Home > FreeBSD, laptop, linux, Linux, PC-BSD, ThinkPad, Toshiba > Horning in on a pair of laptops

Horning in on a pair of laptops

June 5, 2014

This is a tale of two laptops, the two that often accompany me — individually or occasionally together — when I leave the house.

I like them both. But now I sit on the horns of a dilemma because I don’t know which should be my Number One.

One is a behemoth: The Toshiba Satellite L455 is nearly big enough for me to live in, should I become homeless. It’s got a nice screen, 4GB of RAM, and a lot of other things going for it. Despite its anchor-heavy weight, it is a spotless machine, and over the past several weeks it has served as my daily road warrior.

The other has been at my side for as long as I’ve ever owned hardware: An IBM ThinkPad T60. This laptop has only 2GB of RAM — only, he says — in the standard-issue workhorse in years past of the Linux set. The years and conferences have left its mark on this one, with stickers on the cover that would put any NASCAR racer to shame. The wireless card in this machine deserves special remark — I can pick up wifi from rural Canada with this ThinkPad (OK, a slight exaggeration), and the square screen allows a larger workspace than the Satellite.

The Satellite weighs about a ton and a half and I schlep it around with a Targus backpack. The ThinkPad is a lot lighter and goes in a Dell laptop bag ($2.50 at the Abbot’s Thrift Store on half-price day).

The Satellite has a slightly larger hard drive — not the original equipment, since I saved this laptop from recycling doom when my former employer was about to throw it out, sans hard drive and memory (“Hey, do you have any use for this laptop?” “Um, yeah.”). The ThinkPad, though with a smaller drive and less memory, never fails to get the work done that I expect from it.

Therein lies probably the tipping point: I can depend on the ThinkPad to handle everything, where the Toshiba, with its bigger drive and more memory sometimes falls short of expectations. Not wanting to get into the “inside baseball” of distro nuances on particular hardware, generally speaking the Toshiba has sometimes found ways to be — how can I put this tactfully? — uncooperative with some distros.

So I’m thinking about going back to the ThinkPad as the primary outside-the-home hardware, and I wanted to see what others thought either way, pro or con, left or right, good or bad.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy, Fosstafarian, Larry the Korora Guy, and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. Bob Pianka
    June 5, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Anytime I have to choose between a T series ThinkPad and anything else, the ThinkPad always wins.

  2. June 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I know almost nothing about ThinkPad(s). I have some experience with Toshiba. I too found Toshiba sometimes iffy with Linux, but of course I can say the same about Dell. From what I’ve read of your Blog in the past, my personal opinion (for what it’s worth), is that you like the Toshiba and trust the ThinkPad. I have basically said nothing, but my gut tells me the ThinkPad will win, now or soon!

  3. Jim
    June 5, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    As I’m a fan of Thinkpads, I’m typing this on my second one although this one isn’t an IBM, my choice would be obvious.

  4. Colonel Panik
    June 6, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Tpad wins!
    Throw in a SSD drive ($80 for 128Gig.)
    Add RAM if possible and you have a great machine that you trust.

  5. June 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Definitely ThinkPad!

    • June 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      I’m leaning that way.

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