Libre X230 with 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD and 16MB SPI flash upgrade

£458.00

SKU: librex230 Category:

Description

8GB RAM and 240GB SSD installed by default. An SSD provides faster read/write performance, low power consumption and less noise compared to traditional hard drives. AR5B95 wifi module installed, for fully libre wifi support, including in linux-libre.

The Libre X230 is a lightweight, portable machine. It is recommended especially for students and such, or anyone who otherwise travels a lot. The X230 provides roughly 2-3 times the raw speed and performance, compared to the Libre X200 or T400 products, and it is a very strong choice for Free Software users, with excellent driver support in the Linux kernel.

osboot firmware installed by default. osboot is an improved fork of Libreboot by the same creator, Leah Rowe. osboot is Free Software that replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware, providing many more powerful features to unlock the hardware, allowing for total customization if you so choose.

Debian OS installed by default (with the MATE desktop). Other OS are available, e.g. Ubuntu, Trisquel, Arch, Parabola, MXLinux, Devuan, Void, Alpine, OpenBSD, FreeBSD. Just ask! Specify your choice by writing it in the textbox, on the checkout page.

Shipping worldwide! USA, EU or UK style power plug included, depending on your country. Compatible in all countries.

A freedom-respecting GNU+Linux laptop

Price is in GBP (British Pounds, £).

Did you know that most modern Intel and AMD computers come with backdoors implanted by the NSA and other agencies? You do now, and it isn’t pretty. And it’s getting worse. Since the Snowden revelations, we know that most computer products contain backdoors or have insecure software with exploitable bugs. Manufacturers intentionally insert insecure backdoors for profit, putting your company at risk of data theft, corporate espionage or worse. The Libre X230 from Minifree changes that!

The Libre X230 from Minifree is a business-grade, secure owner-controlled laptop that safeguards your privacy, security and freedom. It sports a dual-core Intel Core i5-3320M and Intel HD Graphics 4000, making this a decently powerful workstation for most computational tasks. It runs 100% entirely on free (as in freedom), libre software, from the BIOS, right up to the operating system, drivers and applications. It comes with the free (as in freedom) osboot BIOS replacement (based on libreboot), and Debian operating system, which is extremely user-friendly even for GNU+Linux novices.

Your Libre X230 obeys you, and nobody else! It’s coreboot inside!

Shipping worldwide via Fedex! 2-5 day shipping to most of the world (we will ship to any country on Earth), with a 3 year warranty as standard, and free technical support via email. Prices are in GBP (British Pounds, £).

Your freedom. Your coreboot. Free as in freedom!

osboot is free software which initializes the hardware in the system and boots your operating system. It replaces the non-free BIOS usually found in most laptops. It is a fork of Libreboot, and both projects are based on coreboot.

Minifree’s founder, Leah Rowe, is also a osboot and Libreboot developer (and founder of the both projects). Profits from Minifree sales directly fund the osboot and libreboot projects.

16MB SPI flash upgrade

Example of the upgrade, on T400.

Most laptops sold by Minifree have 8MB or 4MB chips, for installing osboot/coreboot/Libreboot onto. The X230 has 12MB (8 and 4MB combined). However, it is possible to upgrade these chips to 16MB capacity, by de-soldering the default chips and soldering on a 16MB chip. Minifree now does this, by default, on all laptops.

Having this much capacity will allow you to easily have a powerful busybox+linux system in the boot flash. In fact, a distro specifically designed for use with coreboot (osboot is based on coreboot) exists, which you can download and compile, and add to your ROM: https://www.linuxboot.org/

Adding Linuxboot by default is planned for future osboot and Libreboot releases. Linuxboot is a small busybox+linux system that provides a kexec-based bootloader called u-root. It has many advanced features, and it can parse grub.cfg files so it’s a drop-in replacement for GRUB. It’s very powerful and since it’s Linux based, that means it also has excellent networking features. You can do a lot with Linuxboot!

This feature is also planned for osboot.

When available, you will be able to install this update easily with a single flashrom command. No disassembly required. Minifree will provide assistance.

On the X230, the schematics have a table clearly defining what configuration to use; the table defines certain resistors/capacitors to put on the board, if having 2 flash ICs. The maximum addressable flash size is 16MB (128Mbit). Long story short: you remove a bunch of capacitors and resistors near the two flash ICs, and remove the two flash ICs. You then install (on SPI1) the new chip (in this case Winbond W25Q128FVSIG) and reconfigure region sizes in the Intel Flash Descriptor, using ifdtool from coreboot.

The X220 has this single-flash setup, but the X230 has dual-flash by default. So what Minifree is doing is setting it to single-flash mode instead. There is a setting in the Intel Flash Descriptor, pertaining to this aswell. I’m planning to write information about this on osboot.org, for a later time.

When these laptops were first manufactured, 16MB flash was uncommon/expensive, so the manufacturer designed it with dual flash with 2 smaller flash ICs; 4MB and 8MB.

me_cleaner

Minifree uses me_cleaner to completely neuter the Intel ME, and sets the “ME Alternate Disable” or “HAP” bit in the Intel Flash Descriptor, by default. Furthermore, the entire flash (including IFD) is set read-write using ifdtool from coreboot. This means that you can easily re-flash the firmware to install updates, when newer osboot versions are released.

Nowadays, on most modern Intel platforms, it is possible to “neuter” the Intel ME, removing all of the ME’s own networking code and nasty anti-features such as Intel AMT. Almost all of the 5MB ME image is purged, leaving only a ~98kb chunk of code that handles power management and minor init tasks; most of the init, including raminit (memory controller initialization) is still done by coreboot, on ivybridge platforms such as that used on the X230, with 100% libre source code.

The source code in coreboot, for  the ThinkPad X230, is 100% Free Software, under GNU GPL. The ME firmware is separate from coreboot. From Minifree’s point of view, the role of the ME on these platforms, when using me_cleaner, is not much different from that of the EC (Embedded Controller).

From a security perspective, this setup has been proven secure and safe to use, after many years. Minifree is happy to ship laptops with this configuration.

More information about me_cleaner is available here: https://github.com/corna/me_cleaner

Fast, lightweight and powerful hardware

This fast, 12.5″ laptop is built with a strong chassis and shell, guaranteeing that the laptop will last many years.

As a modified ThinkPad, it has high reliability. ThinkPads are well-known for their high build quality!

Works in every country

Power cables
The Libre X230 from Minifree ships worldwide!. The AC-DC adapter (charger) is 100-240V auto-switching, so it will work in all countries. Minifree will include the correct power cable(s) for your country.

Free tech support via email

Free tech support is also provided, for all customers. If you ever have any questions about your laptop, or need help with anything, Minifree is always happy to answer them via email, using the information on the contact page.

Information about the product

Included accessories

  • Battery included, fully tested
  • AC-DC adapter (charger) included (100-240V auto-switching, works in all countries)
  • UK, EU and US power cable included.

These are refurbished, modified ThinkPad X230 laptops with osboot and GNU+Linux pre-installed. We swap out parts and supply laptops in the best condition possible, ideally in new condition.

Laptop specifications:

  • 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-3320M processor
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Screen: 12.5″ 1366×768 LED TFT LCD
  • Gigabit ethernet as standard
  • Ports: 1x VGA, 2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Microphone, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x ExpressCard/54
  • Upgraded with an 802.11n wireless card (Atheros AR5B95, using the AR9285 chipset), ensuring full compatibility with free drivers in GNU+Linux.
  • Backlight (brightness) control is fully functional in osboot on this laptop (NOTE: If you have issues with backlight controls, refer to the FAQ on https://osboot.org/
  • Battery: 6 cell. In either case, we guarantee at least 45Wh capacity per battery (you can request higher capacity, and then we will make sure to get you the best, e.g. 84Wh or whatever is feasible. These batteries aren’t made new anymore, so new batteries are 3rd party ones not made by Lenovo. 3rd party batteries work well, but capacities vary per supplier).
  • More specifications shown here: https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:X230

When new osboot versions are released, it is possible to update to those newer versions using software (no disassembling required). Full instructions are provided.

The Libre X230 is a modified ThinkPad X230 containing reconditioned parts, with osboot and GNU+Linux preinstalled.