We often see people funneling their passion into keeping beloved devices in operation long past their manufacturer’s intent. These replacement Thinkpad motherboards (translated) bring old (yet beloved) Thinkpads a much desired processor upgrade. This is the work of the user [HOPE] on the enthusiast forum 51nb. The hack exemplifies what happens when that passion for legendary gear hits deep electrical expertise and available manufacturing. This isn’t your regular laptop refurbishment, [HOPE] is building something new.
So am I happy with my X210? Sure. It serves my needs well enough, and I appreciate its main advantages over other laptops with 8th gen U-series CPUs–the classic keyboard and 1920×1200 display. But if I could go back in time, I might’ve bought a T440p because it has similar performance and battery life for a much cheaper price (and I could recycle my DDR3 RAM from my X220T, too), although its weight and size are detriments as well as the fact that it can only ever go up to 16 GB RAM. Or maybe it would’ve been better to get a brand new T470p, which costs about as much, although it would be missing the «cool factor.»
Setting things up took a while because I couldn’t get away with just installing Ubuntu and then running sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade. Power consumption is slightly higher than what would be ideal. BIOS requires Windows (or FreeDOS) to update. Overall a good machine but IMO maybe not worth the high price and hassle.
A Core i7 8550u (4 cores, turbo boost up to 4GHz)
2× DDR4 SODIMM slots. I put 32 GB of RAM in.
2× mini PCI Express slots. There’s an 802.11/Bluetooth card in one. The other is empty but could be used for LTE or a second wireless card.
An M.2 NVMe slot. I put a 2TB SSD in it.
A 2.5” SATA bay. I left it empty, but it’s possible to put a second SSD in.
An upgraded screen (12.6 inch, 2880×1920, 450 nits, wide gamut). The bezel is cut to make room for the 3:2 aspect ratio. There is no webcam.
Mini DisplayPort & VGA out.
3× USB 3.1 ports (no USB-C).
SD card reader.
Physical switch to toggle Wifi/Bluetooth.
Headphone & microphone jacks.
Internal microphone & speakers.
The X210 is sold as either a motherboard that you install into your own chassis or as a barebones laptop where you bring your own RAM, SSD, and battery. I got the barebones kit.