ThinkPad T60 with 1.83GHz Core Duo and ATI X1300 Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (18,931)

by Alex Chu


Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (view large image)

Introduction, Reasons for Buying, Where and How Purchased:

I recently purchased a Lenovo ThinkPad T60 for school. It’s replacing a well aged Dell 500m 1.6ghz I used for minimal (due to the integrated card) 3D modeling and Photoshopping. We have a Xeon lab at school so I plan to use the T60 for 3D modeling, rendering and photoshopping when I’m out of the lab. Thanks to the Employee Discount (EPP) I was able to utilize, I shopped almost exclusively on the Lenovo site. I did check out the Dell Inspiron e1505 prior to the EPP because it was the cheapest option at the time, but ended up with Lenovo. I had in mind the T60 and the N100. The N100 seemed to be the best deal being over $100 cheaper (with the EPP) than the T60 and sporting the same CPU but with a 20Gb larger hard drive, faster video card, more screen space (1680×1050) and a built in memory card reader. But with the T60 being smaller (meeting my portability requirements) and having a smaller screen to suck battery life, I opted for the T60. It also came with a 3 year warranty! I spent $1380 after tax on it using the EPP (Thanks man!) and dropping in a 1Gb stick of memory ($95 shipped from zipzoomfly). My total cost was $1,475 after the ram purchase with these specs:

  • Processor: Intel 1.83ghz Core Duo, 2Mb L2, 667 FSB
  • Screen size: 14″ SXGA+ (1400×1050)
  • Hard drive: 80Gb 5400Rpm
  • Optical drive: 4x DVDRW +/-
  • Ram: 512Mb (1gb stick in the mail)
  • Video Card: ATI 64Mb x1300
  • Battery: 6 Cell Li-Ion
  • OS: Windows XP Pro
  • Wireless: Intel Pro/Wireless3945ABG
  • Misc: Bluetooth2.0, Fingerprint Reader


Build & Design:

I must say, if you’ve ever seen a ThinkPad before, the new ones don’t seem to have changed much besides the UltraNav buttons going color-less. The screen cover is the classic matte black. It doesn’t leave fingerprints though it seems susceptible to scratching. The design is much more plain than the other manufacturers, but I prefer the professional look it has. The build quality is rock solid, makes my old Dell feel quite cheap. It also doesn’t flex, wobble or squeak.


Right side view (view large image)


Left side view (view large image)


Front side view (view large image)


Back side view (view large image)

Screen:

My screen (14″ 1400×1050) doesn’t seem as bright as my older Dell 5150 but it is definitely bright enough. Colors look good and contrast is crisp. The viewing angle is wide, people huddling around your screen will all have a good look. Thankfully I didn’t receive the screen with any dead pixels. Aside from that no complaints about the screen, it does its job.


Lenovo ThinkPad T60 screen (view large image)

Speakers:

I’m a bit picky with my audio. But, sometimes, laptop speakers have to do. The speakers are decently loud, loud enough for me to hear the music clearly with the lawnmower right outside the window (window closed of course). They also seem to be very clear even at the highest volume setting. Vocals sound smooth and real. The highs aren’t perfect, but don’t hinder the listening experience. The speakers are too small and thus there isn’t much bass. They’re definitely good enough to listen to music and watch movies, but I would advise headphones or a separate amp-speaker setup if you’re an audiophile.

Processor and Performance:

For the benchmarks I have 512 Mb of ram installed (the gig stick is delayed), running a Core Duo 1.83ghz with a 5400Rpm hard drive and an Ati 64Mb x1300. As far as I know, the laptop runs exceptionally fast. Installing programs has been very quick, copying files has been fast too (not to mention cool). I burned a 3Gb DVD while chatting and browsing the net, which only took a little over 9 minutes. Nothing seemed to lag and the burn didn’t error. Unzipping 30 files at a time with Winrar proved to be a lot faster than with my old Pentium M. The encoding speed was also amazing in comparison.

Benchmarks:

Super Pi (Pi calculated to 2 million digits of accuracy)

Notebook

Time

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (1.83GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Asus W3H760DD (2.0 GHz Pentium M)

1m 33s

Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 16s

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)

1m 29s

Dell XPS M140 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 41s

Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 53s

IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 45s


3DMark06 Comparison Results:

Notebook  3DMark 06 Results

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1300)

365 3DMarks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,528 3DMarks

Dell Precison M90 (2.16GHz Core Duo, nVidia Quadro FX 1500M)

3,926 3DMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800GTX) 4,085 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1710 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB) 4,744 3DMarks


HD Tune hard drive results


(view large image)

Heat and Noise:

I don’t play games so I can’t say if it gets exceptionally hot and I haven’t rendered on it yet. But after the benchmarks the computer is warm, but not hot. The noise is bearable, not excruciatingly loud, but noticeable if it’s silent. A song or sound effects easily drown out the fans low hum. The optical drive does make a bit of noise, but only when it is spinning fast. The noise is still less than most other notebooks I’ve experienced though. I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to watch a movie with this on your lap in an airplane and not scorch your pants or wake up the person next to you when your optical drive spins up.

Keyboard and Touchpad:

The keyboard is stiff. Period. My old Dell 500m and 5150 keyboards would flex if you pressed decently hard. The T60 in comparison is rock solid. My only complaint is that the Fn key is located in the bottom left corner rather than the Ctrl key being in that spot. As a former Dell user I’m accustom to the Ctrl key and then the Fn key. Though this is a matter of my own personal preference, but with the many Dell users out there who may switch, this is good to know. The touchpad seems well made. The surface is slightly textured as opposed to the smooth finish from most other makers. The TrackPoint works well, not much to say, only ThinkPad’s have it. It’s a good alternative to the touchpad sometimes.


(view large image)

Input and Output Ports:

Everything you need to live with, but could use firewire, dvi out and a card reader.

Ports:

  • 3 USB 2.0 ports
  • Dock/port replicator
  • Display-out
  • AC adapter port
  • RJ-11 (Modem)
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet LAN)
  • Audio line out for headphone/speakers
  • Microphone

Slots:

  • 1 Type II PC card slot
  • 1 ExpressCard 34 & 54 slot (internal guide for 34)

Buttons:

  • Power on/off
  • Volume up/down/mute (3 buttons)
  • Wireless on/off (Sliding Switch)
  • ThinkVantage shortcut button (ThinkPad software suite)

Wireless:

There is an infrared port on the front left corner, though I’m not an infrared user. The wireless the computer came with was an Intel Pro/Wireless3945ABG with built in Bluetooth 2.0. I haven’t tested the Bluetooth out yet because my mouse hasn’t arrived yet.

Battery:

The battery lasts about 3 hours with a decent amount of hard drive and processor usage (copying files and installing programs). This was all done at one step down form the brightest screen setting. I’m sure better life can be achieved at the lowest brightness setting.

Operating System and Software:

The T60 comes with Windows XP Professional as standard but with no software. All software and drivers are hidden on a 10Gb partition of the hard drive. The hard drive shows up as a 70Gb hard drive in my computer. If you need all the space you can have, reformat the computer and start fresh. System restore can be activated by pressing the ThinkVantage button. Software that comes with the computer includes Google Desktop, Picasa2, PC Doctor and a Symantec Security utility.

Customer Support:

I called Lenovo to clarify my tracking number. I spoke to a real person after only going through two menus, which was nice. He was able to look up my order quickly and was helpful. Aside from that I didn’t experience any other customer support. The laptop does come with a 3 year warranty (that I’ll hopefully never need to use). It covers parts and labor I believe. The specifics are available here: http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-59390.

Conclusion:

All in all, I think this laptop will fit my needs, which includes Photoshop, 3d modeling and rendering, perfectly. The dual core processor is amazing, it allows so much more to be done without fear of lag or errors.


Pros:

  • Dual core
  • Lightness (Barely over 5 lbs!)
  • Build quality (Very, very solid.)
  • Keyboard
  • 3 USB Ports
  • Bluetooth2.0

Cons:

  • 6 Cell battery (Sometimes you need more juice.)
  • ThinkPad restore takes up too much space (10Gb)
  • No DVI
  • No card reader
  • No Firewire


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