I've just received my new laptop, a Panasonic CF-R8. As you may remember, some time ago I ranted about the lack of reasonably small laptops with decent number of pixel lines in the LCM. Since I was not able to find any other product that really qualified according to my requirements, I had decided to buy the CF-R8, the successor of my 3 year old CF-R5.
The specific configuration of this unit is:
- Intel Core 2 Duo CPU U9400 (1.4GHz, 3MB Cache)
- 4GB of RAM
- 320GB 7200RPM SATA drive (Hitachi HTS72323)
- Intel 82567LM Gigabit Ethernet
- Intel ICH9 chipset
- Full black color case / keyboard / everything
It's a nice device, the dual-core CPU and much faster/bigger hard disk as well as the 4GB RAM make a real difference. At the same time I still have the same 4:3 aspect ratio display, and the same keyboard layout, i.e. I don't need to get used to different location of function keys or the like.
Comparing it with the CF-R5, I think the following main differences have to be noted:
- the case design is more modern and looks more ruggedized
- on first sight, it seems a bit thicker than the old model, but careful comparison reveals that this is just an 'optical trick' and in reality the height is the same
- The battery form factor has been changed completely. This means that the display can be folded further back than it used to be the case. Great!
- There is no need for the pcc_acpi/panasonic-laptop ACPI driver in the kernel anymore, display backlight and function keys are just controlled using regular/standard ACPI methods.
- They did actually add a very small fan to the back of the device. However, it is so silent that it's actually hard to notice during normal operation.
- The new hard disk is even more silent than the CF-R5 one
- The power switch has been moved to the inside, i.e. under the LCM. This prevents accidental power-on/off while shoving the device into a notebook bag/sleeve. Again, a very useful modification.
- The old 100-Base-T Ethernet has been replaced by 1000-Base-T. 100MBps was pretty embarrassing for the CF-R5 even 3 years ago, considering my 3 years older powerbook G4 already had Gigabit Ethernet...