I've retired my veteran netbook Mini after 10 years of service and 7 generations of Debian in 2018. The SSD was becoming corrupted, and in view of its low performance and advanced age, I decided that it wouldn't be worth the time and money needed to replace it.
In the meantime, I've been using the Fujitsu Lifebook I acquired in 2011. As a matter of fact, I gradually used this low-end notebook in favor of my desktop until I was basically working exclusively with it. From March 2020, I've used it day in, day out. During this time, it became painfully obvious that the lifebook's performance is no longer adequate for my needs. About a year ago, I've thus started to look for a successor, but considering my recent change in preference, I was looking for a notebook with higher performance and display resolution, as well as a backlit keyboard.
There were several contenders, all armed with processors of the Cezanne series of AMD. But my favorite was the Ideapad 5 Pro 16 because of its comparatively large screen real estate with a WQHD resolution and 16:10 form factor. When it was offered for €899 by Lenovo in a bargain sale, I didn't hesitate to accept the offer.
The Ideapad 5 Pro 16 comes with a gun-metal grey (“storm grey”) metal case with an excellent finish. Despite its slightly larger display diagonal, it is significantly smaller, lighter, and, particularly, thinner than my Lifebook. At the same time, it leaves it light years behind in terms of performance:
Fujitsu Lifebook AH530
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH6
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
L2/L3 cache (MB)
Mass storage (GB)
500 (SATA HDD)
1000 (PCIe SSD)
Battery life (h)
hdparm -t (MB/s)
For comparison, my 9 years old desktop achieves 820/3650 points in the Cinebench R23 single/multi benchmark, and Dell's 17″ high-end notebook XPS 17 in a comparable configuration (processor graphics, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 2.2 kg) with an Intel® Core™ i5-11400H for €2098.99 (1920×1200 non-glare) or €2398.99 (3840×2400 glare) scores 1467/9017 points according to c't 21/2021.
There wasn't any question about the Linux distribution I would install on the Ideapad (Arch, of course), but I debated with myself whether I should install a desktop or stay with Openbox as on all my other systems. In view of the medium-high display resolution of 189 ppi, I finally settled for Budgie, a Gnome-based desktop known for its gracious handling of high-dpi displays. And so far I like what I see: the desktop has an unobtrusive, rational, and no-nonsense quality about it.
The Ideapad is officially specified to have an Intel AX200 wifi chip, which works perfectly under Linux. But I had been warned by posts in the interwebs that it may instead be delivered with a Realtek RTL8852AE chipset, which is not yet supported. And that's what happened of course also in my case. I thus installed over a LAN connection (using an USB/ethernet adapter) and installed the driver for the 8852 provided on the AUR right after. The driver works fine except when the notebook goes into hibernation, after which there's no wifi device any more – it simply vanishes. I haven't found a solution for this inconvenience, but hope that the official support of the rtw89 driver by the mainline kernel will solve this issue, and will hopefully materialize with Linux 5.15. Alternatively, I could replace the wifi module as others have done.
Other than that, everything works as intended, and lightning fast.😂 Oh, I've replaced pulseaudio by pipewire-pulse to use my bluetooth headset, which would otherwise be without microphone. And I've installed rofi, which I still prefer as a program launcher over anything a desktop can offer...