Second-hand thinkpad x301 owner's thread.

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by Bronsky, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope.

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    [​IMG]

    LENOVO X301 SECOND-HAND OWNER'S LOUNGE

    While most of the threads on this site are dedicated to the"latest and greatest" notebooks, there are a few threads that are dedicated to the resurrection of high quality notebooks that still have quite a bit of life left in them and still have a productive future in store for them. This thread is dedicated to second-handThinkpad X301 owners. I think that the buyer of the original X301 might be different from the current owners of the brand.


    WHY A SECOND-HAND THINKPAD X301.

    There is probably no higher quality used "business-class" notebook on the market today, selling at such a reduced price. When introduced in August, 2008, the X301 with a 128GB SSD and SU9400 1.4ghz Core2Duo CPU sold retail for $2,599. Today, that same unit sells used, in excellent condition, for ~ $450.

    The X301 was fitted with a 300 nit WXGA+ (1440 x 900) display. With a 6 cell battery, the notebook weighed a mere 3.3 lbs. Notebook review called the X301's construction "as solid as you get in build quality."

    I guess it really depends on what you're looking for, but if you're looking for a durable, ultraportable with decent performance, an antiglare matt display, a keyboard that is second to none in a portable notebook that can fit easily in your briefcase ... oh, and you don't want to spend a lot of cash, take a look at the X301. I bought mine a couple of weeks ago on Ebay for $425. It has the specs listed above with a 6 cell battery and optional 3 cell OD Bay battery insert. If you're lucky and don't mind paying a bit more, you might be able to find one with a bit of its warranty left. The X301 came standard with a three year depot warranty.

    There are other models of the X301 that are equipped with a 64GB & 80GB SSDs or 250GB conventional drive. Some models were equipped with the SU9300,1.2ghz CPU,. These variants can usually be purchased for less money. It is not unusual to see a 64GB, 2GB RAM, SU9400 model selling for $350 or less. In its later production years, the X301 was offered with a 1.6ghz SU9600 CPU. The newer models cost a little more but are the most likely to still have some warrantyleft.


    SETTING UP THE X301.

    One of the advantages of owning a used Thinkpad is <st1:pthe extensive support available to you from IBM. Recovery disks for my unit were availablefor under $44 from IBM. I had mine in 3 days. The X301 was originally sold with 32 Bit V<st1:pista Business, so you'll probably want to upgrade to W7. Since the X301 was also sold in a W7 version, all of the proper drivers and software are available. If you like, you can use Think Vantage to update all of the drivers, etc., automatically. I was able to use an old copy of W7 Professional upgrade on my X301.</st1</st1[SIZE=3]

    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]The only software I have elected to forego is Lenovo's PowerManager, Wireless Program and System Migration. For now, I also decided to wait before installing the fingerprint reader. Lenovo.com is a great resource.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]


    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]MINI REVIEW OF MY X301[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]Here is what Notebook Review thought of the X301 when it wasreleased. [URL]http://forum.notebookreview.com/notebook-news-reviews/300914-lenovo-thinkpad-x301-review.html[/URL] I agree.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]The first thing I noticed about the X301 is how light it is. Mine is a shade under 3lbs with the OD out and the 6 cell battery. My unit is a model 2774HDU. For all of its lightness, the X301 does not feel delicate. It feels just the opposite: it feels solid.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]I could have done without the rubberizing treatment on the lid and the palm rest. The only scratch on my X301 is on the rubberized lid. If it was plastic, I could have probably polished it out.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]
    The keyboard alone is a reason to own the X301. The 13.3" notebook is the "sweetspot" of portable notebooks IMO. The keyboard is smallest I have found that can still permit serious typing for a full workday. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]
    I have been using an Acer 3820TG for the past 2 years. At the time, I was doing a lot of work involving aerial images and needed the graphics power. These days, I'm writing a lot more. Although I like the <st1:p<st1:pAcer <st1:pIsland keyboard, I decided that I wanted something with a better typing action and was looking for a display with higher resolution as well as a 16:10 aspect ratio. The X301 was perfect. I like the extra display real estate, as it permits me a better view of my document formatting and I can work on documentsside-by-side.
    </st1</st1</st1[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3][SIZE=3]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]I bought my X301 with a 6 cell battery and a 3 cell OD Bay battery. From the cycle count, it looks like the 3 cell (23.7wh) was almost never used. The 6 cell (43.8wh) , however, shows some signs of wear. It has lost approximately a third of its capacity. Even with the reduced capacity, I am getting about 5 hours of battery life with the 6 Cell and OD bay 3 cell in place. That will do for now, but I will be replacing the 6 Cell eventually. With both batteries in place, the weight goes up to 3.5lbs, still .5lb lighter than my Acer.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]When I first handled the X301, I was convinced that it was smaller and thinner than my Acer, which feels clunky next to the Thinkpad. It is an illusion, created by the lightweight. They are nearly identical insize.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p<o:p
    [IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt20/luigisante/IMG01196-20120804-0907.jpg[/IMG]


    [IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt20/luigisante/IMG01195-20120804-0906.jpg[/IMG]


    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]Here is the Thinkpad next to the Acer. The biggest difference is that the Acer keyboard is more spread out, but typing on the X301 is a significant improvement (and I liked the Acer). My only complaint is that the notebook I bought had been used so little that the space bar is still very tight and clicks too loudly when hit. A very minor complaint indeed.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]Where the Acer leaves the X301 in the dust is in power. My Acer is powered by a first-gen Arrandale I5-540M overclocked to 3.66ghz. It has Sata II HD capability while the X301has only Sata. And still, it boots only10 seconds slower than my Acer.

    [URL]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6bSqXOFnWE&feature=plcp[/URL][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]<o:p<o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]

    Not a bad showing for a midrange ULV processor that is a generation behind my Acer's Arrandale. I find that, for most things around the office, the X301 is my notebook of choice. The only exception is any function that involves graphics. The X301's 3DMark06 score is 712 (up significantly from the X300's 475). The GMA 4500HD would be fine for a powerpoint presentation but forget anything involving 3D graphics or rendering. I still go back to my Acer (HD5650 GPU and 3DMark06 of ~ 9,800) when I occasionally have to run Matlab (loves the OC'd Arrandale) or models (love the OC'd AMD GPU).
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]The display on the X301 is decent. I love the matt display. It eliminates the glare from my office windows. The viewing angles are very tight, so it has to be perfectly adjusted for maximum brightness, which is a PITA. Although it is rated at 300 nits,it is a bit less bright than my 3820TG's display, which is rated at 220nits. I am assuming that some of the brightness is affected by the matt display. The color on my Acer is balanced. Anybody have a color profile for the X301?[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt20/luigisante/IMG01194-20120804-0904.jpg[/IMG]
    <o:p
    <o:p[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]But, unlike the Acer, the non-glare display lets me use the X301 outside while having coffee in the morning.

    [IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt20/luigisante/IMG01197-20120804-1150.jpg[/IMG]

    In all, however, the display is fine. I particularly like the higher resolution. (and, yes ... for those of you who noticed, that is Wordperfect on the screen:rolleyes:). [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
    <o:p
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]Another picky complaint is that the X301 has no Express Card or SD card slots. I like to use the SD card to sync my notebook and slate. Now, I use a USB thumb drive instead. [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]

    MODIFYING THE X301.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]The Core2Duo processor in the X301 is not very powerful. I would not recommend a used X301 for power users who are running demanding applications. Where the X301 shines is in the typical office application or on-line research. Even at those tasks, it would be nice if there was a way to give it power boost.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]
    A series of threads by Nando4 has some interesting suggestions for increasing power and undervolting the X301.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][URL]http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo-ibm/595343-keep-x301-buy-x1-3.html#post8258800[/URL] (Idling at 4.6 to 5.2w)
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]<o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][URL]http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo-ibm/595343-keep-x301-buy-x1-3.html#post8259289[/URL] [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000](ICS 9LPRS393AKLFT PLL in the X301)[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][URL]http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo-ibm/595343-keep-x301-buy-x1-3.html#post8259289[/URL] [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000](Feasible Mods to the X301)[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][URL]http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo-ibm/595343-keep-x301-buy-x1-4.html#post8750678[/URL] [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000](Dual IDA Modded Bios)[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][URL]http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo-ibm/595343-keep-x301-buy-x1-5.html#post8751247[/URL] [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]
    [URL]http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-CN&u=http://forum.51nb.com/thread-941380-1-1.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3DX301%2B2.13%2Blenovo%2Bpll%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dubuntu%26hs%3DtCu%26sa%3DN%26channel%3Dfs%26biw%3D1440%26bih%3D639%26prmd%3Dimvnsfd&sa=X&ei=XrgWUKKHBq6UiAf18YDwAg&ved=0CE4Q7gEwADgK[/URL]
    (X301 Successfully Pinmodded)

    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]<o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]For now, my X301 is completely stock and it is working perfectly. The extra power you might be able to achieve by OC'ing the SU9400 (requires a pinmod) and running the Dual IDA Modded Bios, will probably be something I explore when I have more time.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]I'll be happy to post any links on this page, so they're easy to access. I'll get the basic stuff as soon as I can, like a shop manual, etc. Any other suggestions, leave them below and I'll add them to the first page.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    <o:p[FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]
    Bronsky[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]<o:p:cool:

    Added Links:

    * Replacing the X301's 1440 x 900 display with a 1280 x 800 AFFS display from a Fujitsu 5010. [URL]http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo/595343-keep-x301-buy-x1-6.html#post9015058[/URL]
    </o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o</o[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE]</o[SIZE=3][SIZE=3][/SIZE][/SIZE]</o[/SIZE]
     
    johnmcdonnell likes this.
  2. vinuneuro

    vinuneuro Notebook Virtuoso

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    The X301 is SATA II. What ssd's do you have in the Acer and X301? The Samsung ssd Lenovo used in the X301 is pretty slow, some of the difference is down to the cpu too.
     
  3. dalma

    dalma Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for starting the thread. I am currently looking into picking up a x301 very soon. Did you ever track down the Middleton bios? I need a bios without the whitelist.
     
  4. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope.

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    Yep. He was leaving for vacation for August like the civilized europeans do. He said he'd get me a copy when he gets back.

    I have a 1.8" 128GB Samsung micro SATA SSD in my X301 ... PN 41W0518. The Hardware Maintenance Manual lists SATA drives only for the 2774HDU.
     
  5. hotsauce

    hotsauce Notebook Evangelist

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    I love my X301 and all, but may be parting with it now that I've decided to keep my X230 tablet. It's under warranty until 1/2013 and I just installed a Crucial 256gig SSD. PM if you are interested. Selling at cost. It's literally brand new (97 battery cycles).

    It's a fantastic machine, but I just don't see myself using it much.
     
  6. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope.

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    I am looking for a sleeve for my X301. Preferably one made specifically for the X301 that fits it like a glove. Leather would be nice. I'm just looking for something to protect the rubberized outside of the notebook when I put it into my briefcase. Any suggestions?

    Edit: I'm using an "incase" MBP 13" neoprene sleeve for now. I haven't found anything leather that I liked better.
     
  7. idmax

    idmax Newbie

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    I used to have an X301. I sold it and got an X1. X1 was way faster but I couldn't live with the screen resolution. Eventually I sold it when I found an SU9600 X301. Only after I got this second X301 I now appreciate what an amazing laptop it is. I have upgraded mine to 8GB ram and an Intel 310 G3 series 160GB SSD.
     
  8. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope.

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    The battery that came with my used X301 was three years old and had lost about 25% of its capacity. At full charge it had only 3300mWH available. This translated to under three hours of battery life when away from the office. Since the whole idea of the X301 is portability, that was clearly not going to be acceptable. I did my homework and found a nearby distributer of aftermarket batteries. For $30 I purchased a 6 cell, 4200 mWH battery. My concern was that it would not fit as well as an OEM battery or that it would not charge properly. I was plesantly surprised to find that my concerns were completely unfounded. The battery fits beautifully - like the original.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Battery life is up to 4 hours now. With the 3 cell OD Bay battery and some energy conservation, I am getting approximately 6-7 hours. I also have the original battery which will give me another 2.5 if I need it in an emergency. Try that with an ultrabook.

    I could not be more pleased with my X301. The more I use it, the more I like it. The keyboard is just starting to break in and my typing is as fluid as I have ever felt on a notebook. To be sure, the display is not the best. Viewing angles are very tight. The display could use calibration. But as a mobile device for productivity, it is incredible.
     
  9. lead_org

    lead_org Purveyor of Truth

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    I got two of these baby.... don't ever want to part with it... The only thing that lets the machine down is the LCD (as said), PATA optical drive interface, no SD card slot or expresscard slot. I have all the accessories for my X301, 6 cells, 3 cells, 3 cells drive bay battery, travel bezel.

    Another great thing with the X301 (as opposed to the X300) is the provision of the Displayport, which can support 2560x1440 and 2560x1600 resolution. I connect my X301 to my iMac 27 and Dell U2711. If you use the displayport to 2 x displayport splitter, you can support 2 x 1920x1200 (U2410) with the single displayport out, which is really neat.

    ThinkPad X301 with qHD output | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
     
  10. GRat9717

    GRat9717 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I just got an x230 within the past two weeks and have been debating whether or not I should let go of my x301. I'm not a collector by any means, but this machine is definitely a nice collectors item... :p

    I also have a T400s, but that was quickly replaced when I found more desirability in portability from the x301. Such a great machine.
     
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