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This review is from: ThinkPad Laptop T420 Intel Core i5 2520M (2.50 GHz) 4 GB Memory 320 GB HDD Intel HD Graphics 3000 14.0" Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit (Windows Activation Code can be found in the battery compartment)
Pros: It's a good machine for those on a budget. It has a decent i5 CPU and the factory image doesn't contain much it the way of bloatware. If you find it on sale for under $200, it's pretty good.
Lots of support in the Linux world.
Cons: * It's a refurb, so don't expect a brand new device.
* Be aware their are 2 different size hard drives. 7MM and 9.5MM. Mine came with the 7MM and I was OK since I was swapping over to a SSD anyhow (which was also 7MM) some 2.5" drives won't fit properly unless you get the right size rubber rails (check e b a y).
* Mine had some physical damage with the slide you use to physically eject the DVD-ROM drive broke after 1 use. Seriously, not the eject button, but the slider to remove the DVD-ROM drive itself from the laptop broke! Seems it's a common failure point on the T4XX series, so be aware of it. I won't bother returning it because I won't be replacing the DVD-ROM with a secondary hard drive caddy (I just took it out to clean and inspect the device).
* Some older Lenovo T-series allow you to swap the DVD-ROM drive for a second battery. Sadly, you can't do that with this model. Wish I had known that.
* The battery that the laptop came with was in bad shape. It held a charge for about a hour at 100%. I figured that would happen, so I bought a factory sealed new one.
* You have to call in to activate Windows. The automated phone system will handle activation for you easy enough, but I wish I wouldn't have had to go that route.
* Mine came with a bad hard drive. Over 400 bad sectors. Really upset about that.
Other Thoughts: Not a bad computer, if you can overlook the flaws of buying refurbished. Also since it's a bit older now you lose out on things like USB 3.0 and a integrated HDMI port (you do get a display port output, but you have to buy your own HDMI to DP adapter, so that stinks.) If you are willing to throw in a SSD and maybe double the memory to 8 GB and give yourself a new battery, it's a sufficient machine for your Mom or Dad to browse the web with (or do your accounting or maybe, just maybe play some older games on.) Then again, after I added all those upgrades I was an additional $160 into it, but I like the build overall (magnesium frame and steel hinges) so I was willing to go with it.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: It's a improvement on the Maxwell architecture. I had no problems getting mine up and running (was just a drop in and go since I already had a Nvidia card.) Runs Fallout 4 on Ultra and GTA V works pretty well on it too.
Cons: I have almost consistently had issues with EVGA cards and coil whine. Had a old 560 Ti 448 that took 3 RMA's to get one that didn't have the issue, but at that point they just gave me a GTX 660 and that was that. My particular one is a little on the loud side, coil whine while benchmarking was pretty bad. Seems to be common on a lot of 960's so I won't fault EVGA specifically. The temps can get a bit high, being single fan. I topped out at 75 C, and that's with a 120 MM fan blowing fresh air on it. So if you are using this in any build, remember to have proper ventilation. Lastly, the fan/heatsink combo feels a little flimsy for a $200+ card and it's pretty heavy for such a small card too.
Other Thoughts: For the price it performs all I have asked of it. It has some flaws, yes, but for the budget it's not terribly hard to overlook them. I have mine paired up with a i5 4590 and couldn't be happier. A good "middle of the pack" performing solution. Better than a XBONE and PS4 but not going into the same league as the i7's, the 970's or upper level AMD stuff. But good enough to game on for a few years to come.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Good card for the money (when its on sale.) Has a lot of punch and plays most games on medium/high settings w/o getting hot.
Cons: This was a good card, in 2014. For a little more you can get a 960 and that'll do more for you than this thing. It's still a good card in 2015 but there are better alternatives for the budget now. I used to use my Nvidia cards for video conversion, but that stopped with Maxwell and all current drivers. Also no SLI and the build quality is good, but does seem a touch on the cheap side.
Other Thoughts: I used this in a G3258 build with 8 GB of RAM and a 120 GB SSD running Ubuntu (or whatever other Linux distro catches my eye that week.) It's been pretty good for what it is. I came from a 560 SE so it's a definite leap forward in gaming. For video encoding Nvidia has switched some things up and my old programs that had CUDA acceleration don't work any more, so that blows. Also no h/w H265 encoding on this first gen Maxwell. The later 900 series get it though.
My setup is pretty generic, you can go on reddit or youtube and see a lot of people went this route for a cheapo gaming machine/ steambox. For what it is, it works. Would I do it again, using this card? No. But that's because of some changes Nvidia is making and not playing too nice with Linux stuff, not a strike against the physical card itself. Just remember it's only got a 2 GB buffer, so you are limited to 1080P gaming on this. And I think it's best for single panel. Multi screen and this might not work so well for gaming (I could be wrong.)
The TL:DR version: It's good, and worth it, on sale.