No, it’s not actually a ’57 Chevy. It’s a metaphor. Those Chevy’s were made to last and so are Thinkpads. Not only that, but both were designed to encourage user serviced upgrades and adjustments. I was looking for one of these last year. I got talked into getting a newer Thinkpad and then I eventually sold that one for a MacBook. I got so interested in getting something fast and powerful that I completely lost sight of that fact that I use my Quad Core desktop for fast and powerful stuff. I really just needed something low powered for admin purposes but more than that I wanted an old fixer upper. I sold my MacBook about 6 months ago and just picked up that ole ‘Chevy. It’s a Thinkpad T40. I’m going to soup it up in every way possible-just for the fun of it. Here are my planned upgrades:

1. Replace the HDD. The HDD in this laptop has been in use since its factory release 6 years ago. It runs fine but not for long. I might use an 80 GB drive.

2. Upgrade the RAM. It’s got 1GB but I’m going to max it out at 2GB.

3. Fix the graphics card. You may or may not be aware of this but certain Thinkpad models suffer from something known as garbled screen syndrome. It’s a fault in the soldering of the graphics card. My little Thinkie is suffering from it. I’ve got to remove the motherboard and reflow the soldering. It’s proven to work! Should be fun!

4. Add a 2nd HDD. I rarely store work files on my startup drive. In my experience, I just can’t trust it. The startup is just for the OS, applications and other system data, nothing more. My DropBox, my Ubuntu One and any other files are always stored on the secondary drive. It’s really helpful when that second drive is built into the computer! I’m going to get an Ultrabay Slim adapter to add a second internal HDD.

5. Install a 6 in 1 for the expansion slot. I’m moving toward the DSLR movement for web, topical and freelance projects. I plan to make use of this card reader.

6. Replace the CPU. Right now it’s a 1.5 GHz Pentium M. I’ve just discovered that I can upgrade it to a 2.0 Ghz if the Front Speed Bus is at 400 MT/s. I found a good candidate: Pentium M 755.

7. After all of the hardware is squared away, I’m ready to install my OS: Ubuntu 10.10. I have it running on my pre-op Thinkie and I can’t wait to see how much better the performance is after these upgrades. The difference might be marginal in some respects but fixing up old computers is an art. I wanna get art’n’!

I’ll be using this laptop primarily for: web browsing, email, openoffice work, Celtx (pre-production software), audio recording and most importantly as an ingest station for shooting in digital. Shooting at 1080p on a DSLR or other drive based cameras eats up a lot of data. I won’t be able to review or edit the video on this laptop but who cares, I do that at home anyway. This is just a really good way to make space on the camera drives or SD cards on the fly. This is exactly how that 2nd HDD will come in handy.

I’ll let ya folks know what happens!