Thinkpads are world famous for reliability and support. They are designed
for rugged extended use, component interchangeability and are used by
businesses around the world; therefore they are supported almost everywhere. Lenovo,
who purchased the computer line from IBM,
has good online support and downloads to help you setup for your unconnected life.
They also have an online community,
ThinkWiki, based around the machines if you have any
general questions. While browsing
I even found out that my version has a handy little keypad light for night time use, which
turns out to be
Purchase Used or Refurbished
Since Thinkpads are used all over as business computers, you will find a lot
of them available on the used market. While we were in Singapore, containers full
of them were being sold at Sim Lim Square. Some are returned at the end of a
lease and then refurbished. Some are sold as is. You are getting
older/slower technology but often that is exactly what I am looking for. I
can buy four used ones, as backups, for the price of a new one.
A used laptop is just that, used and in whatever state it was in when the
user decided to sell it. The battery may or may not hold a charge, and the
operating system may not come with the proper XP installation CD or Windows XP
Certificate of Authenticity or COA for short, because the T23
originally shipped with Windows 2000.
A refurbished/remanufactured product is one that is returned by a
customer, for whatever reason, and then restored to original working
condition after undergoing an intensive inspection process by qualified
technicians. They usually offer the refurbished product at a substantially
discounted price compared to a new model, but more expensive than a used
Find a used one on ebay
I've purchased a couple of
computers this way. I get the features I want and a price you can't beat, but
you have to be careful with the OS and the battery. There usually is no warranty, but
most likely they'll let you return the product if it is DOA (Dead on
Arrival). In most cases you won't get
the Windows XP installation CD, so make sure you have one already.
You should be able to pay around $200, slightly more if CD's and COA are included. It's a slight upgrade from
the T22 we have (has two USB ports).
Make sure you get Windows XP and immediately clone the disk for backup. Add your
software and then clone it again.
Search ebay for Thinkpad T41 - Should be able to get one around $400
with 512kB memory, 40GB Hard Drive, CDRW, and Windows XP. You can also find the
which is similar.
Confused about the model differences check the T-Series descriptions at
Tiger Direct refurbished
The T40 seems like the best deal. Last time I looked, you also get a one
- You Need: Window XP Professional, good battery
- You Want: CDRW-DVD Combo. 40GB hard drive, at least 512kB memory,
- The refurbished items do not usually come with
the restore CDs but you are prompted to create your own on start up.
- See T40
Tiger-Direct search results
Buy a new Thinkpad
In the business world you can't afford to have any down time. I'd say the
same thing applies to a navigation computer. The new
Core-Duo processor only uses the power it needs, so it has increased performance
without having the huge power drains of the older model speed daemons. The good
thing about a new computer is you are getting the latest technology with all the
advances in efficiency, protection, reliability, and battery life. For example,
the following power supplies are used for each model; the T23 uses 16 V at 3.5 A ,
increases to 16V at 4.5 A and the latest T61,R61 go to 20V at 4.5 Amps. This is
the most power it can use, in
the T61 uses 27.6 watts at idle, and increases to 58 watts under full
load. Not bad considering the dramatic increase in processing power. You
could easily use the base model as a video editing computer.
They are also increasing the
with a robust, nearly indestructible
case design called the ThinkPad Roll Cage.
It includes a magnesium shell to protect the screen (T61 and R61
14.1' only) and body, as well as using shock mounted hard drives for improved
strength, durability, and reliability. It even has an
Active Protection System which determines if the laptop is accelerating,
i.e. falling, and parks the hard drive to prevent catastrophic disk failure. The hinges are metal which is a huge
improvement over most of the lower-end laptops I've seen with various contraptions
used to keep the screen attached.
Thinkpad R61 w/XP + 14.1" on Buy.com
Thinkpad T61 w/XP on Buy.com
(both screen sizes may appear)
What to look for in a new computer
If you are buying a new computer make sure you can get
the installation disks for all the software that comes preloaded with your
machine. Skip Vista for now.