VOGONS


Reply 60 of 128, by ragefury32

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keenmaster486 wrote:
I would just like to vent my frustration for a minute here. […]
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I would just like to vent my frustration for a minute here.

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I am discovering that being able to play DOS games on my laptops means less and less to me. I have a 486 desktop for that, not to mention DOSBox. Plus newer games work great on my newer Thinkpads anyway.

I think I will keep the 755C, and use it for any Windows 3.1 productivity and networking things. The 365, since I have already invested so much work into it, I will keep on as an auxiliary machine and the only Thinkpad I have that will run Commander Keen without issues.

I have old laptops coming out my ears. I wish I could get it down to just two, or maybe one, but I don't know if that's going to happen.

The Thinkpad 755 also needs a new battery. The old one will not charge. We will see what comes of that.

The moral of this story is: there is no perfect laptop that can do ALL your DOS gaming and ALL your productivity things. Or at least, not in the Thinkpad realm, that is -- and Thinkpad is where I'm staying because of the keyboards. Seriously, the keyboard is such a big factor for me -- plus that Thinkpad prestige and design, and the fact that they have aged much better than other 90's machines, due to their use of black plastic that does not yellow or otherwise discolor with age, and cleans up better in my experience.

I have put so much work into these Thinkpads, repairing, upgrading, and restoring them, installing software on them, getting them to perform to their best potential, etc., that at this point I feel like I have to use them regularly for it all to be worthwhile. I can actually see myself doing that. So over the next few months I will try to pay attention to which laptops I actually use. I don't like having extra things sitting around that I don't use. So if I don't use it, it's going away.

I put a lot of work into making everything I own useful in some way. If it sits there doing nothing, unless it is a decoration, I consider it deadweight and not worth having. I will either get it doing something or get rid of it. That's how I feel about these old laptops -- they can and should still be useful.

Edit: oh, and to drive that point home, I used my Thinkpad 560X to write this post, on Windows NT 4.0 with RetroZilla, over my home WiFi. There's usefulness for you.

Heh. Looking at my own pile of retrocomputing machines, I can share your pain. All of the machines that I have - there are some good points to them, and some bad, but they are all to the point where it's good enough for me to not want to give it up. The C600 were better than the T21 for Direct3D stuff, but the T21 beats the C600 on the DOS...and so on.

There is no perfect laptop to do DOS retrogaming on, as the combination of perfect CPU + perfect GPU + perfect sound system + perfect I/O + survivability from aging effects (which is rarely discussed) + intangibles that people skip through (ergonomics - like the feeling of the keyboard, how it feels in your hands, port placement, etc) would essentially drive you nuts.

Also, eeeeh, the plastics on the old ThinkPads don't actually age all that well...as anyone with a peeling T2x/30 or fractured frame/hinge plastics (600/770) series will tell you...especially when stood up against the dark-charcoal-but-still-in-one-piece Dell C-series hardware...

Reply 61 of 128, by henryVK

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Toshiba T-series comes a lot closer to the "ideal" DOS laptop than 7xx Thinkpads imho. The build quality is as good as Thinkpads, screens and keyboards are nice and they come with fully SB Pro compatible soundcards with legit OPL3 if I'm not mistaken. They might not look as cool as Thinkpads, but they're also not covered in gunky coating 😉

Reply 64 of 128, by onre

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I've got a T3200SXC. It has one 8-bit and one 16-bit ISA slot, so I can have both sound and Ethernet at same time. Also, this particular unit has been upgraded with a Cyrix 486SLC2, allowing me to run some titles that would probably be too much for the stock CPU.

Reply 65 of 128, by ragefury32

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henryVK wrote:

Toshiba T-series comes a lot closer to the "ideal" DOS laptop than 7xx Thinkpads imho. The build quality is as good as Thinkpads, screens and keyboards are nice and they come with fully SB Pro compatible soundcards with legit OPL3 if I'm not mistaken. They might not look as cool as Thinkpads, but they're also not covered in gunky coating 😉

Well, that gunky coatings crap only occurs on certain Thinkpad models, and is not entire endemic across the entire range (plus you can strip it down using 90% Isopropyl alcohol).

Of course, it doesn't mean that the Thinkpads will be fault-free either. The sad thing about those retro machines is that they are just like every other piece of aging electronics out there: they are just one or 2 bad capacitors power regulators or cold solder joints away from being a paperweight (unless you have a hot air rework station and have experience soldering SMT components), and new-old-stock parts are just as time limited as the machines in use. I can only think back at my old Thinkpad 560 and how it didn't endure throughout those years...

Reply 66 of 128, by henryVK

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ragefury32 wrote:

Of course, it doesn't mean that the Thinkpads will be fault-free either. The sad thing about those retro machines is that they are just like every other piece of aging electronics out there: they are just one or 2 bad capacitors power regulators or cold solder joints away from being a paperweight (unless you have a hot air rework station and have experience soldering SMT components), and new-old-stock parts are just as time limited as the machines in use. I can only think back at my old Thinkpad 560 and how it didn't endure throughout those years...

Yeah, I try not to have sobering thoughts like that when I'm enjoying my portables 🤣

That's also why I built a luggable computer with replaceable parts for my peace of mind.

Reply 67 of 128, by keenmaster486

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I have encountered the gunky Thinkpad coating only on the 385 that I had for a while and then sold.

A lot of them have a sort of charcoal grey rubbery coating on the lids (of those that I have... 600E, T41, all modern Thinkpads, but not the older ones). This rubs off over time, but it doesn't become sticky. You either have to go ahead and scrape it all off, revealing the plain black plastic underneath, and live with that, or redo the coating. I tried Plastidip once and although it looked very nice, it quickly started to peel off. The best solution might just be to use a thick and strong paint of some sort.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

Reply 68 of 128, by ragefury32

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keenmaster486 wrote on 2019-12-30, 18:40:

I have encountered the gunky Thinkpad coating only on the 385 that I had for a while and then sold.

A lot of them have a sort of charcoal grey rubbery coating on the lids (of those that I have... 600E, T41, all modern Thinkpads, but not the older ones). This rubs off over time, but it doesn't become sticky. You either have to go ahead and scrape it all off, revealing the plain black plastic underneath, and live with that, or redo the coating. I tried Plastidip once and although it looked very nice, it quickly started to peel off. The best solution might just be to use a thick and strong paint of some sort.

Heh. I give my machines (T21, X31) a good cleaning using a magic eraser (melamine sponge) and then applied a thin layer of Nivea (yes, the beauty cream) on them. Works wonders to protect it. If they become sticky the other trick is to wipe it off using a sponge saturated with isopropyl alcohol.

Reply 70 of 128, by Gered

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keenmaster486 wrote on 2019-12-30, 18:40:

A lot of them have a sort of charcoal grey rubbery coating on the lids (of those that I have... 600E, T41, all modern Thinkpads, but not the older ones). This rubs off over time, but it doesn't become sticky.

🤣. This coating absolutely becomes sticky over time. The 600X I got last year was completely sticky and gross all over the lid and bottom, etc. I literally could not even touch it lightly with my fingers without getting a bit of black residue them. I had to shave off all of the coating. The inside of the lid, keyboard, etc was all fine however (for now?). The upside is that it looks and feels much sleeker now with all the outside rubbery coating removed.

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Reply 71 of 128, by SpectriaForce

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If you really want a Thinkpad, then search for a Toshiba high end 300 series without the coating. All other models (5/6/7xx) have that horrible sticky coating. The smartest choice is to simply buy a Toshiba and get the Thinkpad = reliable nonsense out of your head haha 😁 I've owned A LOT of old Thinkpads that I bought from a collector two years ago with A LOT of problems (e.g. broken screen hinges, broken screen cables, dead screens, leaking batteries), most of them were way beyond repair.

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Reply 73 of 128, by vorob

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Looks like the case is solved. My friend owns Thinkpad T22, he says that older soundcard driver works in native DOS. Newer driver works in DOS via Win 98... And it has SAVAGE video card that can play Q3, Half-Life 1 with 30+ fps.

I need to find it now. eBay is empty 🙁

Reply 74 of 128, by cyclone3d

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The T20 has the same sound chipset as the T22. It also has S3 Savage for video. Looks like a slightly lower version of the video chip though and the CPU is slower. Max 750 on the T20, and max 1Ghz for the T22.

There are quite a few T20 on eBay.

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Reply 75 of 128, by schmatzler

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Be aware that the T2x line has problems with their plastic frame, though. Especially to the right side of the keyboard. The small plastic bridge tends to break on these models, which in turn makes the metal frame of the drive bay break after a while, which causes the plastics around the hinge to fail...and so on.

It can be fixed with epoxy and bicycle break wire, though (if it's not cascaded too far already)! If you search around on eBay, try to find a model where the plastic frame is not yet broken.

Reply 76 of 128, by vorob

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schmatzler wrote on 2020-01-14, 23:23:

Be aware that the T2x line has problems with their plastic frame, though. Especially to the right side of the keyboard. The small plastic bridge tends to break on these models, which in turn makes the metal frame of the drive bay break after a while, which causes the plastics around the hinge to fail...and so on.

It can be fixed with epoxy and bicycle break wire, though (if it's not cascaded too far already)! If you search around on eBay, try to find a model where the plastic frame is not yet broken.

Thx! I'll keep an eye on this.

I need your advice, knowledge, and memory.

So from one side, we have Thinkpad T22 with S3 Savage IX8+ video controller with 8MB and I also found this laptop Compaq Armada E500 with ATI-Rage Mobility P AGP 8 MB SDRAM. I wonder if these GPUs are the same in terms of performance and acceleration or smth is better then the other?

Both laptops have native sound under DOS. But i'm also interested in Quake II, Unreal, Half-Life.