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ROS newby - suitability of old Thinkpad X240?

asked 2019-11-06 03:02:08 -0600

peebix gravatar image

updated 2019-11-09 00:59:09 -0600


I am new to Ubuntu and ROS. I am considering to buy a second-hand Thinkpad X240 (year 2013) to get started with Ubuntu and ROS. I will be using it at first to provide a GUI to view a GPS/RTK signal.

My question is about the 2013-vintage Thinkpad - is that likely to be a problem with latest Ubuntu and ROS or ROS 2.0?

(Again I am just trying to get some initial experience with low-cost older hardware, before I make an informed decision on newer hardware).

Thanks much for any advice.

--- Thank you all below for help. Good to hear that I can proceed, and a great heads-up about rviz.

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answered 2019-11-06 11:44:44 -0600

cat_in_box gravatar image

I've been using an old X220 (2012?) all year as my robot brain (ie it literally sits on the robot base and runs a few ROS nodes for the onboard sensors and the base controller) without issue. For this purpose I would absolutely recommend an old Thinkpad. The only drawback in my case is the battery life, which for mine lasts only 2 hours or so if I'm running a lot of tests. I haven't tried to run RVIZ or any other graphics-related programs on it though, and my gut feeling is the older Thinkpads wouldn't be good for that.

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answered 2019-11-06 23:54:28 -0600

parzival gravatar image

I think you'll have some problems running gazebo and rViz. Also battery upgrade would be good, as @georgeknowlden mentioned.

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answered 2019-11-06 23:24:28 -0600

georgeknowlden gravatar image

updated 2019-11-06 23:25:33 -0600

I am writing this on an X230 with Ubuntu 18.04, and it's great! It handles everything really well, ROS has been written quite efficiently. As a starter piece of hardware, it will be great. I got mine for around $200 AUD.

I would HIGHLY recommend getting a larger battery pack though; as cat_in_box mentions, the battery life isn't great. Something like the following from eBay Australia.

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Asked: 2019-11-06 03:02:08 -0600

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Last updated: Nov 09 '19