Neo-Classical Guitar Man wrote:I bought a few IBM Thinkpads on the recommendation of some people on here, and the laptops / notebook have blown my mind. On paper other brands with the exact same specifications look the equal of mine, and yet the performance difference is staggering beyond belief! This is with each one set up exactly the same in every way too. So I cannot look at anything other than a IBM Lenovo Thinkpad for the long term future.
IBM/Lenovo used to make such great laptops, until they too learned to compromise. You need to really go back in the model history to find something excellent. Two years ago I followed advice gained here and elsewhere, and purchased a ThinkPad X60 from a firm that refurbishes them out of business leases. It seemed like a pretty "old" model to get, but let me tell you it works fine for everything I do, so long as I don't throw too much at the processor.
The best things about it? Has Firewire, CardBus II, and SD slot, so I can connect to everything without additional adapters. The 12" 1024x768 screen can get cramped, but any higher resolution is impossible to read on stage IMO. I like the fact I am not wasting real estate on wide screen. Plus it is matte and reads very well.
The wireless on/off switch is nice to have, to save juice and to ensure that interruptions are impossible. Oh yeah, battery life is not great but sufficient for a live set off mains. The cute little ThinkLight is no match for an illuminated keyboard but is a lot more subtle. A great thing to have when fumbling in the dark!
I am amazed that the built-in sound is actually good enough for gigs. Though I generally need at least four channels (monitor and mains), I have run mini jack out when necessary.
My model is only 2GB (maximum is 3GB). Chip is Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 @ 1.83GHz. I swapped out the original 60GB HD for a full-sized unit but otherwise run it as stock. The Windows install came with all sorts of app crap so I started from scratch.
You can pick one up for £150 and a dock with DVD drive and retro ports is almost free. My wife loved the computer -- just the right size and price! So she bought one too. Even though her use is different this model suits us both.
I use Reaktor and Samplitude with NI USB or RME FireWire interfaces. I have plugged a couple other USB I/O boxes into this when on the road and all have worked without hiccup.
The computer runs hot but is nice and quiet, which is more important to me. Actually, my model is absolutely silent but my wife's unit generates a small whine when the fan kicks into high gear.
I would really like to know if any advance has been made on this computer in the past five years. Somehow I doubt it. The only thing I wish for is a larger screen, but then again I don't want a heavier laptop. Compromises must be made.