Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cleaning out my laptop

I still use the same laptop as I've been using since 2010. Yes that's 8 years and its still running strong. It goes to show that often its worth buying quality products that can last a long time vs. cheap products that break down and need replacement. 

Its a Thinkpad T420. i5, 8gb ram, upgraded SSD. The build quality is excellent. Its sturdy and rock solid. It doesn't feel like the cheap plastic that newer laptops have which bend and squeek when you put any pressure on it. The only downside is the screen. As its 1600x900.

It was running a bit sluggish recently and overheating. I realized that I haven't cleaned it out so I take it apart and look what I find.

A major dust issue. I really need to do a better job keeping up with the maintenance. Its funny because we get into a habit of thinking, "well it worked yesterday, why wouldn't it work today". These issues creep up very slowly.

After a good air canister session and reapplying thermal grease. I put it back together and wow, I can really feel the difference. The temperature of the cores are 10, maybe 15 degrees cooler. Such a big difference. And it feels noticeably faster.

I've been looking at prices of new laptops and I can't justify getting a new one. I'm not a gamer anymore so I don't really need something that powerful. This laptop is still plenty fast enough for web browsing, videos, coding, etc. The only thing I'd really want is a better screen. I have used a Macbook Pro Retina for work and it is noticeably better. But its not a must for me especially not for those prices.

Its certainly not a sexy laptop. A lot of people buy Apple laptops now a days for the statement it makes. Simon Sinek says that people will never have a dirty Apple logo on the back. People need others to see it so that others know what they believe. Its like people having Harley Davidson tattoos: they believe in what the logo stands for and want to be seen that way. I personally don't care. I use Linux so I'm that one one missing from the Mac vs. PC commercials. I believe more in making interesting products than the tools itself. I like Joel Spoksy's rant on not being flag wavy about programming languages. So what if PHP is shitty, show the world what you can build with it. Facebook was built off that shitty language.

And I these ThinkPads are used by plenty of organizations internally. Because they are so practical. I've had my keyboard break on me. A couple of the keys stopped working. For a different laptop that would probably be the end of it. I would be forced to buy a new one. Just like when my iPhone died and I went to the Apple Store and they said it was a hardware issue. But instead I was able to buy a new keyboard for 10 bucks off eBay and replace it myself.

Lessons? If you want to be practical, buy a durable ThinkPad, but don't blame you for getting the beautiful MacBook. Take care of your toys (and yourself for that matter), under-maintenance sneaks up on you.