Lenovo Thinkpad -> Panasonic Toughbook

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by SJLPHI, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Guru

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    Hello,

    ///////////////*Thinkpad part
    About 5 years ago, I tried Lenovo E530 and absolutely loved its reliability. From then on, I bought used T400, T410, T420 and T430.

    T400 and T410 died when I fell of my bicycle and the screen snapped in half, SSD survived. Two T420 still sits at home, one acting as a linux firewall/server, and one acting as my main laptop(it was about to be de-commissioned).

    Now T430... I think I bought a defective one, because it seems to crash constantly. Worst part of it all was that the main T420 had to be left behind due to limit on luggage at the airport on the trip to Switzerland, which is where I am now.

    In the midst of confusion I found and bought a CF-19 Mk 6:
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/PANASONIC-TOUGHBOOK-CF-19-CF-191HYAX1M-MK6-I5-3320M-2-6GHZ-4GB-500GB-7PRO-TOUCH/262844456845?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

    I can't wait to get my fingers on it. I also ordered a better T430 with 1 year warranty from the seller on e-bay.
    *///////////////////////////

    Now, I really like Thinkpads, and from what I've read CF19 will be a hell of a downgrade in terms of comfort in usage, considering the keyboard and weight, which I'm not too worried about, because I will always carry CF19 as the "super backup".

    The question is, can this super-backup be turned as good as my T420/dying T430 configuration?

    My T420 has this:
    Optical bay used for SSD(W7), mSATA SSD(data and shared) in WWAN slot, SSD in main slot(Linux), 8gb RAM
    T430 has Optical by used for HDD(data and shared), mSATA SSD holding W7Pro, main SSD holding Linux, 12gb RAM.

    The incoming T430 should be able to do "swap-and-go" on both Windows and Linux after a fair bit of research and previous experiences.

    I also do a "hard" dual boot, meaning I do not use GRUB boot manager to sort through the OS. Linux doesn't know about W7, W7 doesn't know about Linux, this way, I can take out an entire OS and system operates without any issues(If you do "soft" dual boot and remove a drive with an OS, the grub will crash on you).

    My search has found these CF-191HYAX1M:
    -stated to be able to hold up to 8gb ram by manufacturer, but some people say, it can hold up much more(I will have 2 spare 8gb sticks after I make it home).
    -the WWAN card on this model cannot be reconfigured for mSATA.
    -I am confined to one drive per caddy, and caddy is unattractively expensive(I am looking into CF18 caddy, still unattractive).

    My absolute requirements are:
    1. 8GB or more RAM.
    2. Linux and W7 must both exist.

    There are few approaches I may make:
    1. Buy a large SSD, and partition and soft-dual boot
    2. Looking into those dual-msata to sata 2.5 enclosures(I am yet to hear back from them whether if BIOS picks them up separately) and use one larger msata to be partitioned off as data and w7.
    3. Buy multiple Caddy, and use a large (low profile) flash or SD drive as data storage.

    Questions for those who have CF-191HYAX1M, or know about them.
    1. Do you have only one HDD or one SSD in your system, has there been successful attempts at having more than one?
    2. The keyboard, do you get used to it?
    3. Does it play nice with OpenSUSE KDE?
    4. Does it play nice with W10?
    5. I read about something about W7 and BIOS issues, what exactly is that?
    6. Heating issues?
    7. Where can I get the clamps/hooks so I can put custom shoulder strap for it?
    8. How much RAM do you have? Does this model have 1 or 2 slots? Does it support over 8gb?
    9. The "drop-proof", does it still damage the chassis if you dropped it from 1m height?
    10. Where the HECK can I find a service manual or the proper driver package?
    With lenovo, first google search gives me a pdf of how to disassemble T430 to screws and boards, with CF-191HYAX1M, no luckyet.
    11. Headphone, is it necessary to have a divider for a headset with just 1 jack? I would be on many skype and vidyo conferences.

    I've used these things while in the military, but I never abused or thought of owning one(and it was CF-29).

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  2. safn1949

    safn1949 Notebook Deity

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    You would be better off with a CF-52, large screen, very tough and with the core i5 and an SSD it is the perfect combo of fast and reliable.
     
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  3. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Guru

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    The purchase for CF-19 has already been made.

    I am asking questions about the CF-19, not about what to buy
     
  4. safn1949

    safn1949 Notebook Deity

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    One jack for headsets, 1 meter drop is nothing to a CF-19. Drivers are available at Panasonic toughbook support. Best bet, buy the restore disc as the 19 is fussy on driver order loading. 18 caddy will not fit the 19, ide vs sata.
     
  5. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Guru

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    Well these sound so far so good. My Lenovo T400 was damaged from dropping it from below waist level, and it croaked from me falling off a bicycle crash.
     
  6. safn1949

    safn1949 Notebook Deity

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    I sell toughbooks locally and my demo is the drop it, then stand on it. I weigh 125 kilos.
     
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  7. SJLPHI

    SJLPHI Notebook Guru

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    Well, I do often go on nice hikes, with a telescope and I am most skeptical about damaging the laptop, I guess I can externally carry it now.

    Speaking of which, would you happened to have answers to some of my other questions? One thing most related is clamps/screws for a shoulder strap.
     
  8. toughasnails

    toughasnails Toughbook Moderator Moderator

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  9. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    CF 19 does not have an optical bay.
    A USB optical drive is needed and it needs to be a Panasonic brand optical drive.
    No room for a second drive of any kind.
    No MSATA at all on a CF19
    Dual boot or two separate caddies are the only solutions for two OS's
    Keyboard is up to you. What I adjust to, you may not. We can't answer that.
    W7 issues are early models not yours.
    Clamps--try Heartlands USA. That's the official Panasonic distributor.
    Dropping depends upon WHAT you drop it on. Pillows--not much damage..Concrete may scratch and lightly crack plastic parts.
    All four of my CF19 mk6's have a microphone and headphone port. Don't understand what the issue is with that.
    I have never had heat issues. It is designed for high heat.
    W10 depends upon how it is installed.

    You will never get a CF 19 to run like a Thinkpad T420. A T420 is a standard laptop that has performance as a priority.
    CF 19's are fully rugged military laptops with RUGGEDNESS as the priority. Performance is not a priority.
    Panasonic's BIOS can be very picky about any oddball non Panasonic hardware. Special SATA drive conversions are hit and miss. This is done by Panasonic on purpose. It is to preserve reliability. Reliability in 130 plus degree desert IS a priority for a CF19.


    Service manual..easy...Be polite and show respect to regular members in this forum. Show respect for our love of Toughbooks and our knowledge.
    We are mostly an "older" group of guys and don't respond well to arrogance or people acting entitled.
    The respect is required to me because I spend many HOURS and sometimes DAYS searching for these manuals. They are not easily available as you have found.
    I am old enough that I can refuse to help anyone that I don't feel appreciates the work we have done.


    Read what you wrote there. Is this really they best way to ask for my help?
    Toughbooks are a "hell of a downgrade" to a Thinkpad? No they are just designed for a different purpose.
    My opinion is a CF19 is already better than a Thinkpad. You will NEVER be happy with a fully rugged Toughbook if you keep comparing it to the Thinkpad.
    A military Hummer will never be as comfortable or as fast as a Lincoln. It's not supposed to be.
     
  10. CWB32

    CWB32 Need parts for my flying saucer.

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    *perceptions can be deceiving*
    insert something about "contempt prior to investigation" here ---> X

    i own (2) T400 and another smaller "T" ... have worked on several of them .
    they are a bit "dim" for daylight or high ambient light viewing .
    i swapped out the ccfl backlight in a T400 ... it did not help .
    you will not have this problem with a '19 !

    i understand about grub and dual boot systems ... they can be a PITA and that is why i do not use dual boot systems (anymore) .
    a complete install of two OSes on a partitioned drive will work (no grubbing ... go into bios on boot or use the boot device select function) .
    the absolute best way is to have two drives in two caddies ... with a '19 it is a very simple matter to open the hdd/ssd caddy door and swap them out , however , this is not so good for *sharing* files between OSes .
    a '19 with a ssd and 8 gigs of ram will run about as well as a T410 ... maybe better .
    unless you do a bunch of video editing/rendering , anymore than 8 gigs of ram is a waste of money .

    audio jack ...
    i believe you are talking about a 3 conductor (TRS) mini plug versus a 4 conductor (TRRS) mini plug . as an example this is most apparent with *apple* products (-cough cough gag- as the testosterone drains from your body) .
    the '19 uses a TRS jack for the headphone and likewise for the mic ... you will need a *splitter/adapter* to use a TRRS type plug with the jacks on a '19 .
    also , the mic jack on a '19 has a constant B+ on it ... no provision for turning off what is commonly known as "phantom power" (this is true with most comps) .

    drivers ...
    as mentioned , the drivers needed are available from the panasonic site .
    these have to be installed in a specific order ... if not it causes real headaches .
    using drivers other than those written by panasonic can cause problems .
    there are only a few instances where drivers from the manufacturer (say ethernet drivers) can be used .
    windows updates can (and will) install *crap drivers* ... turn off the automatic updates and "pick-n-choose" what goes into the '19 .
    the best/easiest way to load a system on any toughbook is to use (as mentioned) a recovery/restore disk from some source (not just heartlands) .
    these have the correct OS and the drivers specific to the model of machine (be sure to get the correct MK#) .
    i have loaded systems from scratch ... it is not the same as with other comps ... uuuggghhh .

    linux flavor compatibility ...
    if you look at a couple of threads here , you will find that certain versions of 'nix do not play nice with these machines .
    one of the most common and widely used 'nix variants is "mint 18.xx or 19.xx" ... and it has audio problems (among others) ...
    there is a fix for it ... and as the toughbooks are not widely used , finding information about fixes is more difficult than with common comps .

    W10 ...
    you are on your own with W10 ... some people like it , some don't .
    again , a restore disk is your best option here .
    trying to pick out the correct drivers at the panasonic site will be a pain .
    i am not quite sure of this ... i think there is some kind of problem when using a dl version from MS ... one of the other guys might be able to clarify this .
    W10 , in my opinion , is way too picky about hardware security and similar things ... and the toughbooks are picky about (some) hardware ... not a good combination ... W10 is too invasive and if it was a person i would say that it is an "ultra paranoid control freak" .


    the keyboard ...
    i have no problems using the keyboard on my '19 and then switching to a "regular" keyboard ...
    like most other things , practice and familiarity go a long way toward ease of use .

    wwan sata ...
    i think that shawn has just looked at an adapter of some kind ... might not be related .

    again , i do not see a performance issue between the "T" and a '19 .
    the '19 you ordered has a 2.6GHz i5 cpu in it :
    https://ark.intel.com/products/64896/Intel-Core-i5-3320M-Processor-3M-Cache-up-to-3_30-GHz
    not exactly a slouch processor .
    it all depends on how fast and extensive the stuff is that your want to run .
    i run my '19 with a gps program in an airplane doing about 200 MPH ... it "keeps up" nicely with a view relative to about 3000 feet .
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
    UNCNDL1 likes this.
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