Monday, June 20, 2011

Will my next laptop be a Thinkpad?

It’s time to move on from my trusty old Thinkpad z61p. It has been a dear friend, but its simply not anywhere near state of the art anymore. Still, having lasted over 4 years and many thousand hours of heavy duty use is high praise indeed.

So what do I want? I had hoped for an upgrade of the Thinkpad W701, to use Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt – but instead the series seems canceled. Where is the follow up to the W701? Why, oh, why have you forsaken me Lenovo? (I actually don’t know. Lenovo’s web site is basically useless.) It takes a ton of work to find the information I actually want.

I want a workstation, movable but not ultra portable. More power. And it may weigh a few kgs.

Stuff the computer must have

  • A trackpoint – a high quality, usable Trackpoint. Does any other line of Laptops except Thinkpad have those?
  • A really good keyboard. Once again, can I trust any other manufacturer than Lenovo?
  • Preferably 17 inch, high resolution (1920px wide), high contrast – matte. Not glossy! (Maybe I must settle for 15 inch, but it would be very disappointing.)
  • A high speed SSD, as big as possible.
  • It should run Linux with no hickups. My distro of choice is Fedora. For testing purposes I may shrink and keep the Windows partition, but it will see very little usage. (If buying an OS-less laptop was an option, I’d chose it.)
  • Firefox and Chrome should be able to run WebGL on Linux, thus the graphics drivers must be on their whitelist.
  • Display port or HDMI
  • Service should be available in Sweden, so lesser known brands are out of the question.

All of the above are top priorities. And I am prepared to spend quite a lot of money on this purchase.

Then there are a few things that goes without saying

  • High end modern CPU, like the 2920XM or one step down from that one.
  • At least 8GB of RAM DDR3 or better.
  • Gigabit Ethernet.
  • IEEE802.11abgn.
  • Bluetooth 3.0.
  • At least one USB 3.0 port,
  • Large and high performance SSD,

And there is also a list of nice to have features on my wish list

  • Spill proof keyboard.
  • Back lit keyboard.
  • Thunderbolt
  • 2nd drive for storing large files that I do not use very often, video, images, sound. (Yes, the W701 had 2 drives...)
  • A Firewire interface

I prefer a 2nd drive to optical media. If there is only room for one drive, chances are high I will ditch the optical drive and use that space for an extra hard drive.

So, what are my choices? Right now the list looks like this:

  1. Thinkpad W520, but it has only got an 15 inch screen…
  2. HP EliteBook 6760w, but will the Trackpoint be good enough… (and I can't find a model with the 2920XM processor, OTOH I can get it with a better graphics chip, up to the Quadro 5010M, but that GPU consumes a whopping 100W and is probably a bit too much, even for me.)
  3. Fujitsu Celsius H910 The specs looks nice. I can have up to 2 x 250 GB SSD but the keyboard and Trackpoint is not comparable to a Thinkpad.

Given my set of requirements, what other options do I have?

And the key question: Is there any hope for a 17 inch Thinkpad W7xx to be released within the next 3-4 months?

(And no Mac is not and never has been an option. And, yes, I have plenty of experience with Macs and know perfectly well how they compare to Thinkpads.)

1 comment:

  1. I find it really interesting and informative. Would you think it can be?
    If ever that's for good.