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Weboh
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Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#1 Post by Weboh » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:53 pm

A friend of mine will be getting a laptop soon. He doesn't like modern laptops that have terrible keyboards and trackpads. He also likes a decent amount of ports and CD drives. So he pretty much has to get an older computer. Right now, he's considering Thinkpads. Here's what he's looking for:
  • Decent video card, probably dedicated. He's not going to be doing too much gaming on this—probably the most demanding game he'll play is Civilization V. He'd like to be able to play it at closer to the recommended requirements than minimum though. Since it's probably going to have to be an older computer to get one with a CD drive, he'll definitely need something better than Intel's graphics.
  • 100% Linux compatibility. I think most Thinkpads do pretty good with Linux, but I've heard Nvidia drivers don't usually work very well, which will be a problem if he goes with an Nvidia card. Would older cards have their driver issues worked out by now?
  • Preferably two hard drive slots so he can have an SSD and HDD.
He doesn't really care about the resolution or how thin or light it is. He has a budget of about $500, including RAM upgrades, a replacement battery, and an SSD. Do you guys have a favorite Thinkpad that you think would suit him? Thoughts? Comments?

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#2 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:14 pm

W541 or W530 will deliver powerful CPU and mobile GPU performance and they have DVD drives that can be swapped out for SATA adapters. W530 also has the MSATA slot.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#3 Post by madicetea » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:40 am

Weboh wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:53 pm
A friend of mine will be getting a laptop soon. He doesn't like modern laptops that have terrible keyboards and trackpads. He also likes a decent amount of ports and CD drives. So he pretty much has to get an older computer. Right now, he's considering Thinkpads. Here's what he's looking for:
  • Decent video card, probably dedicated. He's not going to be doing too much gaming on this—probably the most demanding game he'll play is Civilization V. He'd like to be able to play it at closer to the recommended requirements than minimum though. Since it's probably going to have to be an older computer to get one with a CD drive, he'll definitely need something better than Intel's graphics.
  • 100% Linux compatibility. I think most Thinkpads do pretty good with Linux, but I've heard Nvidia drivers don't usually work very well, which will be a problem if he goes with an Nvidia card. Would older cards have their driver issues worked out by now?
  • Preferably two hard drive slots so he can have an SSD and HDD.
He doesn't really care about the resolution or how thin or light it is. He has a budget of about $500, including RAM upgrades, a replacement battery, and an SSD. Do you guys have a favorite Thinkpad that you think would suit him? Thoughts? Comments?
The NVIDIA thing for Linux might be relatively alright these days - I was able to run a live USB of Fedora 27 on my Thinkpad T61p the other day.
Of course, I can't guarantee much there.

Can't say that a T61p is best for Civ. V nor for having (its only one) HDD (unless perhaps there is some way to preserve the CD/DVD drive and add another HDD caddy that I am not aware of).

Good luck to your friend on his search. I don't think I'm going back to the Dell Inspiron line that I used to use before Thinkpads either - the mod culture is so strong (esp in Asia) that I don't think I'll have to even try too hard to get myself a 51nb 8th gen computer.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#4 Post by Weboh » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:51 pm

Icewobs wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:40 am

The NVIDIA thing for Linux might be relatively alright these days - I was able to run a live USB of Fedora 27 on my Thinkpad T61p the other day.
Of course, I can't guarantee much there.
Yeah, I've been checking around and it looks like Nvidia is all right now; just it's hard to update drivers (which won't be a big deal on a computer that won't be getting updated drivers...). It turns out Civ V actually requires a dedicated card on Linux.
Icewobs wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:40 am
Can't say that a T61p is best for Civ. V nor for having (its only one) HDD (unless perhaps there is some way to preserve the CD/DVD drive and add another HDD caddy that I am not aware of).
Yeah, he doesn't want something that old. The W530 that TPFanatic recommended looks really promising though. So powerful and so cheap! Turns out he ended up getting an old Alienware computer though. But now I'm contemplating getting a W530 even though I already have a Thinkpad that I was fine with... Thanks a lot for that! :wink:

Thanks for your suggestions; they were helpful.

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:09 am

@weboh:
and if you would need a 170W/20V powersupply for that W530, I got one: https://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=126046

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#6 Post by Weboh » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:54 pm

Update: My current Thinkpad is a goner. One of the hinges is partially broken, and that's causing problems; when the computer is moved while on, it bluescreens. I was able to put up with it for awhile, but now it bluescreens even when not moved and I just don't want to put up with it anymore. I know bluescreens are normally a software/driver problem, but I didn't change any drivers or anything when the glitches started.

Anyway, now I want a new computer—since my requirements are the same as my friend, I'll use this thread. I think I'll get a ThinkPad W530. It's the same generation as my current computer (Edge E540), but I hope it won't have some of the same problems. How's its hinge? Is it the same weird drop behind/no ports on the back design? Since I think that's what caused my current computer to fail, I don't want another one with the same hinge design. Anyone have any problems with this computer? Any comments about it? Anyone have one to sell me? ;) Is there a model with a numpad? Thanks for any input.

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#7 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:44 am

W530 is 1 generation older than the E540.

But I just saw this post about a very promising W540: viewtopic.php?f=70&t=128862
It needs its clunkpad replaced with the touchpad+buttons from a T450/T550.
There are 2 touchpad versions around: Alps and Synaptics.
Most people will want the Synaptics, such as this: https://www.ebay.com/itm//132408842188
Read also this: viewtopic.php?f=68&t=126860
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#8 Post by axur-delmeria » Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:46 am

Weboh wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:53 pm
[*]100% Linux compatibility. I think most Thinkpads do pretty good with Linux, but I've heard Nvidia drivers don't usually work very well, which will be a problem if he goes with an Nvidia card. Would older cards have their driver issues worked out by now?
IIRC the open-source nVidia driver (named Noveau) has decent performance up to Fermi (GTX 400 & 500) and Kepler (GTX 600 and 700, except for 750 which is Maxwell). The Quadro K2000M in the W530 is Kepler-based, same with the K2100M in the W541.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#9 Post by Weboh » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:58 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:44 am
W530 is 1 generation older than the E540.

But I just saw this post about a very promising W540: viewtopic.php?f=70&t=128862
It needs its clunkpad replaced with the touchpad+buttons from a T450/T550.
There are 2 touchpad versions around: Alps and Synaptics.
Most people will want the Synaptics, such as this: https://www.ebay.com/itm//132408842188
Read also this: viewtopic.php?f=68&t=126860
Thanks for posting that link. It's a good, powerful computer. I don't like super-high-resolution screens though (for reference, the monitor I use on my desk is 22" and 1680x1050 and I'm fine with how big things appear. I don't want to have to use scaling). I don't need a lot of RAM either—8 is probably the most I'll use. I'm trying to go as cheap as possible; I plan on reusing the RAM and SSD from my current computer, if possible, so I don't need to look for models with those. It'd be really nice if I could use the processor from my current computer on a W530. I'm not sure if laptop processors are interchangeable, but that'd save me ~$100 getting the older model computer with a newer processor.

Thoughts? Are there any W530s with a numpad, or W540s with 1080p or lower screens?

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#10 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:13 am

If you want to reuse your Edge E540 CPU/RAM/other parts, then either get another E540 in great shape, but with e.g. a bad motherboard.
Or if you want a Thinkpad with numpad, it's only T540 or W540/W541 that can reuse your E540 CPU/RAM.
If no numpad required, the T440p would be the best.
Most other/newer models have CPU and/or RAM soldered.
All Thinkpad xx4x models need their clunkpad replaced.
Recommended screen for all the above: FHD (1920x1080) in IPS version.
Any lower resolution is crap.

Don't forget that the E-series is an Economy model, built with cheap(er) parts, while the T-series is a Thinkpad with higher quality parts.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#11 Post by Weboh » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:58 pm

Thanks for your advice. I decided I'll get the W540 linked. I want the better graphics card, mainly (it's not really a gaming card and games aren't really optimized for linux, so the more power the better). Thankfully, that particular W540 still has buttons for the trackpoint--which is all I'll use--so I don't need to replace the clunkpad. Plus, now I'll have an extra SSD and RAM I can give some of my friends. Thanks again!

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#12 Post by Weboh » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:47 pm

I just realized that computer doesn't come with a charger for some reason (guess it's stolen; they could afford to upgrade everything else to the max but not throw in the charger?). Would the charger to my E540 work on it, or do I need to buy another one?

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#13 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:29 am

Such a W540 with i7-quad CPU requires a 170W charger.
I doubt it even runs with your E540 charger.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#14 Post by Weboh » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:04 am

What do you think about this carger? https://www.ebay.com/itm/135W-20V-6-75A ... SwoIJbj6~L
Third-party ones usually aren't very good, especially ones made in China, but I really don't want to pay $60 for an official Lenovo one (which I realize is also made in China.:P).

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#15 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:26 am

If it's not genuine, I wouldn't buy it.
YMMV but you do so at your own risk/peril.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#16 Post by portsample » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:45 pm

madicetea wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:40 am
Good luck to your friend on his search. I don't think I'm going back to the Dell Inspiron line that I used to use before Thinkpads either - the mod culture is so strong (esp in Asia) that I don't think I'll have to even try too hard to get myself a 51nb 8th gen computer.
Hoping 51nb will revisit the T6x 14.1 SXGA+ model.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#17 Post by Weboh » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:58 pm

Just got the computer in the mail today. It does have a clunkpad, even though the pictures made it appear otherwise. :(

Is replacing the clunkpad relatively easy? Do you have a tutorial (the post you linked just refers to finding drivers, it seems)? Any members nearby who could help me with it?

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#18 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:19 am

Get the ThinkPad T540p, W540 manual from the HMM link above.
You need to remove the keyboard bezel in order to swap the clunkpad.
Good way to getting to know your new toy.
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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#19 Post by Weboh » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:29 am

The manual does make it look easy to take apart, but I know from experience it's hard to follow manuals and they leave things out they expect you to know and a lot of time it's not easy. :P Is there a YouTube video or something showing the process?

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Lenovopad Problems

#20 Post by Weboh » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:31 am

Bad news. It looks like W540s have the same issue that Y540s have with their screens: Basically, the lower the battery life gets and the more graphics power you use, the more the screen starts to flicker. See here: https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Lenovo-P-Y ... 369/page/3.

It would probably be a $200 or more to replace the screen, and this certainly isn't something I can do by myself. Anyone else have experience with W540s? Anyone else have any luck doing something besides replacing the screen? Anyone near me with the know-how to help me fix it? Thanks.

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#21 Post by ZaZ » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:55 am

Weboh wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:29 am
they leave things out they expect you to know
Like perhaps knowing how to use Google? :D

This may be of interest.
ProBook 470 G5

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Re: Looking to get a "new" Thinkpad

#22 Post by TheForgottenKing » Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:37 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:19 am
Get the ThinkPad T540p, W540 manual from the HMM link above.
You need to remove the keyboard bezel in order to swap the clunkpad.
Good way to getting to know your new toy.
Also consider the W541, which is a W540 that does not need the trackpad replaced. It's the same machine otherwise and sells for similar prices. I also recommend getting the K2100m along with the 3K IPS screen. The 1080p screen isn't as good.
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