2

I'm thinking about getting a (cheap) used Thinkpad X2n0 (n in {3,4,5,6}) for traveling. Obviously an SSD is usually preferable but my question is focusing on the aspect of robustness constrained by price given that a notebook that you travel with will experience occasional bumping.

How delicate are HDDs in your experience?

  • What about n=2? Fitting an SSD requires removing one screw, and they are nearly impervious to damage. The keyboard even has spill drain holes. – Matthew Towers Mar 14 at 13:05
  • my preferred source for used notebooks doesn't sell the X220. and frankly speaking I am skeptical of the nostalgia popular among Thinkpad fans. I am susceptible for it, too, though. – Raffael Mar 14 at 13:24
9

I can't think of any advantage to an HDD, other than cost.

  1. Even with automatic parking, the risk of a scratch from a drop is non-trivial, if the drive is in use. (My fairly severe drop resulted in a straight-line gouge across about a quarter of the drive. Luckily, every file not crossing the gouge could be recovered in full.)
  2. They use more battery power, so you will need to find a charger more often.
  3. They are heavier and noisier.
  • As a professional writer I haul my laptop all around Europe; it's an X250 with an SSD. I've bumped it hard enough to require replacing the keyboard bezel, but the SSD has never given me any trouble at all. And I bless the power consumption, because I can take notes from a whole 8-hour conference day on a single battery charge. – MadHatter Mar 14 at 11:31
4

I was just going to leave you with Andrew's answer, but then I saw you tagged your question , so I figured I have something to add.

You absolutely should use an SSD instead of HDD. I spent several months on a bicycle tour of North America last year and took a brand new ThinkPad E570 with me. Instead of a hard drive I installed a 256GB NVMe drive and a 1TB SSD. I also had an external rotational hard drive in a USB enclosure, which I occasionally brought out to store large video files and other backups.

It was bumped around repeatedly and took a lot of cosmetic damage. I broke the screen twice, somehow killed the DVD burner, and completely wore out the left button on the trackpad.

But I had thought ahead and got next-day on site service, which I made liberal use of. Each time they came to wherever I was, provided it had an address, and fixed it the next day as promised.

With all that, though, nothing ever went wrong with any of the drives.

I would recommend you strongly consider getting a new laptop with such an on-site warranty service, if your budget allows it. You may end up having to use it, and if you do you'll be very glad you had it.

  • "and completely wore out the left button on the trackpad" - On all the laptops I had, no trackpad (including buttons) survived longer than 3 months :-D – NicolasB Mar 14 at 14:04
  • @NicolasB I also use a mouse, so the trackpad has lasted a bit longer than it otherwise would. – Michael Hampton Mar 14 at 15:54
  • I mostly use a mouse too. I don't like trackpads very much ;-) – NicolasB Mar 14 at 15:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.