IBM tech support rocks.

Earlier this year, I picked up a Thinkpad T21 from eBay. It was one of those corporate off-lease refurb deals from a reputable dealer. I got a good deal. It was roughly $600 for the machine with on-board ethernet, 256MB RAM, 20GB disk, etc. The battery was even in good shape.

But then I tried to add memory to it. I installed a second 256MB SO-DIMM to max it out at 512MB. But the machine wasn't happy. It locked up a lot. So I figured the DIMM was bad and swapped in an older 128MB DIMM that I knew was good. Same problem.

I busted out a copy of memtest86 and verified that both DIMMs where bad.

Then it hit me. Rasmus had described a very similar problem with his T21. He had to send it back about 6 months ago because "it kept frying memory."

After some digging, I found the number for IBM's Thinkpad support (1-800-772-2227) and talked with Ron. I explained the problem and he gathered some info from me. After he go the model # and serial # he informed me that "as far as IBM is concerned, it's still under warranty."


He had me run a few more diagnostics to make sure nothing else was wrong and then agreed to send out a box so that I could ship it to IBM. He asked that I leave the hard disk out but install the bad memory and mark it as such. Airborne Express picked up the box today at work. I hope to have it back by Friday.

This is cool. IBM never hassled me about not having "registered" the machine, or the fact that I bought it used, or the fact that I installed "non-IBM" memory in it.

Hopefully they'll do what they did for Rasmus, swap the system board, and ship it back to me without further trouble. If I'm really lucky, maybe they'll even replace the fried 256MB DIMM.

We'll see.

This is one of four Thinkpads I've owned (380D, 600E, T21, and T23). I love Thinkpads. I hope IBM doesn't let me down.

Meanwhile, I'm using the TiBook while it's out. I got the latest Developer Tools and Fink installed last night. Then I built and installed mutt and Exim. So I can at least keep up on e-mail... Well, sort of. That implies that I was caught up before this happened.

Posted by jzawodn at July 21, 2003 10:51 AM

Reader Comments
# BDKR said:

Yeah, I have to agree with you. 5 or 6 years back I did a lot of tech support and we supported about 500 field agents with various models of Thinkpads. Most of it was supporting software that we put on the machines in behalf of the company they were working for. However, when there was a hardware issue, IBM was incredible. The only thing they couldn't AND wouldn't cover for us was when one of the bozos in the field drop a unit and messed up the monitor. Doh!


on July 21, 2003 12:46 PM
# Charles Nadeau said:

I must say I've had excellent experience with IBM too. I was in New Zealand two years ago and the door protecting the 2 PC Cards slots of my A20 blocked. I went to the local IBM repair office and they repaired it on the spot. Great!

on July 21, 2003 06:06 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

I couldn't help but laugh aloud at what Derek must have thought when he read : "IBM tech support rocks."


on July 21, 2003 06:45 PM
# Stewart Vardaman said:

I totally love my aging IBM x20. I added a Crucial 256m chip, and never a problem.

on July 21, 2003 09:13 PM
# Holly said:

Dito on the IBM x20. Mine has stood the test of time.

on July 26, 2007 05:32 PM
# Thinkpad T42p said:

$600, wow! I have seen a used thinkpad T42p sold recently for $80...

on April 17, 2009 11:14 AM
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