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IBM ThinkPad T43: a first look

IBM has unveiled its first Sonoma-based notebook, an upgrade to the successful thin-and-light T42 model.

Now that Intel has taken the wraps off its revamped Centrino platform, codenamed Sonoma, notebook manufacturers are releasing details of new models incorporating the upgraded Pentium M processor, 915 chipset and PRO/Wireless 2195ABG wireless module. Among the most interesting for business users will be IBM's forthcoming ThinkPad T43, which promises to carry on where the successful (Editors' Choice-winning) ThinkPad T42 left off.

The 2kg ThinkPad T43 is powered by the latest Pentium M processor with a 533MHz frontside bus, while the accompanying 915 chipset handles up to 2GB of DDR2 memory and provides support for forthcoming ExpressCard (PCI Express) options. Hard disk capacity tops out at 80GB, and you'll have a choice of 802.11a/b/g or 802.11b/g wireless network connections. For the first time, a T series model will be available with integrated graphics -- a testament to the efficacy of Intel's new Graphics Media Accelerator 900 module. However, power users will still be able to specify discrete graphics options in the shape of ATI's Radeon X300 or Mobility FireGL V3200.

Security features

A major reason for buying a T-series ThinkPad -- apart from its exemplary functionality and build quality -- is IBM's ThinkVantage suite of security and system management utilities. Like all ThinkPads (and ThinkCentre desktops), the T43 features Rescue and Recovery 2.0 with Antidote Delivery Manager. These tools are contained in an embedded pre-boot operating system, allowing a range of system problems to be addressed even if the primary OS has been corrupted. Antidote Delivery Manager allows critical security updates to be delivered efficiently by IT departments according to predefined policies.

Like the T42 before it, the new model will be available with an integrated fingerprint scanner, Password Manager and Embedded Security Subsystem, catering for biometric authentication and data encryption.

The ThinkPad T43 will be available in March 2005 starting at £1,600 (ex. VAT). Check back for a full review in the coming weeks.

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