[ltp] Fastest Lenovo laptop I can get

Theodore Ts'o linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Mon, 25 Jun 2012 21:38:47 -0400

On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 05:20:32PM -0700, John Jason Jordan wrote:
> My problem is that for nearly five years I have paid no attention to
> what is available. I don't even know what is the latest and greatest
> CPU. There is a bewildering array of acronyms out there of which I have
> no ken.

The latest Intel CPU feature the Ivy Bridge architecture.  These are
the CPU's used in the T530 and X230 series.  Since you say you want a
15" screen, that would be the T530.  The CPU's that have "QM" in the
part number have four cores (8 threads with hyper threading);
otherwise they will have two cores (4 threads with hyperthreading).
You also pay extra if you want additional cache memory.

So for example, the base processor for the T530 is the Core i5-3210M
processor with 2 cores, 3 megs of cache, clocked at 3.1GHz.  The top
of the line processor available today is the Core i7-3820QM, with 4
cores, 8 megs of cache, and a top speed of 3.7GHz.

Note that the with all of these, the memory bus speed doesn't change,
so if you are memory bound, having a faster CPU clock won't help; it
will just be able to twiddle its fingers faster while it waits for an
answer from memory.  So whether the faster CPU will help very much
depends on what your apps are doing.  Just because they are CPU bound
doesn't necessarily mean they are actually using lots of CPU; programs
which are memory bound will look very like programs that are really
using 100% of the CPU.  The 8 megs of cache can help there, but you'll
be paying $480 for the upgrade to the i7-3820QM CPU.

> I'm seriously considering a solid state drive, although a hybrid
> would be even more enticing.

One of the options that you can put in modern Thinkpads is a mSATA
drive; this is a small card that looks like a mini PCI-express card.
You can use this instead of a built-in WWAN card.  So for example, I
recently purchased a Lenovo X230 laptop, and I upgraded it with an
Intel 310 SSD, which is 80 gigabytes of flash as my boot drive.  I
also have a 500 gigabyte traditional HDD.

The 80 gig Intel SSD mSATA device is only $180 dollars (don't buy it
from Lenovo; get from Amazon or your favorite discount web merchant),
and IMHO, is well worth it.  I prefer this to a hybrid device because
I get a lot more flash than what is in a typical hybrid HDD/SSD
device, and I can control what goes on the flash and what I put on the
HDD.  For example, I put my kernel git trees on the 80 gig SSD, and I
put the build tree on the HDD, since in general writing object files
is something where you're not I/O bound.

Hope this helps,

					- Ted