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Thread: Where to find an IBM ThinkPad for a reasonable price?

  1. #1
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    Question Where to find an IBM ThinkPad for a reasonable price?

    Been looking for an IBM ThinkPad for a long time now. No dice so far, since I haven't found any at my local thrift stores and all the listings I can find on eBay and craigslist are ridiculously overpriced or missing the power supply (which is pretty much a deal-breaker for me.) Condition isn't my utmost concern as I can live with a few missing parts or scuffs/scratches/cracks in the plastic, but if the unit at least powers on and shows something on the screen that would be nice.

    Particularly looking for a Type 2640 ThinkPad (560 series), but would also be happy to take a Type 9545 (755 series IIRC), Type 2635 (380/385 series), or Type 2620 (360 series) ThinkPad.

    If anyone would like to sell me one of these for a reasonable price (sorry, but I'm not paying hundreds of dollars for a vintage ThinkPad) or give some advice on where I would be able to find one for such a price, either one would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
    Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
    Compaq Contura 3/25, Any 8088/8086 or 286-based computer with a 3.5'' 1.44MB floppy drive, Any Toshiba Libretto laptop from the Libretto 50CT up to the 110CT, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

    Send a PM if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The 760 and 770 series are also nice.

    It used to be that there were a ton of power bricks on ebay cheap for Thinkpads so a laptop without one wasn't a real issue but things change.

    I collect Thinkpads and have quite a few but not looking to sell the models you are looking for. Prices do seem to have gone up a bit recently and supply has evaporated at least when I look for them.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-IBM...n/193716316724 is cheap if you want a 760 with a corner damaged and no HD (caddies can be found).
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unknown_K View Post
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-IBM...n/193716316724 is cheap if you want a 760 with a corner damaged and no HD (caddies can be found).
    Did consider that listing, unfortunately doesn't come with a power supply and as you said, those alone can be ridiculously overpriced. Finding vintage computers in general used to be so much easier up to about five or six years ago...
    Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
    Compaq Contura 3/25, Any 8088/8086 or 286-based computer with a 3.5'' 1.44MB floppy drive, Any Toshiba Libretto laptop from the Libretto 50CT up to the 110CT, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

    Send a PM if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Would you be interested in a T61 by chance?

    IBM 5160 - 360k, 1.44Mb Floppies, NEC V20, 8087-3, 45MB MFM Hard Drive, Vega 7 Graphics, IBM 5154 Monitor running MS-DOS 5.00
    IBM PCJr Model 48360 640kb RAM, NEC V20,, jrIDE Side Cart, 360kb Floppy drives running MS-DOS 5.00
    Evergreen Am5x86-133 64Mb Ram, 8gb HDD, SB16 in a modified ATX case running IBM PC-DOS 7.10

  5. #5

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    ThinkPads can certainly be expensive sometimes. I do see the more common ones (such as the 360, 750/755, 380, etc) go farily reasonable from time to time though. Just check eBay everyday and you'll find something eventually. If you're okay with a passive matrix display model (like the 360Cs), then those will be cheaper than the active matrix models for sure. I personally don't have a problem with the passive matrix displays. I'm happy with either kind of display really.

    Less common ones like the 701c/701cs have gotten insane. I'm still amazed that I found a 701cs at Goodwill about 7 or 8-years-ago. Even then they were already getting expensive.

    I'm still looking for a parts unit to fix my pristine 755CD. The boards inside have some damage from battery leakage and the machine is just very flakey overall. The outside casing is almost perfect though. The 755CD is a model I really like as well, so I absolutely want to fix it eventually. Would love to play around with the video capture feature.
    Compaq - “It simply works better”

  6. #6
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    I have more laptops then OEM power bricks (and I do have some OEM NIB). Anyway you can find universal supplies with the correct voltage and then find adapters for the correct plug cheap enough (I think it is just 20V DC with a funky 4 wire connector).

    Supplies can be something like $40 plus shipping on ebay if you want an OEM one and worth it if you want more then one laptop.

    I had more issues with NEC Versa laptops of the period which seem to have different power connectors for each model and were rareish even back when I was collecting them.

    Pretty sure I have a 755CD in parts in a box somewhere waiting for a rebuild. My complete 755CD has a cracked corner I glued but worked 100% last time I messed with it.

    701c/cs seem to all have issues with the rubber coating and dead motherboards if you left the main battery in (they leak). My cs worked last time I used it and the c has a cracked screen.

    Vintage gear in general has gone up in price over the last few years. You either have to watch constantly for models on ebay to get a deal or just bite the bullet on a nice example at inflated prices. There is also the THinkpad forum (I am a member) where people do sell classic machines but they generally don't go that cheap these days (snagged a mint A31P there years ago for very little as an example).
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

  7. #7

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    There are nine Thinkpads on Goodwill at the moment. There tends to be a new one every day.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lutiana View Post
    Would you be interested in a T61 by chance?
    I'm interested, I'll send you a message. Obviously will still be looking for a vintage ThinkPad as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by compaqportableplus View Post
    ThinkPads can certainly be expensive sometimes. I do see the more common ones (such as the 360, 750/755, 380, etc) go farily reasonable from time to time though. Just check eBay everyday and you'll find something eventually. If you're okay with a passive matrix display model (like the 360Cs), then those will be cheaper than the active matrix models for sure. I personally don't have a problem with the passive matrix displays. I'm happy with either kind of display really.
    I'm definitely not the type of person to nitpick over display types. I already have a handful of machines with DSTN/FSTN displays and I'm very happy with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unknown_K View Post
    Vintage gear in general has gone up in price over the last few years. You either have to watch constantly for models on ebay to get a deal or just bite the bullet on a nice example at inflated prices. There is also the THinkpad forum (I am a member) where people do sell classic machines but they generally don't go that cheap these days (snagged a mint A31P there years ago for very little as an example).
    You are definitely correct. Since around 2014 or 2015 for sure. I do remember that I found a few vintage ThinkPads on eBay for semi-reasonable prices a while back (2 months ago maybe?) but I either didn't have the money at the time or turned them down for some reason, can't remember which. I'll keep looking, hopefully I find one eventually or get lucky enough where someone here offers me one for a decent price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Towmater View Post
    There are nine Thinkpads on Goodwill at the moment. There tends to be a new one every day.
    Indeed there are, but none of them are vintage per say. Again, I'll keep looking.
    Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
    Compaq Contura 3/25, Any 8088/8086 or 286-based computer with a 3.5'' 1.44MB floppy drive, Any Toshiba Libretto laptop from the Libretto 50CT up to the 110CT, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

    Send a PM if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Update: I am now the proud owner of not one, but two IBM ThinkPads! I worked out a deal with an eBay seller who was selling a 560 & a 560E and ended up getting them for $45 apiece (excluding shipping and taxes). A member here also offered me a 560E for a very reasonable price.

    The 560E booted right up with a new CMOS battery and the 560 powers on but is missing the hard drive.
    Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
    Compaq Contura 3/25, Any 8088/8086 or 286-based computer with a 3.5'' 1.44MB floppy drive, Any Toshiba Libretto laptop from the Libretto 50CT up to the 110CT, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

    Send a PM if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Nice.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

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