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Reply 80 of 136, by keenmaster486

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I got a Thinkpad X61 recently.

In many respects it is the last true "Classic" Thinkpad:

  • 4:3 screen
  • Classic keyboard (great touch feel)
  • Trackpoint only (no touchpad)
  • All the ports you need: USB, ethernet, audio, VGA, SD card slot and Cardbus, even has a freaking modem jack)
  • Upgradeability! I've already bumped it up with an SSD and 4 gigs of RAM; will go to 8 gigs in the future. The WiFi and Bluetooth cards are easily accessible and replaceable. There is even a spare Mini PCIe slot.

The battery life is phenomenal; it has the 9-cell battery and though I haven't run it all the way down yet, it hasn't dropped below 70% for 1-2 hours usage at a time on full brightness, full CPU no throttling, etc.

This is pretty darn close to my idea for a Thinkpad 560 with modern internals. Of course the Core 2 Duo in this thing isn't new, but with enough RAM and lightweight OS (Linux Mint XFCE) it handles everything I can throw at it just fine. Modern web browsing works great as do any of the other apps I've tried to use (Spotify, Slack, Sublime Text, various software development environments - Node, Ruby, React, etc).

If Lenovo made a machine with this form factor and new internals, I would buy it. But they won't because it isn't trendy. Companies hate towing the line when it comes to fads and trends.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
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Reply 81 of 136, by Srandista

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Obviously, because what's trendy, sells...

Even though, I don't agree with everything Lenovo is doing to their laptop lineup (especially what they done to T490 in comparison to T470/480), I would never buy new laptop with 4:3 display, optical drive and without touchpad.

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Reply 82 of 136, by dr_st

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keenmaster486 wrote:

[*]All the ports you need: USB, ethernet, audio, VGA, SD card slot and Cardbus, even has a freaking modem jack)

Yeah, all the ports you need for 2000-2005 maybe... Even at the time of its release (~2007) it was already outdated due to no ExpressCard, no digital video out, and no way to add these in, even via the dock. T series had ExpressCard as early as 2005 (T43) and digital video output was possible several years prior to that. On an X61, ExpressCard can sort of be hacked in via the second miniPCIe (and then you can get USB 3.0 at least), but digital video? Forget about it.

keenmaster486 wrote:

[*]Upgradeability! I've already bumped it up with an SSD and 4 gigs of RAM; will go to 8 gigs in the future. The WiFi and Bluetooth cards are easily accessible and replaceable. There is even a spare Mini PCIe slot.[/list]

Upgradeable memory and storage is something that was standard on every laptop back then, and even today it's still possible on most of them (though, as we said, the thinner models go towards the soldered RAM slots).

keenmaster486 wrote:

The battery life is phenomenal; it has the 9-cell battery and though I haven't run it all the way down yet, it hasn't dropped below 70% for 1-2 hours usage at a time on full brightness, full CPU no throttling, etc.

It's an 8-cell, and there's nothing phenomenal about its battery life. It's pathetic compared to any modern laptop except the rock-bottom 15.6" coffins.

keenmaster486 wrote:

This is pretty darn close to my idea for a Thinkpad 560 with modern internals. Of course the Core 2 Duo in this thing isn't new, but with enough RAM and lightweight OS (Linux Mint XFCE) it handles everything I can throw at it just fine.

That it can sure do.

keenmaster486 wrote:

If Lenovo made a machine with this form factor and new internals, I would buy it.

51nb made a limited run of X62 (same form factor, 5th gen Core i7). There was some talk about a more modern (X63), but I don't know where that went. I am not interested in 51nb machines, because the fit and finish and QC is not up to par to a big vendor like Lenovo, even with all the problems big vendors sometimes have.

keenmaster486 wrote:

But they won't because it isn't trendy. Companies hate towing the line when it comes to fads and trends.

True. Apple is an exception. IBM used to be. Other than that - there is very little trendsetting and a lot of copying.

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Reply 83 of 136, by keenmaster486

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People talk about laptops being "outdated"... my theory is that for most typical consumers it is only the overall form factor that matters.

Apple could downgrade the CPUs in their MacBooks to specs from the early 2010's and most consumers (the type who just do web browsing, word processing, business stuff etc) would never notice and would keep on buying MacBooks because they look cool and are trendy. Case in point: they severely downgraded the keyboards for the sake of marketing trends, and most people went right along with it because they are trendy and look cool. Only later were the consequences that the "power users" were warning about made clear.

This is why I use older computers, because the overall specs don't really matter as long as they are new enough to run the software I need without slowdowns, and the overall form factor (look and feel, input devices, size and shape) is what I'm looking for. I just don't like the form factor of modern laptops.

As for ports, the only ports the vast majority of people use are USB, display output, audio, and SD card slot. Most people wouldn't even notice if their USB 3 ports were downgraded to USB 2.0. Plus enough things are done over WiFi these days that even USB ports are getting less and less usage.

My point is that PC specs have far outpaced what normal, typical, everyday tasks require. There are relatively few people who actually need the power of the latest and greatest.

dr_st wrote:

It's an 8-cell, and there's nothing phenomenal about its battery life.

Ah, did not know that!
The battery life is not pathetic at all. I bet if I tuned the OS settings and turned my brightness and CPU down I could get better life on this than a brand new MacBook. Of course it comes at the cost of battery size. Newer batteries do more with less. This battery is huge.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 84 of 136, by Bruninho

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I got a 2013 MBP instead of newer ones just because of the keyboard... and because the previous owner had replaced the HD with a 1TB SSD. 16gb RAM came soldered, of course. For me, I'm fine with the ports (2 USB, 2 TB, 1 Audio Jack, 1 HDMI and 1 SD card slot). For other kind of ports (like a VGA port for example) I have an adapter. Actually, here at work, I was assigned to a 2012 15" MBP 8GB and 256GB. I have to use an external monitor so I got an adapter (TB to VGA) mainly because all our Dell monitors are bloody old and don't have HDMI! Christ. That's fine. We have Wifi and an ethernet cable in every station, the wifi is fine, but for most of the file transfer you would want to use the ethernet. So here comes another adapter thrown at this MBP (USB to Ethernet). I'm perfectly fine with this setup. Could be better? I don't really think so. Maybe a better monitor (HDMI?) and a better wifi (quite difficult considering how bad our network is).

EDIT: I actually don't really need the Audio Jack - I am deaf but I have a cochlear implant with bluetooth capabilities... the sound is loud and clear.

As for the screen size and battery life... I can work on any screen, I don't really have a preference but the widescreen laptops are good for webdesigners (half screen on code, the other half viewing the code running on browser). Battery life, this 2012 mBP battery is really good, I was in a meeting for like 2 or more hours, and I went from 100% to 67% when I left the room.

I prefer slimmer body, less ports in laptops - hence why I had a 2014 mBA 11" and when I sold it for a Dell G7 looking for more power for gaming, I immediately regretted the decision. The G7 is heavy and bulky. It had every port possible and the power, but was not "portable". I left it at home when I was out for vacation and instead I took my iPad Pro with me. Portable is a MUST for me - because here at home I tend to move a lot. Sometimes I am in our garden coding, sometimes I am in my sofa watching Netflix... or in my bedroom reading Vogons forums 😜

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.
READ: Right to Repair sucks and is illegal!

Reply 85 of 136, by dr_st

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keenmaster486 wrote:

As for ports, the only ports the vast majority of people use are USB, display output, audio, and SD card slot. Most people wouldn't even notice if their USB 3 ports were downgraded to USB 2.0. Plus enough things are done over WiFi these days that even USB ports are getting less and less usage.

Well, you can say all you want about "most people", but the same "most people" wouldn't care about any of your form-factor mumbo-jumbo or quality keyboard either. To these "most people", as long as it has a screen, something to type on and a pointing device - it's already good enough.

Thinkpads are not for most people, they have always been high-end business models; in that sense, the X6* series has not aged as well as the T6* for example, because the absence of the expansion capabilities I've mentioned.

And I dare say that today, even the most basic users would complain about having VGA out instead of HDMI/DisplayPort. 😀

keenmaster486 wrote:

I bet if I tuned the OS settings and turned my brightness and CPU down I could get better life on this than a brand new MacBook.

In an apples-to-apples comparisons (similar usage patterns, no pun intended), I doubt it. Like seriously doubt it. From what I checked, modern Macbooks have 58Wh or 84Wh batteries, depending on size. This X61 battery is 74Wh, so it in fact has lower capacity than some, and the CPU probably consumes thrice as much as a modern CPU (unless you are talking about the low-voltage X61s, then it may be only twice as much...) And you have the less-efficient CCFL screen as well.

keenmaster486 wrote:

Of course it comes at the cost of battery size. Newer batteries do more with less. This battery is huge.

It also makes the notebook back-heavy, which is not nice. I preferred the X3x series 6-cell front-mounted battery. But that one was only 52Wh.

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Reply 86 of 136, by keenmaster486

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dr_st wrote:

And I dare say that today, even the most basic users would complain about having VGA out instead of HDMI/DisplayPort.

The only truly modern-usable port of the three is HDMI! For either VGA or DisplayPort it doesn't matter, you always need an adapter, unless you happen to have a VGA cable lying around. But nothing has native DisplayPort input. We skipped straight to USB-C on that one. But I have all the adapters for both DisplayPort and VGA so I don't care.

dr_st wrote:

I doubt it. Like seriously doubt it.

Well, I dunno. Maybe I will do a head-to-head test at some point.

dr_st wrote:

It also makes the notebook back-heavy, which is not nice. I preferred the X3x series 6-cell front-mounted battery. But that one was only 52Wh.

I actually don't even notice it.

I dunno, this X61 is really scratching an itch for me. I wonder for how long I can keep using it as a daily out-and-about driver.

I got out my old Dell Latitude D600 the other day. Makes me realize just how much I appreciate a good keyboard. I wonder how I ever typed so much stuff on that thing. Why is it so hard to put a good keyboard in your laptops? You'd think the keyboard technology would have gotten better, but it has not.

Here's what I want: a laptop with the screen and touchpad of a MacBook, the keyboard, build quality, and repairability/upgradeability of a Thinkpad, and non-16:9 form factor.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 87 of 136, by dr_st

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keenmaster486 wrote:

But nothing has native DisplayPort input. We skipped straight to USB-C on that one.

You're wrong. Every 24" and higher professional monitor has DisplayPort input and has had it for years. My DELL U2410 from 2010 has it just like my BenQ PD3200U from 2018. And even if you have a monitor that doesn't - DP outputs native HDMI (which for resolutions <= WUXGA is also equivalent to DVI), so only a passive dongle is required, but the opposite is not true. Then again it doesn't matter, because the X61 has no HDMI either, only crappy analog VGA which you cannot connect to any modern screen without an expensive analog-to-digital converter which will still look like crap (and forget high res). 😀

keenmaster486 wrote:

I got out my old Dell Latitude D600 the other day. Makes me realize just how much I appreciate a good keyboard. I wonder how I ever typed so much stuff on that thing. Why is it so hard to put a good keyboard in your laptops? You'd think the keyboard technology would have gotten better, but it has not.

Because there is no demand! People are idiots. Nobody truly appreciates a good keyboard but a handful of geeks with specific requirements.

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Reply 88 of 136, by beastlike

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keenmaster486 wrote:

My point is that PC specs have far outpaced what normal, typical, everyday tasks require. There are relatively few people who actually need the power of the latest and greatest.

I agree with this on a functional requirements standpoint, but software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster, and Niklaus Wirth said that years before Chrome, although I think many attribute to chrome what would more accurately be attributed to the (d)evolution of front end web technologies. A modern website will have anywhere from 80-150 JavaScript libraries and thousands of nested DOM elements. Users might not be asking much from their PCs in terms of functionality, but I feel that websites are asking exponentially more from our browsers as the years go by.

Plus every application you install thinks it's the only thing you care about and happily installs all sorts of services that run in the background, communicate everything you do through its telemetry services (as does windows itself). We don't do more as users these days, but our PCs are working overtime to support all the thousands of operations per second that constantly run in the background which we have less and less control over.

Reply 89 of 136, by Bruninho

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keenmaster486 wrote:

Here's what I want: a laptop with the screen and touchpad of a MacBook, the keyboard, build quality, and repairability/upgradeability of a Thinkpad, and non-16:9 form factor.

A dream we all share. Heheheheh except I would prefer 16:9 factor

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.
READ: Right to Repair sucks and is illegal!

Reply 90 of 136, by Bruninho

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dr_st wrote:
You're wrong. Every 24" and higher professional monitor has DisplayPort input and has had it for years. My DELL U2410 from 2010 […]
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keenmaster486 wrote:

But nothing has native DisplayPort input. We skipped straight to USB-C on that one.

You're wrong. Every 24" and higher professional monitor has DisplayPort input and has had it for years. My DELL U2410 from 2010 has it just like my BenQ PD3200U from 2018. And even if you have a monitor that doesn't - DP outputs native HDMI (which for resolutions <= WUXGA is also equivalent to DVI), so only a passive dongle is required, but the opposite is not true. Then again it doesn't matter, because the X61 has no HDMI either, only crappy analog VGA which you cannot connect to any modern screen without an expensive analog-to-digital converter which will still look like crap (and forget high res). 😀

keenmaster486 wrote:

I got out my old Dell Latitude D600 the other day. Makes me realize just how much I appreciate a good keyboard. I wonder how I ever typed so much stuff on that thing. Why is it so hard to put a good keyboard in your laptops? You'd think the keyboard technology would have gotten better, but it has not.

Because there is no demand! People are idiots. Nobody truly appreciates a good keyboard but a handful of geeks with specific requirements.

Believe me, you guys are right. I had an acer extensa 710T with an amazing keyboard and almost 30 years later (30!!!) we found it lost somewhere in our home. It was totally destroyed; but the keyboard was still intact and working like new. I really prefer these old style keyboards. I can’t stand the modern MacBook keyboard.

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.
READ: Right to Repair sucks and is illegal!

Reply 91 of 136, by oeuvre

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the new macbook keyboards are atrociously awful... zero ergonomics, zero comfort, zero usability.

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Reply 92 of 136, by dr_st

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bfcastello wrote:
keenmaster486 wrote:

Here's what I want: a laptop with the screen and touchpad of a MacBook, the keyboard, build quality, and repairability/upgradeability of a Thinkpad, and non-16:9 form factor.

A dream we all share. Heheheheh except I would prefer 16:9 factor

If you are fine with 16:9, a Thinkpad 25 is not far behind; heck, if you are not as obsessed about keyboard layout as I am, a T470, T480, or any of the P-series workstation might be just as good, with even better screen options.

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Reply 93 of 136, by ShovelKnight

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oeuvre wrote:

the new macbook keyboards are atrociously awful... zero ergonomics, zero comfort, zero usability.

I'm not sure I agree with this assessment... Not because I'm an Apple fanboy -- I hate the fact that I had to replace this keyboard 4 times in less than 3 years. But in terms of typing feel I prefer it to any other laptop keyboard and even to some mechanical switches (e.g. Cherry MX Brown).

Reply 94 of 136, by Bruninho

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oeuvre wrote:

the new macbook keyboards are atrociously awful... zero ergonomics, zero comfort, zero usability.

I couldn't agree more. I would love to go back to the mechanical keyboards - the click noise, is now a thing of the past. And I find myself correcting my typos with the current keyboard a lot more than I did before - I had to go back and correct me at least five times, to make this post... and I'm sure something I wrote here is still wrong.

ShovelKnight wrote:

I'm not sure I agree with this assessment... Not because I'm an Apple fanboy -- I hate the fact that I had to replace this keyboard 4 times in less than 3 years. But in terms of typing feel I prefer it to any other laptop keyboard and even to some mechanical switches (e.g. Cherry MX Brown).

Well, I wanted a Vortex Tab 90M keyboard...

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.
READ: Right to Repair sucks and is illegal!

Reply 95 of 136, by Srandista

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Any notebook, from which I cannot get data, when anything happens to it, is a big no-no in my book. And MacBook with it's soldered SSD chips on board is absolutely leading this awful category...

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Reply 96 of 136, by ShovelKnight

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Srandista wrote:

Any notebook, from which I cannot get data, when anything happens to it, is a big no-no in my book. And MacBook with it's soldered SSD chips on board is absolutely leading this awful category...

Have you heard about, I dunno, backups?

What if your laptop gets stolen, how would you get your data back in this case?

Reply 97 of 136, by dr_st

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ShovelKnight wrote:
Srandista wrote:

Any notebook, from which I cannot get data, when anything happens to it, is a big no-no in my book. And MacBook with it's soldered SSD chips on board is absolutely leading this awful category...

Have you heard about, I dunno, backups?

What if your laptop gets stolen, how would you get your data back in this case?

You both make valid points. 🤣

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Reply 98 of 136, by imi

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SONY doesn't get nearly enough credit when it comes to innovation in laptop design imo

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this was my first laptop, it was used and old when I bought it in 2004, I needed a laptop for university and this was decent enough, and I am glad I did, I was pretty impressed by the automatic cooling flap that opens up underneath automatically when you open the screen... a feature that was touted as "innovative" on laptops some 20 years later.
they also had some machines that could be considered sub-notebooks back then even.

I am still using a vaio pro 11 - sub 1kg laptop from 2013 as my general mobile machine today.

it's a pity they left the PC market.
I still have my old VAIO PCG-X9, it even has yamaha sound iirc, I should whip it out some time 😀

Reply 99 of 136, by Bruninho

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Thinking about suggesting some (cheap) new laptop brands for my boss so he can replace the old ones used by my colleagues at work... I have been thinking about the Lenovo ThinkPad ones. Which models would be a good suggestion? Thankfully I don’t have to get them 🤣, I am one of the lucky guys at work using a macbook pro - because UI/UX designer...

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.
READ: Right to Repair sucks and is illegal!