long time thinkpad user needs advice on new purchase

Discussion in 'hardware' started by mattdocs12345, Apr 28, 2013.

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  1. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    I've been using thinkpads for about 10 years now. I am looking for a replacement for my x120e. My price range is up to $700 with taxes and shipping but hopefully less.

    I went to lenovo outlet and found basically 2 models:
    1) Thinkpad T420 with TN screen 1600x900 resolution for ~$600
    2) Thinkpad Twist with IPS screen for ~$560
    For me screen quality and built quality are the two most important factors. I am really thorn. T420 has superior build quality and old style keyboard which is a huge plus for me. However its biggest drawback is the LCD with poor viewing angles and poor contrasts. Something that I can't stand in any laptop.
    On the other hand Thinkpad Twist has IPS, amazing screen comparable to an iPAD quality but it's RAM is only 4GB and it's soldered to the motherboard which means I won't ever be able to increase it.

    Do you guys think that 4GB will suffice for windows 8.1 and 9? I am planning on using this machine for quite awhile.
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    That's the $million question. Suffice? That is highly subjective and something only you can really answer. Will Windows 8 and future versions run in 4Gb? Sure (assuming future versions are compatible with the hardware). But to me, "suffice" is synonymous with "adequate". Do you want to "settle" for adequate? "Adequate" is often fine for short periods, but can get old quick, after extended periods of use.

    Sadly, you failed to say for what. If using this machine to check email, Facebook, and watch an occasional video, then adequate is all you need. The problem with adequate today (with no path for upgrades) is it is a gamble that it will be adequate a couple years down the road when our needs may be different.
     
  3. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    I have T420 1600x900 screen is far better than the 1366x768 screen that you can get with the T420 (which is OK and comparable to other OK screens such as my other laptop a HP 6910p).

    Cheers, Nick
     
  4. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    I need my computer to be very fast when browsing the internet, watching HD videos on Netflix and opening office documents. Having said that my current x120e with 1.5Ghz AMD solo core fails me on HD video play back. Also the screen quality is just horrendous.

    Thinkpad twist has a nice IPS screen but it wobbles according to several reviews. Not sure if it would drive me crazy or not.
     
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    The ability to view HD content without problems is more dependent on the graphics solution and amount of RAM than it is the CPU. The more capable the graphics solution, the faster it can accept and process graphics tasks. And it takes very little CPU horsepower to hand-off tasks.
     
  6. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    What happens when the machine doesn't have a dedicated graphics card. Then the main CPU is used right? In addition to RAM of course.
     
  7. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    Can't you customize the Thinkpad Twist with 8GB? Or would upgrading to 8GB push it out of your budget?
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    No. Systems with integrated graphics have just that - "integrated" graphics. That is, the GPU (graphics processor) and associated components are mounted on the motherboard (just like the sound "card" and network interface "card"). The CPU just hands off graphics tasks to the integrated graphics, and not to a graphics card.
    The best of the integrated graphics solution also have integrated RAM dedicated to graphics. But generally speaking, you are correct - with integrated graphics, there is typically a chunk (sometimes, a significant chunk) of system RAM that is stolen... err... I mean "shared" for graphic use.

    So if limited on system RAM from the start, using integrated graphics may create a bottleneck. Adding more system RAM typically provides the most performance bang for your money, and is typically the first priority in improving performance. But if adding RAM is not possible, installing a card (thus freeing up that stolen, err... shared RAM) may be beneficial.

    But again - simply watching an HD movie from a BluRay disk, for example, is not a demanding task for a computer. This is one reason why more and more home theater PCs (HTPC) used in high-end home theater systems are being built around tiny (6.7" x 6.7") Mini-ITX Motherboards that not only have integrated graphics, but often permanently mounted CPUs too.

    Integrated graphics is not the demon it used to be. If you stay away from the most entry-level class of boards, integrated graphics today are fully capable of supporting most users demands - include some gaming (assuming the system is not starving of RAM).
     
  9. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Thanks for clarifying this up for me Bill. This is pushing me further and further away from the twist. In addition I visited local staples store and the screen wobbles on it like there is no tomorrow. Poor built quality....

    No the lenovo outlet models are refurbished, they cannot be reconfigured. And they don't have 8GB models in there either.
     
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