Chinese enthusiasts are serving global Thinkpad fans by making modern motherboards that fit in classic chassis from the Golden Age of the Thinkpad

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/17/demand-signals-r-us.html

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I recant all the snarky comments I ever made about ThinkPad lamentations. Apparently complaining does work after all.

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Wouldn’t it be good business for a company to imitate the features in the old thinkpads?

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They tried with the 2017 retro anniversary edition. By most accounts it was the worst of both worlds. Personally I’d long since given up trying to having any impact on laptop manufacturers’ parade of awful design choices. It hadn’t occurred to me people might be so desperate that a cottage retrofit industry could grow. Here’s hoping they don’t get shut down or confiscated in customs by Lenovo pulling an Apple.

Then again, I don’t buy a new laptop every year. There are so many other things I could spend that sweet sweet cigarette money on besides an incrementally more advanced laptop I don’t need and don’t want to spend time setting up. To each their own.

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@doctorow The P72* is rocking Ubuntu (in my third full-time OS jump, first from Amiga’s Workbench to Mac System 9 in 2000, thence to OSX/macOS** in 2002, and from macOS to Ubuntu this year). Lenovo/Canonical have guaranteed a compatible build (and the more recent kernels and non-LTS releases have improvements specific to the nvidia GPU). They have gone a bit retro with the keyboard too, though you are correct about the challenge in swapping it out.



* It is an expensive beast, but my last computer was over 7 years old, so $600-ish/year on primary computer seems to be my budget.


** Somehow I never cottoned to pronouncing it "Oh Ess Ten"… "Oh Ess Eks" was just much more appealing.

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And what about the screen? My issues with laptops isn’t the computing power, a core I3 is sufficient while the I5 is more than satisfactory. However an HD 1080 screen at 15" seems weak compared to near 2k IPS resolutions on tablets.

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thanks in part to the decision to miniaturize components, and in part to the increasing reliance on UEFI and other BIOS features

So why can we acknowledge this move when Lenovo do it, but when Apple does it they’re being deliberately user hostile to shorten the life of their computers?

This reminds me of those car companies that revive dead models with contemporary engineering

I would love to have a more modern motherboard for my ThinkPad R52 please. That would just make my day.

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Fun fact: the X61s was NOT a pre-Lenovo ThinkPad. It was released in 2007, two years after the sale.

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For that matter, neither was the X201. It was 2010. It even had a Lenovo logo on the LCD bezel.

Because they aren’t the same?

Lenovo isn’t forcing you to upgrade Windows on increasingly older hardware to the point that it becomes frustrating to the user? Our iPhone 4 works great with iOS 5… it’s just supported by anything at this point. I think that is far more reasonable than what happens now.

I’m not talk about the phones now, I’m talking about the laptops. And I think we’re arguing the same point. Industry-wide, the trade off has been reduced upgradeability and repairability for greater battery life in a smaller, lighter package. I don’t like that trade off, but I seem to be in the minority.

The beef I have with messaging, though, is that when anyone else does it, it’s “well, they wanted smaller and faster, so they removed X, Y, and Z.” However when Apple does the exact same thing, it’s cast as deliberately user hostile, or part of a deliberate campaign of planned-obsolescence. I bought my first new Mac since 2010 last year, because my hardware was just cut off from the new OS updates.

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As a long time Thinkpad user, I can guarantee that the online Thinkpad community are saying the same about Lenovo. We have been very vocal about how unhappy we are about the newer models.

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I think users get it more than tech press. Although a lot of folks defected to the ThinkPad line after Apple lead the charge (I was almost one of them), and now find themselves in the same place.

Where’s the butterfly keyboard model?

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As a lapsed long-time Thinkpad user, though, I have to say I had mixed luck with the old IBM models. When they were good, they were great; we used a 380D in one of our test labs at work as a console device for several years.

Compare that to one of the successor models–I think it was the 390X. I am usually not rough on laptops but I was on the help desk at the time and when most of our users returned that particular model it was usually in a bag. The plastic hinges were utter crap and wore off under normal use in a way I’ve never seen since. (It was a nice laptop when it was in good shape, though.)

I’ve had a couple of Lenovo Thinkpads and they’re fine but nothing great.

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By whose accounts? I have the T25, I love it. I want to buy a second one just in case, or at least max out my warranty.

Most accounts came from complete Thinkpad wackos that were expecting 4:3 aspect ratio, a row of LED lights, etc. What Lenovo did make, instead, is a sleek and slim device with the classic (read: usable) keyboard and great battery life, and a screen way better than any classic Thinkpad ever had. I don’t frequently replace my Thinkpads, but if they continued making 7 row keyboard variants with 8th or 9th gen CPUs, I’d continue buying them when time came.

Many people didn’t buy the T25 because it didn’t come with the same bargain basement prices your regular Thinkpads start out at. It was “just a T470 with a keyboard and $600 higher price tag” they said. Except that it was shown that a similarly specced out T470 could have cost the same, before any discounts. But you don’t automatically discount a special model anyway.

The system is great, the customers are off their rockers.

Seeing as how the SK-5588 USB keyboard sells for $180 on eBay, these guys should just buy up all the old Thinkpads at $5 a pop and slap the keyboards into enclosures, attach a USB cable and sell them for $80 a pop. I’d buy one.

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And buying the X210 isn’t easy: you have to wire $1200 to a personal bank account in China and then email another address to have those funds forwarded to a QQ account (!).

Fair thee well…

money-with-wings

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