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ThinkPad Mods, Done Right (thinkmods.store)
217 points by lelf 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments

That's a slightly odd name for a store with only one product. Hope to see more in the future:)

I agree!

It would be awesome to see more stuff like:

- BIOS with core/libreboot[0]

- mainboard replacement (e.g. to support USB 3) [1]

- better screens [2]

- something to deal with that awful touchpad

There is already people out there doing it and clearly TP's are some of the most used laptops on this planet for a reason so there is a market.

[0]: https://libreboot.org/docs/hardware/x200.html [1]: http://panacek.net/post/frankenpad_x225/ [2]: https://hackaday.com/2019/02/21/hack-a-thinkpad-display/

Don't get me wrong, I really want all those things. So much so that I actually spent a hefty sum on my current TP (X1 Yoga '3rd', 2018) to get all those things 'guaranteed' now and option for later (I'm not much of a hardware tinkerer, but I could already see 2028 and me tweaking it up).

That being said,

I think it's still a small market. All of TPs I mean, new, used & yet to come (I've got a solid theory that ThinkPads may outlast the heat death of the universe, paper coming soon(tm) ). Seriously, the reason is that the used market is precisely interesting because it's cheap (it's almost a commodity market at that point) whereas the new market is becoming niche like all laptops, like desktops before — think that, for all their glory, GPUs only sell in the single-digit millions to consumers per year — no wonder the juice for these lies in enterprise.

So I think you've got room for maybe a few small businesses, small custom shops of a single to few employees, shipping worldwide of course (and I'm not a logistics expert but this is the kind of space where ideally you really want to 'shopify' directly from factory to customer because each cent will be hard fought for). Most of what people use to tweak TPs is already cheap as hell on Aliexpress or eq.

I wish it weren't so. Please tell me I''m wrong about this.

I feel like there's room for a couple of hobbyists to design and manufacture niche mods, as you've suggested. We've already seen it take off with Nitrocaster, and I think there's still room for a few more.

My hope with ThinkMods is that I can offset the overall cost of the brand by having a number of different mods; creating a store where you might pay slightly more than Aliexpress knockoffs, but you get a reliable mod shipped quickly to your door without worrying about returns, or if it'll even work.

I also want to be the first to design new mods. There will only be Aliexpress knock-offs of existing mods. ThinkMods will always have the newest and most innovative, with the service to back it up - and I will always do my best to keep costs down.

Well, you sound like you've really got the ideal approach, just about the best business model IMHO for that kind of endeavor. Hope it goes really well.

I would just encourage you to allow yourself to make enough margin to not just keep the business afloat but grow it — notably to fuel your apparent desire to design great things, enforce great QA, etc. These things have a cost, that people are willing to pay for as you suggest, and it is always a disservice to everyone to undervalue one's work. ;-)

So, seeing as how your heart is in the right place — go TPs! — rest assured you won't overcharge any time soon. People will tell you if that day ever comes. :wink again:

Have a great one, and thanks for the awesome initiative. Best of courage and success to you!

The new models including the one you bought are not really much of the original TP anymore.

There is still people who love the old one's because of the excellent keyboard and the tough shell while the new models have bad keyboards and a really fragile shell (it just does not feel sturdy anymore).

Maybe the market is not big but I said it is there and not how far you will be able to scale that. Probably enough for a bunch of people to become millionaires.

I switched away from TP after my last model from 2006 was not modern enough for my taste anymore and I didn't have the time to upgrade it myself. Without USB3 and limited because of the CPU it is not an option for me anymore and I would have loved to let a company upgrade it so I can use it 10+ years to come.

And there is still an x200 that I will keep for some x-mas tinkering time to try the libreboot-mod myself.

After all I would be very glad if I could find an x201s some day and mod it / let it be modded by a company so it is not only usable to do some retro stuff but actually useful in the modern times.

The logistics will only get cheaper, faster and more secure and I would not see it as a problem. At the moment we see AMZN pushing into the market while China builds it's "Belt and Road" project. All of these developments will have a positive effect on logistics for consumers and vendors probably.

The hardware for mods may be cheap but you have to add the working hours you need to achieve a mod. Of course it may be reduced by experience.

I often think about doing things like: Is it worth the (cheap) money AND my time?

Sometimes I do it though it is (more) expensive because I also learn a lot but other times I am in a hurry and already stressed enough and would prefer to outsource this kind of work. Especially in the field of customizing (electronics) there is a lot of market share for (small?) companies to be earned.

Something like the X62, but with more updates

Here[0] is an interesting article of someone who got the x62 and then upgraded to the x210.

He bought it from 51NB (China) and exactly describes how the buying process including returns and repairs could be improved upon by locating stores/branches in other regions of the world as well.

If you would scale this endeavor all kinds of mods can be thought of and I see no problem to choose the one's you want to have. Think of a configuration app that let's you choose a model/chassis and then configure the TP the way you want.

I am sure it will be a great success and also more people will want some of these when they see how lousy their HP, Acer,... (up to and including new Lenovo) laptops are built in comparison. Climate debate will also lead to more people trying to get used electronics because it is more sustainable.

[0]: https://geoff.greer.fm/2019/03/04/thinkpad-x210/

Absolutely. What I'd really love to see is a way to put their non-chicklet keyboard in more modern bodies. That's essentially what the anniversary model, the Thinkpad 25 was.

I’m still upset that the 25 had a 16:9 display.

It's really not that big of a deal, honestly. My biggest gripe with the T25 is definitely the display, but not because of the aspect ratio... The damn thing is 220nit. It's crazy dim.

It's also just an express card nvme controller/adapter that would work in all sorts of laptops. I had a T60, and am pretty sure I switched it to an SSD by the time I was done with it. It's not quite as fast, but 1TB SATA hard drives are very available, so I assume anyone who wants an SSD in one of those laptops already added it.

Seems that's the plan - see the "What's planned for the future of ThinkMods?" section on the Indiegogo page.

I wouldn't have come up with a brand if I was only planning on making a single product!

To dead comment...nobody really wants those in this community.

~2012 models are most popular - too many compromises in one direction or another when you get newer.

Nicely looking idea. Not sure about the benefit though. SSD can be fitted in ThinkPad in several ways already 1) swap internal HDD 2) use the optical drivebay, needs a caddy 3) attach M2 SSD instead of WWAN card (this option is slower) 4) attach externally via eSATA (with adapter cable)

All of the options above are bootable (not sure about eSATA, but can test).

One more option is nice, of course, though not sure that booting off ExpressCard SSD could be directly supported by the BIOS.

In my experience, the most demanded mod was HDMI adapter for DisplayPort, just to attach an occasional larger screen/TV.

This hooks directly to the PCIe bus, so you can boot from an NVMe drive on 2008-2013 era ThinkPads that have no other PCIe exposed. The internal HDD/optical/WWAN M2 interfaces are all SATA-only.

Yes, its slower than ordinary SATA 3.0. Testing similar converters on T410 yielded <200MB/s from fast SSD. In theory on something like x230 you have 1x Pcie 2.0 = 500MB/s, while SATA 3 is 600MB/s.

Those older ThinkPads predate M.2 standard and since M.2 is longer than mSATA/mPCIe they simply don’t fit in case they needed a PCIe based storage.

> M.2 is longer than mSATA

There are 42mm long M.2 drives and as all M.2 cards, they are 2mm wide. The largest 2242 SATA drives are 1TB from such reputable brands as Kingspec and Dogfish and I strongly recommend avoiding them like the plague. I'd stick with the Transcend MTS 430S at 512GB, it's the first SSD in such a size with a DRAM cache, launched last year. (At least the first retail, no idea what goes on with industrial SSDs.)

Full height Mini PCIe cards are 30×50.95 mm. You can indeed buy an msata to 2242 adapter and it's cheap as dirt because it is completely passive, just the PCB with the right edge connector with the M.2 key B connector mounted on top. Zero electronics necessary. It's just SATA.

For the sake of completeness, I must note some newer 2242 drives are key M / NVMe / PCI Express and I haven't seen such an adapter yet. The Sabrent 2TB Rocket is the largest 2242 SSD I am aware of and it's key M.

> Nicely looking idea. Not sure about the benefit though.

The ExpressCard slot on my x230 is completely unused ever since. But storage... Oh boy, I always need more storage.

It would be nice to know what material/process is used to make the plastic(?) enclosure. Given that the funding goal is $1400 / $1600, I'm assuming it's 3d printed rather than injection molded, but maybe they were able to get a standard part?

Otherwise, this appears to be a (rare) good example of a well-planned crowdfunding campaign. The actual design is either completely or almost completely de-risked via one or more prototypes. Both the funding goal and anticipated timeline appear reasonable, and make it clear that the funds are being used for production rather than for development. Number of reward items in each category is capped so that sudden unexpected popularity doesn't doom the project.

It will be 3d printed, but I'll be using a higher quality ABS filament, and finishing each one nicely. If you know what to look for, you'll be able to tell it was 3d printed, but nobody will notice it sitting inside your machine.

>make it clear that the funds are being used for production rather than for development

Well, that was true until now! The catch is that all "profits" will go towards development of future mods. The existing Expresscard adapter is pretty much fully thought-out.

The perk limits were set for a 100-unit production run. I'm okay exceeding that, and will be increasing the first run to 200 units, but that's probably going to be my cutoff in terms of the campaign. After the campaign I'll be selling them perpetually at the ThinkMods store.

I don't think it's a commercial part - if you look closely at the photo of the first prototype, the left side of the sled shows some distinct lines that look like FDM layers.

It also seems like the maker is producing these in small batches in his home lab, so 3D printing makes sense. That said, the CAD model of v2 seems to show some kind of ejector or retention mechanism (in green, again on the left) which could be tricky to print reliably.

A lot of people are integrating FDM or other AM techniques into their production, so it doesn't meant it will be home-produced. You can order small batches from Stratasys, 3D Systems or any of the other big manufacturers and you get reliable parts with good tolerances and post-treatment etc., without committing to with injection molding.

That's true! I think next-gen manufacturing is actually one of the most interesting areas of research going right now.

In this case, though, I meant commercial part more like "generic component that you could buy from fifty random aliexpress suppliers" rather than simply "part produced commercially."

I agree! It's a very interesting new world. And now I get what you meant. I think the best term for that is COTS (commercial off-the-shelf).

Yes, the very first prototype was a fairly poorly-produced FDM. The actual 3d model was high quality, but my brother just got it printed at his college's maker space, by someone who didn't really care to make it look good. It was just meant to be a functional sled.

I will be fine-tuning the final part to look and feel a lot better.

Until recently I was planning to just order them from 3dhubs, since it has decent per-unit pricing for bulk orders, but now I'm going to be buying a printer and doing them myself. This will allow me to print whatever chassis is needed, make revisions whenever needed, and also make it far easier to prototype future mods.

Seems like it could be CNC’d from a solid block.

The ejection mechanism looks off-the-shelf.

I've been using laptops now for 28 years.

I can't think of a more rugged, long-lasting, and well-performing laptop than the Thinkpad series.

As a result, I can see this product being a total hit. Most of my students buy used Thinkpads because they're inexpensive and easy to upgrade, so I'm going to show them this link!

The trackpoint is way beyond anything else ergonomically on a laptop. The hands never leaves the typing position. When correctly calibrated, it's controlled only by applying varying pressure. I've yet to find anything that works as good.

For those of us who find chiclet style keys a step in the wrong direction, and maybe even prefer matte displays to glossy, older Thinkpads is pretty much the pinnacle of laptops as a productivity tool.

I really need a new laptop, my old t410s is falling to bits. I'd love to get a new thinkpad but since they changed they keyboards about 2012ish I'm been procrastinating.

>> The hands never leaves the typing position.

I can use the touchpad with my thumb without moving my hands as well.

my main reason to continue using the thinkpad. the trackpoint is something i cant give up at this point

I’m typing this reply on a T490. It ain’t your parents Thinkpad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice but I’d be surprised if it lasts me longer than an XPS or equivalent would.

Opening it up to add more memory and larger SSD was nerve racking. I was worried I might snap the tabs on the “glass fiber” shell. Better than an Inspiron or Pavilion but not confidence inspiring. I don’t look forward to replacing the battery in a couple years.

Yes, sadly they are becoming average computers and loosing their original ThinkPad ethos.

Most are no longer so easy to service and come with soldered components. Cooling systems tend to be mediocre. Noisy and can no longer be tweaked. ThinkLight is gone. Keyboards with big ESC and some important dedicated keys are gone, etc.

I wish they brought back machines like the x220 with modern internals and silent cooling.

The T420 was the last "IBM-feeling" ThinkPad in terms of design, while the T430 was the last competent machine of that generation, only having a few drawbacks while adding many benefits over its predecessor.

The similar thing happened again with the T470 and T480; the T470 is a fantastic machine when it comes to overall build, and the T480 has a few downsides but adds a much-needed spec increase (WQHD panels, 4-core CPUs) without too much drawback.

The T490 was a complete revamp and seriously sacrifices everything that made the T series respectable.

Yeah, I have three thinkpads t450s, w540, and a P50. They are amazing, I put 64gb of ram in the P50, 32gb into the w540. Put 3 ssds into the w540 and 2 into the t450s. I bought them all on ebay used. Never been happier.

Panasonic toughbooks? Some are so rugged, they're uncomfortable, but others are only semi-rugged and they're pretty nice.

Weird kbd layout

Does that "51nb" Chinese company still make modded Thinkpads?

I bought their "51nb X62" model Thinkpad a few years back from an eBay user, though unfortunately it eventually died.

It was a motherboard replacement of the old Thinkpad X60 from many years ago. Replacing the old single core CPU with an Intel Broadwell era i5 and up to 32 gigs of memory

You could also install an M.2 SSD in it I believe. Along with USB 3 and other useful new features

Someone affiliated with 51nb just hacked the T480 embedded firmware to make proper use of the T25 keyboard. https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/ewtm36/perfect_t4...

Semi related, but has anyone used the T420's ExpressCard port for USB3 expansion?

I bought a USB3 card [0], but the write speed is only barely faster than USB2 for flash media. (interestingly, the write speed is much faster when uploading an image to my FPGA dev board)

[0] https://www.amazon.com/ExpressCard-34mm-Adapter-Dual-Port/dp...

By flash media do you mean memory cards or SSDs? Because that will be a big difference. The issue might not be the pcie USB adapter, and may be whatever it’s connected to. A cheap usb mass storage chip is not going to perform as well as a uas capable chip.

I did, it runs way too warm.

I am a bit afraid this mod will have the same problem.

Instead of plastic, it would be better to use a material that can conduct heat.

The reason that those USB adapters get hot is because they have to actively convert 3.3V to 5V. That's an inefficient process and it's what causes excess heat.

My mod doesn't have that problem, so the only heat generated will be from the drives themselves, which don't put out much.

I'm afraid the 2242 requirement makes this much less of a slam dunk than it should be. Last time I looked for one, only the Toshibas were available as 2242 NVMe drives. (Many more similarly-sized drives are available, but they use SATA which won't work with this adapter.)

I've been looking for an upgrade to my 2242 PCIe drive but they rarely appear, and usually by the time I find one you can't actually order it anymore.


Be careful: this is key M and it's not unlikely you have a key B slot. The largest key B 2242 drive is, on paper at least is https://paypaymall.yahoo.co.jp/store/etrend-y/item/1194784/ but I have never seen it being in stock after it launched (?) last year. Otherwise, the SN520 is the largest obtainable at 512GB. https://geizhals.eu/western-digital-pc-sn520-nvme-ssd-512gb-...

It's a major upgrade, if your best storage is currently SATA 2; even if you have to select a relatively obscure SSD manufacturer.

No doubt. I'm not questioning the value... even one lane is better than SATA2... just the ability to actually get hands on a part that fits into this adapter.

I think the mod would be much better if there were a way to have it protrude out of the laptop with a 2280 form factor drive, so that more parts would be usable in it.

Which Thinkpad would that be? The switch over to SATA 3 happened between T410 and T420, coincidentally thats the same time they switched from Gen1 (PCIe 1.1, 2.5Gbps) to Gen2 (PCIe 2.0, 5Gbps). SATA 2/3 is faster than single lane of PCIe 1.1/2.0.

example test on T410 https://pt.aliexpress.com/item/32260935657.html 180MB/s max read out of a drive easily reaching 600MB/s in normal circumstances https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/6961/plextor-m6e-black-edi...

TLDR: its ALWAYS inferior to simply using SATA drive in HDD slot.

I forgot about the ExpressCard being one lane of PCIe; what a waste. ExpressCard seems extra silly since it was often available on machines with USB 2.0, which was faster than PCIe 1 1x. No wonder it never took off for most.

Single lane of pcie 2.0 is over 14x faster than usb 2.0 (realistic 35 MB/s in optimal circumstances), pcie 1.0 is still >7x faster.

This, the 480Mbit/s rating for USB 2.0 is bits, not bytes. USB2 theoretically caps out at 80MB/s (realistically much much lower) whereas even PCI-E 1.1 can hit 250MB/s (2.5Gbit/s before 8b/10b encoding overhead) in a single lane.

Why did people buy these? I just have a 2.5" SSD in mine and RAM has always been the bottleneck. A cool project from a technical perspective IMO.

Because some of us enjoy having software raid setups in a laptop!

This will allow raid10 setup with 3 drives for best read performance, e.g. "--level=10 --layout=f3"

You can also do the o3 if you want best write performance

Given it's limited to SATA3 speeds, why not just replace the internal hdd with a SATA3 SSD? My X260 is very happy with a 2tb Samsung drive. I suppose this would be lighter, but we are talking about 50g of extra weight for a 2.5" SSD.

Some of the future mods though look very cool. I particularly would like the Unifying Mod & WHQD mods.

Is it actually limited to Sata 3 speeds? Assuming ExpressCard can at least get you a PCI Express 2.0 lane I’d expect it to be at least a couple hundred MB/s faster at least theoretically. Also I assume NVMe’s long command queue really benefits SSD performance for random access, so I suspect it may even be worth it just for the interface...

The PCIe 2.0 standard doubles the transfer rate compared with PCIe 1.0 to 5 GT/s and the per-lane throughput rises from 250 MB/s to 500 MB/s.

So it's actually less than SATA 3 speeds (600MB/s)

The intention isn't to be faster than the internal bay, it's to add another drive to machines with limited drive support. For instance, X230 only has a single SATA3 drive accessible. You can add an mSATA, but they don't come in very large capacities and the mSATA slot is limited to SATA2. This mod adds a third drive, one that goes up to 2TB at ~SATA3 speeds. So, depending on the model, it can either be a nice addition or a huge addition.

Wouldn’t you get some (minor?) battery life improvements from swapping out the spinning 2.5” with an SSD?

It's not SATA, it's NVMe.

And vintage ThinkPad enthusiasts are not typically concerned about weight unless they're going for "more is better".

its pcie 2.0, slower than sata3

500 vs 560 MB/s, but more efficient... it's a tossup IMO.

Unrelated story. Back in the day, I got myself a T510. It was a tinkerer's dream - heck, I even learned how to hand-solder SMD on it.

Besides the standard mods (swapping the screen and upgrading to the W-series heatsink), I noticed that there was a spare spot on the PCB that looked like it was made for some component. Looking up the teardown of the more professional variant, turns out that it was missing a connector for a mini-PCIE slot. An ebay hunt and hours with a soldering iron later, I had a seemingly-working miniPCIe slot. Didn't really have a use for it though, other than bragging rights.

I eventually killed that laptop by bricking the BIOS, and then ruining the motherboard while trying to resolder the SPI BIOS chip.

Now, I have a 701CS lying around. Been trying to find the right hardware to restomod it.

>An ebay hunt and hours with a soldering iron later, I had a seemingly-working miniPCIe slot. Didn't really have a use for it though, other than bragging rights.

T440p supports this as well! It has a secret third M.2 2280 B-key slot with SATA3 lanes going to it.

God I love my ThinkPads! going to order two tonight.

Is there really a market for modding a 7+ year old laptop? I know thinkpads used to be great (And some still are), but, I just don't get the point in trying to give more life to something so so old - most likely ~3rd-4th gen intel.

Apparently there was enough market interest to reach the funding goal in 24 hours.

As a 7 year old Thinkpad user: 4th generation Core is absolutely fine for me. I can get a refurbished and kitted out replacement for some 200 euros. I could upgrade the RAM from 8G to 16G, but in my daily use I've seen no concrete reason to do so yet. SSD is great, though. Maybe I spend a few more minutes compiling software on this machine than I would on a more recent laptop, but I'm not losing sleep over it.

I can see why you'd want something more out of, say, a gaming PC or something you use for resource intensive analysis applications, machine learning etc. but getting a laptop for that seems like a waste of money to me, compared to getting a desktop computer that you can upgrade incrementally.

I'm interested, though. What is it that people do where you feel that your laptop needs to be more powerful than this?

If it's a ThinkPad? Absolutely. Many people are drowning in outdated ThinkPads, because you can ebay them for often sub-$100 prices.

The third-gen Intel processors were the last ones that came in M (mobile) rather than U (ultra low power?) versions, resulting in performance that is still competitive [1] with the sort of 8th-gen U processors that are found in similar laptops, at the expense of battery endurance. (The U-only 4th gen was actually a big step back in performance [2], resulting in those laptops being a bit of a joke as an upgrade path.)

More importantly, they are the most recent laptops that you can fit with non-chiclet keyboards.

[1] https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-8550U-vs... [2] https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-4550U-vs...

I'd be happy to buy a replacement battery for my X220 from a non-sketchy source if I knew it had new, matched cells and wasn't going to explode.

If you have sources for X61 batteries tell me!

I left a good one in it while docked but unplugged, the dock apparently killed the battery.

I'm pondering whether changing the 16550 cells make senses

Most definitely. I am typing this from my modded T430 and its my primary machine. I'm not sure what I will get when it eventually dies, modern laptops really don't compare in terms of general physical strength, 'modability', keyboard, I/O etc

There is viable market (it has customers). But I would say it is just nostalgia. Some people even say it is not real ThinkPad unless it was made by IBM (pre 2006).

For me it's definitely not just nostalgia. I type this on my X220t, which was released in 2011; it hangs around my house as the general-browsing-and-social-media machine.

I love the keyboard and trackpoint, and older Thinkpads are rugged in a way that new models have apparently given up on. I bought the Thinkpad 25, which was basically a 2017 mid-range laptop with the old keyboard. It's adequate, but flimsier and less reliable.

I'm in the same boat, albeit with a bit newer W540. I've got Linux on it and it's my mobile machine for work when I'm on call, and travels with me when I head to the makerspace or other remote location. It works great, the keyboard is amazing, and I love how modular the entire laptop is. I have a second W540 as a parts machine just in case.

I have 2 t420 and 2 t420s at home. They're awesome - much much better keyboard with standard layout than any newer model (other than perhaps the retro t25).

I have more modern think pads as well but I plan to keep the t420's for a while. They're solid reliable expandable and great form factor :)

For a single laptop? Not usually, although the T430 and X230 have some device-specific mods that took off.

For the entire ThinkPad lineup spanning 5 generations? Oh yeah, definitely.

It's still one of the most recent Personal Computers that you can buy. Anything beyond Ivy Bridge, and you can't evict Intel's spyware!

I modified several ThinkPads to use the Wintec Expresscard SSD's back when they were still available. Although they weren't capable of great benchmark scores, they were way, way better than the 2.5" and 1.8" HDD's of the day (think 80GB)


I'd like to see the real prototype myself: those connectors on top of a PCB seem too thick to fit into an EC slot - but there have been SSDs made in that form factor.

Edit: nevermind, he found a thinner connector. I should've read the Indiegogo page before commenting :)

Other than that, this adapter would be great for any laptop with an ExpressCard slot. I can't believe no one's made one before. Kind of late now that new laptops don't have the port, though.

It was! I had to remove the entire ExpressCard cage on the X230 I was using for testing. However, as noted in your edit, I've since slimmed the drive down further. This is what it looks like now: https://i.imgur.com/A0XEkW5.png Perfectly fits the EC spec.

Are all Thinkpads with ExpressCard/54 supported?


I have an old X200 laying around and I was thinking of reactivating it, but it's from 2008..

According to this Reddit thread, it should be: https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/evtje2/its_finall...

Wouldn't you be better off installing a SATA SSD instead of limiting your nvme drive to expresscard speeds? Besides, if you've got an expresscard slot by far the best thing to put in it is a bluetooth mouse.

>the best thing to put in it is a bluetooth mouse

If you're talking about a dongle and not a mouse itself, I've got a mod coming for that too~

No, there are a series of folding Bluetooth mice that fit entirely inside Express card and PC card slots.

Does anyone know how to get in touch with the project founder? Kickstarter does not seem to provide any way. I would like a two pack, with one of each size, but right now you have to choose one or the other.

I thought you could just do two transactions?

The founder is on the https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad subreddit and discord, https://www.reddit.com/u/yttriumtyclief or Discord http://discord.gg/Ybdz7AS @yttrium.

Launch post on the subreddit a few days ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/evtje2/its_finall...

As the other reply noted, I can be reached through a lot of different means, but you can actually do what you're asking to do through Indiegogo! When you select the 2pack and go to the checkout, you can pick sizes individually. You can mix and match.

Can you run linux on it? Just want a dual boot win/linux portable, not necessarily latest.

Can an old Thinkpad run Linux? Is that the question? The answer is, definitely. Source: I have seven of them.

Forget Linux, you can run Plan9 and TempleOS on old ThinkPads!

Excellent idea!

With NVMe now a thing it feels as if the express card slot is ready for a comeback.

Would this have any real performance benefit over a traditional SSD?

Size, and I’m assuming speed but I don’t know anything about the express card interface so it might be slow.

Also if you just want to cram more drive in your laptop

Mentioned on the linked Indiegogo page¹:

What's the speed limit?

The ExpressCard slot is limited to a single PCI-E 2.0 lane. This means the real-world speed bottleneck is 500MB/s, which is roughly the speed of SATA 6Gb/s (SATA 3).

Pre-Sandy Bridge models (T410/X201 and older) are limited to PCI-E 1.1, which is roughly 250MB/s.


¹ — https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/thinkmods-expresscard-nvm...

It's just a single PCIe 2.0 lane. Pretty much the same bandwidth as SATA3

NVMe is somehow better in random access performance. Also ThinkPads before X240 has no space to accommodate M.2/NVMe as those machines predates the standard.

Personally I wish(ed) if there were 2.5” shaped GPU than SSD though

I don’t really know for sure but my intuition is NVMe can win in random access and latency because it has much larger command queues and typically multiple queues (so each CPU thread can have its own queue.)

does this (T410) look in any way worth it ? https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1adoQGVXXXXaxXFXXq6xXFXXX4/200...

A decent GPU in this format would be awesome! Especially since the X220 series can accomodate a 2.5' SSD as well as an m.2 SATA SSD already.

You can already connect external GPUs thru this interface on the X220.

You can but not on your lap

I doubt any time soon you will be able to fit a GPU (and power it!) thru a express card slot...

> A decent GPU in this format would be awesome!

Good luck with finding a decent GPU that small, let alone with power and thermal profile to support being in an expresscard slot.

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