Lenovo ThinkPad T61

As I mentioned a few days ago, I was looking for a new laptop. Well, I got one last week, and it’s an amazing Lenovo ThinkPad T61 machine. I am still playing with, learning it, and tweaking it, but I think I’m ready for the post now.

The red button

First things first. There weren’t much of an argument for or against each specific model that I found or that was suggested in the comments to my last post. I needed a machine pretty fast, and I was trying to arrange it in such a way so that I won’t pay for it out of my own pocket (my new employer is kind of cool for this sort of things).

Here are the specs for the tech savvy among you:

  • 15.4″ widescreen form factor
  • 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 150 GB HDD
  • 3 USB ports
  • some sort of DVD drive
  • 1 Ethernet card, 1 WiFi card, and a whole bunch of other inputs and outputs

Installation process : I did a minimum installation of Fedora 8 from DVD, then copied over my home directory and other important files from my previous laptop, and then installed and upgraded all missing and outdated software. Most of the stuff worked like a charm and didn’t need any sweat.

Issues that I needed time to solve or haven’t solved yet:

  • WiFi switch was off and it took me almost half an hour to figure out. That was probably due to a total lack of sleep though.
  • Fedora 8 has this new pulse audio system, which takes a few steps to setup properly. I had to do this a few times before already, and every time this excellent guide was to the rescue.
  • I still haven’t managed to configure suspend and hibernate functionality. It goes to sleep nicely, but either doesn’t wake up at all, or wakes up with some crucial functionality missing, such as network being totally lost. This is as well the most annoying thing that I miss right now. However, the whole of the Internet suggests that I am doing something wrong and that this stuff should just work.


  • Very fast. This is my first multi-core machine, so I have to get used to it a bit. One thing that I am particularly glad is that it runs Quake 3 at 125 FPS easily. This is the first machine that I have that can do this.
  • Widescreen is the way to go. (And here is the recent Slashdot story to confirm that.) It’s amazing how much difference that little extra space on the side makes. Watching a movie is more pleasurable. Working with images in Gimp is way more convenient. And now I can have a full window browser with a sidebar open, following my Twitter friends. Or an instant messenger window open nearby. Or I can have a really wide console window with plenty of code to scroll through (priceless for vimdiff mode).
  • A little bit heavier than my previous machine. It’s a bit bigger too. But I don’t mind much.
  • A little bit noisier than my previous machine. It feels like the fans are never off. However I suspect there is some great utility software out there to configure and control this.

Overall, it feels like a really nice piece of technology – well built and thoroughly thought out. I need to solve these few remaining issues and it will be a total pleasure to work with.