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Pros: What can I say? This unit is in good condition, with B-Grade as an accurate rating. The reason being -- There are cracks in the palmrest on the left side, and a *very small* visible scuff on the case. None of these impact functionality. If this bothers you, please consider getting one of the other t420 machines for only slightly more money. -- I figured I would give this a chance, since I knew it would get some very heavy use! :)
Since I am not going to be using the additional features that Windows 7 Pro has, the Home Premium license that is included is perfectly fine. It's legitimate authorized refurbisher license, and activated without an issue.
The screen is in perfect shape -- Very bright at max setting. Exceptional colour. -- I don't mind that it's only 1366x768, but to each his or her own!
The unit has a combo microphone / headphone jack, which is mounted in an odd spot, so keep that in mind. Decent low-noise output.
The built-in webcam is better than expected. Obviously it's not going to be camcorder quality, but for what it is, it works very well!
The Think Light is bright and functional.
The battery is far better than expected. -- I can get about an hour out of it. As such, I ordered a brand-new 9-cell.
Cons: - This particular unit does not seem to have a writable optical drive. No issue there -- This is to complement my older refurbished x200s, which has no optical drive at all.
- As expected, the built-in microphone is useless. -- Please don't try using it for video chat. -- The official audio driver applies heavy noise reduction to it, resulting in even worse quality than if you just boosted it and dealt with a noisy audio feed! :)
Other Thoughts: Highly recommended. I would order an identical 4GB RAM module, and make sure you put an SSD in it. - I have a 240GB one in mine, since I had it as a spare. Also, you might want to obtain the 9-cell battery.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
Pros: Windows 7 has to be one of the best operating systems Microsoft has ever made. In previous generations, it was Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP.
This operating system is supported until 2020, and will use all of your RAM. Driver support is also top-notch, and new motherboards are still supporting it.
Aero, the glassy user interface design, still rocks after all these years. I truly hope that Microsoft bundles it with Windows 10, when it is released later this year. In the tech preview forums, this is one of the most requested features, with over 44,000 votes!!
If you do not need remote desktop and a few other advanced features, Windows 7 Home Premium will work fine for you. Keep this in mind if you want to save some cash!
It runs great on Solid State Drives as well, though you will want to custom configure such an installation. (For example, making sure System Restore does not use up too much space if you keep it running, making sure Defragmentation is disabled for the SSD, etc.)
Cons: Only five more years of support, many modern pre-built machines do NOT have Windows 7 drivers, especially laptops. Check the manufacturer's website if you are UPGRADING from Windows 8 to 7. Yes, UPGRADING. :)
NOTE: Since Service Pack 1, Microsoft has released almost 200 updates. Be aware that you will spend a great deal of time running said updates, especially if you are installing this on a slow hard drive! (5400rpm.)
Microsoft is REFUSING to release a Service Pack 2. Something tells me this might be to spite people who are sticking with Windows 7...!
Other Thoughts: Unless Windows 10 is a compelling "free" upgrade for me, I am going to be using this on my main production machine until it is no longer practical to do so.
Also, don't worry if the DVD is damaged in any way -- Which is unlikely -- but if it happens, since this is final return item:
All you need is the product key. You can *LEGALLY* obtain all of the various Windows 7 disc images as electronic downloads. In this instance, you would need Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1. The download is under 4GB and can be burned to a DVD-R disc, OR flashed to a cheap USB flash drive for Quick Install. (Look for Windows 7 Legal ISO download links. They are legal, because the product cannot be used without the key!).
Make sure you do not lose the product key, and you stick it onto the case of your computer! If you are installing this on a laptop, you might want to consider placing it under the battery if it can fit, so it doesn't rub off.
************DO NOT OPEN THE PRODUCT SLEEVE IF YOU INTEND TO KEEP THIS PRODUCT FOR SALE TO SOMEONE ELSE LATER. The product key will be exposed, and no-one will believe you if you say you did not use it!! Obviously if you are a system builder and attach the key to each machine regardless, this is not an issue. If however you plan to sell this as-new, unopened on an auction site or something --- Keep this in mind!
This review is from: Foxconn D180S Intel Dual Core Celeron J1800 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo
Pros: Excellent board for the price.
Cons: You will need to update to the latest UEFI for proper functionality. Not really a huge con, but one needs to be aware of it.
Other Thoughts: Okay, this is an update to my previous review ---
I was able to get Windows 7 and audio over HDMI working correctly, but it took some tinkering. (The install is NOT in UEFI mode.)
I updated to the latest UEFI from the web-site, from within my Windows 7 install. However, doing so causes Windows to not bootup properly. Once I did a re-install, all was fine. The flasher is a command-line application, so it's pretty straight forward. Also included in the download -- a PDF document that walks you through everything. :)
Once you update the UEFI, you have to load the board defaults. Then re-configure the compatibility support module, then re-install Windows.
My HDTV was detecting the HDMI video output as DVI, until I updated the firmware of the board.
Be sure to use the correct firmware! There is 32-bit and 64-bit. My board came with 64-bit by default, which was what I updated it to, but also because I am running 64-bit Windows.
For whatever reason, Windows 7 performs a lot better after the update. This is with a slow, 5400RPM laptop drive too. (I have a single stick of 4GB GSkill Laptop RAM.)