Choice of a Thinkpad model

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thinkofacomputerpad
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Choice of a Thinkpad model

#1 Post by thinkofacomputerpad » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:01 am

Hi thinkpads addicts,

I'm currently looking for a cheap but great laptop to buy, and after a bit of surfing I found several advice telling me to look for a Thinkpad laptop that will fullfil my needs.
The thing is that I'm totally new to the Thinkpad world and I don't know which Thinkpad model is right for me.
So I create this topic to ask for some information and advice from you guys.

I'm looking for a laptop with a great compatibility with Libreboot and Linux/GNU (but I'm sure I don't need to worry, I heard that Thinkpads was designed to run Linux/ GNU :D ), a laptop with a SD card reader, RAM upgradable to 16GB (for virtualization purposes) and the possibility to replace the hard drive with an SSD.

This laptop will travel quite a lot so I'm also looking for a lightweight one with great battery life.

The main purpose of this laptop is to do some virtualisation work.

To summarize:

- Libreboot/ Linux GNU compatibility
- SD card and at least 2 USB ports
- 16GB RAM upgradability
- SSD
- lightweight and decent battery life


Thanks in advance for your help,


Pierre
Student, computer fan.

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Re: Choice of a Thinkpad model

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:07 am

Welcome to the forum.
With Libreboot you are limited to only a few Thinkpad laptops, see this: https://libreboot.org/docs/hardware/
Lenovo ThinkPad
- X60/X60s
- X60 Tablet
- T60 (some exceptions)
- X200
- R400
- T400
- T500
- W500

X60/T60 are limited to max. 3GB usable RAM
The others are limited to max. 8GB RAM

However, if you can live without Libreboot, then virtually all Thinkpads are Linux compatible.

Warning: stay away from any Thinkpad or other Lenovo machines, whose model does NOT begin with R/T/W/X.
Those are usually cheap commercial machines for the unwashed masses.

And almost any Thinkpad from X220/T420/T520/ onwards can take 16GB RAM.
The HDD can be replaced with an SSD in every case, but the latest models are not using 2.5" drives, they have mSATA or M.2.
To get detailed info on each model, Google for: lenovo w500 specs (where "w500" is the model you are looking for)
To get an idea of "age" of each laptop, look at the second-last digit in the model.
T400 - 0 built around 2010
T410 - 1 ca. 2011
T420 - 2 ca. 2012 etc.

Good contenders for all your wishes would be X230 or T430 series.
Both are affordable, can be upgraded with the classic keyboard from the X220/T420 and also run their batteries.
The T430s can have an extra battery (instead of CD-drive) for extra runtime.
And both can be upgraded to FHD with certain mods.

I'm sure others will have more suggestions.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)

Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

thinkofacomputerpad
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Re: Choice of a Thinkpad model

#3 Post by thinkofacomputerpad » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:42 am

Thanks for the answers !

Unfortunately the laptop must be compatible with Libreboot.
So it seems that the model I'm looking for is the X200, isn't ?
Student, computer fan.

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Choice of a Thinkpad model

#4 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:31 am

Looks as so, i personally like the x61 better but the x200 has the better keyboard and cpu. Better 1400x1050 lcd on x61. Personally, I'd pick a x61 tablet of you dont want to fool with the lcd changing.

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Re: Choice of a Thinkpad model

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:42 am

X61 is NOT Libreboot-capable.

X200s and X200t (tablet) are also Libreboot-capable.
I have such an X200s with a perfect 1440x900 LED screen for sale.
PM me if interested.

thinkofacomputerpad
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Re: Choice of a Thinkpad model

#6 Post by thinkofacomputerpad » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:09 am

Right, I sent you a PM :)

I have another question: how do you take care of a thinkpad: do it need to be open to clear out the dust, the thermal paste has to be replaced and how do you take care of that black and beautiful top and bottom case ?

Thanks,
Student, computer fan.

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Re: Choice of a Thinkpad model

#7 Post by sponka » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:58 pm

Maybe you replace Libreboot with Coreboot?
https://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards

Supports more computers than libreboot, even X230 and T430
T430 • 2349-OG6 • Crucial MX300 525 Gb • rest still original :(
X200 • 7459-EH9 • Ultimate-N 6300 • F5521gw • Crucial BX200 240Gb
[SOLD ] T500 • 2056-VL1 • Ultimate-N 6300 • Samsung 830 256 Gb • F5521gw ... a bit upgraded :P

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