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First post, by vorob

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First thing first, I'm talking about laptop video cards.

Long story: I was searching for an ultimate retro gaming laptop, I had Dell Latitude D800 with GeForce 4, a good thing, but it had widescreen (bad for DOS) and can't run smth newer games like Doom 3, SWAT 4, Thief Deadly Shadows. So I bought 4:3 Toshiba Tecra S3 with GeForce 6600. This one is powerful but it turned out that GeForce 6 lost many old features like support for palleted textures so this video card is not a good option for old games. And then I saw some samples from newer Radeon laptops and saw that they run old games better than GeForce 6, so I decided to look into such laptops. And found IBM ThinkPad R60 with ATI Mobility Radeon X1400. It's not much weaker than my GeForce 6 and looks like it supports old stuff.

Now the question for you guys, I'm right or not? X1400 is a good thing for old games? Don't wanna have another laptop that doesn't support old games...

So, I bought IBM ThinkPad R60 in mint condition for 20$. The main purpose is good old gaming on 4:3, and ATI X1400 still supports most of the old features like palette texturing so old games work as they should. My config is the following:

Processor: Intel Core Duo T2400, 1830Mhz
Chipset: Intel i945GM
Display: 15″ SXGA+ (1400x1050) (AUO B150PG01)
Videocard: ATI X1400 128MB GDDR1
Ram: 4Gb, DDR2-667
Audio: Intel HD Audio with AD1981HD codec
Storage: HDD 250Gb, Hitachi, 5400rpm
Network: Intel Wireless 3945A/B/G, Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet, Modem
Connectivity: ExpressCard 54 / 34, PCMCIA Type II, 3 USB 2.0 ports, S-video out, dock/port replicator slot, VGA-out; RJ-11, RJ-45, headphone, microphone, IEEE 1394 FireWire
Dimension: W x D x H / 314 x 259 x 35
Last edited by vorob on 2020-03-16, 10:27. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 1 of 32, by aaronkatrini

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Is the 6600 an MXM card?
If so maybe you can find on ebay compatible MXM cards and try them on the same laptop. Just a suggestion, never had an experience with them.

Reply 2 of 32, by ragefury32

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vorob wrote on 2020-02-28, 09:51:

First thing first, I'm talking about laptop video cards.

Long story: I was searching for an ultimate retro gaming laptop, I had Dell Latitude D800 with GeForce 4, a good thing, but it had widescreen (bad for DOS) and can't run smth newer games like Doom 3, SWAT 4, Thief Deadly Shadows. So I bought 4:3 Toshiba Tecra S3 with GeForce 6600. This one is powerful but it turned out that GeForce 6 lost many old features like support for palleted textures so this video card is not a good option for old games. And then I saw some samples from newer Radeon laptops and saw that they run old games better than GeForce 6, so I decided to look into such laptops. And found IBM ThinkPad R60 with ATI Mobility Radeon X1400. It's not much weaker than my GeForce 6 and looks like it supports old stuff.

Now the question for you guys, I'm right or not? X1400 is a good thing for old games? Don't wanna have another laptop that doesn't support old games...

If you are going to aim high, why not shoot for the moon? The T60p is the last 100% 4:3 workstation class laptop from Lenovo, and they have FireGL V5200 GPUs (workstation version of the X600, which is about the same as a GF7600 Go)...

Reply 3 of 32, by barleyguy

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aaronkatrini wrote on 2020-02-28, 16:00:

Is the 6600 an MXM card?
If so maybe you can find on ebay compatible MXM cards and try them on the same laptop. Just a suggestion, never had an experience with them.

MXM Cards require a BIOS file for that particular laptop. With many laptops they put the standard boot BIOS in the first half of the EPROM, and the MXM BIOS in the second half of the EPROM. So to swap MXM cards you often have to make a custom BIOS file that has the two halves. MXM was really designed for ODMs to support multiple cards, not for swapping by end users.

If you're extremely lucky, the BIOS on the laptop supports multiple types of MXM cards, and you can swap to anything on that list of supported cards, but that simply wasn't a priority for most manufacturers.

That said, if there's a BIOS file available for download, or you have the skills to mix two files together and do the flash, you might be able to get it to work. The risk is that doing it wrong could brick the computer.

Reply 4 of 32, by vorob

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If so maybe you can find on ebay compatible MXM cards and try them on the same laptop. Just a suggestion, never had an experience with them.

I'm almost 95% sure that Toshiba has some special 6600 board. And that's the only configuration this laptop came in. Besides I can but R60 for 30$ and any MXM card will cost much more, it's kinda loose move.

If you are going to aim high, why not shoot for the moon? The T60p is the last 100% 4:3 workstation class laptop from Lenovo, and they have FireGL V5200 GPUs (workstation version of the X600, which is about the same as a GF7600 Go)...

Good point, i'll think about it. Besides T60 can have an IPS panel. But any good T60 is expensive this days 🙁

Reply 5 of 32, by dr_st

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A T60p is not quite shooting for the moon in this niche. Shooting for the moon is a Frankenpad with high-end T61/R61 guts in a T60/R60/R61 15" shell modded with a T60 IPS screen. 😀

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Reply 6 of 32, by ragefury32

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dr_st wrote on 2020-02-28, 23:15:

A T60p is not quite shooting for the moon in this niche. Shooting for the moon is a Frankenpad with high-end T61/R61 guts in a T60/R60/R61 15" shell modded with a T60 IPS screen. 😀

Eh, yeah. I am not spending 300 dollars modifying a 125 dollar machine so it'll perform like a 200 dollar machine.

Reply 7 of 32, by dr_st

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Because of the popularity of the mod, ready-made units pop up on the Thinkpad enthusiast market every now and then. But in any case, measuring these machines in "dollars" is pointless. Their performance/price ratio is terrible, no matter how you look at it, and they are not about performance at all.

And that's even beside the point that bringing up performance/price on a forum where people routinely spend hundreds of dollars on restoring and rebuilding old crap computers is... strange to say the least. 😉

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Reply 8 of 32, by vorob

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What can you tell me about these numbers? Are they really matter? I do understand that x1400 will be slower then 6600, but some values on x1400 are even lower then on 4200. I don't want card that will play some games worse then 4200.

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Last edited by vorob on 2020-03-01, 16:04. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 32, by aaronkatrini

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Those numbers don't tell the whole story, you need to check reviews for specific card to find out more about performance.
And btw, that decision of having the Bios locked to one card only its a d*ck move from the companies. I mean, why not give the option to upgrade to another faster gpu like in PCs... Guess to sell the newer product 🙁

Reply 10 of 32, by ragefury32

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aaronkatrini wrote on 2020-03-01, 08:30:

Those numbers don't tell the whole story, you need to check reviews for specific card to find out more about performance.
And btw, that decision of having the Bios locked to one card only its a d*ck move from the companies. I mean, why not give the option to upgrade to another faster gpu like in PCs... Guess to sell the newer product 🙁

Those hardware feature counts are meaningless, since it tells you nothing about the architecture, the layout, VRAM type/speeds and DirectX/OpenGL support level.
Even for certain benchmarks - take it with a grain of salt.
Example: 3DMarks 2003 can be inflated to meaningless-ness by using multicore CPUs, even when period games barely take advantage of the extra cores (2 early examples of multicore support in a game engine is Quake 4 in 2005 and Crysis in 2007).
The practice is doubly meaningless on a laptop as multicore doesn't exist for them yet - the Core Duo came out in 2006 along with the Taylor core Turion x2s.
Back in 2003-5 when people were using 3DM2K3 to benchmark laptops, it's pretty much single core Pen-Ms and Athlons.

As for the entire MXM insanity - well, yeah, that's partially what the vendor is doing, but then the entire MXM setup was designed to allow ODMs and OEMs to get products out to market earlier - it makes no mention of allowing the consumer to upgrade later. It does mention form factor, but how the MXM will be powered and cooled in the chassis (usually big honking 15"+ gamer laptops) is up to the designer, and even (for the sake of style or portability) they will often leave a very thin margin for these things - so yes, even if you can upgrade them in theory, you couldn't past a certain point - the thermals and the power envelope doesn't work that way. Even if you can upgrade graphics (rare in mainstream machines) the upgrade path is dependent on the chassis design not changing across the product line, and that's up to the PC maker cutting costs on product development and reusing parts whenever they can - a few examples I can think of are both from Dell - the Inspiron 8100-8200 (which started out with a Geforce 2Go and ended with a Quadro 4 Go 700 off the Precision M50) and the Inspiron 9400 (Radeon X1400 to a Geforce 7900 Go). Of course, if you have a Sager clone (one of those custom gamer laptops sold by small OEMs), chances are, you are being sold an overbuilt generic chassis that doesn't see that much changes - great if you want to upgrade your laptop GPU, but terrible if you want to use it as a laptop, since it'll be a big honking machine. My guess is that getting parts and service for it would be difficult and expensive, since it won't be common and plentiful like the mainstream machines.

Reply 11 of 32, by ragefury32

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dr_st wrote on 2020-02-29, 10:03:

Because of the popularity of the mod, ready-made units pop up on the Thinkpad enthusiast market every now and then. But in any case, measuring these machines in "dollars" is pointless. Their performance/price ratio is terrible, no matter how you look at it, and they are not about performance at all.

And that's even beside the point that bringing up performance/price on a forum where people routinely spend hundreds of dollars on restoring and rebuilding old crap computers is... strange to say the least. 😉

There's a few on evilBay sold by the same guy, but it looks like Intel 965GM graphics rather than the nVidia G8x based machines. The ones with NVS140/FX570M are at least 800 USD listed.

There is also a very thin line between hobby and obsession, and as much as I enjoy restoring old laptops and gaming on them, the Frankenpad is a bridge too far for me. I already have a cabinet for Coppermine laptops and older Apple x64 hardware (some I got for free, others very cheaply) .
Dropping 50-100 (including shipping) on a 14" 4:3 T61p is probably okay for me (assuming I can store it), but the missus will definitely want a word if I get a bit too ridiculous with the collection of old hardware, but considering that I already have a 2010 MBP13 (Penryn CPU, Geforce 320M graphics), there's really no point buying one.

Reply 13 of 32, by pentiumspeed

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I have exact configuration T60 and it is nice for window XP, 2000 using 1TB or 2TB hard drive but x1400 is not that muscular for these games.

Should had been x1700 but this far more harder to find in any notebooks.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 14 of 32, by vorob

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I'm here! My 30$ IBM ThinkPad R60 is with me now.

Processor	Intel Core Duo T2400, 1830Mhz
Chipset Intel i945GM
Display 15″ SXGA+ (1400x1050) (AUO B150PG01)
Videocard ATI X1400 128MB Graphics
Ram 4Gb, DDR2
Audio Intel 82801GB ICH7 (AD1981HD) SoundMAX
Storage HDD 250Gb 5400, HTS545028B9SA02
Network Intel Wireless 3945A/B/G, Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet, Modem
Connectivity 3 USB 2.0, Firewire, Dock connector, VGA, Headphone, RS232
Dimension W x D x H: 314 x 259 x 35

Since i was replacing Toshiba S3 with NV 6600 take a look how X1400 handle old games:

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Thief II 6600.png
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DeusEx X1400.PNG
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Reply 16 of 32, by vorob

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2020-03-02, 23:51:

How is the FPS? Really looks nice.

I have T60 with x1400.

Cheers,

Hi, what games you are interested in? For now I can show you 3dmark mark scores:
3DMark01 - 13300
3DMark03 - 4657
3DMark05 - 2146

Reply 18 of 32, by vorob

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happycube wrote on 2020-03-03, 07:26:

For a few years (~2010-14 or so?) there were very few new laptops with better screens than a 15" IPS T60, and through the mid 10's there was still much worse out there that cost a lot more.

Well... Maybe... But I'm on R60 and with TN screen. While it's good on bright images, dark scenes are very washed-out because of backlit. Take a look, it's Dell D800 on the left (2003-2004) and ThinkPad R60 on right. Dell does the job much much better. More to say, i was the same story on Toshiba Tecra S3. I think its the issue of 15 4:3 screens...

YlV9iY0cD0Y.jpg

Reply 19 of 32, by dr_st

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happycube wrote on 2020-03-03, 07:26:

For a few years (~2010-14 or so?) there were very few new laptops with better screens than a 15" IPS T60, and through the mid 10's there was still much worse out there that cost a lot more.

I would say more late 2007 (when T60 was phased out) to late 2013 (when you started seeing IPS display potions again).

vorob wrote on 2020-03-03, 08:40:

I think its the issue of 15 4:3 screens...

Well, the IPS options on T60 were also 15" 4:3. But, yes, the non-IPS options were average at best, even for TN.

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