Lenovo T420 14" Intel i5 256GB Laptop

Lenovo T420 14" Intel i5 256GB Laptop

From left to right… RAM, mSATA, & HDD Caddy


You can get up to 1TB mSATA cards for normal SSD prices so you can have a triple storage drive system

PS. I’ve never installed an mSATA in a T420 but I do have a HDD caddy in my Dell and it is very awesome

So is this touch screen or regular?

I need a touch screen - would prefer an all in one kind of device…

Is this a good deal? Should I hold out for i7 and Win 10 Pro?

Good morning. This is not a touch screen.

These are business workhorse laptops. Everyone at my old company had these that wasn’t an engineer. Engineers got giant pizza box monstrosities they claimed were required to run 3d drafting software.

These thinkpads would also run the 3d drafting software, albeit at reduced graphical settings. These are mass produced for businesses and as far as I know pretty robust. My buddy just bought one a few months ago to do consulting work with.

Our gateway laptop is pretty weak these days so I’m tempted to grab one of these.

Could you please explain what MSATA is?

mSATA is the older version of the M.2 blade style SSD
It’s an SSD but the mSATA looks like a credit card and the M.2 looks like a stick of RAM
The M.2 is the current version and is for slim notebook installs or in this case a compact backup drive
You can get up to a TB on mSATA but even higher on the newer M.2


I’ve never used one but they are supposed (M.2) to be really fast and the mSATA has similar speed but just older tech. You can put your OS on the mSATA/M.2 and use the normal drive space for storage

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These are great computers. But they are getting a little long in the tooth. Confirmed about 8 years old.

The best notebook computer I have ever had was this T420. I bought it used off of eBay a couple of years ago (for half this price). Then I upgraded the spinning drive to an SSD and put the spinning drive in the CD tray using a hard drive caddy.

It runs Debian Linux quite well. I’m sure just about any other variant of Linux too. I’ve never run Windows on mine. Keyboard is great! Screen is adequate. Speakers are extremely weak. But sound through an external set of speakers is just fine.

As an aside, the worst notebook I have ever owned was also a Lenovo (purchased new), but not a Thinkpad. It is a consumer-class machine. I will never buy another Lenovo consumer box. However, I would not hesitate to buy another business class Thinkpad.

What is the maximum resolution supported on the video out?
Also, how much performance diference is there between wifi a/g/n and ac?


I hit up Google.



Would this be any good for playing games?

I bought a T420 from here last time these were available in about the same configuration (it had Win7 Pro on it) and I updated the HD to a SP 500Gb SSD in the standard port to use the SATA3 speed. The internal microSATA’s is an older design that are not that fast in this machine (I think SATA 2 is the limit).
I replaced the dual-core i5-2520M with a quad-core i7-2670QM (they both use the rPGA988B G2 socket and cost about $35 on eBAY and since the 2520M is 35w and the 2670QM is 45W, heat was a concern but, the over-engineered Lenovo is fully capable of that level of heat dissipation and in 11 months I have not had any problems and it is fast).
Oh, aside from changing out the CPU, I had to flash the BIOS to the latest version to get it to recognize the new i7 CPU, but again, it was no big deal and easily available from Lenovo on their website.

BTW, the Lenovo website is a great place to go and register your new T420, as it has all the specs on your machine by serial number after you receive yours, and you can get all the newest drivers automatically loaded by the Lenovo software that is also free. Service after the sale seems to be a big thing for Lenovo even if you don’t buy it from Lenovo.
Also upped the memory to fast 16GB (8Gb x 2) PC3-10700/DDR3-1333 for the quad-core processor.
This makes this mil-spec rugged T420 very fast (for a cheep machine) and clocks out on Passmark tests at 6749 cpu score. Plenty fast to run just about any program you want to run. I use Autodesk’s Revit 2018 and SketchIT all the time and have no problems at all.
The only drawback to the T420 is the video adapter which is the Intel HD3000 integrated video on the CPU and you can’t upgrade it.

AND…T420’s also have: standard Gigabit LAN, USB 2 & 3.0 ports, 802.11g WiFi, Bluetooth, DVD-R ultrabay, an SD card reader, Firewire port, external SATA, and you can even get a Lenovo docking station for it for about $20!

DO NOT BUY THIS IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A GAMING MACHINE, this has that internal GPU on the CPU and it can’t be added to or upgraded. There are T420’s out there with the Enhanced display system 2.0 and 3.0 that have the Nvidia K1000 2GB display but they and built that way at the factory and the K1000 is still a mediocre video card that, while better than the HD3000, it’s not like a modern video card…

For the cost of the machine $250, plus $35 for an i7 CPU, $70 for the 500GB SSD and $60 for the 16GB memory, that gives you a fine machine for about $420!!!
It is rugged, reliable and you can also go to Microsoft and DL Win 10 Pro for free (just look it up on ZDnet), I’ve done it on my 2 machines (the T420 and a W530) with NO problems as both came with Win 7 pro and now have Win 10 Pro.
So, If you are looking for affordable, fast, rugged, dependable laptop with many replacement parts available at reasonable prices, there are not many you can find for less than $450. Try one, you won’t be sorry.


Thanks for all the information.