Laptop to work 24/7 with a closed lid


Jan 20, 2017

I'm currently using Thinkpad T420 with ssd drive as a primary desktop. It is switched on 24/7, lid closed, all the time up, light load (web browsing, 1-2 virtual machines, also light loaded, sometimes raw photo processing etc). Works that way for years (5-6) with no issues and, actually, no any maintenance, aside from occasional dust cleaning.
As the laptop is quite old and I find 8GB RAM limiting (because of VMs) I'm searching for a replacement. The question I can't answer is if laptops like Dell XPS 15 or Alienware 15 are as robust as my thinkpad to work in such mode, with a closed lid, never switched off (only reboots for updates) etc.
No plans to run CPU 70-90% all the time, just need a reliable, fast home PC, with that specific requirement - always on. Of course, obvious option is to get another thinkpad, but want to check something else and having dedicated graphical card could be a nice bonus.

Any advice/ experience sharing is welcome! Thank you!


That is a difficult question to answer because most people do not run laptops 24/7. The longest I ran my Dell Latitude 3540 with a Core i5-4200u was for something like 55 hours. I was using it to batch encode videos so during that time the CPU was running 100%. The temperature definitely stayed below 70c during that time according to Core Temp.



Nov 22, 2013
functionaly most should do this just fine. I took the msi ge72vr to be my desktop replacement and I run it with the lid closed and use external controls and monitor/audio no problem, save having to open the lid to turn the computer on and BIOS work.

If you are questioning life spans you will be on your own. No one does 24/7 life time test on laptops. Gambling on hardware, you are left in a tighter spot with laptops because a hardware failure can be far more expensive to fix. In the end laptops were always a trade off of system access for convenience.



I'm mildly intrigued by your post and have a few questions if you don't mind:

1) Since you're basically using the T420 as an 'enterprise server' rather than a portable device, have you considered getting an actual server? If you "just need a reliable, fast home PC" $1,000 will get you a lot of powerful servers - towers, rack mounts and blades - on Amazon and eBay. This option will allow you to install a graphics card and expand RAM as and when needed.

2) If it has to be a laptop, you could go with what has worked for you before, i.e. get another ThinkPad as you pointed out yourself. BUT Adding a dedicated graphics card could sabotage your current work practices because the GPU might generate just enough extra heat to cause problems with the lid closed.


Jan 20, 2017
No, it is not exactly a server, just a PC which I need to be up 99% of the time :) Getting another thinkpad is a valid option as it proved to be reliable machine, I was just curios if that kind of reliability is something common among modern laptops. If it is common I may consider getting one with GPU, just for fun.
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