Author Topic: Buying thinkpads  (Read 9983 times)

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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #50 on: Sat, 27 February 2016, 10:38:20 »
Also.. Tpfancontrol.. essential Thinkpad program

Offline funderburker

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #51 on: Tue, 05 April 2016, 07:36:14 »
I love the old IBM Thinkpads. Lenovo is okay but "they don't make 'em like they used to." Ha. I bought a x200 for $60 and outfitted it with 6GB RAM and a 120 GB SSD. It runs Antergos. I use it mainly for programming. Never really pushed it with any WebGL projects as I'm sure it wouldn't be capable of rendering 60fps at an acceptable rate, but it's great for what I use it for. The Carbon X1 looks sleek and neat. Nice thin profile.  :thumb:

I'm with you in rocking the x200! Mine is a lenovo branded one though :L It was only £70 and I'm running arch with gnome : P

x200 is ol'skool ,  but it's honestly clumsy to use these days.

X220 is the best budget one to get these days..

Not if you're on a very tight budget its not! I love my little thinkpad! With it's perfectly smooth super-key and blue mouse-nipple!

Oh man, I'm not alone with a Linux powered X200! Bought it for like 80 euros and been loving it.

Need to get an SSD though but every time I want to get one something else is more important (Life ya'dig?)  Has someone upgraded the RAM on theirs? Have 4GB but want to get 8. X200 can't handle every RAM sticks so say what are you using, please.
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Offline Darkshado

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #52 on: Thu, 07 April 2016, 00:29:33 »
I have a 3rd gen "2015" X1 and I like it. Lightweight, excellent battery life (approx 8-9 hours) and a quick charger.

I'd stay away from the 2nd gen due to the weird capacitive function key row and trackpad buttons (I've seen pics of modded T440s that had the physical button part swapped, not sure it can be done on the X1C2). First gen is fine in that regard.

Another, more general consideration: high DPI screens may be a pain to deal with depending on your OS of choice and which specific apps you use.

Do you use Linux on it? If so, how does the battery hold up UNDER LINUX?

Sorry iLLucionist, looks like I had missed your reply.

It runs Arch full time, with Cinnamon, UEFI boot using rEFInd. I'd say my usage patterns with screen brightness on the high side and some more power hungry programs take a hit on the battery life, closer to 6-7 hours in practice. Enough that I hardly every worry about it, and when I do, the charger is fast enough that I can top up and carry on. (Something like under an hour for a full charge, but don't quote me on it; double check that your country gets it, not all do.) One factor that might help battery life is that I have the 1080 HD screen (vs high DPI).

Driver-wise, Linux support out of the box is pretty hard to beat. Had to tinker a bit to adjust the TrackPoint sensitivity, the fingerprint reader driver I found was for a related model (with a different resolution so the output image looks weird, might look into it sometime) but everything else pretty much "just worked" out of the box with Arch's up to date kernels.

It's a secondary machine, bought it because the 11" Acer C720 (4GB RAM with 128GB SSD and running Linux Mint with Cinnamon) was cramped and underpowered for my needs. And hauling my 15" discrete GPU, 180W PSU Clevo on a daily basis was not happening again.

My Carbon has the i5-5200U, 1080p non touch screen, 8GB (non user-upgradeable :() RAM, M.2 2280 SATA 128GB SSD (the board also supports PCIe :) ), and the backlit keyboard. I eventually bought it's external non-backlit USB twin as a light travel board; the backlit feels more shine resistant than the non-backlit.

Let me know if you have other questions.

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Offline iLLucionist

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #53 on: Thu, 07 April 2016, 07:01:39 »
It runs Arch full time, with Cinnamon, UEFI boot using rEFInd. I'd say my usage patterns with screen brightness on the high side and some more power hungry programs take a hit on the battery life, closer to 6-7 hours in practice. Enough that I hardly every worry about it, and when I do, the charger is fast enough that I can top up and carry on. (Something like under an hour for a full charge, but don't quote me on it; double check that your country gets it, not all do.) One factor that might help battery life is that I have the 1080 HD screen (vs high DPI).

You really get 6-7 hours in practice? Perhaps I've missed it, but what is your laptop again? Under an hour for a full charge? That is quick! My late 2010 MBP takes upto 4 hours to charge. Ah yes.. the screen. I would want high DPI. Not 4K, but at least 1680x1050.

Driver-wise, Linux support out of the box is pretty hard to beat. Had to tinker a bit to adjust the TrackPoint sensitivity, the fingerprint reader driver I found was for a related model (with a different resolution so the output image looks weird, might look into it sometime) but everything else pretty much "just worked" out of the box with Arch's up to date kernels.

I am actually suprised that hardware support is good. I have had mixed results with PC laptops. But that was like 5 years ago, so I image a lot has changed since then.

My Carbon has the i5-5200U, 1080p non touch screen, 8GB (non user-upgradeable :() RAM, M.2 2280 SATA 128GB SSD (the board also supports PCIe :) ), and the backlit keyboard. I eventually bought it's external non-backlit USB twin as a light travel board; the backlit feels more shine resistant than the non-backlit.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Carbon.. so that's a Lenovo right? Care to share the exact model number? Do you like the screen and keyboard?
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Offline Darkshado

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #54 on: Fri, 08 April 2016, 02:11:18 »
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the third generation model (fourth came out this month afaik). Advertising copy claims 10 hours battery life (driving like an old grandma, no radio, no AC, on flat terrain :P ) and fast charge to 80% in less than an hour.

High DPI ≈ 4K. Mine has an FHD, 1920x1080 screen, a very nice panel overall.

Linux hardware support varies across component manufacturers, caveat emptor, although I consider Intel to be a generally safe choice. Wi-Fi cards that need proprietary drivers and blobs are riskier. Switchable graphics can be quite tricky. Consumer HP printers with hplip drivers? *Shudder*

My exact model has been discontinued, it was from their build-to-order site and I ordered it with a French Canadian keyboard.

I like the keyboard on it very much, about as good as any scissor switch gets. In comparison, felt like it had slightly less key travel than the one on its T450s sibling. I've never really used the previous ThinkPad keyboard layout but have seen very polarized reactions from long time users. One thing missing IMO: Fn+ arrows for Page Up, Home, End and Page Down.

The top row keys (F-keys and a few more) should have had the same mechanism as the others, they don't feel as crisp. (Though certainly not hideous like the ones on the Sculpt Ergo.)

One "ThinkPad-ism" that might catch you off guard is the Fn key located left of Control. I got used to it, those who don't can swap them in the BIOS. The keycaps don't have the same width, however.

The TrackPoint is a nice input device and save your hands multiple trips to the touchpad (or external mouse) and back. You can disable the touchpad in the BIOS.

Offline Marizen

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #55 on: Mon, 02 May 2016, 18:38:27 »
I just ordered a T420 last Friday. Can't wait to get it in and swap out parts from my old laptop. I got 16GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD waiting.

Of course you really pay for it.

https://www.pugetsystems.com/nav/traverse/pro_15/customize.php

All of a sudden Apple laptops feel cheap and affordable..

Nah. It's definitely more expensive than a base MBP, but once you tack on the upgrades to the MBP to get it equally spec'd as close as possible with the Puget laptop, you're looking at ~$3,500. In terms of price to specs ratio the MBP can't even touch the Puget.
« Last Edit: Mon, 02 May 2016, 18:51:08 by Marizen »

Offline trenzafeeds

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #56 on: Mon, 02 May 2016, 20:49:24 »
I just ordered a T420 last Friday. Can't wait to get it in and swap out parts from my old laptop. I got 16GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD waiting.

Awesome machine, and swapping parts in a ton of fun!
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #57 on: Mon, 02 May 2016, 22:04:22 »
I just ordered a T420 last Friday. Can't wait to get it in and swap out parts from my old laptop. I got 16GB of RAM and a 480GB SSD waiting.

Awesome machine, and swapping parts in a ton of fun!

Hrrrmm that ips mod is pretty complicated..

Offline ideus

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #58 on: Mon, 02 May 2016, 22:13:01 »
I love the old IBM Thinkpads. Lenovo is okay but "they don't make 'em like they used to." Ha. I bought a x200 for $60 and outfitted it with 6GB RAM and a 120 GB SSD. It runs Antergos. I use it mainly for programming. Never really pushed it with any WebGL projects as I'm sure it wouldn't be capable of rendering 60fps at an acceptable rate, but it's great for what I use it for. The Carbon X1 looks sleek and neat. Nice thin profile.  :thumb:

I'm with you in rocking the x200! Mine is a lenovo branded one though :L It was only £70 and I'm running arch with gnome : P

x200 is ol'skool ,  but it's honestly clumsy to use these days.

X220 is the best budget one to get these days..

Not if you're on a very tight budget its not! I love my little thinkpad! With it's perfectly smooth super-key and blue mouse-nipple!


So.. 

$60 x200
$50 8gb ram
$50 128gb SSD

Cpu score --1556-- (Core2duo p8600, base model)

vs

$100 x220
$50 8gb ram
$50 128gb SSD

Cpu score --3737-- (i5 2540m, base model)



the extra $40 which is (20% increase in cost) buys you 200% the cpu power, and something like 10x the Gpu power as well..


So...... yea....... ..... You can see how x220 is bestest ever..   

-- also, x220 has an LG-brand -ips screen available if you want the upgrade, it's like $60,

x230 has an edge over the x220, unless you prefer the x220's keyboard:

3rd gen Core processors,
Many available with IPS displays,
2x USB3 + 1 always on USB2 ports.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #59 on: Mon, 02 May 2016, 23:29:15 »
I love the old IBM Thinkpads. Lenovo is okay but "they don't make 'em like they used to." Ha. I bought a x200 for $60 and outfitted it with 6GB RAM and a 120 GB SSD. It runs Antergos. I use it mainly for programming. Never really pushed it with any WebGL projects as I'm sure it wouldn't be capable of rendering 60fps at an acceptable rate, but it's great for what I use it for. The Carbon X1 looks sleek and neat. Nice thin profile.  :thumb:

I'm with you in rocking the x200! Mine is a lenovo branded one though :L It was only £70 and I'm running arch with gnome : P

x200 is ol'skool ,  but it's honestly clumsy to use these days.

X220 is the best budget one to get these days..

Not if you're on a very tight budget its not! I love my little thinkpad! With it's perfectly smooth super-key and blue mouse-nipple!


So.. 

$60 x200
$50 8gb ram
$50 128gb SSD

Cpu score --1556-- (Core2duo p8600, base model)

vs

$100 x220
$50 8gb ram
$50 128gb SSD

Cpu score --3737-- (i5 2540m, base model)



the extra $40 which is (20% increase in cost) buys you 200% the cpu power, and something like 10x the Gpu power as well..


So...... yea....... ..... You can see how x220 is bestest ever..   

-- also, x220 has an LG-brand -ips screen available if you want the upgrade, it's like $60,

x230 has an edge over the x220, unless you prefer the x220's keyboard:

3rd gen Core processors,
Many available with IPS displays,
2x USB3 + 1 always on USB2 ports.


Um... well if you can get an x230 with a preinstalled top-end wifi card.. I think that's fine..

but most of the time, you get the mid-tier card, and you can't upgrade without an official lenovo part..

Offline ideus

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #60 on: Tue, 03 May 2016, 10:27:11 »
I love the old IBM Thinkpads. Lenovo is okay but "they don't make 'em like they used to." Ha. I bought a x200 for $60 and outfitted it with 6GB RAM and a 120 GB SSD. It runs Antergos. I use it mainly for programming. Never really pushed it with any WebGL projects as I'm sure it wouldn't be capable of rendering 60fps at an acceptable rate, but it's great for what I use it for. The Carbon X1 looks sleek and neat. Nice thin profile.  :thumb:

I'm with you in rocking the x200! Mine is a lenovo branded one though :L It was only £70 and I'm running arch with gnome : P

x200 is ol'skool ,  but it's honestly clumsy to use these days.

X220 is the best budget one to get these days..

Not if you're on a very tight budget its not! I love my little thinkpad! With it's perfectly smooth super-key and blue mouse-nipple!


So.. 

$60 x200
$50 8gb ram
$50 128gb SSD

Cpu score --1556-- (Core2duo p8600, base model)

vs

$100 x220
$50 8gb ram
$50 128gb SSD

Cpu score --3737-- (i5 2540m, base model)



the extra $40 which is (20% increase in cost) buys you 200% the cpu power, and something like 10x the Gpu power as well..


So...... yea....... ..... You can see how x220 is bestest ever..   

-- also, x220 has an LG-brand -ips screen available if you want the upgrade, it's like $60,

x230 has an edge over the x220, unless you prefer the x220's keyboard:

3rd gen Core processors,
Many available with IPS displays,
2x USB3 + 1 always on USB2 ports.


Um... well if you can get an x230 with a preinstalled top-end wifi card.. I think that's fine..

but most of the time, you get the mid-tier card, and you can't upgrade without an official lenovo part..


You can reflash the bios with a custom one with no whitelist, if you are brave enough. It requires some soldering work, because starting with the x230 it cannot be done by software anymore.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #61 on: Tue, 03 May 2016, 12:26:02 »


You can reflash the bios with a custom one with no whitelist, if you are brave enough. It requires some soldering work, because starting with the x230 it cannot be done by software anymore.

If you like to fiddle, yea... I could see going for an x230..

The problem here is that bios chips are not the easiest to desolder..  and where are you going to get another one should it fail.. hahahaha..


Offline dante

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #62 on: Tue, 03 May 2016, 12:37:51 »
2011 was the last year you could buy a ThinkPad with scissor switches.

#NEVERFORGET

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #63 on: Tue, 03 May 2016, 12:40:30 »
2011 was the last year you could buy a ThinkPad with scissor switches.

#NEVERFORGET

the new island keyboard is scissor underneath..

only the caps look different..

Offline ideus

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #64 on: Tue, 03 May 2016, 14:35:16 »


You can reflash the bios with a custom one with no whitelist, if you are brave enough. It requires some soldering work, because starting with the x230 it cannot be done by software anymore.

If you like to fiddle, yea... I could see going for an x230..

The problem here is that bios chips are not the easiest to desolder..  and where are you going to get another one should it fail.. hahahaha..

In the linked tutorial the poster bought a new BIOS chip for flashing the custom BIOS, while keeping the original as a backup.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #65 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 06:23:22 »


You can reflash the bios with a custom one with no whitelist, if you are brave enough. It requires some soldering work, because starting with the x230 it cannot be done by software anymore.

If you like to fiddle, yea... I could see going for an x230..

The problem here is that bios chips are not the easiest to desolder..  and where are you going to get another one should it fail.. hahahaha..

In the linked tutorial the poster bought a new BIOS chip for flashing the custom BIOS, while keeping the original as a backup.

Hrrrrrrmmmmmm...... Hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

I guess an upgrade to x230 is in the books for me then...

Hrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmm......................

x230 $250
SSD $120
Ram $60
Wifi Card $30
Bios Chip+ programmer $60
ips upgrade $100

$620... man this adds up fast..

Hrrrrmmmmm..........

Offline ideus

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #66 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 07:44:49 »


You can reflash the bios with a custom one with no whitelist, if you are brave enough. It requires some soldering work, because starting with the x230 it cannot be done by software anymore.

If you like to fiddle, yea... I could see going for an x230..

The problem here is that bios chips are not the easiest to desolder..  and where are you going to get another one should it fail.. hahahaha..

In the linked tutorial the poster bought a new BIOS chip for flashing the custom BIOS, while keeping the original as a backup.

Hrrrrrrmmmmmm...... Hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

I guess an upgrade to x230 is in the books for me then...

Hrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmm......................

x230 $250
SSD $120
Ram $60
Wifi Card $30
Bios Chip+ programmer $60
ips upgrade $100

$620... man this adds up fast..

Hrrrrmmmmm..........

Why do you have to replace the stock wifi card? is it really that bad as to invest $90 and risk to damage the mother board? Also you can save the ips as there are some x230 that are offered with factory IPS displays.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #67 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 14:14:33 »


Why do you have to replace the stock wifi card? is it really that bad as to invest $90 and risk to damage the mother board? Also you can save the ips as there are some x230 that are offered with factory IPS displays.

WIFI card is the SOUL of the laptop..

It's more important than anything else.. the 6xxx intel wifi series was terrible..

Offline ideus

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #68 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 14:22:43 »


Why do you have to replace the stock wifi card? is it really that bad as to invest $90 and risk to damage the mother board? Also you can save the ips as there are some x230 that are offered with factory IPS displays.

WIFI card is the SOUL of the laptop..

It's more important than anything else.. the 6xxx intel wifi series was terrible..

Could you provide specific part numbers or models of the Lenovo's approved one and the model you want to use instead? I am sorry, but "terrible" is just a poor reference to understand what you mean; besides, unless everything you do requires wireless internet access, the ssd and ram are as important or more important than the wifi card, also the display and keyboard that are the only actual interfaces with the user are very important; therefore, your statement that the wifi is the "soul" of the laptop is also too vague.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #69 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 16:38:46 »


Why do you have to replace the stock wifi card? is it really that bad as to invest $90 and risk to damage the mother board? Also you can save the ips as there are some x230 that are offered with factory IPS displays.

WIFI card is the SOUL of the laptop..

It's more important than anything else.. the 6xxx intel wifi series was terrible..

Could you provide specific part numbers or models of the Lenovo's approved one and the model you want to use instead? I am sorry, but "terrible" is just a poor reference to understand what you mean; besides, unless everything you do requires wireless internet access, the ssd and ram are as important or more important than the wifi card, also the display and keyboard that are the only actual interfaces with the user are very important; therefore, your statement that the wifi is the "soul" of the laptop is also too vague.


The premise starts with. Everything on a Laptops suck.

Their advantage ?  Mobility..

What is tantamount to mobility,  the WIRELESS aspect


Hence.. Wifi is the most important attribute to -A-Laptop-

If not,  then Why would I bother,  Just use any of my 8 desktops @ 4.7ghz+


Now specifically for the intel 6xxx series wifi cards, they had a huge number of incompatibility problems with many router vendors..

This problem persisted all the way through the early 7xxx series..


The new 7xxx has gotten better..  but , At this point, I'd rather have a 3xxx series card for compatibility sake.. it just flat out works everywhere you go.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #70 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 17:28:06 »
Actually I have to agree with Tp here, some of the 6 and 7's have been problematic. Actually anything over Wireless N gets fickle outside Windows.

I've been using a Broadcom out of some recent Acer laptops (BCM943228HMB BCM1058), they top out at 300mbps, but they work on any OS with minimal hassle, dual band, plenty efficient, have Bluetooth 4.0 and are dirt cheap ($5). There is also the Atheros AR5B22  which is what the Bigfoot killer cards are built on, these can now be found for under $10 used.
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Offline trenzafeeds

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #71 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 17:40:51 »
Also, with a lot of Kali based programs and other linux networking software there's a limited range of wifi card compatibility.
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Offline ideus

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Re: Buying thinkpads
« Reply #72 on: Wed, 04 May 2016, 23:13:10 »
Wifi card compatibility issues may be a good reason to be concern about wifi cards; but, speed, or band wide are not, because they depend on many other infrastructure and demand issues well beyond the wifi card features. X220 white list can be eliminated via software BIOS re-flashing, therefore that alone may be a reason to get one, instead of an X230.