Lenovo ThinkPad X301 now available with 1.8-inch spinning hard drive

August 18, 2009


’s flagship ThinkPad X301 laptop can now be found in certain configurations with a 1.8-inch magnetic hard drive, rather than the fast and expensive Solid State Drives, once included exclusively.

Unfortunately the new drives are not available on Lenovo.com as part of a build-it-yourself configuration, yet. Instead you are restricted to one of two pre-built configurations available through resellers:

* Model 2776-H1U: SU9400 1.4GHz CPU, 2GB DDR3, Webcam, 120GB 5400rpm, DVDRW, Intel 5100 WiFi, WWAN upgradeable, 2GB Turbo Memory, Bluetooth, Fingerprint reader, 6-cell battery, Vista Business 32 – Street price ~$1700-1800
* Model 2776-32U: SU9600 1.6GHz CPU, 2GB DDR3, Webcam, 250GB 5400rpm, DVDRW, Intel 5100 WiFi, WWAN upgradeable, Bluetooth, Fingerprint reader, 6-cell battery, XP Professional – Street price – ~$1700

Considering you can only get the ThinkPad X301 into the $1600 range, sans DVDRW and other goodies, on Lenovo.com with coupons, this actually isn’t a bad deal. The magnetic HDD clearly saves you a chunk of change here. In fact, if you look for the nearly identical model 2776-33U, which adds a 64GB SSD over the 2776-32U listed above, it adds on average $200-300 to the price tag. You still need to do in-depth price comparison to find the model that best fits your needs, but the potential is here for some cost savings.

More background
lenovo_thinkpad_t400s_upgrade_ssd-toshiba When the ThinkPad X300 launched, it was criticized for its high price tag, which was largely driven by the then-expensive SSDs. The drive itself cost over $700, which is a huge portion of any laptop’s cost, considering you could get a fairly well equipped machine for that much. When questioned about offering a 1.8-inch HDD to bring the starting cost down, Lenovo stated it had investigated that route, but that the performance of those drives was just not up to par for such a high end machine. Indeed, a system’s storage drive is one of the largest bottlenecks on a modern computer.

Since the ThinkPad X300 launched, SSD prices have dropped significantly bringing the X301 into the sub-$2000 price range. However, HDD technology has also advanced and not only are 1.8-inch drives faster, but they have greater capacity too. Hopefully Lenovo will start offering these 1.8-inch HDD’s for the X301 on Lenovo.com, so we can truly see what kind of value they can drive out of the flagship ThinkPad.