Which Used Thinkpad Should I Buy?

bondfan123

Honorable
Apr 20, 2013
5
0
10,510
0
Hi,

Being only a High School student, I managed to pick up a part time job at a cell phone and electronics repair shop. With me being very tech-savy at my age, building, upgrading, and repairing computers, laptops, and phones, this was a nice fit! Currently, I have a custom built gaming PC for more intensive tasks at home and a 2016 Macbook Pro for portable use and school work, however I will need a new device to bring to and from work. Nothing too powerful is needed, since I primarily will be doing web-based applications, browsing, and youtube, however it should be noted that I AM looking for a semi-rugged and reliable machine with decent battery life of a few hours. Although the obvious answer is "Why not the Macbook"?, its because I would never forgive myself if it fell or got damaged :lol: , and a separate device, in my mind, would be good to separate work files containing cliental information and media away from personal files of my own, as well as locked down and secure( Now we're just getting James Bond Style, haha!). Looking at things price wise, i'm not interested in spending more than $250, and I WILL DEFINITELY BE BUYING USED! In terms of performance, price, and reliability, Thinkpads come to mind. Not only have I always wanted to own one, but they seem to fit my situation perfectly. Doing some investigating, here are my options:


1.) Thinkpad T500 (Old, but Good enough)

  • * I'd upgrade the CPU to an Intel Extreme X9100, which I feel comfortable doing, and am aware of its support and possible heat issues (Good MX-4 and pretty cool in building, so should be ok?)
    * Put in a 256GB SSD, Fresh install of Windows 7 Pro 64bit
    *Upgrade to 8GB DDR3 RAM

    TOTAL: ~$180


    2.) Thinkpad T420 / T520 (WHAT IS THE Difference?????)
    * Upgrade RAM to 8GB (maybe 16, but not necessary)
    * (I AIM FOR A i5 or i7, but MAY have to upgrade to one or the other, quad core possible?)-limited to 2nd gen
    *SSD if Price permits 256GB

    Total: Pushing $220


    3.) Thinkpad T430 / T530 (WHAT IS THE Difference?????)
    * Upgrade RAM to 8GB (maybe 16, but not necessary)
    * (I AIM FOR A i5 or i7, but MAY have to upgrade to one or the other, quad core possible?)
    -3rd gen possible
    *SSD if Price permits 256GB

    Total: Pushing $250, if not more




Please feel free to lend me your options. I look forward to your advice and hope we can find a good solution. Thanks in advance!

 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
T420s is good, T420 is bulkier. T500 is quite a bit larger (15.6" screen vs 14.1 in the 420/430 models). You will probably need to replace the battery in any used system you get unless it's a newer model or you get lucky with the battery. A good battery is about $60, the cheap ones don't last at all, never had a knock off battery last longer than a year or provide anything close to OEM battery usage time.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
T420s is good, T420 is bulkier. T500 is quite a bit larger (15.6" screen vs 14.1 in the 420/430 models). You will probably need to replace the battery in any used system you get unless it's a newer model or you get lucky with the battery. A good battery is about $60, the cheap ones don't last at all, never had a knock off battery last longer than a year or provide anything close to OEM battery usage time.
 

bondfan123

Honorable
Apr 20, 2013
5
0
10,510
0
T420s is good, T420 is bulkier. T500 is quite a bit larger (15.6" screen vs 14.1 in the 420/430 models). You will probably need to replace the battery in any used system you get unless it's a newer model or you get lucky with the battery. A good battery is about $60, the cheap ones don't last at all, never had a knock off battery last longer than a year or provide anything close to OEM battery usage time
Hi,

I know the T420s has a soldered CPU, so if I wanted to get a higher end i7 for the 2nd gen, I couldnt. I'll look into the T420. What's the difference between the t420 and t520 anyway? Thanks Again!
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator


Don't buy a laptop with the idea or upgrading the CPU. If you want an i7, get a model with an i7. For basic use, there is no need to go past the low to medium speed CPUs. 500 series are larger than the 400 series, bigger size screens.
 

bondfan123

Honorable
Apr 20, 2013
5
0
10,510
0
T420s is good, T420 is bulkier. T500 is quite a bit larger (15.6" screen vs 14.1 in the 420/430 models). You will probably need to replace the battery in any used system you get unless it's a newer model or you get lucky with the battery. A good battery is about $60, the cheap ones don't last at all, never had a knock off battery last longer than a year or provide anything close to OEM battery usage time.
For some reason I'm remaining partial to the T500. I like the fact that I can really spend for more RAM and a larger SSD, and maybe even an core 2 extreme (which I aim to do for fun, haha) if I wanted. Is the T420/T520/T430/T530 a big difference in terrms of power? Thanks!
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator


For just basic tasks the 500 models are fine, especially with a solid state drive and 8 GB of RAM. But they are also way more likely to need a new battery so your cost savings will go right there.
 
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