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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lenovo G40-30 Review

When something is good but expensive, it is an overpriced product.
When it is cheap but lousy, again it is a waste of money.
So usually I will only do a review if the product is a worthy and value for money.
And the Lenovo G40-30 is no exception.


The Lenovo G40-30 is actually the lowest speced SKU of the Lenovo G40 Series of laptop but it is really something special due to the choice of components.
Read on and you will find out why.
I no longer use laptops for heavy processing as the heat destroys it easily, heavy lifting is done on the Desktop and laptops are for lighter workloads which makes this laptop really ideal.
I got it from a website at SGD $369 dollar which is really cheap for a 14" inch laptop.

The base specification is as follows

  • Intel Celeron Quad Core N2940 @ 1.83GHZ
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM Low Voltage Module
  • 500GB 2.5" HDD
  • Wireless B/G/N Module
  • 1000Mbps Ethernet Port
  • USB 3.0 

Disassembly

When I disassemble the laptop that is when I found some surprises.

First the BIOS access button is not activated by keyboard combinations



The BIOS access button is activated by a small button just beside the Power Connector (you can enable VT-x in the BIOS)

There is no metal fins as usually found just behind the exhaust grills


After opening  it up


A few things to note
  1. It uses the Next Generation Form Factor Wifi Card Slot
  2. The heatsink assembly HAS NO FAN = No moving parts, no noise!
  3. It has only a Single DRAM Slot for RAM Upgrades = Max Upgrade 8GB
  4. Left and Right Speakers are located far far away from Heatsink = Good since heat destroys speaker magnets.
Harddisk Closeup



HeatSink Assembly Closeup


RAM Slot Closeup


Wifi Card Closeup


Booting the System

The reason why it can be so cheap is revealed here
It comes with a Windows 8.1 Edition called: Single Language with Bing
It is a feature stripped down version of Windows 8.1 with additional features like Hyper-V missing.


It has 4 CPU Cores running at 1.83GHZ
It has Hardware Virtualization (Intel VT-x)  which can be enabled in the BIOS.
L1 Cache 224KB and L2 Cache 2.0MB.


It uses a special version of Intel AHCI Controller Driver for Celeron Processors
It uses Conexant High Definition Audio
It uses a Elantech Based Touchpad (Not shown in the photo)
The Atheros AR956x is a Single Stream 1TX, 1RX Wireless N Capable Wifi Module capable of negotiating up to 150Mbps only, it is known in the Market as QCNFA335.
The Bluetooth function is provided by the Wireless Module
It has a USB 3.0 Capability. 


It has a Realtek Gigabit Lan Port


Even without a fan in the heatsink, temperatures look fine


Temperatures after running Intel Burn Test (Temperatures held stable at 65 degrees without any Fan pretty good I must say)


More detailed Information about the Processor


It is a Bay Trail M CPU, hence an Intel Atom derived Architecture branded as Celeron.
As a result it does not have those new fancy AES-NI Instruction Set Capabilities.

Lets look at the memory module


Look carefully it uses a Low Voltage DDR3L DRAM, it is a 1.35V module if you slot in a standard 1.5V module it will not boot.

A little excursion on the grey side ...

Guys who recognize the picture below knows what this means...

Original Table:

After some modding:


Lastly....Conclusion

What makes this laptop amazing...
  • It is really really cheap
  • It has really really long battery life due to Low Power Processor and DRAM
  • It is really really quiet, no fan no sound, no moving parts
  • It has Gigabit LAN port for a really really low price, some even more expensive laptops have only Fast Ethernet LAN
  • It looks quite elegant and decent
  • You can pass it off as its more powerful G40-Series higher end brothers.
  • Powerful Speakers that are faraway from heatsink is a good design
  • I typed and completed this review using only 20% of batterylife
  • Good sound system
What makes this laptop meh
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing, a crippled Windows Edition 
  • Wireless Adapter only 150Mbps capable whitelist prevents upgrade
  • Elantech Touchpad does not have touchzone capabilities (To improve the Touchpad Experience use ASUS Specially Improve ElanTech Touchpad Drivers)
  • But hey seriously it is SGD $365 for the specs it is really really awesome
  • Intermittent jumping Elantech Jumpy Cursor Touchpad - Solved by ordering and  upgrading to Synaptics Touchpad
Potential Upgrades to this laptop
  • Upgrade Harddisk Drive to SSD - Succeeded
  • Upgrade RAM to 8GB (Remember to get Low Voltage DDR3L RAM modules only)
  • Upgrade Wifi Card (Remember WiFi Card Slot accepts only Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) Currently not possible due to whitelist To upgrade WiFi Card refer to the Lenovo Hardware Service Guide check the FRU column and get a compatible Wireless AC Card Succeeded
  1. WiFi FRU List
BGN Capable
Qualcomm Atheros, Ltn NFA335 1x1BN+BT4.0 PCIE M.2 WLAN 20200558
Broadcom, Cbt BCM43142 1x1BN+BT4.0 PCIE M.2 WLAN 20200557
Realtek, Cbt RTL8723BE 1x1BN+BT4.0 PCIE M.2 WLAN 20200570
AC Capable
Qualcomm Atheros, Ltn NFA345 1x1AC+BT4.0 PCIE M.2 WLAN 20200579
Broadcom, Cbt BCM43162 1x1AC+BT4.0 PCIE M.2 WLAN 20200573
Intel, Intel 3160 1x1AC+BT PCIE NGFF WLAN 20200418
            • Reformat and install a non-crippled OS - OEM activate Window 7 Professional and Upgrade to Free Windows 10 Professional


            6 comments:

            Peter Bacani said...

            Hey thanks for your review been eyeing this laptop as i found one on sale.

            Oshilan said...

            Such comprehensive and concise review. Thank you!

            Ricky Yulianto said...

            hi, i have acer 4740G 4gb ram and im currently looking 1 to replace it with better specs but not overpriced, do you have one you recommend? thank you

            peacefool said...

            Is it possible to get a bit more info on that SLIC topic?
            You just got me interested in that thing by posting that exact image of the smiling man)

            PS: We have that that machine on a crazy discount now (150€ for a new 14" laptop sounds great to me)
            PPS: a non-crippled OS means gnu/linux, obviously? Any problems in installing for a newbie? I'm asking, because not sure about that UEFI-thing. It wasn't a problem for me to install other OS before, but I used old machines not spoiled with that crippled closed BIOS (or whatever it is, that was most probably made to promote MS system and/or suppress linux).

            Admin said...

            Google Windows 7 SLIC 2.1
            You need to understand how Windows OEM activation works.
            It is a knowledge branch
            Non-Crippled means you can install and activate Windows 7 then use a upgrade to Windows 10 so you gain VM capabilities (not that it will be very fast)

            Xbook7 Personal said...

            thanks inform