Help Me, Laptop: Upgrading a ThinkPad to SSD Storage

Nobody should have to suffer the pain of using a machine that relies on an antiquated hard drive when they can just as easily get one with a solid state drive (SSD), which offers faster speeds and greater reliability.

Such is the case with Tom's Guide forum member Carpathian (Vigo, is that you?), who's trying to decide between two laptops, whose storage they want to replace. Carpathian writes:

"So I'm looking at picking up a Lenovo Thinkpad. Amazon currently has two that [I'm] looking at, the X130e and the T430. The T430 is a bit larger and has more RAM (8gb) than the X130e (4gb). The price difference between the two is about $100. Also, I would like to be able to pop the machine open and replace the HDD with an SSD at some point. I assume with the larger machine it will be a tad easier to do this. What would you guys suggest? Any experience with these machines?"

Based on our reviews alone, we'd give the edge to the ThinkPad T430, which got 4 stars and an Editors' Choice award, over the 3.5-star X130e. Their pros and cons are similar (small touchpads and a dim display mar lengthy battery life and comfortable keyboards), but the T430 lasted a whopping 6 hours and 16 minutes longer than the X130e on a single charge.

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The T430 is also more befitting of Carpathian's specific needs, as it's designed with an accessible hard disk. Lenovo even provides a how-to video for the process, which you can see here, whereas the smaller X130e's storage bay doesn't seem as accessible. Lenovo doesn't list the size of the T430's hard drive, so you'll want to wait to buy an SSD until you learn what this laptop supports.

Lastly, that extra 4GB of RAM might make the difference between smooth and lackluster multitasking, depending on how much you push your machine. So, Carpathian, your best bet is to fork over that extra $100 and get the T430.

Credit: Lenovo