IBM’s ThinkPad R50

We tested the latest mobile workstation from IBM, the ThinkPad R50, which comes with a speedy Intel M 1700 MHZ processor and one GB of RAM. What’s striking about the ThinkPad is its graphic card, ATI Mobility Fire GL T2. Not only does the card have 128 MB of RAM, it also has dedicated drivers for all the major 3D animation programs such as Discreet’s 3ds max, Alias’ Maya, NewTek’s Lightwave 3D and Softimage’s xsi. When I tested 3ds max 6, combustion 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS on the Pad, system performance was impressive, even when I was using both max and combustion at the same time.

The IBM ThinkPad R50 has a sharp 15′ display that looks clear from any angle and goes up to 1600 by 1200 resolution. The ATI Mobility Fire GL T2 supports video overlay mode and allows R50 to tackle video editing tasks. It also comes with DVD authoring packages that help artists create their own projects. In addition, R50 comes with 2 USB ports and 2 PCI slots. Another bonus: pushing the Access IBM key gives you tech support info directly and displays the system’s configuration.

The Good News: IBM ThinkPad R50 Wireless networking is supported by the built-in Intel PRO/1000 MT Mobile Connection and is secure, reliable and fast.

The Wish List: A mobile workstation designed to serve the pros needs to have at least one built-in firewire port.

The Bottom Line: IBM ThinkPad R50 mobile workstation is ideal for editors and visual effects artists who are working on location.

Web Address: www.ibm.com

Animation Magazine’s Seal of Excellence winner

Final Score: *****

Ease of Use: *****

Ease of Modification and Maintenance: *****

Computing Power: ****

Graphic Card Power: *****