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  1. #1
    RetroSteve! My location

    Stephen Coates's Avatar
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    Invasion of the ThinkPads

    You probably know me as the kind of person who has a lot of Apple laptops.

    Well, I recently got invaded by some IBM ThinkPads.

    I bought a ThinkPad 570 off ebay. This is a nice 'thin-and-light' model with a Pentium II. I installed Windows 98SE on it and it makes a nice Windows 98 machine. I did have to do quite a lot of odd repairs to it though. Part of the backlight was blocked, and the display hinges snapped. I managed to repair these to an extent though and it is now more-or-less usable.

    After getting that, someone on IRC offered me a ThinkPad A31 which was going spare for free. When looking for packaging material at work, he found an old R40 and an R30 in the cupboard, so I ended up with not only the A31, but also an R40 and an R30 as 'filler' .

    The R30 has a 1GHz Pentium III, but unfortunately doesn't work. The R40 has a 1.8GHz Pentium M and an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 with 32MB and a 1024x768 LCD. Its battery also lasts quite a long time . This is a neat machine and I installed Windows 2000 on it.

    The A31 however is a really good machine. It dates from 2002, has a Pentium 4 M 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM, an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB, a high resolution 1400x1050 LCD, 2 Cardbus slots, and two drive bays filled with a floppy drive and a CDRW/DVD drive.

    Its 2" thick and weighs a ton. After attempting to carry it to a LAG meeting last year, I decided it would make a good weapon.

    I've been using this machine quite a lot. I installed Windows XP, and Office 2000 and have used it for word processing and spreadsheets. Browsing works very well in the latest version of K-Meleon. Firefox also works, albeit slower. I do use a custom HOSTS file though which blocks most ad-servers. It can play DVDs and SD video. It struggles with 720p video though. I've also had it up in the loft a few times monitoring my PV inverter (I had solar power installed recently).

    Here's some photos. The first is the 570 is a partially disassembled state, shown next to the A31. The second is the R40 next to the A31.

    ebaypad_vs_andopad_sml.jpg

    ibm_r4_vs_a31.jpg

  2. #2
    Retro Addict Administrator
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    Nice bit of IBM retro laptop collecting there. Nearly enough to open a small museum! Lol.

    I've never been a big fan of the look on IBM laptops, but they always seem the most robust and just keep on going.
    Was never a fan of the nub mouse control. Any ideas what's wrong the one that's not working?

    If you are interested in any more I've got an old Thinkpad which I think has a P1 166MHz in it. Originally running Windows 3.1 I think. It has its carry case and external floppy I think. Let me know if you want it?

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  3. #3
    Burn! Hot Blooded Rhythm Soul! Staff Moderator
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    They look like they are in pretty good condition (clean keyboards etc).

    Workplaces chuck away, or 'lose', so many things

  4. #4
    RetroSteve! My location

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    The R40 is in reasonable condition and cleaned up nicely. The A31 is in very good condition apart from a broken latch.

    The R30 was very well used though. See photo. I'm not sure what's wrong with it. When I first turned it on, it came on but said something about a real time clock fault (an actual fault; not just a dead battery), and it crashed when I tried to set the time in the BIOS. Now it won't turn on properly at all. The lights and fans come on but that's it.

    img_4894_sml.jpg

    I was never too fond of the industrial design of the ThinkPads, but they are very well made. I have completely dismantled these ones and put them back together and the build quality is evident there. Of course you need the service manual to be able to know which order to remove/replace things.

    I'm OK with the TrackPoint mouse, but I do prefer a trackpad.

    If you are interested in any more I've got an old Thinkpad which I think has a P1 166MHz in it. Originally running Windows 3.1 I think. It has its carry case and external floppy I think. Let me know if you want it?
    Ooh, might be interesting if you don't want it .

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