My lappy has bitten the dust, and I’m in the market for a laptop. I’m thinking about going Thinkpad.

I only plan on this being for web browsing, text editing, coding, etc. Any gaming is done on my desktop.

What would be a good Thinkpad model? I do t mind getting an older/refurbished one. Haven’t been on the laptop market in nearly 8 years, so I don’t know what to look for anymore

  • Darkrai@kbin.social
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    6 months ago

    If you want to support Linux devs and continued development, I would buy from System76, Tuxedo Computers, or even Framework.

    If you’re going to buy used then yeah the Thinkpad is fine.

      • Corroded@leminal.space
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        6 months ago

        They’re also significantly more expensive than ThinkPads and might be a bit much for what OP plans to do

        • teawrecks@sopuli.xyz
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          6 months ago

          For a new laptop, the initial cost is higher. But the idea is that future maintenance and upgrades would significantly lower the long-term cost of laptops. If a part breaks, you don’t need to buy a new laptop, just that part. If a new CPU comes out that you want, just upgrade your mainboard for less than the cost of a new laptop.

        • Corgana@startrek.website
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          5 months ago

          I hear this a lot but in my experience the Framework is often in the same range and sometimes slightly cheaper. Right now a framework with i7-1360P and 16GB Ram is $1469. An X1 carbon with a (slightly slower) cpu is $400 more. Ryzen is similar. Not hating on Thinkpads but the Framework is a lot more competitive than you’ll often hear and the upgradeability is obviously a massive financial incentive too.

          • Corroded@leminal.space
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            5 months ago

            I think normally when people are referring to buying a ThinkPad they aren’t talking about a modern model. Usually not even the X1 Carbon series; especially past the 6th gen. They’re referring to models in the X,P, or T series before the T490. Models that can be bought relatively cheap and upgraded however the user wants.

            The T480 can be bought for around $200. The CPU is going to be a fair amount weaker but for $1,200 some people are willing to make the sacrifice for a casual personal use machine.

            • Corgana@startrek.website
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              5 months ago

              That makes sense. Buying used is always going to be more economical (and ecological) than new, no matter how “anti waste” it is.

              • Corroded@leminal.space
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                5 months ago

                I think a Framework laptop could make sense for a power user who is using it for work or gaming but I feel like upgrades are needed less frequently with web browsing, coding, and word processing.

                I’d be curious to see how many people essentially use ThinkPads as a secondary computer that’s just a bit more traditional and customizable than a Chromebook.

        • atzanteol@sh.itjust.works
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          6 months ago

          But it’ll arrive with Linux and it’ll work. You also don’t have to spend a week googling wifi chips to see if they’ll work.

          • sping@lemmy.sdf.org
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            5 months ago

            Just throw in a $20 Intel Wi-Fi card if necessary, and don’t buy the first models of the latest CPU, as with any manufacturer, and Thinkpads are some of the another for Linux.

              • const_void
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                5 months ago

                This is a prime example of why we should be supporting manufacturers that ship open source firmware like coreboot and not the proprietary junk Lenovo ships.

              • sping@lemmy.sdf.org
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                5 months ago

                None I’ve ever used have been. I have a card I dropped in working right now on a 2 yr old Thinkpad.

      • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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        5 months ago

        I love the idea of framework but they’re so expensive for the hardware you get

        I get why that is and I will surely at some point end up with one but might wait til they’re more readily available second hand

      • merthyr1831@lemmy.world
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        5 months ago

        I get the price premium, but they refuse to sell a lower tier motherboard (i3/ryzen 3) so you gotta splash out 1k+.

        guess the intention is to get 2nd hand boards but they’re still quite pricey since it’s so new

        • Jumuta@sh.itjust.works
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          5 months ago

          I think their hardware is too expensive to justify an i3 model. The price difference between an i5 and an i3 is probably too small compared to the cost of the rest of their device.

    • InternetCitizen2@lemmy.world
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      6 months ago

      I got a System 76 Lemur 9 a few years ago. It was slightly cheaper than a comparable Dell XPS. The laptop is pricy but overall quit nice. I’d consider another one.

  • 1984@lemmy.today
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    6 months ago

    I wouldn’t buy thinkpads anymore… Recent models are not good quality. Mouse pad broke on my first one, and keyboard on the second one. This was ThinkPad Carbon 8 and T14 I believe.

    They used to be great but no longer, even though notebookcheck keeps giving them top marks in reviews.

    • carzian
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      5 months ago

      Completely agree. Had to fix a coworkers year old thinkpad. Had motherboard, then bios, then graphics issues. It’s been a complete nightmare

    • Chiyo@lemmy.world
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      6 months ago

      My company uses several Thinkpad models. By far the worst are the X1 Carbon Gen 9 and 10. The gen 9s especially die all the time. We generally see more issues with thin and light models in general. We don’t really see many issues with T14 or T15.

      • Evoliddaw
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        5 months ago

        P1 Carbon Gen 4 about a year old. Thermal paste was nearly solid, and the thermal pads were not placed properly to cover all the components they were meant to. Overheated and crashed tens of times per day since day one. Finally repasted and replaced pads, only to find they literally left plastic covering part of the contact between half the graphics memory and the copper heat sink. They couldn’t even be bothered to design the thermals correctly for a $5500 Core i9 RTX 3080TI laptop.

    • sgtnasty
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      5 months ago

      My T430 has outlasted my X1 extreme. It was built differently

  • Certainity45
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    6 months ago

    T480 is the last good Thinkpad. Even T490 is a huge downgrade.

    T430 or X230 if you’re into modding. The opportunities for modding them are endless. Keyboard from xx20-series (best ever made for laptops), FHD IPS panel, re-celling the battery with 18650-cells, second storage drive with mstata mod… If I remember right, T430 cd bay can be replaced with secondary battery too.

    The old models are compatible with FreeBSD too.

      • Certainity45
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        5 months ago

        Just wow. Hopefully it works with T430 too, since it has so much more cpu power with quad-core i7-3612qm and runs much cooler than the stock dual-core i5 ever ran.

        Too bad I have no time or interest to tinker with these as much as I tinkered 5 years ago.

    • pizzaboi@lemm.ee
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      5 months ago

      My T480 does everything I need. Picked it up for $200 and spent another $100-$150 to get brand new batteries, a pretty good screen, much faster storage, and upped it to 24GB of RAM. Pretty awesome. Pop!_OS runs like a charm.

  • cirdanlunae@lemmy.blahaj.zoneOP
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    6 months ago

    I went away for a few hours, wow, all the replies! Thanks all!

    I ended up going with a refurbished T480s. Wanted something I could upgrade memory/storage on. The form factor and the metal case also sounded appealing. Should have it in a week.

  • utopiah
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    6 months ago

    FWIW ThinkPad is not IBM anymore. I assume it’s obvious but just in case it’s not 100% clear, a Chinese company (Lenovo) bought the brand 2 decades ago https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinkPad

    I’m not arguing that the quality or Linux support changed since then, just make it explicit in case somebody might ride on the nostalgia of once great hardware devices.

    PS: I rocked an X31 with ratpoison a while ago, before the times of MacBook Air and I was convinced I was pretty cool.

  • Lettuce eat lettuce
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    6 months ago

    T480 is solid. I think those still had fully upgradable RAM slots, the T490 series started having soldered single slot so you could only upgrade one of them. T470s are starting to be a little long in the tooth, but still solid for the kind of tasks you are looking for.

    On eBay they can be had for $200-$300 depending on model.

  • DosDude👾@retrolemmy.com
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    6 months ago

    If you go web browsing and text editing just get a 2nd hand one. Most laptops can do that. I would just replace the HD with an SSD if it doesn’t have one.

    I have an old hp laptop of 12+ years. But hp is a removed to replace the HDD. So that was an adventure.

    • IrritableOcelot@beehaw.org
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      6 months ago

      Yeah I can explicitly not recommend modern HP or Toshiba laptops for reliability reasons. I’ve had serious hardware and structural issues with both. Also, in general 2-in-1s will break at the hinge in less time than other laptops. Lenovo 2-in-1s specifically have known issues with the hinge which can shatter the screen. If you want durability, go for a more traditional form factor with no touchscreen.

      Edit: oops thought you said 2-in-1

    • potpie@beehaw.org
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      5 months ago

      I love getting years of good service from old computers, but I do want to add something: old laptop means old battery, and if they’re not producing the same form factor anymore, then even a replacement battery will probably be old stock that’s been degrading for years. Unfortunately I don’t know what company’s models have the best longevity here in terms of battery form factor.

      • DosDude👾@retrolemmy.com
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        5 months ago

        I agree. Though off-brand batteries can be a good replacement, if you find a reputable brand. I’ve replaced my battery with a bigger capacity off-brand battery, and it’s been working like a charm for 4 years now.

  • thecrotch@sh.itjust.works
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    5 months ago

    I don’t recommend thinkpads. As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, they don’t allow you to replace your own wifi card. Latitudes have great Linux support, and as a business class machine they’re as reliable and easy to work on as thinkpads

  • sibloure@beehaw.org
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    6 months ago

    I got a used ThinkPad T480s and installed 40 GB of RAM in it for Qubes OS. It’s modern enough to charge over USB-C, so one plug for everything. I also have a MacBook I use for school and both are solid.

    • Elkenders@feddit.uk
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      5 months ago

      Second for this. Got one myself. 1080p, USB C, upgradable ram, I replaced the internal and external batteries no problem. I stuck a second SSD inside last weekend and replaced the thermal paste in about 20 mins. If you like tinkering and being able to repair and maintain yourself it’s really great.

      Got win 11 on one SSD and Debian on the second and all running well.

      • sibloure@beehaw.org
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        5 months ago

        Wow I just learned I could put a second SSD in the WWAN slot! Sounds awesome for a dual boot setup.

        • Elkenders@feddit.uk
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          5 months ago

          Yeah, was easy peasy. Bought the sad off eBay. Be careful which SSD you pick up only specific ones fit, I think there’s a thread on Lemmy somewhere. I used a western digital sn520 2242 m.2. A 256 one. I think 512 exist but harder to source.

  • minimalfootprint@discuss.tchncs.de
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    6 months ago

    T480. Still good availability. It was popular with companies that put them back into th e market a few years ago.

    Last model without glued RAM. So it’s upgradable and you can install two M.2 drives. One with 2240 length and a full-size 2280 in the main drive bay.

    The battery setup is great as well. One internal battery plus an external you can choose depending on your needs. Either small and light for a bit more juice or big and heavy for max runtime.

    I got one 6 months ago and couldn’t be happier.

  • technologicalcaveman@kbin.social
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    6 months ago

    I use a t480 for my carry laptop with Gentoo. It’s been solid. Replaced both batteries pretty easily, replaced thermal paste, and it’s good to go again. I paid about 160 got it. I had a t460 as well, but gave that to my gf. Either of those were good and not too expensive for a semi modern computer for general usage.

    • lilith267@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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      6 months ago

      T480($145) + dual heat pipes upgrade($30) and it’s amazing. I never hear the fan unless I’m compiling something! Hoping one day a mx150 motherboard will be $150ish so I can play my favorite older games in bed

  • BaumGeist
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    5 months ago

    Your use-case says “ARM laptop” to me.

    Pros: Get some kind of SoC laptop, and never worry about battery charge again. They’re also lighter-weight and better at thermal management. Right now, Linux on ARM is still kind of fledgling so there’s not as many apps made to run on ARM natively; the upside is that since there’s not as many possible combinations of hardware, there aren’t nearly as many edge case bugs and issues.

    Cons: If you want youtube in 1080p+ and 60 fps or if you want to use Visual Studio (instead of something lighter-weight), you’ll either want the most powerful SoC laptop on the market (probably something by Apple), or not SoC at all. Same goes if you want to have like 5+ programs opened at once and 10+ tabs open on firefox. If you’re on the opposite side with me and don’t mind if the video is 30 fps or the resolution is 720i and using vim as an IDE, you can get away with something dirt cheap. The other downside of course being the inability to upgrade hardware, which goes hand-in-hand with the reduced hardware combinations aforementioned. Also, since it’s not as widely adopted/developed, there are more standard case bugs/issues.

    It does force a more minimal approach to computing—it’s not powerful, and it’s on the lower-end of ARM laptops—but my Pinebook has only done well by me. The security/privacy factor of Pine was also a big plus.