ThinkPad Configuration Woes
April 22, 2004 1:26 PM   Subscribe

While I own multiple Windows and Apple desktops, I need to buy a Windows laptop, after only buying iBooks and PowerBooks for 5 years. I'm looking at the ThinkPad, but there are literally thousands of configurations to choose from. Can someone help me with the big questions? [mi]

I'm hoping to pay around $1,000 (US). I'm a web developer, so I need to be able to run HomeSite and Photoshop side-by-side.

1. Is the Celeron processor an acceptable choice?

2. Centrino's not a processor of its own, just an additional feature of a processor?

3. Is there an alternative to the ThinkPad you would recommend?

posted by o2b to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Celerons are a bit anemic. They'll get the job done, but don't cost much less than Pentium 4 or Pentium-M models.

Centrino is a marketing term given to the combination of an Intel Pentium-M processor, a certain chipset, and a specific Intel brand wireless card. Pentium-Ms offer good performance and great battery life above that of Pentium-4s.
posted by zsazsa at 1:48 PM on April 22, 2004

do NOT buy a dell - they fall apart and their customer service is horrific.
I have an old 700MHz thinkpad, still going strong.

if you'll be running photoshop, the more memory, the better!

re: Centrino -- (lifted from
Centrino Mobile Technology is made up of 3 key aspects : Pentium-M codenamed "Banias", Intel 855 Chipset family and a Wi-Fi module. Notebooks to be branded as Centrino will need to satisfy these 3 key aspects, if not, it will be branded as a Pentium-M notebook with Wi-Fi module from third party manufacturers other than Intel own Wi-Fi module. Intel has spent many months validating Centrino mobile technology to work with the current industry WLAN standards and security matters and we can expect 3rd party solutions coming out in the near future as well. [...] will be able to run approximately 6 hours on a full battery charge.
posted by j at 1:49 PM on April 22, 2004

1. No.

2. Basically just means integrated wireless.

3. Fujitsu, Toshiba.
posted by falconred at 1:54 PM on April 22, 2004

Second the suggestion of Fujitsu and Toshiba as solid alternatives. Nobody can beat the Thinkpad keyboard, though. And the Thinklight keyboard light rocks my socks.

(I've had a 600, x22, and currently an x30 -- they've all been very nice)
posted by 4easypayments at 2:16 PM on April 22, 2004

Not to derail anything, but I was also about to buy a laptop and was thinking Dell, since they're based in my hometown. Can we get a little more information on why Dell is not recommended and Toshiba and Fujitsu are better?

posted by Jonasio at 5:42 PM on April 22, 2004

I have experience with both Dell and Toshiba laptops (sort of). I bought a Toshiba in 2000, its hard drive crashed in 2002, and my sister, who has it now, never uses it because it's extremely noisy and slow (I had similar complaints, but ignored them because I was more tolerant of such flaws back in the day). My friend has owned a company-issued Dell laptop for 2.5 years and it operates flawlessly. I have a Dell PC from 1998 (350 Mhz P2) which is still working like new (obviously it's slow as anything, but it runs 2000).

My evidence is limited, but my family and friend stand by Dell. The only reason I don't have one now is because I love the styling of the iMac. I convinced my g/f to get a Powerbook, and will probably get an iBook for my sister this fall.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:11 PM on April 22, 2004

I forgot to Virtual PC out of the question?
posted by BlueTrain at 6:49 PM on April 22, 2004

I haven't heard of any problems with Dell.

I was recommending the Toshiba and Fujitsu over the IBMs because they are almost as sturdy as the IBMs, but the IBMs are quite a bit pricier for similar specs.
posted by falconred at 9:13 PM on April 22, 2004

I recently bought an Averatec laptop for under $1000 - for the price, the specs are amazing. All of the reviews I could find (and I really searched) were good - not a gamer's machine but great for most uses.

It's been very good for me over the last month or so, though I'm not running such intensive programs. The video card is where this make might not be good for you.
posted by jb at 3:01 AM on April 23, 2004

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