2017-11-23 Laptops

This Apple laptop takes so long to boot and to switch accounts, it is so much slower than it used be, I feel that I’m probably not going to buy another Mac. This is what we have:

Yes, it’s old. It still makes me angry because the specs should be good enough.

I just got an email from the FSF with a link to their Ethical Tech Giving Guide which led me to the Vikings X200. It’s refurbished, which is sound from an environmental point of view.

Total: 649€

The alternative would be a Librem 13:

Total: $1667

OK, so that’s the range.

AC adapter power plugs—don’t get me started. The Swiss have a different system.



In a discussion on Octodon, it was suggested to simply replace the HDD with a SSD and replace the 4GB RAM with 16GB.

Looking at my system information, trying to figure out how the HDD is connected to the laptop, I find this:

NVidia MCP89 AHCI:

  Vendor:	NVidia
  Product:	MCP89 AHCI
  Link Speed:	3 Gigabit
  Negotiated Link Speed:	1.5 Gigabit
  Physical Interconnect:	SATA
  Description:	AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

Hitachi HTS545025B9SA02:

  Capacity:	250.06 GB (250'059'350'016 bytes)
  Model:	Hitachi HTS545025B9SA02                 
  Revision:	PB2AC60W
  Serial Number:	100806PBL200CSHY1MMN
  Native Command Queuing:	Yes
  Queue Depth:	32
  Removable Media:	No
  Detachable Drive:	No
  BSD Name:	disk0
  Rotational Rate:	5400
  Medium Type:	Rotational
  Partition Map Type:	GPT (GUID Partition Table)
  S.M.A.R.T. status:	Verified
  Capacity:	209.7 MB (209'715'200 bytes)
  File System:	MS-DOS FAT32
  BSD Name:	disk0s1
  Content:	EFI
  Volume UUID:	85D67001-D93E-3687-A1C2-79D677F0C2E0
Macintosh HD:
  Capacity:	249.2 GB (249'199'591'424 bytes)
  Available:	37.12 GB (37'120'630'784 bytes)
  Writable:	Yes
  File System:	Journaled HFS+
  BSD Name:	disk0s2
  Mount Point:	/
  Content:	Apple_HFS
  Volume UUID:	EA695A3A-437E-39B5-A8B9-4B5883F265A1
Recovery HD:
  Capacity:	650 MB (650'002'432 bytes)
  File System:	Journaled HFS+
  BSD Name:	disk0s3
  Content:	Apple_Boot
  Volume UUID:	7981E96A-0868-350E-B49D-6F474233EFFD

The website of a local shop has 36 candidates in the “SATA III” and 250GB range for me. Yikes! Which one to pick? I’m leaning towards the Crucial MX300 (525GB, 2.5”) for CHF 165.-

– Alex Schroeder 2017-11-23 19:36 UTC

What FSF’s giving guide doesn’t say yet (the “Sales Details” link is currently broken) is that if you use the voucher code “fsfftw” there’ll be a 5% discount and Vikings donates 15 EUR to the FSF for each sale. We also don’t charge extra for Swiss chargers...

Those laptops are also available from Technoethical (Romania) and Libiquity (U.S.A.)

May I add that Purism isn’t a good choice since their hardware comes with Intel ME. @RaptorEng: “Intel ME hardware is always present at high privilege level. Given the inability to completely disable the hardware, malware will always be able to be injected via physical access. Since signing keys in ME hardware can’t be changed, difficult-to-detect malware will remain possible in affected platforms forever.”

Contact us if you have any questions.
Twitter: @vikingslibre
Quitter: https://quitter.se/vikings

Thomas 2017-11-24 13:30 UTC

Heh, oh well. I’ve been using X200 for quite some time, and only “upgraded” from it to X230 just a month or two ago. I did install libreboot on it once, but unfortunately it didn’t last for long because it seems that not all X200-s are alike, and in my particular case I wasn’t able to control the backlight (or maybe it was something else, never really figured it out). Sad, but at least with libreboot flashing the original bios is possible without taking your laptop apart again :)

In my opinion, we are fucked. I switched to x230 because shit has to be done, I can’t be using hardware that is 8-9 years old now. I mean, I can, but then I’m just wasting my time on waiting for things to finish.

Maybe there’s a light in a sense that if we manage to libre-ize some modern laptop, it will be possible to use it for many-many years to come. But x200 is not it, unfortunately. :(

Oh, and 300€ for a laptop… I don’t really understand that. Freedom my ass, but I just bought x230 for 120€ locally (used, great condition). So x200 currently is just a tad under 100€, with practically an infinite supply given than all local IT companies are getting rid of them all in bulk (although maybe nowadays it’s easier to buy x230 than x200). Yeah, you’ll have to flash libreboot yourself, but that’s a fun little weekend project.

– AlexDaniel 2017-12-04 04:04 UTC

Then again, there’s the fact that laptop assembly, flashing and installing is not my hobby so I’ll happily pay somebody else to do it... In this particular case I have already ordered the Purism Librem 13 and I will be getting an SSD for the old MacBook Pro.

– Alex 2017-12-04 07:51 UTC

Yesterday I went to a local shop to buy the SDD, RAM and screwdrivers required to replace the MacBook Pro disk. They told me that Apple did not allow them to sell the necessary screwdrivers (#00 Philips and Torx T6, apparently). I told them them that I could buy those at the mail order and that without them, there was no point in buying the other stuff. They said they couldn’t and they’re sorry.

I really don’t want to buy another Apple laptop. I hope the Purism laptop does all I need.

And now I’m ordering the stuff from the mail order shop.

– Alex Schroeder 2017-12-10 12:09 UTC

I ordered:

1 x OEM Tool Kit Schraubenzieher und Bit Set CHF 26.90 incl.
1 x Samsung 850 EVO Basic (500GB, 2.5”) CHF 177.00 incl.
1 x Corsair Memory (2×, 4GB, DDR3-1066, SODIMM 204) CHF 79.00 incl.

I’m going to pick this up in a few days.

– Alex Schroeder 2017-12-10 19:42 UTC

Got the stuff, made another backup to a USB disk using Time Machine, powered it off, exchanged disk and memory, powered it up, held down the Alt (“option”) key and restored it from the backup — no problem!

This is great.

– Alex 2017-12-15 23:28 UTC

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