Kevin OBrien

Lenovo ThinkPad W520 Review: First Thoughts Discussion

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What the h*** would you use a colour sensor for? Taking a look at Lenovo.de it costs an additional 0.00 €, so why no include it? But then Lenovo didn't do a good job of convincing me I'd need one :P

And I'm curious about this boot SSD option. It sounds just what I'd like for my notebook: 40 or 80 GB OS and 750 GB 5400 rpm for bulk storage. But again taking a look at Lenovo.de this boot SSD is not available for any of the following: X220, T420, W520. At least it's mentioned for the X220, but just doesn't show up for the others.

And seeing that the X220 has this gorgous IPS panel.. the T420, T520 and W520 are all TN, aren't they?

I'd also like 2x2 GB of DDR3-1333, which is sadly unavailable for any of these models.

MrS

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Lenovo isn't configuring with the Intel SSD 310 yet, but you can buy the 80GB for $190 from NE and presumably others. We are also working up a review of the X220 - FYI.

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MrSpadge' timestamp='1302953265' post='268651']

What the h*** would you use a colour sensor for? Taking a look at Lenovo.de it costs an additional 0.00 €, so why no include it? But then Lenovo didn't do a good job of convincing me I'd need one :P

And I'm curious about this boot SSD option. It sounds just what I'd like for my notebook: 40 or 80 GB OS and 750 GB 5400 rpm for bulk storage. But again taking a look at Lenovo.de this boot SSD is not available for any of the following: X220, T420, W520. At least it's mentioned for the X220, but just doesn't show up for the others.

And seeing that the X220 has this gorgous IPS panel.. the T420, T520 and W520 are all TN, aren't they?

I'd also like 2x2 GB of DDR3-1333, which is sadly unavailable for any of these models.

MrS

Color sensor is used for people who edit photos and want calibrated color. Another nice perk is with the 95% gamut screen you can tone down the colors and make it more "realistic" for normal use. Without it the colors look wayyy over saturated and almost neon orange/green.

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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?

You may have already pulled the trigger, but fwiw, I am having the following issue with the W520 and the Intel 510 SSD...

http://forums.storagereview.com/index.php/topic/29858-lenovo-w520-and-intel-510-ssd-warm-reboot-issue/page__pid__268753#entry268753

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Brian,

Did your OCZ-Vertex-3 fit into the Primary-Drive-Bay?

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/W-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/OCZ-Vertex-3-Mis-Fit-in-W510-520-Primary-Drive-Bay/td-p/418871

I am still evaluating between the OCZ-Vertex-3 and the Intel-510

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I wouldn't have even noticed this if you didn't ask. The updated Vertex 2 and Vertex 3 plastic body is just ever so slightly out of width spec that it can't fit snuggly inside the metal hard drive tray inside the ThinkPad. During our first look and T520 review we had a pre-release metal-body Vertex 3 that fit perfectly. The newer retail version doesn't though.

If you opt to not use the sled and just slide the bumpers around the sides of the body that works fine as well, just requires a bit of finesse to remove the drive after. The Intel SSD 510 and all the other drives I have around on my desk work fine.

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To illustrate the issue:

Old metal body Vertex 2

post-47697-0-23833300-1303500644_thumb.j

New plastic body Vertex 3 (and verified it on the Vertex 2s)

post-47697-0-74599800-1303500646_thumb.j

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Need help activating RAID

Hey Kevin - I'm hoping you can help me with this. I bought a W520 to use with RAID, but when I tried to purchase a system with the RAID configuration, the Lenovo site wouldn't accept it. So, I went to a sales rep, and he tried to configure the machine, and it still wouldn't process the order. So, I said, hey, just send me a machine with an optical drive, I'll swap in a drive caddy, and then I can activate the RAID in the bios, right? The sales rep thought, sure, that oughta work. So, I bought my machine.

Turns out: The RAID option doesn't come up in the BIOS. After several hours with Lenovo tech support, they came back with 'You can't activate the RAID, it needs to be done at the factory'.

I was hoping you guys might know better, otherwise I'll have to return this machine and wait 3 weeks for them to even ship my new one. :(

It's not clear to me that even the guys at Lenovo are sure about this.

Thanks for your help.

Eric

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Well I can tell you for a fact that the W520 Lenovo shipped us came without the drive caddy or RAID enabled from the factory. The caddies provided were after the notebook had already arrived.

On our W520 in the BIOS you go Config > SATA> then on the list you should see compatibility, AHCI, and RAID. On the T520 for example, it only has compatibility and AHCI.

Also what is your BIOS version?

This is what I have as seen in this post:

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Hi Kevin -

I spent 2 hrs on the phone (that's just today) with Lenovo tech support. They insist that my board doesn't have a RAID controller on it. But they barely know what they're talking about, they really haven't been trained on it yet.

UEFI BIOS Version 8BET30WW (1.06)

UEFI BIOS Date: 2011-03-02

Embedded Controller Version 8AHT24WW (1.06)

Machine Type Model: 4270CTO

Same as NeOnLaZer's. http://forums.storagereview.com/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=339

If I go to the BIOS, my SATA controller options are just AHCI and Compatibility

And for the record, no where at Lenovo is there anyone (of the say, 6 people I've spoken to) who says: Sorry, sir, for giving you that bad information and selling you the wrong computer, and wasting 8 hours of your time: We'll make this right. Instead its, I have to return the machine, and get back in the queue for a new one with everybody else. They're lucky they make really really good computers because their service is inexcusably bad.

Sorry for the rant, and thanks for your help.

-Eric

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Sorry: I meant, same as grantallenbrown's - from that same thread. Maybe he has my problem with lack of RAID controller on the system board?

Why would they ship a non-RAID system? Do you think I can trust that indeed I need to return my machine?

Thanks again, and regards,

Eric

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I am going to ask around to see if I can get more feedback from W520 owners on what their BIOS lists for that mode.

Did your W520 have one or two RAM slots on the bottom?

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I am going to ask around to see if I can get more feedback from W520 owners on what their BIOS lists for that mode.

Did your W520 have one or two RAM slots on the bottom?

Two RAM slots, and 2 under the keyboard. Upgraded to 16gb now, plus I put in the mSATA 80Gb from Intel...

Cheers,

Eric

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Damn, you basically have the same configuration as the notebook I was sent then.

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Damn, you basically have the same configuration as the notebook I was sent then.

Hi Kevin: Some more digging confirms:

(1) The W520 Hardware Maintenance Manual lists system board FRU's; this list includes several system boards with no RAID controllers

(2) Intel Rapid Storage Technology system report gives my controller:

Intel AHCI controller: Intel® Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller.

Which I could have just gotten from the Device Manager if I wasn't so intent on prolonging my denial. SO:

(1) Back it goes

(2) Please warn folks that if they buy a system without RAID configured, Lenovo sends you a system with no RAID controller on the board.

Thanks again for your help! Someday I'll be drooling over my dream system, but not today..

Regards,

Eric

Edited by Eric K.

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Well you can be sure there will be a section in the review specifically outlining that. Hell I was kind of planning on getting the non-RAID config to save ~200 and just do it myself.

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Well you can be sure there will be a section in the review specifically outlining that. Hell I was kind of planning on getting the non-RAID config to save ~200 and just do it myself.

That's what I actually ended up doing but I can confirm my W520 also lacks the RAID option in the BIOS. Due to another mix-up with my machine, it'll be going back and I'll have to reorder. I guess I'll have to get the factory RAID setup which is a complete waste of money for me since the HDDs wouldn't be used.

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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)

I might be too late to the party, but do you think it would be possible to test WD7500BPKT in RAID 0 configuration? I have my W520 on order and a couple of WD7500BPKT are already sitting on my desk and I would like to know if I made a good choice while they're still unopened. I couldn't find any RAID tests of this hard drive, so it could be useful for anyone looking into purchasing them for a RAID configuration.

Edited by RikoOnWeb

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There is no RAID option in my Thinkpad W520 BIOS either

I only get a choice between "ACHI" and "Compatibility" mode.

UEFI BIOS Version 1.06

BIOS Date 2011-03-02

Embedded Controller Version 1.08

Model:4270 CTO

i7-2820QM

NVIDIA Quadro 2000M

16GB RAM (4 DIMMs)

Edited by platini

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I might be too late to the party, but do you think it would be possible to test WD7500BPKT in RAID 0 configuration? I have my W520 on order and a couple of WD7500BPKT are already sitting on my desk and I would like to know if I made a good choice while they're still unopened. I couldn't find any RAID tests of this hard drive, so it could be useful for anyone looking into purchasing them for a RAID configuration.

Already ahead of you, that config is one on the RAID0 list and will include results from in the review.

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Hi Kevin: Some more digging confirms:

(1) The W520 Hardware Maintenance Manual lists system board FRU's; this list includes several system boards with no RAID controllers

(2) Intel Rapid Storage Technology system report gives my controller:

Intel AHCI controller: Intel® Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller.

Which I could have just gotten from the Device Manager if I wasn't so intent on prolonging my denial. SO:

(1) Back it goes

(2) Please warn folks that if they buy a system without RAID configured, Lenovo sends you a system with no RAID controller on the board.

Thanks again for your help! Someday I'll be drooling over my dream system, but not today..

Regards,

Eric

Hi Eric, I sent my W520 back and am in the process of ordering one with the RAID controller. Not so much because I want RAID (or the HDD's) but because I want to use my Intel 510 SSD. I have my fingers crossed that whatever comes along with the RAID controller will solve the issue I was having with the Intel 510 SSD and the warm reboot. Maybe Kevin can tell us what shows up when he looks at the Device Manager for what controller(s) he has on his test rig. I was hoping to do some digging in the Lenovo manual and cross-reference Intel's site for specific controllers that are being used in this machine to confirm compatability but Lenovo doesn't disclose what Intel components are on their boards under a given configuration. Kevin, could you let us know what controller you have? It seems that whatever you have is working with the Intel 510 SSD. Thanks!

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I just installed a Intel 510 SSD (240GB) in my W520, in this sequence:

1. Fresh W7 install using the Lenovo Recovery Media.

2. Windows Update (including SP1)

3. Lenovo Update

4. Installed Intel RST from Lenovo site

5. ran CrystalDiskMark

Results attached. Does it look OK?

(When I manually restart windows, it takes about 10 sec to shut down, then it restarts and the Thinkvantage Logo comes up for 40 seconds (!) ("to interrupt normal startup press the blue Thinkvantage button"), then it takes about 15 sec for the Fingerprint log-on to come up, then about 10 seconds for Windows 7 to be ready to go. I am sure this can be speede up ...)

post-72771-0-16612400-1303937093_thumb.j

Edited by platini

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32depth 4K results look a tad slow.... what Intel RST version is that?

EDIT: Thought you were using the Vertex 3 based off the partition size. For the Intel 510 that looks spot on.

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