New Laptop! PART 2

My current ThinkPad T60p, although a very kickass machine, is having issues; like not turning on after it completely drained another 9-cell battery. There was something wrong with the way it deals with Li-Ion batteries where it wouldn't warn me that the battery was low and it would continue to drain it even after the threshold. My 3 year warranty expired some time ago so I figured it was time to get the next best thing. I recently got an HTC G1 Android and was really into it. A laptop upgrade would mean I'll be getting the latest up-to-date tech for the 2 things that I carry around all the time. So Michelle found a great deal for a Thinkpad W700, a laptop that I've been eyeing at the Lenovo website for several months now. Based on the several reviews I've read about it since the end of last year, it's got a gorgeous display and it's stupid retarded powerful; oh, and it's also stupid retarded big.

Unlike the last laptop upgrade, which was from a Thinkpad T42p to a T60p, this was a significant upgrade. The specs for the T42p and T60p were pretty similar with the usual round of upgraded parts, they even look the same. Simply comparing the look of the T60p and W700 is ridiculous. Sure, they're both black and have similar looking keyboards (sans a numpad on the T60p), but being as skinny as I am, I bet I look retarded with the W700 on my lap compared to my old laptop which just, for lack of a better way to put it, looks like a regular laptop. The W700 makes me look like a 5 year old playing with their dad's laptop.

So the size is the first thing that surpised me. When I got around to installing Gentoo on it (slow start, see link at bottom), the second thing that surprised me was how stupid fast it compiled everything. I got the world list (the list of all the packages that I asked to be installed) from my old laptop and simply rebuilt the W700 with all the applications and games and everything, I even went all out on my USE flags this time so even more stuff got pulled in because of dependencies. Compiling all of this is similar to rebuilding my entire system on my old laptop, which I had to do when I migrated to the newer gcc, and that's something that took over 24 hours of just having the laptop compile in the background. The W700 does it in about 4 hours. I had walked away and left it running thinking it would take all night. When I walked by and saw that it was done, I thought something had broke, and didn't believe the green color of the emerge tool that everything went OK until I checked by hand that what I asked it to install got installed.

This brings me to the final surprise. After everything was done installing so that it was a mirror image of my last laptop, I went about setting up the necessary stuff like X, OpenGL/GLX, WiFi, etc. It went by like I didn't need to do anything. With the exception of GLX, which was still an incredibly easy fix, everything just worked when I said "go". The nightmare of getting GLX working on the T60p's ATI graphics adapter was a distant and forgotten memory. Score one for nvidia and nvidia's open source drivers. Which brings me to another note. The display looks great. 1920x1200 spanning just 17 inches is nice, but the contrast, color, and brightness are lightyears better than that of the T60p's 15 inch 1600x1200 display. Watching HD movies on this thing seems almost better than watching it on my Samsung HDTV (admittedly, the Samsung probably isn't color calibrated).

Overlooking some of the surprises, it was more or less what I expect from a top-of-the-line Thinkpad; stupid powerful and rock solid construction. There's the magnesium roll cage, no part of the laptop budges under significant pressure, and there's even water drainage holes for when I spell water on it (like with the T60p). As for its reliability, I'll have to see as time passes. I'm pretty rough on laptops, since I'll be using it pretty much 90% of the time that I am awake. So 3 years out of a laptop is a pretty good run.

Here is the link for installing Gentoo on Thinkpad W700, it's a good read (yeah right).

Filed under: Computers