Libreboot X220


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SKU: libreboot_x200 Category:

Product Description

A freedom-respecting GNU+Linux laptop!

We are working on porting this laptop to Libreboot. Click here for information about current research that we are working on. The shipping date for this product is ETA December 2017 (earlier, if possible) but it is available now for pre-order. Your pre-order will further fund the work that we are doing to port this laptop to Libreboot.

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 hardware platforms contain backdoors or have insecure software that can have exploitable bugs. Most hardware manufacturers intentionally place insecure backdoors into their systems, for profit. With most systems from the large manufacturers, your company is at risk of data theft, corporate espionage or worse. The Libreboot X220 from Minifree changes that!

The Libreboot X220 is a business-grade, secure owner-controlled laptop that safeguards your privacy, security and freedom. It uses dual-core Core i5-2410M CPU (or higher), Intel HD 3000 graphics and supports up to 16GiB RAM, making this an ideal high-performance workstation with the Intel QM67 sandybridge chipset. It runs 100% entirely on free and open source software, from the BIOS, right up to the operating system, drivers and applications. It comes with the free and open source Libreboot BIOS replacement, and Debian GNU+Linux, or any other GNU+Linux distribution of your choice.

Your Libreboot X220 obeys you, and nobody else! The Libreboot X220 comes without the Intel Management Engine or AMD PSP!

Shipping worldwide via UPS! (Europe, USA, Canada and Asia included. 2-5 day shipping to most of the world), with a 2 year warranty as standard, and free technical support. Prices are in EUR; if you want another currency, use xe.com currency converter and simply pay in that amount in the other currency, at your local bank. Xe.com provides accurate exchange rates.

We also sell extra Libreboot X220 batteries:
click here

We also sell Libreboot X220 docking stations separately (useful if you want a 2nd HDD/SSD):
click here

This comes with the Core i5. Core i7 model is available for an additional 500 EUR (these models are rarer, so it takes more effort to source them and they cost much more); ask for it in the textbox on the checkout page, and we’ll send a custom invoice in PDF format. Core i7 model adds HyperThreading support, in addition to a single USB 3.0 port (support not yet available/tested in Libreboot), and somewhat better performance depending on use-case scenario (e.g. photo editing).

Your Freedom. Your Libreboot

Libreboot. Free as in freedom BIOS/UEFI replacement. Libreboot 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.

Minifree’s founder is also the main libreboot developer (and founder of the libreboot project). Profits from Minifree sales directly fund the libreboot project.

Debian GNU+Linux is user-friendly, secure and respects privacy

Logo-DebianDebian GNU+Linux operating system comes preinstalled. Debian comes with all the standard applications for Web browsing, instant messaging, office and productivity, graphics editing, multimedia and more. Thousands of extra applications are also available to install from the Debian repositories, using the apt-get package manager provided. It even has games!

The version of Debian that we ship is Debian Jessie, with the MATE desktop.

We will also install any other distribution that you prefer, on request, e.g. Ubuntu, Linux mint, Arch, Parabola, OpenSUSE, Mageia, Manjaro, etc – request it in the textbox on the checkout page

We can also supply a USB drive with the Debian installer on it. This is useful, if you wanted to install Debian onto another computer. This is the full DVD-1 ISO, not the net installer.

Tor Browser Bundle can be preinstalled in Debian (or whichever distro you choose), at no extra cost. Let us know during checkout (custom notes textbox on the checkout page) if you want this. Alternatively, you can download it yourself from torproject.org.

We can also supply a Tails USB drive. Tails is a live system, which is configured for secure, anonymous internet access by default. This is useful if you live under an oppressive regime, or you need uncensored internet access in a place that implements internet whitelists/blacklists (E.g. school, work, etc).

Fast, lightweight and powerful hardware

This fast, 12″ laptop is built with a strong chassis and shell, guaranteeing that the laptop will last many years.

What storage and RAM configuration should I choose?

The default option for the Libreboot X220 comes with 4GiB RAM and a 160GB HDD for storage. Minifree also provides upgrade options; up to 16GiB RAM, and a 480GB SSD or 1TB HDD.

An SSD can bring with it faster application and OS load times, while also slightly increasing battery life due to lower power consumption. Meanwhile, if you need more than 480GB storage, the 1TB HDD is a good option. If you want extra performance and storage (more than 480GB), one option would be to use the 480GB SSD, and get an external 1TB (or higher) USB HDD for extra storage, which GNU+Linux will automatically recognize when you plug it in.

The 16GiB RAM upgrade is useful, because more RAM means that you’re less likely to rely on the “swap” partition on the HDD or SSD (use of swap reduces system performance, because the HDD/SSD isn’t as fast as the RAM). This can be useful for people with more demanding requirements; software developers and graphics designers, for instance. For regular usage, it also means that you can run more applications simultaneously.

More storage? RAID? Yes!

The SATA slot for the CD/DVD RW drive on the docking station (sold separately) can have a second HDD or SSD installed, replacing the CD/DVD RW drive. Minifree can provide this, in one of the following configurations:

  • RAID1 (two identical drives, same capacity. e.g. 2x1TB HDD). This functions effectively as a backup solution, with redundancy (continuous operation) even if one of the drives are inoperable. This can also boost read/write performance.
  • RAID0 (two identical drives, same capacity. e.g. 2x1TB HDD). Not redundant (both drives need to be functional), but can boost read/write performance (more so than RAID1), and increases the usable capacity compared to RAID1.
  • 2nd HDD or SSD for data and/or backup. For instance, the operating system could be installed on a 480GB SSD, and an additional 1TB HDD could be used for extra data or backup.

If you want a 2nd HDD or SSD, but you also want a CD/DVD RW drive, there are USB CD/DVD drives that you can purchase online. These are all generic, and will work automatically in GNU+Linux.

The docking station is sold separately:
click here

Advantages compared to the Libreboot X200 or T400:

The Libreboot X200 and T400 both have the same CPU, GPU, northbridge, southbridge and other components, based on the same chipset design (and by the same ODM, Wistron). In fact, the libreboot source code for X200 and T400 are almost identical, except for a few minor differences. X220 has many improvements over X200/T400:

  • Has a touchpad and trackpoint mouse pointer. The X200 only had the trackpoint
  • Higher battery life
  • SATA III support (6Gbps possible on SSD. The X200 can only do 3Gbps SATA II)
  • 2nd mSATA SSD possible in the 2nd mini PCI-E slot (mSATA drives not yet sold by Minifree)
  • much faster CPU (core i5/i7 on X220, core 2 duo on X200) *per CPU core*, and has more CPU cores (X220 is dual-core, vs X200 which is dual-core)
  • LED backlit panel instead of CCFL (X200 uses CCFL). LED is more reliable (lasts longer without dimming over time). Better colour/contrast compared to X200. Brighter backlight.
  • much faster video performance (Intel HD 3000 on X220, vs Intel GMA 4500MHD on X200)
  • higher screen resolution (1366×768 on X220, vs 1280×800 on X200)
  • DisplayPort digital video output built in (X200 only has VGA)
  • supports more RAM (up to 16GiB, versus X200 which only supports 8GiB)
  • current hardware. Moores law has slowed down in recent years; the X220 is roughly on par with performance standards for even the most demanding of software developers. The X220 is a popular laptop for hackers and professional users alike
  • larger ESC key
  • better CPU cooling (and more power-efficient CPU)
  • USB 3.0 possible (with the Core i7 model. NOTE: untested)
  • Better webcam (720p HD with a decent microphone, compared to X200 which has low resolution webcam) – NOTE: not all X220 laptops from Minifree have webcams. If you want it, tell us and we’ll make sure to ship one that has it.

High quality heatsink, efficient cooling solution

Libreboot X200 heatsink
You won’t find cheap aluminium in these laptops. These heatsinks are made of copper, and are matched with excellent fans. Ventilation is also vastly superior compared to most laptops.

Minifree also applies a fresh layer of Arctic MX-4, one of the best thermal compounds on the market, to ensure optimal cooling performance on every laptop.

Works in every country

Power cables
The Libreboot X200 from Minifree ships worldwide!. The AC-DC adapter (charger) is 100-240V auto-switching, so it will work in all countries. Minifree will include an EU, UK or USA power cable, depending on your shipping address.

If your country uses another type of power plug, Minifree can provide you with a €5 EUR reimbursement (on request) to cover the costs of purchasing the appropriate adapter. Alternatively, Minifree will source the appropriate adapter (or an actual cable) that will work in your country, and include it in the package. More plug types will be available by default, at a later date.

Do you travel? Minifree can provide extra power cables for €10 EUR each (e.g. EU and US cable). If you need extra cables, mention it in the “notes” box on the checkout and they will be included on the invoice. Extra chargers are also available, for €30 EUR each.

Extra batteries

Extra batteries are available.


Libreboot stickers

Libreboot stickers are also available to purchase. This raises extra funding for the Libreboot project.

Free tech support

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

  • RJ-45 ethernet cable
  • Battery included (capacity at least 40 watt-hours or higher)
  • AC-DC adapter (charger) included (100-240V auto-switching, works in all countries)
  • UK, EU or US power cable (depending on country) included.

Laptop specifications:

  • Core i5-2410M processor or higher
  • Graphics: Intel HD 3000
  • Screen: 12.5″ 1366×768 LED TFT LCD
  • Gigabit ethernet as standard
  • Ports: 1x VGA, 1x DisplayPort, 3x USB 2.0, 5-in-1 card reader, 1x Headphone, 1x Microphone, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x ExpressCard/54
  • Size: 11.6 x 9.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.7 Kg
  • Upgraded with an 802.11n wireless card (Atheros AR5B95, AR9285 chipset), ensuring full compatibility with free drivers in GNU+Linux.
  • Backlight (brightness) control is fully functional in libreboot on this laptop.

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

The Libreboot X220 is a modified ThinkPad X220 containing reconditioned parts, with libreboot and GNU+Linux preinstalled.

Management Engine

We are working on freeing the Intel Management Engine on this platform, by removing it. It is possible to use the system without a Management Engine, but with a 30 minute reset which makes the system unusable. There are already half-solutions to this problem; we are researching full solutions (full ME removal, without 30 minute reset).

We are doing the following to free this laptop and add it to Libreboot:

  • Reverse engineering the entire Intel Flash Descriptor and GbE region, writing a util that will generate these from scratch. The utility will fully document both regions in code. These are special regions in the boot flash; the descriptor has many configuration parameters for the system, including about where individual regions in the flash chip are located. This includes the Management Engine region; we are trying to reverse engineer a descriptor configuration that will disable the ME entirely, without any hardware modifications. The GbE region contains configuration data for the onboard gigabit ethernet controller.
  • This will take at least a few months. If this fails, then there are other test cases we can try.
  • If we fail in the above, then we will ship the X220 with a neutralized ME (networking features and malicious remote access features removed) as documented here: http://hardenedlinux.org/firmware/2016/11/17/neutralize_ME_firmware_on_sandybridge_and_ivybridge.html (You are always welcome to cancel your order and receive a refund, either before it ships or within 30 days of receiving the laptop if you ship it back to us (we provide shipping cost reimbursement on request)) – if you wish to receive a refund and do not want to receive an X220, in the event that the ME neutralization mod is used for your order, then you should mention this in the custom order notes textbox on the checkout page. To minimize our order backlog, we may ship with neutralized ME earlier for some orders, before research and development on disabling the ME is either complete or abandoned. We will ship in a configuration where all regions in the flash chip are set read-write in the Intel Flash Descriptor, so that updating to a ME-less libreboot image will be possible in software, without requiring external flashing equipment if that becomes available (you would first flash all regions except the ME region, then reboot. The system would no longer load or execute the ME firmware that exists in the ME region, at which point you would flash the chip again to overwrite the ME region with bytes containing all ones (0xFF). This will be documented on the libreboot website).
  • CPU microcode updates: we will check whether the system can boot without microcode updates, but failing that, we will ship with CPU microcode updates by default. Some CPUs from Intel can be used reliably without them. When you boot without the updates, the CPU will use an older revision of the microcode which comes burned into its own mask ROM. Microcode updates fix security/reliability issues and are released by Intel for all of their recent CPUs. If booting without the updates is possible, then we will offer that as an option but otherwise ship with microcode updates by default.

More updates here and on the Libreboot website can be expected as time goes on.