Review: IBM ThinkPad T30
Important Note: this product is now obsolete and this review is retained for historical reference only. Lenovo's ThinkPad T410 and ThinkPad T410s 14-inch widescreens occupy the equivalent place in their current product line. [July 7, 2010]
May 29th, 2002
In May 2002, IBM's ThinkPad T30 became commonly available. This model has since been revised in 'speeds and feeds' - this article is current as of December 2002. The ThinkPad T30 represents the "mid-size portable" portion of IBM's four-part laptop line. It includes the first Pentium 4 processor and the first availability of a track pad on a two-spindle IBM laptop.
Mostly because of the change to the Pentium 4 processor, the ThinkPad T30 is almost half a pound heavier (5.3 to 5.7 pounds) than the Pentium III-based ThinkPad T23 it replaced.
What it has
- Intel Mobile Pentium 4 processor (1.6 GHz, 1.8 GHz, 1.9 GHz, or 2.0 GHz) with 512 KB level 2 cache
- Two DIMM slots, currently allowing up to 1 GB RAM
- 14.1-inch active-matrix screen
- ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 video controller with 16 MB DDR RAM
- Stereo speakers
- Internal Mini-PCI slot
- Two Type II PC Card (PCMCIA) slots
- Video connectivity; VGA port, S-Video out port
- Audio connectivity; headphone/line-out jack, external microphone input, and line level input
- Low speed connectivity; two 12 Mbps USB 1.1 ports, serial port, parallel port, infrared 4-Mbps IrDA port, dock/port replicator port
- Network connectivity; 10/100BaseT Ethernet & V.92 56 kbps modem
- Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional
What it doesnt have (that some competitors do)
The ThinkPad is offered in many standard configurations, which can be ordered through the Computer Connection. Configurations vary by processor (1.6 GHz to 2.0 GHz), hard drive size (20 GB to 60 GB), screen resolution (1024x768 [XGA] or 1400x1050 [SXGA+]), optical drive (DVD-ROM or CD-RW/DVD-ROM 'combo'), integrated 802.11b (none, Cisco, or Intel), integrated Bluetooth (yes or no), and trackpad (yes or no).
These workstations form the vital center of IBM's professional laptop line. IBM attempts to differentiate in this market by the additional of value-added features, such as:
- The Ultrabay Plus integrated modular bay supports all optional Ultrabay 2000 devices, including CD-RW/DVD-ROM 'combo' drive, diskette drive, ZIP drive, or second battery.
- Flexible docking options common to ThinkPad X, T, R, and A Series notebooks:
- ThinkPad Port Replicator - cable management
- ThinkPad Dock - cable management plus desktop expansion including an additional Ultrabay 2000
- For additional durability, the ThinkPad T30 has Titanium Composite top and bottom covers and an IBM ThinkPad HDD Shock Absorber, which provides a cushion of air to protect the hard disk drive from the shock of being moved while your ThinkPad notebook is in normal use.
- Rapid Restore PC - a one-button recover and restore solution - helps protect data and minimize downtime by creating a mirror image of the hard disk drive and restoring it quickly, should the main software image become corrupted.
- ThinkLight keyboard light, unique to IBM ThinkPad notebooks, lets you work in low-light conditions.
- Combining a track pad and a TrackPoint pointing device, the IBM ThinkPad UltraNav multi-pointing system lets one work however one is most comfortable. This is a big change for IBM, and allows users who are uncomfortable with IBM's TrackPoint to still choose ThinkPads.
- The hardware-based IBM Embedded Security Subsystem 2.0 helps protect data locally and secure communications.
- Integrated wireless technology - a dual antenna system is built into either side of the display for enhanced signal strength, whether with Cisco or Intel Wi-Fi wireless now or for easy upgrades to future wireless technology.
- Integrated Bluetooth technology lets one connect without cables to enabled peripherals such as printers, cell phones, and handhelds. When (and if) Bluetooth takes off, having it integrated will be a consider advantage.
Technical issues & recommendations
Information Systems & Computing (ISC) does not expect there to be significant hardware-related compatibility problems with the ThinkPad T30. However, the ThinkPad T30 will have the same software-related conflicts that any Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional workstation would have.
ISC has tested the ThinkPad T30 for compatibility with University-supported hardware and software. Special attention has been paid to dial-up networking and modem functionality, which has been tested using a modified version of ISCs modem testing script. The ThinkPad T30 is compatible with the 2002 PennConnect CD-ROM and with Penns supported network applications.
Properly configured, these workstations meet ISCs Recommended Configurations for Mid-Weight 'Desktop-Equivalent' Laptop Workstations. As always, support providers should be aware of the potential technical issues associated with any new workstation design.
--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Project Leader, ISC Technology Support Services (May 29, 2002)