[GLLUG] Seemingly Simple Question

Travis Mooney ttmooney at ttmooney.com
Wed Nov 4 12:20:41 UTC 2015

Hey All —

I also have a Thinkpad X220 (and a Dell XPS 13 Ubuntu version, and a Macbook Pro, and a Samsung Arm Chromebook, and a Pi-Top that’ll be delivered Monday, it seems).

The Thinkpad has the best driver support of the lot under Linux. But Alan is right — the build quality is so-so, and the ‘support’ is laughable compared to Dell (or even Apple). It’s not a bad computer, but the screen resolution is pretty low. The hardware upsides are an actual ethernet port, and the eraser mouse, but neither of those would convince me to buy a Thinkpad again.

Mine is the i5 version. I keep it around as a testing unit, mostly. Resale value isn’t worth the hassle. I wouldn’t call it a ‘tough’ laptop, though. The all-metal construction of the XPS 13 is definitely better. But there was a very annoying regression in the XPS 13’s wireless driver under 14.04, which pushed me over the edge and I bought a Mac (which I kind of hate, but that’s another discussion).

If I were you, I would look for a Dell XPS 13 (even an early version, as long as the battery is ok) or an M3800 (you wanted tough, right?). I think you would be hard pressed to find a better solution, and if necessary you can change out the WiFi, etc.

Kind regards,



Travis Mooney
Technologist and Writer
+44 (0)7908631440
Skype: ttmooney

> On 4 Nov 2015, at 10:50, Alan Pope <alan at popey.com> wrote:
> Hi Leo,
> On 2 November 2015 at 22:57,  <lists at boywithwings.co.uk> wrote:
>> I'm thinking either a T410 or X220. The main goal would be a tough laptop
>> that I could use for DJing and Music Production. Unfortunately this means I
>> would have to run Windows on it (URGH UNCLEAN) to run some of the music
>> software I rely. I would probably dual boot with Ubuntu Studio.
> I have an i7 Thinkpad X220 which currently dual boots Windows / Ubuntu
> with two SSDs (one traditional SATA, one mSATA). Works okay for a 4
> year old laptop.
>> My question is mainly, which one do people recommend for my use case? I do a
>> lot of lugging equipment around the UK (and Europe), so that would push me
>> towards the X220.
> I don't know the T410, but my thoughts on the X220:-
> i7 variant cannot dump the heat generated by the CPU. My i7 frequently
> overheats, and always has, co-workers have i5 which never do.
> Screen resolution is annoyingly low these days, but if that's not a
> factor in your decision, then okay.
> Modern Intel video drivers seem to have gone down the drain.
> Sandybridge based devices (which, okay, are 4+years old) are painful
> when any kind of 3d stuff is being done, and on recent kernels are
> quite crashy.
> Speakers are awful / low volume.
> Build quality isn't that great. I've had to replace the palm rest (at
> my own expense - thanks Lenovo!) because it cracks (co-workers have
> seen same on theirs).
>> I've seen the more expensive X220 occasionally for sale with a i7 but the
>> T410 with only an i5. My Macbook has a dual core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 1TB
>> hybrid drive and has a similar form factor to the cheaper T410. Would there
>> be a big performance gap between the i7 X220 and the i5 T410? I will go for
>> an SSD in either and a good trackpad is a must.
> The trackpad on the X220 is tiny. I actual disable it because I'm a
> nipple (trackpoint) kinda guy. The trackpad is quite 'clacky' on the
> x220.
> Cheers,
> Al.
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