What we’d prefer to see within the ThinkPad X1E Gen 2 for 2019
I beforehand wrote in my long-term assessment for the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 (basically the identical laptop computer because the X1 Excessive besides with Nvidia Quadro GPUs as an alternative of GeForce) that it was my favorite laptop computer of 2019, and among the best all-around laptops I’ve ever used.
Nonetheless, the X1E/P1 should not with out their share of flaws, and to for them to maintain their crown in 2019, Lenovo are going to want to step their sport up. Phrase is that Dell is lastly taking the deserved criticism of their XPS 15 to coronary heart and will likely be trying to overhaul the growing older platform for the XPS 15 9580/9590, and meaning Lenovo can’t afford to relaxation on their laurels and easily put out the very same laptop computer once more with minor spec bumps. On this article, I’ll present my two cents as a long-term consumer of the ThinkPad P1 on what enhancements I’d prefer to see for the P1/X1E Gen 2.
Leaks put the X1E/P1 Gen 2 (hereon simply known as the X1E for brevity) as a possible announcement in August of this yr, which limits the probabilities for what sort of enhancements we’d count on when it comes to CPU, significantly.
It’s no secret that Intel has hit a wall with their lithography for the previous few years. The newest leaks recommend that desktop and H-series 10nm could also be pushed off till 2021 and even past, and meaning to not count on any significant enhancements in efficiency per watt for a minimum of a pair extra years. For the time being, meaning the most effective case we are able to count on for brand spanking new CPU choices within the X1E Gen 2 are going to be the pretty underwhelming ninth technology Espresso Lake Refresh i7-9750H CPUs. As we lately lined on the positioning, the one actual draw of the i7-9750H is its 12MB L3 cache (vs the 9MB L3 on the eighth gen Espresso Lake H-series chips). Provided that the X1E and different related laptops face thermal and power-limit ceilings even with the i7-8750H, one shouldn’t count on any sensible efficiency enhancements generally utilization with the i7-9750H besides in probably the most specific circumstances.
Briefly, the second technology X1E is probably going solely to see ninth technology i7 Espresso Lake Refresh CPUs, and this can translate to negligible efficiency and effectivity enhancements in truth. It will likely be the least essential replace to the X1E collection by far.
Nvidia has been struggling a bit with their lithography as nicely, although not almost to the purpose Intel has been. The RTX 20xx collection GPUs supply a good enchancment for desktop customers, however the worth/efficiency ratio in laptops nonetheless doesn’t supply a compelling argument to improve. What’s extra is that laptops as skinny and light-weight because the X1E simply can’t deal with the warmth of even the RTX 2060 Max-Q, leaving seemingly upgrades for 2019 being the GTX 1650 Max-Q and its Nvidia Quadro analogues for the P-series (the XPS 15 will endure the identical destiny, for these Dell followers hoping for RTX 20xx-series playing cards). This isn’t the worst factor on the earth, nevertheless, as a result of not like the ninth technology Intel chips, the GTX 1650 Max-Q seems to be to supply as a lot as a 33% efficiency enchancment over the present GTX 1050Ti Max-Q.
That’s not a foul bump in graphics efficiency to count on for the X1E Gen 2, contemplating, and it’s most likely going to be the one performance-related enchancment to rationally count on for 2019.
In fact, that 33% improve in efficiency will likely be completely depending on Lenovo updating the following merchandise of concern: the cooling resolution.
Pascal and Turing are greater than ever depending on their turbo-boost speeds to offer will increase in efficiency over earlier generations, which signifies that efficiency is now (greater than ever) topic to variations in cooling resolution effectiveness.
The X1E and P1 are in the mean time barely capable of run the i7-8750H at larger turbo clocks for sustained hundreds, and doing so makes cautious repasting and important undervolting (-100 to -150mv) a necessity. Provided that the i7-8850H and Xeon CPUs are barely operating any quicker than the i7-8750H attributable to thermal constraints, a beefier cooling resolution will likely be wanted to see any profit in any respect for the ninth technology Espresso Lake Refresh chips. The identical is even more true for the anticipated Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q improve, which will likely be unable to hit near its peak increase clocks with out enhancements in cooling.
At the moment, the X1E makes use of a dual-heatpipe meeting that’s shared between the CPU and the GPU and a few followers. The followers should not the most important for laptops on this class, nor do they spin up aggressively on excessive load even with “most efficiency” fan profiles chosen in Lenovo Vantage. Enhancements might thus be made by (1) utilizing a barely extra strong warmth pipe meeting (which might improve weight barely), (2) separating the shared heatpipe meeting so the CPU’s warmth doesn’t have an effect on the GPU’s efficiency, or (three) utilizing barely bigger followers so as to enhance total air stream. Any one in all these enhancements could be good to see for the X1E Gen 2.
One in all my greatest gripes with my P1 stays the fingerprint scanner. It nonetheless features correctly lower than 25% of the time, and the sensor appears to have specific challenge studying my finger with even the slightest little bit of moisture/humidity current. A quicker and extra correct fingerprint sensor — maybe built-in into the ability button — could be a welcome enchancment.
An alternative choice that will be good to see (no pun supposed) could be a Home windows Good day IR Cam choice for the FHD show. One in all my favorite options on the XPS 13 final yr was the IR Cam (although it’s now absent from the XPS 13 9380, apparently), because it tremendously enhances the consumer expertise of the system. At the moment, the IR Cam is out there on the 4K panel choice, however not the FHD choice with the ThinkShutter.
The X1E presently presents a 300-nit matte FHD and a 400-nit shiny UHD panel with contact performance. I’d like to see a pair extra choices for shows made out there on the upcoming iteration: (1) a matte FHD with contact and (2) a low-power FHD non-touch choice. Having to accept a Four-hour battery life simply to get contact performance is a big sacrifice that many (myself included) should not prepared to make, and providing a matte FHD show with contact just like the X1 Carbon sixth Gen did would assist bridge that hole. Providing one of many new low-power shows (measured as utilizing 41% much less energy than the standard shows) could be a terrific choice for many who are fascinated with getting probably the most out of their laptops on the go — particularly because the X1E lacks an exterior battery choice.
The primary technology of the X1E disenchanted within the audio division by using downward-firing audio system, nevertheless it’s a chance that Lenovo could also be making strikes in direction of upward-firing audio system based mostly on their different laptop computer designs this yr. Probably the most welcome enhancements we might hope to see when it comes to design could be maybe a (maybe extra strong) pair of upwards-firing audio system on both facet of the keyboard.
Improved keyboard and TouchPad performance
The ultimate niggles I’d prefer to see squashed are the considerably unruly center scrolling button, which has a behavior of being unrecognized as being depressed whereas scrolling, resulting in the cursor flying away and the scrolling motion being cancelled. It’s a minor performance challenge, nevertheless it’s one which occurs a number of instances per day and ends in a major annoyance every time.
Lastly is the continuing challenge of the keyboard incorrectly detecting adjoining keys pressed collectively in speedy succession. E.g. urgent “sd” in a short time will typically yield an enter of “ds”; typing “obtain” will reliably lead to “downloda” when typed above a sure WPM. This impacts quick typists most, and you’ll most likely not discover it if you happen to don’t sort reliably above 80 WPM, however it’s a frequent challenge for me. I imagine Lenovo has taken steps to repair this firmware challenge on their E-series ThinkPads, however it’s nonetheless current of their T and X-series lineup.
The X1E and P1 stay a number of the greatest laptops you should purchase in 2019. Hopefully Lenovo makes a number of the above enhancements to the upcoming 2nd gen, however for these fascinated with saving a couple of dollars, the August launch of the X1E Gen 2 will imply a terrific alternative to select up refurbished and used first-generation X1Es. The wall that Intel has hit with their 45W CPUs signifies that there will likely be little motive to improve for the following couple of years when it comes to CPU efficiency, however bumps in graphics efficiency and refinements in design will proceed to drive upgrades for iterations on not solely the X1E, however different related designs available in the market.
Do you’ve got any needs for the X1E or P1 that we’ve missed? Please go away a remark and we’ll attempt to get again to you!