", I have never found an IBM sticker that fits the hole correctly. The palm rest with the IBM sticker has a different FRU, so I think the hole is different. I'm sure someone else on here with more experience can confirm that.

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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#10 Post by dr_st » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:19 pm

SynbiosVyse wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:30 pm
Regarding IBM logos The stickers are not completely compatible. I have an X60 lid for the IBM logo, but my X61s bottom was originally a "Thinkpad logo", I have never found an IBM sticker that fits the hole correctly. The palm rest with the IBM sticker has a different FRU, so I think the hole is different. I'm sure someone else on here with more experience can confirm that.
Is the IBM sticker on the X60 lid not the same as the Thinkpad sticker on the X61 base?

For T4x/T6x the IBM and Thinkpad sticker dimensions are identical; I had such a swap myself at one point:
/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=49962

I assumed it would be the same for X4x/X6x, but I never tried actually measured the stickers, and now my X32 and X61 are not in the same house, so I cannot check. :oops:
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

axur-delmeria
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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#11 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:59 pm

SynbiosVyse wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:30 pm
Regarding LibreBoot, it only works on the older X60 motherboards. For some reason, Penryn X61/T61 models were skipped for the X200/T400. I have never be able to get a clear answer as to why this was the case - considering the high appeal of the T601 and X601 frankens.
IIRC, the necessary documentation was never released by Intel. In Coreboot's supported motherboards page notice that there are no boards listed that have the Intel 965 chipset (which the X61 and T61 have).
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: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#12 Post by dr_st » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:29 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:59 pm
IIRC, the necessary documentation was never released by Intel. In Coreboot's supported motherboards page notice that there are no boards listed that have the Intel 965 chipset (which the X61 and T61 have).
Interesting. But for both earlier and later chipsets the documentation was released? Isn't that a strange inconsistency?
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

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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#13 Post by SynbiosVyse » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:40 pm

dr_st wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:29 pm
axur-delmeria wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:59 pm
IIRC, the necessary documentation was never released by Intel. In Coreboot's supported motherboards page notice that there are no boards listed that have the Intel 965 chipset (which the X61 and T61 have).
Interesting. But for both earlier and later chipsets the documentation was released? Isn't that a strange inconsistency?
Very strange, but yet appears to be the case.
Is the IBM sticker on the X60 lid not the same as the Thinkpad sticker on the X61 base?
No they are different sizes. Below is a picture of my X61s palmrest. You can see the sticker (which is the exact same as the one from the X60 lid) doesn't fill the hole completely which previously had the Thinkpad logo. Sorry I don't know how to resize the image in BBcode.

https://i.imgur.com/dBKn49a.jpg
ADMIN EDIT to make this image a link rather than an inline image..

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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#14 Post by dr_st » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:40 am

SynbiosVyse wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:40 pm
No they are different sizes. Below is a picture of my X61s palmrest. You can see the sticker (which is the exact same as the one from the X60 lid) doesn't fill the hole completely which previously had the Thinkpad logo. Sorry I don't know how to resize the image in BBcode.

https://i.imgur.com/dBKn49a.jpg
Weird. I think there is something non-standard about your palmrest. The pictures I could find of X6x palmrests online show the dimensions for IBM and Thinkpad stickers to be identical, and they both differ from the dimensions of the cavity in your palmrest, and match the dimensions of your IBM sticker.
See for example:
https://ssli.ebayimg.com/images/g/LZQAA ... -l1600.jpg
https://ssli.ebayimg.com/images/g/-OUAA ... -l1600.jpg

Is your palmrest original? Maybe it's a later / special batch? What is the FRU? I could not find any X6x pictures on the web that have dimensions that match yours.
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

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Re: Advice on buying a Thinkpad X60 in 2018

#15 Post by beko1987 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:15 pm

I can't offer as much detailed advice as has been posted already, but I bought a scrap/unknown X60 cheaply that needed the fan oiling, and although it's still a project (apparently the hinge arrived yesterday, I'm off work this week though)

It will run WIndows 7, and the touchscreen will work
It will run WIndows 10 and everything works very well.
3gb is the max it will see, but I have 4gb in mine as 2x2gb ram was dirt cheap
It runs VERY HOT, although I haven't re-pasted mine yet. At the moment it thermal throttles, hoping when I have it all apart again that will improve!
Thinkpad T40
Thinkpad T43
Thinkpad X60 Tablet
Thinkpad X61
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Thinkpad X201

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