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Portables Supercomputing

Testing Lenovo's ThinkPad W700ds Dual-Screen Notebook 197

MojoKid writes "Lenovo's ThinkPad W700 is a unique product, targeted squarely at mobile professionals who require the power, features, and performance of workstation-class product in a notebook. The machine has a few stand-out integrated features, like a Wacom Digitizer Tablet and X-Rite Color Calibrator. In addition, the ThinkPad W700ds version and adds a secondary, slide-out 10.6" WXGA+ display, which increases monitor real-estate by 39% spanning across its two panels. HotHardware's video demonstrates the machine's arsenal of toys for the graphics pro, in a somewhat portable desktop replacement notebook."
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Testing Lenovo's ThinkPad W700ds Dual-Screen Notebook

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  • Dual Screen? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by SYSS Mouse ( 694626 )
    with slide out display?

    I thought it is dual screen as in.. one on top and another at bottom. *cough* Nintendo *cough*

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by conlaw ( 983784 )
      I wonder if the dual screen will sell any better than the "butterfly" keyboard that was part of the IBM Think Pad in the 90's. Apparently, at that time, IBM thought that what laptop users wanted was a larger keyboard, so there was some sort of mechanism by which the keyboard on the laptop spread out. IIRC, this setup didn't work as well in practice as it did on paper, and didn't last very long. []

      • I had the misfortune of working at an IBM authorized warranty repair place at the time, and was certified on those pieces of crap. I still have the occasional nightmare that includes replacing a 701 keyboard.
  • Not more than 4 months ago I was thinking someone should make a note book with slide out screen. In fact I would mind 2 slide out screens. More and more often I an very greedy for additional screen real estate.

    Working with a standard 15" notebook screen is like drafting on a napkin with a magic marker. Its good for making notes. but not for serious detailed work.

  • Yo Dawg (Score:5, Funny)

    by bpkiwi ( 1190575 ) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @10:48PM (#27026853)
    Yo Dawg, we heard you like LCD screens, so we've put an LCD screen inside your LCD screen. So now you can look at things while you look at other things.

    We also heard you like pointing devices, so this baby has three of them!, with two sets of buttons!
  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @11:00PM (#27026919) Journal

    From the specs:
    Operating System: Genuine Windows Vista Business 64

    It's a good thing the put "Genuine" in there to clarify things. Otherwise people might assume IBM was shipping this $6,000 notebook with a pirated copy of Windows to keep the price down.

  • But will it ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AigariusDebian ( 721386 ) <aigarius.debian@org> on Saturday February 28, 2009 @11:27PM (#27027013) Homepage

    ... run Linux?

    And this time it is no meme, but a real question. What good are slide-out screens and fancy fingerprint readers if they are based on such obscene hardware hacks that a normal operation system would be unable to use it all.

    That is something reviews would actually be useful for.

  • by harmonise ( 1484057 ) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @11:35PM (#27027055)

    The screen is on the wrong side. Because of the numeric keypad, the home position for typing is to the left side of the computer. This means that you are facing the left side of your screen while typing instead of facing the center of the screen. Putting the second screen on the right makes this even worse. You'll type while always looking slightly to the right. If the screen had been placed on the left side, at least a user could sit in front of the computer, type, and be facing the center of the two screens.

    • by Random Destruction ( 866027 ) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:02AM (#27027165)
      You're thinking like a coder, not like a graphics pro. The wacom tablet is the main input device, not the keyboard.
      • As a graphic designer and photographer, I can tell you that professional graphic designers use the keyboard all the time. They just spend a lot of time with only one hand on the keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts are a graphic designer's best friend.

        Still, I think the screen is on the correct side, even though I don't like the laptop very much. Perhaps there is enough of a "Windows graphic designer or photographer on the go" market to make it worth it, but it wouldn't surprise me if it flops in its target market.

      • In addition to being a computer professional, I'm a Wacom-using designer/illustrator... and the secondary display is on the wrong side for me as well. I've always been used to finding tool palettes on the left side of my display, so when I added a second display as a place to put them (so I could have the main display for my work itself), I put it on the left side. It feels more natural to reach for them there, maybe because it simulates how an artist would hold a physical palette of paints: in his left h
        • What stops you from putting the image on the slide-out monitor and the tools on the attached monitor? You *do* realize that the distinction between "main" and "secondary" monitor is completely arbitrary and can be changed at any time, right?

      • You can bet your arse that anyone who uses a tablet as their "main input device", and already carries a laptop of this size around, won't use the tiny built-in tablet this laptop provides. I mean, I'm an amateur and my A5 tablet seems a bit cramped at times.
    • Looks like it's on the correct side to me. Most people seem to have their 2nd monitor on the right, rather than left, from what I've seen. The fact that it has a built-in Wacom tablet should have clued you in as to who this laptop was designed for. If you use one hand on the keyboard and the other hand on the tablet or an external mouse on the right, the the screen is better off on the right. Either way, I'm not sure that I buy your idea of it being a big problem to begin with.

    • Does it have a seperate numeric keypad? Most lenovos have them as numlock overlays.

  • WTH (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eil ( 82413 ) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:21AM (#27027243) Homepage Journal

    So the engineers at Lenovo have pretty much crammed more "computer" into this laptop than any laptop has had crammed so far. Two screens, nearly full keyboard, two pointing devices, a digitizer tablet, along with a metric crapload of CPU, video, disk, memory, along with the usual gamut of notebook options. It'll set you back between 3000 and 8000 cool US dollars.

    And it still comes with a built-in dialup modem inside.

    What. The. Hell.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by narcberry ( 1328009 )

      But does it have an LPT port?

    • It'll set you back between 3000 and 8000 cool US dollars.

      I'm personally waiting for ThinkPad Reserve Edition of this: []

      What? $8000? . . . that's chump-change.

      So the engineers at Lenovo have pretty much crammed more "computer" into this laptop than any laptop has had crammed so far. Two screens, nearly full keyboard, two pointing devices, a digitizer tablet, along with a metric crapload of CPU, video, disk, memory, along with the usual gamut of notebook options.

      But wait . . . if you order NOW, we will include the Spiral Slicer (tm) as well!

      . . . and a Ginsu:

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @07:29AM (#27028803)

      Modems don't take up much space, nor cost much money. So unless you are dealing with a very small laptop (you aren't) or a cheap one (again not) why wouldn't you include a modem? The idea of laptops is to be able to take them on the go. Well guess what? Some places you go may not have high speed Internet. I know for the geek that has never left the city this might seem impossible but it happens. There are places where high speed just hasn't gotten to yet. However phone lines, well those are pretty wide spread. While it isn't impossible to find a location without a phone line, it is far more difficult than finding a place without high speed Internet.

      Thus you include a modem, so that if it is needed, it's there. No reason not to when you've got the space and the $5 for the hardware isn't a major part of the price.

      So while I wouldn't get a modem for a desktop, I'm glad my laptop has a modem, I've actually made use of it. My grandma finally did get high speed Internet because my uncle got tired of her not having it and set it all up, but until very recently she didn't. So when I went to visit her, it was dialup or no access.

      It isn't as though the computer is just dialup. It also has a wired Ethernet connection, and WiFi. It just includes dialup as a fallback option.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      WTH with you, buddy? If I'm paying top dollar for a laptop, it better have every input/output port known to man.

      Guess what? Outside of the giant city where I'm going to assume that you live and spend 99% of your time, modems are useful. Faxes and dialup get the job done. There's never any internet at the factories I visit in China, but just hook up the phone and dial 16300 and I can get my emails.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by denzacar ( 181829 )

      And it still comes with a built-in dialup modem inside.

      What. The. Hell.

      Last summer we got together at my friend's summer house to celebrate the international worker's day [] (and the resulting 4-day weekend) by spending some time away from the smog and eating large quantities of barbecued meat.
      We even had some of our friends from Croatia come over. One of them is a photographer for a daily newspaper.
      He had to juggle-up some free time since he was supposed to be "on the call" that day, but he managed to get a colleague to do that for those couple of days.
      Still, as he is better wit

    • I liked it better when IBM made those Thinkpad things.
    • Uh, why wouldn't you want a modem? They're cheap and take up almost no space, and they're the kind of component you almost never need nowadays, but when you do need it, you're really glad you have it. A few months ago my cable internet went out for a few hours, and of course my boss chose that time to call and tell me there was some sort of issue with one of our servers. I could have driven around looking for some wireless, or cracked the nearby WEP APs, or I could.. plug into the phone line, use the mod
    • by Sentry21 ( 8183 )

      You forgot DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA connectors, an ExpressCard slot, Firewire, and an integrated colour calibrator.

      I'm surprised they don't have serial and parallel ports on this thing as well, but I guess they needed to make room for the four exhaust ports for the cooling fans. Something tells me that this 11 lbs behemoth moves a lot of air. I wonder what the battery life is, an hour maybe?

    • And it still comes with a built-in dialup modem inside.

      What. The. Hell.

      I dread the day that modems and RS-232 cease to be available on computers.

      First, because of the "dumb terminal" capability... While practically no-one uses it for text these days, it's still of TREMENDOUS benefit for sys admins and others.

      Modems are still a nice option for sending or receiving faxes, not to mention voice modems which can be provide full-fledged voice-mail/PBX capabilities.

      And if nothing else, we've got a couple centurie

  • RAID-0? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:21AM (#27027245)
    I can understand having RAID-0 on there from a performance standpoint, but it's downright STUPID on its own. For one, there's the obvious pitfalls of running the entire thing on such a setup (queue the old "the 0 stands for how many bytes you can recover if something goes wrong" joke). Secondly, if I'm going for pure performance, I'm NOT putting my OS and my scratch space on the same volume. If they want to be serious about this, they need to ditch the optical drive altogether and have room for another HDD for the OS and non-throwaway things. Granted, you should be making regular backups. But at least if one drive fails, the data is still a lot easier to get back than if it were thrown across two drives.

    And yes, this is honest constructive criticism here. I'm a proud ThinkPad owner myself (T60 to be exact).
    • Statistically speaking, a raid 0 is no more likely to fail than a single disk. Obviously it pales in comparison to a mirror for redundancy, but this system is about performance.

      • I think, actually, it is. Not by a huge factor, but it changes from being simply the possible failure rate across one disk, to being the possible failure rate across both disks. The likelihood of any one disk failing within X is slightly lower than the likelihood of any one of two disks failing. Additional, ultra-tiny failure chances are added by the addition of other points of failure (the RAID controller could fail, etc) and two hard drives in a laptop certainly stress the cooling system more ;-)

        That s

      • by jps25 ( 1286898 )

        I see someone does not understand probability.

        A raid 0 is indeed more likely to fail than a single disk.
        Let's say the probability of one disk failing within 5 years is 2.5% and we have a 2-disk raid 0.
        Then the probability of the raid 0 failing is
        P(X>=1) = 1 - P(X=0) = 1 - (1-0.025)^2 = 0.049375

      • probabilistically speaking, if p is the probability one disk will crash and burn within a period of time, p + p(1 - p) (strictly more than p) is the probability you'll have a RAID0 crash and burn within that same period of time.
    • If you're working with graphics, especially serious graphics, the storage on the laptop is basically nothing but temp storage. You'll put it on your desktop or your array or whatever when you get back into the office. I see no reason for "scratch" space and the OS to not be on the same disk, or even array. You load the OS, you load your app, most of it's in memory. You aren't going to get a lot of contention.
    • RAID is not a backup and unless you have oodles of cash to go for very fast flash RAID-0 7k2 disks are probably the fastest drives you can get in a laptop. and for some people (not many) speed and 'portability' is what they need.
  • Opps (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lordnerdzrool ( 884216 ) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:29AM (#27027293)

    Uh, boss. We accidentally put two screens on this laptop. What should we do?

    Hm... Charge people twice the price and call it a feature!

  • For six thousand bucks, I could buy myself a 16 way server, use it as a workstation, and pay someone to carry it around for me.

  • Canyonero? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @12:33AM (#27027313) Homepage

    Did Homer Simpson just join the Lenovo design team?

  • Wow, Lenovo made the computer equivalent of the big mac chicken patty sandwich. []

    This uber notebook is a total redneck thing. AS a redneck, I'd like to say, that's why I like it. If they shipped it with a good buck knife and a DVD on hunting in the field, then we'd be styling.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @01:29AM (#27027597) Journal

    Calling this thing dual screen is not too different to calling an old tv with an lcd display of the channel number dual screen. Okay that's a _slight_ exaggeration. Only slight. The second "screen" looks like it's not worth the trouble. Good for task lists and the like but not much else, yet oh so breakable. The headline had me envision something like a tablet pc with a second screen - instead I see something about the size of a size mirror on a combi van. More gimmick than useful. Farq off.

    • This would be useful for Gimp and other software with floating tool bars. Put the content on the main (color-calibrated!) screen, and keep the tools on the side.

    • by Enleth ( 947766 )

      I think it's intended to be a holding place for Photoshop toolboxes, and for this task it's just the right size. You see, it makes an enormous difference if you can just maximize your work on one screen without obscuring it with any tool windows and put those on a separate screen, especially if you're working with huge, high-resolution images.

  • They'll talk up all the other specs, but anyone who works in graphics is going to want an 8-bit panel on this fancy laptop of theirs. That one feature is probably worth more to a real professional than all the rest of the bling.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.