IBM Thinkpad T61

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IBM Thinkpad T61 Overview


  • One of the following:
    • Intel Core 2 Duo (Merom) 1.8, 2.0, 2.2 or 2.4 GHz CPU
    • Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn) 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 GHz CPU
  • 512MB, 1GB or 2GB module PC2-5300 memory standard, 4GB max (Intel 945 chipset)
  • 14 and 15 inch laptops share the same model name using different chassis:
    • 14.1" TFT display with 1024x768 (rare) or 1400x1050 resolution (very rare)
    • 14.1" TFT widescreen display with 1280x800 or 1440x900 resolution
    • 15.4" TFT widescreen display with 1280x800, 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 resolution
  • Graphics adapters (one of the following):
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 (shared VRAM)
    • ATI Mobility Radeon X1300 (64MB dedicated VRAM)
    • ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 (128MB dedicated VRAM)
  • Intel HD Audio with AD1981HD codec
  • 60, 80, 80, 100, 120, 160GB 5400 or 7200rpm SATA HDD
  • Ultrabay Slim with DVD-ROM or DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo or DVD±RW
  • MiniPCI Express slot with one of the following:
   none (empty, WLAN upgradable)
   IBM (Atheros) 11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter
   IBM (Atheros) 11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter
   Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Mini-PCI Adapter
   Intel PRO/Wireless 4965ABG Mini-PCI Adapter
  • Proprietary internal connector for optional Bluetooth 2.0 module


  • Stereo speakers (downfiring only on non-widescreen models)
  • ExpressCard Slot
  • VGA Output (DVI, only on docking station)
  • IrDA (infrared) communication, Fingerprint reader (on some models)
  • 10.8V 5200mAh Li Ion rechargeable battery
  • 3xUSB 2.0, Dual PS/2, Parallel ports
  • 20V power supply (separate)
  • Windows XP, Vista, 7 support

IBM T60 14"

Best retro purpose

Mid Windows XP era gaming (DirectX 9 for ATI chipsets, DirectX 7-8 for Intel chipset) or as office computer. High resolution display models are not a good choice for a couple of reasons. First, since videocards are not powerful enough for 3D accelerated games in native resolution, performance is lacking. Secondly, the Windows XP GUI looks way too small in native resolution with no magnifying applied and if applied, looks odd due to Windows scaling issues. Moreover, high resolution screens are of the IPS type, using old technology that doesn't refresh fast enough, leaving noticeable trails on fast moving objects. Intel graphics models are cooler running than ATI ones but noticeably slower in 3D games. Windows Vista or 7 runs quite slow, mainly due to the graphics chipset. The safest choice, is a laptop equipped with an 1024x768 screen, preferably with an ATI chipset.


Durability and Repair-ability

Good plastic quality means that case cracks are less common than on other models but the model by itself is not immune. Removable and the fixed drive bay are easy to access and the case itself is easy to disassemble due to obvious markings on the laptop's underside as well as masking black tape placed on screws. Many generations (series) of laptops, such as the T60/T61 use the same easy to find screws, trackpads and buttons, keyboards, cooling systems are interchangeable while screens, palmrests, bezels are specific to laptops sizes.

The LCD screen's fluorescent backlight is easier to replace since there is plenty of space and a good design on the screen's casing and light dispersion system to accommodate newer and thinner lamps or thicker classic ones. LCD screens can be inter-changed to suit a specific native resolution requirement if the proper original cabling is available. Fans and the fan blades can be easily cleaned and bearings can be easily greased, providing long service life since fan casing stud mountings can be pried open and placed back again.

Greatest features & flaws

Features Flaws
Good contrast and colour gamut (last 4:3 screen laptops) Somewhat flimsy case frame on 15 inch widescreen models
Good speaker placement only on widescreen models Confusing lineup with models that can have wide or standard screen
Durable, comfortable trackpad and buttons, last stiff keyboard laptop model No DVI/HDMI output except on docking station
Good, somewhat quiet cooling system Annoying IBM/Lenovo BIOS limitation of approved Wifi cards


A mainstream, quite slim, moderately powerful, business laptop, released in 2006. It had an average mix of performance parts, with a better than average CPU (when using the Core 2 Duo option) but a somewhat lacking graphics module and more fragmentation, due to the similarly equipped Radeon X1300 and X1400 graphics chipsets and the lackluster Intel GPU also available for ordering.

The platform is centered on Windows XP compatibility, with DDR2 RAM and SATA but not yet a webcam, even if these features were available at that time on other manufacturers' laptops. Overall, there are very small changes between T43 and the previous T60 model in terms of graphics performance although some chassis changes are highly welcome. The trackpad is strongly improved, being more confortable and more reliable due to better buttons and sensitivity. Cooling is the most severe improvement, having an estimated 50-75% improvement in capacity and reduced noise at various fan speeds, mostly due to the requirement of handling faster CPUs. to feel very dated and slightly underpowered.

The LCD screen has slightly improved specifications in terms of response time, contrast. Higher resolution models are reasonably close in terms of performance compared with standard resolution ones, limiting the drawbacks compared with the T43 series. The choice of resolution depends mostly on the target OS, with the 1024x768 resolution better suited for Windows XP while the 1400x1050 resolution is better suited for Windows Vista and Seven. The 1600x1200 resolution is suited only for specific use cases. Screens can be easily replaced between similar models but the connector must also be replaced if using different T6x series displays. The widescreen variant is somewhat useless due to the lackluster graphics chipsets available not allowing good enough native resolution performance so they should be avoided. Also, some XP era games might not run or look great on widescreen displays. On the other side, the widescreen model has better audio capabilities due to a different speaker placement, on the top of the chassis, near the screen assembly.

It has a high performance CPU, especially in the Intel Core 2 Duo variant. The Intel Core Duo Cpu is quite a mixed bag as it does not support 64bit operating systems and it is quite slower than the Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, and slightly sluggish in certain cases (lower cache and latency performance). This makes the Core Solo option entirely unacceptable. The Intel video chipset is a very poor option as it does not support Hardware TnL or other capabilities, making it suitable for legacy gaming or application support. The CPU cooling is adequate for all CPU options. Higher performing models with ATI graphics require are only slightly noisier and warmer. The keyboard is quite durable but slightly less stiff and with a noticeable poorer quality feel. The slow decline in build quality becomes obvious on this last fully IBM developed laptop.

The removable drive bay can house an optical drive or a hard drive, if you can find a compatible caddy. The rechargeable battery can be easily removed or replaced. The BIOS and timekeeping battery is a standard CR2032 3V button cell.

The chasis was slightly larger than the T4x series but it is more rounded and even mor comfortable. The laptop's case is slightly less durable than the T4x series, but it holds up well to other durable laptops, while being lighter than the T4x series. The display hinges are overly engineered, with great durability. The integrated speakers are quite good, although their position, size and technology is not the best.

The standard HDDs supplied by Western Digital are reasonably fast and quite silent. The SATA drives offer a good performance boost compared with the T4x series PATA drives, while also supporting exotic, very fast, modern SSDs. No restriction is placed on HDD types. The only compatibility drawback is that only IBM branded or accepted wireless cards can be used.

Software support is good on Windows XP but slightly less polished for Windows Seven. This is somewhat obvious as drivers are actually released with full compatibility upto Windows Vista and the lackluster Intel video chipset is entirely unsuitable for the Windows 7 GUI acceleration requirements.