setting up thinkpad x220 entertainment system

so that is my goal for this week, to get the X220 i bought on ebay into shape and where i want it. i ordered and installed an mSATA 64gb flash drive, as well as a 1tb normal hard drive.

yesterday, installed windows 7 on the mSATA, and then ran the update to windows 10. left a small 10gb partition for Ubuntu. so this morning, am installing Ubuntu to that partition, while attempting to put the Linux boot loader onto a usb flash drive. that way, the Linux bootmanager is not in competition with the windows bootmanager.

did things a little differently this time — am attempting to run everything on the EFI rather than the legacy Bios. with EFI, then the hard drives can use the GUID – GPT partition tables and NOT be limited to only 4 partitions per drive. i have avoided the EFI as much as possible, but read this last week that an EFI system can get faster response times.

over the years, i’ve looked at many ways to speed up a system. at first, it seemed like upgrading memory was how to go about that. then it seemed like all must be dependent upon the CPU. and now — now i realize so very much of how fast or slow a system runs, is mostly dependent on the hard drive and its read and write speeds. SO — hence the mSATA for running a system. best way to describe a system on an mSATA, is “snappy.”

the mSATA’s can get pricey. and not every laptop or computer has the hardware slot to plug in an mSATA. plus they can be in awkward spots on the motherboard. like with the X220 i’m currently working on, the mSATA slot is underneath the palm rest and you have to remove the keyboard and touchpad/palm rest to even get to it. good thing about thinkpads, is doing that is relatively painless.

but i have a lot to learn about the EFI systems and installing anything on a GPT and with the EFI instead of legacy Bios. will Ubuntu even install now, when i want the boot loader on a separate usb drive? well it might not, since one of the reasons i’m sitting down to write is that the Ubuntu install appears to have stalled while trying to format the usb flash drive.

and it might be a case of try, try again. or it might be a case of isn’t going to happen with the EFI and its infamous “safe boot” process.

in which case, i could just install the Ubuntu on the 1tb hard drive and set that to run on the legacy Bios. doesn’t seem as neat … would be nice to have the two operating systems on the one mSATA and reserve the 1tb drive only for storage or larger programs. but such is life. only can do what you can do.

well the install has not moved along in the entire time i’ve been typing this, so looks like i’ll have to shut it down and re-try the Ubuntu install on the EFI. i’m pretty sure they’ve built in the EFI capability since version 14 and i’m trying to install the latest 15.10 version.

the other option, is to see about maybe trying out the new Android for PC — the Remix-OS …. though kind of not sure. would be interesting to have all my Android apps available on the PC.

end goal for me, is to have one laptop for “Work” — the solid workhorse thinkpad T520 — and then have the smaller and lighter thinkpad X220 for “Play.” funny thing about that, is the X220 has the stronger CPU. but because of the size of the machine itself, the degree of heat is more and performance more limited than the T520.

i know most see the “tech-talk” and roll their eyes ….lol.

well since the Ubuntu system is still stalled …. will have to redo it. i DO love the young kids working on the Linux systems — their sense of humor. it stalled at “secret service sync” ….lol! oh they make me smile.


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