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Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

W530/W540/W550 series specific matters only
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Septfox
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Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#1 Post by Septfox » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:17 pm

I'm in need of a multipurpose laptop that I can work on (light coding/scripting, some DB entry), do some 3D modeling on, watch things on, and occasionally do light gaming on whilst traveling. Preferably one that also won't fall to pieces if I look at it wrong...I intend to buy used, rebuild the battery and use it for at least the next several years.

My last laptop was an old T42. You know how it is..lid latches, proper Thinkpad keyboard, mass of approximately two or three lesser laptops. It was my only computer for a long time, and I absolutely loved that thing. Unfortunately it died right around the time I built a desktop system (of, I suspect, a lifted GPU chip caused by my ignorantly moving the laptop around by the front thirds of the case *cough*) and I never got around to pulling the mainboard and figuring out what went wrong.
Rather than doing so now and dealing with its dinosaur-era Pentium M, I figured it'd be better to get something modernish that retains the bulletproofness I fondly remember.

I looked at Lenovo's modern offerings, and found myself thoroughly unimpressed with what look to be ugly, generic "business" laptops with chiclet keyboards and more cost-cutting measures in place than you can shake a stick at. Which led to me looking at the biggest, meanest not-modern Thinkpad I could find...which in turn led me to the W530.

I understand that the w530 (and T530 aside from the graphics I suppose)
* ships with a chiclet keyboard, but can be easily converted to a more classic board
* can be freely swapped between HD++ and FHD TN panels, but needs some extra steps to convert to IPS if I wish
* has a fairly wide range of processor upgrades, up to a very beefy i7
* can have a reasonably powerful quadro 2000m that might or might not be fully Win10 compatible (doesn't bother me so much, used to Win7 anyway)
* is the last Thinkpad to have a lid latch
* is the last Thinkpad to have quite so much of a "almost more likely to damage pavement as it is to receive damage in a fall" build quality
* is the last Thinkpad to have an ultrabay that isn't a "cleverly" disguised fixed expansion slot
...there's more I'm sure I missed, just what came off the top of my head.


So, thread title? I don't have my heart dead-set on this particular model, and am open to alternatives. Also open to being corrected on any of the above, it's entirely possible I got something wrong.

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#2 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:54 pm

It is a plenty good machine. CPUs really haven't gotten any faster in the last 6 years, just more power efficient. I can tell you that that 2.5+Ghz quad core i7 will kick the living s*** out of a new i5-8250 at 1.6Ghz. Why rebuild the battery, getting ones now that are still in tip top condition if not NOS is quite easy right now. Stock pile them and you should need to get those bomb shelters open. Those are hard to rebuild. Just because the panel is TN doesn't mean is crap. It is quite good. Just use those stiff hinges to place it in the right spot.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

Septfox
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#3 Post by Septfox » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:57 am

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:54 pm
Why rebuild the battery, getting ones now that are still in tip top condition if not NOS is quite easy right now.
Battery rebuild for increased capacity and to make sure I have good cells in it. It looks like the w530's 9-cell has something like 2800-2900mah cells in it; 18650s can get a bit better than that, and I've read the controller will adjust to bigger ones to a certain extent. Assuming I don't trip their silly DRM doing it.

Not an immediate worry, though, unless I get a laptop with an already-bad battery. More of a rainy-day project.
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:54 pm
Just because the panel is TN doesn't mean is crap. It is quite good. Just use those stiff hinges to place it in the right spot.
Some of my work involves showing other people stuff, it would be nice to have the widest viewing angle possible. I've looked at reviews, though, and the TN panel's angles do look adequate.
IPS also has better color reproduction and contrast.

But again...not an immediate worry. The stock TN panels look like they'll serve fine, certainly good enough for work and videos.

---

How resistant is the W530 chassis to flexing and being improperly lifted (e.g. by the corners), and are there any known issues with the mainboard being damaged if it does flex? I plan on being a bit more careful than I was with my T42, but it would be good to know in advance if it's more resilient in that regard anyway.

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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#4 Post by jaspen-meyer » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:16 am

The W530 weighs ~6 lbs. That's heavy for a traveling notebook.
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Septfox
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#5 Post by Septfox » Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:30 pm

jaspen-meyer wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:16 am
The W530 weighs ~6 lbs. That's heavy for a traveling notebook.
Perhaps. The T42 weighs just shy of 5 pounds, but I never felt particularly burdened by it; a good bag helps a lot.

thinkpadcollection
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#6 Post by thinkpadcollection » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:14 pm

T530 and W530 shares 95% same parts except motherboard and heatsink and both can take quad or dual core processors. Only difference is W530 can do 4 memory modules if equipped with quad core as original but there were W530 notebooks with 2 slot only motherboards. Which is dangerous to not know when shopping for W530 which point is W530 should be 4 slots all the way period. :)

I rather look at W540 for better USB 3.0 support over Ivy Bridge type W530 and T530 due to early USB 3.0 not refined enough. I know this because I had Haswell and Broadwell generation notebooks and USB 3.0 was much faster. Also processors is more clocked higher than Ivy bridge.

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

KentT
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#7 Post by KentT » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:34 pm

If a W520 came into my life cheap enough I could afford it, It would be a major upgrade to what I own now (a ThinkPad T410, and a X131e and an old Panasonic ToughBook CF 30). 6 pounds in my world is not bad. I am used sometimes to carrying a full rugged ToughBook, and some days need that level of ruggedness. A W530 for a personal machine is a nice box by any modern standard save for power efficiency, and a powerhouse.

my03
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#8 Post by my03 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:12 am

Definately, yes.

My work machine is a T560 (32gb, 256gb SSD) and my private one is the W530 (3720qm) with 24gb and the latter one is by far the quicker one (for development, running appservers such as weblogic, ESB software, Java, etc).

Its actually quite amazing that it can keep up as good as it does given its age. But as the rest of the guys above says, not THAT much has happened regarding the performance for the last couple of years. Yes, newer ones uses the ultra low voltage stuff, but for day-to-day work the "old guy" can still keep up and do it well.
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X61 w. T7500, 8GB, 240gb ssd, 1024x768 (middleton bios)
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#9 Post by CrazyTPFan » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 am

The W530 is a perfect machine for this day and age! It is way better than the brittle plastic crap that stores sell us for the about the same price. Put a Quad Core in it and it will be a fully fledged mobile workstation.
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#10 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:11 am

CrazyTPFan wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 am
The W530 is a perfect machine for this day and age! It is way better than the brittle plastic crap that stores sell us for the about the same price. Put a Quad Core in it and it will be a fully fledged mobile workstation.
Brittle Plastic? Thats not the issue. Its the aluminum that will show every dent, scratch and scuff it will ever experience, also providing a poor external chassis for the components and having large temperature shifts on the palm rests.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

CrazyTPFan
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#11 Post by CrazyTPFan » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:24 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:11 am
CrazyTPFan wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 am
The W530 is a perfect machine for this day and age! It is way better than the brittle plastic crap that stores sell us for the about the same price. Put a Quad Core in it and it will be a fully fledged mobile workstation.
Brittle Plastic? Thats not the issue. Its the aluminum that will show every dent, scratch and scuff it will ever experience, also providing a poor external chassis for the components and having large temperature shifts on the palm rests.
My mom has a crappy HP stream and within one month the plastic started to separate from the chassis and it won't snap back into place.
Dailies:

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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#12 Post by TPFanatic » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:46 pm

It is a very solidly constructed laptop with strong base material, magnesium rollcage, and strong lid material. However they cut corners on the palmrest, the whole early 15.6" lineup (T510, T520, T530, W510, W520, W530) uses very thin plastic palmrests that are very prone to breaking unless handled super carefully.
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jal2
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Re: Would you recommend a W530 in this day and age?

#13 Post by jal2 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:47 pm

If you can settle with the RAM limit of 16G and the weaker graphics, I'd go for a T530. It runs with the smaller 90W power supply while a W530 with i7 needs at least the 135W brick.

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