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Review Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 Who Are Mobile Workstations For?


hey everybody it’s lon seidman we’re taking a look today at the lenovo thinkpad p15 gen 2 this is a mobile workstation i don’t think we’ve reviewed a workstation on the channel here before and the best way to describe this is as the heavy duty pickup truck of the thinkpad product line so most think pads are kind of like the luxury sedan this one is designed for high-end engineering work and we’re going to be taking a look at what this is all about what you can use it for and why if you’re playing games you’ll definitely want to get something less expensive but before we get into the review i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure this is on loan from lenovo so we’re done with this it goes back to them all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this workstation is all about now like most lenovo devices the price point here varies by configuration this is probably the most expensive laptop i have ever looked at and i think this one as configured is around five thousand dollars or so maybe even a little bit more than that but you can get into the door for under two thousand dollars but you won’t have as powerful of a gpu as this one does now in this review we’re going to talk a lot about why you might want to get a mobile workstation over a gaming laptop gaming laptops are very powerful in some ways may be more powerful than this at least for playing games and they cost a lot less but there are some specific applications where a workstation does better and that’s why these cost more because these are geared towards professional users that need very high quality hardware that won’t crash on them and people are willing to pay a much higher price tag to get that performance and stability and a little bit later we’ll look at a benchmark that will give you an idea as to what this thing can do better than a comparably equipped gaming laptop that will cost a lot less now this has a 15 inch display on board our review model here is coming with a 1080p 500 nit display now for content creators they have a 4k oled display it must look really nice it is though 15 inches and will have the same bezels as you see here on the 1080p version but if you

wanted a higher res display for doing creative work that is an available option on this laptop but that will consume a lot more power now our review unit here has an i9 11 950h processor from intel inside that is an 8 core chip it also has a very expensive gpu on this version an nvidia quadro rtx a5000 this is their industrial gpu and it’s very similar to the 30 80s and the 30 80 ti’s on the consumer side but it performs very differently especially when it comes to games and you’ll see some examples of how it differs on the gaming side in a few minutes this unit has 32 gigabytes of ram on board and it has a one terabyte nvme ssd and there’s a lot of upgradeability on this let me flip it over and show you how you can change some things out all right so what we’re going to do here is close the lid and flip it over and rather than having to take the entire thing apart we have access to ram and storage underneath this door now this is some of the ram and storage not all of it because apparently there is actually additional ram and storage slots on this unit underneath the keyboard what we have here underneath this black piece of plastic are two nvme slots for ssds they do say if you have a new 4.0 nvme drive to put that in the slot under the keyboard but your other two drives can go in here so you can have a total of three nvme drives installed and then you have two ram slots here and these are the first two that are occupied on the system and then there’s an additional two slots underneath the keyboard also and you can have a

maximum of 128 gigabytes of ram if you fill up all of those slots but it’s nice to have very ready access especially to the storage here with just a single panel to remove now this is a very large and heavy laptop but it is very rugged it’s made out of plastic but they did reinforce the plastic with fiberglass so it’s very rigid and i think it will hold up to abuse out in the field it weighs 6.32 pounds or 2.87 kilograms it is a monster but it’s got a lot of familiar features that those of you who like think pads will recognize namely the keyboard here you’ve got these really nice deep travel keys the travel on this one is 1.8 millimeters so these keys get pushed down really far really nice tactile feedback on it it is backlit you got a full-size number pad here as well so very well suited for engineering work you’ve got your thinkpad nub here along with the buttons to control it along with your trackpad down here and you’ve got a fingerprint reader as well now the speakers on this one are upward firing they’re located right here underneath the display they don’t sound all that great they’re kind of tinny but it is stereo and good enough for conversations you might be having on a zoom call or something like that speaking of zoom you’ve got a 720p webcam at the top here it’s nothing spectacular but adequate enough when you’ve got to get on the call with your client but if you did want higher quality you’ll have to attach a different webcam to the top of it here the good news is you’ve got plenty of bezel for that it also supports windows hello so you can log in with your

face into the computer if you’d rather do that over the fingerprint or you can configure both on it you also have a shutter here for closing up the webcam if you want some privacy so let’s take a look now at the ports on this one on the left hand side you’ve got an hdmi output this will drive 4k displays at 60 hertz you’ve got your usb port over here next to it is a sim card tray if you configure yours for a cellular network so you can get it online wherever you go you’ve got a headphone microphone jack over there on the other side we have a full-size sd card slot and the sd cards will sit flush to the side of the case like other think pads you’ve got your id card slot here you can use if you configure that option you’ve got another usb port over here and then on the back we have two thunderbolt 4 ports and one usb type-c port all three of these will output video however they do not do power delivery and that’s because this thing needs a lot of power so it comes with a 230 watt power supply that connects up to this port right here and then you also have gigabit ethernet here on the back and it’s got a wi-fi six radio from intel built in for connecting to your local wireless network now battery life on this is not going to be great if you’re doing what this machine is designed for but if you are sticking to the basics like some word processing email and spreadsheets maybe a zoom call or two you’ll probably squeeze about six or seven hours out of the battery but if you are doing what this

system is designed to be doing you’re not going to see much battery life at all out of this and that’s true across most of these workstation laptops and actually across the gaming laptops as well so you’re going to want to keep that power supply on hand and plug it in when you’re doing some of the higher end stuff with it now this one is running windows but lenovo will offer a linux version as well and i’m guessing it’s the same hardware just coming pre-installed with a linux operating system it looks like ubuntu is what they will be offering that linux version is not yet available at the time i’m recording this video but the prior generation of this laptop the original p15 did have a linux option so i would expect that to be coming very soon if you want to load a different operating system on board so let’s pivot now to performance and what you might buy a mobile workstation for and we’re going to start actually with a gaming benchmark to kind of frame this discussion so this is the 3d mark time spy benchmark test and as you can see here we got a score of 9638 and if you look above the p15 on the chart here you can see that the lenovo legion 5 pro which costs a lot less than this does is performing better especially on those first two graphics tests and this performance disparity will be very evident as you look at some of

the lower cost gpu options for the p15 gen 2 here all of the gpus for this machine are quadro gpus which are not designed for gaming so dollar for dollar you will get much better gaming performance out of a gaming laptop if that’s your primary goal versus what you’ll see out of one of the quadro gpus in any of the p15 configurations so what is this used for well it is used for high-end engineering tasks like cad and rendering and data analysis and that sort of thing and we ran a benchmark that i think really illustrates the strength of the quadro gpu versus the consumer gpu and that benchmark is called spec view perf 13 and what it does is it takes the code from a lot of popular engineering applications and it has the laptop run through a bunch of rendering and data analysis examples to see how quickly a computer can operate within a bunch of the popular engineering software that’s out there and what we did is we ran that benchmark on this laptop and then i also ran it on a gaming desktop running with a core i9 10 900k processor with an rtx 3080 consumer gaming gpu and when the test concluded the gaming desktop of course did better on a few of the different tests that run but i wanted to show you the tests where the laptop did better let’s pull up that chart now and take a look at that so the laptop was able to outperform the desktop on about half of the tests that run on

this benchmark the first one is katya and that was rendering out pictures of some vehicles and you can see there we got a composite score of 290 frames per second versus 189 the next test is called energy which is a seismic visualization application i’m assuming for scientific work in geology and there you can see we got 63 versus 36 on that one the next one is called medical which is the tuvak rendering core of the imageviz 3d slice rendering and raycasting that is often used in medical analysis and you can see the laptop slightly outperformed the desktop there the biggest one was the siemens nx test the snx test there on the chart it’s rendering out parts of a vehicle different components of the engine and moving things around and you can see we had a huge difference between the desktop and the laptop there that test was such a big variation that i ran it a couple of times on both machines just to make sure the result was accurate and sure enough it was so whatever that test is doing is very well suited for one of these quadro gpus versus the consumer gaming one the last test here is the solidworks test which is a very popular 3d rendering and engineering software package and as you can see here the laptop did edge out the 3080 equipped desktop on that benchmark as well and if you are doing engineering work and you can afford it this will deliver better performance and it’s in a portable package and while those things will certainly render out very quickly on a very powerful gaming laptop you will see slightly

better performance out of these quadro gpus along with more reliability but it doesn’t mean you can’t play games on this laptop we ran doom eternal here at ultra nightmare settings and we were seeing frame rates at around 125 to 130 frames per second at 1080p we also loaded up call of duty warzone here we were at 1080p highest settings and we were getting between 100 and 125 frames per second on the ground and we also ran fortnight at 1080p at the highest settings and here we were in the 100 frames per second territory give or take and remember this is running on the top end gpu that’s available for this laptop which will cost you a small fortune you could probably buy a nice used car for what the gpu option goes for on this so you can most certainly have a better gaming experience on a gaming laptop for far less money but it can play games just know that most of the gpu configurations will not see the kind of gaming performance we got out of the review unit we have here and on the 3d mark stress test we got a score of 97.2 percent which is a passing grade that indicates you shouldn’t see a lot of thermal throttling on this one if any it does run a little hotter than your run-of-the-mill gaming laptop but i think that’s by design here one thing you do want to be careful of though is making sure that you keep all of the air vents clear so you have good airflow that includes the ones on the bottom here along with the vents on the side the fan noise is about what you typically get out of a gaming laptop you will certainly hear it when it’s under load but when it’s sitting idle like this it’s very quiet in fact i don’t even hear the fan running at all right now so it will deliver the kind of fan noise that you can expect from a higher end gaming laptop so i think it’s pretty clear that the audience for these mobile workstations is limited if you’re playing games or making youtube videos or something more on the consumer side a gaming

laptop is the better way to go it’s going to cost you less and probably give you better performance than what you might see out of this but if you’re somebody who is working in an engineering field and you need something reliable and portable and powerful the premium price on this will deliver all of those things for you to ensure that you can get your work done on the road and your clients won’t have to be hearing any excuses about how your computer overheated so this is the one to get if you’re in that kind of work but i think for most folks a gaming laptop is going to be more than adequate this was a really fun review to do because i haven’t reviewed a mobile workstation before so let me know how i did in the comments below and until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lawn dot tv supporters including gold level supporters hot sauce and video games brian parker chris alegretta tom albrecht thomas anfang jim tannis and handheld obsession if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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