The old one
I’ve had my old laptop now for over three years. Back then it was state of the art: A Cebop T900 (the company doesn’t exist anymore, but the series is comparable to Siemens Amilo series of that time) with fresh 1,8 GHz Centrino (Pentium M 745, Dothan core) with – at that time quite large – 1 GB RAM and a 80 GB Hard disk. The graphics card was an ATI 9600 mobile with 256 MB RAM which actually was more of a desktop graphics card then a laptop card. The wireless card was an Intel ipw2200, and there was even a card reader installed, though I never got that one working. The screen was a 1280×800 15.4″ wide screen. Some benchmarks can be found here
The old one – called Perricum, btw. – served me well. However, due to the ridiculous oversized graphics card (and probably due to the entire construction at all) the fan never stopped working. And the fan was really, really noisy. Additionally, the entire chassis was not very stable. Still, the laptop accompanied me during the last years (and to several countries, btw.). For the distribution interested person: I started back then with a pre-release version of Mandrake/Mandriva (because it was the only one which started on that machine at that time due to kernel problems), later on Fedora and also for some time OpenSuse followed. The virtual machines started inside of the system run almost everything, from Ubuntu over the already mentioned distributions to even some BSD versions I gave a try. Also, for some time a virtual machine contained a Windows copy.
Speaking about Windows: besides the virtual machine that computer never saw a a Windows Kernel. The machine came along without a preinstalled operating system, and I was already in a state where I didn’t need any Windows. The need came later up for some months due to some specialized Windows-only program, but that was all.
The new one
In 10 years my mobile phone will most likely have more power than my new laptop – but today it is state of the art: A Dell Latitude D630 with a Intel T9300 with 2.5 GHz Dual Core (6 MB Cache, btw) – yes, that’s the new Penryn, Intel’s new 45nm processor series. Again, the RAM is quite high even for today: 4 GB. The hard disk is comparable small, just 160 GB, but for me power consumption was more important than size. And I do have an external hard disk.
But I also from the problems with my old machine: the graphics card is not a desktop card this time, but a Nvidia NVS 135M, a business card from Nvidia’s Quadro series. I could have also taken the laptop with Intel’s X3100, but since this machine is supposed to serve me for a longer time I wanted to have at least a bit more power. The wireless card is a 4965, and the screen is a 14.1″ with a resolution of 1440×900. Some benchmarks can be found here.
Additionally, this is a business notebook: so there are less fancy things (no card reader for example, no TV out, etc.), higher costs, but also more reliability: a much, much better and more stable chassis, high quality hardware (the speakers for example), and so on. And it has docking station support, which I plan to use quite often in the near future.
The operating system choice was a lit more difficult in this case, however. Dell doesn’t sell its flagships with Linux – at least not to usual customers. Additionally, since I am an author for technical magazines sometimes I am asked if I could do a story on some Windows related topics – like “Connect Windows to Linux” or “Compare xyz on Windows against abc on Linux”. Since I didn’t have a Windows copy in the past I had to pass on these tasks. Also, having a look at Vista once in a while makes me able to compare it against Linux distributions.
So I payed money for a Windows Vista copy. The disadvantages are now that that Microsoft earned some money and that my hard disk is littered with a lot of crap – almost two GB are taken by the problem that I only got a “Recovery DVD”. Sigh…
As a result I will publish more posts about the new computer – for example the task of installing Linux on it was much more difficult than I have thought! Also I will install a more recent KDE on this machine – one way or the other. But for now I’m just happy to have a new computer which is strong enough to do all the things I would like it to do but is not too noisy to work with or to heavy to carry around.