Page 1 of 1

Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:56 pm
by kdrumz
I bought a new lenovo yoga 900(the newest model) and linux is unable to be installed on it as of now, due to the hardrive being locked down. I don't want to wait, possibly up to a few months for a bios update because I will need it for classes in about 3 weeks. I read about thinkpads before i bought the yoga however. Going to return it tomorrow(i7, 16gb ram, fan also turned on ALOT). I realize I don't really need that much power. I have 3 programming classes, so battery life is very important. Something light is preferred, however, I did with a 5.5 lb toshiba satellite for 2 years, carrying discrete math books, calculus books with me. What do you guys recommend? Thinking about a mac book air, but I would rather not just because they are expensive and I'm used to the set up of windows computers, although they are great machines. Would a thinkpad fit my needs will, and are these common for programmers to use(thinkpads)? I will just be dual booting windows 10 and ubuntu 16.04. I think an i5 and 8 gigs of ram is sufficient for my programming needs, and I think a solid state drive would also be nice, as I was spoiled for a week owning this yoga. I can always ssh into our servers if i have to, but we don't compile anything that intense on university. I've read about the t and x series a lot, like the t460p, t460, x220, x230, and I don't know which one is the best for me or if any one else has any recommendations. Keyboard is important. I'm looking to spend no more then $800-900 most likely. I will have 24" dell monitor I will hook up to for long coding sessions so hdmi is important. A thinkpad where the battery is replaceable would be great aalso, that way, in 2 years or so when it goes bad or looses capacity, I can just replace it. Would like to get 3-4 years out of whatever I buy. Also, I've read where people throw these think pads on docks? What are these docks? Thanks!

//First forum post, I have no idea if this is in the right forum/thread/topic area. If not, could a moderator bump it for me so that I can get some help?

Re: Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:13 pm
by i2000s
I have read Thinkpad Yoga works well with Ubuntu. Anyway, I don't know if you have purchased or not. There was a discount going on last week. But, if not, I would recommend T460p for its powerful settings and upgradeability for your future CS journey. The x series are also good if you find a good price. My X200T is still running strong with Ubuntu.

Re: Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:20 pm
by brchan
All mainstream T, W, and X series thinkpads should have excellent linux support. For the tablets you may need to install touchscreen drivers, map tablet buttons, or at least calibrate the display. However, I do recall some problems with linux under Skylake cpus, but they will be sorted out soon.

I am a Senior undergrad in CS and would get a W530 and do a traditional keyboard swap. Depending on your classes and tracks, you will probably need extra performance for the larger projects in Junior or Senior year.

Re: Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:19 am
by bit_twiddler
I don't have a T460P, but you can read a review here: ... 923.0.html

There are (at least) 2 available displays, the 1920x1080, and a higher res one.
According to notebookcheck, the higher res display exhibits PWM flickering,
which can be annoying and limit your work time.

Also, the cooling system is not the best, but the machine would probably
still be adequate for your needs.

Perhaps someone who has one can chime in?

Another option would be to buy an older machine (at a considerable discount)
and play with running Linux on it before investing in a later machine.
It can take quite a while for Linux to become stable on new hardware.
For example it took 3 years for Linux to become stable (by my standards, at least)
on Sandy Bridge. I'd recommend a W520, but it would probably be too heavy
for you to carry around on a daily basis.

Re: Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:17 pm
by w0mbl3
bit_twiddler wrote:I don't have a T460P, but you can read a review here:

Also, the cooling system is not the best, but the machine would probably
still be adequate for your needs.
Perhaps someone who has one can chime in?
I have a Yoga 460 and a Yoga 14 (bestbuy version of 460)

Yoga 460: i7-6500U, 16GB, 512GB SSD, WQHD screen (I upgraded RAM and SSD myself)
Yoga 14: i7-6200U, 8GB, 256GB SSD, FHD screen

I bought the 460 a few months after the Bestbuy Yoga 14.. both run Fedora very nicely, both natively and also in Virtualbox VM. Cooling is very unobtrusive in both machines, and they're reasonably light for a 14" device (1.8kg). Battery is ok for about 5-6 hours during work day. I use the Yogas as a laptop 95% of the time (exception being reading documents - where portrait/tablet mode is awesome).

The Bestbuy Thinkpag Yoga 14 model is hard to beat for value.. plus a $99 memory upgrade to 16GB off ebay, and you can upgrade the warranty via Lenovo's site to 2 years NBD on-site, and you're still under $1USk.

My 460 was more expensive and honestly, if it was my own money, I wouldn't have bothered as the Bestbuy Yoga 14 is pretty much identical performance. Both support vt-d/vt-x so will run virtual machines, and thinkpads have great linux support.

I would recommend that whatever you get, get one with a touchscreen.. seriously, I used to think it was redundant on a laptop, but actually, I wouldn't buy one without.

(ps - just checked and bestbuy has the TP Yoga 14 on sale right now.. $US800)

Re: Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:43 pm
by farmall
No matter what you eventually bought, a Comp Sci student should have zero difficulty running Linux and other OS in virtual machines. They are better for learning than bare metal because you can restore to a previous state. You can network virtual OS and try any software you like at no risk of borking your host. You can also export VMs to other drives or computers.

Of course I prefer Linux as a host, but running a variety of OS independent of the host will serve you well.

VMs benefit from RAM so max it out, but that's best practice anyway.

Re: Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:50 pm
by Kilkenny
I'd go with an X220 or T420. Plenty of performance, great Linux/BSD support, and they have a great keyboard. If you use vi, the oversize ESC key will be awesome.

Personally, the keyboard matters to me more than anything. I do everything on a T42 and T23 because the keyboard is so good. You're going to be spending a lot of time typing, so being comfortable and accurate while doing so is important.

Re: Thinkpad for computer science major

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:17 am
by rambo47
I have a Yoga 3 Pro and support for Linux Mint is outstanding. This is probably not the model for someone in computer science, but for getting started with Linux it's superb. I've always heard that ThinkPad support of Linux was great, with very few exceptions. Maybe it's different since Lenovo took over. Dell is also supposed to be Linux-friendly.