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IBM Thinkpad Z60M Review.

Discussion in 'GH Archive' started by BoomAM, 17 Jan 2006.

  1. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Hi.
    A lappy review for you all:

    ------------------------------------------------

    Review
    I recently decided to buy myself a new laptop to do all my work on.
    After some considerations as to what I wanted from a laptop, I came to these specification points:
    - Good normal battery life.
    - Supports more than one battery.
    - High resolution screen.
    - 1Gb of memory.
    - A video chipset that'll do basic 3D tests.
    - A good keyboard.

    After some looking around, I found that I was gonna have to be spending about £1300.
    In that price range, with the specs I wanted, I found 3 laptops:
    Dell Inspiron D810.
    Dell Precision M70.
    IBM ThinkPad T42.
    IBM ThinkPad Z60M.

    After reading reviews of them all and searching around to see what their common problems are, I settled on a IBM ThinkPad Z60M, with the following specifications:

    2.0GHz Pentium M Processor.
    1Gb DDR2 533Mhz RAM.
    100 GB 5400 RPM HDD.
    ATI Radeon X600 128Mb PCI-E.
    1680x1050 15.4" Widescreen.
    Intel HD Audio.
    Intel A/B/G WiFi.
    Broadcom Bluetooth + ERD.
    Extended Specs

    After waiting a good 2 months for the place I got it from to get some stock in, it finally arrived last Thursday.

    Pictures
    [​IMG]
    An overall view of the Thinkpad, top closed.

    [​IMG]
    Overall view with the Thinkpad open. The small 'slit' to the right of the touch pad is the fingerprint reader.

    [​IMG]
    Heres a comparison with a 12" iBook on top of the Thinkpad.

    [​IMG]
    Another comparison, this time they're side by side, closed.

    [​IMG]
    Final comparison, this time with both of them open.

    Note: The screens on both laptops look very dim in the pics for some reason. I can assure you that they're not.

    What’s in the box?
    The contents of the box itself are relatively barren, with just the laptop, a quick start guide, manual, some stickers with the MAC Addresses on, and some extra ‘nubs’ for the keyboard.

    First Startup
    Upon the first startup, the ThinkPad starts to convert the FAT32 File system to NTFS. Once that has been completed, it brings up a customized version of the initial windows install screens, where you can set logins, passwords, and register/activate with both Microsoft & Lenovo/IBM. Once done, it drops you onto the desktop where IBM’s Security suite pops up…

    Security features
    This particular ThinkPad offers some of the most advanced security i've ever seen on a computer. Finger Print recognition can be setup to replace passwords on anything. Webpages, Programs, Windows Login & even the BIOS.
    You go through the process of ‘enrolling’ your fingers (minimum of 2 to be enrolled), and it’ll ask you to ‘scan’ your finger 3 times, and then it’ll average the data and save it to a TPM chip on the motherboard.
    The program that controls it all is quite advanced. It’ll tell you wether you’ve scanned too fast, or wether you should move your finger left/right on the sensor.
    Also, you can configure an automatically, on-the-fly encrypting mount on the HDD for important data.

    HDD Shock
    The ThinkPad also sports a piece of software that’ll park the HDD heads should excessive movement/shocks occur. The head parking is near instant, and the program has a real time 3D view of the laptop that literally does tilt/move on screen as you do it physically. A nice feature for extra HDD safety.

    Pre-installed software
    The ThinkPad itself comes pre-installed with a time trial of Symantec AV & some sort of defragmenter. Needless to say, I uninstalled those two as soon as I booted the machine.
    Apart from that, all of the IBM software that controls the various functions that the machine has, is actually quite useful, so i’ve kept it installed. The 100Gb HDD has a hidden 5Gb Partition where, I presume the diagnostic software is installed to, and an image of the HDD as it left the factory.
    On the primary C: there is a folder with the ‘i386’ part of the Windows CD there, and a folder with the drivers & applications that were pre-installed on as well.

    Diagnostics
    In Windows, there’s a few different diagnostic programs to run, but, if you press the blue ThinkVantage button (which opens up a shortcut menu to the IBM software in Windows), on startup, your presented with a tarted up version of Windows 3.1 that has a selection of low level diagnostic software’s and benchmark software’s to run.

    Updating
    Updating couldn’t be easier.
    First I ran Windows Update, then the IBM software update program, which then connected to IBM, and downloaded all the latest drivers and program versions for everything that was installed on the system, it then seamlessly installed it all without showing a single dialogue box.

    General usage
    General usage, it’s a very snappy feeling, everything loads almost instantly. It doesn’t feel any slower in any aspect compared to my main machine, an Athlon64

    Media usage
    Having only tried a few videos and a few music files, it seems fine and perfectly capable of playing them well. Low CPU usage as well.

    Keyboard & mouse
    The keyboard on this ThinkPad, is without a doubt, one of the best keyboard i’ve ever used, desktop or laptop based. Every key is perfectly weighted, feels high quality and there’s a perfect amount of travel in them. With shortcuts to a lot of functions able to be used with the Fn Key, the keyboard is very useable in all of the situations that i’ve come across. There are Fn shortcut keys for media functions, zooming, monitor switching and a few others as well.
    With the speakers to the left & right, and the touchpad area below the keyboard, i find that none of my hands 'slip' off the keyboard area like they did with my iBook, making typing far more comfortable than typing on an iBook.
    Ive only had it since last Thursday, but i can type at nearly the same speed as i can type with my Main PC's full size Apple ProUSB Keyboard. Which imo is a testament to how good the keyboard is on this Thinkpad.
    The mouse control, can be controlled by the traditional mouse pad, that supports both vertical and horizontal scrolling, and by age-old ‘keyboard nub’. Both have their own set of click buttons. With the ‘nub’ having a middle button that can be configured to enable scrolling with the ‘nub’ or whatever else you want.
    I sometimes find myself reaching for a mouse when i’ve been typing, but that’s force of habit. I don’t feel restricted in mouse movement at all using the ‘nub’.

    WiFi/Bluetooth
    Flicking a switch on the front enables the Wireless abilities of the ThinkPad.
    The WiFi seems just as capable as my iBook, and the Bluetooth allows me to hook up my phone without faffing around with cables & extra software. A pointless but fun feature is that I can set my phone to be treated as a mouse and control the system at distance.

    Extra Software
    One of the first things I did is to download the latest ATI Drivers & the mobility hack and install them. Just because I could, and partly because the drivers off the MS website usually suck anyway.
    I installed my standard set of media apps, VLC, RealOne and 3 codec’s (FFDShow, Ogg, AC3) and I didn’t experience any problems whatsoever. Not that I was expecting to.
    It also handles applications like GIMP, Photoshop7, MS Office, Delphi & C++, ect; perfectly well, with no slowdown, even handling very large images in the imaging apps without problems.

    Robustness
    It’s a very solid feeling laptop, and little features like the little known keyboard tray & drain holes (for spillages), only increase its robustness.
    The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that the version of the Z60M I have is the special edition version. With the Titanium top. Which makes the screen extremely rigid and has no flex on any part of the screen.

    Battery Life
    The standard battery is a 6-Cell one.
    Running at minimum brightness, which is still quite bright for a laptop, sound on 30%, and the WiFi on, Opera Downloading a 400Mb file in the background (so the WiFi was constantly used), with me doing image editing and typing, gave me about 2.5hours battery life. Which is good considering the power of the system.
    I have no problems extrapolating and saying that with the 9-cell battery & the 6-cell UltraBay battery, I could get 6hours+ out of it.

    Problems
    The only problem i’ve had thus far hasn’t really been a problem as such. Running on AC with the system clocked down, causes a v.v.v.faint buzzing sound from the video chip clocking too low and having to constantly throttle whenever I scroll. Sometimes happens when running on batteries, but can be gotten rid of by switching the power profile to something else, and then back again. A common ‘problem’ with a lot of ThinkPad’s according to a few ThinkPad Forums.

    -----Updated-----
    Linux
    Ive been successfully using Ubuntu v6.06 LTS - Dapper Drake for over a month now as my primary OS on the laptop. Everything apart from the Bluetooth & Card Reader worked 'out of the box'. Bluetooth was easyily added with a packege from Synaptics, and the card reader, i havnt really bothered trying to get working! lol.
    It was a bit of a pain to get the ATI drivers to work, but they do work properly once installed, with no stability problems.
    The temperature sensor programs dont seem to want to work correctly if i use external programs to access the sensors, but the sensor applet built into the kernel, that can be displayed on the bar at the top of gnome, works fine.

    Example Desktop: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/boomam/snapshot3a.jpg

    Concusion
    Overall i'm very pleased with it. It’s just the right size for my uses, and has the right amount of horse power to allow me to use Vista without problems as well.
    Good buy I think.

    Questions & Opinions welcome.

    Extras
    Heres a selection of wallpapers that ive made just for usage on a 1680x1050 screen:
    http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?p=6294256
     
    Last edited: 2 Aug 2006
  2. Raymond Lin

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: 20 Oct 2002

    Posts: 68,497

    Location: Wish i was in .Lethal's house

    Not sure about the blue Enter key but the rest of it does look sexy ! How much does it weight ?

    My Dell has the same screen res, love that res to bits. And I like the security feature, when i replace my Dell, I think you've made up my mind already ! I knew I wanted to be an IBM, now I know which one :)
     
  3. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    The exact weight is on the website, but to be honest, its still very light imo for a laptop.
    The thing that weighs it down is the Titanium top. But i just had to have the Titanium top. It looks better imo, and the screen does get battered around more, so with having a Titanium top, theres less chance of damage.
     
  4. Otacon

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Jan 2004

    Posts: 21,921

    Location: All over

    :eek:

    Of all people, I would have thought IBM would know better. Nice review dude - very comprehensive.
     
  5. Alex_L

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,034

    nice review, has reassured me having order one very similar to that, excepting I went with one with a 3 year warranty. Just hoping I don't have to wait long for it to turn up. Went for sexy titanium edition as well :)

    Is it any good for games? I'm not expecting much but the odd game of HL2 would be useful.

    I just wish lenovo would sort out the model numbers, there website lists loads of models that don't exist according to their pdf catalogue which supposedly lists all models available.
     
  6. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Havn't really tryed all that many games.
    But it seems to handle one of UT2004s Assault intros well at native with everything on max.
     
  7. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Tbh, i havnt noticed any adverse affects in HDD performance from the conversion process.
    Although i was suprised it did that.
    Alot of big companies do it though. RM Machines do it with their installs as well.
     
  8. Otacon

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Jan 2004

    Posts: 21,921

    Location: All over

    You wont notice any performance drop, but you can potentially lose some capacity when you start filling it due to the fact it has to retain the same block size as the FAT32 partition.
     
  9. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

  10. SDK^

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 19,386

    I use an IBM laptop at work - same case and build as the one you posted but a lower spec. It's great for business work but I wouldn't want one as a personal laptop.

    1) They cost too much.
    2) They come with stuff that you don't use, i.e. fingerprint reader.
     
  11. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Each to their own.
    But price wise, i found that this Z60M was better value than competing lappys, and that i found that the fingerprint reader is a real time saver.
     
  12. Hades

    Caporegime

    Joined: 19 Oct 2002

    Posts: 26,670

    Location: Surrey

    I have several laptops including two IBM Thinkpads. While they are not as sexy as my beloved Asus, I'd say the Thinkpads are far and away the bet built and nicest to use. No idea how good "Lenovo" Thinkpads are though. I'm assuming they are still as good.
     
  13. Mana

    Mobster

    Joined: 8 Nov 2002

    Posts: 4,047

    Location: .earth

    does that laptop come in silver?
     
  14. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Nope.
    The nearest you'll get is the one ive got, with the Titanium top.
     
  15. Dr House

    Capodecina

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 13,262

    Location: London

    Im a huge fan of the IBM laptops, the T40 and T41 are the best laptops i have ever had and i have been through a few.

    I just put in a order for the MacBook Pro but if go back to windows again it will be the above. I think the apple is the only thing that can come close to the build quality of a ThinkPad
     
  16. FirebarUK

    Soldato

    Joined: 9 Dec 2004

    Posts: 5,668

    Location: Dorset

    You can't beat the build and quality of an IBM/Lenovo laptop.
     
  17. mag1caltrev0r

    Associate

    Joined: 19 Mar 2005

    Posts: 80

    Thanks for that review!

    I have been looking for a suitable laptop like this for a while, you may well have convinced me that this is what I want. The one that fits my budget has the following spec:
    1.86GHz processor
    1280x800 screen
    64Mb Radeon x300
    80Gb HDD
    512MB
    WinXP Home

    I've seen this for £923 which I think is pretty good.

    Questions:
    I know the dimensions are on the website but how does it feel when using it? I've used laptops before that have felt too high from the desk.
    Do you have an opinion about the x300 graphics card in this machine? Would it be reasonable for some games i.e. C&C Generals, other RTS and maybe something like HL2? I'm not expecting miracles.

    One thing I found out which I don't think was mentioned in the review. It had a Gigabit ethernet port on it, quite a pleasant surprise!

    Thanks again
     
  18. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    It 'feels' fine to me.

    Im not sure if the X300s are available, if you browse around the IBM link in the review, theres a list of every model & specification available.
    I havnt really tryed games to be honest, so i cant comment. Look up a desktop X300 review and use that as a 'marker' for performance. :)
     
  19. NickK

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jan 2003

    Posts: 19,470

    Hey - you have a windows key!

    The T42 I'm sitting at doesn't...
     
  20. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,204

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    A T42?
    Do you get the annoying buzzing sound as well?