3. March 2018

Two weeks ago, I had a bit of an accident – a glass full of hot tea broke while I was carrying it to my desk and it spilled on my laptop. That’s the relatively new Thinkpad T61 which I got in September 2015 and only recently upgraded with new memory… but Thinkpads are supposed to be fairly liquid-resistant, right? I thought so too, but before I could shut it down, it shut itself off… and stayed off. It was as dead as a dodo, even after partly disassembling and cleaning it – or so I thought at the time. This was my fastest computer with which I do everything nowadays, because my “big” machines are now to old to even browse the web… and I needed a replacement fast. Thankfully I have a little bit of emergency money for exactly this purpose to spend and after a quick look on eBay I found a nice Thinkpad T510 from the same seller I already got my T61 and my Compaq all the way back ten years ago. I can really recommend IT-Mixx for used notebooks because even what they call B-Ware looks like brand new.

The Thinkpad T510 is quite a step up from the T61 and I decided to spend a little more to get a model with a 1600×900 15.6″ screen, Core i5 CPU with dual-core 2.66 GHz, Nvidia NVM3100 graphics, 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB harddrive. That is better than what the T61 had – an 1280×800 screen, Core2Duo with 1.8 GHz and recently upgraded to 4 GB! I also got some unexpected perks with the new notebook: it has a WiFi card that can connect with my new router at speeds over 100 mbit/s, an internal LG DVD-Writer, an sd card reader, a webcam, bluetooth, a bigger touchpad and even a battery that lasts about 90 minutes. The only extra it doesn’t have which the T61 had is a fingerprint sensor, but I think I can live without that.

The screen has a little bit less height because it’s now 16:9 instead of 16:10, but it’s also wider and overall looks so much better. I’ve always had a bit of a colour calibration problem with the T61, but that is completely gone on the T510. The improved colour range is perfect for photo editing and closely matches my external monitor now. The dedicated Nvidia graphics card is also a huge advantage, since it allows me to play some games which never worked well on the other Thinkpad – Kerbal Space Program especially runs much better now and I haven’t even tried out the Flight Simulator yet. Video editing is also less problematic now since the faster CPU and graphics card support plays back HD videos without stuttering. Overall, this is an amazing notebook which once had a price of about €2000 when in came out back in 2010 – but I got it for €155 plus €10 for a docking station and I even get a year of warranty.

But that’s not where this story ends, because a week after the accident I decided to give the T61 one last chance. After having tried to reawaken it unsuccessfully a couple of times, I thought it was really fried, but apparently it just needed to dry out really well – and now it works perfectly again! So basically the replacement was unnecessary, but at the same time a good idea because now I have full redundancy again in case one of my laptops break. The original plan was actually to upgrade the “big” computers first, but the new laptop has about the specifications I wanted to upgrade the computers to, so I’m quite content with the situation now. That doesn’t mean I will upgrade the other machines as well, but now it’s less urgent and I can save some more money up for that.

And that is the Tale of Two Thinkpads – and proof that you can’t kill a Thinkpad off just like that.

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