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BrandonThinkpad Buying Guide
In case you couldn't tell from my tablet articles, I'm a Thinkpad fanboy. Not the brand new Thinkpads which are expensive, but old ones that are cheap and easy to find parts for. So let me start by breaking down the different Thinkpad naming. First is a letter, then a number. First, the letter: T - Solid 14/15 inch laptops R - Like T but with corners cut to decrease price, still solid laptops, but tend to be more plasticy Z - Lenovo's first try at making their own Thinkpads, somewhere between R and T series X - Smaller ultaportables. Be aware that some of these do not use standard laptop hard drive sizes, some use 1.8inch drives or low height drives W - Large high performance machines There are other versions, but you should avoid them for the most part. They are often cheaper versions, or at the very least, they are less popular so replacement parts will be more expensive or harder to find. The first numeric digit is what tells you the generation of the laptop: 4x or 5x - These laptops are Pentium M based, meaning that they are single core. They also use IDE hard drives. Upgrading to an SSD will require that you buy a special SSD that will not work with newer machines. 6x- These laptops use Core 2 Duo processors, SATA hard drives, and DDR2 RAM. This means that for machines with the exception of the X series, you should be able to upgrade to a 2Ghz-ish Dual Core processor for about $10 if you are willing to open up the laptop. It also means that you can use the latest SSDs, although they might not offer the maximum throughput due to an older version of SATA, it won't be noticeable to a human. Finally, the use of DDR2 means that you can upgrade to 2GB of RAM very cheaply and even 4GB for < $40. x00 or x01 or x10 - These laptops use late Core 2 Duo processors or first generation Core i3/i5/i7 processors, SATA hard drives and DDR3 RAM. Right now this generation is really the best value in Thinkpads, if you are willing to wait for a deal. They don't have the same CPU upgradability that the older ones do, but they can use the same SSDs. They also have DDR3 RAM which is very cheap. You can get 4GB for almost nothing and even 8GB is supported. x20 or x30 or x40 - These are Sandy Bridge (2nd Generation i3/i5/i7) or newer, and tend to cost more than the ones this article is about. I have an R61 and an X200 both of which I have about $60 into (plus hard drive/SSD that I had left over) and with Crunchbang, they are very fast, very reliable, cheap computers.
2014-04-119:10 PM

pharoahRe: Thinkpad Buying Guide
This is a really useful post! I quite like thinkpads, they seem to hold their value well unless you buy one of the consumer-class ones.
2014-04-145:39 PM


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