New used laptop

I just realised it’s the new year, and I should push out some posts that I wrote last year but never got around to finishing.

I’m rarely in a rush to upgrade my laptop – the old one is a secondhand Thinkpad T430 which I got in 2018 – that model was first released in 2012.

It’s been good, and I was reluctant to invest the $1000+ for a new one, so I thought I’d try another secondhand one: an ex-government T480s for $499. i5-8350U CPU (1.7 GHz), 12 Gb RAM, 256 Gb SSD.

This is a big upgrade for me – from then 7-year-old tech to 4-year-old tech. The T480s was first released in 2019. It got good reviews at the time.

Comparing the CPUs in’s ratings, the old scored 2639, the new 6265, or 2.37 times faster. Up against that is a shift from Windows 10 to Windows 11… which at first glance seems to have more cruft in it, but runs mostly okay… except Chrome, which is a little slow to get going.

(For comparison the new-used desktop that I recently got given has an i5-4670K CPU that scores 5557, but it’s got a much better GPU.)

Laptop setup:

  • It came with Windows 11. I did a reset on that to get rid of anything funky.
  • It also came set up to automatically logon as “User” – after creating my own standard and admin users, turning off the auto logon seemed quite tricky, and I ended up using the SysInternals Autologon tool, which once found was quick and easy.
  • Find the Lenovo site and check for driver upgrades. For some reason the Lenovo tool for checking for updates is quite finicky, and needs to be run as an Admin user. Updates included a BIOS upgrade.
  • Swap Ctrl-Fn in the BIOS – I just can’t get used to Ctrl being anywhere but the bottom left corner, as on every other keyboard I use
  • Turn off Touchpad taps. I’m terrible for false clicks on this, though this one seems less prone to it than the T430

Other than these last two dot points, the keyboard seems good, as Thinkpads generally are.

The proper touchpad buttons are at the top; on the T430 they were at the bottom. This may take a bit of getting used to.

But overall I like this new machine. Heaps lighter and thinner, faster, better screen.

(I also recently got a new used desktop machine, courtesy of a friend who was upgrading. It’s a beefy beast, but uses Win10, and can’t be upgraded to 11. No matter, at least for now. 2023 seems to have been the year of new PCs for me.)

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