[LAU] buying a new laptop

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Sat Sep 10 08:17:52 UTC 2011

On Sat, Sep 03, 2011 at 03:12:01PM -1000, david wrote:
> Ken Restivo wrote:
>> On Fri, Sep 02, 2011 at 04:21:07PM +0200, rosea grammostola wrote:
>>> On 09/02/2011 02:23 PM, Jeremy Jongepier wrote:
>>>> On 08/31/2011 08:47 AM, Atte André Jensen wrote:
>>>>> Hi
>>>>> My laptop was dropped, and if it's beyond repair, I need a new
>>>>> one quickly. I would appreciate a few (preferrably hands-on
>>>>> experiences or) advices to this end, here are a few thoughts:
>>>>> 1) It should of course work as flawless with linux as possible
>>>>> (I run arch)
>>>>> 2) I have an edirol fa66 firewire soundcard that I'm quite
>>>>> happy with. Problem is, it seems laptops with firewire are hard
>>>>> to find. I could get an usb soundcard, but I have the feeling
>>>>> that it's not gonna perform as well (low latency, stability) as
>>>>> firewire, it that correct? Plus it's annoying to throw away (or
>>>>> sell) a perfectly good, stable soundcard that suits my needs,
>>>>> just because of the port type...
>>>>> 3) I would prefer a small (<= 13") light-weight,
>>>>> long-battery-life laptop.
>>>>> 4) I actually don't really need that much cpu power. I have a
>>>>> 2Ghz dual-core intel (T7250, whatever that means) now, that's
>>>>> more than enough. It's the first dual core I owned, and I had
>>>>> the feeling the two cores provides a snappier feeling, would
>>>>> others agree? Besides that I don't need the speed I have now.
>>>>> Options (I can think of):
>>>>> I saw a secondhand ThinkPad X61s (dual-core 1.6Ghz, 3Gb ram,
>>>>> 12" display) from a well known online shop I trust and used
>>>>> many times (bought my current laptop there). There's 6 months
>>>>> warrenty, and my general impression with ThinkPads is that they
>>>>> have good build quality, it's the only laptop I would consider
>>>>> buying used. It has firewire so...
>>>>> Go the netbook route. I'm at a loss here, all these new
>>>>> processors, both the i-series and the atom (N-series), I have
>>>>> no idea how well they perform. I tried a few from friends, and
>>>>> they seem fast enough. Anyone here making music on a netbook?
>>>>> This would most certainly mean I would have to get a usb
>>>>> soundcard, hmmm :-(
>>>>> Any inputs would be greatly appreciated :-)
>>>> My 2¢ if you'd buy 2nd hand: Dell D430. Bit old but it does have
>>>> a dual-core CPU and onboard FireWire (Ricoh, but it does work
>>>> afaict). Build like a tank and relatively cheap, you can get them
>>>> for ?300,- with warranty.
>>> Good experiences with Lenovo T61 here and Dell latitude (didn't
>>> test this thing extensively with proaudio/firewire).
>>> Also the Lenovo X series might be interesting for you.
>> I have owned a few ThinkPads in my day, and they do run well with
>> linux, but the ergonomics of the keyboards on them irritate me so
>> much, I'll never use another one.
>> The escape key is waaay off out of reach, above the F1 key, so, when
>> I start hitting escape all the time (as in when editing system and
>> config files in vi), it keeps popping up stupid Gnome help screens!
> I suppose it all depends on what laptop keyboard layout you're used to.
> I like the Toshiba layouts (Escape key is beside the F1 key), can't  
> stand the Dell layouts. But I've used mostly Toshibas for years now, and  
> Dells only rarely. ;-)
> My wife is so used to her Toshiba laptop keyboard layout she hates  
> regular desktop keyboards (types incredibly slowly on them, but  
> adequately fast on the laptop keyboard).
>> Also, I absolutely cannot stand that damn nurple. Frustrating,
>> difficult to control, and hurts my finger after even a short time
>> using it. I prefer a trackpad or trackball anytime, even a regular
>> old mouse.
> The "nurple" is actually called the TrackPoint. I first met it when I
> had to borrow a Thinkpad to take notes in a meeting. I used it for 45
> minutes. After I returned it and went back to my regular desktop
> keyboard (sans Trackpoint) I found myself automatically reaching for the
> (non-existent) TrackPoint. Found it very easy to control, but I have a  
> rather light touch. A heavy touch would make it hard to use.
> I consider them one of the most ergonomic and best pointing control
> devices anyone's made. Although my person favorite pointing device is  
> still a Wacom graphics tablet.

Those are very cool indeed.

> I can use a touchpad, but I don't really like them. A friend of mine has  
> been using touchpads for years and years, loves them, etc. It's all a  
> matter of learning the techniques of rolling the fingertip instead of  
> moving the finger around.
> My wife, on the other hand, dislikes touchpads. She takes a mini-travel  
> mouse with her when she takes her laptop somewhere. But since she got  
> her netbook from System76, she's been leaving the travel mouse at home.  
> Maybe she likes the textured, edgeless touchpad on the Starling better  
> than the smooth touchpads you usually see on laptops.
>> So sadly, no vote of confidence for ThinkPads from me, sorry.
> Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel! ;-)

Yep, getting cranky in my old age, I am.

Hey you kids, get offa my lawn!


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