Kevin OBrien

Lenovo ThinkPad W520 Review: First Thoughts Discussion

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What do you turn to when a standard notebook just won't cut it in the performance department? Well you could try lug a desktop around with you... or you could turn to a business-class workstation notebook. Today we take a quick look at the new Lenovo ThinkPad W520, equipped with an Intel Core i7-2920XM Extreme Edition processor, an NVIDIA Quadro 2000M GPU, 8GB of RAM, and two of our Intel SSD 510s running in RAID0.

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I'd like to see how it improves on small blocksizes/low QD vs the W510

I guess I'm sold on improved battery life alone but improved small block performance would definately do it.

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I'd like to see how it improves on small blocksizes/low QD vs the W510

I guess I'm sold on improved battery life alone but improved small block performance would definately do it.

Well give me a RAID/drive configuration settings, a drive you want tested, and the block size you are looking for and I can probably give you an answer on that first question B)

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An AS SSD test is sufficient.

I've used the C300 256GB as it's what I'm currently using in the UltraBay. (it is about 80% full)

Powerplan is set to Maximum Performance

w/o registry tweaks

post-72336-0-08840800-1302723944_thumb.p

some registry tweaks applied

post-72336-0-00515500-1302723988_thumb.p

For this test, the only interesting result is the 4K QD1 result.

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Did you want both single drive and RAID0? Give me like an hour or so and I can get the C300's back in the W520. Right now I am working through three PCV runs on two Corsair Performance 3s.

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I won't be running raid on the laptop and so it's only the single drive that's really interesting.

raid-0 won't change much for QD1-2 anyways, at QD3 and upwards it normally starts making a difference for random io.

You should consider getting the HP EliteBook 8760W in for review.

3 internal drives supporting raid 0/1/5 :D

I'll probably order the W520 anyways, the size/powerfactor is awesome, the one thing that looks disappointing is the powerbrick, it grows in size for each new gen.

edit:

If you've got the Vertex 3 240GB you can throw in an AS SSD test as well, haven't tried it yet on my W510, will do that as soon as I see your result.

Edited by SSDaddict

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If you've got the Vertex 3 240GB you can throw in an AS SSD test as well, haven't tried it yet on my W510, will do that as soon as I see your result.

:( Can't test the Vertex 3 for a while. We had to ship it back to OCZ for a firmware update and not sure of the ETA on its return. Basically its getting the shipping consumer firmware and our particular revision couldn't be flashed through the normal process.

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Ok, np :)

A Vertex 2 of almost any size would be almost as interesting, I've got the 60/100/120/240GB capacities.

Running your tests now. I got a C300 fresh out of the baggie (got a huge pile of these things), a used old c300, and a used 120gb V2.

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The results looks OK :)

The W510 only sports 3Gb/s ports and so one can't really compare the total score, it's the 4K result that makes the previous gen look bad and it looks like the results are up, not much though.

Did you do any registry tweaks or is this a clean W7 setup?

It's not that raid isn't interesting on laptops, it's more the flexibility of switching drives for different workloads/tasks.

Capacity is really the issue with SSDs, the Intel 320 600GB is arriving tomorrow and that will sort out most of the capacity related issues.

Thanks for the tests :)

BTW, do you know if is there is a new UltraBay adapter/caddy for HDD/SSDs or if the old one works?

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No tweaks on this system thus far. I am using a "cleaned" version of the OS image that came with the notebook. So various manufacturer software uninstalled to minimize popups and whatnot.

And yea I greatly dislike RAID outside of my server environment. Well RAID0 that is. With SSDs being "super fast" already, most real-world gains are minimal. I prefer going the data redundancy route if I go RAID, so on a laptop is pretty much AHCI for me.

What is the part number of the UltraBay adapter you currently have? I have two models here that turned out to be the shorter version. They still work and are held in place fine, but they have a huge gap in the bay.

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I prefer having different SSDs for different tasks on my laptop, it's all VM's for me and so the boot drive is whatever I fancy.

The Intel 310 Series drive would be a great boot drive and one could then use both 2.5" drives for even more capacity or redundancy.

My adapter is an UltraBay III

FRU P/N 43N3429

ASM P/N 43N3428

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Dear TSullivan,

You are doing a great job with the reviews.

I have to make a fast decision today: Do I get a 240GB Intel 510 or a OCZ Vertex 3 for my Thinkpad W520?

I am a web publisher and "Microsoft Expression Web 4" seems to do a lot of read/write to the drive - mostly small files I believe.

If you were in my shoes and had to make a snap decision, what would you decide?

Edited by platini

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Dear TSullivan,

You are doing a great job with the reviews.

I have to make a fast decision today: Do I get a 240GB Intel 510 or a OCZ Vertex 3 for my Thinkpad W520?

I am a web publisher and "Microsoft Expression Web 4" seems to do a lot of read/write to the drive - mostly small files I believe.

If you were in my shoes and had to make a snap decision, what would you decide?

The Vertex 3 is faster across the board, including small file writes. The main reason to go with the Intel is reliability. Just depends whether top speed or reliability is more important to you. They're both very good drives, for different reasons.

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Dear TSullivan,

Many thanks! I'll go for the faster Vertex 3. One last question:

When transferring from a HDD to SSD, is it OK to first format the SSD using the Lenovo System Recovery DVD and then use the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool to copy the applications and data over?

Some people say it messes up the alignment http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/fi-FI/windowsbackup/thread/6a485b68-7140-4448-bdb9-7a3ad9d446f0

others say it "doesn’t screw your alignment over" http://sonic-media.dk/?p=103

Edited by platini

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I'm not TSullivan ;)

I'd just clone the drive, but Kevin or someone with more direct Lenovo experience can probably better answer your question.

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Dear TSullivan,

Many thanks! I'll go for the faster Vertex 3. One last question:

When transferring from a HDD to SSD, is it OK to first format the SSD using the Lenovo System Recovery DVD and then use the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool to copy the applications and data over?

Some people say it messes up the alignment http://social.techne...b9-7a3ad9d446f0

others say it "doesn't screw your alignment over" http://sonic-media.dk/?p=103

I would use the Rescue and Recovery software built into the Lenovo systems. It handles the transition at the file system level instead of the block level, so alignment issues shouldn't be a concern. If you need some help on that front let me know. Kevin (another guy here) is practically an expert with that stuff.

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I would use the Rescue and Recovery software built into the Lenovo systems. It handles the transition at the file system level instead of the block level, so alignment issues shouldn't be a concern. If you need some help on that front let me know. Kevin (another guy here) is practically an expert with that stuff.

Thanks!

And for the appliactions and data, if I use the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool to restore the image to the SSD drive, will it transfer the default 63 sectors offset of the HDD?

Or will it preserve the 64kb (or a multiple of 64kb) offset recommended for SSD drives?

ref: http://kb.acronis.com/content/2699

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Thanks!

And for the appliactions and data, if I use the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool to restore the image to the SSD drive, will it transfer the default 63 sectors offset of the HDD?

Or will it preserve the 64kb (or a multiple of 64kb) offset recommended for SSD drives?

ref: http://kb.acronis.com/content/2699

Are you referring to a MS Windows tool or an Acronis one?

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Are you referring to a MS Windows tool or an Acronis one?

I was referring to the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool (the Acronis link is where I learned about the 63 vs 64 offset)

Does the Lenovo "Rescue and Recovery" restore both System and Data? (If so, I would not need the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool)

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I was referring to the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool (the Acronis link is where I learned about the 63 vs 64 offset)

Does the Lenovo "Rescue and Recovery" restore both System and Data? (If so, I would not need the Windows 7 Disk Image Tool)

Correct, using R&R it will restore a fully functional system from a backup medium of your chosing. For the longest time I would make weekly backup updates to my network, so when I reinstalled the entire OS I would only need a boot disc to load R&R and a LAN cable. :lol:

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Well, funny me..i made recovery dvd's and happened to be one dvd just wouldn't work..so kinda screwed the backup..but i wasn't planning on using it anyways as i like to start from scratch. So far this laptop is awesome..runs all the games i normally play great! So far my biggest gripe is I don't think Lenovo has the System Update working yet, at least as far my laptop sees nothing..so driver installation is all manual. Have a few things missing but main problem is bluetooth. I installed the hotkey drivers but nothing is being shown on screen(such as volume or screen brightness) I do have access connections installed so it should be working for wireless/bluebooth switches. Any ideas? Other stuff in device manager that needs drivers is: Base System Device, PCI serial port, PCI Simple Communications Controller, Unknown device(:P).

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