Lenovo X1 Carbon: Some thoughts about an old friend

In the earliest days of January 2013 I ordered the first laptop that I’d bought with my own money in over a decade. It was a Lenovo X1 Carbon. I had been carrying an HP 8510P, which was a decent machine, but getting to be very old. Having carried both netbooks and back-breaking portable workstations, I craved an ultrabook, and the X1 Carbon stood out from the pack.

The X1C cost me dearly. At just over $1800, it was the second most expensive computer I’d ever bought, but I don’t regret it for a minute. The fact that I don’t despise it after 5 years proves that it’s been a spectacular laptop.

Except for the CPU, I opted for an i5 vs i7, it was completely optioned. Maximum memory (8 GB) and storage (256 GB.)

It was the first computer I had ordered with an SSD. It contains a 256 GB m.2 2280 SanDisk drive. It was at a transitional point in technology, so it’s an mSATA3 drive. It predates both mPCIe and NVMe.

None of this would be a concern, except that the X1 suffered a failed Windows update a few weeks back. It was rendered unbootable. Fortunately, I had a full system image that was only a couple weeks old. I was able to wipe the SSD, restore the backup image, and get back to business.

This leaves me wondering about the state of that five-year old SSD. SanDisk has a drive utility that reports that the device has 90% of it’s lifespan remaining.

SandDiskDrive Utility

I’m told that’s based upon the limited number of write cycles that flash media can sustain. Lenovo themselves pointed me to a page that projects the lifespan of an SSD into the hundreds of years. This seems optimistic to me. But then again, I had issues with the Crucial SSD in my old desktop.

Also, what about the future of the X1C itself. At this age, should I bother with replacing the SSD? Or just write of the laptop completely? Retiring the X1C hardly seems appropriate. Since I travel very little these days I don’t rely on it for much.

I tend to hang onto computer hardware. In April 2017 I bought the Airtop-PC, which moved my old HP H8 (AMD FX6100) desktop into a utility role. The even older HP DC5750 desktop that I used three-computers-back is currently running Logitech Media Server, serving music to our various Squeezeboxes (and equivalents.) Heck, it wasn’t so long ago that I finally disposed of the Asus Pundit (P1-H1, AMD Athlon XP) that was my primary desktop some four computers ago.

As I ponder the future of the X1C, I urge you to take the lesson from my recent experience. Make routine backups. Spacious portable hard drives are dirt cheap. Most recently I’ve been using the free version of Macrium’s Reflect for Windows. The process is easy. Restoring is also easy. It’s a good habit to have, and a good way to go about it.

My Nexus 4 Is Broken

Google-Nexus-4 & Dog LeashTuesday was a sad day indeed, for that was the day that my Nexus 4 was broken. I was out walking the dogs with the phone in  my pocket. I don’t think that there was anything else in my pocket. When I returned home I noticed that the back of the phone was literally shattered.

The phone was in a bumper but not otherwise protected. I suppose it’s possible that something struck my pocket, possibly the one of the dogs leashes. We use the fairly common retractable leashes that have a hard plastic handle.

The damage is only the glass back of the phone. Initially it was limited to the area just around the the slot where the speaker is located. Over time the cracks spread across most of the back of the phone.

I did a little Googling around to see if this was commonplace, and scope out possible solutions. I know that Karl Fife had to perform a repair on his Nexus 4.

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Eight Weeks Later: Living With The Lenovo X1 Carbon Ultrabook

thinkpad-x1-carbon-site-300pxWhile under a different title, this post is the third in a series called A Road Warrior Plans To Shed Some Weight. It describes my thoughts leading to the purchase of an Ultrabook.

It’s been about eight weeks since the Lenovo X1 Carbon arrived. During that time I’ve made three business trips. So I’ve accumulated some experience with the X1 Carbon (hereafter just X1C) both at home and on the road.

The day or two after I placed the order for the X1C I came down with a significant case of buyers remorse. I paid around $1700 for the device, which is without question a lot of money. I had thought that perhaps I was being unduly irresponsible, even for me.

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