Lenovo Thinkpad T61

My uncle, who’s also my godfather, passed away recently, and unexpectedly gifted me with an inheritance. After a discussion with my wife, I decided to buy myself a new toy.

My current laptop (a Toshiba A135-S4467) is only a year old, but doesn’t support VT, and I wanted something slightly smaller and lighter. It’s had Foresight on it since day one, and I recently just upgraded it from 1 GB memory to 2GB, but resume and suspend has never worked on it. (Thanks Toshiba). My wife’s laptop is about 4 years old, and my old laptop will make a nice upgrade for her. Once I peel the stickers off…

I did a little shopping around, but a number of Foresight developers have Thinkpads, and they just work. I had a little guilt buying from a Chinese company, but let’s be honest. They’re all made in China anyways. What really decided it for me, was the ability to support a company that offers Linux pre-installed, specifically SUSE.

After a quick run to Best Buy to look at screen sizes, I decided to buy a 14.1″ T61 online at Lenovo.com. Now it was time to place the order.

The buying experience was so-so. Finding the link on Lenovo’s Thinkpad page to the SUSE option was fairly well buried, and I finally found it on the bottom right of the page, way below the customization options for the different models prominently featured above. (Going back to their site this week, I don’t even see that link or any of the other information under the Special Offers).

To my disappointment, all of the processor options for the SUSE builds were a generation behind (T7400 – T7800). If I was going to buy a new laptop, I thought I might as well do it right, and get one of the new 45mm Penryn processors (T8100 – T9500). But no such luck, and I ended up having to customize one with Vista. I chose Vista Home Basic and as I’m going to immediately wipe it and put Foresight on it anyway. I also ordered less memory (1x1GB) and ordered 4GB (2x2GB) from Newegg, as it was much cheaper that way.

After purchasing it a week ago Sunday, Lenovo showed my ship date as Tuesday, April 8th. That was a little disappointing as their website said available in 1-2 weeks, and that was just over two weeks total. After a slight hiccup with my order being processed (Visa held it thinking it was fraud, more on that below), I got that fixed Monday, and on Tuesday Lenovo showed my status as starting to build the order. I was pleasantly surprised on Thursday, just 4 days later when I got the ship notice from Lenovo. So much for 1-2 weeks! Now that is under promising and over delivering. Of course, I chose the free ground shipping, so I still have a few days to go before it gets here. The waiting is killing me!

I ended up ordering:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T9300
  • 14.1″ WXGA+ monitor
  • Intel GMA X3100 Video Card
  • 1 GB (1×1) PC5300 Memory (and 4GB from Newegg)
  • 100GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
  • PC Card Slot and Media Card Slot
  • Intel 4965 A/G/N Wireless
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • 9 Cell Lithium-Ion Battery

I also ordered, in addition to the laptop and the memory, a Timbuk 2 messenger bag. After taking a few hours trying to decide and building my own, I went with the Blue Whimsy Limited Edition. (No wonder Visa thought there was some fraud going on, 3 quick purchases all online).

Good-bye Toshiba laptop, you’ve served me well. And thanks Uncle John, we’ll miss you.


Paul Cutler
Father. Husband. Vinyl Music Lover. Football fan. Python student. He / him.