Tommy Ku's Method Stub

Reading and thinking

Do I need a new laptop

Posted on 2017.02.21

Last year I wrote about my looking for a new laptop to replace my then 4-year old now 5 Thinkpad X230.

Although I didn’t get a new one, I didn’t keep the ‘old one’ either. Instead of buying the latest 12.5 inch offering in the X series (Thinkpad X260), I have upgraded my Thinkpad X230 parts to keep up with the laptop spec nowadays.

Some might have noticed that before my trip to Taipei last August, I upgraded the RAM from 4GB to 8GB dual channel DDR3 1600MHz. That saved my laptop from freezing while compiling Android apps. This time, I upgraded the 512GB 7200rpm hard disk to a 275GB Crucial MX300 solid state drive, bringing a sharp performance boost.

SSD performance (left) vs Hard disk performance (right) using CrystalDiskMark

The two upgrades costed me $860HKD ($220 for RAM and $640 for SSD) — not cheap, but looking at its potential substitute the Thinkpad X260, which starts at $8108HKD for comparable spec, this is quite a good deal. Although X260 does use RAM with higher clock rate, a slightly faster CPU, and an option to upgrade to a full HD IPS panel, X230 offers what X260 doesn’t — upgradability.

X230’s RAM slots back cover and a hard disk bay cover can be removed with just 5 screws. On X260, the whole back plate has to be removed before one could access the only RAM slot and the hard disk. X260 didn’t allow for simple upgrade and it was nobody’s fault. To keep X260’s compact form factor sacrifices had to be made and I was really surprised that at least they are not soldering everything on like the 2016 X1 carbon.

I am a die-hard fan of the Thinkpad X-series despite many prefer Macbook more. The upgradability of my X230 enables it to extend its usable life beyond 5 years which is hardly achievable without desoldering something on a Macbook. Despite battery life is my next concern, I would happily set sail on my trustworthy better than ever 5-year old laptop for the time being.