Hardware - IBM Thinkpad X40

The IBM Thinkpad X40 is the newish baby of the Thinkpad range. It is small and light and packs a fair bit of connectivity punch. While not outstanding in the pure power stakes it is more than adequate for most day-to-day tasks.
with Linux login screen

The unit comes with Windows XP Pro as standard and while this isn't a review of the operating system, it is the interface to the equipment so it is reasonable to say some things. First of all, Microsoft was unprepared for the wide usage of Bluetooth and the support as it stands is fairly brain-dead. Surrounded by Bluetooth appliances that wanted to share files, browse, and generally party-on, the only thing it could figure out to do was share an internet connection with a phone. Better than nothing, but close to nothing. This situation is supposed to be improved by Service Pack 2 which is out just now but we haven't had a chance to test it.

IBM has added quite a large suite of programs that deal with other forms of networking, amongst other things, and both ethernet and WLAN were a breeze to set up.

One thing I did expect was that DVD's would play out of the box but they do not. There are a couple of free players you can get, one of which is adware, and the other provides spotty quality in the video. The others cost between $30 and $50.

dock which includes CD/DVD .. unit sits on top

You don't actually get that much for your money with XP. Just about any specialized task you want to accomplish, you'll need to go and buy an app.

For those familiar with Unix, there's still Cygwin of course. Although Red Hat bought the company and then discontinued its work, the files are still on the web for download -- and they still work... although Mutt doesn't like the XP environment much and refused to write files. Gnus did the email and news collecting job instead, without any problems.

That experience made us wonder how Linux would go -- whether it would at all, and what IBM's attitude might be. As it happens, IBM's attitude was completely positive. We support Linux, is what they said. They don't supply it yet though.

So, we got out the SUSE 9.1 DVD and had a try. The first problem was that XP really didn't want to go away and didn't want to boot the SUSE DVD. Eliminating all boot places other than the DVD/CDROM fixed that but caused a problem later when the system wanted to reboot. That was overcome and now SUSE is running fairly painlessly. Bluetooth and IrDA don't work yet but Ethernet does. On the web there's also a mention and run through of a Debian installation.

If you're after a lightweight, small laptop that doesn't need to be the quickest machine out then this could be a nice solution. As well as the magnesium cased basic unit, there's an add-on battery pack that clips onto the bottom and also a docking station which contains the CD/DVDROM as well as extra USB ports. The battery life of the unit without the battery pack seems to be about an hour and with the battery expansion pack, anywhere up to seven hours.

The machine is very well equipped in the port department with an SD card reader, USB, a PCMCIA slot, monitor port, modem jack, and ethernet port. See below for full specs.

As far as look and feel go, the unit has a nice feeling of solidity and quality despite its light weight. There are so many ports and doodads that you wonder how long it took to fit them all in at the design stage. The only slight complaint is that, on the docking station, the ethernet jack needs to plug in upside down -- with the locking bit towards the bottom rather than the more easily reached top. A nice touch is a little keyboard lamp built into the facing at the top of the LCD.

All in all, this is a tidy piece of work.

Specs from IBM

ThinkPad X40
Model TS079UK
Low Voltage Intel Pentium M Processor 1.20GHz
Memory (std/max)
512 MB / 1.54 GB
Fax/modem speeds
56Kbps data/14.4Kbps fax
Disk capacity
Network Interface
Gigabit Ethernet- Integrated
12.1" 1024x768 -- TFT
Installed OS
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
PCMCIA Card Bus Slots
1 Type II

Media Device

Unique System Features
Bluetooth; IBM Embedded Security Subsystem 2.0; Intel 802.11b; Intel
Centrino Mobile Technology

The ThinkPad X Series is designed for extremely mobile users who spend
most of their time working away from the office. These small and light
notebooks are optimised for portability and long battery life.

Form factor:

Bus type/architecture:

Expansion bus type:
PC Card
PCMCIA Card Bus Slots:
1 Type II
Bay Type:
Indicator light:

Cover material:

Screen type description:  
Viewable image size (diagonal):
Screen illumination:
Max resolution on built-in screen:
Max colors or grey shades: 
External display supported:
Max resolution on external display:

Simultaneous external display: 

Processor (CPU)2:
Low Voltage Intel Pentium M Processor
Processor internal clock speed2:  
Front side bus:

Processor manufacturer:

L2 external CPU cache std/max:
-- / 

Upgradable processor:

BIOS type:
Flash ROM

Memory (RAM) std/max:
512MB / 1.54GB
RAM speed: 
Optional RAM configuration:
128:256:512:1024 SODIMM
RAM type:
RAM slots total (available):

Hard disk controller:

Hard disk size1: 
Hard disk type:
ATA-100 (Enhanced IDE)
Average seek time:
Average latency:

Number of platters:

Platter RPM:
Burst transfer rate:

Sustained data trans rate (low; high):
16MBps; 30MBps

Graphics chipset:
Intel Extreme Graphics 2
Graphics type:
Graphics data width:
Video RAM std/max:
-- / --
Video RAM type:

Max resolution (with max video RAM) NI:
2048x1536 16777216 colors

Max colors (with max video RAM):
Graphics bus interface:
Direct AGP

Graphics features:
DDC monitor support; 16/32 bit color depths; 3D Graphics

Audio features:
Microphone; Headphone/Line out

Audio chipset make & model:
Audio data width:

Number of integrated speakers:
Speaker power rating:

56K V.92 designed modem
Fax/modem speeds:
56Kbps data/14.4Kbps fax
Fax/modem features:
Infrared port

Infrared Port:
Infrared port speed:
Wireless Type:
Wireless Standard:
Intel PRO/Wireless Network Connection 802.11b and   Bluetooth

Network card:
Integrated Intel PRO/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
Network interface:
Gigabit Ethernet- Integrated
Network speed:
Network features:
RJ-45 connector

A/C adapter:
56 watt
Worldwide A/C compatibility:
Port replicator:

Optional X4 Ultrabase

Pointing device type:
TrackPoint with "Press-to-Select"
Standard diskette size:
Optional diskette size:
Diskette drive configuration:

Keyboard type standard:
Full size

Keyboard light:

Product approvals/certifications4:
BSMI (Taiwan); CB Report; CCC (China); CE MARK (Europe); CUL; Energy
Star Compliant; FCC Class B- Part 15; GOST (Russia); SMA AS/NZS 3548;
UL-1950; MIC Class A (Korea); MPR-II; NOM (Mexico); SASO; VCCI Class 2

Battery life - min/max: 
3.5 Hrs
Battery type(s):
4 Cell Lithium-Ion
Charge time - on/off:
4.0Hrs / 3.5Hrs
Heat emissions:
Sound emissions:
Power management features4:
Power management mode
Battery Power Status Display
Hibernation mode
Standby mode
Suspend mode
Switching between display devices

Plug and play support:
Standard Interfaces:

Ports (type):

Expansion ports:
Infrared, RJ-11, RJ-45, USB 2.0 (1 powered), 2 Universal Serial Bus
(USB), AC adapter, Expansion bus (for X4 Ultrabase Dock), External
microphone, External Display, Headphone/Line out


Travel weight:
Operating Temperature (C) (low; high):
10; 31
Relative Humidity (%) (low; high):
8; 90

Tested operating systems:
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft
Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows 2000
Operating system provided:
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Communication/networking applications: 9

Device drivers/utilities: 9

Multimedia applications: 9

Productivity applications: 9

Other applications provided: 9

Preloaded applications:

Universal management features:
Access IBM
ImageUltra enabled
IBM Access Connections
IBM Active Protection System
IBM Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore
System Migration Assistant
Security features:
IBM Embedded Security Subsystem 2.0
Hard disk drive password
IBM Security Slot
Power-on password
Supervisor password
VPD support:

Security Chip:
IBM Embedded Security Subsystem 2.0

Back to top


post to Delicious Digg Reddit Facebook StumbleUpon

Recent on Mstation: music: Vivian Girls, America's Cup, music: Too Young to Fall..., music: Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Berlin Lakes, music: Atarah Valentine, Travel - Copenhagen, House in the Desert

front page / music / software / games / hardware /wetware / guides / books / art / search / travel /rss / podcasts / contact us