Best Laptop to buy for Freebsd Without OS?

Chad Perrin perrin at
Sat Feb 19 05:03:57 UTC 2011

On Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 11:08:09PM -0500, Robert Huff wrote:
> Chad Perrin writes:
> >
> >  In my experience, ThinkPads are among the highest quality laptops
> >  on the market.
> 	At one point, Thinkpads - particularly the T4x series - were
> _the_ recommended used laptop.  While it's been a while since i
> looked into this formally, my grapevine says the quality went
> downhill quickly after Lenovo bought IBM's pc hardware division.

I think that's a gross exaggeration.  I had my fears/doubts about how
well the ThinkPad line would hold its quality after the purchase, but I
kept using it as long as I did not see any reason to stop.

I have not seen a reason to stop.

That is not to say that there were not some hitches.  There was some talk
of a lower-quality keyboard (too much flex in it) than in previous models
on one model; I think it was the T500.  Lenovo moved quickly to solve the
problem, though, and gave people free replacement keyboards.  If there
has been a technical degradation in quality for ThinkPads under Lenovo's
direction, it has been so minute as to not bring it down to the level of
the run of relatively high-end laptops from other major manufacturers, so
I don't see *too* much room to complain.

In the twentyish ThinkPads that I have had, the hardware problems I have
had include:

1. a screen that went out on a twelve year old ThinkPad (I don't recall
the model number)

2. a screen that went out on a T60 this year -- but it was acquired from
a sketchy refurbisher, and refurbished with parts from that refurbisher

3. a P3 600E that a friend of mine managed to fry (she killed electronics
by touching them on a regular basis)

4. a T42p that spontaneously combusted (sorta: I smelled burning plastic
and turned it off, rescued the hard drive, and -- because it was actually
my employer's laptop -- got it replaced under warranty)

5. two batteries died after years of use

That's all the hardware failures I've seen, and in most cases they lasted
longer than any desktop system I've had.  The rest of them -- those that
did not suffer hardware failures -- just got handed down to others, one
way or another, when I replaced them.  Notice that exactly one of those
was a Lenovo-built laptop.  There are currently five Lenovo-built
ThinkPads in my home -- an R52 (just post-transition from IBM to Lenovo),
a T60, an X60 Tablet, a T500, and a T510.  Of them, the only one with a
hardware problem is the T60 with a dead screen, which is currently
serving as a desktop system until I get around to setting up the T510 to
cover what the T60 does for me.  I'm not in a *huge* hurry, since I can
ssh to the T60 and connect to a tmux session.  That's one Lenovo-built
laptop with which I've had any hardware failures, and it's the one that
passed through the hands of a very shady refurbisher on its way to me.

That's not to say there have not been problems since the Lenovo
acquisition, but those problems are related to service rather than
manufacture.  For instance, their ordering process is a bit less
sophisticated behind the scenes (they actually use a spreadsheet to track
orders, apparently), and part of their technical service chain of
operations has been outsourced.

On the other hand, IdeaPads are something entirely of Lenovo invention,
as far as I can tell.  They're kinda like how ThinkPads might be if they
were made by Dell -- superficially similar in some ways, but with
crappier manufacture quality, fit and finish, reliability, keyboard feel,
et cetera.

In short, if there has been a substantive drop in manufacturing and
hardware quality, I have not seen it.  I suppose your mileage may vary.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]
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