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Lenovo Ideapad S540-14IWL: FHD IPS Touch, i5-8265U, 8GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, Win10H @ $509.99 + F/S

$509.99
+7 Deal Score
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LINK (Model: 81QX000DUS): https://www.ebay.com/itm/LENOVO-I...4124250820

Note: If your account is eligible, you can earn 8% eBay Bucks.

DETAILED REVIEW:
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Len...167.0.html


SPEC:
  • Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
  • 14" 1080P IPS 300 Nits Touchscreen Display
  • i5-8265U 1.6 GHz (3.9 GHz Turbo, 6MB Cache)
  • 8GB (4GB soldered + 4GB DIMM) DDR4 2666 MHz Ram (20GB Max)
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • 720P HD WebCam
  • Microsoft precesion Glass Touchpad
  • Fingerprint Reader
  • 2W x 2 Stereo Speakers /w Dolby Audio
  • Dual Band 802.11ac (2x2) + Bluetooth 4.2
  • PORTS:
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (data Only)
    • 1x HDMI 1.4b
    • 1x SDXC Card Reader
    • 1x Audio Combo Jack
  • 48 WHr Li-Ion Battery
  • 3.11 lbs
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$509.99

12 Comments

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#2
This one [ebay.com] also appears to be on sale for $499 from another seller
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#3
Quote from Feel-The-Rhythm
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This one [ebay.com] also appears to be on sale for $499 from another seller
That Seller does not meet SlickDeal's policy. Also, I think $10 extra is worth for buying it directly from Lenovo than any Third party retailer.
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#4
The WiFi card on this sucks and you cannot change it to a better one because the BIOS will not allow it.
The few allowed ones suck too. Just say no to manufacturers who pull this crap.
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Last edited by WingsOfF February 25, 2020 at 04:44 PM.
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#5
Quote from WingsOfF
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The WiFi card on this sucks and you cannot change it to a better one because the BIOS will not allow it.
The few allowed ones suck too. Just say no to manufacturers who pull this crap.
Why do you think that the WiFi Card sucks...any points, reviews etc would be nice.

This model uses Intel Wireless AC 9560 which is one of the fastest Gigabit WiFi Card, the next best card after WiFi AX 201. It supports 1.73 Gbps bandwidth which is way over most of our router's speed.
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#6
Quote from Suryasis
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Why do you think that the WiFi Card sucks...any points, reviews etc would be nice.

This model uses Intel Wireless AC 9560 which is one of the fastest Gigabit WiFi Card, the next best card after WiFi AX 201. It supports 1.73 Gbps bandwidth which is way over most of our router's speed.
If you don't believe me, read the comments section of the review you linked yourself!

It seems to be a combination of the card and poor antenna on this laptop.That Intel card does not do well with weak signals and backs off aggressively. You cannot do anything with the poor antenna. There are cards that can do better with poorer signals though, except the BIOS won't allow them to be used.

I also have a philosophical objection to manufacturers who do this kind of locking. There really is no good rationale for this. Won't buy them and discourage others from buying from such manufacturers whoever they are. It is only when the market reacts negatively, they would reconsider such stupid decisions.

Too bad. Lenovo does some great products but they have some non-consumer friendly habits that make some models worse than others.
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#7
Quote from WingsOfF
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If you don't believe me, read the comments section of the review you linked yourself!

It seems to be a combination of the card and poor antenna on this laptop.That Intel card does not do well with weak signals and backs off aggressively. You cannot do anything with the poor antenna. There are cards that can do better with poorer signals though, except the BIOS won't allow them to be used.

I also have a philosophical objection to manufacturers who do this kind of locking. There really is no good rationale for this. Won't buy them and discourage others from buying from such manufacturers whoever they are. It is only when the market reacts negatively, they would reconsider such stupid decisions.

Too bad. Lenovo does some great products but they have some non-consumer friendly habits that make some models worse than others.
The discussion is mainly about changing the poor Realtek card in the AMD model which has very poor performance. Where is the discussion about the Intel model having the 9560 WiFi Card?
If I am still missing it, point me the comment # and I will check.
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#8
I wish it has at least 12GB RAM.
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#9
Quote from Suryasis
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The discussion is mainly about changing the poor Realtek card in the AMD model which has very poor performance. Where is the discussion about the Intel model having the 9560 WiFi Card?
If I am still missing it, point me the comment # and I will check.
That was to point at the antenna issue. It is the same weak link in both Intel and AMD models. The Intel card isn't bad like the Realtek which is a piece of crap but with this antenna it gives very poor speeds in practice because it backs off so aggressively. Some driver versions are better than others in this handling of weak signals but you never know if the next driver update is going to make it worse.

Some broadcom based cards are better at handling weak signals if the antenna cannot be fixed. But you cannot use them, because of BIOS restrictions.

You can see discussions on this on the Lenovo forums. For example,

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Thin...-p/2244041
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#10
Quote from WingsOfF
:
That was to point at the antenna issue. It is the same weak link in both Intel and AMD models. The Intel card isn't bad like the Realtek which is a piece of crap but with this antenna it gives very poor speeds in practice because it backs off so aggressively. Some driver versions are better than others in this handling of weak signals but you never know if the next driver update is going to make it worse.

Some broadcom based cards are better at handling weak signals if the antenna cannot be fixed. But you cannot use them, because of BIOS restrictions.

You can see discussions on this on the Lenovo forums. For example,

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Thin...-p/2244041
I don't think the model you're referring is same as this model as the poster mentioned that to be purchased on 2014 whereas S540 model was released in 2019. Also, all the posts are dated 2016, long time back.

I do have a Thinkpad E495 with Ryzen 7 3700u which came with Intel 9260 WiFi card. I just upgraded that to a $20 Wifi AX200 card from Amazon and installed the drivers directly from Intel Website and its working without any issue. I don't think that they are still locking the bios for third party WiFi cards.

Most of the discussions about Bios whitelist for replacing wifi card is actually for thinkpad S540 which is a very very old model and people are confusing it with the new Ideapad series. The link you have given is also for the thinkpad S540.
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Last edited by Suryasis February 25, 2020 at 06:11 PM.
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#11
Quote from Suryasis
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I don't think the model you're referring is same as this model as the poster mentioned that to be purchased on 2014 whereas S540 model was released in 2019. Also, all the posts are dated 2016, long time back.

I do have a Thinkpad E495 with Ryzen 7 3700u which came with Intel 9260 WiFi card. I just upgraded that to a $20 Wifi AX200 card from Amazon and installed the drivers directly from Intel Website and its working without any issue. I don't think that they are still locking the bios for third party WiFi cards.

Most of the discussions about Bios whitelist for replacing wifi card is actually for thinkpad S540 which is a very very old model and people are confusing it with the new Ideapad series. The link you have given is also for the thinkpad S540.
You may be right about the Thinkpad s540 vs Ideapad s540 although the AMD version of the latter has the WiFi problem because of the bad RealTek card.

But the whitelisting still exists. Only the cards listed in the parts lookup page are allowed. It is also possible that if that listed contains an OEM card, the same card white-labeled from another brand may very well work. Replacing with Intel cards is typically not a problem regardless of its branding.

The problem with BIOS whitelisting in Lenovos (even recent ones) is well-known and documented in the Hackintosh community because MacOS does not support Intel cards.

The following is an example of what people do to hack the BIOS of Lenovo models to be able to use a MacOS supported card - removing the white listing. An industry for modifying the BIOS seems to have sprung up.

https://www.tonymacx86.com/thread...na.279818/
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#12
Quote from WingsOfF
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You may be right about the Thinkpad s540 vs Ideapad s540 although the AMD version of the latter has the WiFi problem because of the bad RealTek card.

But the whitelisting still exists. Only the cards listed in the parts lookup page are allowed. It is also possible that if that listed contains an OEM card, the same card white-labeled from another brand may very well work. Replacing with Intel cards is typically not a problem regardless of its branding.

The problem with BIOS whitelisting in Lenovos (even recent ones) is well-known and documented in the Hackintosh community because MacOS does not support Intel cards.

The following is an example of what people do to hack the BIOS of Lenovo models to be able to use a MacOS supported card - removing the white listing. An industry for modifying the BIOS seems to have sprung up.

https://www.tonymacx86.com/thread...na.279818/
But if you're planning to stay in Windows, I don't see it to be an issue as it will support Intel cards without any whitelisting.
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#13
Quote from Suryasis
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But if you're planning to stay in Windows, I don't see it to be an issue as it will support Intel cards without any whitelisting.
The hackintosh example was just to respond to your assertion that whitelisting is not an issue in newer Lenovos. This is false.

This problem still remains if you want to replace the card for any reason (poor antenna design is one issue) which is why I will not support any manufacturer that does whitelisting. There is no reason for Lenovo to do this which is a legacy from IBM era when they wanted to sell their own parts and drivers were not universal.

We already have a similar problem with batteries with all laptops. Every laptop has its own design and after a few years gets difficult to get a replacement if the manufacturer no longer produces it. One does not have to scrounge around for what might be accepted by the laptop.

Just say no to whitelisting, not defend it because it is a "deal".
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