Ayende @ Rahien

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My new laptop – 2010 edition

Well, it arrived two days ago, but I only just finished doing the bare bones installation. My new laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad W510 (4319-29G, if anyone really cares). I have been a happy Thinkpad user for a long time, so it seems to be a natural choice. One think that I did directly off the bat, though, was to replace the HD that it came with with an SSD one.

It seems to be a pretty nice machine, so far.

image

I find it highly amusing that the slowest part here is actually the memory.

One thing that i do find unforgivable, however, is the install from scratch experience. Since i replaced the HD, I installed the machine using Win7, and after a successful installation, the computer could neither connect to the internet or use USB. That meant that in order to get drivers (you know, so I can connect to the internet or use USB) I had to burn a CD. It felt so 90s.

Even more unforgivable?

 image

After being able to go on the net and download all the drivers for my machine, I still can’t get USB to work. There doesn’t seem to be any USB drivers for my model, which I find extremely puzzling.

At a minimum, I would expect Lenovo to include a drivers disk.

Comments

Dave the Ninja
02/17/2010 03:49 AM by
Dave the Ninja

Hi Oren,

I have one of these bad boys www.dell.com/.../pd.aspx however I am in the same boat you were.

I want to change the hard drive to SSD as its really letting the performance down at a 5.2 windows rating, (most other things are 6.9 -> 7.4 windows rating)

My question is, was it an easy upgrade to SSD? Any bear traps i need to watch out for?

David

Daniel Auger
02/17/2010 03:51 AM by
Daniel Auger

I'll bet the USB drivers are on the original drive somewhere. That being said, the lack of ability to download them is troubling to me.

If you get it sorted, please make another post about the solution. I've been looking at getting a development laptop, and this models is one of the main contenders.

How do the keyboard and touchpad rate in your opinion?

Steve Py
02/17/2010 06:40 AM by
Steve Py

Lenovo is still better than most. This has to be my biggest irk with owning a laptop, when manufacturers provide only Ghost images rather that OS + Drivers. I was royally WTF?!'d by Toshiba when I received a Tecra (WinXP) with a 250GB HDD partitioned in a single mount and formatted FAT32, and a DVD with a Norton Ghost image.

I guess they figure 95% of their market will be sales people so dumb it down to the lowest common denominator.

Ayende Rahien
02/17/2010 07:05 AM by
Ayende Rahien

Dave,

It took me about 3 minutes to replace the drive, it is explicitly made easy to do, I think

Mikael Henriksson
02/17/2010 08:11 AM by
Mikael Henriksson

Glad you like the Lenovo after recommending it and all :)

I have not had any issues like you describe. Most of the "stuff" in my W500 worked out of the box. Maybe yours is newer and that's why or something. It's a royal pain in the neck to have to burn anything at all. It's not like Dropbox is an option when you network cards aren't working hehe

Kim
02/17/2010 09:00 AM by
Kim

Nice setup.

Which SSD did you choose? Did you buy it locally?

Anon
02/17/2010 11:19 AM by
Anon

Ayende is God!

Instead of him googling, he simply has to post a blog entry and google comes to him :D

simone basso - smnbss
02/17/2010 11:42 AM by
simone basso - smnbss

Try DriverDetective

http://www.drivershq.com/

I do not work for them, but I use it all the time and it's amazing to discover new driver updates.

It can be installed in up to 5 machines with one license if I'm not wrong

Dan Quirk
02/17/2010 11:52 AM by
Dan Quirk

Ayende,

Have you ever considered/tried using a different OS? I'm specifically thinking a friendly flavour of Linux. In the past what one may of gained in terms of flexibility/openness from a Linux OS was often offset against what you lost in compatibility/setup , but that is, in certain circumstances, no longer the case. For example, I can say almost certainly that with the latest release of Ubuntu your laptop would of worked out of the box.

Now to the important point, your OS may be easier to setup but can it do what you need? Well generalising here for a moment, I'm guessing your main requirement is to develop on the CLR. Ubuntu now ships with Mono 2.4 (which I believe you've spoke on) and Monodevelop which is a maturing IDE.

I'm sure you must of considered this so I'd be interested to know, whats stopping you? Or,if not that, what's keeping you?

Cheers,

Dan

Jason Dentler
02/17/2010 02:27 PM by
Jason Dentler

I'm curious to know if you actually use the multi touch and for what purpose.

In other news, the blog queue is empty and not one person has speculated about the cause of death...

Kevin McCormick
02/17/2010 02:36 PM by
Kevin McCormick

ThinkPads are well-made pieces of hardware, but the from-scratch install experience has always been less than ideal. At my previous employer I worked on ThinkPads for about 10 years (anyone remember MWAVE?). It's amazing that to this day the experience is almost the same as it was 10 years ago.

Their website is notoriously disorganized, and despite requiring you to enter the entire model number, still shows drivers irrelevant to your machine, and lists them in the order in which they were posted! AND you have to open up at least 1 extra page to find the actual download link (it used to be 2 pages!). Plus, the System Update Software, which you would think would resolve this problem, doesn't always detect the right drivers, or download the latest versions.

I recently had to set up a new X200 Tablet, and getting up and running after installing Windows 7 required over 20 driver installations!

Immediately after setting up the X200, I then set up an HP 8530w notebook. It needed 6 driver installations, all of which were directly downloadable from a single page. Plus, the HP driver installers have an option to launch automatically after unpacking (only about half of the drivers for the X200 did this, requiring hunting through the c:\drivers\win\?? folder) Admittedly, HP hardware doesn't entirely stack up against the tried-and-true ThinkPad designs, but from an IT/support guy's perspective, it's HP all the way.

firefly
02/17/2010 04:32 PM by
firefly

A new laptop, I am jealous :)

Kevin, thanks for the head up, I am in the market of a new laptop myself and I am definitely thinking ThinkPad or HP. I've been to hp site many times and I must admit their website is topnotch. It's incredibly easy to pinpoint any support document/service manual...

Tracker1
02/17/2010 07:54 PM by
Tracker1

@Dan Quirk, I would think it depends on hist development needs. Personally, I can get all I need with VMWare Workstation. Most of my work happens in VMs, My UIs tend to be web based, meaning I can work pretty abstracted from my front end. If you're doing a lot of more application level UI work, you really need your base OS to be the target OS for your applications. I like Win7 a lot myself, it's passed Linux imho at this release, though in the past few years I've jumped from XP to Vista64 to Ubuntu, and finally on Win7 x64. I also have run OSX a handful of times as well (hackintosh). Cool thing with a multiplatform VM service, you can run about whatever host OS you want, my work stays in my Server (now 2008) VMs.

Ayende Rahien
02/17/2010 08:55 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Joakim,

No issues, yet, but it is very early yet.

Ayende Rahien
02/17/2010 08:57 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Anon,

It is called crowd sourcing, I believe. And it is something that I have been doing for a long time. Sometimes I get an answer, sometimes I find it on my own.

And, FWIW, that was NOT googlable.

Simone,

If I need an external tool to install drivers on a laptop, there is something wrong in the world.

Ayende Rahien
02/17/2010 08:58 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Dan,

I did consider this, but it is an issue of needs vs. comfort.

I used to run Mac OS for several years, but I just didn't feel it gave me enough to justify that when I am using different options.

And since NHProf is a WPF app, I really need Windows.

Ayende Rahien
02/17/2010 08:59 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Adante,

At some point, I got used to stupid keyboard layouts, after some initial !@#&!@#(_, I just live with it.

Ayende Rahien
02/17/2010 09:00 PM by
Ayende Rahien

Jason,

I don't think that my model has the multi touch screen :-(

As for empty queue, there hasn't been a day without a post yet :-)

Jozef Sevcik
02/17/2010 09:36 PM by
Jozef Sevcik

Which SSD model do you use ?

Thanks

Imran
02/18/2010 08:53 AM by
Imran

Wow thats a monster, what kind of applications are you building! haha.

James
02/18/2010 10:11 PM by
James

At least you didn't have to get drivers for the laptop you own using BitTorrent.

My MacBook Pro is a 64-bit capable Core 2 Duo, but I had to BitTorrent 64-bit Windows drivers for it, since the downloadable BootCamp blob told me my hardware did not support 64-bit.

Lo and behold, the torrented drivers extracted from the prickly BootCamp image, still do support my hardware.

Sigh, Apple.

NC
02/19/2010 02:05 AM by
NC

OMG SOMETHINGS HAPPENED TO AYENDE!!!!

He hasn't had a new post in 2 days. Something is seriously wrong!!!

Kris
02/19/2010 09:49 AM by
Kris

Why ram has only 5.9 perf ? - its PC3-8500 DDR3-SDRAM 1066 MHz - the quickest in laptop ?

So what type should it be to have 7.9 rating ? - PC6-1000000 DDR7 6000 MHz ?

PapaJ
04/12/2010 05:26 PM by
PapaJ

How does the SSD perform with Visual Studio? Are you concerned about the 'limited' life of SSDs?

I'm on the verge of ordering a W701 and contemplating a primary SSD and a secondary 7200 spinner for swap and data because of fears of lifespan on using just the SSD.

I was originally on a W510 myself, but I just can't bear the thought of dropping from my current x1200 resolution to only x1050. I know it's not that different, but the extra width is probably going to make it seem that much more.

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