The ThinkPad Super Computer? ThinkPad W520 Review, beyond superlatives!

February 23, 2011


ThinkPad W520 Review

We knew that the new 2011 ThinkPad W520 was going to be something special, but even we didn’t expect anything as good as this!

<— Click Here to build your own ThinkPad W520 Mobile Workstation

First of all we have the option to go all the way up to the new Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7-2920XM 2.50GHz ‘Extreme Processor’ with an 8MB L2 Cache, and on top of that, specify the NVIDIA® QUADRO 2000M with 2GB VRAM and 192 CUDA CORES

So in short you can specify a ThinkPad W520 with the near processing power of a portable super computer. Start with the Core i7-2920XM which is close to 42% faster than 1st generation XM’s including its own integrated HD 3000 graphics with 12 Execution Units. Combine that with NVIDIA® Fermi architecture QUADRO® 2000M with 2GB VRAM and 192 CUDA CORES, (Compute Unified Device Architecture), and specify the available 32GB of DDR3 memory and you have computing power of colossal proportions.

What exactly is the “Fermi” CUDA architecture and why is it important if you are into extreme graphically intensive applications?  FERMI is a highly developed Graphics Processing architecture with over three billion transistors and up to 512 CUDA cores (Compute Unified Device Architecture) so potentially it delivers super computer performance at a small percentage of the cost of traditional CPU workstations.

ThinkPad with Quadro Graphics

thnikpad w520 with NVIDIA Quadro

So the graphics engine in the new 2011 ThinkPad W520 is a faster, more accurate and less power hungry GPU than previous QUADRO chips. And also features NVIDIA Optimus™ technology to extend battery life by automatically adjusting power to the GPU when its needed and in the W520, use up to 3 displays, including the laptops own display using the ThinkPad Series 3 Mini Dock.

As with the previous model the ThinkPad W510 the W520 is Certified by numerous ISVs, such as Autodesk, Dassault, Siemens and Adobe, so if you are an engineers, industrial designer, animator or a film and video editor and you want to work out on the site without sacrificing performance then the ThinkPad W520 is the mobile workstation of choice.

With Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 and Rapid Drive Technology for super fast boot times you are up and running with the minimum of delays and wait times, so you can get to work quickly.

Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0

Other innovative features include the optional Integrated Color Calibrator first seen in the ThinkPad W510, Lenovo Instant Resume mode which keeps your wireless and VPN access connected as you move from office to meeting and back.

If you’re going on Voice or Video calls to discuss a project, whether from on-site or from the boardroom, then the HD low light sensitive web camera and enhanced VIOP functionality is designed to give a superb voice and video conferencing experience with the same feature set built into the new ThinkPad T Series.

And of course if you are out and about with your new W520, it meets Military Specification (Milspec)  Standards for use in adverse field conditions!

For fast data transfer the W520 has 4 USB ports, 2 USB 3.0 for up to 10 times faster file transfer, 1 x USB/Sata, and a powered USB for charging your favorite accessories. Hard Drives start at 160GB and go up to 7200 rpm 500GB Hard Drives with optional RAID 0 for greater storage capacity  or RAID 1 to backup your vital data.

ThinkPad W520 Specifications

Processor – Intel® Core™ 2.50GHz i5-2520M to Intel® Core™ 2.50GHz i7-2920XM

Operating System – Windows 7 Home Basic 32-bit to Windows 7 Professional 64

Display Up FHD 15.6 inch 16:9, LED with Multi Touch Option

Memory Up to 32GB DDR3 (4 x 8GB)

Weight 5.95lbs with optical drive

Dimensions – 14.68in x 9.65in x 1.26in ? 1.41in

Ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports – 1 USB/eSATA Combo – 1 Powered USB

Multiburner Optical Drive

Multimedia Dual digital microphone



Slots 34mm ExpressCard and optional MMC Smart Card Reader plus ! full and 1 half Internal PCIe Slots

WiMAX/Wifi Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250

WLAN, Intel® Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 or Intel® Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 – Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6205

WWAN, Gobi 3000 Sierra Wireless EV-DO/HSPA WWAN Minicard – Ericsson HSPA + WWAN Minicard – LeadCore TD-SCDMA WWAN Minicard – Huawei EV-DO WWAN Minicard

Hard Disk Drives, 160GB 7200RPM SATA HDD to 7200RPM 500GB SATA – RAID 0 or RAID 1 optional

SSD Drives, 80GB Intel® Micro SSD for Rapid Drive Option – 128GB SSD 160GB SSD

Webcam 720p HD

thinkpad w520 with core i7

Battery Life, Up to 10.7 Hours with 9 Cell Battery Dual Core i5-2520M, 128GB SSD Drive, Quadro 1000M Graphics or Up to 8.9 Hours with 9 Cell Battery, Quad Core i7-2820QM 500GB 7200RPM Drive, Quadro 2000M Graphics

ThinkPad W520 Review- – the new Super Computer.

There is no doubt in our mind that with the 2011 ThinkPad W520 Lenovo has again raised the bar for mobile workstations. This notebook has staggering power. At a start price of $1529 this is not going to be cheap, and specced up it’s easily going to break $3000 + mark, but then the best always does come at a price.

The combination of Core i7-2920XM and NVIDIA® QUADRO 2000M Graphics are going to make the ThinkPad W520 difficult to beat, so it looks like Lenovo stays the King of the Hill in the mobile workstation market. If you’re looking for the best, this is it!







10 Responses to “The ThinkPad Super Computer? ThinkPad W520 Review, beyond superlatives!”

  1. Jared-5 on February 24th, 2011 8:26 am

    Too bad it doesn’t include HDMI, and a 54mm ExpressCard slot.

  2. Juberee Rahman on February 27th, 2011 7:52 am

    Well I really loved this config so when it is out ?
    I’ll be waiting for it.
    It will be my next pc .

  3. Ian Orford on March 2nd, 2011 12:12 pm

    See the latest news on the Juberee

  4. Juberee Rahman on March 7th, 2011 10:43 am

    I cannot wait for it!

  5. Cal Damage on March 8th, 2011 1:40 pm

    Re: HDMI >> Displayport = Superset of HDMI standard, just get the US$8 plug converter to get video and audio. This has been true on all Tpad Displayport since new MB early 2010. Before, the video was there but there was no audio. Think the new chipset name was Capella or some such.

  6. Juberee Rahman on March 17th, 2011 8:24 am

    when it is out please someone tell me!

  7. Ian Orford on March 18th, 2011 2:23 pm

    Soon Juberee, watch this space!

  8. New 2011 ThinkPad Release dates T420 | T520 | W520 | X220 and L Series | on March 19th, 2011 10:39 am

    [...] X120e is now available plus we have release dates for the ThinkPad T420, ThinkPad T520, the ThinkPad W520 and the ThinkPad L420 and L520 with the new Sandy Bridge architecture. Current ThinkPad X120e [...]

  9. $1,370 ThinkPad W520 Coupon Code | 4 Day March Sale. on March 2nd, 2012 7:54 am

    [...] The ThinkPad W520 Workstation included with this offer comes in three configuration. The base model uses an Intel Core i7-2640M Processor and comes with the Windows7 Premium. 320GB hard drive. But for a few extra dollars you can upgrade to the much better equipped versions that comes with a faster processor, Windows 7 Professional, a solid state drive, bluetooth and a fingerprint reader. [...]

  10. Save 44% with this ThinkPad W520 Coupon Code on March 9th, 2012 10:50 am

    [...] The ThinkPad W520 Workstation included with this offer comes in three different configurations. The base model uses an Intel Core i7-2640M Processor with 2.4GHz and comes with the Windows7 Premium, 320GB hard drive and 4GB ram. The better equipped versions come with the 2.8GHz processor, a better Windows 7 version(Professional 64 bit), bluetooth and a finger print reader. The most expensive version is similarly equipped but also replaces the 320GB hard drive with a 160GB SSD drive. That’ll cost you an extra $150. Is it worth it? Well, that depends. Are you going to be using the computer to run any extensive calculations? If your answer is no, then you should just save the extra money. [...]

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