Excellent post, OP. Everybody should read it before ordering from the Lenovo outlet. As an additional data point here is my recent experience with the outlet. Overall, I am very happy so far (even though I nearly lost my patience in between
6/4 late night: ordered a refurbished T61p
6/5 early morning: got order confirmation email with order number. Link to order status indicated shipping a week later 6/12 via UPS ground. From what I have been reading around here, one week seemed like a reasonable time.
6/12: order status page was updated with a new shipping date of 6/18. Bummer. But no problem, I got a good price and can wait.
6/17 late evening: I checked the order status page again and it was updated to say that the new ship date is 6/24
. This is when I got a little bit impatient.
6/18 mid-day: called Lenovo to check what's going on. Provided order number. CSR told me that it usually takes 7 - 10 business days after credit card authorization (which supposedly happened 6/8 ) before the system ships; i.e., it should ship by end of the week. I was ready to cancel the order if it didn't ship by the following Monday.
6/18 evening: came home from work and found a box from Lenovo shipped a day earlier vie UPS next day air containing my new (to me) T61p
, which for me is indistinguishable from a really new system (except for a sticker at the bottom that says it is refurbished and a CTR instead of CTO model number, no visible marks, etc., 0 cycle battery, 0 dead pixels, etc.). Apparently, the CSR I spoke to earlier that day had no clue about the real order status either.
6/19 evening: order status page updated to say system shipped on 6/19, supposedly tracking info will be available a day later; warranty page shows in-warranty until 7/31/09 (thirteen months and some odd days instead of the advertised 12 months - I'm not complaining
but will check again in a few weeks to see whether anything has changed. (When the system was advertised on the outlet website, the warranty page indicated that the system is out of warranty as of 4/15/2008.)
6/20: still no tracking info on the order status page; credit card has not yet been charged (which doesn't seem to be too unusual from what I read here).
The system itself was advertised as follows:
Processor -> Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7250 (2.0GHz 800MHz 2MBL2)
Operating -> System Genuine Windows XP Professional
Screen -> 15.4 WUXGA TFT
Memory -> 2 x 2 GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz SODIMM
Hard Drive -> 80GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
Optical Storage -> DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer
Wireless -> Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG
Warranty -> 1 Year Standard Depot Warranty
Battery -> 6 cell Li-Ion Battery
Features -> Bluetooth w/ antenna
Video Card -> Intel PM965/GM965 graphics
Now, given that this was supposed to be a T61p, the integrated Intel graphics didn't make any sense at all. Also, I don't know whether the T7250 was ever an option for the T61p. But I didn't really care that much about the CPU as any C2D (and even CD) should be sufficient for what I want to do. The most important thing for me is the WUXGA screen; followed by XP as the OS and the DVD burner (as RAM and HD can be upgraded fairly cheaply, if need be).
According to the type and serial numbers for this model that were provided on the outlet web page, the system originally came with the following:
Processor -> Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T9300
Hard Drive -> 250GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
Video Card -> nVIDIA FX570m graphics
Though this is quite different from what the outlet site said, I took the chance and ordered the system as even with the lower specs, the price seemed right for a machine with a WUXGA screen and I was pretty sure that the graphics card would not be an Intel integrated one. Only after I had ordered the machine, it occurred to me that they could have replaced the motherboard and HD with cheaper parts. But luckily, this was not the case (and I have no knowledge as to whether they would actually ever do this).
The WUXGA screen is a Samsung and even though it is criticized quite heavily around here, I do not have/see any problems with it.
To summarize, I am very pleased with the machine I got for the price I paid and the time frame it took to get to me (though info about the order status can certainly be improved).