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 Post subject: What is a good T61 spec?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:43 pm
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Location: Durham, England
Whilst I am happy with my T60, I still quite fancy having a T61.

Yesterday I discovered a company who 'refurbishes' laptops and PCs, about 4 miles from where I live, so I called in. Amongst everything else in the warehouse, there sat a pallet of IBM / Lenovo laptops, including T60s and T61s.

Apart from making sure it was 08/08 or later (or Intel graphics), what would be an ideal spec?

I don't do gaming, or use any programmes which are CPU intensive.

Any (polite & constructive :D ) suggestions of what to look for?

Walter


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:26 am 
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RBS10000
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T61 with 14.1" widescreen, WXGA+ (1440x900), Intel GPU, with or without webcam
T61 with 14.1" 4:3 screen, SXGA+ (1400x1050), Intel GPU, no webcam, rather rare, but IMHO the very best!

T61 with 15.4" widescreen, WXGA+ (1440x900) or WSXGA+ (1680x1050), Intel GPU, no webcam
None of that nVidia junk if you ask me.

Using a 64-bit OS, you can install up to 8GB RAM.
32-bit can only see a little over 3GB out of a max. 4GB RAM.
With Middleton BIOS you can run the HD at SATA II speed, and insert any wifi card you like.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:13 pm 
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Many thanks, RBS.

I realise that it is all matter of personal choice, but that is the sort of 'advice' I was hoping for.

Walter


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:12 pm 
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I completely agree with RBS on his choices, Intel GPUs are the safe bet.

-Finding a 14" widescreen model with a webcam and/or SD card reader is also a nice bonus.
-Neither webcam nor SD card reader were offered on the 14" 4:3 model.
-All 15.4" models have SD card readers, none have webcams, as noted.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:43 pm 
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underclocker wrote:
I completely agree with RBS on his choices, Intel GPUs are the safe bet.
+1 here :thumbs-UP:

But may I add that...
A 14.1" with WXGA+ and webcam is great for portability!
A 15.4" with WSXGA+ is great as desktop replacement!

But if you have some patience and some manual skills you can "frankenpad" which in my opinion is the best T61 ever, get a WUXGA screen from a T61p (from some dead Nvidia T61p for example) and swap the lid in a 15.4" Intel one. I'm typing this in such a T61"ip" and I can't stop recommending this. Gorgeous screens and the highest resolution possible 8)

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Last edited by Tasurinchi on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Tasurinchi wrote:
But may I add that...
A 14.1" with SXGA+ and webcam is great for portability!

Sorry, the above does NOT exist (webcams only in WS 14.1" and SXGA+ is only available in 4:3 14.1").

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:12 pm 
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RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sorry, the above does NOT exist (webcams only in WS 14.1" and SXGA+ is only available in 4:3 14.1").
DO'H !! Typo... :jhem:

(Original post corrected... Should have known better since I have one of those...)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:57 pm 
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What model is your T60? Is it one with a 14" 4:3, a 15" 4:3, or a widescreen model?

Because you could conceivably do a board swap.

Plus, if it's not widescreen capability in particular that you're chasing, and if you have a 15" T60, you can do this. It should be a better screen than the 1920 x 1200 one is because, well, it's 2048 x 1536 and it's an IPS screen (while the other is a TN panel).

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:42 pm 
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If you're not wanting the nVidia graphics, then you don't have to worry about the 08/08 date code, but I think you're missing out on the potential if you don't get nVidia. The T61p is a great unit, and as long as you get an 08/08 date, you'll be fine. There is also a T61 with nvidia, it has a lesser nvidia chip, but both use descrete graphics processor with dedicated memory and will out perform the Intel units. The intel isn't bad, but they really don't compare to the nvidia and there is no logic in condemning a chip that's not even effected by the well documented bug that only effects units built before mid july 2008.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:24 pm 
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Most T61 models were withdrawn in November 2008, the last ones date from May 2009 AFAIK.
The majority of users do not need a powerhouse, so Intel GPU is probably sufficient for more than 80%.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:08 am 
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The T61 was replaced in September 2008 by the T500 and T400. Any made after August 2008 were simply to use up existing inventories of parts.

I've talked to Mark (Hopkins) Lenovo, the admin of Lenovo forum in great detail about this and he's not even sure when the last one was made, but I've never personally seen any made after October 2008. Much of the information I've found suggested none were made after September 2008, but I've personally owned a few October units. It's possible some were made later, but if there was, I'd like to see them, so my research is more accurate. I can't really include info from forum posts, but a photo of a lable would be good.

As for the Nvidia vs Intel. There is a huge difference between the T61p with Nvidia FX570m and Integrated Intel graphics. I can certainly understand you're recommending someone avoid a pre 08/08 unit, but nVidia has made the worlds best graphics systems for many years and there really is no reason not to get a T61, if you can avoid the first generation nvidia chip. They are great units, far better then the T500, and the whole nvidia thing has made them more affordable, even the intel models..

I own several myself, the Intel, the nVidia 140m and the FX570m. My advice is get the nVidia if you can get a good date, or even a good price on one made in the summer of 2008. The vast majority that fail are from before Feb 2008.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:46 am 
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TuuS wrote:
My advice is get the nVidia if you can get a good date, or even a good price on one made in the summer of 2008
Since the OP said he doesn't game or use CPU intensive apps (I assume these could be video or photo editing) a good (after 08/08) Nvidia model may be an overkill... Alltough I would also love to grab one of those, they are horribly expensive here in Switzerland, I'm not familiar with the US prices though...

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Last edited by Tasurinchi on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:44 am 
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The summer of 200 :?:
Boy, that's an oldie...

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:37 am 
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RealBlackStuff wrote:
The summer of 200 :?:
Boy, that's an oldie...
Bad drag & drop when quoting :banghead: Corrected!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:50 am 
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TuuS wrote:
There is a huge difference between the T61p with Nvidia FX570m and Integrated Intel graphics.
From my not so humble point of view, the biggest differences are due to the power requirements and heat emissions. As i prefer a cool running and silent machine with superior battery running time for my own work, i usually always avoid any such dedicated graphics device. If one doesn't play games, or run graphic intensive applications, or watch high resolution videos, there is simply no point using a machine with a dedicatd GPU. Especially since the Intel X3100 graphics in the T61 is already quite capable, and in later Thinkpad models its successors are even capable to rival the dedicated graphics units of the former T6x generation. While bug free nVIDIA GPU's may be nice for some usage scenarios, for probably most people there is no need to bother about all that excessive and power hungry graphics power.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:23 am 
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Tasurinchi wrote:
Since the OP said he doesn't game or use CPU intensive apps (I assume these could be video or photo editing) a good (after 08/08) Nvidia model may be an overkill... Alltough I would also love to grab one of those, they are horribly expensive here in Switzerland, I'm not familiar with the US prices though...


I have a friend that liquidates these for a major corporation and he pulls all the 08/08+ units for me. For a top end T61p unit with 2.5ghz T9300 penryn processor in excellent to like new condition I get $350 plus shipping. These come without harddrive, but I include a caddy and a windows setup disc to match the coa. I offer them with harddrives too.

It's probably overkill for most users, but if I only wanted a unit for battery life and web browsing, I'd probably look at one of the netbooks, they're designed to run on low power requirements.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:34 pm 
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So THAT's why my wife's T61 (4:3 w SXGA+ & fingerprint reader) won't use much over 3GB!! She's using 32bit XP. Thanks RBS for the enlightenment. :thumbs-UP:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:20 pm 
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cadillacmike68 wrote:
So THAT's why my wife's T61 (4:3 w SXGA+ & fingerprint reader) won't use much over 3GB!! She's using 32bit XP. Thanks RBS for the enlightenment. :thumbs-UP:


There are 32bit XP versions that allow for much more ram, but they aren't normally sold to the public. I have Windows Server 2003 datacenter edition (x86) installed on my T61. It's basically WinXP with some enhancements for security and a PAE (physical address extension) that allows for upto 64GB of ram.

There is still a limit of 4GB per app that is shared 2GB/2GB between app/system, so it's a poor substitute for a 64bit OS.

There is also something MS calls 4GBM (four gigabyte mode I think it's called, but I can find you links if you want to read more about it). With this you can customize how much of the 4GB can be used by the APP, upto a max of 3GB for app. However I think I recall reading that this doesn't work well on systems with more then 4GB installed.

I only use this version for testing software, but if someone has a 32bit processor on a system with large amounts of ram, then it is a good alternative. I've found it works perfectly with the 8GB installed on my thinkpad.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:26 pm 
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Yeah, the 3GB limit is a 32-bit Windows one, not a hardware one.

Linux kernels supporting PAE (which, AFAIK, includes every major distribution's default kernel) will happily see and allow the use of 4+ GB of RAM. 32-bit Mac OS X also handles > 4GB, no problem. FreeBSD won't by default, but it can be enabled (with two caveats) pretty easily. I'm not sure about OpenBSD or NetBSD...

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:02 pm 
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Quote:
Yeah, the 3GB limit is a 32-bit Windows one, not a hardware one.


Your correct, but it's actually more complicated then that. I didn't want to bore everyone to death, as I could write pages on this subject, but the main restriction is hardware.

The Intel X86 design only allows for 4GB address space. Some of this is used by the computers hardware, so in most cases this leaves about 3 to 3.5 left for Ram (closer to 3 on a thinkpad).

Any memory beyond 4GB needs to be remapped so your system knows where to find it (oversimplified description). WinXP actually does have PAE support (physical address extension), but the common end user versions are very limited. I'm not sure why microsoft doesn't turn it on so that all XP users can use more ram, but I suspect they want to sell a new OS.

I'll also add that Vista (and Seven too I believe) also have PAE support, it's just been disabled by microsoft. You can hack windows vista (32bit) to force PAE and run large amounts of ram. This has been proven by a software anaylist named Geohoff Chapel (name not spelled correctly?). However doing so is not a solution to any problem and in the test cases, the machine became unstable as soon as 3rd party drivers were installed, but he did prove that the support was there and that it worked.

If you do want a 32bit vista/seven OS with support for PAE, then get one of the newer windows server versions, they support more ram then any end-user board can possibly install, and if you do want to try to hack your vista/seven to enable PAE, it will most likely break your product activation.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:29 pm 
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I too am quite well versed in how paging works. Like you, I simplified a great many things in the interest of having my post be readable. I would disagree that "the main restriction is hardware" because -- at least for the ThinkPads that we're discussing -- there is no hardware limitation that prevents > 4 GB from being used. Yes, you end up with that usable memory being limited by a whole host of virtual addressing subtleties (many of which are platform-specific) -- but the memory will still be usable in some sense.

My point was pretty simple: if you have Windows, you "need" a 64-bit version to make use of > 4GB of RAM. If you're running some other OS, you can upgrade past 4GB without worrying that it will be a total waste. You'll obviously get more out of your RAM (not to mention, better performance) from a 64-bit OS, but if that's not an option PAE can help.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:00 am 
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how do you know which month and year it was made?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:08 am 
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Unless the mobo or the base was swapped out, there's a manufacturing date on the bottom of the laptop.
Looks like e.g.: TYPE 2647-46U SN: L3-12345 06/03
It's the 06/03 you want, it is YY/MM, meaning the laptop was built in 2006, month 03 = March.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:17 am 
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RealBlackStuff wrote:
Unless the mobo or the base was swapped out, there's a manufacturing date on the bottom of the laptop.
Looks like e.g.: TYPE 2647-46U SN: L3-12345 06/03
It's the 06/03 you want, it is YY/MM, meaning the laptop was built in 2006, month 03 = March.


In addition to the good info from my friend RBS, load your BIOS setup page and confirm the units serial number match the bottom label. If they don't match, then you've had a board swap. In the case of a board swap, you can sometimes get close to the production date by doing a warranty lookup, but it won't be conclusive. Some warranty dates are altered if a unit sat in inventory for a long period of time. If a unit is CTO (configure to order), then the warranty date usually will match the production date, but CTR (configure to order REFURB) units can be way off. The warranty date is when the refurb was completed, and even the production date on them is off because the original label is replaced.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:52 am 
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Many thanks for everyone's input (so far).

After about 6 years with a T22, which eventually got slower and slower, I bought my current Core Duo T60, 14" 4:3, 1024 x 768 screen, 3 Gb RAM, 100Gb HDD, (about to clone to 320Gb Scorpio Black).

Some weeks ago, after visiting the Forum most days and learning more about thinkpads, I thought a 15" T60 with a Flexview screen would be nice, and found one on ebay.

Don't lynch me for this, but I sent it back the next day and swopped it for a 'normal' 14" T60. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.

The problem was that whilst the screen was beautifully clear and bright (I played a couple of DVDs to check and was suitably impressed), the text / font size was tiny for my 62 year old eyes.

Although the resolution and the font size can be altered, the resultant text was slightly 'fuzzy', and as others have stated elsewhere, screens should be viewed at their correct resolution.

At the time I had been thinking that a T61 might be a good purchase, if I could avoid the NVidia bug. Having sent the Flexview back, I again felt that a T61 should be the next acquisition, hence starting this thread.

You will have gathered from the above that an NVidia machine is not necessary for my needs (more text work / research / word processing than anything else), and a preference for lower resolution / DPI numbers than most on these boards seem to prefer. Perhaps I am wrong, but NVidia machines invariably seem to mean high resolution screens.

With T61 4:3 machines seemingly rarer than hen's teeth, it would appear that an Intel X3100 with 1280 x 800 might be my best compromise, although anathama to some of you guys!

HOWEVER, my problem now is, what is so wrong with my T60 that I need a T61?

The main benefit seems to be that it would be a newer machine, with the ability to have up to 8GB RAM, but with 3Gb RAM my T60 isn't exactly slow. Do I just like the IDEA of owning a T61, or am I overlooking something here? I appreciate that you can't make the decision for me, but given the above, would it be worth it?

Once again, I would be grateful for any feedback.

Incidentally, the local company I mentioned in the first post aren't bothered about selling to an individual and prefer to sell in bulk via ebay. They just sold 4 for £370 ($576.91), 2 of which were 08/08, but they wouldn't split them and couldn't be arsed (as we say in the UK) to dig one out from their pallet of IBM laptops and sell it to me for perhaps £150 ($233.88). I could get one from ebay for that price (or much higher), but it would be nice to see and handle the actual machine.

Walter


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:37 am 
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tenpointnine wrote:
You will have gathered from the above that an NVidia machine is not necessary for my needs (more text work / research / word processing than anything else)
I'd say you also won't need 8 GB either. (Also consider that to fully use that amount of RAM you'll need to install a 64bit OS)

tenpointnine wrote:
it would appear that an Intel X3100 with 1280 x 800 might be my best compromise
Was the 15" T60 you sent back a SXGA+ Model?

I can tell you what has been my experience with my father. Some years ago I gave him a 15" R50 with SXGA+ resolution and he was quite pleased with that. Although he claimed the icons and text were a little small for his eyes (he's 85 now). Last year I switched his TP with a 15.4" WXGA T60 and he was really really happy. He said that resolution was better for his eyes.

Maybe you can try testing a 14.1" or 15.4" WXGA laptop in a shop or at friends and see if the resolution is ok for you? It's the only benefit I could see for you from switching from a T60 to T61.

My 2 cents...

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:41 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:20 am
Posts: 5661
Location: Israel
tenpointnine wrote:
The main benefit seems to be that it would be a newer machine, with the ability to have up to 8GB RAM, but with 3Gb RAM my T60 isn't exactly slow.
The thing about RAM is that more of it does not make your system faster if you don't use it. If your usage patterns are such that the peak memory consumption of your machine does not exceed, say, 2GB (and there are many users whose usage habits are such), then adding RAM beyond 2GB will not help the speed at all.

A T61 has other advantages over a T60 - its CPU speeds top out about 20% higher, and with the right BIOS mod it can unlock SATA2 speeds. Both of these can be either important or not, depending, once again, on your usage patterns...

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Current: X220 4291-4BG, T410 2537-R46, T60 1952-F76, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X61 7673-V2V
Collectibles: X32 w/ IPS Screen, A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad
Past: Z61t 9440-A23, T60 2623-D3U, X32 2884-M5U


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:17 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:43 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Durham, England
When I got my T60 about 18 months ago, it had 2Gb RAM and I was perfectly happy with it, vastly quicker then my sluggish T22 (since cleansed and much quicker than it was). I then added the 3rd Gb and think it improved the speed, but not a huge difference as far as I can tell. (But I wouldn't take it back down to 2Gb!)

As I said, I am really happy with my T60 (just as some seem to be with their T4X machines) and wonder if I would notice any difference, other than going to widescreen. I still use (and like) XP, so maybe I just don't like change. (The proverbial Luddite!)

I certainly like the idea of owning a T61. There are some nice ones on ebay, and as I browse though them, they seem to call my name. :roll:

Walter


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:56 pm 
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tenpointnine wrote:
...I thought a 15" T60 with a Flexview screen would be nice, and found one on ebay.

....but I sent it back the next day and swopped it for a 'normal' 14" T60.

The problem was that whilst the screen was beautifully clear and bright (I played a couple of DVDs to check and was suitably impressed), the text / font size was tiny for my 62 year old eyes.

Although the resolution and the font size can be altered, the resultant text was slightly 'fuzzy', and as others have stated elsewhere, screens should be viewed at their correct resolution.

Walter: I am sad to hear that you've given up your 15" SXGA+ Flexview/IPS T60 for a non-Flexview T61 (?!?)... but part of that "sadness" is probably owing to me being a Flexview-addict! 8)

Anyway, in order for people best being able to give you advice and suggestions, I trust it would be helpful if you could share with us for what application(s) you'll need your "new" ThinkPad; are we talking some relatively CPU-intensive things like CAD-work or scientific calculations, or are we more talking more CPU-idle applications, such as browsing the internet, mailing, writing etc.? The suggestions would of course depend of your anticipated use, your priorities (size, weight, battery time, cost, LCD quality) etc.

This post mainly to point your attention to a few threads on this forum, where users have discussed improving the "user experience" (/ease!) when working with more or less high-resolution displays... you may perhaps not have fully exhausted all your options for obtaining an acceptable, or even very joyful, display setting/font size etc. from your (previous) 15" 4:3 SXGA+ T60? If of interest, feel free :-) to browse e.g. the following threads for inspiration, education and perhaps the final fulfillment of all your LCD-dreams! :wink:

15" 1600x1200 screen - Text too small? and in particular this post and Settings guide to improve SXGA+ readability -Pls Improve and Lowering UXGA resolution? and Screen Size, Resolution, Readability & Eyestrain and Advantages to SXGA+ over XGA? etc. etc.

Good luck with your endeavour towards finding THE perfect laptop! :thumbs-UP:

Johan

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IBM T42p's (2373-Q1U & -Q2U): 2.1 GHz, 15" UXGA FlexView, 2 GB RAM, 128 MB FireGL T2, 128 GB 1.8" SATA SSD, IBM a/b/g, BT, Win 7 Ultimate
IBM T42 (2373-N1G): 1.8 GHz, 15" SXGA+ FlexView, 2 GB RAM, 64 MB Radeon 9600, 64 GB 1.8" SATA SSD, IBM a/b/g, BT, Win 7 Ultimate


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:41 pm
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Location: Hockessin, Delaware
I actually prefer a nice t61 widescreen over a flexview. There really isn't a huge difference when they are new, but if you use them alot, the T61 ages much better. I'm the original owner of a T61 that ran 24/7 for almost four years and the screen looks just as fresh today as it did when new.

In the past couple weeks I had twenty t60p units with 15" flexview. Most of these were excellent to like new in condition with bright screens, but a few I had to send back because they were fading, pressure marks, etc... I've literally had over 50 T61 units and never seen such screen aging. They also have good viewing angles, perhaps the viewing angles are better on a new flexview screen, but I don't get why that is such a big deal, unless the whole family is gathered around the laptop to watch a movie, then it would be nice, but another reason I like the widescreen is I watch a lot of HD movies on it.

Also, the 08/08 units are rare, but I have some and my prices are compareable with what the less reliable ones sell for. I'd also be glad to swap the 1680x1050 screen for a 1280x800, which is a nice screen, and I'll adjust the price (lower) to account for the lesser screen.

I also have an extremely rare one owner T61 that was built in October 2008 (t61 production was phased out in september, very few were built after 08/08. It is nicely equiped with 2.4ghz Penryn processor and a 1280x800 screen, includes original box, manuals, setup discs and is probably about the cleanest T61 I've seen. I haven't advertised it because I hesitate to sell it, I've only (personally) seen 3 T61 units built in October, and it was even a surprise to Mark (hopkins) Lenovo, because he was under the impression the last were built in september.

If you're interested in one, I have both T61 and T61p models (slightly different chip) in 08/08. I'd recommend them over the Intel models, the Intel graphics are reliable, but their performance isn't as good and on the 15.4" units, the Intel is rare, and usually only on very low end units, but I'd be glad to build you a high-end Intel unit, or I can get the 14.1" widescreen models with intel pretty cheap, they are nice if you like to use it for travel, but if you use it at home, I think you would like the 15.4" much better.

If your interested in anything I have, shoot me a PM, or if you just want advice, I'll help any way I can.


TuuS


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