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Considering buying a T420S - advice please

2012-01-09, 11:51 AM



I'm ready to give up on my Edge 320 for a number of reasons, including excessive fan noise which can't be fixed by TPFanControl utility and also poor display quality.


Considering a T420S (about teh same weight).  Have read about fan and diaplay issues on this machine, but not clear on the final position.   So...a couple of questions:


i)  I have no doubt that the T420S fan can be too noisy and run when not actually required.  Q:  does TPFanCotrol or any other soltuion fix this?  Can a solution be implemented quickly and easily (I don't have the time for hours of experimentation).


ii)  I have read about 'gridiness' of the LCD, and also low contrast.  Are these real problems, and does it depend on the brand of LCD panel fitted?  If one type is better than another, is it possible to specify a particularpart when placing a factory order?

(On the 'gridiness' issue:  I also have an X201t tablet with a mutlitouch display.  This has an appearanve which might be called 'griddy', but I'm used to it.  Is the issue with the (non-tablet) T420s similar?)




PS  Oh how I wish that some other manufacturers would adopt or bring back the Trackpoint and give me more choice.  I'd love to see a 14 inch Sony Vaiso with a Trackpoint...or a Toshiba....or a Dell.    This the key thing which keeps me coming back to Lenovo - what a pity that other aspects of the design (such as thermal management and fan etc.) are a let-down.


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Re: Considering buying a T420S - advice please

2012-01-09, 12:57 PM

Do not buy this P.O.S junk.

Lenovo Thinkpad T420s

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Re: Considering buying a T420S - advice please

2012-01-09, 18:59 PM

I had a t420s i5 for a week now to replace my x121e, I find the screen quality just fine for my usage. The high resolution is a bonus and viewing angle is good enough for office work and web browsing. It’s not the best screen for watching videos, but it’s not the worst either.


As regard to fan noise, the default fan is a bit noisy even with light work load (level 3). I’ve modified TPFanControl.ini to the following settings.


Smart Mode 2:


Level2 22=1     hardly ever happens

Level2 46=2     dead silent @ 2,000rpm for Office work & web browsing.       

Level2 48=5     used as quick burst to reduce fan back to 2,000rpm

Level2 53=7     used for CPU intensive tasks

Level2 60=64   overclock the fan by 1,000rpm to help lower the temp

Level2 77=128 switch fan control back to BIOS


One thing to note, I  kept the CPU at 2.5GHz maximum, and not let it turbo to 3GHz as this course temp to increase in general hence fan speed and noise level. I don't noticeany speed difference in normal usage, or even most CPU intensive tasks. Only when I've all the CPU threads working 100% do I let the CPU turbo to 3GHz ie video encoding..


The only downside of the t420s is the low battery capacity. With only 44whr battery, I’m getting 2hrs use with wireless connection off, screen brightness between 8-10, and CPU speed set to 1.2GHz doing office work and listing to music using headphones.


I’ve ordered the Ultrabay battery, so lets see if I can manage to get 4hrs use of the machine after few more battery cycles.


Hope this helps.


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  • Message 4 of 5

Re: Considering buying a T420S - advice please

2012-01-09, 19:07 PM

Hi paulhutch


Since it's already 2012, you could probably wait for a month of two to consider T430u or other new ThinkPad machines. 


I think there are still trackpoint available for Dell (Latitude / Precision) and HP (Elitebook / E. Workstation) line.


Hopefully, 2012 would be a better year for all of you! :smileyvery-happy:

ThinkPad: W520 (4284-A99)


Does someone’s post help you? Give them kudos as a reward, as they will do better to improve 

Mark it as solved if the solution works for you, so it could be reference for others in the future 

Dolby Home Theater v4 (Essential/IdeaPad/ThinkPad)



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  • Message 5 of 5

Re: Considering buying a T420S - advice please

2012-01-09, 20:12 PM

I have a T420s, have had it for almost 3 months now. It has a build date of Oct 2011, according to the sticker on the bottom.


I have to say i love it. Previously i had a T61, which served me well for 4 years, but this is way better. It has all the functionality i need, wrapped up in a thin, light package.


I have not had an issue with the fan yet. I've never heard the fan at all, only felt the heat sometimes. It's my work issued laptop, so I really use it, with large excel models (largest right now is 88Mb), and calculations, pivots and analyses within them.


I'm Ok with the screen, but then again I don't watch videos on it or do graphical work. I use Office apps and email, and so for me the screen is fine. Ok, compared to my wife's macbook pro, the screen can't hold a candle to hers, but then she does use it for graphics stuff.


The downside is the battery life. If i'm using excel with some serious models, i can get maybe 2 hours out of it. If i'm only reviewing docs and powerpoints, i can get around 4 hours. But I was also used to getting only 1 hour out of my T61. Its still a disappointment compared to my colleagues with X220's who can easily get upwards of 7 hours out of their machines. But i do have a larger screen which works better with excel and powerpoint :)



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