My Lenovo ThinkPad W530, purchased in 2012 and upgraded with new components. Current configuration:
- Intel Core i7 3720QM
- 16 GB (2x 8) Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 MHz
- NVIDIA Quadro K2000M
- Ultrabay hard drive caddy from NewmodeUS
- Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB SSD, Windows 7
- Samsung 850 Pro 256 GB SSD, Ubuntu 14.04
- Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300
Additional components include a backlit keyboard and a spare 9-cell battery.
Total cost of all components as configured over 2 years: $2605
- Has a magnesium roll cage inside! Survived dozens of face drops and bumps into doorframes.
- Great thermal management! Palms don’t get too hot, sometimes feeling heat through the keys.
- Battery life optimization! One of the preinstalled programs (bleh) slightly discharges the battery when plugged in to prevent constantly being at 100%.
- Lots of ports! Aside from the typical Ethernet, VGA, and SD card slot, there’s a Firewire (IEEE 1394) port, 2 USB 3.0’s, 2 USB 2.0’s (one with Always On charging capability), Mini DisplayPort, and some expansion slot I don’t even.
- Nice keyboard! At first I thought the chiclets would suck, but they are very comfortable and I get great accuracy on them.
- Sturdy hinges! Some wobble after 2 years, but still stiff. They open and close like a charm.
- Latching lid! No worrying that it’ll just pop open if handled funny.
- Trackpad! It feels great to use and still isn’t worn out.
- Fingerprint reader! Saves time logging in and feels really fun.
- Bricked. Twice: once due to a Windows corruption, another time due to power circuitry failure on the motherboard. The second failure cost me $550 to fix.
- Quiet speakers. Can barely hear movies or videos more than a few feet away at maximum volume (on Windows).
- Keyboard mute, microphone, and power LEDs don’t light up anymore after replacing the motherboard.
- Single combined headset jack. Requires me to use an adapter for my headphone+mic plugs on my headset; some adapters have broken on me already.
- Some people say it’s heavy. I think it’s fine for a tank in computer form.
- The monitor rarely will crap out with green, purple, and yellow static, forcing a sleep or reboot cycle to get it back to normal.
- Not for sale on Lenovo’s website anymore and they went downhill with the W540. W530s on eBay and Amazon cost upwards of $2000 to $3000+ with inferior components. No easy replacement.