The X1 Extreme is the first laptop to be powered by AMD’s next-generation Ryzen CPU. Lenovo claims that it will provide up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, with an integrated graphics processor for dedicated gaming. The P53 promises twice as much performance in terms of speed and power efficiency without needing anything more than what you already have.
The “Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs ThinkPad P53 (2020)” is a comparison between the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme and the 2020 release of the Lenovo ThinkPad P53. The two laptops are similar in size, but there are some key differences that should be noted.
We put the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 to the test and compared it against the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme in terms of display quality, weight, performance, price, battery life, and more.
The rankings with test results can be seen above, while the in-depth reports for each ThinkPad Laptop can be found below.
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 is ranked first (2020)
- Best performance in terms of GPU and computational power
- The 1080p display is bright and colorful.
- Exceptional keyboard
- pricier than the ThinkPad X1 Extreme
Is the Quadro RTX 5000 a little overkill? The ThinkPad P53 now comes with the high-end Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 GPU, which is usually reserved for bigger laptops. Lenovo’s workstation’s cooling system also approaches its limitations, affecting CPU performance. Wi-Fi 6 results have been added.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad P53 is a traditional 15.6-inch mobile workstation. In the sense that we’re not dealing with a particularly thin and light representation like the ThinkPad P1 2019, we’re dealing with a classic. We receive quicker components (particularly on the GPU side), more connections, and more expansion options in exchange.
The ThinkPad P53 is priced at $2000, although there are few restrictions on the top end.
Design & Interfaces / Ports
When it comes to case changes, professional models normally follow a two-year schedule. This does not apply to Lenovo’s ThinkPad P-5x series, since the P52 was also a facelift rather than a major overhaul last year. At least externally, the modern ThinkPad P53 is the same. Apart from the alterations in connections, the new P53’s appearance with black plastic surfaces remains same. However, since many things have been redone here, a lot has changed behind the hood.
However, this has no influence on the ThinkPad P53’s stability or craftsmanship, since it is still an exceptionally stable device with no workmanship issues. There are no unpleasant creaking sounds, and the base unit cannot be bent or deformed. The two hinges are very tight and can easily prevent teetering, however they are unable to support the screen lid at minor opening angles, causing it to collapse.
The lid’s enormously broad borders stand out even more; the P53 hasn’t caught on to the narrow bezel trend yet. Of course, the lid isn’t nearly as torsionally strong as the base unit, but there are no stability issues here either. Overall, a decent result, but the casings of HP’s rivals, particularly Dell (which include a lot of metal and rubberized surfaces), seem to be much more value.
In terms of size, there are no variations from the predecessor, and the weight has scarcely altered (there can be configuration-related differences here). The choice of screen, however, is once again important, as models with matt screens weigh around 0.88 lbs less than models with reflective panels. However, this is only true if you pick the 4K OLED screen on the ThinkPad P53.
When compared to the original ThinkPad P52, there are several variations in the connectors and their placement. The HDMI 2.0 output (formerly on the rear), two regular USB-A ports, and two card readers are all located on the left side. The nano-SIM card slot has been relocated to the left side, making it more simpler to reach than it was before in the battery slot. There’s also a USB-C (Gen.1) port here.
On the rear, the two full-size Thunderbolt 3 connections are still there. Even though the lack of a USB-A port on the right side is a little annoyance, the distribution is otherwise neat. Even with bigger plugs, the connections are now wider away than previously, thus there are no issues.
Update 11/14/2019: We’ve completed our regular WiFi test using a new router (Netgear Nighthawk RAX120), which can take use of the Intel AX200 WiFi card’s capabilities. For both transmitting and receiving, we found average values of more than 1.4 GBit/s. Those that have a matching server may so enjoy much faster transmission speeds. This improves the connectivity rating as well, but has no bearing on the overall result (rounded).
A huge maintenance flap is located on the bottom, which is merely fastened with a few cross screws and can be readily removed. The most significant components are accessible, including two of the four RAM slots, three M.2-2280 slots, the battery, and the communication modules. However, our model does not include WWAN, hence the requisite antennas are absent, which we find puzzling.
The laptop must be further dismantled to get access to further components, for which we suggest consulting the manufacturer’s hardware maintenance handbook or the service videos accessible on the manufacturer’s support website.
Touchpad & Keyboard
You may not detect a change in the keyboard between the ThinkPad P52 and the ThinkPad P53 at first sight. Despite this, Lenovo has tweaked the keyboard, but only in minor ways. The key data is same; it’s still a “chiclet” style keyboard with six rows of keys and a separate number pad on the right side, with the main keypad relocated slightly to the left.
It has dropped somewhat in width in contrast to the Thinkpad P52, therefore certain keys, like as the umlauts, are now smaller. As a result, the keyboard frame is a little broader on the left and right sides. This appears to be illogical, as there is plenty of room for a full-size keyboard.
A check at the P53’s components list, on the other hand, reveals why Lenovo made this change: The ThinkPad P53 now has the same keyboard as the rest of the 2018 ThinkPads; earlier versions had a unique keyboard that was exclusively used in the ThinkPad P series. As a result, this is a cost-cutting strategy.
However, we’re not sure why Lenovo chose to shrink the main keypad rather than the number pad — the smaller keys may be a pain to type on at times, while a smaller number pad wouldn’t be an issue.
Aside from that, the quality of the lighting keyboard (three levels: off, weak, and strong) is unquestionable. The slightly concave keys offer a 1.7 mm stroke length and a great pressure point, making typing on the keyboard a pleasurable experience.
Both mouse replacements have been somewhat altered, similar to the keyboard. Because Lenovo decreased the area between the touchpad surface and the TrackPoint keys, the touchpad is somewhat bigger. The plastic touch surface is now 10 x 6 cm in size. Lenovo, on the other hand, clings to the classic touchpad design, which no other ThinkPad now offers: Underneath the touchpad, there are three dedicated touchpad buttons.
Overall, the touchpad, like its accompanying buttons, performs well. Thanks to Microsoft’s precision touchpad driver, the software implementation is almost flawless. It would be wonderful if Lenovo could replace the touchpad with a glass surface, which would be more fitting for a laptop in this price range. However, this is high-level critique in theory.
Apart from the touchpad, the package also includes the standard red Lenovo TrackPoint, which is a great alternative to the touchpad.
Although Lenovo is currently employing a new version of the TrackPoint pen that is not as high as in prior models, this doesn’t alter much, and Lenovo’s execution of the “Pointing Stick” is still the finest on the market.
There were several screen adjustments, and generally, the quality was better than the previous year. The ThinkPad P52 comes with a Full-HD display with 300 nits of brightness, which we also tested. This year, three more panels are available for selection:
- HDR 400 Full HD (matt, IPS, 500 nits, 72 percent NTSC)
- HDR 400 in 4K UHD (matt, IPS, 500 nits, 100 percent NTSC)
- HDR 500 in 4K UHD (glossy, OLED, 350-400 Nits, 100 percent DCI-P3)
As a result, there is now a superior Full-HD option, which is also included in our test device. The matt 4K screen has been brightened, and the OLED panel has been replaced entirely. The Full-HD screen gives off a really positive subjective impression. Even with light material, there is no grainy visual impression due to the matt covering.
Even though we can only validate the stated brightness in the centre of the image, the readings verify the perception. The contrast ratio is above 1,400:1, which adds to the appearance of a plastic picture.
However, there are two drawbacks: There are some halos in dark photographs, especially at maximum brightness, and the brightness levels are not linearly graded.
At 90 percent, the brightness goes from 510 to just 236 nits, and at 80 percent, it lowers to to 149 nits. We detect flickering of the lighting at a brightness level of 77 percent or less. However, the extraordinarily high frequency of 26 kHz distinguishes it from a traditional PWM.
On arrival, the color temperature is a little too chilly, and there’s a little blue cast, but we can fix that with our calibration (i1 Pro 2). However, without calibration, the colors and gray tones are fine. However, if you want to work with the most realistic color, you need calibrate the panel. The picture processing is possible due to the insufficient sRGB coverage, although there are better choices for this purpose.
Outdoors, the matte panel benefits from the high maximum brightness, allowing users to operate in bright conditions. Even bright sunlight, as shown in our photos, is no problem if the screen is properly aligned. From all angles, the IPS panel offers an acceptable image.
Because Lenovo provides a large choice of components for the ThinkPad P53, performance and emissions may vary greatly based on the configuration. On recent models, Lenovo’s “intelligent cooling” can no longer be controlled using the Vantage app, but rather via the standard Windows power controller (selected via the battery icon in the system tray).
Lenovo provides a variety of 45-watt CPUs, ranging from the Core i5-9400H (4 cores) through different i7 models (6 or 8 cores) to a mobile Xeon processor (6 cores), all of which support ECC RAM. The Core i7-9850H is a powerful 6-core CPU with a base frequency of 2.6 GHz and a turbo of up to 4.6 GHz in our test device. We recommend visiting our CPU page for more information on the 9850H.
If you’re currently utilizing a previous-generation mobile CPU, the performance changes are minor, and the cooling hasn’t changed much either. In compared to smaller models like the ThinkPad P1, thicker workstations like the P53 frequently have an advantage in this area, particularly under continuous use.
This is also evident in our Cinebench loop (R15 Multi), where the thin ThinkPad P1 runs at a 14 percent slower rate with the identical CPU. The Core i7-9850H in our ThinkPad P53 achieves a very excellent 1,230 points in the first run, but then drops to roughly 1,100 points in the second. As a result, it is somewhat ahead of the previous ThinkPad P52, but falls short of the Precision 7530.
Lenovo generously sets the processor’s two power restrictions at 90 watts (short-term) and 60 watts (long-term). On a cold device, we observe usage of up to 89 watts at 6x 3.7-4.1 GHz, but only for a few seconds. The value then stabilizes at roughly 54 watts, which corresponds to 6x 3.3-3.4 GHz. The typical numbers in the Cinebench loop are 53 watts usage, 95.3 °C CPU temperature, and 3.4 GHz clock. There would undoubtedly be more potential here, but the cooling stays fairly conservative under pure CPU demand (only really audible after about 7 minutes).
Since a result of these findings, the i7-9850H isn’t worth it in contrast to the “regular” i7-9750H, as the performance will be almost comparable. If you can use all 16 threads, the optional Core i9-9880H is extremely beneficial, but you won’t be able to fully use the CPU here either.
The Xeon E-2276M (6 cores) is no longer the fastest CPU (it’s still the fastest in single-core mode), and it’s only worth it if you wish to utilize ECC RAM.
The CPU behaves almost identically in battery mode, although there are always small clock speed decreases, which influences the results. It’s just 183 instead of 196 points in the CB R15 single test, and 969 instead of 1.230 points in the multi test.
Our ThinkPad P53’s tester performs well in the simulated PCMark 10 and SSD tests, as predicted. The Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD P981a is one of the fastest drives on the market, with a storage capacity of 1 TB (903 GB free after the first usage).
In fact, the mobile workstation allows for highly seamless functioning with quick response times and little waiting periods. We couldn’t detect any issues throughout the test, either (e.g. hangers, bluescreens).
The Quadro RTX 5000 is available in a variety of performance levels from Nvidia, and it wasn’t simple to figure out which model was in the ThinkPad P53. It’s a regular RTX 5000 (without the special Max-Q designation), but it’s the slowest 80 watt version, according to our sources. On our corresponding GPU page, you can see a list of the various versions.
Only the core clock, which is stated for our model with 600 MHz (default) and/or 1,350 MHz (boost), changes, to put it simply. However, we can provide a little reassurance since we typically observe at least 1.350 MHz in pure GPU testing and about 1.450 MHz in GPU benchmarks; the top number was even at 1.770 MHz. As a result, with enough cooling, the RTX 5000 may function quicker.
What does this indicate in terms of current performance? Although we’re not quite at the level of a full-fledged Quadro RTX 5000, which is only available in bigger 17-inch models, the 80-watt version is still somewhat quicker than the Quadro RTX 4000. That’s a lot of power in a 15-inch workstation, and it’s a lot more than the Quadro P3200 in the ThinkPad P52 before it.
The ThinkPad P53 performs well in the 3DMark Time Spy stress test, with a score of 97 percent, indicating that the GPU performance stays steady even under higher loads. A performance reduction of around 70% (6,999 vs. 2,051 points @Time Spy Graphics) happens when the processor is removed from the socket.
The Quadro RTX 5000 is also an excellent gaming GPU. On our gaming benchmarks, we only experienced an issue with Anno 1800 in the 4K setting since the game kept crashing there. Otherwise, Nvidia’s Quadro driver performed well.
The RTX 5000 is already much too powerful for the default screen resolution, and it can run even the most demanding games without stuttering. As our Witcher 3 long-term test demonstrates, performance stays consistent while gaming.
Levels of noise and temperature
We can observe that the fan control in Lenovo’s current workstation models is quite defensively constructed, gently increasing the speed under stress. It’s the same with the latest P53, which takes a few minutes to hear the fans even with the powerful Quadro RTX 5000. Under low load, the gadget is really always quiet.
The highest level we attain when gaming and throughout our stress test is just 38.3 decibels (A). On the one hand, this is positive, but there would undoubtedly be some reserves, for example, to allow for greater CPU use.
By selecting a different energy profile (Windows power controller), the device may be made even quieter. For example, in the stress test, the level is dropped from 38.3 dB(A) (best performance) to 33.3 dB(A) (better performance) or 32.2 dB(A) (lower performance) (more battery efficiency).
Even when loaded, the mobile workstation’s surface temperatures are low, but if at all feasible, you should use it on a table rather than on your thighs. The keyboard heats up as well, although this has no effect on typing. This is a decent outcome given the performance.
The Quadro RTX 5000’s clock rate maintains in the region of the standard boost setting (1,350-1,440 MHz) even under combined load, indicating that Lenovo prioritizes GPU performance in the stress test. Of course, for a 15-inch workstation with such a powerful GPU, this is a nice outcome, but it comes at the price of the CPU.
The CPU may only require 30 watts after a few minutes, which is just enough for 6x 2.1 GHz. We’d like to see a little more balance here, and at the very least a constant use of 45 watts.
The cooling should have greater tolerance for the CPU while using a lesser graphic card, however we can’t prove this at this time.
The speakers haven’t altered much. There are still two stereo modules with 2 watts each that don’t get very loud or sound very nice. Although speech intelligibility is high, we suggest using headphones or external speakers when listening to music or watching movies.
With the X1 Extreme, Lenovo has shown that it can create decent loudspeakers, but it seems that this feature isn’t especially significant for workstation consumers.
Life of the battery
In WiFi or video testing, the 90-Wh battery provides excellent runtimes of 10-11 hours. Even if you utilize the brightest setting, you should get roughly 8-9 hours of usage.
Overall, pretty excellent rates, even though they won’t likely play a huge impact on a large 15-inch desktop in most circumstances. There are around 2 hours left under stress, although at a lower performance level.
When you choose a 4K or even an OLED panel, these results are likely to deteriorate significantly. The charging procedure for the 230 watt power source takes less than 2 hours (with the device switched on), with the first 80 percent accessible within 60 minutes.
The ThinkPad P53 remains a traditional mobile workstation that ignores recent trends toward slimmer casings and screen edges. In exchange, you get a highly solid casing, a lot of ports, good upgrade possibilities, and really strong components, particularly in the graphics department.
There are no visible differences between this year’s ThinkPad P52 and last year’s ThinkPad P52, but there are modifications behind the hood. The powerful graphics cards (Quadro RTX 4000 & 5000) are now the focus, which are often reserved for bigger 17-inch workstations.
However, we must convey our dissatisfaction at this time since the buyer has no idea which version of the graphic card he will get. It is not stated by Nvidia or Lenovo that this is the slowest 80 watt version. In the RTX 4000, a slower version should also be utilized. Overall, the visual performance is still outstanding.
The ThinkPad P53 is a mature product with no major flaws. It has a bright 1080p screen, contemporary connectors, superb input devices, and enormous performance. We would have hoped for greater cooling optimization even with a simultaneous load on the CPU and GPU.
This leads us to another issue: cooling. First and foremost, we like the defensive fan control, which prevents the fans from starting up quickly when the load is low. However, the gadget reaches its limitations when both the CPU and GPU are working at the same time, since processor performance suffers dramatically. Quiet fans are fine, but when you pick such fast components in this category, you want to get the most out of them.
Even though this would result in louder fans, the cooling would still have potential upwards. At this moment, we can only speculate on how different P53 setups will fare. The CPU consumption could be improved, especially with smaller GPUs (RTX 3000 or T-series).
Lenovo has greatly improved the display options in comparison to several other contemporary ThinkPads. Although an IPS screen with 300 Nits is still included as standard, a better and, above all, brighter 1080p variant is now available. Lenovo also offers two high-resolution models (4K-IPS and 4K-OLED), ensuring that every user can find the right model.
Overall, this is harsh criticism, considering the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 has no actual flaws and obtains an exceptional rating, which is why the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 is ranked #1 above the ThinkPad X1 Extreme.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is ranked second (2020)
- Powerful computing
- Price is lower than the ThinkPad P53.
- Keyboard that is both light and powerful.
- The battery life is only ordinary.
The Thinkpad X1 Extreme is a notebook that can do it all: high processing power, high resolution, numerous ports, and a light and slim design. The new 2019 model is being put through its paces.
Lenovo has updated the Thinkpad X1 Extreme work/play/mobility laptop with a new CPU and graphics card, as well as making the notebook 0.22 pounds lighter than its predecessor.
However, the X1 Extreme’s basic orientation remains unchanged: the Thinkpad wants to be a notebook for all tasks – for texts and tables, of course, but also for the newly discovered target group of digital creators, i.e. users who require high computing power for photo and video editing and rendering, as well as gamers.
And it’s all packed inside a sturdy, 20-millimeter-thin casing with as many ports as a big laptop.
Showcase & Performance
Lenovo rounds up this comprehensive bundle with the following details: The display can be rotated 180 degrees to allow everyone in a meeting to see the material on the screen. A mechanical shutter protects the front camera, and biometric registration through facial recognition and fingerprint, as well as a smart card reader, add to the security.
In terms of CPU generation, the new X1 Extreme jumps from the eighth to the ninth: However, the technological differences between the Core i7-9750H and the Core i7-8750H are minor; the newer six-core has a little faster standard and turbo clock, as well as a bigger cache. In actuality, the 2019-X1 isn’t helped by this since the CPU isn’t as quick as the 2018 model: The new CPU is around 10% slower in Cinebench R15, for example.
The fan, on the other hand, is quieter: it starts up immediately under load, but maintains a consistent CPU temperature of 80 to 85 degrees with a speed of approximately 4400 and generates a perceptible noise that is neither too loud nor too high-pitched.
The consequence of less fan activity is that localized heated hotspots emerge on the bottom of the casing during prolonged load periods, when the laptop heats up to almost 50 degrees – which only disturbs users who rest it on their thighs.
Ports & Hardware
Nonetheless, the new X1 outperforms its predecessor in terms of overall performance: the NVMe-SSD Samsung PM981a is quicker, and the GPU Geforce GTX 1650 is more powerful. However, even during image processing or rendering, ambitious multimedia users should be aware that this graphics card in Max-Q design is inferior to RTX graphics, such as those featured in modern gaming laptops.
Only with a Max-Q GPU can a laptop as thin and light as the X1 Extreme be built without sacrificing connectivity: HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports, for example, are also accessible.
There are two type C connectors on the left side that support Thunderbolt 3. Standard-sized SD cards may be read by the card reader, which is linked through PCI Express. An adapter may be used to connect a network cable to the X1’s proprietary mini-LAN port on the left side.
Features, Keyboard, and Battery Life
Lenovo’s laptop already supports the latest Wifi-6 WiFi standard, thanks to Intel’s 11ax WiFi module AX200. The X1 Extreme is presently available in the United States with a non-reflective Full-HD-IPS display with 10-bit HDR or a 4K OLED touchscreen.
Our test tablet, however, had a matt UHD display with IPS technology, which is a display option available in the United States. Despite the reduced resolution, the measured values of the tested X1 should be similar to the promised Full-HD display due to the employed panel with 10-bit HDR: The brightness is rather high, at slightly over 400 cd/m2, and the anti-glare surface enables for comfortable screen use even outside. Because of the relatively high black value, the contrast is adequate but not exceptional.
The X1’s color space coverage of 99 percent sRGB and 96 percent Adobe-RGB earns it this accolade, which Lenovo recommends for picture editors: “However, they’ll be irritated by the restrictive brightness control: The X1 only has a luminance of roughly 200 cd/m2 even when set to its maximum brightness of 400 cd/m2.
In the X1, office workers have one of the greatest laptop keyboards: The clear pressure feedback as well as the soft pressure point, the silent and solid keyboard, and the non-slip touchpad will be appreciated by those who write often and consistently. A trackpoint is included, as is customary with Thinkpads, and it reveals its importance when you need to precisely withdraw the mouse cursor.
The test device’s high UHD resolution drains the battery quickly, so customers who want to spend a lot of time on the road with the X1 should choose for the Full-HD version. As a result, the WiFi test with a brightness of 200 cd/m2 only has 5.5 hours of runtime.
With a Core i5-9300H processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, Full-HD display, and Windows 10 Home, the new X1 Extreme starts at $2000. The most recommended configuration, which includes a Core i7-9750H, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, and Windows 10 Pro, costs $2350.
The latest generation Thinkpad X1 Extreme is still unrivaled when it comes to combining mobility and processing power – yet battery life might be improved, which is why the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme comes in second place behind the ThinkPad P53.
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