Observing Reliability

Last year I wrote about how great my latest Thinkpad is [1] in response to a discussion about whether a Thinkpad is still the “Rolls Royce” of laptops.

It was a few months after writing that post that I realised that I omitted an important point. After I had that laptop for about a year the DVD drive broke and made annoying clicking sounds all the time in addition to not working. I removed the DVD drive and the result was that the laptop was lighter and used less power without missing any feature that I desired. As I had installed Debian on that laptop by copying the hard drive from my previous laptop I had never used the DVD drive for any purpose. After a while I got used to my laptop being like that and the gaping hole in the side of the laptop where the DVD drive used to be didn’t even register to me. I would prefer it if Lenovo sold Thinkpads in the T series without DVD drives, but it seems that only the laptops with tiny screens are designed to lack DVD drives.

For my use of laptops this doesn’t change the conclusion of my previous post. Now the T420 has been in service for almost 4 years which makes the cost of ownership about $75 per year. $1.50 per week as a tax deductible business expense is very cheap for such a nice laptop. About a year ago I installed a SSD in that laptop, it cost me about $250 from memory and made it significantly faster while also reducing heat problems. The depreciation on the SSD about doubles the cost of ownership of the laptop, but it’s still cheaper than a mobile phone and thus not in the category of things that are expected to last for a long time – while also giving longer service than phones usually do.

One thing that’s interesting to consider is the fact that I forgot about the broken DVD drive when writing about this. I guess every review has an unspoken caveat of “this works well for me but might suck badly for your use case”. But I wonder how many other things that are noteworthy I’m forgetting to put in reviews because they just don’t impact my use. I don’t think that I am unusual in this regard, so reading multiple reviews is the sensible thing to do.

4 comments to Observing Reliability

  • Regis

    “I would prefer it if Lenovo sold Thinkpads in the T series without DVD drives…”

    The T440, T450, T460, and T470 all lack DVD drives. You didn’t get the memo :)

  • Anonymous

    you can get a caddy to add a second ssd or hdd in the dvd bay slot. less than $10 on ebay

  • Regis: I guess I didn’t. But I’m glad to learn about that. Maybe next time I’m after a new Thinkpad they will have one that better suits my needs.

    Anon: I have such a caddy that was given to me by someone who didn’t need it. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite fit mine, it was made for a different sub-model. I just have to make good backups.

  • gszczepa

    Thinkpad P50 do not have DVD drive neither. Funny thing: I thought it may be needed sometime, so bought external DVD drive. Never used it.