Enthusiast made a new motherboard for ThinkPad X200s

Sometimes computer technology is more - something more than a fixed-life product, which is then dumped into the landfill without regret. Some gadgets are lovingly stored and maintained in working condition for many years after the manufacturer officially stopped their release and support. This also applies to iconic IBM ThinkPad laptops.

These reliable tools seem to disobey the law of planned obsolescence. But they can do nothing with Moore’s law. Processors and other characteristics of the ThinkPad do not correspond to modern times, where a 140-character text message occupies more than 100 megabytes in RAM.

ThinkPad notebooks have a large and dedicated army of fans. By devotion to their favorite model, they will easily give odds to fans of Apple technology, whose MacBook Pro laptops have already become the de facto standard among participants in hacking contests and many developers. In a sense, we can say that the MacBook Pro laptops replaced the ThinkPad, which almost since its first release in 1992 has been the same de facto standard for professionals.

After purchasing the IBM laptop compartment by Lenovo, the ThinkPad model changed: 4: 3 displays were replaced by 16: 9, some keys changed on the keyboard. Not everyone liked these changes.

But now classic IBM laptops can get a second life, writes Hackaday.

The 51nb.com forum enthusiast has developed the long-awaited upgrade for their favorite laptops - new motherboards that match the form factor with the ThinkPad X200s chassis. On the forum, a user with the nickname HOPE describes the upgrade procedure in detail .

Motherboard installation

The photos above show a replacement motherboard for the X200s, but in reality HOPE designed motherboards for three models: a motherboard for X62 based on X60 / 61 , a motherboard for X210 based on X200 / 201 and a motherboard for T70 based on T60 .

Motherboards are compatible with the original frame and case of classic laptops, but support the latest generation of Intel Core processors, DDR4 memory, USB 3.0 / 3.1, Thunderbolt 3 and much more.

In many cases, for the new connectors, the old holes in the case made for the interfaces of the previous motherboard are suitable. In addition, original radiators and coolers can often be reused.

Considering that these computers were created a decade earlier than the equipment that they managed to insert into them, the level of integration is really impressive. As a result, the laptop looks like it really just came off the Lenovo assembly line.

This story shows how far the love of old computer technology can go if you have in-depth knowledge in the manufacture of electronic components and contacts with manufacturers who can inexpensively manufacture a small batch of necessary components. In fact, HOPE didn’t just change the motherboard in its computer - which almost every user did independently - but in reality developed this motherboard from scratch.

It is difficult to say how much this work cost. Even if we do not take into account engineering and design work, but even the manufacture of such boards should have cost a considerable amount, still we are talking about modern complex components: this is a processor with about 1100 legs, DDR4 and PCI-E also with extremely stringent requirements to power, plus a bunch of peripherals. And certain requirements and restrictions were put forward to the board itself. It was impossible to develop it as you want, but you had to do it in accordance with the dimensions of the existing chassis, mounts, and the location of the components. It is even surprising that a layman (presumably a HOPE user is still a layman, although who knows) is able to develop such a product and put it into production.

The modder versions of ThinkPad X210 motherboards and laptops are already on sale. The craftsman sells a motherboard for 3,000 yuan (about $ 475). And it seems that the buyers are very satisfied . Who would have thought that a ten-year-old IBM laptop can make a monster on a Core i5-8250U processor with a 1920 × 1200 display and excellent performance under Ubuntu.