ideal laptop recommendations?
darrylo at soco.agilent.com
Thu May 8 09:43:24 PDT 2003
"Jesse D. Guardiani" <jesse at wingnet.net> wrote:
> How long have you had the Thinkpad? And do you know where I might purchase
> one besides On-line? (Bestbuy and Circuit City don't carry them)
I've had it since mid-January or so. Sorry, I don't know of any
brick-and-mortar stores that carry them.
Just to give a more balanced view (lest others think that we're all
IBM zealots), my Thinkpad A31 is a nice, solid notebook, but it's not
completely without issues/problems:
* The A31 does not come with a floppy. You can get an external floppy,
but it's an USB floppy. This is not an issue for me (I can still boot
from CDROM), but it's an issue for some.
* If you want to dual-boot Windows and FreeBSD, and still keep the
special IBM software that allows you to quickly reinstall Windows from
an hidden partition (it's very nice), you'll have to specially-install
FreeBSD, as the IBM software appears to use a "boot track" instead of
a "boot sector". The normal FreeBSD approach of installing a new boot
sector *will* screw things up (for the IBM software, not FreeBSD).
Note that you don't have to preserve the IBM software. You can always
wipe the disk clean and install FreeBSD onto the entire disk. It's
only if you want to dual-boot where this becomes a problem. And,
it's definitely an issue, as some (many? most? all?) Thinkpads DO NOT
COME WITH WINDOWS RECOVERY CDROMS. Unless you pay extra ($20-$30???)
and order the recovery CDROMs from IBM (I think they're "free" if you
get them within the first 30 days after getting a Thinkpad), the only
way to "reinstall" windows is via the special recovery partition (and
using it REQUIRES an intact/unchanged boot sector).
[ Just to clarify: you can't change the code in the boot sector, but
you can change the partition table. You can resize partitions and
repartition the disk, but you must not replace the boot code if you
want to keep the IBM recovery software. If you don't care about the
recovery software, you can, of course, blow away the boot sector and
replace it with something else. ]
Here's a procedure for making an IBM A31 Thinkpad dual-bootable:
* With 5.0-RELEASE, ACPI is broken. I haven't tried the latest -current
with the recent ACPI updates, however, although I am using the latest
IBM A31 BIOS.
* APM seems to work, but there are issues: I can't get the laptop to
hibernate (suspend-to-disk), and suspending from X11 causes the resume
to "hang" (LCD display becomes "blotchy" without displaying any text
or graphics). The latter is possibly fixed with newer versions of
XFree86 (I'm using 4.2.1, and need to upgrade), and the workaround is
to switch to a vty before suspending.
[ For some people, using a kernel with "options SC_NO_SUSPEND_VTYSWITCH"
fixes the "suspend from X11" problem for them. It does not work for
* Under WinXP pro (ick), disconnecting the AC while the laptop is going
into suspend mode (suspend-to-RAM, not disk) seems to eventually
result in an OS crash/hang. The laptop may (or may not) successfully
resume, but a crash/hang seems to occur eventually.
[ I can't help but wonder if this is an ACPI issue. ]
* Under WinXP pro (ick), there is a feature where the laptop will go
into hibernation (suspend-to-disk) if it's been in suspend mode
(suspend-to-RAM) for a specified period of time. This seems to work
only if the suspend mode was entered while the battery was being used;
if the suspend is entered while on AC, the hibernation does not occur
(but, it does seem that a forced hibernation does occur when the
batteries are just about drained).
darrylo at soco.agilent.com
DISCLAIMER: this message is the author's personal opinion and does not
constitute the support, opinion, or policy of Agilent Technologies, or
of the little green men that have been following him all day.
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