I went with the ThinkPad option in the end – the wily denizens of the computer souk managed to upsell me from the ThinkPad Edge 11 to a fully fledged X200S that looks like you have to wear a tie to start it up. Next step, clear up my data enough to look at moving my non-Windows activities over to the new ‘pooter. I’m assuming I’ll run OpenSUSE Linux on the new machine again, unless anyone has a good reason not to.

I noticed at OpenTech that not only did something like half the presenters bring a Mac (and as someone on twitter observed, forget the VGA adaptor for the overhead projector), but at least half of the Mac users were running Ubuntu on them. Everyone else seemed to be Ubuntu-ing as well except for one Fedora and one Debian (I think) user. Nobody, but nobody, ran Windows. (Actually I think I caught sight of a netbook running XP at some point but the owner covered it up sharpish.)

Also, this looks handy. No more £1 Webcheck lookups!


  1. duaneg

    As a matter of fact I’ve got a T520 on order as we speak. I’ll be putting Gentoo on it, but that’s because I’m the sort of masochistic weirdo who does actually enjoy compiling things.

  2. Myles

    Well done. X200S is excellent, from what I hear. I’m stuck with a Mac, but I do envy the ergonomic features of the ThinkPad.

  3. solid choice.

    “a fully fledged X200S that looks like you have to wear a tie to start it up”

    lol, so true.

    when i am showing 3D animation to engineering types a lenovo is the only way to go, roll up with an ipad and they’d think you were a pretentious w@nker.

    on the other hand, when i am talking to media/tv types about 3D animation a clunky old laptop is a positive liability, and an ipad would be a huge benefit.

  4. duaneg

    “on the other hand, when i am talking to media/tv types about 3D animation a clunky old laptop is a positive liability, and an ipad would be a huge benefit.”

    Aren’t they about due for a retro-ironic hipster phase?

    Went into the Apple store in Westfield with a friend the other day. He had a three year old iphone that wouldn’t charge. They replaced it with a new one, ready for him the next day, for £60, with scarily good customer-service. I must say, I was impressed.

    We did stand around for five minutes wondering where the bloody till was before they took pity on us, mind.

  5. Cian

    I find that with a stripped down linux install (arch with a minimal window manager like Awesome) that an underpowered netbook serves most of my needs these days.

    All I really need is a keyboard, a big enough screen and long battery life. I can get all those for around £300. I suppose if I had to do demos of graphic intensive stuff it would be different, but the price differential between desktops and laptops for power intensive stuff is insane.

    • You can get a higher-end Core i7 15″ MacBook Pro, with AMD Radeon HD 6750M w/ 1 GB of GDDR5, for $2059 USD from Amazon, which is the one graphics people apparently use (or the 17″ one, which is more expensive). I don’t see how comparable desktops are going to be much, much cheaper than that.

      • Cian

        You do realise that laptops have different parts to desktops. Parts that are more expensive and slower. And that laptops cost considerably more to assemble.

        So yeah, they’ll be considerably cheaper.

      • duaneg

        By way of comparison, a quick check on scan shows:

        ~£220: i7 2600 Quad Core
        ~£120: Random decent 22″ monitor
        ~£100: Random 1155 socket mobo
        ~£80: Radeon HD6750 w/1GB
        ~£70: 8GB DDR3 1600
        ~£40: Random 1TB 7200rpm SATA3 drive
        ~£100: Decent case, fans, keyboard, etc

        All told: ~£750 (~US$1200). I stuck in twice as much memory because, really, 4GB?

        Also, since you’ve got the space and don’t care about weight you’d probably want 4x hard drives in RAID 10, for an extra £120 or so. Otherwise that disk is going to be a real pain-in-the-arse bottleneck. Compare with the cost of an SSD for the laptop…

      • Myles

        That’s an Apple premium of about $800 for the laptop version. That’s actually outrageously moderate as far as Apple premia go (given that it’s desktop to laptop).

        By the way, re SSD, it seems like Apple has massively botched the SSD execution on the MacBook Air models, although comparison tests done on regular laptops (incl. Apple) with after-market SSD installations seem to indicate a dramatic improvement. Seagate does offer a hybrid HD at 500GB and $99 USD.

        (Speaking of bottlenecks, does anyone know why the iPad is so incredibly laggy, even compared to the iPod Touch? Can’t just be the graphics, as the resolution aren’t that different. The product right now is a pretty unattractive proposition.)

  6. Cian

    The desktop is more powerful Myles. Also the Mac would be more expensive in the UK I’m guessing.

    • Myles

      Just looked up the British Apple website. Looks like it displays the Abercrombie & Fitch pathology, i.e. pricing the product in GBP at the same exact same number as it was in USD. (When A&F opened up in the U.K., an $80 hoodie would be priced at £80, and there would nonetheless be mile-long lineups.)

    • Myles

      By the way, what’s the customs situation were one to declare an American laptop into the E.U.? I can’t help but imagine that there has to be a giant arbitrage secondary market in this sort of stuff, even if only in the *technically* used laptop market.

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