Sunday, January 25, 2015

Good value laptop for ham radio use - Lenovo X201

Recently there have been a constant stream of second hand Lenovo X201 laptops on ebay here. David Rowe mentioned when he visited that the X200 series is the last "good" Lenovo laptops from a technical Linux using perspective. Here's the one I picked up for $240 but they range from $200-$300.


I like these for the following reasons:


  • Solid build
  • Easy access to the hard drive - one screw and it pops out of the side.
  • Old style boot, not UEFI, so you can install old Windows
  • Fairly compact
  • Tolerant of high RF (My old MSI netbook goes a bit crazy when transmitting)
  • Decent CPU - i5 with quad core can keep up with DSP tasks
Mine came with a pretty dead battery so I paid another $40 to get a new 9 cell replacement. I had a 240GB SSD handy so I used a USB key with a gparted live linux system on it to dd copy the internal disk over to an external drive case and then swapped the drive. (These little bootable USB utilities are a very useful tool in the kit).

As you can see above, I'm dual booting Ubuntu for WSPR but also keeping Windows 7 around for the Windows only software I sometimes need to run.

1 comment:

David Thomason said...

This is an excellent laptop at this price, especially if you do not use it for games and other complex processes. Installing SSD drive will help the laptop feel the new rate, most importantly, be careful and disable hibernation system, it will increase the operating life of your SSD. Install the drivers in a certain order, this is important. Recently, I found Lenovo Drivers Download for Windows here http://bitdrivers.com/manufacturers/lenovo. Your experience will help many people, since not everyone can afford to buy a new macbook and enjoy life.