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kikendo
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Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-22-2012
Location: New York, USA
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Message 1 of 5

Suggestions on upgrading over Thinkpad X1?

I have a Thinkpad X1, late 2011 model, with an i7 2640M, SSD, 8GB RAm, the lot.

As the computer is now 2 years old, I was looking into upgrading, but it seems my options are more varied and rather surprising than I thought.


My first idea was to go for the X1 Carbon of course, butr the processor it has, seems to be much slower than mine, specially on the video side. Any of the Series U i7 processors seem to be much slower than mine! I suppose because Ultrabook specifications require less power consumption and, therefore, slower CPU clocks. But come on, the Graphics base frequency is half!

 

I have on the table the X1 Carbon, the T431s and the X230. From all the options, the only one that seems anywhere near teh spec of my computer, even after 2 years, is the X230, as it also has a  Series M processor. But the drawbacks are that this machine has an "uglier" design and it's not much of an upgrade over what I already have (a few decimal dots on the clock speed, more memory which is welcome, but that's pretty much all).

 

Then there's 4th gen processors. Are they worth the upgrade? Again, clock speeds are slower, and they have DMI2 and extended instrction sets but I don't understand the advantage on those. Also Vpro, what is it?

 

What do you people reckon I should do? I don't want to let my X1 get too old and this is the main reason I am looking into an upgrade, but it seems the machine is still pretty current and, performance wise, I can't complain, it runs amazing.

 

Here's a comparison chart between the processors of the aforementioned machines plus the one from the X240 which is 4th gen.

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-l9fQRL924zS3hUVUl1X1gwS1E/edit?usp=sharing

 

Any help apreciated!

lead_org Microsoft MVP Contributor
Microsoft MVP Contributor
Posts: 21,009
Registered: ‎12-19-2008
Location: Australia, Melbourne
Views: 304
Message 2 of 5

Re: Suggestions on upgrading over Thinkpad X1?

If you need power, than consider the T440p with the quad core CPU.

The Haswell upgrade is more about battery and power saving, not really about shear performance upgrade. Intel is no longer pushing for huge performance boost on their CPU line like they were before, they are more concerned with power. In the old day, windows OS were the main push for CPU performance upgrade, given that now Win 7 and Win 8 runs pretty well in 5 years old computers, there is no longer that demand for performance boosts. Also, since laptops are cheap and is competing with Tablets (i.e. iPad) as the main device people takes around with them, people demands that laptops also have battery life as good as their tablets. So power use minimisation is what Intel is driving towards for mobile processors.

Extended Instructions set make certain computational intensive processes less CPU intensive. It is they are applying certain mathematical rules to complex equations, to help the CPU solve them faster. So this is how CPU becomes faster even though their clock rate is not rising as much, this is also how CPU saves energy.

vPro technology is a range of features that helps with virtualisation and security, which you probably do not really need.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_vPro

X240 using the ULT processors probably give about same performance as your X230 regular voltage processors, so there is no need for upgrade, unless you need the FHD LCD.

Right now battery life is the main focus of the mobile CPU tick tock upgrade cycles. Performance is not so important. This is why many ultrabooks in the Haswell line is still 4 gigs, which you can get since the X61 laptop about 6 generations older than Haswell.

Finally, much of the performance improvement is occurring in the GPU area, especially in the desktop GPU area.
Regards,

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
kikendo
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Message 3 of 5

Re: Suggestions on upgrading over Thinkpad X1?

Thanks for your insigjht, Jin. I still don't understand how a chip that gets to 3.60Ghz and runs at double the base speed on the graphics can be matched by one that runs at a max of 3Ghz with half the frequency base for graphics. Are there any real life statistics I can check anywhere online? Any real comparisons?

 

My current machine as the topic states is a Thinkpad X1, not an X230. I was considering the newer X230 for an upgrade. Although I do want a computer that's really speedy for my line of work, I don't need a super workhorse, like those from the W line, I rather build a desktop for that. My main issue here is not really portability, but desk space. I use the computer at home 90% of the time. So things like battery life are not of much importance to me. But size and the chance of moving my whole work environment really easy are, as I move around countries every now and then and moving a desktop is nowhere as convenient.

 

Also I don't do gaming, so the graphics chip is not that important for me. The Intel 3000HD in my X1 has proved more than enough for my everyday needs. So I am fine with the 4000.

 

My main problem is that I don't want to stick to a computer that then I have to pile up when the time to get a new one comes. Technology unfortunately "advances" too fast and the prices for things go down a lot. I would like to put this one for sale towards the purchase of a new one so  I don't have to shell out 1800 dollars again like I did on the X1. So that was a good reason. If things didn't move around like they do, with the whole obsolescence problem, I'd be fine with what I bought. But in thr past I have bought computers and stuck to them for like 5 years, only to be unable to get rid of them later and having to shell full price every time iI need to upgrade. I am looking at avoiding this for once.

lead_org Microsoft MVP Contributor
Microsoft MVP Contributor
Posts: 21,009
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Location: Australia, Melbourne
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Message 4 of 5

Re: Suggestions on upgrading over Thinkpad X1?

which specific graphics card are you comparing to?

Well, i have the X1, X1C, X220, X230, X200t, X200, X201, X201t, X220t, X230t, X61t, X61, X60, X61s. So from a performance perspective, the X230 isn't much faster than the X1, the only thing i like about it, is the removable battery and 16 gigs of ram, which doesn't seem to be your category of concern.

For computers, you probably would get 80% of the purchase price if you sell it within 6 months. After 2 year, you probably realistically looking for around 500 to 600 dollars if you are lucky.

Unfortunately, the current portable laptops are going for the Ultra low Voltage or Ultra low TDP (basically low battery usage and doesn't produce much heat). If you are looking for CPU performance, then ultraportable isn't going anywhere in the Haswell.

The graphics performance may get slightly better with the HD4400 used in the ULT Haswell GPU. But since i don't have the machine right now with Haswell, i can't say how much boost you would get.

In the Furmark benchmark test when i switch the anti-aliasing on, i get around 8 FPS for the X1, and around 11 FPS for the X230. On a percentage term this is a big boost, but in reality still not enough for modern games.
Regards,

Jin Li

May this year, be the year of 'DO'!

I am a volunteer, and not a paid staff of Lenovo or Microsoft
kikendo
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Location: New York, USA
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Message 5 of 5

Re: Suggestions on upgrading over Thinkpad X1?

Only the in-built Intel graphics. My X1 has an Intel 3000HD, base freq. 650Mhz, the X230 has the Intel 4000HD with base freq. 650 and the others also have, I think, Intel 4000HD but at base freq. 350Mhz. As I said, graphics for gaming are irrelevant. But memory is, one of the reasons I like the X230 is because I can prop the memory up to 16GB.

 

Thanks for the results of your benchmark though. Seems like the X230 is indeed a bit faster than teh X1 I currently have. The price for computers varies in locations, as I travel around, I can sell my machine in a market where it is more valued, and then make up for the difference in a market where it is cheaper Smiley Wink

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