Are there any laptops still being made that allow users to upgrade their own hard drives? It seem nowadays there aren't even access panels on the back. I made the mistake of buying a couple of laptops for gifts from Costco a few years ago that I can't upgrade. Couldn't believe how slow they were. I understand most hard drives are hardwired for cost saving purposes.
I know of no laptop that uses a "hardwired" storage device (not even sure what you mean). All use standard storage devices, SSDs or HDDs. The issue is that many inexpensive consumer grade laptops are not designed to be user serviceable, so taking apart can be a challenge (to get to the storage device).
What are the make/models of the Costco purchased systems you refer to?
The laptops I purchased were HP's. Don't recall the models. But I bought them as Christmas presents. When we unboxed them, we found them to be slower than the HP's we bought 3 years before for the same price. Around $600. I was going to swap out the hard drives with SSD's to see if that helped, but found there were no access panels anymore. I was told by "reps" at Costco that as a cost savings manufacturers were making computers nowadays so they couldn't be easily worked on. He said they were actually "hardwired". Not sure what he was implying, but I knew there weren't any access panels.
I had previously swapped out a hard drive on an older HP with an SSD., and increased the memory. It works fine, but is starting to show it's age. But it's been a work horse.
I don't want to be taking the complete back-panel off of a new laptop just so I can see if I can install an SSD. It was easier when the access panel where there. And the price manufactures are charging for SSD's they install are ridiculous. I can get one twice as big for half as much. When I'm out and about looking for laptops now, I look to see if there are access panels for HD's, Memory, or wifi cards. I haven't seen one yet nowadays that have them. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong place?
I have a HP x360 m6-aq005dx, carefull on these the front 2 foot pads did not have screws under them though had holes for them, can puncture battery or hard drive,, nothing attached to cover, but did find I had a m2 slot, and ordered my 1tb nvme 2280 for it, and replaced hd with a ssd, most do allow you to update ram and hd, without voiding warranty
I've upgraded 2 laptops now with SSD's and am looking to do the third soon. My suggestion would be to find one you like and research its upgradability before purchasing. Some laptops utilise more expensive SSD technology (e.g. the PCIe M.2 SSD's) but generally speaking they seem fairly changeable from what I've seen.