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sbiewald272613dLook at the specifications, only those can tell (e.g. a third generation i5 dual core with hyper threading should be enough for the most applications).
Generally, older hardware (obviously only if not defect) works fine, and might be better support than brand new one.
Assuming you want a graphical environment, you may want to switch to a more lightweight one (e.g. enlightenment, LXDE, XFCE) instead of GNOME or KDE.
An anecdote: Linux and Minecraft can run together on a Single Core AMD Athlon with 1,8 GHz (CPU was from 2001 or so) together with a graphics card from 2006 and 2,5 GB DDR1-RAM.
The FPS regularly dropped below 30, but just look the specs.
Sure, this was 5 years ago, but a little-bit-newer-than-this Thinkpad should serve you well.
Don't know what you consider older but my 2013 l540 still works great.
Recently there's been a trend of people buying ~5 year old thinkpads that have similar specs to modern laptops at a bargain price.
it doesn't, i bet.
mine is an extreme example, but i had HP630. i tried 4 linux distros on it, including one explicitly especially tailored for old computers.
none of them even got to the end of installation.
so i got angry and put win10 on in, without issue, except it was a bit slow.
so i reinstalled it to win7 without issue, and it runs beautifully to this day.
don't bother with linux.
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