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The X300 Could Usher in a New Generation of ThinkPads 132

An anonymous reader writes "The ThinkPad has long been a favorite of IT departments everywhere and is the preferred notebook for legions of no-nonsense users. As times have progressed the ThinkPad has improved but the X300 marks the most significant change in its design since the butterfly keyboard. While we've already discussed a few leaked specs, official news of big changes like LED-backlighting (the first on a ThinkPad) and a widescreen display accompany a number of important but smaller design tweaks. Current thinking is that these changes indicate that the X300 is the first step in a series of larger changes to the ThinkPad. The notebook has already received a number of favorable reviews, but the other changes - the ones that will ultimately trickle down to the rest of the ThinkPad line - are perhaps more interesting than this specific $2500+ notebook."
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The X300 Could Usher in a New Generation of ThinkPads

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  • by cyfer2000 ( 548592 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:27PM (#22617694) Journal
    I will wait.
  • They need to have something better then integrated video at $2500+ and even at the $1500+ price range.

    Put in a ati hyper memory or nvidia Turbo Cache card in or use the 780G amd chip set Integrated graphics with Side-port memory as local frame buffer.

    128mb - 256mb+ of system ram just for video in vista is a big hit and a joke at $1500+
    • by jg1708 ( 1246046 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:39PM (#22617792)
      How do you propose they get the extra heat out? Also, from what I have read, the X300's battery time is not all that great. The extra hardware would be one more power drain.
    • by ynososiduts ( 1064782 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:44PM (#22617816)
      Why would you need that much dedicated VRAM in an office laptop? Set the Vram to 32MB and be done with it. I don't get why everyone is complaining about notebooks aimed at office work not having a dedicated video card, when modern integrated graphics are more than adequate. What is especially bothering is that this is slashdot, Intel has open source linux drivers, and everyone seems to be pushing the proprietary Nvidia and ATI graphics soultions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blackirish ( 794322 )

        Not only is integrated graphics good enough now, it also saves a whole heck of a lot of power. My Thinkpad T60 with discrete graphics gets an hour less runtime on battery than an identical T60 with integrated graphics. In a portable design with a SSD drive, LED backlighting and a bunch of other power saving features, just why would you want a power hungry graphics chip?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by exploder ( 196936 )
        The world isn't divided between corporate users and gamers. Scientists and academics value a capable, durable, no-nonsense machine like the Thinkpad series, and often need a fair bit of graphical horsepower for visualizations.
        • on 13.3 inches diagonal?

        • Very true. And just because they're corporate users or scientists, doesn't mean they're not gamers in their spare time. A lot of corporate users are in fact gamers. Not necessarily hard-core gamers who play Crysis at insane resolutions with AA enabled, but gamers nonetheless.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tecmec ( 870283 )
      I think you'd be surprised. It really doesn't take much video horsepower to run Aero smoothly. I've not seen any modern integrated video not be able to handle it (and handle it well, at that). A notebook with a ULV CPU, does [b]not[/b] need anything more. There is no such thing as a sub-15" gaming laptop.
      • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 )
        That's been my experience with aero as well. Although the compositing works well in vista, the slowness of the rest of the system is a huge drain on laptops. But for things like dragging, minimizing windows, it's usually always smooth and without tearing on all the hardware I've tried it on including laptops with integrated video. I can't say the same for compiz, which still doesn't work on a large number of mobile graphics chipsets and works only poorly on even more. This is mostly an ATI problem though, i
      • it not just the power it's the ram hit. Why can intel have on board video with 32mb-64mb-128mb of it's own ram?

        Ati / amd is working on that.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sandstig ( 594928 )

        There is no such thing as a sub-15" gaming laptop.
        Eh []? ECS used to market laptops with 14.1" SXGA+ (1400x1050) screens equipped with the Mobility Radeon 9600 as well.
    • Have you checked Lenovo's site? The X300 [] comes with XP by default.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is a business class ultra light laptop. light weight and small size being the primary objectives. a dedicated video takes up more space, creates more heat, and increases battery usage compared to Intels integrated video.A dedicated video in this laptop is a rather stupid idea. integrated video is not a universal solution, the fastest, biggest, most powerfulest isn't always the bestest. and as far as vista, who cares. xp wont be going anywhere any time soon especially with many bigger organizations st
    • They need to have something better then integrated video at $2500+ and even at the $1500+ price range
      While that may be nice from a performance perspective, the current crop of nVidia cards at the very least will kill the battery life. I was recently looking around at all types of laptops and it's rather consistent, if you want good battery life you'll be using integrated video.
    • Why on earth would ThinkPad users want or need this? Integrated Intel Extreme graphics are more than sufficient for portable use. Heck, they can even run popular modest games reasonably well. For the savings in size, power use, money, going with Intel integrated graphics is the CORRECT design decision.

      I'm starting to wonder if I really want to associate with a Slashdot crowd that would mod parent insightful.
    • As you said, 128-256mb of system ram is a joke at $1500+.
    • by macshit ( 157376 )

      They need to have something better then integrated video at $2500+ and even at the $1500+ price range.

      Designing a machine is all about picking the appropriate compromises. "Integrated graphics" has its issues, but is often pretty good these days, and certainly powerful enough for running compiz and other blingerific GUIs, opengl-based stuff (blender or whatever), etc. The memory hit can be annoying, but then you can just bump up your system RAM, which is generally more useful and cheaper than dedicated

  • by ntw1103 ( 1208178 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:39PM (#22617786) Homepage
    "but the X300 marks the most significant change in its design" did you miss the x41? you know the tablet. yeah, I would think that the whole swivel-touchscreen would be the most significant change. look; after that they have released more tablets following the major change that occurred in the x41. it isn't all that strange for an ultralight either, there have been a lot of tiny thinkpads. yes this one does have a wide screen, but they have had other wide-screen thinkpads too. if you ask me, yes the some changes are there, but far from the most significant changes the thinkpad line has seen.
    • by macshit ( 157376 )

      did you miss the x41? you know the tablet. yeah

      Hmm, for how many decades has MS been saying the tablet pc is the next big thing...?

      Never seems to happen though.

  • Advert? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NotZed ( 19455 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:47PM (#22617842)
    Mate, it's just another laptop. What's so revolutionary about that?

    Sounds like advertising to me.

    I do like thinkpads myself, but the only thing revolutionary about the X300 to me is it's exorbitant price.
    • I couldn't help but be reminded about the article from Sony about the "race to the bottom" (yes i'm too lazy to post slashdot link).

      With the exception of graphics artists and programmers, most people simply do not need a laptop worth over 500 dollars or so. I'm not just talking about the eeePC, which is great in its own way due to its size, but any laptop which can reach that price point and still be a regular size laptop for ease of typing up a document, or any other purpose. As I type this from my eee t
      • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 )
        I would be willing to pay an extra 100 or 200 dollars for, say, double the battery life, or a pound of weight reduction, or assurance of reliability. I agree however that performance wise the ability of the current technology has surpassed the level required for most tasks. That doesn't mean you there are not other areas that need work though, and hardware innovations are usually always initially price prohibitive for most people.
        • we've finally hit the 640k limit!

          p.s your sig only applies to "american" libertarianism, in the rest of the world it means "a social system based on naivety and hoping for the innate goodness of man" (pretty much anarco-comunism, as compared to the american usage anarco-capitalism )
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GarfBond ( 565331 )
      Seriously. LED backlighting? Wiki tells me it's been on some VAIOs since 2006 and on MacBook Pros since 2007. Widescreen displays? Pretty much every manufacturer in 2007 (including Lenovo, for that matter), and a large few in 2003-2006, and as far back as 2001 for Apple. Revolutionary time for Lenovo? More like playing catchup and/or letting high-end features stay in their high-end (the X300 is a $2500 machine after all).

      Smells like astroturfing, or the dumbest kind of fanboyism, to me.
      • Re:Advert? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @10:58PM (#22619730)

        Widescreen displays? Pretty much every manufacturer in 2007 (including Lenovo, for that matter), and a large few in 2003-2006, and as far back as 2001 for Apple
        Plus, widescreens are inferior (unless your main task is watching DVDs). They should instead be called "shortscreens." They have less surface area than a normal aspect screen with the same diagonal measurement. Ask yourself this question, do you do more vertical scrolling or horizontal scrolling?
        • I had many "normal" screens in last 20 years and I never liked wide screens until I actually used one. You must consider that many if not most applications have somewhat 'more horizontal' layout than vertical. Example: Photoshop. How Photoshop looks like on a normal ascpect screen? You put all the tools and mini windows on the side of the screen and suddenly you have very little space for your landscape photo which now actually would be better to be vertical. With wide aspect screen all the tools are in the
        • by bentcd ( 690786 )

          (...) Ask yourself this question, do you do more vertical scrolling or horizontal scrolling?

          To me, the important question is: which do you find the more annoying - having to scroll horizontally or having to scroll vertically? For me, any screen that reduces the need for horizontal scrolling has a clear advantage over the competition.

          Also, for programming I find it more useful to stack different tools/views sideways than on top of each other. In practice, for project tree views etc., having the horizontal space to have them on the side of the main editor view actually makes for less vertical scrol

        • Try flipping open a 4x3, 15" laptop on an aircraft. Sorry, but the widescreen laptop is superior when it comes to portability, and I can think of few more important things in a laptop.
        • > They have less surface area than a normal aspect screen with the same diagonal measurement.

          I prefer to think they get extra diagonal length for the same surface area. The glass is half full after all.
      • by cgenman ( 325138 )
        I think the change is that the Lenovo have been a no-nonsense business machine for a long time now. Switching to widescreen display with rubberized grips and various other touches implies that IBM's primary ultralite is aimed at more of a consumer-level target.

        The solid-state drive standard is pretty revolutionary, though that revolution has started sweeping over notebook lines as we speak.

  • by spoco2 ( 322835 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @06:05PM (#22617970)
    The Cnet one linked to above [] has a guy trying SO HARD to do a 'TV presenter's voice'... And noooow, liiiive from Hollywood coooomes some dick doing a TERRIBLE video review.

    Urgh, stick to text.
    • by Lispy ( 136512 )
      Thanks. You are so right. I thought it was my european heritage but obviously this guy qualifies as a dick globally. ;)
    • by aclarke ( 307017 )
      That's because he's reviewing a "laaptap". This is how one reviews a laaptap.

      I hear people with an accent like that and I just want to sit them down and force them to learn how to pronounce the letter "o". Ooooooooooo. Say it after me.
  • Why is this here? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TiberSeptm ( 889423 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @06:07PM (#22617982)
    I'm trying to figure out why this is news. It sounds like some minor tweaks to the x300, plus the OP seems ill-informed on what technologies have been used in thinkpads before.
    • I'd have to agree, this isn't news, its an infomercial. Sure, the X300 may be a signal of where IBM/Lenovo want to take their laptop line, but then you could say that about *any* new product.
  • T60 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fat_mike ( 71855 )
    In my opinion this was the pinnacle of IBM (Yes, mine says IBM Thinkpad on it) and their laptops. We've bought T61's since I got my T60 two years ago and I hate supporting them. My T60 just works. It plays Oblivion, my movies and music and I've seen it sit for two weeks in standby mode with the lid closed.
    It is also the most durable laptop I've ever had and I beat the hell out of my laptops. Traveling, punching it (see Oblivion above), dropping it, knocking it around during my job.
    And yes, I'm old.
    • by WMD_88 ( 843388 )
      The T60 was made under Lenovo. Yes, it says "IBM Thinkpad," but they all say that, including my dad's Z61m. Lenovo has the rights to the logo for a few more years. The Lenovo logo wasn't added until the 61's. The T60 has a Windows key, which IBM wouldn't put on themselves.
      • My T60 has a Lenovo logo on it, right beside the T60 writing on the inside. The lower right corner of the inside and lid still says "IBM ThinkPad" though. As of the T61, "IBM ThinkPad" has been replaced with just "ThinkPad".

      • by sphealey ( 2855 )
        > The T60 was made under Lenovo.

        Lenovo had been making the majority of IBM's laptops and desktops for years before IBM sold the division to them.

    • No modern notebook sits for "two weeks in standby mode". There's not enough juice in the battery to keep the DRAM refreshed. I have a friend with a T61 and the 9-cell battery, and it's dead (from full) in around 5-6 days of suspend, which is actually quite long for a notebook. His notebook has 1 1GB DIMM; with 2 DIMMs expect about half that life.

      Some notebooks have "hybrid suspend"; this saves the memory to the disk and shuts down. That's probably what you're seeing.
      • If I charge mine and leave it in suspend (to RAM--not hibernate) overnight, it comes back with 99% juice. Sounds like two weeks isn't out of line, although I'd hate to be without my lappy that long.
  • ...because it reads like an advertisement.
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lunatrik ( 1136121 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @06:37PM (#22618228)
    I can only begin to guess who the "Anonymous Coward" that posted this story might work for....
    Go Go Slashvertisements!
  • I just hope the optical drive can be replaced with another harddrive in the good ol' ultrabay-fashion. 64gig just isn't enough.
  • It's too expensive for a general rollout. It will be the executive only Thinkpad model.
  • so will this new version of the think pads get rid of the random freeze ups and hibernation bugs =D? Because as far as I can tell the last 4 versions have only made it worse..
  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @08:57PM (#22619156)
    The thing about the Thinkpad that makes them so appealing to corporate customers is there support life cycle. You knew that if you invested in accessories for a T40 those accessories would work with the T41, T42, T43, etc. until the number increments to T50 you were guaranteed your accessories would be forward compatible making the investment worthwhile for the 3/4 year life cycle your organization has planned for those devices. With the 60 series Lenovo has started to abandon this. Last year our company began implementing 60 series laptops. In less than a year the R60 was superseded by the R61. The R61 uses a new chipset and while pin compatible with their Advanced Dock I've yet to find a PCIe peripheral that will work with the R61. The R61 will not even boot with the Quad monitor video card we are using with the R60. Working with the Lenovo engineering group proved fruitless as ultimately they simply told me there was no way it would work and they had no plans on fixing it. The build materials aren't as hearty as they used to be either. I hope the x300 isn't just the next in a long line of abandoning the corporate customer that made the Thinkpad a household name.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by hacker ( 14635 )

      You knew that if you invested in accessories for a T40 those accessories would work with the T41, T42, T43, etc. until the number increments to T50 you were guaranteed your accessories would be forward compatible making the investment worthwhile for the 3/4 year life cycle your organization has planned for those devices.

      ...except batteries, docking stations, RAM and keyboards, of course.

      The T40 is not compatible with the T41, nor the T42 and so on with any of those components. In fact, the T42 and the

      • by dabadab ( 126782 )
        That is utter bullshit. Basically all the components you list are compatible through the whole T4x range, just check out the Hardware Maintenance Manual []. Yeah, the memory was upgraded from PC2100 to PC2700 in the T41(p), but that's all (and you can use PC2700 instead of PC2100, though mixing them may not work). And the T42 and T42p DO have compatible components.
      • the T42 and the T42p for example, don't even share compatible components.

        hrmm.... Let's see, I used the word accessories (interchangeable with peripheral) and you use the word component. These are very different things.

        I'm sitting here with a T40, T41, T42, T42p, and T43 at my desk and they all seem to work perfectly fine in the docking station. Heck, even the T20, T21, T22, and T30 I have fit on the T40 series dock. The only reason they even introduced new dock with the T40 series was to be able to use th
      • That's a lie. I originally bought a T40 and then replaced its motherboard with one from a T41. All of the T40 parts worked just fine with the T41 motherboard.

  • by ghjm ( 8918 )
    I'm typing this on a Dell XPS M1330. LED backlight? Check. Widescreen display? Got it. Lightweight form factor? Yep. 64Gb SSD available? Since December, although I took the 200Gb SATA. Core 2 Duo 2.2Ghz and 4Gb of DDR2-5300? Yep, although I only chose to pay for 2.0Ghz and 3Gb. And I got the Geforce Go 8400M video card with 128Mb dedicated graphics memory - not stellar by hard-core gamer standards, but worlds beyond the integrated graphics on the X300. Plus, my M1330 was at least $500 cheaper than the X300
    • ...and unlike the Dell laptops, Thinkpads will still be rolling along long after the Dells break down. To go for a post-offshore Dell is much like gambling on support - you're hoping they'll understand you and 2) have enough intelligence to know what the problem is. With a Thinkpad, you're more likely to get a Denver/Atlanta call center on the line without having a business account. To have to go directly to the top on Dell is a mistake by doing so, for IBM/Lenovo it is a line of last resort that solves the
      • I agree it's a pain trying to get "Jack" from Mumbai to solve your problem with a Dimension or Inspiron. But all XPS support is US-based.

        As to build quality or design, it's meaningless to generalize to "all Dell" or "all Lenovo." Both companies have their share of dogs, but build quality on the M1330 is excellent. Design is in the eye of the beholder, but I routinely have people walk up and ask me about the M1330 (usually having walked past rows of throbbing-Apple-logo Macs to do so).

  • by ahaning ( 108463 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @10:00PM (#22619456) Homepage Journal
    I've been looking around for a new notebook recently after my 3 year and 3 month old T42 with a 3-year warranty started to have problems due to the BGA [] method of attaching the mobile Radeon 9600. See this thread at [] for more info.

    I really like the durability of my ThinkPad but this experience has left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. My 9 year old Gateway Solo 2500 still runs fine except that I've had to replace the hard drive a couple times.

    As a student and employee at a higher-education institution, however, the 34% discounts available to me on ThinkPads still makes them pretty attractive. Couple that with opting for SuSE Linux and I've got a pretty well-priced notebook.

    I am not ruling out a MacBook, however. Now that they come with Intel processors, I can pretty much have my pick of OSes other than OS X installed.
    • As someone who's had similar issues with a t42p, the later revisions of the board seem to have dealt with this issue. The only problem seems to come from those who still have their original board that has said flaw in it and are nearing the end of their warranty.

      On a good note, the T60p has taken care of this and has the often-wanted Flexview screen. Combine that with another thread talking about putting a 14" T61p's board in, you have a laptop that will have a very long lifetime.
  • Could be better (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Richard_J_N ( 631241 ) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @11:55PM (#22620072)
    As a longtime thinkpad user (since the 770, now with a T60), there are several things Lenovo have got wrong:

    - No line-in for audio. This is a big problem for doing audio recordings
    - No enough ports (only 3 USB, no firewire)
    - Widescreen. Ugh. Repeat after me, laptops are for documents, not for movies. "Widescreen" just means "missing the top and bottom of the display" - it should be renamed "shortscreen".
    - Lid catches: IBM used to have two, carefully balanced; Lenovo reduced this to one as a deliberate measure, but it is now harder to open with a single hand.
    - side-mounted ports for ethernet - so the cable gets in the way on the desk.
    - Windows keys (used to be absent) - making the Ctrl and Alt keys too small.

    Thinkpads are generally quite Linux friendly (see, but still, can't we have the nice Intel i810 cards on the high-end models, instead of crippling them with useless ATI cards?

    The older models (eg 560, 770) were very well engineered, and seemed to have been designed with a little more "love". The T60 is not a bad machine, but it doesn't inspire affection and delight in the same way.

    • by AsnFkr ( 545033 )
      - Widescreen. Ugh. Repeat after me, laptops are for documents, not for movies. "Widescreen" just means "missing the top and bottom of the display" - it should be renamed "shortscreen".

      Wait, what? Laptops aren't for movies? Tell that to all the people that travel with them. And besides, I like widescreen laptops. I can throw my buddy list over to the right and have a nice sized firefox window open with the rest of the screen and see both at the same time. I see what you mean about documents getting cut o
      • What annoys me is that frequently you get downgraded from a 15.1" regular screen to a 17" widescreen, or even worse, a 15.4" widescreen, both of which are *smaller* than the original 15.1" display. The remaining area is simply wasted. Also, most software is designed to work in "portrait" mode, so by the time you have a widescreen, and then loose the area from the taskbar, title-bar, menus, statusbar, etc, your actual "working" area is very thin! For documents-editing, programming, and even web-browsing, a t
    • by seebs ( 15766 )
      While I was not happy about the change in resolutions, going from a 1600x1200 display to a 1920x1200 display has been a big win.

      News flash: My field of vision is wider than it is tall.
    • Hear, hear! I'm going to start calling the "shortscreen" laptops, to! I'd go for a "widescreen" if you could pivot it into portrait mode, though. That would me a much nicer feature than a folding keyboard.
    • - Widescreen. Ugh. Repeat after me, laptops are for documents, not for movies. "Widescreen" just means "missing the top and bottom of the display" - it should be renamed "shortscreen".

      I used to have the same attitude. Then I bought a T61 and realized how wrong I was. A laptop should, above all things (in my mind) be portable. A widescreen display is shorter and wider, which means the fliptop takes up less room, making it workable in cramped spaces (like, say, on an airplane), while making the whole thing
    • Uh, I have a T61, and you're wrong on most counts.

      No line-in for audio. This is a big problem for doing audio recordings

      Almost no notebook has this; the ThinkPad has a mic-level input which is arguably more useful for doing recording.

      No enough ports (only 3 USB, no firewire)

      Most ThinkPads don't have FireWire, my T61 being a notable exception. Few people use this interface for anything but video production, which you're not going to want to do on a machine with a 64GB SSD anyway. Get a MacBook Pro.


      • All the older thinkpads had the full 3 audio jacks. I'm actually recording from a mixing desk, so a stereo input at a sensible level (without huge amounts of noise) is much more useful. It costs almost nothing to add, and makes the laptop useful for 5.1 stereo too, so why not keep it? Likewise with firewire - not that useful to that many people, but if you do need it, it's a real pain having to fiddle with PCMCIA cards.

        I agree with you that it is useful to have a wider screen. What bugs me is that the the
  • my thinkpad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sentientbrendan ( 316150 ) on Monday March 03, 2008 @04:36AM (#22621466)
    the X61s by far the best designed laptop I've seen. It isn't pretty, but it is high powered processor wise and light. I think it is a shame that more companies don't look after the practical usability of laptops, but instead tend to focus on making 6+ pound behemoths with huge screens that you will never be able to move off your desk.

    Really, if you want that kind of hardware, get a desktop. As far as real laptops for mobile users go, thinkpad is the reigning king.
  • First, I agree that Thinkpads are the best out there. They are more robust and more usable than anything else, with the exception of the first run of T60s when Lenovo first broke away from IBM. Unfortunately, the key placement has moved me to purchase Dells for my company instead.

    For reference, here are some pictures for keyboard comparison:
    Thinkpad X300 []
    Dell D420 keyboard []
    Macbook Pro Air keyboard []

    Escape and the Function key are in the wrong places ... Esc must be in the NW corner, left of F1 and

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.