IBM ThinkPad 560 – 1996 to 1998 Subnotebook for NA & EU Markets

Here we go, the ThinkPad 560! The 500 series was IBM’s Subnotebook/Ultraportable, almost as powerful as the 700 series, these were liked and a must have for top execs for portability.

The 560 is not a necessarily a legendary or remarkable machine, it is overshadowed by the licensed 550BJ with it’s integrated printer, 701c with it’s butterfly keyboard, and the sawzaw 570 that introduced the first UltraBase.

In Europe and North America markets, there were not too many 500 series machines. Although IBM had the micro 200 series ThinkPads for the East Asia markets, there was the slightly bigger 500 series as well. The original TP 500 didn’t launch with the 700, 700C, 700T & 300 in October 1992; it has came out in June 1993. Canon had the NoteJet laptop in Japan during 1991/92 and released a few models into the United States, a few companies loved the integrated printer it had, so Canon licensed their laptop to other manufacturers. The 550BJ is a direct result of one, I believe it is directly based off the NoteJet 486, in technicality, the 550BJ is not a real ThinkPad, and although the 555BJ has trackpoint, IBM had licensed the nub to other manufacturers.

The numbering system for IBM’s machines were odd, particularly the ascending numbers didn’t mean they were later models. During my research, I’ve found that the East Asia specific 535 did at first looked like a stateside 560. Upon close inspection of photos, the 535 has a smaller screen/keyboard bezel, differently placed LCD cable position, and the palmrest is quite smaller. The 535 was offered with only a TFT 10.4″ display while the 560 had the DSTN 11.3″ & 12.1″ TFT display. Looks like they were made side by side with the 535 having slightly less specs thanks to size.

Here is the 500 series model hierarchy*

  • 500     – June 1993 – 50MHz 486 SLC2
  • 550BJ – ???? 1993 – 50MHz 486 SLC
  • 555BJ – Apr 1994 – 50MHz 486 SLC2
  • 510Cs – June 1994 – 50MHz 486 BLX2
  • 701C  – Mar 1995 – 50/75MHz 486 DX2/DX4
  • 535     – May 1996 – 120/133MHz Pentium
  • 560     – May 1996 – 100/120/133MHz Pentium
  • 535E  – June 1997 – 150MHz Pentium
  • 560E  – June 1997 – 150/166MHz Pentium MMX
  • 535X  – Feb 1998 – 200MHz Pentium MMX
  • 560X  – Mar 1998 – 200/233MHz Pentium MMX Tillamook
  • 560Z   – Sept 1998 – 233/300MHz Petnium II (400MHz frankie)
  • 570      – Apr 1999 – 300/333/366MHz Pentium II
  • 570E   – Feb 2000 – 450/500MHz Pentium III
  • 570X   – None
  • 570Z   – None

Thanks to ThinkWiki History and Silicon Valley Cupertino Geocities site for release date & spec information! The 701C is in here.
I didn’t include the 200 series because it would bloat the list, I did include the 701C, I feel it was intended to be a 500 series but they added to their 700 line because they wanted it to be a flagship ultraportable.


I have to say it now before I disappoint you all; I don’t have that much experience in the 560’s! The 500 and 200 series are fairly uncommon in the American markets, and when they do show up, some people ask for a lot. I recently (June 2017) had gotten a deal on four 560’s on the Offer Up app for $40, or $10 a piece. Naturally I bought them all, the seller said they were all working but it came with a caveat, no hard drives or AC adapters. Luckily for me, this was a non issue as they still had the HDD ribbon cable for the unit & the 380XD HDD that I had cloned oh so happened to have the same specs as the 560X’s!

I find quite a few 560’s that sound like they are turning on but the screen doesn’t light up. I have gotten three that have this issue and I have seen about 4 or so with the same description on eBay. From the two that i have tested, there isn’t even an image on the screen after using a flashlight, so it isn’t a backlight or inverter issue. If you are buying these for the first time, I wouldn’t recommend tackling that problem, as motherboards a

Due to limited sales I can find on eBay, there are not that many on here… and so as far as a pricing guide. This will be difficult to be accurate There were only six results. Four in your eBay category (PC Laptops & Netbooks) and under (Vintage Computing) which I don’t consider vintage unless its pre-80’s.

Title – Vintage IBM ThinkPad 560 2540 For Parts Or Repair
Price – $29.99 – 7 Day Auction, 1 Bid only – $23 Shipping via USPS – PC Laptops

  • Estate sale, ‘turns on’ no screen
  • ‘Please see photos’, AC adapter included
  • This unit has one slider, so it is the higher end TFT display, not DSTN
  • Photos show 2540-20U on the bottom, but I couldn’t find CPU/RAM/HDD specs

Title – Vintage IBM Thinkpad 560 Laptop
Price – $16.90 – 7 Day Auction, 3 Bids – $13.60 USPS Flat Rate Medium Box Shipping

  • ‘It will boot into the weird bios/setup it came with…’
  • Shows some lines around edges (bright spots, from pressure and age?)
  • As is, AC adapter included
  • 2540-FDE doesn’t bring any results
  • Only one shipping option but literally the best cost in ‘Murrika

Title – IBM ThinkPad 560E Pentium-1/MMX Windows 95/98, 100% ORIGINAL & WORKING, 2640-40U
Pjrice – $154.50 – Buy it now – $39.12 shipping via FedEx

  • Sold by Computer Preservation – 99.7% 1988 Feedback
  • Lists it as 2650-40U & has the HMM linked & they can upgrade it too! :O
  • They don’t actually list the specs on the description, just from off thinkWifi
  • Photos show 1.96GB drive (2.1GB because formatting), 16MB RAM (why) and doesn’t show that CPU it has
  • Doesn’t list what screen it has, TFT though
  • Shipping is expensive because they are in Florida and I’m in San Diego, CA.

560X – The one I bought for $10 ea and flipped on ebay

Title – IBM ThinkPad 560X 2540-60U – Pentium MMX 200MHz 32MB 2GB Win 95 12.1″ HPA
Price – $140 – Buy it Now – Free shipping via USPS MFB (because Im awesome)

  • Photos too dark
  • Background shows cooler, rarer & expensive thinkpads (FLEX)
  • I have google gallery for god tier photos
  • I post hardware specs
  • Literally wish I would of sold this for more, and I will literally overprice the next 2 units I have.
  • Selling this paid off the 4 laptops I bought for $40 total, and i guess the $10 AC adapter and $2 HDD I used (and I guess $30 380XD I cloned it from)

Title – Retro IBM ThinkPad 560X 2640 Pentium MMX 233MHZ Laptop Type 2640
Price – $170 – Buy it now – Free Shipping via USPS

  • Posts I9990305 HDD error
  • Bosts a shit load of photos of the bios
  • Has Windows NT server Installed, can’t even log in (I’m salty and drunk typing this)
  • “Boots to OS but we (((lost the password)))”


  • Fully working but the battery doesn’t hold charge (literally the point of a laptop)
  • Holy fuck expensive, why aren’t I selling mine at this
  • Its not a 560Z
  • 96MB RAM and 5GB HDD are considerably top tier
  • Holy shit expensive, my 701C and 5:4 770X I didn’t sell for this much

None because no one wants to sell them 🙁



As far as recommended prices goes. tough to say… the DSTN and HPA panel did not age well, and usually have some sort of issue. As for some, people may like that, I dont mind the bright edges and corners on my AFFS X30.

Price guide on working units with bad batteries (CMOS and Main) or your total cost in a project.

560 – $30 DSTN $60 TFT      — $80 or $130
560E – $50 DSTN – $80 TFT — $95 or $140
560X – $50 DSTN – $90 TFT — $110 or $160
560Z – $140                            — $200

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