In this day and age, it’s pretty common for folks to consider replacing their phone, laptop, desktop computer every 3-5 years. It’s a terrible model, because it just adds waste and churn, when in many cases, it’s not even necessary.
I’d been hunting around for a Linux laptop to use for a variety of projects. A fellow up at our makerspace sold me a 2013 Lenovo Thinkpad T440s for $80. At it’s root, it was fine. 4gig RAM, a good keyboard and touchpad – it was missing a hard drive, but otherwise the battery was good and was the right size.
I tested out the unit with a USB-booted version of Ubuntu, and that worked just fine. A little sluggish, both because of the USB drive, but also I suspected I was running into memory limitations. 4gig of RAM in a modern OS with a full desktop really isn’t enough.
I decided to invest in upgrading the machine.
- First, I picked up a Kingston 256gig 2″ SSD drive for about $20. It’s pretty well known that replacing ‘spinning rust’ drives with SSD’s is a surefire way to speed up a machine tremendously. I was a little startled by how low the prices had gotten, but who am I to argue.
- Next, RAM. This laptop has 4gig of RAM on the motherboard, but has a SODIMM slot as well. I was pretty sure this slot was empty, so I bought an 8gig SODIMM DDR3 module for $12.
As far as hardware goes, that covered the bases.
Installation of the drive and RAM was a piece o cake. The Thinkpad has an internal battery (which is interesting), which needs to be disabled in the BIOS. Once that was done, I was able to just pop the back off, and install the drive and RAM. The entire operation took a whopping 15m.
Powering back on, the machine was like new. Fast, responsive, and Just Plain Worked.
Considering I’ve spent a grand total of like $115 on this, and I’m able to run Slack, Chrome, discord, various other applications, and it’s not even skipping a beat, that’s fantastic. I’m happy.
Now I have to, after many years of not using Linux as a full time desktop, slowly learn the ins and outs of how the Gnome Desktop has changed and how modern stuff work with it. Exciting!