[rescue] Rescuing a Thinkpad T42

Bill Bradford mrbill at mrbill.net
Wed Jun 22 10:46:06 CDT 2011

I recently snagged a Thinkpad T42 off eBay for cheap.

It was $80, P4 1.7Ghz, 1024x768 14.1", with a 20G HD and 512M of RAM, along
with combo optical drive, charger, etc, and a flat battery.  The reason for
the cheap price?  "Broken trackpad".

I bought a replacement trackpad / wrist rest off eBay at the same time I
got the laptop (for $10).  When the system finally arrived, I discovered
that it was simply disabled in the BIOS. 8-)

I've added another 512M of RAM (for now; eventually going to 1.5G total),
replaced the optical drive with an 32G OCZ Vertex SSD in a SATA UltraBay
adapter (that has a SATA/PATA bridge chip), put a 512M CF card and adapter
in place of the IDE hard drive (to eliminate the boot delay), and installed
a Broadcom 4318 wireless card (along with the "no 1802" BIOS patch).

Sure, I lose some performance by not being able to use "native" SATA and
having to use the ultrabay adapter, but the SSD can max out the IDE
interface at 100M/sec.  Plus, no moving parts - so it's not shabby at all.

All together, grand total of about $200.  The only thing that could make it
a better general beater laptop is a higher-resolution screen.  Ubuntu 11.04
runs *great*, after I do some SSD-specific tweaks.


Bill Bradford 
Houston, Texas

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