New ThinkPad P15 and P17 Promise “Ultra Performance”
Michael Alba posted on June 17, 2020 |
Lenovo announces new ThinkPad P Series mobile workstations.
The new ThinkPad P17. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)
The new ThinkPad P17. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)

Lenovo has announced the next generation of its P Series mobile workstations. The newest members of the P Series family promise improved performance and include the ThinkPad P15 (a follow-up to the ThinkPad P53), the ThinkPad P17 (ThinkPad P73), ThinkPad P1 Gen3 (ThinkPad P1 Gen 2), and ThinkPad P15v (ThinkPad P53s). Lenovo has also announced the new ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3for its premium X1 Series.

Ultra Performance Mode

The biggest change to the P Series ThinkPads is the addition of what Lenovo calls Ultra Performance Mode. This is a new setting that users will find in the BIOS. Enabled by default, Ultra Performance Mode allows ThinkPads to loosen restrictions on certain performance limits.

For instance, according to Lenovo, traditional ThinkPads are designed not to exceed 38dB of fan noise. The way to limit fan noise is to limit temperature, and the way to limit temperature is to limit power draw, and the way to limit power draw is to settle for lower performance.

Presumably, Ultra Performance Mode reduces those limits on performance. Of course, temperature requirements don’t just disappear, so Ultra Performance Mode is backed by a complete reengineering of the thermal design on the P15 and P17. According to Lenovo, these mobile workstations now have 13 percent more airflow, a 30 percent larger CPU sink, larger vents, and a new thermal mesh for faster heat dissipation.

The ThinkPad P15 and P17

The new ThinkPad P15 and P17. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)
The new ThinkPad P15 and P17. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)

The ThinkPad P15 and P17 offer 10th gen Intel CPUs and a choice of GPUs up to the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000.Lenovo has also added a new modular daughter card design that will allow for four times more CPU/GPU configurations than the previous generation. With Ultra Performance Mode, the P15 and P17 will support higher GPU wattage as well—up to 90W for the P15 and 110W for the P17.

Another thing has also increased on these workstations—the price. The base models of the P15 and P17 are a few hundred bucks more than their previous generation counterparts (compared to the current pricing on Lenovo’s website).

Spec

ThinkPad P15 (new)

ThinkPad P53 (old)

ThinkPad P17 (new)

ThinkPad P73 (old)

CPU

10th Gen Intel Core or Xeon (up to 8 cores, for up to 5.3GHz)

9th Gen Intel Core or Xeon (up to 8 cores, for up to 4.8GHz)

10th Gen Intel Core or Xeon (up to 8 cores, for up to 5.3GHz)

9th Gen Intel Core or Xeon (up to 8 cores, for up to 4.8GHz)

GPU

Up to NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 (16GB VRAM)

Up to NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 (16GB VRAM)

Up to NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 (16GB VRAM)

Up to NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 (16GB VRAM)

Memory

Up to 128GB DDR4

Up to 128GB DDR4

Up to 128GB DDR4

Up to 128GB DDR4

Storage

Up to 4TB

Up to 6TB

Up to 4TB

Up to 6TB

Display type

OLED touch, IPS

OLED touch, IPS

IPS

IPS

Display resolution

Up to 4K

Up to 4K

Up to 4K

Up to 4K

Display brightness

Up to 600 nits

Up to 500 nits

Up to 500 nits

Up to 400 nits

Battery (Wh)

94

90

94

99

Ultra Performance Mode

Yes

No

Yes

No

GPU wattage (W)

90

80

110

90

Base price (USD)

$1,979

$1,539

$2,119

$1,530.27


The ThinkPad P1 Gen 3

The new ThinkPad P1 Gen 3. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)
The new ThinkPad P1 Gen 3. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)

The new ThinkPad P1 is Lenovo’s thinnest and lightest 15-inch mobile workstation. It improves on the P1 Gen 2 with a new anti-smudge coating to reduce fingerprints, upgraded speakers, and a new, brighter display. It also offers optional LTE wireless WAN (WWAN) for mobile data.

As with the P15 and P17, the P1 Gen 3 base price is a few hundred dollars more expensive than the previous generation.

Spec

ThinkPad P1 Gen 3 (new)

ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 (old)

CPU

10th Gen Intel Core or Xeon (up to 8 cores, for up to 5.3GHz)

9th Gen Intel Core or Xeon (up to 8 cores, for up to 4.8GHz)

GPU

Up to NVIDIA Quadro T2000 (4GB VRAM)

Up to NVIDIA Quadro T2000 (4GB VRAM)

Memory

Up to 64GB DDR4

Up to 64GB DDR4

Storage

Up to 4TB

Up to 4TB

Display type

OLED touch, IPS

OLED touch, IPS

Display resolution

Up to 4K

Up to 4K

Display brightness

Up to 600 nits

Up to 500 nits

Battery (Wh)

80

80

Ultra Performance Mode

Yes

No

Base price (USD)

$2,019

$1,675.17


The ThinkPad P15v

The new ThinkPad P15v. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)
The new ThinkPad P15v. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)

The P15v is Lenovo’s entry-level P Series ThinkPad. It offers less powerful graphics compared to the P15, but adds the same processor bump up to the 10th gen Intel H Series.

Spec

ThinkPad P15v (new)

ThinkPad P53s (old)

CPU

10th Gen Intel Core and Xeon (up to 8 cores, for up to 5.1GHz)

8th Gen Intel Core (up to 4 cores, for up to 4.8GHz)

GPU

Up to NVIDIA Quadro P620 (2GB VRAM)

NVIDIA Quadro P520 (2GB VRAM)

Memory

Up to 64GB DDR4

Up to 48GB DDR4

Storage

Up to 4TB

Up to 2TB

Display type

IPS, IPS touch

IPS, IPS touch

Display resolution

Up to 4K

Up to 4K

Display brightness

Up to 600 nits

Up to 500 nits

Battery (Wh)

68

57

Ultra Performance Mode

Yes

No

Base price (USD)

$1,349

$969


The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3

The new ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)
The new ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3. (Image courtesy of Lenovo.)

Finally, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3 adds 10th gen processors, a brighter display, and new Wi-Fi 6 and CAT16 LTE-A WWAN.

Spec

X1 Extreme Gen 3 (new)

X1 Extreme Gen 2 (old)

CPU

10th Gen Intel Core (up to 8 cores, for up to 5.3GHz)

9th Gen Intel Core (up to 8 cores, for up to 4.8GHz)

GPU

Up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti (4 GB VRAM)

Up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q (4GB VRAM)

Memory

Up to 64 GB DDR4*

Up to 64GB DDR4

Storage

Up to 1TB*

Up to 1TB

Display type

OLED touch, IPS*

OLED touch, IPS

Display resolution

Up to 4K*

Up to 4K

Display brightness

Up to 600 nits

Up to 500 nits

Battery (Wh)

?

80

Ultra Performance Mode

Yes

No

Base price (USD)

?

$1,475.40

*Estimated

Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

All five new models of ThinkPad will be available starting in July. For the most part, the new ThinkPads are a spec refresh rather than a revolutionary upgrade. Some specs—such as storage on the P15 and P17 and battery capacity on the P17—have actually come down, while others have taken an unwelcome ascent—namely, price.

Nonetheless, the ThinkPad’s new Ultra Performance Mode is a promising addition. In theory, it should allow the ThinkPads to utilize GPUs as well as, or better than, competing mobile workstations like the Dell Precision series (which Dell claims has best-in-class thermal design).

As I type this on my ThinkPad P1 Gen 2, you know what I’m thinking? Might be time for an upgrade.


Recommended For You