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Did Acer manufacture the R31?

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CrazyTPFan
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Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#1 Post by CrazyTPFan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:52 pm

I can't help but ask. I saw a post on Reddit that stated the R31 was a Acer re-baged with IBM logos. Can anyone confirm this?
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#2 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:41 pm

Search up Acer C-Note and the first result is Thinkpad R31.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#3 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:47 pm

R30, R31, R32, R40/e

G40/41 and possibly G50.

All produced by Acer, at least for North American markets.

Dead giveaway is the AC plug on the "wrong" side of the chassis when compared to mainstream ThinkPads, such as A or T series from the same period.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#4 Post by CrazyTPFan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:49 pm

Ok. I can now conclude that the R31 was manufactured by Acer.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#5 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:57 pm

ajkula66 wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:47 pm
Dead giveaway is the AC plug on the "wrong" side of the chassis when compared to mainstream ThinkPads, such as A or T series from the same period.
Didn't even think of that but yeah it is.
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The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#6 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:59 pm

CrazyTPFan wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:49 pm
Ok. I can now conclude that the R31 was manufactured by Acer.
I'm not quite sure that it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things.

R30/31/32 were garbage IMO, while R40 and G40/41 were decent systems.

"Mainstream" ThinkPads from that era were built in Mexico and later China, for the North American markets. Pretty much nothing was "homebrew" at that point, apart from small batches of machines that were assembled for internal and government purposes in NC, and even they included imported parts.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#7 Post by CrazyTPFan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:01 pm

I just wanted to know because from the day I got it it didn't feel like a true IBM ThinkPad and when I saw the comment on Reddit, I had to ask if it was manufactured by Acer.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#8 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:21 pm

CrazyTPFan wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:01 pm
I just wanted to know because from the day I got it it didn't feel like a true IBM ThinkPad and when I saw the comment on Reddit, I had to ask if it was manufactured by Acer.
It was a low-end version of T23. In all fairness they were quite usable back then. On the other hand, R32 was likely the worst laptop to ever bear an IBM logo.

Old I series were also supposedly built by Acer, but my exposure to them was minimal so I really can't comment on their build quality and/or performance.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#9 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:39 pm

ajkula66 wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:21 pm
Old I series were also supposedly built by Acer, but my exposure to them was minimal so I really can't comment on their build quality and/or performance.
Give or take half I see on eBay have cracked hinges if that says anything about their build quality. When was the last IBM Thinkpad you saw with cracked hinges besides the 300/500/700 machines(which those 1992 machines seem to have hinge problems just like the PS/Note line)?
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#10 Post by ajkula66 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:48 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:39 pm

Give or take half I see on eBay have cracked hinges if that says anything about their build quality. When was the last IBM Thinkpad you saw with cracked hinges besides the 300/500/700 machines(which those 1992 machines seem to have hinge problems just like the PS/Note line)?
TBT, 14" T4x series were fairly well-known for that problem.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#11 Post by Screamer » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:22 am

ajkula66 wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:47 pm
R30, R31, R32, R40/e

G40/41 and possibly G50.
The R30, R31, and the R32 are indeed Acer-built machines, but the R40, R40e, G40, G41, and the G50 are not Acer-built machines.

There is some proof that supports the R30, R31, and the R32's Acer-built claim, but not exactly for the R40, R40e, G40, G41, and the G50. First of all, the schematics would usually state the real manufacturer for the said machine. So, let us look into that in depth:
  • IBM ThinkPad R30 = Acer C-Note
  • IBM ThinkPad R31 = Acer C-Note 2
  • IBM ThinkPad R32 = Wistron D-Note (Wistron was originally Acer's manufacturing arm, but it was spun off as a separate company)
  • IBM ThinkPad R40 = LG Gryphon
  • IBM ThinkPad R40e = LG D3 Entry
  • IBM ThinkPad G40 = Quanta BF1
  • IBM ThinkPad G41 = Quanta BF4
  • Lenovo ThinkPad G50 = Foxconn LEWS1

This is not the end of it yet, though. There is another part that we should check too, which is MAC address' vendor ID (first 6 digits starting from the left).
00:00:E2 stands for Acer Technologies Corporation, but 00:06:1B stands for Notebook Development Lab. Lenovo Japan Ltd. Considering that the G4x and the R40(e) used the same vendor ID, but were contracted to different manufacturers, this does not seem to make any sense. Could it be that the design that was done by the development laboratory, but the entire manufacturing was outsourced to LG and Quanta?

The weirdest of all, is the G50's vendor ID. It does not follow the G4x's convention of using 00:06:1B as the vendor ID, but instead it used 00:15:58 as the vendor ID, which belongs to Foxconn. This makes sense though, because some of the G50's parts were pasted with stickers that had Foxconn labeled on it.

From my conclusion that I had made ages ago, the main giveaways for the R3x being built by Acer, was their schematics and the ALi chips (the R30 had them, the rest did not). The second giveaway was their extremely different embedded controller firmware (all of them), and the R32's factory-pasted D-Note sticker on the motherboard.

The main giveaways for the R40(e) being built by LG, was their schematics and the repeated action of pasting Made in Korea stickers on their parts. That, immediately gave me the clue.

As for the G4x and the G50, the giveaways were less noticeable. Although, if you were to open it up and look for markings on the motherboard, you might come across this label: DA0BF1MB6G3. You might be wondering, what does that have to do with the actual manufacturer of the G40? Well, this particular naming scheme has the G40's schematic name in it, and is also a known naming scheme that Quanta has used for many of their motherboards that they have manufactured.

This also applies to the G41, since it has a similar naming scheme (DA0BF4MB6D2). I am sure that this was a giveaway, too.

The G50 is a special one, however. It does not have Quanta's label on it, but a Foxconn sticker on its heatsink. That, and the vendor ID has led me into thinking that it was definitely produced by Foxconn.

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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#12 Post by dr_st » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:31 am

Well, if you're going to count an R32 built by Wistron in 2002 as Acer-built (according to Wikipedia, Wistron split off Acer in 2000), then maybe you also want to consider later Wistron-built Thinkpads (plenty of them) as Acer-built? :wink: Where does one draw the line?

In any case, ODMs build the laptops based on schematics designed and provided by IBM/Lenovo. It's not immediately obvious which issues manifest due to the quality of the build vs the quality of the schematics.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#13 Post by Screamer » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:28 am

Probably not, and I should have said Wistron-built instead of Acer-built. I did not know that Wistron was spun-off that early in 2000, I initially believed that it was somewhere in 2002.

I would count the entire R3x as Wistron-built, now that I know that Wistron was formed way earlier than I had expected.

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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#14 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:47 am

Screamer wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:22 am

The main giveaways for the R40(e) being built by LG, was their schematics and the repeated action of pasting Made in Korea stickers on their parts. That, immediately gave me the clue.
I've never seen those stickers on the boards of R40 systems around here, and I've seen my fair share of them.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#15 Post by Screamer » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:57 am

It is not exactly on the motherboard, I forgot to mention.

Here are some of the parts that I have seen the stickers on: heatsink, palmrest, bottom housing base + cardbus slot

I might have over-exaggerated the amount of stickers that were pasted on these parts, but this was what I have noticed. The R40e may have the same treatment performed on it, but I never had an R40e to confirm that.

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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#16 Post by CrazyTPFan » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:59 am

Speaking of cracked hinges... My R31 has a big crack behind the hinge.
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Re: Did Acer manufacture the R31?

#17 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:42 pm

ajkula66 wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:47 am
Screamer wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:22 am

The main giveaways for the R40(e) being built by LG, was their schematics and the repeated action of pasting Made in Korea stickers on their parts. That, immediately gave me the clue.
I've never seen those stickers on the boards of R40 systems around here, and I've seen my fair share of them.
There were actually some R40s that had the LG IBM sticker.
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