Lenovo 14.1" (Intel Core Duo, 2.1 GHz) Notebook - 20076KU Reviews
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Lenovo 14.1" (Intel Core Duo, 2.1 GHz) Notebook - 20076KU

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Type 2007-CTO Thinkpad Laptop Notebook Computer

Feb 7, 2007 (Updated Feb 8, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Quality of Tech Support:

Pros:Core duo: Fast and Responsive. Fast disk. Quiet. Reliable.

Cons:Upgrading memory is painful. Power plug different from older Thinkpads.

The Bottom Line: An excellent general purpose laptop. Reliable, quiet, fast and capable.


Note: Look for updates after my initial review in bold italics.
I have (and am using, even as I type) a T60, model 2007-CTO, IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad laptop. I've had it for about 6 months. Here's the nitty-gritty:


This machine has a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 1 Gig RAM 1 Gig upgrade, a 60 Gig serial ATA hard disk, and 1024x768 screen with an ATI X1300 Graphics Chip, that contains 64 Meg RAM and the capability to borrow from the system RAM for a total of 512 Meg video RAM (don't get too excited though, the X1300 is not a state-of-the-art chip). I have a DVD-ROM drive. It's running a dual-booted Windows XP/Ubuntu Linux install. I choose the OS I want using Grub upon boot.


Note that this is for the 1024x768 version, NOT the more ubiquitous 1400x1050 screen resolution version.


The machine comes with the following ports: Right side: 2 USB 2.0. Left side: VGA output, modem, network, mic, headphones, 1 USB 2.0, and a combo PCMCIA/Expresscard slot. Notice no serial, parallel, or s-video outputs.


It's got builtin Wireless (B and G, or 54 Mbps). The left-back corner has a fan opening on the left side and back side of the machine to cool the CPU. The machine gets warm during gaming (only) but never groin-roasting hot. Usually it's cool. I've been on it for 2 hours now and it's barely warm. The rest of the rear of the machine is taken up with the power connector and the long, thin battery. You can get additional batteries that have extra capacity and hang out the back of the machine somewhat.


It comes with a trackpad/track pointer combination pointing device, in order to keep fans of both types of devices happy.


Hitting Fn-PgUp key combination turns on a little white LED light that illuminates your keyboard in the dark. Very handy.


It can output video signal to the screen, to the VGA port, or to both. You can set the screen resolution to higher than its native 1024x768; if the mouse hits the edge of the screen the entire screen will scroll over for you. This is nice if you're using Terminal Services to connect to a machine with a higher resolution; that way you won't reset screen resolutions on the remote box.


So you know from whence I speak: My previous laptop was a Thinkpad T21 (833 MHz PIII, 256 Meg RAM, 40 Gig, 5400 RPM Hard Drive). Before that I had an HP Omnibook 900b, 500 MHz PIII, 12 Gig Drive, 192 Meg RAM).


Anyway, here's the short of it: Thinkpad's generally Rock. The T60 is a Thinkpad, so it Rocks. Why? Read on.


Ok, if you're a laptop aficionado you have heard of the legendary Thinkpad quality- which, by the way, has not suffered in the transition from IBM to Lenovo (we've been a Thinkpad shop at work for years). The T60 ups the ante even more. The case feels nice and solid, and you can see they put extra thought into it. The lid hinges are metal, and there is less flex to the case than in the older Thinkpads. This is important because both my Omnibook and T21 eventually cracked in different areas because of the flex of the opening and closing. I'm confident in the durability of this machine.


The screen is crisp and clear, and quite bright; enough that I have to turn it down in the evening under incandescent light. Controls such as screen brightness, sound volume, video output, sleeping/hibernating, etc., are controlled by a combination of the blue Fn key and a Function key. Quite convenient.


The keyboard is nice, another Thinkpad hallmark. Everything is where it's supposed to be and feel is good for the touch typist. You can use it every day. Again, case and keyboard flex are minimal during heavy coding sessions.


The machine is very stable under Windows XP. I normally hibernate it between sessions. I only turn it totally off once every couple of weeks. I love that. I mean, I really love that. How nice it is to be able to stop work in the middle of whatever it is that I'm doing, and be confident that what was on screen will still be there when you power on again! Supposedly it's ready for Vista, but I don't run Vista so I couldn't say.


I love the Core Duo processor. The machine is noticeably more responsive than any single processor machine I've used. If one core is tied up doing anti-virus stuff, the other processor can still run Word at full speed. I get nary a hiccup; I love that. And for everyday use, it's quite fast. Word pops up in no time. Switching between open windows is quite quick. Google Earth runs nicely. What little I do with Photoshop, I'm happy with. My Canon photo software is snappy... I get in and out of folders with full thumbnails coming up quite rapidly. This laptop really feels up to the demands of modern audio/video content-intensive files and folders. Strangely, though, it doesn't import CD's into iTunes that much faster than my old T21... it's maybe 50% faster. I would expect it to be twice as fast. But I'm not complaining. With the Core Duo, I can import into iTunes and do other stuff without concern.


The X1300 video card comes with 64 Meg of RAM builtin. Supposedly it will use up to 512 Meg by stealing some of your system RAM. While that may be true, anything I can think of that would need that kind of video RAM would be a state-of-the-art game. The X1300 is not a such a chip. It will run older stuff like Command and Conquer: Generals or Morrowind, but don't expect to run Rome Total War or Oblivion on it (I could not get Medieval Total War to run reliably, either). The T60p with the 1400x1050 screen has the more capable X1400 video chip in it. Update: I ran 3DMark05 on it just for the heck of it, and I got a result of 1509. Compare to 2092 for the T60p with the X1400 video chip. The X1400 is not a speed daemon, either.


Linux support is very good. You can get the proprietary (boo!) ATI drivers for the video chip and thus run 3-D games or GUI on it. I haven't tried those, though I do have the ATI drivers and it seems quite stable. I run Ubuntu Edgy Eft at this time. Everything is supported: Wireless card (it's an Intel 3945ABG), Core Duo, sound card, USB hotplugging, DVD player, you name it. Wireless was a pain to get working, but it's reliable.


Ok, a few more quality-of-life issues: Wireless range is good. Drivers are very stable under both Linux and Windows. The machine connects reliably and stays connected even to low signal strengths. I don't know where the antenna is on it, but wherever it is it works more than adequately. I'm quite pleased with the wireless performance.


Battery performance is also good. I've been on the machine- as I mentioned- two hours tonight with an extended battery and there's still 50% life left in it. The extended battery has 33% more capacity than the regular; I recommend it. I've been happy enough with the regular battery, too. Unfortunately I don't have any duration times for you. Suffice it to say that if you were to take the machine on a flight from Chicago to LA, bring an extra battery. Chicago to Phoenix? Probably not necessary, unless you don't have juice while you're waiting for your plane. I've noticed that the machine doesn't annihilate batteries when playing a game- that was a nice surprise. The T21 used to chew 'em up and spit 'em out whenever I started Age of Empires.


Finally, the bad. Two items I consider relatively minor: First, they changed the power connection for the machine. This means I can no longer use my airplane power adapter for this machine. How annoying. Second, changing memory was kind of difficult. I had a hard time getting the cover off. It was easier to get at in the older Thinkpad. I don't know why they make you do such significant surgery on a user-insertable part.


Conclusion: for a general purpose portable computer, the T60 can't be beat. Did I say it's fast? Did I say it's reliable? Did I say its screen looks great? I think I said all of those things, because that's the way it is. Buy it, you'll like it!


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 1400
Operating System: Windows
Processor: Intel Pentium
Processor speed: over 1000
Screen Size: 14 inches
RAM: More than 256
Internal Storage: DVD
Hard Drive (GB): Over 50

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