04-24-2012 01:06 AM
seeing that you have completely messed up the Design of the W530 here is my recommendations for features to be included your next mobile Workstation:
A 19:10 display with either an IPS 1920x1200 Display or an 2880x1800 (so called retina) Display (offer both). A 16:9 display on a workstation is a joke. Nobody buys a proper mobile Workstation (>$3000 with max memory and large SSD) as a mobile DVD player. I would happily spend an extra $1000 for a good display resolution so stop trying to save a couple of dollars by offering a resolution that is useless for >90% of workstation users.
If you need some insight to the type of work done with your workstation:
CAD: The ideal working area for CAD is a actually square, else you are liable to take wrong design decisions and make mistakes because you see the sides better than what lies above or below. Even if you place quite a number of toolboxes at the sides a view on a 16:9 screen always ends up rectangular and offers less hight than the old 1600x1200 screens
PHOTOGRAPHERS: The ratio in standard analog (35mm) film was 2:3 which has been largely adapted by digital cameras. Again, even if you are working on a landscape picture and placing all your tools at the sides 16:9 is very far from the ideal retio.
MOVIE PRODUCTION: One would think that 16:9 is ideal for the production of films, but for editing it is not. Usually timelines are added above or below the output area. On 16:10 at least some of this space was provided by the additional vertical resolution.
PROGRAMMERS: For software engineers the vertical height is the most important feature of a display, as software is usually coded with many quite short lines. Here of course the 1080 pixel vertical resolution is a grat step backwards from the 1920x1200 and even 1600x1200 resolutions.
2 PAGES SIDE-BY-SIDE: I have heard the argument again and again (usually by people that don't use their laptop for work) that 16:9 is great for viewing two pages side by side. It is not. The ideal ratio for two A4 pages would be 16:11.3 if you don't have a task bar and menu at top and bottom. Discounting these it is closer to 16:12 or 4:3. You actually get a better resolution of two A4 sheets on a 1600x1200 display than on 1920x1080.
A decent keyboard: I currently own a W510 and it has a good keyboard, although not as good as my old T40 and T60 used to be. Now with the W530 you are offering a keyboard that is just not made for typing. A "Chiclet" style keyboard, though it might be ok for gaming is just not for serious work. Just add the 2mm extra hight to the chassis, a mobile workstation is not meant to be a ultraportable.
Graphics that use less power: I don't know how well the current generation of NVidia graphics fares, but the model included in my laptop sucks power like nothing. ATI has a better power management, at least has had in the last couple of years. My W510 runs less than 2 hours on a nine cell battery even at light use.
Other things that would be nice but are not essential:
- Bring back the ultrabay battery. Hardly anybody needs optical drives on the move and any extension in working time on the road would be appreciated. Ultrabay should support Hard drives at the same speed as the main HD controller (for raid).
- A docking station with included graphics (I don't need the full power on the move but wouldn't mind driving three monitors from the docking station)
- A docking station with a fast PCIe slot (x4 or better)
- At least one horizontal USB port on the right and one on the left (for the mouse). Make all ports USB3.
- A seperate microphone jack (used by most headset and allows use of stereo microphones)
- Please keep the eSATA and powered USB ports.
- Please keep the 'nipple' and trackpad input devices with three buttons (third button at the bottom for the trackpad would be nice)
I wanted to upgrade to the W530, but the display ratio and keyboard have put me off. I have been using thinkpads for many many years, but the design keeps getting worse, so I think my current workstation could be my last thinkpad. Might try to attach a W510 keyboard to the new MacbookPro with retina display and run Win7. Now that would be a great machine, but I would prefer it to be black and from Lenovo.
06-19-2012 09:36 AM
For what you said about the USB ports.
At least on my W510 I find that there could have been more USB ports.
The entire back of the laptop is unusused practically and could have had some more features put on there.
I also think the stacked USBs on the left side can become useless with certain pen drives, dongles etc.
I also think the esata/usb connector is far too close to the stacked USB ports.
06-19-2012 11:05 AM - edited 06-19-2012 11:23 AM
1) Other 15" mobile workstations are also 16:9. I don't think 16:9 is going to change easily, as it even makes the laptop less bulky and easier to fit into bags. Of course, if Lenovo could manage to reduce bezels and overall size, it would be awesome, but it would likely to affect repairability.
With Windows taskbar at screen side, 16:9 it's actually not too bad and the remaining space is well used by the apps, from Photoshop to, say, Visual Studio. The built-in screen is for special circumstances anyway, as for serious color or CAD or programming work one would use external monitors, and probably more than one, not a 15" screen, which was considered small even 10 years ago.
What would be great is a small resolution bump, like 2150 x 1200 screen. So vertical resolution is there, and everything is small, but still can see individual pixels (which is often essential, when doing anything for the Web, from Photoshop sharpening to software development). Would be nice to have a higher quality panel as option, even though the current FHD TN is not bad at all.
2) Optimus has largely solved power consumption problems, and W520 onwards have great battery life with the standard 90Wh+ battery, and there is a slate battery available if one needs more. Ultrabay battery with its ~30Wh does not really solve the problem.
What I'd like to see in power department, is support for 65/90W power adapter, when battery is attached. Normally, when not using both GPU and CPU, and even if using GPU mildly, their power is more than enough to feed the system. If if more is needed, can get it from the battery, or start throttling when the battery is discharged. It would reduce travel weight by more than a pount easily.
3) Offer the old "traditional" keyboard as an option, even though the new one isn't bad except for the layout. At additional cost if you must. It's still manufactured anyway, and anecdotally even mechanically fits. Just a BIOS update is all it takes to keep many people relying on shortcuts happy.
4) Add Thunderbolt or ExpressCard slot to the dock. That would help with eGPU, at least somewhat. (W530 dock should be able to drive many monitors as it is, as it's DisplayPort 1.2 and supports daisy-chaining).
Adding another USB port on the right, or a dedicated microphone jack should be easy in W530 as it is (via ExpressCard).
06-19-2012 11:29 AM
I agree, this is a good wish list.
My main gripe is the new keyboard. I am with the original poster, if I'm buying a friggin workstation model which is a brick ANYWAY, add a few MM in height and put a classic thinkpad keyboard with travel more akin to desktop keyboards.
It's an interesting comment about chiclet keyboards and gaming, because in the desktop world gaming keyboards are not chiclet, and are often pretty fantastic keyboards to type on. I use a Razer Anansi on one of my work desktops, I think it's delightful to type on.
So, my wishlist improvements to the classic Thinkpad keyboard:
1.Decrease flex, X220 is not bad but the W520 has quite a bit, this shouldn't be difficult.
2.Increase travel, depth of keyboard
3.Slightly Increase thickness of plastic used in keys.
Again, it's a workstation. I don't care if it's a little thicker, I would much rather have the component with which I am in contact 100% of the time be >exceptional<, not this chiclet crap.
A strange note, on my W520 (i don't know if this is the same in all), the right shift key has a different feel to the rest of the keyboard, I think it's because it sits on top of a support element or something. But I wish the entire keyboard would feel like that key, that would be perfect, I think a lot of it would be addressed by a more robust structure underneath.
06-23-2012 11:03 AM
(Currenly using a w520)
I have nor tried the w530 keybaord, and do not touch type, so I may not be a turned away from a w540 with a chiclet keyboard if it has been useable for people. I can tell it's not ideal.
I would probably be examining a w540 as I like the w520 and will not upgrade until the w540 is the flagship workstation. As a commercial photographer my vote is for features and power suitable to photo viewing, pixel (big big files) editing, color evaluation, and speed as a tethered camera controller. I like the mSATA solution, and have an Intel SSD there. I swapped the 500 for a Hitachi 750 and might add a bay HD or just cart around a second [external]HD.
I like the idea that for less demanding work Lenovo would offer a power switching system that could use a 90W brick. My backpack is splitting some seams!
I am not chasing thinner, don't sacrifice these workstation features to make it thinner. So offering the old keyboard back (gain a few mm's) is OK with me.
Just my three cents.