Review: IBM ThinkPad T40
April 6th, 2003
In early April 2003, IBM's ThinkPad T40 became commonly available. The ThinkPad T40 represents the "mid-weight desktop equivelant" portion of IBM's four-part laptop line. It includes the first Pentium-M processor on a two-spindle IBM laptop.
Mostly because of the change to the Pentium-M processor, the ThinkPad T40 is almost half a pound lighter (at 4.9 to 5.3 pounds) than the Pentium 4 Mobile-based ThinkPad T30 it succeeds.
What it has
What it doesnt have (that some competitors in the same laptop segment do)
Configurations & Availability
The ThinkPad T40 configuration tested for this review was a mid-range version, with a 1.5 GHz processor, a 40 GB hard drive, an XGA display, a CD-RW/DVD-ROM 'combo' drive, and 802.11b Wi-Fi. With these specifications, it comes in at approximately $1,800 educational.
The ThinkPad is offered in many standard configurations, which can be ordered through the Computer Connection. Configurations vary by processor (1.3 GHz to 1.6 GHz), hard drive size (30 GB to 80 GB), display resolution (1024x768 [XGA] or 1400x1050 [SXGA+]), optical drive (DVD-ROM or CD-RW/DVD-ROM 'combo'), ethernet (10/100BaseT or Gigabit), integrated 802.11b (none, Cisco, or Intel), and integrated Bluetooth (yes or no).
The Computer Connection has a specially priced configuration available for the ThinkPad T40:
1.5 GHz/512 MB/40 GB/combo/14.1-inch XGA/modem/ethernet/802.11b (PennKey authentication required)
Beyond these configuration variations, IBM offers the T40p - a high-end version of the T40 intended for CAD and other high-end use. The T40p includes a workstation-class ATI Mobility FireGL 9000 64 MB video card.
The ThinkPad T40 forms the vital center of IBM's professional laptop line and is IBM's design leader. IBM attempts to differentiate in this market by the addition of value-added features, such as:
Technical issues & recommendations
Information Systems & Computing (ISC) does not expect there to be significant hardware-related compatibility problems with the ThinkPad T40. However, the ThinkPad T40 will have the same software-related conflicts that any Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional workstation would have.
ISC has tested the ThinkPad T40 for compatibility with University-supported hardware and software. The ThinkPad T40 is compatible with the 2002 PennConnect CD-ROM and with Penns supported network applications.
It should be noted that the ThinkPad T40, like many newer laptops, does not ship with a standard floppy drive. IBM's suggested solution for users who need a floppy drive is to connect one via USB.
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, Nicholas Allen, & Steven Strawser, ISC Technology Support Services (April 6, 2003)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
Comments & Questions