The ThinkPad Super Computer? ThinkPad W520 Review, beyond superlatives!
February 23, 2011
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!
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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
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.
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
Graphics GPU NVIDIA® QUADRO® 1000M 2GB VRAM with 96 CUDA CORES or NVIDIA®
QUADRO® 2000M 2GB VRAM with 192 CUDA CORES
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
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!