I’m x64 and I’m not turning back. Pay attention software developers, your x86 time is running out fast. One of my applications didn’t make the x64 cut. We’ll talk about application compatibility in a few minutes.
I recently purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p. It’s the 15.4″ 1680×1050 native resolution model with the Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M with 256MB memory, 4GB of useable RAM, 200GB 7200rpm Hitachi hard drive, DVD burner, IEEE 1394 port, ExpressCard slot, etc. Basically this is one of the top machines on the market. It may well be the top business machine.
Like many of you, I have a healthy mix of applications I’ve grown to know and love over time. Ok, love may be a bit strong, but lets just say we all have applications that would be considered “show stoppers” if they didn’t work. Right? We also have applications you just know are going to fail.
As it turns out, I have no show stoppers yet but they may be coming. I’m not done installing everything yet. I actually have to do real work during the day and I have three blogs posts coming on some stuff I’ve been working on in secret.
So what failed? As expected, Adobe Premiere Elements v3 fell flat on it’s face. In fact, if you install and run the application on my machine, it goes into a complete I/O loop and a hard power off is required. Nasty, really nasty and it hosed my reliability index number right out of the gate. The Adobe site says it’s 32bit only in the system requirements. Obviously they are aware it has issues. But of ALL of my applications, it’s the only one that doesn’t work. I’ll still contact their support department and see if we have any internal workarounds, but the writing is on the wall Adobe. Dreamweaver 8 works, but I cannot update it with the 8.02 patch I need to keep my FTP site settings. I’ll try to spend some time resolving that one, too.
One application I fully expected to fail, but didn’t, is the HP Photosmart 2610 All-in-One software for my color printer/scanner/copier. I was really happy to see that work especially since I just discovered the Windows Vista compatible version not too long ago.
I haven’t installed any games yet but I’ll let you know how that goes. I plan to install a few before the weekend is out. I wonder if Halo 2 for Windows Vista will work. Placing bets?
Anyone wondering how this performs? Thermonuclear! I haven’t started doing any serious number crunching yet, but that is coming. Anecdotal evidence aside, here’s the screenshot of my Windows Vista Performance Index from WinSAT score information. Compare that to my T60p from last year. Notice anything different? Yea, the GPU is smoking baby!!!
As you can see from the result, this machine is equivalent in performance to nearly every top laptop on the market including the Apple MacBook Pro. There’s one big difference however, my machine runs quiet and cool. Lenovo did a great job with the new thermal design and right now, I’m running my machine without the benefit of all of their power management tools. The fan is nearly silent and the 200GB Hitachi drive I bought at newegg.com is much quieter than the 100GB drives in my stable.
You may have noticed on all of the top machines right now, that the best score you’ll see is generally a 4.8 or 4.9 because of memory bandwidth. I have been in discussions with the Windows Vista developers on this for months so we’ll see if they change things for SP1.
Other T61p Observations
I’m sure you’re wondering a bit more about the machine. When people think about the ThinkPad, they immediately talk about solid built machines, excellent keyboards, and conservative looks. The new T61p doesn’t disappoint and Lenovo actually raised the bar in some areas.
The 15.4″ screen I have is the LG screen and runs at a native 1680×1050 resolution also known as WSXGA+. It is brighter than the T60p 15.4″ widescreen I have. The rage is to go after the higher resolution 1920×1200 (WUXGA) screen. You’ll have at least a 4-6 week lead time on one of those right now. In fact, Lenovo stopped selling them on lenovo.com until they can fill their backlog.
Be sure to to evaluate these resolutions before you buy. Many people can’t handle WUXGA on a 15.4″ monitor. One thing about the screen… it is not centered in the LCD bezel. There’s about a quarter inch more bezel on the left than the right. My understanding is that there are wires and antenna leads in that area. It doesn’t bother me but it might bother you if you are and engineer, architect, or other “precise person”.
The keyboard is still awesome although I prefer the one on my T60p. They are certainly different feeling and sounding. This keyboard emits a little more noise on key taps. It’s no big deal to me but I wonder how my wife will like it.
The until itself feels very solid. Since it’s a widescreen model, it’s obviously wider than your standard 14 or 15″ notebook. Keep that in mind if you are using a backpack. It fits perfectly in my Wenger Synergy backpack. You’ll find these backpacks nearly everywhere now. BestBuy has them. The T61p is balanced nicely and easy to grip with the strange matt black finish. I like that. I don’t want to drop it. The speakers are ok, but not great. It’s a business laptop, nuff said.
The T61p now has a IEEE 1394 Firewire port. I haven’t used it yet, but that’s coming now that I have to pick another video capture and DVD production software product. I am very glad it has one considering the T60p doesn’t.
I’ve only just begun putting this through it’s paces. I have no plans to run some of our server applications on it since I am getting new business machines soon anyway. I do however plan to install x64 SUSE 10 SP1 soon on another hard drive. I expect it will run nicely. We’ll see…
That’s it for now. If you are considering a purchase, look for this unit on sale. You should be able to get it loaded up nearly identical to mine for about $2000-2100. You may have to do like I did and order it with a 1GB RAM stick and the cheapest hard drive to cut cost there, but the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p is very reasonably priced in my opinion.
Let me know if you have any questions…