Answers to Guess the ThinkPad

First the answers, then some commentary: ROUND 1 Picture #3 was the ThinkPad. It is an R61 14" Widescreen with integrated graphics ROUND 2 Picture #5 was a ThinkPad T61 15.4" Widescreen with integrated graphics ROUND 3 Picture 7 is a ThinkPad T61 14" Widescreen with discrete graphics Picture 8 is a ThinkPad T61 14" Regular with integrated graphics Picture 9 is a ThinkPad T60 14" Regular with integrated graphics There were a lot of good guesses, but I don't think anyone got them all exactly right. There were a lot of people who got close. MartinD gets points for the first person to be suspicious of machines 7, 8, and 9. They were all ThinkPads, but they were, in fact, different machines. I admit this was sneaky, but I didn't do it just to be mean. Michael Jung gets the "dedication award" for admitting he was willing to spend an hour analyzing and guessing. There were multiple clues visible in the pictures:

  • For all three rounds of the game, the 3 mouse buttons on the TrackPoint were a dead giveaway, as our competitors don't offer a 3rd button.
  • Another clue was to count the rows of keys on the keyboards. ThinkPad keyboards always include 7 rows, even on our ultraportable X series. This could have helped you eliminate pictures #2 and #6.
  • On the bottom of the system, the docking connector size and shape is consistent across the T & R Series ThinkPads. Picture #2 has an extra battery connector beside the docking connector. ThinkPads don't offer this option.
  • The fingerprint reader placement was another clue. On the ThinkPad T, R, and Z, it is on the right side of the keyboard. This would have helped you eliminate pictures #1 and #4
  • If you have opened up your ThinkPad to add memory, the majority of ThinkPad notebooks now place the memory underneath the palm rest. This would have also helped you eliminate pictures #1 and #4. (As a side note, we often get criticized for not having the memory more accessible. We did this on purpose. On a ThinkPad, the memory underneath the palm rest has the Roll Cage surrounding it, which helps protect it). If it were underneath the system, it wouldn't have Roll Cage protection).
  • If you really want to get into it, you can start looking at airflow vents. Other than the TrackPoint buttons, this was the key to determining that pictures 7, 8, and 9 were all ThinkPads. The vents on picture #6 are, in my opinion, big and ugly. I suspect our VP of Design, David Hill, would agree with me too.
  • Uber points for you if you noticed the different size, shape, and placement of the rubber feet.

I included pictures 7, 8, and 9 to help me drive the point that I've been saying since our Santa Rosa systems launched earlier this year. These are our coolest and quietest systems ever. Look at picture #9 as the baseline of our T60 with integrated graphics. Compared to our competition represented in rounds one and two, it was pretty cool to begin with. Picture #8 shows definite improvement, owing to the ThinkPad team's design improvements. Picture #7 is really the most impressive to me. Not only is it remarkably cooler than any other system shown, but it also has discrete graphics. The team had the advantage of designing the T61 14" Widescreen case from the ground up and was able to design for cool and quiet from the beginning. It shows that thermal considerations are not an afterthought, but must be designed from the very beginning. I wish I had thermal pictures of our ThinkPad X that I could have included. I will ask and see if our design team has some to share. I share the opinion that I wish the X series palm rest was cooler in normal operation. Technically it is within ThinkPad thermal guidelines, but enough customers have provided feedback that our design team took a hard look at improving it. ThinkPad X61 and X61 Tablet systems are better than the X60 series of systems. The next generation of X series should be better still. It is a bit disappointing that more people didn't guess the R series as part of their volley of guesses. It is the ThinkPad that often gets derided as being inferior. In fact, most models of the T61 and the R61 14" widescreens use exactly the same system board and would have similar thermal performance. I hope you found the game as much fun to play as I did putting it together.