ThinkPad W530 “HOMURA”

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

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

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