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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:32 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Sherbrooke, Quebec Canada
A note to the owners of "old clunkers".

Just wanted to share my experience. I have an old clunker that I like a lot. It's a IBM/Lenovo T61p with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5Ghz CPU, NVidia graphics card, 4GB ram, a nice 1680x1050 display, wifi, bluetooth, DVD ... all the trappings. It's even got a fingerprint reader (which I don't use because it's less secure than a good password).

I bought it in a used computer store a little more than a year ago. By my estimate I paid less than a sixth the initial retail price of roughly $2500.00

Ok it's kinda bulky and heavy by today's standard of the ultra-thin MacBook Air my son uses, but I like it because I'm not worried that I'm going to break the darn thing when I handle it.

I installed Ubuntu (12.04 recently) and it works like a charm. Everything works OOTB (out of the box) ... except the fingerprint scanner, you have to install another package... but that is a niggle.

The battery is old, but I was still getting a little less than 2 hours on a charge, which I consider not bad for a now 5 year old laptop.

So here I was with my old clunker happily chugging along, when I decided to go a little crazy.

I intalled a OCZ 120 GB SSD. Now I know what most are thinking... why waste an SSD on a 5 year old laptop? Well I can answer that with this: SPEED and BATTERY LIFE.

The difference in boot times, and load times is ASTOUNDING. The extension to the battery life is about 25% to 30%. Now please understand that this is all subjective. I did however measure some boot times: Power button to login: less than 30 seconds. Full desktop in less than another 15 seconds (INCLUDING the time to type in my password).

So that is my story. So for those of you who are still chugging away on old hardware and wondering if you can get more life out of it, maybe this will inspire you.

PS: To get the full potential out of the T61p with an SSD, I had to reflash the BIOS with a third party BIOS called "MIDDLETON" (as per the name of the guy who did the modifications) to allow the T61p SATA bus to operate at SATA2 speeds (300Mbps) as opposed to it's original SATA 1 speeds of 150Mbps. The reasons for the initial limitations are technical, but the laptop chipset was designed to operate at SATA2 speeds, so it's not like I am "overclocking" the SATA bus.

Here is the link to the "MIDDLETON" BIOS (which btw works on other Thinkpad models). (note: I have NO affiliation with "MIDDLETON" although his BIOS mod works great.)

Happy hacking ;)


Thinkpad T61p 6460 DVF

W520 8GB, 120SSD, Linux Mint 17.3
T61p 4GB, 120SSD, Linux Mint 17.3

Last edited by mlongval on Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:01 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:08 pm
Posts: 1419
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Yep I can relate.

I've used a few Thinkpads over the years for work. Always took them for granted. The past couple of weeks I've decided to get back into TP. Well....I went from 0 TP to an X201, T400, and 4 T61. My last purchase was a T61 with 1680x1050, nv140m, and T7500 for $80. I just can't resist.

All are upgraded to 4 GB RAM and a SSD. Does everything I want to do and a few are going to Cambodia for a charity for landmines victim that I'm a part of. Man do I love the keyboards. Very sweet systems indeed. When they break down it'll be no problem getting parts for them. Fortunately there's lots of them out there as corporations are getting rid of them as they are upgrading.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:36 pm 
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:25 pm
Posts: 742
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I agree totally - my T61 (very basic - wxga 14", T7100, intel graphics) works perfectly for what I need with 4gb of ram and a ssd - I just got a new battery, and now get 6.5h of battery life with my normal use. It is also still built like a tank - anything that does break is superficial and can be fixed with duct tape (this is one reason I would never get a mac/consumer machine - I am harder than most people on my laptop) - and the duct tape should hold it together for however long it takes me to finish university, since the hardware is still plenty fast for what I need.

Elitebook 8440p, i5 520, 8gb, Samsung 840 SSD
Old/Not Working/Dead Laptops:
T61 7661CC2, 4gb, Windows 7 x64, 240gb intel SSD, 500gb Ultrabay drive
Toshiba Portege 7020ct
Thinkpad T41 23737FU
Dell Latitude LS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:57 pm 
Junior Member
Junior Member

Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:08 am
Posts: 254
Location: Atlanta, GA
I guess the OP just discovered the middletons bios and decided to post what he referred to as article, heh, ok.

here's an interesting fact: the T61 with nVidia GPU in my signature was the first testing computer for the final version of this bios. Back in the day I bit the finger and flashed the never tested BIOS before, risking to brick my laptop if things didn't work fine. Luckily that didn't happen, so everybody can enjoy this BIOS thereafter.

on a side note - welcome to the forum.

T61: 14.1" 1400x1050, T9500 @ 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM CL4, nVidia 140m @ 600/925 MHz, Samsung 830 256GB, DVD-rec, 5300agn, FP, BT, 6-cell, clean XP Pro
T61: 14.1"w 1280x800, T9500 @ 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM CL4, Intel X3100, Samsung 830 256GB, DVD-rec, 4965agn, 4-cell, clean XP Pro

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:28 pm 
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 9:19 pm
Posts: 708
Location: Not on Planet Znutar (FL)
I don't consider a T61 with those specs to be a clunker at all. Good luck with it.

760LD 9547 FUBARd
T21 2647; T22 2647 4@ 900MHz, 1@ 1GHz SXGA+; T23 2647 2@ 1.13GHz, 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+, WiFi
T30 2366-88U 2GHz; 2366-83U 1.8G; 5@ 2366-LU0/66U; 2367-KU6 FUBARd
T61 8897, 2.4GHz SXGA+; 8898, 2.4GHz; 6463, 2.4 & 2.1GHz WSXGA+; 7658, 2.5GHz; T61p, 3 more T61s
T500 2

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