(2008 - 2010) Core 2 Duo 3rd Gen Penryn

Prices posted here are based on 2/21/2016.
Note: This is exactly like the blog post but it is now a 'page' to make site directions easier.

Here is what I found to be the current prices for laptops, I try to see if they come with an HDD, but some might not come with an AC adapter.
There are other computers that have been below these prices but may not be in desirable condition.
Anything past the highest price and you should only be paid if it has upgraded RAM, SSD, GPU, LCD, warranty and a fresh new battery.
FrankenPads and modded laptops are not listed here, more info about that later.
OFC Enthusiasts and original owners will charge more for their machine, this is a laptop buying guide for sold listings through eBay. 

If buying from TPF, MacRumors, or GeekHack marketplaces, prices can be higher.

Generally used OEM AC adapters cost from $8 to $45.
3rd party batteries cost $20+ and OEM seems to be $50+ for new.
Take your time to buy, best deals will come to those who wait.

I have a followed search of ThinkPad, Pixel, T430s, and 8770w for newly listed, so I could see if someone is selling a laptop very quickly at a cheap price or watch something I may bid on later. I've sold laptops at a higher price when I place them at 99 cent auctions rather than what I'd think I'd sell them for as a buy it now. People love winning auctions, don't pay too much because you want to win a war, there are auction followers who don't even see what laptops would sell for with buy it now.

Lastly check local craigslist as well, you might find a better deal!
Laptops will be ThinkPad, Latitude and Elitebook in that order and maybe Apple.
E5xxx Latitudes are equal to R Thinkpads, plastic and thicker versions of E4xxx & T Series.
Elitebook 'p' models build quality range from Edge/E5xxx to T/X ThinkPads & E4xxx Lats.
Dells like to be picky with AC adapters, unlike ThinkPads which can take 90W adapters and dgaf

Precisions typically are better and pricier than W series ThinkPads, Elitebooks ending with w are their workstations for that size which can be spec/quality up to Precisions or W series but sometimes they just look like a bulky Latitude or ThinkPad.
HP ProBooks, Vostros, and Lenovo V series are consumer quality /biz/ wannabees, they will not be included in this guide, however they can be better spec'd, cheaper and does everything you need, just follow the guide and check sold listings before pulling the trigger. (:

Generally in this era ThinkPads use DDR3, HP/Dell use DDR2 and will be noted
All of these should run Windows 7 fine, W8 and W10 may have driver issues.
These are good machines still, good for web browsing, 1080p video may work fine, PSX and Saturn game emulation should work fine.
Reapplication of thermal paste is recommended if running hot.
I recommended these for old people who'd want something to work.Linux will be snappier on these, install gentoo!

E6400 - $60 - 120
T400 - $40 - 120 
6930p - $40 - 100
  • All these laptops have 16:10 displays and a WXGA+ panel optional
  • E6400 and 6930p have optional backlit keyboard but DDR2 RAM.
  • 4GB DDR2 modules are expensive, which makes the T400 desirable for 8GB machine
  • T400 and E6400 are pretty close in build quality, very nice.

E6500 - $60 - 130
T500  -  $75 - 150
8530p - $80 - 170
  • Some of these laptops go as low as $40 for parts machines, can be worth the risk.
  • WUXGA displays are optional, 
  • Quite a few of these machines net $180 if equipped well or just because, good  value
  • Seeing a few lot of 3 'for parts' machines for $200, plenty of E6500 and T500 in this tier/era, 8530p isn't freely available and are more pricier for that reason only.
  • However 8530p has a MXM GPU and can be upgraded to 8530w tier without a mobo swap!
  • But T500 has DDR3 RAM while the HP and Dell are stuck with pricier DDR2 RAM
  • CAREFUL: Some of these get only one bid, so some w/ OS or HDD can be cheaper than one without a hard drive, it just depends on what the seller lists it and who decides to bid on that

M4400 - $80 - 150
W500  - $80 - 160
8530w - $70 - 150
  • A lot of these are cheaper as part machines, $45+
  • Elitebook seems to be the cheapast of the bunch if yer lucky
  • M4400 and W500 ask for $200 at times and even $400 if 'gaming' is said
  • Some of these laptops came with  Core 2 Quads, good machines to upgrade from!
  • Hate to sound like a broken record but W500 benefits from DDR3 RAM out of the three

M6400 - $100 - 290
W700  - $120 - 400
8730w - $110 - 420
W700ds - $350 - 1200
  • Dream color Elitebooks will be $350+ these have IPS displays optional than the other two.
  • In this category Dells are more available in the market, then HP, then ThinkPads...
  • W700ds can sell for $1000+ or $500, due to it having a second screen because collectors, huey coloromitor and some have a built in Wacom digitizer on the palmrest!
  • 8730w can be equipped with an optional Dreamcolor IPS display, possibly the best screen out of the other two (or three if you coung the W700ds)
  • I personally had a w700ds as a desktop replacement, played League well at 60 FPS with 10-15 minute 1080p video rendering at 45 min to an hour in Sony Vegas.
  • I paid $1045 for my W700ds in late 2012, got a dock for $75 and sold it for $975 in Jan 2016
  • If well equipped, these do hold their value... well at least for six years used to, alot of these laptops cost $2K to $6K depending on configuration
  • MXM videocards are standard on these machines and can be upgraded, much easier than a mobo swap. Just research which cards are compatible.
  • W700/ds uses a whitelist and can only use Lenovo FRU'd cards.
  • M6400 can be upgraded to a Quadro 3800m GPU from the M6500 by modding.
  • M6400 & W700 use separate fans for their GPU/CPUs, 8730w uses one big fan for both heatsinks.
  • Power adapters are pricey for 17" laptops, expect to pay a premium if not equipped! 
  • Some of these laptops sell for under $90 as parts machines, good luck!!!
  • A lot of these sell for $350+ because QUADCORE, GAMING, and BEAUTIFUL DISPLAY
  • AC adapters are pricey and bulky in this category, I strongly recommend OEM adapters, these may cost up to $60! 


E4200  - $60 - 120
X200    - $65 - 140
2930p   - $40 - 100
X200s  - $65 - 120

Tablet versions
XT2           - $50 - 150
XT2 XFR - $150 - 300
X200T      - $70 - 150
2530p       - $50 - 110
  • The 2530p is super cheap as parts machines compared to the rest, $40 to 50!
  • Actually the 2930p no one gives a shit about and sells for $30+ as a parts machine. WTF!!
  • Dunno the build quality on the two Elitebooks but these are def cheaper than the competition.
  • X200 uses easily available 2.5' SATA drives (cheaper to get) 1.8" for Dell & HP
  • A lot of these go for $40+ as part machines, better per price if buying in lots ($25 per unit)
  • X200s had an optional WXGA+ display (Lenovo on the left side of the screen bezel instead of right), they are very uncommon
  • X200 Tablet seem to add extra $$ because IPS and multitouch? I think it kept its value.
  • ThinkPads are desirable because they use 2.5" drives out of all of these, rather the other one use 1.8", so keep that in mind if one does not come with a hard drive
  • But the good thing is that there are 1.8" to mSATA converters in good prices.
  • Some of these don't come with CD/DVD drives, docks should cost no more than $35
  • I did not know about Latitude Tablets and XFR versions! 

13' Ultraportables/Pre-Ultrabooks

E4300 - $60 - 130
X300  - $60 - 120
X301  - $80 - 200

  • A lot of these machines can be bought as parts for $25 to $50, and a few in lot sales as well
  • X300 uses a 2ng gen Core2Duo and DDR2 RAM, its here for its association for the X301
  • E4300 uses 2.5" drives out of the bunch, 1.8" on the ThinkPads
  • X300/1 has better screen estate, WXGA+ than Dell's WXGA

My thoughts on these laptops

I've owned/came across T400, T500, W500, X200, X201, X200s, S70 (X300), E6400, E4200
The Dells in this category are nice, E6400 feels a lot more sturdier than a T400.
T400 is probably the best build/light in the 14" 16:10 ThinkPads imo
T400 and E6400 can go toe to toe, but I like the E6400 a bit more.
Although I like these laptops, the T500/W500 have suffer from snapping hinges, frame will be destroyed in the process, open these laptops with both hands for less stress.

WUXGA displays are GOAT, they will ask for a premium on these laptops, they can be a nice buy if you can't afford screen estate on later CORE series laptops.
W700ds is the thickest of the bunch, it will barely fit in a ThinkPad laptop bag but not zip up.
I've had an 8730w and I accidentally lifted the LCD ribbon cable ever so slightly, if you see a unit with a green screen (green instead of display black) chances are the LCD cable needs to be reseated!

I rank the S70 as the third best keyboard I've used on a laptop, best keyboard out of all laptops I've used past 2007.

Any questions or comments, email me at sauceyjames@gmail.com.
More guides coming soon, I will try one a week!


  1. hi i recently bought a thinkpad w500 for 50 bucks and i plan on upgrading the cpu from a p8700 to an x9100. i've seen on forums that the x9100 will work but the 45 watt tdp worries me... will this type of setup work in the long run?

    1. I'd ask the fabulous members at the ThinkPad forums. I don't really mess with hot CPUs. :O


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