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  1. #1
    Milacron's Avatar
    Milacron is offline Diamond
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    Looking for another "legacy" laptop with XP and serial port and some of the cheaper ones mention white spots on the display. This would be fine for my purposes if said spots was not an indicator of a monitor on the verge of more serious problems. Example at link below*. What say ye ?

    this IBM Thinkpad on eBay

    As an aside, it amazes me folks are still paying this much for these things as I noticed at Best Buy recently one can buy brand new laptops (Acer and Gateway) with wide screen and Vista for only $399 these days, so seems like these "antique" Thinkpads would be going for 150 bucks !

    Ironically, I would just go buy a $399 new one in spite of lack of serial port if not for the fact that all the new ones come with Vista ! Since getting Vista on my desktop I am constantly amazed at how many programs and hardware is not compatable with Vista, much of it never will be.

    *and yes I know this particular one doesn't have a serial port..just the first example of white spots on a monitor I came across.

  2. #2
    JoeFin is offline Stainless
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    Do the "White Spots" tend to grow as the "Black Spots" on LCD screens do?

  3. #3
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    Milacron,
    I bought a PCMCIA serial card for my laptop and it worked great. Much better than the USB to serial cables, actually my USB to serial didn't work at all. The PCMCIA card was around 40 bucks.
    Dave
    P.S. got the card off e-bay

  4. #4
    bralex is offline Cast Iron
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    Based on the pic at the link, the spots look like places where the LCD has been pressed, not where the pixels are failing or some such. For my own purposes, I wouldn't worry too much about it, but I would also want to see it in person to judge for myself.

    Two side notes - first, OEMs can "downgrade" from Vista (see article here ) so if you are buying from a major brand you should be able to request XP without any real hassle. Second, pre-Lenovo Thinkpads still have a great reputation for build quality and will command a premium - other brands with equivalent specs will almost certainly be cheaper.

    Cheers,
    Scott

  5. #5
    Milacron's Avatar
    Milacron is offline Diamond
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    Much better than the USB to serial cables, actually my USB to serial didn't work at all.
    Yeah those cables are a joke, gotta go with a card as you say.

  6. #6
    5thwheel is offline Stainless
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    As an aside, it amazes me folks are still paying this much for these things as I noticed at Best Buy recently one can buy brand new laptops (Acer and Gateway) with wide screen and Vista for only $399 these days, so seems like these "antique" Thinkpads would be going for 150 bucks !

    D,

    I went to Best Buy for the #399 puter but they were out and would not take a rain check, same so with Circuit City. If that is what you are looking for then you need to go there as soon as the add comes out on the first day of the sale. They also offer a RAM upgrade at a very low price but again they are convientely out when you ask and again no rain check. And guess what? They just happen to have another puter near by with more RAM and more goodies for about a hundered dollars more (after mail in rebate). It is just a bait and switch thing unless you are one of the first few.

    I can't speak to the white spots from any kind of experiance but I had a hand written page I wanted to transcribe into my new laptop. Didn't have time to do it at the time so left it folded up inside the puter. When I opened it up I had white lines in the shape of the paper on my screen. It freaked me out but the eventually went away.

    Bill

  7. #7
    440roadrunner is offline Hot Rolled
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    Here's something you might consider, especially with some of the brands mentioned. IBM, now Lenovo, "had" and still does have, the very best support that I'm aware of for just about any brand. Grateway, Dellhell, Acer and others, and last Sony, cannot even begin to compare with the legacy information, manuals--including repair manuals--driver downloads and so on that is available online for Thinkpads.

    I don't think that spots on the display are any particular indicator of failure


    By the way--I don't know why you think this model does NOT have a conventional serial port. According to the "manual" it has USB, serial, parallel, external monitor, and a few other things.


    http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/si...id=MIGR-4PEJ5Q

  8. #8
    Milacron's Avatar
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    I went to Best Buy for the #399 puter but they were out and would not take a rain check, same so with Circuit City. If that is what you are looking for then you need to go there as soon as the add comes out on the first day of the sale.
    I didn't know they were even having a sale, just stumbled on two different ones last time I was there. Pretty sure one of them didn't even have a sale tag...just regular price of $399.

    By the way--I don't know why you think this model does NOT have a conventional serial port. According to the "manual" it has USB, serial, parallel, external monitor, and a few other things.
    Just going by the fact that the seller specifically does not mention a serial port under his "ports" specs. And yet he does mention serial for some of his other offerings, so it's not like he doesn't know what one is. Are you sure that *all* of that model number *always* came with a serial port ?

  9. #9
    dennh is offline Stainless
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    I got one of the $399 Toshibas but had to pay $499 at Circuit City across the street from the sold out Best Buy.

    It has Vista and is the worst slouch I've ever seen when it comes to ANYTHING. It is my daughter's machine and I will soon RIP the heart out of Vista and put XP Pro on it.

    There are 3 side to the Vista debate ... the clueless consumer who has been sold a 3.8GHz machine with 2GB of ram to get his email, the pro user who has a similar system for serious work and the pro who recognizes a crap product when they see it and are still running XP or Win2k on a 1GHz - 2GHz system with 512k of memory and loving it [img]smile.gif[/img]

    To DT's original question, the white spots are Super Twisted Nematic bacteria which are growing on the active cells of the color TFT display

    Seriously, they could be bad transistors on the pixels involved, a local thing, or a bad area on the polarizer to glass interface (not a single pixel thing though).

  10. #10
    440roadrunner is offline Hot Rolled
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    "Are you sure that *all* of that model number *always* came with a serial port ? "

    Just going by the "overview" page that I posted the link to. Actually, all Thinkpads (that I know of) have the model number, (T21, etc) and an additional "type" number, usually 4 digits, usually in small print on the bottom label. That "type" number will give you the "true" picture of what the machine "is" and is factory equipped with.

    Also, as someone else mentioned, don't forget you can get a PC card serial port. These are a legit deal, unlike some of the USB to serial adapters.

  11. #11
    adama is online now Diamond
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    yes i am responsible for one vista laptop support. i strongly advised against it but the customer ( flash gitt little grey matter!!) was adiment. a new printer, severl hours of finding latest drivers and hes were he was 7 hours before just with a shineyer machine.

    currently xp seams the best option for our sort of user who needs compatability and reliability foremost. personaly i dont see the point in buying a new operating system - machine if i have to double the machines spec to be were i started performance wise.

  12. #12
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    Those "white spots" are from rubbing against the keyboard while closed, and are likely an indicator that the machine's seen some road time. You ought to see mine - it's done a few hundred thousand miles of air travel and so you can see a lot of rubbing on it. It's possible that you could polish it out with something, I've never bothered.

    As for Vista: I set up a new system with it. Most all the same things as XP but rearranged to the point of silliness. The new "ribbon" menus seem worthless and only implemented to have something pantentable. All in all it just sucked; and it's a sign of just how many people feel that way when Microsoft now allows entire companies to "opt out" of the upgrades to Vista (they used to require entering the machines that didn't upgrade, now you can make the "leave me alone" the default).

  13. #13
    macona's Avatar
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    dennh: No need to rip out vista. Just turn off Aero. That ought to speed it up. Also make sure it has at least a gig of RAM. RAM is cheap, max it out.

  14. #14
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    I've owned a lot of laptops and they've all had spots to some degree. The spots have never led to a failure of the display.

    In fact my latest Dell is probably the only new one that I've had that didn't have a few right out of the box. As far as the display goes, the hinges are the biggest problem. Once they loosen up or break, the ribbon cable to the display will fail. After that happens it's junque. So if you buy one and the hinges are a little loose, it's best to try and fix them right away.

  15. #15
    ohgood is offline Aluminum
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    those laptops are still good and pricey because folks know the hardware is decent. the 'new' 'vista ready' ones usually have the lowest possible boards, with catchy marketing.

    the white spots are like character dents on your pickup. no big deal.

    serial ports means you might want to look into a ToughBook.

    they are tough as hell, and you can still get em with win2k. we all know vista sucks.

  16. #16
    MrFluffy is offline Hot Rolled
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    Ill second the toughbook recommendation, I had a CF25 way back and left it on the roof of my car one day, and drove off. The car behind me ran it over when the wind speed picked it off and deposited it on the floor. I stopped and ran back to collect the mess and move it out the road so it didnt cause a accident and not only was it still in one piece, it still worked.
    I told this tale to someone I worked with at a project that had some of the later colour ones, and he refused to believe me. Having great confidence in it by now I dropped one onto a concrete floor from head height and again no problems.

    I make a living with my laptops and need the serial port functions. Ive had so many go bad from either shocks up the serial from duff kit the other end or people catching the serial cables while it was in a rack that I have reverted to the usb->serial adaptors by default on the basis that when the ports toast, you toss it and buy another...

    The tiny local dots on that pic look like where the individual transistors that form the display have gone, pretty much all lcd stuff has one or two dead or odd coloured pixels if you look at it and nobody will warentee a screen has 0 even for a brand new display.
    The only real serious visible one is whole lines, which can indicate the tiny wires that form the matrix behind the display have become detached for that section. This has happened to my 19" ultrabrite acer laptop and got worse to the point that now 1/8th of the screen is out. Too many planes and too often in the hold when flight restrictions were in place in the uk. Its toast, only repair is a new display...

  17. #17
    Milacron's Avatar
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    Re "Toughbook" somehow I just can't get my head around those things being made by Panasonic, which I think of as the polar opposite of "tough" products based on past experience with their other POS products. Maybe if I put a sticker over the "Panasonic" name I could stand one.

  18. #18
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    rklopp is offline Titanium
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    The white spots are typically locations where one of the soft plastic layers in the LCD sandwich has been damaged from local squeezing. This often occurrs associated with loose debris, such as a loose diffuser microsphere in the sandwich.

    The most likely culprint is the light guide. This is a wedge-shaped (*very* shallow wedge angle) plastic layer in the sandwich that conducts light from the cold cathode flourescent tube along the bottom of the display and spreads it over the screen. If the wedge surface was smooth, the light would remain confined by total internal reflection and never reach your eyes. The surface of this wedge has a controlled pattern of scatterers molded into its surface, to allow a controlled amount of light leakage out of the wedge. The pattern desity and size is varied with distance from the light tube, so that the net illumination is uniform over the screen. It turns out that a surprisingly small amount of damage to just a few scatterers, or the introduction of new scatterers by indentation or scratches disrupts the light uniformity enough to make it easily seen as the white spots.

    White spotting is a well-known phenomenon in the industry. It became prominent when some LCD makers switched to a softer plastic for the light guide wedge. It is not user-repairable in my mind, except by swapping the whole LCD.

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