[ltp] Buying a New Thinkpad

Robert Tomsick linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Tue, 03 May 2011 19:25:50 -0400

On Wed, 2011-05-04 at 04:08 +0000, Steven J. Owens wrote:
> On Tue, May 03, 2011 at 06:50:23PM -0400, Robert Tomsick wrote:
> > On Wed, 2011-05-04 at 03:35 +0000, Steven J. Owens wrote:
> > >   The only 17" screens are on the monster "portable workstation" W
> > > series.  Besides those, the next biggest screens are the 15.6" 16x9
> > > screens on the t520s.  These seem to be only available in 1920x1080,
> > > not 1920x1200 for some reason.  They also seem to be only available in
> > > LED.
> > 
> > That makes sense.  1920x1080 is a 16:10 aspect resolution.  1920x1080 is
> > 16:9.  All current-generation T series machines use 16:9 screens.
> > 
> > As far as the backlighting is concerned: all of the ThinkPads use LED
> > backlit-screens.  All except the X200 use TN panels.
>      So, this is pretty much a non-issue then?

Insofar as you don't have a choice, yes.  If you want a T series
ThinkPad, you'll get one with an LED-backlit TN panel.  If you want an
IPS panel, you can choose any ThinkPad you want, so long as it's an

> > >      So now we've narrowed it down to the t520.  I tend to hang onto
> > > my hardware for a long time - I bought my t43p new in 2005 and am just
> > > now retiring it in 2011.  Based on this, it makes sense to spend a
> > > little extra up front on buffing up the CPU and memory.  It ends up
> > > adding up to several hundred dollars, but amortized over how long I
> > > expect to keep and use the machine, should be worth it.
> > 
> > I'd recommend that you upgrade the memory yourself.  It won't affect
> > your warranty (unless you damage something) and it's quite easy to do.
> > RAM is RAM, and doing the upgrade yourself is usually an easy way to
> > save a few bucks.
>      Yeah, I did it that way last time and it worked pretty well.
>      One thing I forgot to mention; it's not clear to me that the t520
> has space for an SSD drive.  I've seen forum postings, etc, mention
> that it's possible to use the stock hard drive but add an SSD for a
> swap drive, without having to jettison other hardware (e.g. we're not
> talking about swapping the multiburner out for the SSD).  How do I
> check on that?

The Tx20 machines support mSATA via mini-PCIe, so if you're willing to
live without WWAN you can get a small mSATA SSD to use for... uh...
whatever you'd use a small, reasonably-good-performance SSD for.  The
mSATA drives aren't as fast as the current crop of 2.5" SSDs -- nowhere
close from the numbers I've seen -- but they're still faster than
traditional drives.  (IMHO you're better ditching the spinning disk
altogether... but that's another debate.)