Ultrabook with 7mm SSD *and* mSATA slot upgrade over Thinkpad X1?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by daveola, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. daveola

    daveola Notebook Enthusiast

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    TL,DR: Looking for any sort of upgrade to my 2011 Thinkpad X1 that also has:
    • Space for a 7mm/2.5" drive and an mSATA slot.
    • I'd happily take used and even prefer it.
    • Prefer spill-proof keyboard and durable computers
    Experienced computer user.

    ----

    I have the first generation Thinkpad X1 [1291] (pre-Carbon, pre-tablet, etc..)

    It's an amazing laptop:
    Ultrabook (3.7lb and super thin)
    Still fits a 7mm SSD, but the Thinkpad X1 "Hybrid" had an mSATA slot (they used it for a Linux media player experience, but it can be replaced with an mSATA drive).
    on top of that, it's very durable, has gorilla glass for the screen and a waterproof keyboard, and it can also take external batteries. Way to go Lenovo!

    I love this laptop. When the Carbon X1 came out, I never upgraded, because they lost the 7mm drive + mSATA combination (as well as the external batteries (though I could give that up now since I don't travel as much).

    This meant that in 2013 I had 3Tb of SSD storage in an ultrabook. That was at a time when the top of the line full size notebooks had 256G of SSD storage available. And soon I plan to upgrade the storage to 5T of SSD. In an ultrabook. If you haven't figured it out yet, I hate external hard drives and love small computers.

    So I'm looking to upgrade.
    Help! :)
    ------

    General Questions

    (edited to only include questions that matter to my laptop choices)

    1) What is your budget?

    <$2000

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?

    USA, willing to import as long as there's a reasonable keyboard (my current keyboard is English/Thai)

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    Absolutely. Preferred, probably

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)

    At least 1366x768, but more preferred. External of at least 2560x1600

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?

    So very much. 7mm *and* mSATA slot needed
     
  2. daveola

    daveola Notebook Enthusiast

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    Man, just searching ultrabooks for the last couple days trying to find a replacement makes me love my X1 even more. I just wish I could put a more modern CPU in it, even a few years old..

    Anyways - this has been super helpful, but it also lists laptops that are only mSATA - I need a cross reference to a list that includes which laptops have a 7mm drive as well:

    https://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/msata-ssd-compatability-list.html#laptops
     
  3. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    I would note that mSATA was superseded several years ago by the M.2 slot which comes in several sizes and can have SATA and/or PCIe interface. 2GB M.2 SSDs are available and reasonably affordable. The majority of smaller notebooks no longer provide a bay for a 7mm drive and have used the space to make the battery larger. Some, however, may have more than one M.2 storage slot (they usually have an M.2 slot for the WiFi card and WWAN (if included) but these may / may not support storage devices).

    Or are you looking for a notebook which is several years old but more recent than the X1?

    John
     
  4. daveola

    daveola Notebook Enthusiast

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    I could take one with an M.2, but it also needs a 7mm drive or possibly two M.2 storage slots depending on how hard it is to get 4T+ of SSD that way.
     
  5. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    The HP ProBook 440 G5 offers SATA and M.2 connectors. It's also about the same weight as your X1.
     
  6. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Here's a review which confirms both those storage bays.

    John
     
  7. daveola

    daveola Notebook Enthusiast

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    The review isn't that great for the 440, I'll have to go check one out in person and see if it's any good.

    Is there any sort of list of laptops that show which have 2.5"/7mm SATA and which have M.2 or MSATA?
     
  8. rlk

    rlk Notebook Evangelist

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    If you need 4 TB of storage, an mSATA won't get you there -- I don't see any reference to more than 500GB or so, while you can get 2TB SSDs (albeit not cheap).

    I agree with you that an M.2 and a 2.5" bay would be best. 2TB 2.5" drives aren't all that expensive, and you can get up to 7.68GB in that form factor (Micron 5200).
     
  9. Starlight5

    Starlight5 W I N T E R B O R N

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    There are 2TB mSATA Samsung drives, extractable from T3 and some other Samsung external SSDs.

    @daveola get an X230, flash modded EC firmware which allows classic 7-row keyboard from x220 and removes battery whitelist, install Nitrocaster's Chinese addon board sold on Taobao which allows upgrade to high-res display and adds second mSATA slot, install either 13.3" FHD IPS (needs cutting or replacing display frame but looks stunning with very narrow bezels) or 12.5" WQHD IPS (no dremel work, higher res but stock large bezels) display and classic keyboard - and you're golden. You'll be able to put 4TB 2.5" + 2x 2TB mSATA SSDs inside it - and since it won't cost much altogether, you'll be able to invest extra money in SSDs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
    Anthony Accioly and pierro78 like this.
  10. daveola

    daveola Notebook Enthusiast

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    I didn't know people were doing those kinds of mods to Thinkpads. Is there a howto guide to walk me through getting everything done right? Or anyone who sells these already modded?

    And I presume you suggested an x230 because these mods exist, as opposed to a newer laptop? Any reason for the keyboard mod, apart from not liking chiclet keyboards and wanting to have the extra keys?

    Edit: Found thinkwiki and:

    Keyboard mod: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Install_Classic_Keyboard_on_xx30_Series_ThinkPads

    nitrocaster 1080p mod?
    https://forum.thinkpads.com//viewtopic.php?f=43&t=122640
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EmzGuAPmKi4RFNiygQCQfPoL3LRAHTqC/edit

    Bevel for 13.3" screen (instead of cutting):
    https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=2013.1.w4004-14558201400.8.46574ee1WxYAX3&id=558961272865

    General info on x220 upgrades?
    http://x220.mcdonnelltech.com/
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    pierro78 likes this.
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