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T601F aka Frankenpad

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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Natakranta
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T601F aka Frankenpad

#1 Post by Natakranta » Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:19 pm

Hi Guys,
Last weekend I finally put together my 2nd FrankenPad. First was based on R60 which is now back with its first owner who can't be happier with it. He is posting on r/thinkpad nice pictures of his old /new machine. That's a really nice story. You wil find my thread in this subsection of forum.

This one though is made on a T60 which I acquired locally here in Dublin for mere 15 EUR back in January this year. A not working mint condition 15" 4:3 ratio T60. For this sort of money I didn't hesitate a second. I took a gamble since I was already thinking of swapping the motherboard. It appeared its only fault was a dead BIOS battery, a quick and easy fix.

So I started gathering parts to make it a FrankenPad. I got Heatsink + Fan (42W2820) from China. Pictures on my Google Drive.

Next was T61 Nvidia motherboard. Here huge thanks go to @wujstefan for providing me one with some spare parts in very reasonable price. Cheers mate!
The 8 sec video there on Google drive is from flashing Middleton BIOS on T61 mobo that was still sitting on it's frame in it's chassis. I connected monitor through VGA port and booted old Windows XP I have on one old drive from my T61 widescreen. I then ran BIOS flash from within Windows XP. Not a first time I was doing it using this drive and this Win XP. All went smooth as you see on the pictures. Then I tested with X9000 CPU.

I know, it's the old one, prone to failures. I don't care. It works now and that's all that matters. If it fails I'll get proper safe one through https://www.theboardroom.info/franken_pad.html hi @RealBlackStuff it was a pleasure to meet you :)

I got X9000 CPU from China. That's another long story I described here in other thread in this forum subsection. I had to buy two to get one good genuine and working. I thought, if I'm doing it, let's go full throttle and get best possible CPU. Surprisingly, X9000 is quite civilised. Right now as I'm writing it on Firefox, "sensors" command reports 40 degree celsius temps on both cores and I need to put my ear next to side vents to hear the fan gently spinning.
Only Thing I skipped for now from obvious cash reasons is the RAM upgrade to 2x4GB DDR2, we all know how ridiculous the price is nowadays. Maybe I'll ask Santa, I think I was good this year :)

One last mod is Intel 7260 AC class WiFi card. This one is a mini PCI-E half size with simple extender to mount it on original mounting points. It plays really good with my home Netgear N7000 router easily reaching max download speeds of my internet provider (240down/25up Virgin Media Ireland).

This ThinkPad will be hardly used. It was a "why not" project that has been real fun (panic, stress, tears, angst, euphoria, name it, it was there :D ) I got Legion i5 laptop on great deal a month and so ago, which is my daily driver now. I have as well very good speced T440p that serves my mum to watch Netflix, docked and connected to 27" QHD monitor, and a widescreen 14" T61 (T8300, 4GB RAM, 120SSD) that is family keepsake after father in law. Yup, I managed to sell some laptops and narrow my collection to 3 ThinkPads only and a new Legion.

Any questions, just ask. I'll do my best.

Vopu
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#2 Post by Vopu » Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:46 pm

Natakranta wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:19 pm
This one though is made on a T60 which I acquired locally here in Dublin for mere 15 EUR back in January this year. A not working mint condition 15" 4:3 ratio T60. For this sort of money I didn't hesitate a second.
I am heading over there right now :mrgreen: , a good excuse for a visit and a T60 and some black gold. :wink:
Natakranta wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:19 pm
I got X9000 CPU from China.
i stopped short at T9300 , now seeing $60 for one , i may incline to change my config, Again :roll:
Natakranta wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:19 pm
Only Thing I skipped for now from obvious cash reasons is the RAM upgrade to 2x4GB DDR2, we all know how ridiculous the price is nowadays.
like you still on the hunt for this one. I am hopelesly hoping an elderley user will try to sell 2X4GB locally without realising what it actually is :mrgreen: :eek:
Surprisingly , my T61 with a fresh (TEST) :oops: Win10, 4GB ram , T9300 & 240GB SSD is pretty snappy too. I am recently looking into Legion's as new OR may be a used P1 , are you happy ? I am afraid you will say yes and convince me to go for one, so please, please say no :eek:

Natakranta
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#3 Post by Natakranta » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:19 pm

Vopu wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 4:46 pm
Surprisingly , my T61 with a fresh (TEST) :oops: Win10, 4GB ram , T9300 & 240GB SSD is pretty snappy too. I am recently looking into Legion's as new OR may be a used P1 , are you happy ? I am afraid you will say yes and convince me to go for one, so please, please say no :eek:
I'm sorry to disappoint you, Legion 5i with 2060RTX and 144Hz FHD 300 nits screen is awesome :D
There was a deal for it which unfortunately is expired now. It was 766 GBP for laptop and 33 GBP for 3 year on-site warranty. I call it a steal.
On top of that I bought 2nd 8GB RAM stick from Crucial (26 GBP) making it 16GB in dual channel. And 2nd m.2 PCI 4 SSD 1TB ADATA for aboout 110 GBP.
I'm really happy with it and I think I don't need to upgrade anything in it for next few years. That's my first new laptop since Dell XPS L702X I bought in 2011.
Last edited by Natakranta on Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

atagunov
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#4 Post by atagunov » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:27 pm

Congrats on a successful project! So was it again a 15.4" mobo this time? :)
X220, 2 *T520

Natakranta
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#5 Post by Natakranta » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:34 pm

atagunov wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:27 pm
Congrats on a successful project! So was it again a 15.4" mobo this time? :)
No, it's classic mod with T61 14" 4:3 mobo with Nvidia NVS140m
Needed just a little bit of work with dremel in two places, you will see on the metal frame in the pictures.
Last edited by Natakranta on Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Vopu
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#6 Post by Vopu » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:41 pm

Natakranta wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:19 pm
I'm sorry to disappoint you, Legion i5 with 2060RTX and 144Hz FHD 300 nits screen is awesome :D
There was a deal for it which unfortunately is expired now. It was 766 GBP for laptop and 33 GBP for 3 year on-site warranty. I call it a steal.
Oh , Crap. :eek: Why didn't i get a notification from HUKD :roll: , i browse & check daily. This darn notifications :( I saw one with a student discount(beans) + code stack only. Anyways , good unit , great price. Well Done you :wink:

m11k
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#7 Post by m11k » Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:12 pm

Looks great. I'm curious if you put the modem back in? It looks like you have room for it. Which LCD panel does that system have?

Since I haven't shared my frankenpad experience, I'll jump in on this thread (hope you don't mind). I just finished building my second frankenpad two weeks ago. The first one was pretty simple. I had a donor T60p that had a stock 1600x1200 panel, and I swapped in an Intel M/B from a T61. I found that I didn't need a dremel (fortunately), and just used a metal file to file down the magnesium frame (which is pretty soft metal). I've seen photos where people removed large pieces of the frame. I only filed two standoffs down to their base. One of them just barely fits next to the modem connector, and blocks installation of the modem, but the modem isn't particularly useful these days so I didn't put it back in. Upgraded the CPU to a T9500 and 8GB of RAM. No major issues, and the systems runs great.

The second frankenpad really gave me quite some grief. I wanted to build a frankenpad with the LED-backlit panel. I sourced one on eBay (for about $180US), and sent my cable and inverter off to Ireland for the mod done by RBS. After everything arrived, I set out to put the panel back together. Since the new panel's connector is in a slightly different position, the display cable must be folded. I think I had the fold too large when I first installed it. This caused two problems: 1) the cable was too short and didn't reach the spot where it is supposed to sit in bottom of the shell, where the inverter and bluetooth adapter plug in. I gave it bit of a tug when I first installed it, and the tape securing the fold came undone. This may have put some stress on the connector. 2) By making the fold too large, the gray backing on the cable was folded over such that it was touching the pins on the connector. It turns out this gray backing is conductive (!!! if you don't believe me test one with a multimeter), so there's a chance I may have shorted something out. I only ever got a full picture on the panel once. It quickly deteriorated with no picture on the bottom 2/3. I spent days playing with the bend in the cable and the connector, checking continuity with a multimeter, but I never did get a full picture again. At this point I wasn't sure if the issue was the panel (shorted or damaged connector) or the cable (which has been re-folded a bunch of times). Fortunately I was able to borrow another panel and cable and some inverters from someone else that RBS connected me with. This turned out good and bad. I was able to confirm that my panel was bad and the cable was good, but the panel I was borrowing actually had a bent pin on the power connector, which shorted 20V to ground, and it blew a tiny SMD fuse on my inverter. Whoops... Long story short, I sourced a replacement panel and a couple of new fuses for the inverter. Good thing I got more than one fuse because I ended up blowing the replacement fuse as well... 3 months and some soldering later, I finally had a working LCD panel.

To finish off the second frankenpad, I bought a NOS nvidia board from theboardroom, installed another T9500 and 8GB of RAM. I swapped motherboards, putting the intel motherboard in the system with the new LED-backlit display, and the new nvidia board into the system with the stock CCFL panel. Both systems run reliably. As a Linux-only user, I find the nvidia card less compelling than I thought it would be. The performance is good, but the driver support isn't good. That card is only supported by the no-longer-maintained 340 series drivers, which means they will eventually lose compatibility with newer kernels. If I want to use a newer kernel, I'll need to use the nouveau driver, which means I won't get any gaming performance. If I want to use the nvidia drivers, I'll eventually be stuck with an old kernel. For now, I'm happily using Debian 10, and nvidia drivers, and am currently playing Elder Scrolls Morrowind via wine, which runs surprisingly well even at 1600x1200. It is unplayable on the system with intel graphics.

Well that's my experience. I hope to write it up some day with more pictures in a blog post, but your post seemed like a good opportunity to share my experience. Hope you enjoy your new system!

Natakranta
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#8 Post by Natakranta » Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:24 pm

Hi, thanks for sharing your experience.
My T60 came with 1400x1050 display. Judging by greet viewing angles it's the FlexView panel. What make exactly, no idea.
I haven't touched it yet.
I had R60 with faulty display for which I bought 1600x1200 panel from this seller December 2019. It came after month and was working great, simple swap. This R60 got R61 Intel board and I sold it with that screen. New (old) owner is very happy with it here in Dublin.

My T60 Frank screen isn't brightest, but good enough for late night browsing. I don't mind, it's not my daily driver. It's more like 68 Mustang I take for spin on Saturdays nights :)

I had similar experience fitting T61 mobo in this T60. Metal frame needed modification only on two points. I used spinning Dremel on my electric driller only because I had it and to save myself time and effort with manual filing.
No, I'm not putting in the that modem, useless to me. Not having it makes more space for air flow to cool that fragile Nvidia GPU.

RealBlackStuff
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#9 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Nov 01, 2020 2:17 am

T60 Chassis mods can be daunting.
But life is much easier without that antiquated useless modem!
Place a pair of pliers at the 'long' sides of the modem-socket, then just wiggle it ~2mm left/right a few times, and it pops clean off.
After that you only need to shorten ONE chassis standoff, the red-circled one near the bottom:
Image Larger picture here.
Put some black electrician's tape over the modem-contacts to 'hide' them.
And also put a piece of tape under that standoff location.

@m11k:
Apologies again, yours was the first cable ever that I pre-folded (only 1-2 mm) too "big".

@Vopu:
I am an elderly user, willing to sell 2x4GB, even though I darn well know what it actually is! :mrgreen:
PM me if interested.

@Natakranta:
If you'd like to upgrade that other Frankie to LED, I have an interesting option for you.
But don't wait too long, we'll be moving to Rosslare in the Sunny South East in January! (Covid-19 permitting)
Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown until Easter 2021!
Covid-19: Stay safe, so Mask it or Casket!

atagunov
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#10 Post by atagunov » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:34 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 2:17 am
we'll be moving to Rosslare in the Sunny South East in January! (Covid-19 permitting)
Break a leg! :)
X220, 2 *T520

Natakranta
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#11 Post by Natakranta » Sun Nov 01, 2020 11:09 am

I didn't have guts to rip off modem socket. I was afraid I break something on motherboard in the process.
Taking out that piece of frame in the corner seemed way easier and safer to me. Mind it was first (and most likely last :D ) time was doing it.
I didn't put the modem in anyway. I don't see any use for it.
And as RBS wrote, I put a bit of grey non-conductive tape at the other spot to prevent any shorts in case it somehow touches motherboard when stretched.

m11k
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#12 Post by m11k » Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:54 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 2:17 am
@m11k:
Apologies again, yours was the first cable ever that I pre-folded (only 1-2 mm) too "big".
No worries, everything worked out in the end. I can't believe how much brighter the LED backlit screen is compared to the CCFL, and it draws noticeably less power as well. I'm very happy with it.

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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#13 Post by atagunov » Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:07 am

m11k wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:12 pm
As a Linux-only user, I find the nvidia card less compelling than I thought it would be. The performance is good, but the driver support isn't good. That card is only supported by the no-longer-maintained 340 series drivers, which means they will eventually lose compatibility with newer kernels. If I want to use a newer kernel, I'll need to use the nouveau driver, which means I won't get any gaming performance
Heh you're pouring cold water on me! Well I wasn't going to do any gaming to be honest, but I still hoped to be using these 15" Frankies with nVidia mobos under Linux for a while.. So sad that drivers are a problem :( Say I didn't want 3D but wanted better 2D performance, do nVidia Frankies under Linux still make sense? (Assuming I have 08/08 or 08/09) Or do they completely loose their advantage over Intel ones if I don't use those 340 drivers?

Update: it seems latest release of 340 for Linux was as recent at the end of 2019 less than a year ago. That's not too bad.. Alternatively there's Nouveau project which doesn't seem entirely dead either to deliver drivers to older nVidia cards and it seems our fav. NVS 140m is in scope. Not sure how good they are but if my aim is basic desktop computing (2D) and video decoding, who knows.. maybe they will be enough.. Still no practical experience :-D

It's too bad VT-d is not yet supported for Intel Core 2 Duo as used on on T61 so it won't apparently be possible to pass through the video card to a KVM VM running Windows..
X220, 2 *T520

m11k
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#14 Post by m11k » Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:49 am

If you're not looking for 3d acceleration, I think you'd be better off with intel graphics. Nouveau does fine for 2d, but I don't think the incremental gains would be worth it for the loss in battery life (plus the expense of a known-good nvidia board or the risk of chip failure for an old board). You also may need non-free firmware in order to get video acceleration under nouveau, plus GPU re-clocking is experimental, so even with hardware video acceleration support the performance might not be great if the GPU clock speed stuck low.

For my nvidia-based frankenpad, I'll get another 4 years of support for Debian 10. Maybe nouveau will get better by then, or perhaps I won't be as interested in continuing to run games on this 15+ year old system, at which point it will become more of a novelty, and I'll be less interested in running a modern up-to-date OS on it...

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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#15 Post by atagunov » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:50 pm

m11k wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:49 am
If you're not looking for 3d acceleration, I think you'd be better off with intel graphics. Nouveau does fine for 2d, but I don't think the incremental gains would be worth it for the loss in battery life
Well I guess it depends on how much Wt consumed really differs, say browsing a web page or watching youtube..
m11k wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:49 am
plus the expense of a known-good nvidia board or the risk of chip failure for an old board
He he I managed to get one 08/08 NVS140m 15.4" board for around £40 but I'm procrastinating on the actual build.. Maybe over Christmas?..
If I was really desperate for more I could push on with my bga rework station project.. If that was worthwhile for Linux machines..
X220, 2 *T520

Natakranta
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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#16 Post by Natakranta » Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:41 pm

atagunov wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:50 pm
I managed to get one 08/08 NVS140m 15.4" board for around £40 but I'm procrastinating on the actual build.. Maybe over Christmas?..
If I was really desperate for more I could push on with my bga rework station project.. If that was worthwhile for Linux machines..
15.4" ? That's the wide-screen T61, the big one 16:10 screen. I'm not sure this motherboard is a straight fit in to 15" 4:3 T60
As far as I know you need motherboard from the small one, T61 4:3 14" screen.

On a side note, my FrankenPad with X9000 works pretty cool. Now typing it on Firefox it is about 38 degree Celsius.
When Mint was running update it reached just over 50 degrees. It plays YouTube 1080p 30fps full screen without any hiccup and still is just 50 degrees C, fan is gently spinning.

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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#17 Post by jb10 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:49 pm

An ancillary question, if I may . . . can all or just select T61 4:3 boards upgrade a T9300 CPU and 8 GB ram?

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Re: T601F aka Frankenpad

#18 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Nov 05, 2020 3:21 am

ANY R61/T61 motherboard can handle 2x4GB=8GB RAM (PC2-5300 or PC2-6400).
And after applying Middleton's BIOS ANY of those can also use a T8100/T8300/T9300/T9500/X9000 CPU.
Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown until Easter 2021!
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