Review: Lenovo ThinkPads Get Intel Core i7 Chips


Lenovo’s W701ds and W510 mobile workstations gain Intel Core i7 processors and top-of-the-line Nvidia graphic chipsets to propel compute-intensive workloads

The Lenovo W701ds adds Intel Core i7 Series processors and Nvidia Quadro graphics to the 17-inch ThinkPad, a double-screen mobile workstation that was already loaded with optional enhancements for specialised graphics applications. Mobile professionals who must process compute-intensive workloads while on location should consider the ThinkPad W701ds. For those who need exacting display calibration in a smaller form, Lenovo released the 15.5-inch touch-screen ThinkPad W510, also equipped with the latest Intel processors.

The ThinkPad W701ds goes above and beyond by including a second, slide-out 10.6-inch monitor that is built into a pocket door behind the 1920-by-1200-pixel, 17-inch main display. The second, pop-out monitor makes the ThinkPad W701ds a portable display powerhouse packed into a luggable frame.

Without any extra components, including additional hard drives, the ThinkPad W701ds starts out at 8.97 pounds not including the power supply. My tricked-out test unit weighed just a hair over 11 pounds. To put system weight in perspective, the ThinkPad W701ds is in the same ballpark as other thick and heavy competitors. The real comparison is with a desktop unit that can easily weigh 40 pounds or more.

As is customary in a mobile workstation of this caliber, the ThinkPad W701ds comes with one of just about everything. My test system was equipped with two quad-core Intel Core i7 X920 2GHz processors and 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3 (double data rate 3) RAM and a nine-cell lithium ion battery. Both Lenovo systems started shipping on 23 February.

The ThinkPad W701ds primary display is a WUXGA anti-glare RGB LED backlight component capable of 280 nits (brightness) with a 600:1 contrast ratio and 100 percent colour gamut with a built-in screen colour calibration system. The system has one ExpressCard/34, one compact flash Type I slot, a multicard reader, one USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports (one powered) and one USB 2.0/eSATA (external Serial ATA) combo port. There are a plenty of connectors for external monitors, including a standard VGA, a DVI-D and a DisplayPort. In addition to the standard RJ-45 network port and IEEE 1394 FireWire 400 (the smaller, four-pin connector), the system also comes with an RJ-11 modem port. Overall, this exceeds the number and variety of ports offered by competitive systems.

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