Lenovo X1 Yoga (gen 2) laptop

Cheap (€387 including 23% vat and delivery)
Arrived within a week of the order
Kaby lake performance is excellent
Light and thin
Battery life not great (5 hours normal use)

I got a Lenovo X1 Yoga (2nd gen) laptop in Sept 2023 for my daughter for her leaving cert year, and with a view to being useful throughout college. This is a "business class" system, being very light and mobile, whilst also being fast. Also it's versatile by being foldable into a tablet, and having a tablet pen in the chassis. Here's a summary of the components:

Refurbished computers

This high end laptop was only €387, due to it being refurbished. It was obtained from T1A, but they require a trade account to deal with, so I actually bought from Elara, which is one of the best tech vendors in Ireland. Elara have a filtering option to show only refurbished laptops if desired. Note T1A have 4 grades, with this laptop being the lowest "Barga1n+" grade, but it really does look like new. The system also comes with a 2 year warranty.

In general, refurbished laptops are a sensible option currently for a few reasons.

One can get refurbished laptops that are a few years old and effectively as new, for very reasonable prices. Companies tend to decom old laptops too soon I think, assuming failure rates and improvement rates from older days. It's worth noting that these shouldn't be considered second hand laptops. They're brought up to a specific standard, and tested to operate appropriately. Also they tend to be sourced from companies like call centers etc. where the laptops would have sat on a desk and got little physical use.

Installing windows 11 on unsupported systems (as of Sept 2023)

After windows 10 went through its multitude of updates after initial setup, I was surprised that updating to windows 11 wasn't presented as on option. Looking a bit further indicated that this was due to the 7th gen CPU in the system. Microsoft had made the decision to only support 8th gen and above. This is partly a business decision in combination with the hardware manufacturers, as this system is more than powerful enough to run windows 11, being well above minimum specs in all regards. Note also that Windows 10 will come out of support in Oct 2025, and I expect this laptop to be used longer than another 2 years. I guess this is part of the reason why this laptop was so cheap.

There were various ways to install windows 11 on older systems though, centered around adding bypass options to various registry keys like LabConfig and/or MoSetup, that have varied over the years. However it seems like none of these registry bypasses are supported any longer. Instead I found the solution on redit. In summary the steps I followed were:

Note also there is the option of using rufus, though as per its FAQ it's limited to creating install media to create a clean windows install, rather than supporting an update of an existing windows installation.
© Oct 11 2023