Legacy Discussion

(On discussion of still using IBM Thinkpad T43p with Pentium M)

They are some of the computers that don’t need a USB dongle thingy (unlike our modern laptops) to communicate with our microcontrollers because they have both a hardware COM port and a hardware LPT port.
Mainly for that. If we have a failed board or some sort (for example some kids might reverse polarity on the power pins and fry the onboard programmer) we would need one of the dinosaur computers. CSR bluetooth chips, too.
They (tech) put windows 7 on them. I was surprised since those machines don’t have much RAM, so the Windows Xp should be the (default) choice.

It’s really a … well, yeah. Because if you think about it, a microcontroller (a.k.a. mini all-in-one computer) is usually deployed in an “industrial” environment (e.g., in a touchscreen ice cream machine, or a dishwasher). They don’t really need the ability to interface with a computer (over USB).

So while I am all over Arduino leonardo or the Arduino Due for their direct-USB capability (so it can be programmed to be different USB devices, like a game controller), said capability isn’t needed if the intention is to put it in an ice cream machine (or a fridge). Hence the original board, Arduino Serial uses a Serial/COM port. As time goes on Serial/COM is faded away by Universal Serial Bus, and so a USB/Serial chip is put on the board and Arduino USB is born. The ATMega328p never have USB capability – in fact, the serial pin on the Uno (TX1,RX0) is connected to the USB to serial converter and used while programming because the 328p have only one serial for both programming and communication. More modern chips, as the ATMega32U4, have built-in USB capability, and the ARM3X8E have USB Host ability (in addition to the ability to act as a USB device)

CSR Bluetooth radio is somewhere in between, as the company seemingly went bankrupt or are …
Oh, they are bought by Qualcomm. ok. Maybe I should ask them for a Bluetooth module?
(being flooded by a massive wave of chips) Just what I was looking for.

It also had both a Expresscard and a PCMCIA slot. How nice.
I “stole” one of the broken units (in the “recycle” pile) that was stuck to a dock whose key was lost. I have to pry open the dock and poke at the internal mechanism (and have a big mess) to separate the two. Then I removed all the pins from the lock so it no longer locks and reassembled the dock. I also cleaned the computer to try to fix it but it turn out to be a malfunctioning South Bridge.
Who remember North Bridges and South Bridges? And Socketed (as a matter of fact, PGA sockets) mobile CPUs?

Seeing as you quoted me, I’ll jump in

I remember them, I own a much disassembled W500 that I dreamed of modding with a quad-core CPU and replacing the firmware with Coreboot

I found an aftermarket panel for it that upgraded the resolution to WUXGA (1980x1200) and slotted in USB 3.0 ports into the ExpressCard slot and changed the storage to SSD and added RAM. It may not have been pretty but overall she was functional, even with her crappy dual core CPU

I purchased the dock so I could add discrete graphics to the dock, not that it worked properly…ever

Honestly, I wouldn’t have been so dismissive of the Thinkpads your school uses if its for communicating with legacy hardware, I probably should have assumed that use case but ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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Unfortunately I have no idea what you are talking about. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yes. That is actually the No.1 reason for me purchasing SSDs, too.
Like I am aware that SSDs can only tolerate a fixed amount of write to it (like the 256GB Samsung Evo 860 is rated for 250TB of write), and as you approach that mark it is increasingly likely for it to immediately stop working and die. Hard drives have no such limit, but because it has a mechanically spinning disk, the bearings and motor can wear out and it may not spin properly. However, they are also very susceptible to shock.

It was grade 11 when I was sitting in physics class with my laptop lid closed. My friend next to me decided to gain interested in the laptop and attempt to flip it by one hand. The entire machine flipped off the desk and landed face flat onto the ground. Immediately I picked it up to try and hear the drive and … silence.

I asked him for a compensation ($15 for the price of notebook HDD), but because this demonstrated just how fragile they are, I decided to buy a Samsung 860 Evo SATA SSD (with no moving parts). It cost about $60, so I paid whatever that he is not covering.

I still think an HDD is good (especially the chonky 3.5 inch ones) if you have a desktop or a very sturdy dock/bay that is strapped to the desk. They offer unlimited read/write within about 5 years. Slow, but cheap and recoverable.

I was going to get a PATA to SATA m.2 adapter for the T43p I recovered (also because I have a 128GB SATA m.2 lying around), but as the story would have continued, the South Bridge is ded. :frowning:
I wasted about 25 hours on that thing within about two weeks. Not very wise for a college student.

The old IBM thinkpads are really good. They are built very durably (thicc aluminum chassis), have lots of ports, doesn’t have excellent performance but cooling is never an issue, and absolute massive modularity. My mom still rock one of the 11-inch T series from like mid 2015.

They say IBM took the inspiration from Japanese Bento boxes (a.k.a. lunchboxes). Which might suggest their relative extreme take on making every face flat, but I’m not complaining.

The new Lenovos Thinkpads (2016+, at least the comparable consumer models) are absolute trash. They are a complete waste of magnesium, silicon, gold, lithium, copper, and whatever that goes into them. They don’t even have RAM slots. To their credit, they did beef up the enterprise-level management section and retain the option for RFID card readers, but the rest is just … ugh.

Yes, they are still functional laptops with decent quality components (no longer excellent), but they are no longer compelling to even something like, say, Dell XPS 15. Let alone Latitude.

That explains why my father’s Hospital transitioned to Dell stations around a year or ago (around when MS they made Windows 7 obsolete, so perhaps the guard on OEM keys are loose and probably mean they can get them for cheap). They obviously were using ThinkCenters, but that ends there.


You might have known of the T500 instead, it was essentially the same computer but without the discrete graphics.

I agree that they are good for durability (magnesium chassis actually I think) and exceedingly repairable, and honestly, with the RAM that I had and an SSD, not too shabby for common tasks like word processing and web browsing and since I had a Blu-ray drive and USB 3.0, I wasn’t hurting for reasonably modern I/O.

If I had managed to mod it to a quad-core mobile CPU, it probably would still hold up reasonably well today. Excluding the fact that it weighed an absolute ton and had kinda meh battery life.

Eventually I will complete the project, if only to rid myself of the various parts kicking around in a box I have.

Only in storage amounts above 2-4TB and if you have serious data storage needs, otherwise SSDs just make more sense for the noise reduction, power-savings, improved reliability and performanc.

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My mom wanted a small machine. My dad is somewhere in between and, after using this 15-inch Hp dw-1083wm netbook I REALLY wanted a 15 inch. Especially since I can actually use the performance (e.g., CAD while screen share, video games, compiling programs).
I didn’t care about weight (basically, at all). My father will complain if it weigh heavier than a 13 inch + phone, and my mom will complain about everything not being able to fit insider her bag.

Is it just me or has Dell actually improved? I remember their Optiplex (and those sort) being built well but not very fast, while if you look at recent models (especially laptop) they are actually performant.
Although their laptop seem to be pretty good from the get-go. I remember my family had two 13-inch from the 2000s that have gargantuan docks that house a floppy drive and a CD drive. Studio XPS from 2007(?) is also pretty good.

As mentioned above, due to a broken south bridge it cannot go beyond this … “splashscreen”-esque thing

Definitely not, it’s just that we’re hitting the ceiling on how fast a home computer can realistically be, so there’s not as much gradient between high end and low end as there was in 2000. Dells are still made terribly, entirely proprietary, and they’ve been trying to sneak in extra charges whenever you buy one from them directly. IIRC, one of them was a monthly insurance subscription.

For laptops, I don’t think it is a big problem. However, I have watched a few reviews (and teardowns) on Dell desktop models and that to me is a bit of “too proprietary”.

The built-in software/bundle is very cluttered and borderline unusable, but you can just wipe drive and do a clean install. Same goes with the bundles/insurance you get when you config your machine(s) online. However, they do pack a bit more feature than small manufactures, and at least their build quality is quite good.

I feel like it’s not just Dell. The entire industry seem to be shifting to producing more proprietary, integrated and lockdown devices. Apple, Hp, Lenovo … Toshiba(?)
Back in 2000s you can easily swap out any parts of, well, even Macbooks. Nowadays Dell and Hp feature devices with soldered RAM.

I like their BIOS. Multilingual, clean, extensive input support and plenty of configs.

Framework is a welcoming change, although there is no variety. Perhaps the company can grow and expand its product portfolio to get more customers.

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Yeah, I had desktops in mind writing that out. And this is a bit of a who cares, but Dell gets pretty bad marks in my view because both my Optiplex GX1 and my friend’s Dimension 2400 have PCI only, no AGP. The GX1, sure, it was a spreadsheet maker from April 1999, but the Dimension 2400 is from 2003, and it uses a bus that bottlenecks an FX series card.

Hey, as someone that owns and maintains a PowerBook G4 as a daily driver, I’m well acquainted – picked mine up and it didn’t have a hard drive, so I shoved an SSD inside it and it runs great now. I also got 2GB of DDR2 for it, but it already had all 2GB filled. Something I know is possible and have seen but haven’t (yet) done is desoldering the MPC7447A and replacing it with a -48 for the cooler temps (and maybe a tiny overclock – wouldn’t hurt, people have had theirs running stable with a ~190MHz bus. At 10x multiplier, that equates to “wow, that’s fast”). If only they had used a 7457 instead! A 1.6GHz -57 can be faster than a 2GHz -48 in some things due to the 2MB of L3 cache, something entirely absent from the -4x line.

Ultrabooks aren’t my jam really, ironic since I own so many Macs. I do love the 3:2 aspect ratio though, I wish there was a bit of a beefier laptop with the ratio. Even if they only made it big enough to fit the current mainboard, a buckling sleeve keyboard, and a bigger (double height?) battery. I do hear plenty of good things about the current keyboard, at least.

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Man, I remember those days. Had a black MacBook… C2D. RAM, SSD, battery.

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Remember back when Dell had their Studio XPS lineup (well, laptops at least)
Every single one of them is absolutely schiz and seem to be massively overengineered. Some slightly careful handling and light maintainance and they will chug for well over a few years.

Then 2012 came and Dell launched the XPS 13 L321X. My dad got his, and broke the charging port. In 2019 I replaced the charging port and used it for 2 more years, and now its in a display cabinet. Probably still operational, just need to fire it up.

The Smart PC 200D (a.k.a. Optiplex 200D) is my family’s computer, after 2 Dell laptops (I believe they are inspiron 300 or something, around year 2000). I remember breaking it a few times, although as recent as year 2021 I have put Win2K on it and play Solitaire, although the graphics card driver is … well, gone and I broke a RAM slot.
My Last Dell is the XPS 9360. I fried it (it was totally not Dell’s fault; its the most beautiful/versatile machine I have ever seen, although it does run very very hot), and now its sitting on a shelf. Really sad, since a MB swap cost $500.

So yeah I don’t really like Ultrabooks because they just let the CPU go to 100 degrees even if the fan ramp up to 110%. And you just can’t fit a RAM slot inside. Even though all I had are ultrabooks.
I need a walk-in store to experience/test some 15 inch machines, but uh, “we don’t have time for that”.

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Decided to re-visit the IBM SK-8809 keyboard again for typing my essay.
[insert picture of keyboard]

It’s in extremely bad shape. A and E key is worn down to the silkscreen (the ink part of letters) yet are still standing. Numpad keys are a bit sticky due to wear.
But it just look like amazing. It look like productivity and professional. High profile keys also prevent you from “slide-key” typing which puts greater emphasis on individual keystroke, although it does not make you a better writer by and of itself.
The cable however is/has been cut by a [_] person, so I “borrowed” one from a IBM SK-8808 receiver. They used the same pitch on the internal connector, so I just uh …well, swapped them over.

Yeah I am not sure about an upgrade actually. Like, I definitely need one. Pentium 6405U is really not cutting it, but at the same time everything feel just kind of overpriced. Framework is 13-inch as well.
Aspect ratio is kind of less important for this matter. I just want a low enough ppi to be able to see things clearly, but at the same time have reasonable real screen estate. Havine a 3K 13 inch and have the interface scaling at 250% is just literally wasting pixels. You don’t even need them to look pretty.
(tries to compare a 15 inch 1366x768 and a 13 inch 1680x1920)
I think a 1440p 15 inch will suit me perfectly. although a 1080p wont be bad, either. It’s definitely not plentiful, but it isn’t really lacking any, either.
Yeah. I dislike anti-aliasing and I turn off ClearType. I like clean pixels like a 2000s weirdo.
(spell check redline weirdo)
Weirdo is totally a word. It’s not even that new.

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Yep. I’d snatch up a 15.2" 2880x1920 Framewoek without hesitation even if it was $200 more, $250 even. The 15" size is just so perfect for laptops. I’m sure 13.5" has its place, and I do like it (or rather, 13.3" 16:10 on my MacBook2,1) for working at restaurants or something.

What kind of workflow is it not holding up for? If my GPU weren’t potentially dying on me, I feel like my C2D T7400 would be more than enough for light uae.

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It’s kind of … it’s expensive and cheap at the same time (?)
$1100 for the i7-1260p. $1300 for a 15 inch, eeh …
And this is with like, no RAM or storage, either. Not that I need them in the first place, but consider I would otherwise have to purchase them later, this is kind of pricy. Like, you can get complete systems (with similar specs) with that kind of money. Although, you can swap out the mainboard, but the problem is there is …
If I can replace my main board 5 years from now, sure. I think it’s a worthy investment. But we don’t have a 15 inch yet, so :confused:
Also, with a 2-year-old company I would not place a 5 year bet. Although so far they have been doing quite well, so at least that part is covered.

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My PowerBook G4 waa $1999 ($3033 adj.) at launch, $1300 isn’t bad – and I hear from basically everywhere that the i7s thermal throttle and aren’t worth it over the i5s. With that in mind, an eBay special i5 right now would be $960, and $1160 to $1210 for a 15" at a $200-$250 price jump. Decent enough pricing; Surface Laptop 4 15" can get up past $2,000 for a 32GB/1TB one. I’d consider it worth it personally.

oh. even the 1260?
I know the 1280 def won’t perform the best consider its like, even higher clock and less efficient. I just want the 1260 for the more graphic cores(?).
Although I think regardless of that the 1260 will still win against the 1240 in a drag race even if it throttles (because the only way to create more heat is to clock more transistors higher). Although by the performance chart framework released it’s not very significant.
Therefore I asked if anyone have tried Wargaming’s benchmark test

Well, that’s an Apple product.


It might be worth it in that case if you know you need every GPU core you can get, but in terms of the CPU, it only gets optimistically a 5-7% increase in multicore, maybe 10% in single core, and can even be slower. I’d throw the money into an eGPU enclosure and an RX Vega 64 or 5700 XT unless your situation demands those cores be as mobile as possible.

The problem is an enclosure is $200-$300 to boot, and this is even without graphic cards in it. Granted, it’s much more flexible (for the card) and powerful (compared to any integrated), but I don’t have a desktop (ever) and it’s not truly portable.

I wanted a Vega 56. I wanted to try it 3 years ago. Still could not justify it, since I don’t need the best graphics performance. I just want better graphics.
Wargaming’s test is just … to help validate if the $300 extra is worth it. It probably won’t. Or it might. And I happen to play that game.

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I wonder if undervolting might help a little? It’s officially not allowed, but you have options. Or, at least, you did in the 10th gen. Might still work in the 12th, but I don’t have a Framework to test it with.
Or maybe not, it definitely won’t work that way but I don’t know if the chips are physically incapable of undervolting or just locked out of it in firmware.