I want a custom Lenovo W541, probably not from Lenovo directly.
January 18, 2016 12:04 PM   Subscribe

So, Power Notebooks is suddenly out of business and I don't know where else I can get what I want. I worked out a spec for a new custom Lenovo W541 with them. Went to actually order it today, but the company is out of business. Where can I get the notebook I want?

I am both intensely disappointed and relieved that I didn't get to actually order this laptop; Don at Power Notebooks spent real time on the phone helping choose specs for the laptop and I'm pretty sure that this (relatively high-end) configuration would do what I want robustly and would have been a good investment.

(Side issue for Metafilter interest - I wish I could have compensated him for this kind of labor -- I think it's a shame it's treated as "free" when it was the true heart of their business).

The configuration tool they had on their site sent me a message with all the specs and a link to the config page; clicked on that link today and saw the regretful out of business message (also found some discussion on Reddit, in case anyone's interested).

Because the owner of PowerNotebooks was so knowledgeable (and experienced, hence the retirement/health issues, I guess), I'm pretty sure I want the exact configuration he recommended, including a 1 or 2 TB SSD (I don't think I can get this direct from Lenovo), nVIDIA Quadro K1100M w/2GB, etc. Any ideas on another vendor? I'm in North Carolina, in case that helps. Intrex (local) doesn't do custom configurations anymore.

Before I found Power Notebooks, I spent time trying to figure out how to get what I wanted from Lenovo directly, but that wasn't fruitful.

I'm not 100% opposed to trying to put all this together myself, but I want to be able to get warranty service if I need it, and I'm not sure how difficult the mechanics would be or if it would end up being a lot more expensive (I've replaced memory and a drive in a laptop, but it's been years).

Also: some urgency because I really want Windows 7.
posted by amtho to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
It looks like the W541 is no longer available from Lenovo - it is marked as "Sold Out." The P50 appears to be the replacement but the max SSD is 512GB. NewEgg has a 2TB SSD from Samsung for $700 here:


The way Lenovos are built, replacing the harddrive should be just a matter of unscrewing a panel from the bottom.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:29 PM on January 18, 2016

Could you tell us about the features you're looking for that aren't satisfied by the W550s's options?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:31 PM on January 18, 2016

I was kind of interested in the recommended grahics card (I'm interested in 3D CAD, nothing too elaborate, along with the usual 'I'll probably edit all my cat videos and/or make tutorials someday').

- Video Card - GPU: nVIDIA Quadro K1100M w/2GB - [could I do this myself? Should I? What do I do with the old video card?]

- RAM: 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR3L/1600 Dual Channel Memory

- 2.5" Hard Drive / SSD Bay #1: 2TB Samsung 850 EVO SATA III Solid State Drive (up to 540MB/s Read/520 MB/s Write- 98K IOPS Read/90K IOPS Write) 5 Yr Warranty (was waffling on this as it's incredibly expensive, but gee it would be nice not to worry...)

- Thermal Compound: IC Diamond Thermal Compound applied to CPU + GPU (this sounded helpful and wasn't expensive)

- 30 Day "No Defective Pixel" Guarantee
posted by amtho at 12:35 PM on January 18, 2016

Oh, and:

- CPU: Intel Core i7-4710MQ (2.5~3.5GHz) w/6M L3 Cache - 4 Cores - 8 Threads (I don't remember if this came standard with the laptop)
posted by amtho at 12:37 PM on January 18, 2016

I said "nothing too elaborate" re: CAD above, but I don't want to struggle with my hardware. I want to be able to grow with the machine. I've already taken a couple of courses on Autodesk Inventor -- who can buy that without working for an engineering company? -- and am currently getting into FreeCAD, which is kind of an inspiring effort, FWIW.
posted by amtho at 12:39 PM on January 18, 2016

OK, now I see that the graphics card and CPU are part of the Lenovo offerings, and I even found one on Craigslist locally. Maybe I can just get it and replace the HD if the seller ends up being trustworthy.

Maybe I dodged a bullet with Power Notebooks...
posted by amtho at 1:10 PM on January 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

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