IBM refreshes ThinkPad lineup

IBM has added two systems to its ThinkPad roster of notebooks and boosted the capabilities of several others.

The new R50 and T41 models both come with the company's Active Protection System (APS), designed to better protect hard drives. Comparing APS to automobile air bags, IBM officials explained that the system can detect sudden motion -- such as the notebook being dropped or jerked because of a kicked power cord -- and react by stabilizing the head of the hard drive.

"APS is a microchip that we put on the system board that senses acceleration. It parks the head of a hard drive inside a tenth of a second. You get four times greater impact with APS than you do without it," said Joe Doria, manager of IBM's ThinkPad product line in the US.

Doria added that APS will protect the data in a hard drive, and IBM hopes it will reduce downtime and support costs.

In addition to APS, the R50 is available in 14- and 15-inch models. The systems weigh in at fewer than 6 pounds, and IBM claims are capable of a battery life reaching nearly 10 hours.

Customers can elect to use the Intel Centrino chip in the R50 and T41 notebooks, Doria said, as well as integrated 802.11 a/b/g wireless functionality.

To coincide with the launch of the R50 and T41, Big Blue also upgraded the X31, R40, R40e and G40 models with faster processors and integrated wireless technology.

All of the above models are now available in Australia through IBM's Web site and its reseller partners.

Prices for the ThinkPad R50 start at AUD$2,199 including GST. A base model comes with an Intel Pentium M processor 1.4GHz, 256MB 333MHz DDR SDRAM, 30GB Hard Drive (4200 rpm), 8x (max) DVD-ROM, 14 inch XGA TFT Display and a one-year limited warranty and includes Windows XP Home edition.

The T41 is available from $2,799, on a base configuration utilising the same components as the R50 but includes Windows XP Professional as well as a three-year limited warranty.

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