The hardware was the size of a candy bar. There was space for a big colorful sticker on the flat side. The insertion force had a very satisfying feeling. The all metal cases made them feel substantial and expensive.
Big, colorful, tactile. They were the vinyl albums of the PC world.
Of course now it is the USB port that is fragile instead, so when it breaks it requires a full mainboard replacement.
For example, instead of sourcing a stock of the increasingly hard to get DDR memory chips, time and money was spent on designing a completely new 3d printer based on new mechanics for printing the laptop parts.
No commercial printer was good enough and neither was any 3d printing service.
Due to the time spent on thimgs like this more and more parts went obsolete and manufacturing became harder.
Still waiting for my EOMA68-A20 card that runs Debian.
With USB 3.0+ though, it seems obvious why it may have died out when better connectors became available.
Damn thing can even take a sim card!
And of course there is eSATA on the back as well so you can theoretically have tons of drives running on their native bus.
(I also have a t25 as my main daily work and personal laptop, and couple of other thinkpads in various states of setup :).
The big problem was (save for the latter two connection methods) finding a way to route the PCIe signal cable from the bottom end of the laptop while keeping it in a sufficiently assembled and portable state.
Personally I have come to loathe all dongles on our super-slim nothing-included-noting-upgradable ultrabooks
It's got both an ExpressCard and a PCMCIA slot that I've struggled to come up with good uses for, and an NVMe drive might fit the bill. With that in place it'd have crazy storage capacity with the ExpressCard slot, two 2.5" bays (one of which is hotswap) and an SD card slot.
The thing is a real brick of a machine but it can't be faulted for lack of expandability.
Why not? It's just PCIe bus. The only things is what you wouldn't be able to boot from it and what Core 2 is too slow to seriously push any decent NVMe drive. But as a storage it would be just fine.
> I've been tricking out for no reason
It has a sane keyboard layout (with all the keys FFS!), clitoris with TouchPad, 4 USB ports and can be used as a self defense weapon if the need arises.
> I've struggled to come up with good uses
USB3 card is a nice thing to have but you will have a hard time finding one on in PCMCIA variant.
* Intel PM45 / ICH9M is too slow to seriously push any decent NVMe drive
Pre-integrated IO controller, so PCIe would have been coming off the southbridge, no?
Which looks like it's PCIe 1.1. Which would mean 4 GB/s max. (ceiling, assuming all of a 1x16 link gets linked up)
My own rig was on A64 X2 4200+ (with no less than 8Gb of RAM at any time) for years, with Vista since 2008. I don't remember when I migrated it to SSD (perhaps ~2012-2014?) but I noticed a great improvement in QoL, though it wasn't instant. Years later, somewhere around 2016 I "upgraded" to G2010 and despite everything else (well except DDR2 => DDR3) were the same (including OS and the system drive on that SSD) I noticed performance increase in both boot-up and everyday operations.
You still need a good IPC to actually push any meaningful amount of data.
While OP's T9400 is not Presscot bullshit it is still an ancient shrunk down Merom, ie just the firsts of the Core CPUs.
> Which would mean 4 GB/s max
And the memory is just 6.4GB/s max.
Still, in 2022 this is probably the simplest way to add a decent amount of fast storage for a such ancient machine.
Any idea why the Celerons gunked up so badly? Maybe single core blocking?
But Celerons are shit anyway, couple of weeks ago I replaced a HDD with SSD on Acer Aspire ES1-533 with Celeron N3350 , with a fresh Win10 install. It was slow with the original WD Blue, with SSD it just started to slow faster. Still seconds to open menus and overall a very poor performance, despite the whopping 2Mb cache. I have ThinkPad x301 lying somewhere, with a SU9400 Core 2 Duo and 1.8" SSD. Last time I used it (with Win10, too) it performed better than that Acer with Celeron. X301 is from 2008, ES1-533 is from 2016.
Intel learned from Mendocino/Coppermine 'fiasco' and since that Celerons never performed well. Obligatory bash.org quote 
For less frequently-used stuff stored in ThinkPad, such as USB adapters and cables occasionally needed on the road, I'm thinking make UltraBay drawer:
Maybe someone's come up with a 3D-printed UltraBay storage design that's better.
Edit: looks like it was a 3rd-party product they bought in: https://daintlgroup.com/works-MogoMouse.html
Dunno at what temperature the drive starts throttling itself, but I'd think a good idea would be to drop a dab of heatsink goop (and possibly some metal coins/washers held in place if it's a big gap) between the important bits of the SSD and the casing. It'll conduct heat out much better without the air interface.
I can't tell if the SSD maker put a sticker on there, or a heat spreader.
Note that the 70° rating of commercial flash chips is the ambient temperature. The junction temperatures will be much higher.
For another example of what I'm talking about, here's a a Micron patent for NAND on die temperature alerting, explicitly providing both high temp and low temp alerts. https://patents.google.com/patent/US20190129648A1
Thermal pads exists exactly for this. They wouldn't be worse than a coin/washer covered in a "heatsink goop".
you can even use them to attach eGPUs... see the EXP GDC Beast lineup. Put a 6900XT on your vintage thinkpad laptop (there was recently a video of this with a desktop...)
You can also play around with the M.2 slots on your desktop... those can be adapted to a pcie slot with a riser cable/PCB. Or I think there's little risers that use SAS to push it (needs a controller chip). Most PCIe is pretty fungible without much active conversion between the various physical formats, PCIe slots and OCP and m.2 and expresscard and oculink etc all are protocol-compatible and for some of them it's literally as simple as a PCB with some traces (like M.2 to PCIe and OCP to PCIe).
Compared to USB and some of the other standards it's a massive success story imo.
I ended up doing this recently. I wanted to have a 10Gb NIC, a FireWire card (old negative scanner) and two GPUs. The PCIe slots are only 16/8/1/1 however, so to get both GPUs and the 10Gb NIC running at a reasonable speed I ended up getting a riser for the NIC as the M.2 slot had more lanes. It works.
Still, pc cards were pretty cool
It's probably good for me that I can't upgrade anything in my MacBook. I have always had a bad habit of mindlessly maxing things out (or at least using all the slots/ports).
When I had my Lenovo T420, Micron had a sale on SSD's, so I purchased and installed both the mSATA and SATA drives that they offered. For $600 I now could carry every file I had, and didn't even need!
Then one day, I saw a Wintec Expresscard SSD on a forum, for only $100! I then had another 256GB SSD to add to my laptop.
I also stuck 16GB of RAM in that thing, since 8GB SO-DIMM's were so cheap at the time. Eventually I removed an SSD to use in another system and put a 2.5" 1TB HDD in there for more storage, and just ran the OS off the faster mSATA drives.
In more recent times, you can add multiple drives to the workstation machines like the Lenovo P50, and I currently have a Lenovo T490 with two drives in it. However, you need to buy the right cables and drive adapter depending on if you want M.2 or 2.5" SATA drives, and only a small amount of M.2 SSD's will work in the other, shorter slot if you want dual drives. And yes, the T490 has a very un-used 32GB of RAM.
All in all, totally worth the couple hundred dollars I paid for it off-lease in something like 2015.
edit: Based on reading more about these adapters this is definitely super cool but also (functionally) not that amazing for these thinkpads specifically. One of the big downsides of ExpressCard is that it is easily removed (you basically just press in on the adapter and it clicks and then pops out a bit) which means I regularly used to accidentality just barely detach the connection between my USB 3.0 card and the laptop. Obviously for a HDD this is not good. The other thing is that since it is limited to a single PCI-E lane (basically the equivalent speed of a fast SATA SSD) you might as well just use one of the SATA ports in the laptop in the first place. You can of course replace the default drive with a nice SSD and probably get something of similar speed or simply remove the CD drive and put an SSD in its place (there are adapters made for this). And if you are willing to forego internal WiFi and use a USB WiFi adapter there is also another mSATA slot internally that can house yet another (small) SSD. On my T420 at least this means that the laptop can house 3 HDD's without using this adapter. That being said the idea of having 4 separate SSD's in a laptop from 2011 that never even came with ONE is pretty damn cool!
My oldest server had a spare PCIE slot and no NVME ports. Easy enough installation.