Old Sep 10, 19, 4:28 pm
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somewhere in Florida
Posts: 2,107
In my office, we use Lenovo Thinkpads and use a calculated expected life cycle of 6 years, with a mid-cycle refresh in year 3-4. BUT we usually buy the best screen, best WiFi/networking, 2nd-best CPU option (we look for the price break), and cheapest RAM/HDD possible as Lenovo charges a fortune. We budget $3k per machine (new), but usually come in around $2200-$2700. Looking over the current fleet, youngest laptop is 4 years old, oldest are 10. Planning on replacing the 10 year olds by year-end. Surprisingly, performance on the 10 year old systems with maxed out RAM and Samsung SSDs is quite decent, better than some of the new consumer-grade stuff for sale at Best Buy & such.

As soon as the computer arrives, we power it up, abusestress-test it in an oven (seriously), and once it passes/survives, then we immediately upgrade the RAM & HDD to something reasonable we bought from a 3rd party. At the refresh, we usually max out the RAM and upgrade to faster/larger drives. By that point prices have dropped substantially and the bloat of modern OSs and programs has risen.

Look for discounts. NEVER pay retail with Lenovo. Not sure what type of business you work for, but there are discounts for almost every sector. If worse comes to worse, talk with some friends and see what discounts they can get. Off the top of my head, Lenovo offers discounts for finance, travel, legal, medical, education, etc. 30% off is typical. Also, the business-sector salesmen are pretty good at coming up with slightly alternative configs for much less. We saved $600 on a laptop by changing the color of the case. If you can wait for a holiday, take a look at their sales then too.

I'm with @Javabits -- RAID is *NOT* a valid method of backing up a system! The only thing RAID protects you against is hardware failure of a single drive. It doesn't protect you from software failures, failure of the RAID controller, or damage/theft of the computer. Good luck recovering data from system without an identical RAID controller; good luck finding one for a laptop-based RAID controller. SSDs are rather rugged. There are a lot of things I worry about with data/electronics/computers -- SSDs suddenly dying isn't one of them.

If you insist on something like RAID, take a look at StableBit's DrivePool. No proprietary hardware RAID controller.

Also, drives from the laptop manufacturer are often going to be from the same batch. If one dies, especially in the first year, the other one may well have the exact same flaw. A local business (not ours!) found this out the hard way with a brand new Dell server and Seagate drives from Dell. RAID6 array of 8 drives... 3 failed within days of each other, before the RAID could fully rebuild. Complete loss there, but fortunately the backups were good.

Let me further dissuade you from this laptop configuration. Your profile shows that you travel...a lot. The P53 comes with a 170 watt power brick. That brick alone weighs 2.23 lbs, 6"x3"x1". That's on top of the laptop's 6 lb weight, so you'll be carrying the equivalent of a bowling ball wherever you go. Furthermore, forget plugging it into the plane's 110v outlets -- those trip out at 75 watts. Yes, the FAA and EASA now allow up to 200 watts per outlet, but most of the 110v systems currently installed in aircraft were under the old 100 Watts Per Seat guidelines, which means effectively 75 watts installed.

If you can 'suffer' with a T480, you'll be carrying around a lot less weight and have a much longer battery life. The T480 also uses USB-C for charging instead of the proprietary Lenovo connector the P series uses, and will work on an airline 110v outlet.

Personally, I'm still using a 2009 Macbook Pro, 1TB SSD on-board, external 5TB SSD in the laptop bag. I back up to the 5TB drive, a drive at my main office, and a drive at one of my homes. Additionally, I have a cloud backup which runs 2x a day, with versioning. When work takes me out in the bush / away from areas that can get overnight deliveries, I'll travel with 2 laptops for redundancy. Like you, I hate changing out laptops, but this one's getting replaced soon due to performance issues.

And while you're spec'ing out systems, you might as well take a look at the Lenovo Bible -- PSRef.
KRSW is offline