IBM's new ThinkPad T42 series comprises the mainstream T42 and the workstation-class T42p. As well as featuring the new Pentium M Processor 735 (1.7GHz), 745 (1.8GHz) and 755 (2GHz), plus a range of wireless connectivity options, the T42 series will be the first ThinkPads to offer a 15in. display. Another first for the range is a 9.5mm multi-format DVD burner, the snappily named ThinkPad Multi-Burner UltraBay Slim Drive.
The 2.4kg (15in. screen) or 2.1 kg (14in. screen) T42 comes with either a Dothan processor featuring 2MB of Level 2 cache or the older 1MB-cache Pentium M running at 1.5GHz. Graphics are handled by ATI's Radeon M10 (with up to 64MB of video RAM) or M7 (with up to 32MB) chipsets, while hard disk sizes top out at 80GB (5,400rpm). Wireless networking options for the T42 include single-band 802.11b or b/g, dual-band a/b/g or "wireless ready" (i.e. no wireless module fitted). IBM uses two antennae fitted in the screen bezel to provide isolation from electromagnetic interference. Gigabit wired Ethernet is standard on all models, as is infrared (not a given these days), while Bluetooth is offered on selected models. IBM's ThinkPads generally deliver good battery life, and the company's claims for the T42 are impressive: 5.5 hours with a 6-cell battery, 7.2 hours with a 9-cell extended battery and 9.5 hours ("all day computing") with the extended battery plus a second battery in the UltraBay. Prices for the ThinkPad T42, which will be available at the end of May, start at £1,350 (ex. VAT).
The ThinkPad T42p is a workstation-class model featuring a leading-edge graphics processor – ATI's 128MB Mobility FireGL T2 – plus a high-speed 7,200rpm 60GB hard disk. The platform is certified for a range of key applications such as 3D Studio Max, Pro\Engineer and SolidWorks. Pricing for the T42p has yet to be announced.
ThinkVantage Technologies To enhance their appeal to businesses seeking to minimise the total cost of notebook ownership, IBM provides a range of features and services that go under the name of ThinkVantage Technologies. Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore provides an embedded 'pre-boot' (i.e. independent of Windows) OS that delivers a minimal level of functionality, including Internet access, if the primary OS won’t boot for whatever reason. From here, you can access technical support, rescue corrupted files, or even restore a previously backed-up (compressed) disk image. To minimise the chance of hard disk failure, IBM employs its Active Protection System, which senses untoward behaviour prior to the notebook being dropped and unloads the drive head safely before impact. This 'airbag'-like system has been improved by the provision of a sliding sensitivity scale, allowing it to ignore small bumps such as might be experienced on a train journey. Other ThinkVantage components include IBM's Embedded Security Subsystem for protecting passwords and other sensitive data, and IBM Active Connections 3.0, which provides easy access to stored wireless profiles for different environments (office and home for example).