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Panasonic ToughBook Testing Facility Tour 146

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bruised-but-not-beaten dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ToughBooks are considered by some to be the most resilient of all notebooks. So how does Panasonic ensure that their line of indestructible portables are just that? In a recent tour of the Kobe plant in Japan it was discovered that 1000's of ToughBooks are destroyed each year in pursuit of the most rugged systems. Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used."
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Panasonic ToughBook Testing Facility Tour

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    They have any openings for QA Testers?
    • Please show your experience with US and European military and commercial shock and vibration specifications.
      Please show your experience with measuring damage caused by RFI, ESD, EMP, ionizing radiation and other damge causing emmissions.

      Please show your experience with pressure testing, fluid leak testing etc. .... :)
  • Indeed (Score:5, Funny)

    by mfh (56) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @03:55PM (#17924922) Homepage Journal
    ... and now Slashdotting.
    • by Bin Naden (910327)
      We'll see if they run linux on those tough books. Of course this assumes that the whole web site is run on a tough book.
  • by operagost (62405) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @03:56PM (#17924934) Homepage Journal
    I don't see a curious four-year-old being employed in any of their tests. I'd like to see how one of these stands up to crayons and peanut butter sandwiches.
    • by Teh MegaHurtz (954161) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:19PM (#17925190)

      I don't see a curious four-year-old being employed in any of their tests. I'd like to see how one of these stands up to crayons and peanut butter sandwiches.
      Also known as the curious CEO test
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Snoopy77 (229731)
        I'd mod you informative instead of funny.

        My CEO went through two toughbooks in three years and he doesn't even take it onto industrial sites. He can kill any electrical device by simply using it as normal. We've given up on spending twice as much for these toughbooks. We just make sure we've got a good three year warranty these days and get him a normal notebook.
    • Or trying to toast poptarts in the CD "burner" LOL
    • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:35PM (#17925366)
      An overconfident dad with a philips-head is much more dangerous than a four year old.

      You can take the computer away from the four-year-old. Your dad will want to try "one more thing".

      • by Zerolove (667383)
        How bout the pissed off lawyer.

        So i'm at the hotel, let me just ask is chlorine from a pool bad for my laptop?
        of course I told him it was no better for it then the Rum and Coke from last week.
    • While that's certainly important for some home computers, that's not exactly the market Toughbooks are going for. These laptops are for places where they'll be dropped, get really dusty, and shaken. There are 'childproof' computers out there that can be washed to remove sticky things, but those would be largely useless in other environments.

      It's about the right tool for the job, to use an aphorism.
      • My mother has a Toughbook (provided by her job). Thus far, she has not let me drop it on the floor. I consider this to be seriously lacking in faith; my ThinkPad (R31) fell four feet onto a hard floor in the middle of a big compile job (i.e. lots of disk activity), and just paused for a second, as if to say 'yeah, what?' before continuing. I would expect a Toughbook to be even more resilient, but thus far no one who owns one has allowed me to test this.

        • My father has one of the fully-rugged Toughbooks, and has not yet dropped it, neither intentionally or accidentally. Quite an impressive machine, though seriously fucking ugly (though aesthetics are expected to be rather low on the priority table in such a thing).
      • by gardyloo (512791)
        There are 'childproof' computers out there that can be washed to remove sticky things, but those would be largely useless in other environments.

              Video editing in the adult-film industry?
    • by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @05:15PM (#17925874)
      We support both Toughbooks and Lifebooks here. What they really need is a roomfull of Nurses and their 4 year old kids. We had one returned because the nurse couldn't connect to the network. Upon inspection, I found a yellow gummi bear firmly pressed into the RJ45 connector. It's pretty hard to configure the DNS settings of a yellow gummi bear. Maybe it's easier with the red ones?

      Seriously though, we're moving back to Fujitsu's over the Panasonics. The Toughbooks (at least the T2's we have) haven't proved to be all that tough and their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Fujitsu had problems in that department as well, but lately has made strides in the right direction. We need the touchscreens for this application (our RN's complete tons of medical assessments using checkboxes) so that kind of narrows our choices.
    • they should just try posting it, with a big sticker on it saying "fragile"... seems to work pretty well in the UK. I think that's how nuclear fission has been done on the cheap!
  • not bright enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpearson (809811) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @03:59PM (#17924970) Homepage
    Even with toughbooks the single biggest problem with portable computers is screen brightness. In direct sunlight lcd screens are not practical. I speak from expirence beacause I developed a business application for the tablet pc. I have recieved plenty of feedback from customers about how hard it was to use them in the field.

    Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]
    • Re:not bright enough (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:09PM (#17925092) Homepage
      your customers are not buying the right toughbooks.
        the toughbook-30 looks fantastic in bright direct sunlight as it has a correct reflective LCD instead of a standard Laptop screen, IF ordered correctly.

      Most places do not buy the right gear when it comes to toughbooks because their accounting department craps their pants when they see the price.
      • the toughbook-30 looks fantastic in bright direct sunlight as it has a correct reflective LCD instead of a standard Laptop screen, IF ordered correctly.

        Can you order it without the correct screen? The Panasonic site [panasonic.com] makes it seem like it's standard.

        Most places do not buy the right gear when it comes to toughbooks because their accounting department craps their pants when they see the price.

        If so, Amazon [amazon.com] has it listed for $4,169.95 which doesn't seem unreasonable, considering it's not hard to order a Lenovo
        • by Lumpy (12016)
          Nope the way I ordered the last one for a client it came to $6500.00 but that was with the gps, Cingular data modem built in, touchscreen and daylight reflective as well as a couple other exotic options. I have always specified my options and ignored what they list at the resellers, that way they cant weasel out of things when it arrives wrong.

          BTW, a toughbook kicks the crap out of any other laptop. I have an old one here from my Pentium II days that still works and has fell from a 2nd story height been r
          • I loved not having to carry a laptop case, just fling it in the back of the pickup or back seat and go.

            Nice. That does have a certain allure. :)
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              Even better, watching everyone else in the room crap their pants when you pick it up, single-handed, by the edge of the LCD cover and *throw* it across the room to a collegue. Or, when carrying it by the handle (which mine still has), using it as a door knocker. As a joke, I once used the cover to break open a stubborn walnut that broke a friend's cheap nutcracker
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by silentbozo (542534)
      Correction, in direct sunlight, backlit LCDs do not fare well - which means pretty much every color screen on the market. My ancient transflective Palm LCD works just fine in sunlight, as did my old black & white PowerBook Duo.
    • by rossifer (581396)
      These appear to have the outdoor brightness issue resolved, at the expense of adequate screen resolution. Even the newest and most expensive models only have 1024x768 resolution, a screen resolution I haven't spent money on since 1998.

      Then again, after owning multiple laptops with 1600x1200 screens, I find the 1440x900 screen on my shiny new 15" MacBook Pro extremely cramped. Which means that I've become quite spoiled. I wish I knew of a work-around to that.

      Ross
      • by GungaDan (195739)
        "I've become quite spoiled. I wish I knew of a work-around to that."

        Holiday in Cambodia?

  • by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @03:59PM (#17924978)
    .... (after all it is 11 pages) Try surfing here for some quick hits on how their notebooks are tested and what standards they meet.

    http://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/df_tes t.asp [panasonic.com]

    If they weren't so bloody expensive, I'd get one. It looks like it would survive the real world quite nicely. If only all notebooks were built to HALF of what these are built to survive.
      • by solevita (967690) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @05:03PM (#17925720)
        Their high price is the biggest problem with them, the second problem is their toughness. Sounds strange? Well, I had to use one of the bastards last summer. I was working for my university who had spend a few grand on a toughbook years a go. Of course, now it was too slow to run anything I wanted use, but there was no way the university was getting rid of it; it had cost a fortune and it hadn't broken. That made it useless.

        If you want to use a laptop in a field over summer, buy the cheapest you can find and keep buying them every year. 5 years later you'll have spent less money (even if you break a couple and need to go buy some replacements) and you won't be stuck with an outdated, but perfectly functioning, computer.

        Toughbooks, I hate them.
        • by smoker2 (750216)
          so much for global warming ...
        • If you want to use a laptop in a field over summer, buy the cheapest you can find and keep buying them every year. 5 years later you'll have spent less money (even if you break a couple and need to go buy some replacements) and you won't be stuck with an outdated, but perfectly functioning, computer.

          The point is, there aresome situations where breaking "in the field" is not good in a big way. That's why the DoD buys 'em.

          • by K8Fan (37875)

            They have actually been known to have protected soldiers by stopping bullets. I'd imagine troops stuck in unarmored HumVees carry their ToughBooks between themselves and the door.

            I'd like to have one of them, but as a general rule, I don't buy any laptop I haven't actually typed on. And Panasonic doesn't seem to have any interest in getting these things into stores. I've never seen one in any computer store.

            • I'd like to have one of them, but as a general rule, I don't buy any laptop I haven't actually typed on.

              We use them where I work (Air Force), we send them into the field with C-17 crews. Toughbooks have a reputation for being "slow" only because there are so many old ones still working (at $4000 plus, we use 'em till they die). The new ones are just as zippy as any new laptop, they only suffer from a small screen size due to the small "footprint" requirements.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by couchslug (175151)
          When they are bought as an equipment item for a specific task, they shine. They are often integrated with military test systems where they need to last for years, and they do. They are not intended for people who will care about the initial or replacement pricetag.

          I like grabbing "outdated, but perfectly functioning, computer"s and tossing Linux on 'em.
          Even my CF-71 is still useful (in my shop, for reading vehicle manuals), easy to fix if I do damage it, and cost me about $160 plus some fiddling to make one
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bitrot42 (523887)
      The page is in Japanese, but the videos speak for themselves:

      http://panasonic.jp/pc/appli/tough/ [panasonic.jp]

      And this is for the *semi* rugged line!

      More videos (fully rugged line):

      http://panasonic.com.au/products/information.cfm?d etailsID=236&contextID=2482 [panasonic.com.au]
  • Are the systems completely destroyed by the testing, reused, or is there the possibility that they are throwing out half-working laptops that don't meet the minimum requirements to qualify as a Toughbook? If so, I might need to make a few dumpster diving trips...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:02PM (#17925022)
    Panasonic is just one brand in the consumer-electronics empire of Matsushita. For decades, Panasonic quality was considered inferior to Sony quality, but at the moment, Panasonic quality is nearly identical to Sony quality. Moreover, Sony products cost 30% more than Panasonic products.

    Why would anyone want to pay 30% more for an equivalent product?

    Why does Sony charge so much money even though nearly 100% of its products is now assembled in low-wage China? Panasonic still tries to build its products in high-wage Japan.

    • they also heche en mexico

      the question is still valid, the assertion is not.
    • My father worked retail at London Drug for a while. He saw Sony stuff, and Sanyo stuff come back defective all the time, however it rarely saw anything from Panasonic returned.

      My own experience with Sony hardware is actually the same. I've thrown out a lot of Sony stuff, but everything I have that has been made by Panasonic I still have and still works.
  • The photos were interesting, but the fawning, gushing text reads like a press release to Nickelodeon Magazine. Sure, it's an impressive setup.. but I could do without quite so much "gee golly whillikers" from a site called "TrustedReviews."

    I'd hate to see the review that ends up on "SlightlySuspectedOfBeingShillReviews..."
  • Watch it though.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:05PM (#17925052) Homepage
    Getting on an airplane with one of These [panasonic.com]
    can panic the TSA morons quite fast.

    The thing looks like a bomb from the TV show 24.

    At minimum you look like a spy or someone who is not doing good things.
    • by operagost (62405)
      They won't stop you getting on the plane. They'll run it through the X-ray scanners and swab it for trace explosives before passing you through the security checkpoint just like they when I carried-on a SuperDLT.
      • by dbIII (701233)
        It's extra fun when the guys carrying weird electronic stuff work near explosives and get detected as such.
    • Just set your home page to here [boortz.com] and you're all set.
    • by Quantam (870027)
      So, a friend and I flew to Kansas. As we were going through security at the departing airport, my friend got pulled aside for quite some time, as they dismantled his luggage, and I waited, watching the time. Eventually they packed everything up and let him go. When I asked what that was all about, he said that they thought his hard drive was a bomb.

      True story.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by philicorda (544449)
      Nah.
      I have been around most of the world with my trusty CF27 toughbook and never had a problem. It looks even more agricultural than the more recent one you pictured. Never had a problem.

      In hong kong, forgot about it (heavy jetlag) and left it on the X-ray machine while going through customs. Went back half an hour later and picked it up. All they asked me to do was identify it and it was fine.

      I guess if I went to the states it could be more difficult, as they get spooked quite easily over there.
  • Itronix (Score:5, Informative)

    by rlp (11898) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:11PM (#17925122)
    The other maker of hardened laptop / PDA's is Itronix. I've got an old Itronix laptop that's built like a brick. Both Itronix and Toughbooks (particularly the later) are popular with police and fire depts. Fire depts. are very hard on laptops. They use them for things like communications, looking a dept. databases (fire inspection notes), info on hazardous materials,etc. I've heard of one fire chief who likes to test a vendor's notebooks by tossing them across the room. He's not very popular with sales reps.

    I got my Itronix used (years ago) on E-bay. It has a 'Sprint' logo on the cover. Apparently was used by field service techs.
    • by zcubed (916242)
      Firefighters are very hard on stuff. The saying goes:
      "Put a firefighter in a phone booth with 2 bowling balls and come back in a hour. One bowling ball will be lost and the other bowling ball will be broken."

      The dept I worked at had the toughbook tablets in all the trucks and chiefs cars. Well worth the money if you truly need a hardened laptop.
  • Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used.
    They should bring Jack Bauer in for this "testing" department
  • by ettlz (639203) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:18PM (#17925178) Journal

    From TFA:

    Behind locked doors at Panasonic's Osaka and Kobe facilities poor ToughBooks are thrashed to within an inch of their lives. ... I saw a very sorry looking CF-29 strapped to a rack, being poked with metal spikes.

    Every dominatrix should have one.

  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini.gmail@com> on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:18PM (#17925180)
    From TFA:

    I therefore jumped at the chance to nip over to Japan and see Panasonic's setup in person.
    Perhaps not the best choice of words...?
  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:20PM (#17925208) Journal
    I've never considered buying a Toughbook. It's cheaper to buy two (or three) equivalent "regular" laptops, and swap out the hard drives every time one is destroyed. Combined with decent backups, this is all that most Toughbook users really need.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by clonmult (586283)
      Nice idea, shame its useless. Most of these are used out in the field, and it may not be realistic/practical to take several laptops out into the field, and when one dies, swap out the harddrive. Half the users probably aren't capable of swapping the drives themselves either.
      • Sure. I can imagine situations where it would be useful too -- especially if you're backpacking your gear -- but most of the time Toughbook users are wasting their money.

        And it can be very easy to swap out hard drives if they're pcmcia.
        • by Kris_B_04 (883011)
          They're great for the military!!! :)
        • by Blkdeath (530393)

          Sure. I can imagine situations where it would be useful too -- especially if you're backpacking your gear -- but most of the time Toughbook users are wasting their money.

          Most of the time? The police, military, fire departments, field technicians and others who work in extreme environments are "wasting their money"? If they brought a traditional laptop to many places they need them on a day to day basis they wouldn't last more than a week. How practical is it to purchase 4 laptops per month when a single $3500 unit would last for years?

          And it can be very easy to swap out hard drives if they're pcmcia.

          Psssst; part of the strength of the toughbook is the ruggedness of the hard drive enclosure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JPribe (946570)
        I'm going to guess you have never used a Toughbook. Swapping the HDD is as easy as swapping the battery. We have about 300 of these at work, spares on the shelf. If the screen dies on you then you go in, pull the HDD and battery, turn in the old shell and get a new one. (CF-29 in an industrial environment: all of our tech data is on the toughbooks, and work is updated live via a scheduled wireless database sync.)
    • by larien (5608)
      As others have pointed out, it's not always practical to use "hot-swap" laptops - what's cheaper, buying a rugged laptop, or having your field engineers running back to base every time they drop their laptop?

      When you're talking about engineers whose main tools are a screwdriver & spanner, they probably treat laptops with the same level of harsh use.

    • I used to use IBM Thinkpads. In fact; I went through four of em in as many years. Hinges broke. Power connectors broke, plastic case parts broke. And don't ask about the number of times I almost dropped one.

      After buying a Toughbook 3-1/2 years ago; I have not had one single problem. The laptop industry's dirty big secret is not that laptopls need to be ruggedized for real-world use but that most laptops are flimsy and are designed so that they are prone to break under normal use. Most have a very slip
      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Or you could realize that a laptop is often a delicate tool, and should be treated as such. Or do you regularly drop and sit on your glasses as well? There are some cases where a Toughbook is a good investment, especially when it's needed to be used outdoors or in very mobile situations, things like firefighters and police work, or field engineers. If you just use a laptop when it's at a desk or in a controlled indoor environment, and only for portability? Stop abusing your equipment. Or pay through th
  • I used to work at a store called Altex. It was a computer store. We had lots of cables OEM computer parts and so on. Well that was my first job as a computer technician before I hit the networking job. I remember this guy bringing in a tough book. I had never seen or heard of one before.

    He walks in and had a question about repairing the keys on the computer. A few had broke off and he wanted to get a replacement keyboard. As I walked out and noticed the computer I said to the guy "Thats an odd looking lapto
  • I'm typing this on a CF-T5 ("business-rugged") notebook. I've had it for about 4 months now, and I probably won't buy another notebook brand anytime soon. The quality is terrific. When I pick the notebook up, the case doesn't creak at all. I think Panasonic should work on their marketing outside of Japan (Panasonic laptops are already popular there). Many people are willing to spend more for quality in their laptops...
    • by zcubed (916242)

      I think Panasonic should work on their marketing outside of Japan

      They have ads in magazines for police and fire here in the states. I don't think the average Joe would need a ruggedized laptop, so I think they focus their ad dollars at the people that could benefit from them.
  • we have been using them for over two years for some of our users, and have found them to be not so tough. Connectors come loose, screens crack and backlights fail. Thinkpads have proven much more reliable.
    • Re:not so tough (Score:5, Insightful)

      by atcurtis (191512) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:46PM (#17925504) Homepage Journal
      we have been using them for over two years for some of our users, and have found them to be not so tough. Connectors come loose, screens crack and backlights fail. Thinkpads have proven much more reliable.


      Give users something and tell them it is tough and they will break it by being wreckless.

      Give users something and tell them it is fragile, there is a good chance they will treat it reasonably.

      Better to give a rugged notebook to someone who needs a rugged notebook due to the work that they do and tell them that it is not indestructable and that they should handle it as carefully as their job permits... Then it should last a reasonable amount of time.

      Just my 2 cents worth.

      • Give users something and tell them it is tough and they will break it by being wreckless.
        No, the idea is to make the laptop tough enough that it will be wreckless [reference.com] no matter how reckless [reference.com] the users are...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by operagost (62405)
      Sorry, but that's ridiculous. Thinkpads have nice hard disk protection, but drop an open one on the floor and the screen and hinge are DEAD.
      • I've seen an X20 survive worse than that. I carried one every day for almost five years. It did finally sort of die; its had some manner of hardware failure that makes it unable to recognize batteries at all, and it can't sleep anymore. I gave it to my dad around 6 months ago when that happened, and he's still using it, plugged in next to his TV remote caddy (its the internet remote).

        I can't say much for the new T60s though, I played with a new T60p at work and thought it was nasty (awful screen and keyb
  • Tough on the outside, but...

    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/021 9212 [slashdot.org]

  • pretty beefy?

    (It's in Kobe. Kobe beef. Got it?)
  • If there's no such thing a Silicon Heaven, then where to all the ToughBooks go?
  • by fishandring (1034338) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:47PM (#17925512)
    I worked at a company where they kept losing toughbook hard drives. They are not cheap to say the least because they reside inside a gel-suspension. Come to find out the techs were laying the toughbook at eye level on top of 15000 watt generators for extended periods of time monitoring the SCADA system. There's only o much vibration any hard drive can take...
    • I'm not surprised the HDDs failed then. I'd wait until they have flash drives, then give them another roll. Some handheld systems can take an almighty beating and keep on going despite having less padding through the simple virtue of not having moving parts.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ratman69 (741506)
      We are having a similar problem, I work for a fire department and we have mounted toughbooks in our Fire Engines right over the engine cowling. They all lasted about a year and then the Hard drives started failing at a ridiculous rate. I suspect its a combination of lots of vibration and lots of heat. Nice thing is Panasonic has been replacing them, no questions asks. They show up in 1 day, 2 max. The sales rep even gave us a few drives to keep on hand so we can repair them without having to wait for the
  • by sentientbeing (688713) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @04:56PM (#17925652)
    The drop testing machine that's located at the Osaka R&D facility is one of only eight in the world, but unfortunately it wasn't working on the day we visited.


    Things just arent built to last these days . .
    • The drop testing machine that's located at the Osaka R&D facility is one of only eight in the world, but unfortunately it wasn't working on the day we visited.

      Things just arent built to last these days . .
      Or, maybe it was SO tough, that the laptop broke the testing machine itself! OOooooo! :)
      • You must be new here.

        The proper phrase is "In Soviet Osaka, Toughbooks break drop testing machines."

        For added flavor, you can throw in stuff like:

        "THEY SET US UP THE DROP TEST"

        "The drop tester is dead, Netcraft confirms it"

        "I, for one, welcome our drop tester-breaking Toughbook overlords"
  • ...a Beowulf cluster of tortured ToughBooks with post-traumatic symptoms.
    Beware! While they are idle they might compute a way to revenge against the human torturers with electroshocks. Oh wait... these are not Dell notebooks.

    Shame for me, before reading this story I never knew that Panasonic is involved in notebook production.
  • Pretty Tough... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wes Janson (606363) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @05:03PM (#17925718) Journal
    Saw one take a dive off of the top of a moving patrol car, onto asphalt (moral of the story: don't leave laptops on top of cruisers). Popped a few things out the side, but everything slid back into place, and it booted right up. Dunno about long-term abuse, but I found that test pretty impressive. For organizations such as those, I can easily see how the extra cost for a Toughbook would be worth it. You'd make it back within a few months with the amount saved by not having to replace components and entire units all the time.
  • One of my clients is in waste management and also owns some power plants. After getting fed up with constantly replacing laptops, they bought some Toughbooks and they have been going strong. One of the great features is that you can still get Toughbooks with serial ports. They are pricey, but the extra resiliency is worth the cost.
  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@@@geekbiker...net> on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @05:34PM (#17926168) Homepage Journal

    Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used.
    They just described my pending divorce.
  • Why none of the Toughbooks have a real video card come up gma 950 has a hard time runnoing vista 3d desktop and there people out there that need good video for cad and other things that may need to use in a places where you should have a Toughbook.
  • ... having a built-like-a-battleship laptop if the software inside is a fall-over flake.
    So: Do these machines run a Unix derivative out-of-the-box and perfectly?
    • by mvdwege (243851)

      I've been eyeing second-hand Toughbooks for some time, as they make ideal laptops to throw into my motorcycle hardcases without worrying about padding around them.

      As far as I can tell, and the reports on linux-laptop.net [linux-laptop.net] seem to bear this out, Panasonic aka Matshushita uses fairly standard chipsets in these things, the kind they also sell to other manufacturers, so they run Linux with a little fiddling at most. Which is of course logical: a well-known, well-tested, and well-integrated hardware design is al

  • ...can they stand up to my star coworker? No kidding, I've been here less than a year, and he has broken^H^H^H^H^H^Hdestroyed no less than four of our (non-Panasonic) laptops while I've worked here.
  • "In a recent tour of the Kobe plant in Japan it was discovered that 1000's of ToughBooks are destroyed each year in pursuit of the most rugged systems. Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used."

    Do not confuse this with the Kobe plant in Eagle, Colorado, where laptops are being raped.

  • "Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used."

    So this is like the Abu Ghraib of laptops?

  • My old Toughbook CF-71 (300Mhz!) is still working great, with an upgraded HDD and RAM (though recent versions of Linux are having trouble with power management/hibernation), after all these years. It's got a big old handle, useful to carry along anywhere, gathering data, or to whip out to work on something (have to wrangle the GPS serial cables though). Been dropped and squashed and bounced. Hasn't yet been rained on.

Pause for storage relocation.

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