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Re: There and back again...

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: There and back again...
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2016 17:11:46 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.1.50 (gnu/linux)

Carl Sorensen <address@hidden> writes:

> What kind of specifications would you like in a replacement machine?  My
> university is having a surplus sale on Wednesday at which I can get used
> machines very inexpensively.

Well, my current laptop is a T61 Thinkpad, as was the one I have now
delegated to spare part collection.  It has an Intel Core2 Duo at
1800MHz (the other one had 2000MHz but I preferred not moving the CPU
over in case it was involved in some manner with the graphics failure).
I have 4GB of RAM and am now back to an Intel onboard GPU.  Which is
_great_ to have in order to have full support of hibernate and suspend
under GNU/Linux (I haven't bothered with Windows partitions for the last
decade) and no end-of-line of support for binary-only drivers like
NVidia or similar.

The current resolution is 1280x800, the one that had died terminally was
1400x960 or so.  I would not want to go for much lower.

It has a Cardbus slot which I need to keep my audio hardware working.
I am partly using 64bit binaries these days for debugging etc so I would
not want to go back in that respect.

It has a SATA slot which is occupied currently with a 120GB SMD drive.
Obviously, this would just get moved to a successor.

Every single laptop of mine died of use or was in such terrible
mechanical shape that it would not have made sense to sell it.
Keyboards break down, screen hinges, I am afraid a no-name one
ultimately died by tea (the newer Thinkpads are pretty resilient in that
respect).  So there is not a lot of sense in originally cheap hardware:
it makes more sense to buy something with more modest specs and a few
years older but with a track record of being rugged _and_ reasonably
well-sold (which improves the chance for good continued GNU/Linux

Basically, I don't think I am all that bad off at the moment but there
is not much of a reserve right now.  I don't have GPU/motherboard as a
backup, I don't have a backup keyboard (I don't actually mind what's
printed on the keys since I am typing U.S. anyway.  I tend to buy
keyboards which have been turned "German" with stickers so that I can
just pick them off and get a U.S. keyboard but my current keyboard
happens to be Belgique or Swiss French on its bottom layer so I stopped
peeling after the first key).  I don't have a backup fan unit, the only
backup disk I have is rotary, the battery is down to 40% of its capacity
(bought a year ago) and so on.

If there was some replacement T61 with possibly somewhat nicer specs
(apart from me definitely preferring the rather low-spec Intel GPUs)
that would just ensure continuity in operation.

More substantial boosts mean less redundancy in hardware overall, and I
cannot reasonably go back before SATA interfaces since I don't have
convincingly working pre-SATA drives with sufficient capacity.

> Both laptops and desktops are available; desktops are generally less
> expensive per unit of computing power.  Most of the desktops are
> likely to be small-form-factor machines, rather than towers.

I don't really work with/on desktops any more: too cumbersome to drag

> I'm willing to shop for one and see if there's something suitable
> available.  Please let me know of your preferences.

Mostly "robust" and "generic parts" and not too much of a stepdown from
what I currently have.

David Kastrup

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