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Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Review Discussion

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Certain notebooks gain a reputation over the years, be it good or bad. The Lenovo ThinkPad-series has been one of those families that has grown for almost 20 years, while still retaining the namesake of being one of the best business notebooks money can buy. Today we look at the new Lenovo ThinkPad T520, which is a 15.6-inch mid-range business notebook that can be equipped with NVIDIA Optimus graphics and a wide range of unique storage options.

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We're working over the W520 right now, we have an excellent config. While a lot of the components are the same as the T520, we'll be able to dive more into gaming performance, etc with this one.

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We're working over the W520 right now, we have an excellent config. While a lot of the components are the same as the T520, we'll be able to dive more into gaming performance, etc with this one.

Oh! Someone was quite excited to get his hands on it, lol. I originally planned to do a RAID config(and test it), but decided I had gone a bit overboard. Plan do some tests since I will have the 2720 and 1000m which are more in more people's price range.(like mine!) SSD is coming by this afternoon! Temptation much?

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Would be interested in hearing about the following:

Is the T520 noisy, fans loud?

Also does it get hot say if left running over night or doing some CPU intensive tasks?

Thanks!

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It really depends on the load for both of those questions. Fan noise on the T520 and W520 is pretty minimal, although if you are listening for it you will hear it when sitting at the notebook. Heat output on both is pretty tame, although on the W520 with its quad-core processor, NVIDIA 2000M graphics, and four RAM slots can put out quite a bit of heat.

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Bingo, the difference is subtle, but that is a eSATA/USB combo port without eSATA support.

Here is an image of the T410 we reviewed showing the difference. The port on the T520 is missing the "wings".

t410-side-right.jpg

The W520 sitting next to me as the same style add-on combo port, but is actually eSATA/USB.

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Bingo, the difference is subtle, but that is a eSATA/USB combo port without eSATA support.

Have you actually tried it? Because the T510 had eSATA, I can't think of a reason why it would be removed.

EDIT : Oh, the eSATA/USB combo is only available on the T520 with discrete graphics, for some reason, according to the datasheet. I think this should be pointed out in your review.

Edited by kalmatica

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Actually a picture might be worth a 1000 words in this case.

Excuse the camera phone picture quality. W520 sitting on top the T520.

post-70131-0-76709700-1302644782_thumb.j

^^^^ Yea that is probably the case, I will ask and confirm though.

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Check my edit, the USB/esata seems to be only available on "discrete" models, which is probably T520 SKUs with NVS graphic cards.

:)

Edited by kalmatica

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:P In the process of lining up the notebooks for that shot I accidentally unplugged the W520 and killed a 40 minute benchmark run. lol

Haha, I'm sorry I provoked that.

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Am I missing something, or is there no way to configure the W520 or the T520 online with an mSATA drive? Can an mSATA be added when ordering by phone, or do I need to buy the drive separately and install it? When customizing one current configuration of the W520 on the Lenovo website, there is a category named "Micro Hard Drive", but the only option is "No Micro Solid State Drive". Maybe this is just a timing thing, like early on when the option for an FHD display on the W510s was hit or miss.

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You're not missing anything, Lenovo does not yet offer the 310 as an option - you have to DIY - though that process is pretty simple.

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Thanks Brian.

I'm not a "first adopter" type. Just pricing things out for now. (Although I am salivating a bit more after reading your reviews. Particularly liked the part about the improved integrated graphics.) I was close to getting the T510 last year, but when the mSATA feature appeared likely in the next generation Thinkpads, figured I'd hold out. Haven't owned a Thinkpad since the one I got in 2000 died after just 18 months. Probably get the T520 later this year, so I have some time for Lenovo to offer the mSATA. Recently replaced a dying HD on my old HP nc8430 and it's zipping along fine for now.

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Have you actually tried it? Because the T510 had eSATA, I can't think of a reason why it would be removed.

EDIT : Oh, the eSATA/USB combo is only available on the T520 with discrete graphics, for some reason, according to the datasheet. I think this should be pointed out in your review.

Yeah, I was really disappointed until I got my T520 today and realized it did have the eSATA/USB combo port, since I got discrete graphics. Would be really good to note, since that's really the only downside this unit has for many people.

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Yeah, I was really disappointed until I got my T520 today and realized it did have the eSATA/USB combo port, since I got discrete graphics. Would be really good to note, since that's really the only downside this unit has for many people.

Well since it has been confirmed I have tweaked that one single con to say it comes on the model with discrete graphics.

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Is there an explanation that the T520 gets higher PC Mark Vantage overall score with the Intel 510 (14,092) than with the OCZ Vertex 3 (13,510), although the Vertex 3 gets much faster HDD scores?

Is the Vertex 3 using up other computer resources that slow down the system and the overall throughput?

Am I correct then if I conclude from this review that the Intel 510 is the best performance choice for the T520 (and W520)?

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I am still running through the single drive performance of various drives on the W520, so too soon to make those suggestions just yet.

I understand.

I am looking forward to the final test results.

PS: Is it possible that a SSD manufacturer will "tune" an SSD specifically to show up well on a benchmark?

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Also - I've only seen them on NE, CDW may have them as well. $99 for the 40GB and $189 for the 80GB.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=intel+ssd+310&x=0&y=0

A W520 can now be configured with an "Intel 80 GB Micro Solid State Drive, Serial ATA," but Lenovo wants $370 for it. If that's what they will be offering with the L520, I will be installing one myself.

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