There are only a few notebooks that age well. The IBM Thinkpad X40 would definitely be one of them if it weren't for the very slow and noisy (clack, clack, clack) 1.8 inch 20GB HDD. Since SSD became affordable I was looking into finding a SSD that would work in my 5 year old Thinkpad X40.
There have been solutions for a while that required you to do some soldering or buy a PATA adapter that works in conjunction with ZIF type 1.8 inch SSD. I am just not into soldering at all. Now a Chinese company called KingSpec is offering drop-in replacement SSD for the IBM Thinkpad X40, X41, and X41T.
There are 32GB and 64GB SSD available to choose from. I got the 32GB 1.8 inch SSD that sells for $170. The 64GB SDD for the X40 sells for $260. The SSD drives are offered from a Chinese vendor named ventures_cn1 on eBay.
I received my KingSpec SSD a little over a week directly from China after ordering it on eBay.
It was very easy to replace the 20GB HDD with the Kingspec SSD. Just open the HDD compartment. Pull out the HDD and open the screws on the sides to remove the cover. I also removed the metal shield and screwed that on the SSD. I am not sure if you have to do that, but why not. Then I attached the cover on the SSD and pushed it into the X40 HDD compartment. It took me about 5min. of wiggling to find the right angle and alignment until the Kingspec drive attached in the IDE plug. Stay patient and do not push too hard. It will fit eventually. You can see several hi-res photos from the X40 SSD upgrade here.
Once the SSD was installed I restored the system with the recovery and restore CD set. I installed a fresh XP system because the system I had before had too much garbage on it anyway.
After the installation process I was totally excited to have a completely silent Thinkpad X40 that is a lot faster than with the HDD. Everything is faster, boot up, application loading, and browsing the web. The fan doesn't come on for a very long time either as the system seems to stay cooler.
The upgrade is definitely highly recommendable as your are getting basically a top of the line netbook with still one of the best mobile keyboards around.
It is kind of funny to have a 5 year old hardware that can compete with brand new netbooks in terms of size, speed and ergonomics. The latest netbook generation also hits the 12 inch screen size the IBM X40 has.
I am now using the X40 again around the house instead of the first generation Asus Eee I had used the last year.
You can find the Kingspec SSD for the Thinkpad X40, X41, and X41T on eBay.