Secondhand ThinkPad T60 Resurrection

It’s alive. It’s alive!

No, I’m not building a toyboy for my wife out of spare parts. I’m just resurrecting a ThinkPad T60 by installing Linux in a tradition that started in Bell Labs when Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, etc developed the original Unix on secondhand DEC gear.

All it took was a new battery, but I had also bought 3GB of RAM (max capacity on this model) and a 512GB solid-state storage device because since I couldn’t replace the twelve-year-old Core Duo processor, the best way to boost the machine’s performance was with more RAM and modern storage.

Now I just have get used to the keyboard. It has a pleasantly firm response – almost as clickety-clackety as a decent mechanical keyboard for a desktop machine. The 1680×1050 display is a welcome upgrade too; I was stuck on 1366×768 for entirely too long.

Of course, nothing is ever easy. The T60 wouldn’t boot with the 512MB SSD that I had bought for it, so I yanked the 1TB HDD out of my T430s, slotted it into the T60, and put the SSD into the T430s.

Now, the T430s has an old and busted battery that maxes out at about 66% of its original capacity, and switching to a SSD changed the estimated lifetime from 3.5 hours to 5.5 hours. I can only imagine what a SSD might do for the T60 and its brand-new battery.

Oh well. Maybe I’ll get a 1GB SSD the next time I can spare $130. In the meantime, I’ve got a nice solid machine on which to run OpenBSD once 6.5 releases.

Here’s a screenshot of the T60 in action, running Emacs. The 1680×1050 display is nice and comfy for multiplexed Emacs sessions.


Figure 1: Emacs 25.1 on MX Linux 18.1 with org-mode, ansi-term, and magit. 1680×1050 is a nice display for a working laptop.

Published by Matthew Graybosch

- a long-haired metalhead from New York who codes for a living and writes science fantasy on his lunch breaks.

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