[PlanetCCRMA] Running a Lenovo ThinkPad R400 or T400 on a Fedora12/CCRMA setup

linux media 4 linuxmedia4 at netscape.net
Tue Dec 14 03:10:20 PST 2010


My friend did all the hardware guru research on the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 
and R400, and I would like to add it here in case anyone would like to 
look at all the models out there that are on EBay. He worked with me 
while keeping in mind my audio needs, current CCRMA Kernel I'm running 
( and any other important issues.

The most important thing to remember is that if you want to know what 
the exact internals of a laptop are, you have to get the "part number". 
Some EBay sellers will include these numbers. For instance, the part 
number of the R400 (that I bought) is 7438-PAU, so he googled that and 
came up with this spec page...


He also explained that if you see the letters "CTO" in the part number, 
that means "Configured To Order". So it's much more questionable as to 
what's in the machine.

This R400 has the dual-stack PCMCIA/Expresscard setup. This is important 
to me because I already have a PCMCIA Firewire Card that I know works 
and there's a limited amount of firewire controlers that work well with 
the FFADO drivers. And of course, everything's moving to express card, 
so that's also good to have. I will find out if the built-in firewire 
port works with the FFADO drivers when the laptop is delivered.

The particular T400 we were looking at (IBM T400 2765-T6U) had two 
graphic cards in it... ATI and Intel. He explained that there was a 
driver for Windows that allowed you to switch (on the fly) to either 
card. He also explained that I would need to switch to the Intel card 
via the BIOS setting because Fedora 12's drivers probably couldn't 
handle the ATI card.

He was urging me to get the T400 because somewhere beyond Fedora 12, I 
would eventually be able to use the ATI card, so it was an investment in 
better graphics in the future. I decided it wasn't worth it (for me) to 
spend the extra $100 for the extra ATI Card. The R400 has the same (or 
similar) Intel card as the T400, and that should work fine with 

I believe that both the T400 and R400 that we looked at allow you to 
remove the DVD drive and add a second Hard Drive. You can do that with 
this type of HDD Caddy (notice that it's "hot swappable")...


My thinking is this... that maybe having a separate drive dedicated to 
only audio would keep traffic (and whatever issues that arise when a 
disk is being accessed by many different things) down to only reading 
and writing files in a multitrack situation. (I believe) he told me that 
this bay will be a SATA 300 (as opposed to SATA 150). I didn't know 
about this aspect of SATA controllers, but as you can imagine, the SATA 
300 is faster. If you look at the "Features" section, it says... "Fast & 
Reliable connection in ThinkPad, just as the primary HDD." (the primary 
controller is a SATA 300).

I may go with a Solid State Drive, but have the feeling it's a new (and 
flakey) technology, so will only use this dedicated drive to record to 
and then immediately move the files over to a back up drive after each 
recording session. He mentioned that it's best if the drive has "trip 
support", but if not, then will probably be a fast drive for demanding 
write operations. I think he said that if your drive had trim support, 
then the kernel you run also has to offer trim support.

Some random info that came up while looking at different variants of 

He was telling me that one seller listed a laptop as having "2 PCMCIA 
Ports". He explained that some EXPRESS card slots came with the wide, 
beveled openings and it was confused with a PCMCIA slot. But in reality, 
it's a stacked PCMCIA and EXPRESS slots. So not only do you have both 
type of card slots, but that type of Express slot will take the wider 
faced cards where the narrower slots will not... more flexibility there.

Hope this info was of use,

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