Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Ultrabook Review and SSD Performance Analysis


The great thing about ultrabooks today is that, by design alone, the necessity of flash provides the consumer with a significantly faster computer than they have had previously. It is a bit odd to think that we actually improved the performance of our systems by several times by moving to smaller systems where alternatives to the hard drive were necessary. SSDs are composed of flash and the Lenovo X1 Carbon can be ordered with a 128 or 256GB solid state drive, that of which can be upgraded later. Getting to that SSD can be a bit of a challenge as well.

Dissassembly of the X1 consists of removing seven screws from the base and then, rather than pulling the bottom off, one lifts the keyboard exposing the system board and components.

blankblankFrom there we find the new SanDisk X100 ‘gumstick’ or ‘blade style’ SSD which is a definite step up from previous SanDisk iterations that we have examined.


The X100 was only announced in August 2012 and contains a Marvell 88SS9174 SATA 3 controller, Samsung DRAM cache memory and SanDisk NAND flash memory.


Specifications for a factory new SanDisk X100 ‘blade’ SSD are 500MB/s read and 430MB/s write with 76,000 read IOPS at low 4k aligned disk access. Considering the intended use for the X1 Carbon the SanDisk X100 is a compliment and fully capable of meeting consumer need.



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    Is the SSD a gum stick type versus a mSATA?

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    I think there’s a typo on the last page. “for the most part because of it’s plane and unpolished look” should be “its plain”

    But otherwise great review!

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    Yeah, Les, crack open and fix that ultrabook! 🙂

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    A small nit: I cringe when you call the cpu a PENTIUM processor. There are still chips being made which carry that name, but this is a Core processor. Perhaps you meant Intel?

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    Les, What kind of connector is the drive using? I’m trying to find an adapter to convert it to standard size SATA. It’s only 20mm wide so it’s not a mSATA,

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    Great laptop. I think they have BY FAR the best keyboard in the industry. Maybe a better display wold be a good idea 🙂 At least as an option. Does Lenovo not remember when they offered the Flex View display how much people liked that??

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    BTW, I am liking my Vector 512GB 🙂

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      Stupid Question but does the Vector 512 fit into X1 carbon? What are the exact SSD specifications. I have i7 with 128SSD and want to upgrade to 256

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        The X1 Carbon contains a mSATA blade SSD, consumer releases of which are rare. You could check around with Runcore or OWC as they sell similar but I would want to get verification that it is compatible. The Vector is not compatible.

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    Hands down the best of the best, Hands down the best of the best, few days it’ll be alll mine. https://goo.gl/umoAEfew days it’ll be alll mine. https://goo.gl/umoAE

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    I just found a new link to paste in my “Best Tech” folder in my browser !!
    Good stuff !

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    Les, please help!!! How can I upgrade the ssd on X1 Carbon Touch. I need 480gb or higher. Is there an ssd on the market for x1? Lenovo support team can’t answer any of my questions. Will OWC 480GB Aura Pro 6G work?

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      Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question. The blade style solid-state drive is still a very new phenomenon. My suggestion would be to contact Other World computing directly.

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        Les, thank you for replying. OWC says their card only supports Mac, but the dimensions are identical. I think they only tested it on Mac. They have a 30 day return policy. I am thinking to give it a try.

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        correction, dimensions are not the same. I don’t think the card is going to work. after month of researching I gave up on the idea of upgrading the ssd.

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        Hi Dmitriy, I am also on the same boat as you..although you gave up the idea of upgrading the ssd, did you actually bought and tried or you just researched on it and left the idea ?

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    Great review. I just picked up a X1 Carbon. Looks like mine has an 240GB Intel SSD instead of the SanDisk X100. From the looks of things it’s an Intel 525 SSD.

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