Days, my friend. Days
I have spent schooling myself in the extreme subtleties of ThinkPadism, and still a newborn to this wonderful underworld I never knew existed. I can't possibly recount my journey to you in full, but it went something like this.
A field station in a Bolivian cloud forest electrocuted my 7-year-strong Toshiba Satellite A105 S4084 this past March. Its corpse was violated by men posing as techs at a Toshiba retail and repair outlet elsewhere in the country, who d*cked me around for weeks with talk of parts that never came, promising imaginary phone calls, etc. A much more trusted individual would later show me how their disassembly of the machine (conducted without my knowledge and against my explicit instructions) was what actually broke the mobo beyond repair. Prior to their agregious mishandling, it would have been salvageable. While I sell my dearly departed for parts on craigslist, I have begun searching for another companion.
A long-time acolyte of the church of budget rugged gadgets, I decided to poke around for the umpteenth time for a rugged netbook, the seemingly-ideal traveling machine for my annual adventures in neotropical fungi. I saw that the x130e finally came out, but being an "ultraportable" (or whatever word Lenovo uses to girlishly avoid uttering 'netbook') it simply couldn't cut it as my primary machine. Then I stumbled upon a humble press release dating from 09 (http://www.lenovo.com/news/us/en/2009/0 ... uting.html
) citing the ruggedness that was/is common to much more of the IBM lineup than this "studentproof" miniature. The same article draws unabashed attention to the T400 for being the first ThinkPad to boast an LED-backlit display, ostensibly improving daylight visibility. Solid brightness, rugged(ish), sourceable on ebay for roughly $300-500 depending on the configuration. I had found my dream machine, or so I thought.
Hours of combing ebay and craigslist, perverting crazily booleanized search queries into crazier booleanized search queries. I wanted the best possible proc speed, the big 6MB cache, the ATI gpu, the LED backlit display, and at least one OEM extended battery with 80-90% of its original capacity, all in one package. (RAM was no concern. I'll spend $46 at crucial for 8GB instead of the several hundred-dollar markup many eBayers think is called for when selling a system with 8GB.) That proved tough. The more time I spent giving myself an internet education in the ThinkPad line (two days and counting) the more I honed my preferences while simultaneously abandoning old ones, like an internet shopaholic snake shedding layers of skin. I didn't think twice about a dock until realizing that the secondary IPS display I plan to buy for photo editing will be wasted on a VGA connection. No onboard DVI or DisplayPort support on the T400, but a dock would do it so long as I had the dedicated gpu (if I'm not mistaken). Apparently some T500s have a DisplayPort despite Lenovo's datasheets making absolutely no mention
of one. The 410 and 510 line has a DisplayPort but they tend to be pricier, plus none of the procs seemed to have 6MB caches (if I'm not mistaken). This afternoon, at random, I was bitten by the FlexView bug. ThinkPads with IPS panels??? Righteous! Now to scrap all the previous 1.5 days' research and focus on the T6x(p) line, which seems like it can compete with almost every T400/T500 feature including (unofficial) support for 8GB (if I'm not mistaken). More bunk luck from ebay, mostly on account of people giving embarrassingly inadequate specs in their listings, asking $350 for something they don't have the common decency to photograph or describe in full, properly-punctuated, NON-CAPS-LOCKED, grown-up sentences. That's when the word 'FrankenPad' started coming up more regularly in search results. I knew I'd seen it before, possibly even visited relevant threads, but ignored or overlooked it until now.
My sincere hope, sir TuuS, is that I may forward you this exceedingly specific blueprint I've been revising over the past few grueling days (etched completely in pencil and open to critique), for you to craft me a FrankenPad to call my own. I pray that you won't lay down your tools just yet, doctor, not until my Amazonian Mushroom FrankenPad can take its first breaths. Here's what I have in mind:
T60(p)/T61(p) Motherboard (whichever will support 8GB of RAM and, ideally, a T9xxx proc)
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T9xxx (6M Cache, 2.xx GHz, 800 MHz FSB) (still can't quite determine if there is a combination of T6x hardware out there that will permit the use of procs with 1066 MHz FSBs)
15" 1600x1200 BOE-Hydis HV150UX1-102 UXGA FlexView IPS Display (FRU 13N7194 - 133,3 DPI - 200 nits - 500:1 - 40ms)
Still undecided on HD type. I don't know enough to have an informed opinion on the boons/banes of SSD. I suspect it's at least part marketing hype. Open to suggestions.
9-Cell 41++ Extended Battery (40Y6797)
Dual Layer DVD±RW
2504 Advanced Dock (for DVI support on aforementioned secondary IPS display).
I admit that this wishlist may be rife with impossibilities and contradictions. I'm reviewing other dream machine threads as we speak to try and get up to speed (http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=68248
Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
Yours in Spores,