IBM Thinkpad T30

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IBM Thinkpad T30 Overview

Features

  • Intel Pentium 4-M 1.6, 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.2 or 2.4GHz CPU (socketed)
  • 256 module PC-2100 memory standard, 2GB max (Intel 845 chipset)
  • 14.1" TFT display with 1024x768 (TFT) or 1400x1050 resolution (TFT)
  • Graphics adapters (one of the following):
    • ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 (16MB dedicated VRAM)
  • Intel AC'97 Audio with AD1981B codec
  • 20, 40 or 60GB 5400rpm PATA HDD
  • Ultrabay Slim with DVD-ROM or DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo or DVD±RW
  • MiniPCI slot with one of the following:
   none (empty, WLAN upgradable)
   IBM High Rate Wireless LAN Mini-PCI Adapter with Modem II
   Cisco Aironet Wireless 802.11b
  • Proprietary internal connector for optional Bluetooth 1.0 module

Other

  • Stereo speakers (downfiring)
  • 2xPCMCIA Slots
  • VGA Output (DVI, only on docking station)
  • IrDA (infrared) communication, Fingerprint reader (on some models)
  • 10.8V 4800mAh Li Ion rechargeable battery
  • 2xUSB 2.0, Dual PS/2, Parallel ports
  • 16V power supply (separate)
  • Windows XP and Vista support (can presumably run Windows 7)

IBM T30 14.1"

Best retro purpose

Early Windows XP era gaming (DirectX 7-8 target) or as a quite low end office computer. High resolution display models are not a good choice for a couple of reasons. First, since most 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. Windows Vista or 7 runs very slow with the supplied CPU and GPU configuration so Windows 2000 and especially Windows 98 SE are very good choices.

The 3D game compatibility is quite low spanning only upto 2000, and Windows 98 SE compatibility along with Windows 3.1 (no acceleration, however, no DOS sound support), Radeon 7500 is quite well suited. If you want a very versatile system, the T42 with Radeon 7500 is the best choice out of the entire T40, T41, T42, T43 models. Of course, you have to accept some small texture quality issues due to the graphics chipset. The T30 with Radeon 7500 is quite a lacking system except for the previous IBM Thinkpad T23 series that only had low-end S3 Savage graphics with even worse 3D performance.

Benchmarks

No benchmarks were done as the system is not part of the collection and was personally experienced as a non-functioning machine.

Review

A mainstream, average, business laptop, released in 2001. It had a relatively average mix of performance parts with a quite serious bias towards Windows 98 compatibility. However, there are great performance gains between T40 and the previous T23 model in just about any respect except heat, noise and power consumption. The cooling system is improved, the screen has better contrast and the chassis looks a lot better, making the T30 model seem fine only compared to T23, as the rest of the further T40 line is better in just about any respect.

The LCD screen has quite good specifications but high resolution models are slightly dimmer overall and on the screen edges. Due to the medium quality screen resizing, running 1024x768 or lower resolutions on 1400x1050 screens looks quite blurry.

It has an mediocre CPU just because the Pentium 4 was a poor design in many ways. The battery life and power consumption values are slightly worse than on Pentium III models. The CPU does release quite a lot of heat compared with previous Pentium III models for only slight performance gains on higher clocked Pentium 4 models. The keyboard is durable and with good tactile feedback, basically unchanged on later T4x models. The trackpad buttons are not very durable even if the trackpad itself is so. The trackpoint and keyboard are at the level of the classic, renowed IBM quality.

The removable drive bay can house an optical drive or a hard drive, if you can find a compatible caddy. was a very poor choice, since the belt driven disk rotation fails after many years, compatible belts being harder to find unreliable. The rechargeable battery can be easily removed or replaced. The BIOS and timekeeping battery is a standard CR2032 3V button cell.

The chassis was slim, light, very comfortable, even thinner than later IBM or Lenovo models. The laptop's case is very durable, but plastic can still crack due to age or shocks. The display hinges are overly engineered, eternal. The integrated speakers are quite good, although their position, size and technology is not the best.

The standard HDDs supplied by Western Digital and Hitachi are reasonably fast and quite silent. The only drawback is that only IBM branded or accepted wireless cards can be used.

Software support is great in Windows XP and Windows 98, although you may prefer Windows 98 for better performance and compatibility, especially when the RAM size is aroun 256MB. It is entirely possible to dual-boot Windows 98 and Windows XP or Windows 2000 but there is no reason to choose Windows XP.

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