Review Lenovo Thinkpad T410 Notebook (Optimus)

Martina Osztovits, 12/16/2010

Optimization. After the T510, we also look at the up-to-date ThinkPad T410 alternative more closely. Thanks to the incorporated Nvidia Optimus technology, the 14 incher promises longer runtimes including low emissions and yet good performance.

It can be said that the Thinkpad T410 represents the T400's Arrandale upgrade. The formerly reviewed model with an Intel Core i7-620M CPU and Quadro NVS 3100M graphics card didn't use the Intel graphics card GMA HD incorporated into the CPU.

The hardware configuration of the Optimus device at hand is almost unchanged: Core i7 620M CPU, dedicated Nvidia Quadro NVS 3100M graphics card and four gigabyte of DDR3 RAM. But now the user gets a 500 gigabyte hard disk, which also does its job with 7200 revolutions per minute, instead of a 250 gigabyte, 7200 rpm hard disk.

Additionally, the buyer can be pleased about the optional WWAN module in opposition to the previously reviewed T410 model. The laptop achieves a better rating in terms of connectivity. Since both devices are otherwise identically constructed, we'll start with the display right away.

Display

Our test candidate starts with a display from the same Manufacturer and is the model: LEN4036. Typical for a business device, the display has been AR coated and is thus suitable for use at computer workstations.

Alike the predecessor, the display bids a resolution of 1440x900 pixels and consequently a 16:10 format. Therefore, the user wins a bit more height and doesn't have to scroll as much in horizontally aligned applications, for example when several windows are opened, as in a 16:9 format (1366x768).

As already the predecessor model, the given color spectrum is narrow. sRGB and AdobeRGB aren't even close to being covered. Laptops, such as the MacBook Pro 13, do a lot better in this category. Nevertheless, this shouldn't turn into a disadvantage if the screen isn't used for image editing.

T410 vs. sRGB (transparent)
T410 vs. sRGB (transparent)
T410 vs. AdobeRGB (transparent)
T410 vs. AdobeRGB (transparent)
T410 vs. MacBook Pro 13 (transparent)
T410 vs. MacBook Pro 13 (transparent)

The assessment rates are all more or less above that of the T410 2522-3FG model. The maximum brightness of 228 cd/m2 (vs. 202 cd/m2 in the 2522-3FG) was measured in the upper center section. The brightness decreases in all directions from there and ultimately reaches its minimum of 182 cd/m2 in the lower left area. This results in an overall good brightness distribution of 80% and can thus place itself slightly before its predecessor. The same applies to the average brightness of 201 cd/m2 for the test candidate versus 183.4 cd/m2 for the predecessor.

210
cd/m²
228
cd/m²
203
cd/m²
201
cd/m²
199
cd/m²
195
cd/m²
199
cd/m²
192
cd/m²
182
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 228 cd/m²
Average: 201 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Black: 1.43 cd/m²
Contrast: 139:1

In return, the black value of 1.43 cd/m2 is slightly higher than that of the model without Optimus (2522-3FG: 1.37 cd/m2). Nevertheless, it still results in a minimally better contrast ratio of 139:1 (2522-3FG: 136:1). Thus, it's very conceivable that Lenovo has made slight improvements here in favor of a bit more brightness, while the black value has also increased.
In fact, black really looks a bit grayish. Although the contrast turns out a bit low, the color reproduction is alright for intended office or internet use. In any event, no visible shadowing was noticed with the naked eye.

Outdoors
Outdoors

There's nothing standing in the way of outdoor use due to the matt surface and an average brightness of about 200 cd/m2. It's great that this brightness is also available in battery mode. Although the display is brighter than the T410 2522-3FG's, the image's contrast almost seems too low and a bit too dark for working fatigueless for a longer time in direct sunlight.

In regards to viewing angles, the T410 doesn't differ from the reviewed predecessor and thus doesn't really stand out from the majority of laptop competition. Subjectively, the work area can be called wide on the horizontal plane. In return, slightest deviations from the ideal, perpendicular viewing angle lead to image changes, perceived as dimming, respectively bleaching and consequently to color misrepresentations.

Viewing angles: Lenovo Thinkpad T410 - 2537-9UG
Viewing angles: Lenovo Thinkpad T410 - 2537-9UG

Performance

Both reviewed T410 models are identical in terms of processor and chipset. Both are based on Intel's QM57 chipset and use a Core i7 620M CPU. They can overclock single cores depending on the capacity due to Turbo Boost. The dual core processor of the Arrandale family is able to process up to four cores at the same time via Hyperthreading, which supports every physical core with a virtual one.

Additionally, both models supply a four gigabyte RAM. That is now implemented as a single four gigabyte module, model PC3-10700 (667 MHz) in our test candidate. The predecessor used a slower PC3-8500F (533 MHz) DDR3 RAM. In comparison to 32bit operating systems, the random access memory can also be used efficiently due to Windows 7 Professional 64bit. Moreover, there is nothing standing in the way of an upgrade. This can be done easily via a maintenance cover on the device's bottom. The memory controller installed in the processor can address up to a maximum of 8 gigabyte of RAM.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info CPUZ RAM SPD
System info GPUZ
System info GPUZ
System info DPC Latency
System information: Lenovo Thinkpad T410 - 2537-9UG

As already in the predecessor without Optimus, a 512 MB NVIDIA Quadro NVS 3100M graphics card is responsible for video output. It is a graphics card optimized for business applications. This means that priority has been set on the driver's stability and compatibility and not as much on performance increase.

Unlike the predecessor, the dedicated Quadro NVS 3100M graphics card can be completely disabled for saving energy. Then the GMA HD graphics chip incorporated in the Arrandale processor is used. Nvidia's Optimus automatically decides which graphics card would be the better choice in every case. However, manual intervention is also possible.
The performance benchmarks have been executed with enabled Quadro NVS 3100M though. The pre-installed driver, version 8.17.12.5738 (ForceWare 257.38) isn't up-to-date anymore. The version 260.99 is available for download on Nvidia's homepage.

4
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
4
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
5.7
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3349
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7329
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
4205
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
3510 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
7699 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
4254 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
8.56 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.47 Points
Help
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage6948 points
Help

Unsurprisingly, both devices need about the same time for calculating a predefined number of fractional digits via SuperPi, with slight deviations.

For assessing the application performance, we use the PCMarkVantage tool. Our test device achieved a total score of 6948 points. The model, 2522-3FG, contrarily only scored 5575 PCMarks and thus 24% less in return. If we look at the single scores it becomes evident that this results from considerably higher achievements in the categories communication and productivity of the Optimus model.  On the other hand, the hard disk and memory rates are even lower than those of the predecessor.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
3247 points
3DMark Vantage1118 points
Help
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS
Transfer Rate Minimum: 44.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 104.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 80.8 MB/s
Access Time: 17.6 ms
Burst Rate: 77.1 MB/s

Let's now look at the mass memory configuration. Our test device has been given a ST9500420AS from Seagate. It has a gross capacity of 500 GB, of which 9.77 gigabytes is recovery information for resetting to the state of delivery. 454.82 gigabytes are available for the operating system and the user's data. The hard disk rotates with a revolution speed of 7200rpm. As already indicated by the scores in PCMarkVantage, the HDTune scores are a bit lower than those of the predecessor's 250 GB hard disk. The rates are nevertheless by and large inconspicuous.

The optical drive has also been replaced. Now a model from Optiarc, namely a DVD RW AD-7930H, does the job.

Graphics Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

The Nvidia Quadro NVS 3100M places itself in our performance category 3, which represents the lower midrange. Thus, we're not expecting big leaps in terms of graphics performance. Additionally to that, the drivers have been specialized for business applications. That means they have been designed for maximum compatibility and stability rather than performance.

The test device behaves like its predecessor in the executed 3DMark tests and Cinebench R10 Shading, except for slight fluctuations. In view of this and because it is a business device we didn't perform extensive gaming tests. We would refer to our gaming list if you are curious about the graphics card's gaming capacities.

If we take a brief look at the results of Spec ViewPerf version 11 on the built-in display, it becomes evident that the device also hasn't been conceived for use of complex CAD applications, despite a dedicated graphics card.

SPECviewperf 11
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080Siemens NX, 0xAA, 0xAF2.21 fps
 1920x1080Tcvis, 0xAA, 0xAF0.9 fps
 1920x1080SolidWorks, 0xAA, 0xAF5.32 fps
 1920x1080Pro/ENGINEER, 0xAA, 0xAF1.04 fps
 1920x1080Maya, 0xAA, 0xAF4.49 fps
 1920x1080Lightwave, 0xAA, 0xAF7.21 fps
 1920x1080Ensight, 0xAA, 0xAF4.01 fps
 1920x1080Catia, 0xAA, 0xAF3.28 fps

Emissions

System Noise

Especially the hard disk's occasional quiet clicking is audible under low load. The fan noise usually stays around 32.1 dB(A) but can turn up to 34.4 dB(A) every now and again.

The laptop hardly gets louder than 34.4 dB(A) even under 3D load in the range of our 3D benchmarks. Finally, we provoke a maximum noise of a very audible 37.3 dB(A) with our stress test of several hours, where both the CPU and GPU are loaded to 100%. The system noise is basically on par with its predecessor. The permanently present noise level is always well endurable.

Noise Level

Idle 32.1 / 32.1 / 34.4 dB(A)
HDD 33.1 dB(A)
DVD 35.7 / dB(A)
Load 34.4 / 37.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft SL-300 Plus (15 cm distance)
Stress test
Stress test

Temperature

Alike its predecessor, the Optimus alternative can get quite warm under load. The top never exceeds body temperature, though. In return, the bottom gets warmer.

The interior component's temperatures stay within an acceptable range even after several hours of 100% GPU and CPU load. Occasionally, the TMonitor tool records clock rate cave-ins. A continuous performance throttling doesn't take place. 3DMark06 executed immediately afterward supplies the same results as the "cold test", except for a few deviations.

The laptop stays pleasantly cool all over under low component load. Thus, the device is well equipped for a planned office use. Both the bottom's and the top's rates are higher than the model without Optimus.

Max. Load
 34.9 °C34.4 °C31.2 °C 
 35.4 °C35.5 °C30.4 °C 
 32.2 °C34.9 °C30.8 °C 
Maximum: 35.5 °C
Average: 33.3 °C
27.6 °C40.8 °C48.9 °C
29.2 °C39.8 °C42.2 °C
29.9 °C40.5 °C40.9 °C
Maximum: 48.9 °C
Average: 37.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  56.2 °C | Room Temperature 21.5 °C | Raytek Raynger ST

Battery Life

Readers Test
Maximum battery life (Readers Test)
Classic Test
Minimum battery life (Classic Test)
Charge graph
Charge graph

A lithium ion battery with a capacity of 57 watt hours is included for the test device, just like for its predecessor. However, a considerably longer battery life is possible especially under low load with assistance from the Optimus technology.

The tested T410 is able to last for a bit over six hours at most in minimum, unfeasible for practical use, brightness. This rate was recorded by BatteryEater's Reader's test in the selected energy savings mode and disabled wireless modules. That's not quite a bonus of 2 hours, respectively a plus of 44% in comparison to the predecessor.

Almost four hours of internet research via WiFi hotspot in energy savings mode and a brightness level of 12 of 15 (+85%) were possible in practical use. Movie entertainment powered by battery came to an end after a bit more than four hours. Video rendering mode, maximum brightness and disabled wireless options were set for this (+105%).

BatteryEater's Classic test records the minimum battery life using maximum brightness and enabled consumers. Only just one and one quarter hours (71 minutes) of mains independent use are possible when the Quadro NVS 3100M is enabled. The battery life only increases marginally by only 1 minute to 72 minutes if you disable the dedicated graphics card and are content with the GMA-HD. This also applies to the model without Optimus, in comparison. All other tests were unexceptionally executed with an enabled GMA HD.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 03min
WiFi Surfing
3h 48min
DVD
4h 9min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 11min

Particularly in the low load range, there is a significant improvement in power consumption with Optimus technology use in comparison to the predecessor. The advantage of the Optimus technology is that the graphics card switches automatically and without evident latencies for the user even while applications are running. Moreover, the device scores with low rates below 0.5 watts when it's deactivated or in standby mode.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 11.7 / 15.6 / 19.4 Watt
Load 49 / 66.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940 Plus

Verdict

The T410 has been designed for the use in a low load range with typical tasks like office or internet applications. The use of Optimus technology helps achieving longer battery runtimes. Otherwise, not much has changed in terms of performance features in comparison to its predecessor.

Lenovo uses the upgrade and installs a somewhat brighter display. The narrow color spectrum and low contrast stay the same. A matt display and well-conceived communication features – including the broadband modem in this model – are things you won't want to miss out on when you're on the go. Additionally, you are faster at home in your office with the docking station. It's even possible to work with a good quality on external monitors via the digital video interface, also directly on the case.

The T410 can be a very attractive business companion with tried and tested Thinkpad qualities. It's just as suitable for permanent use at workstation as for on the go. However, it doesn't surpass entry level graphics performance even with enabled Quadro NVS 3100M.

With courtesy of ...
In Review: Lenovo Thinkpad T410 - 2537-9UG, with courtesy of:
In Review:  Lenovo Thinkpad T410 - 2537-9UG

Specifications

Lenovo Thinkpad T410 - 2537-9UG

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel QM57 Express Chipset
:: Memory
4096 MB, DDR3: PC3-10700 (667 MHz)
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA NVS 3100M - 512 MB, Core: 606 MHz, Memory: 790 MHz, nvlddmkm 8.17.12.5738 (ForceWare 257.38) / Win7 64
:: Display
14.1 inch 16:10, 1440x900 pixel, LEN4036, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS, 500 GB 7200 rpm
:: Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 4 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, Thinkpad Modem Adapter Modem, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: one 3.5 mm headphone combo jack, Card Reader: 5in1, 1 Fingerprint Reader,
:: Networking
Intel 82577LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN (a g n ), Thinkpad Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate II Bluetooth, Qualcomm Gobi 2000 HS-USB Mobile Broadband Device 9205
:: Optical drive
Optiarc DVD RW AD-7930H
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 39 x 336 x 238
:: Weight
2.3 kg Power Supply: 0.46 kg
:: Battery
57 Wh Lithium-Ion, 10.8V; 5.2 mAh
:: Price
1800 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2.0 MP, quick guide, troubleshooting, ThinkVantage Tools, Lenovo Online Data Backup, Burn.Now Lenovo Edition, InterVideo WinDVD, Corel Movie Factory 7, MS Office 2007 Trial, MS Research AutoCollage Touch 2009, MS SQL-Server 2005, 12 Months Warranty

 

Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410
Lenovo Thinkpad T410

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Pro

+Tried and tested Thinkpad design
+Trackpoint
+Keyboard
+Very good office performance and the latest hardware
+ThinkVantage tools
+Optimus technology extends battery runtimes
 

Cons

-Contrast poor display with standard color spectrum
-Touchpad
-No recovery DVDs or manual

Shortcut

What we like

The Optimus technology extends the solid laptop's battery life.

What we miss

The display could have a slightly higher contrast and at least come close to covering the sRGB.

What surprises us

Too bad, that we always have to wait so long for business notebooks with interesting technologies that do improve the surplus value notably.

The competitors

14 inchers that have been optimized for the business field. Not considering of the professional graphics card, but not wanting to forgo on the latest hardware and a dedicated graphics card, the Asus P42JC or the Acer Travelmate 8472TG-354G32MNkk would come in question. Also: HP Elitebook 8440p.

Rating

Lenovo Thinkpad T410 - 2537-9UG
12/11/2010 v2
Martina Osztovits

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
85%
Connectivity
80%
Weight
84%
Battery
81%
Display
71%
Games Performance
63%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
84%
Noise
87%
Add Points
84%
Average
82%
84%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Lenovo Thinkpad T410 Notebook (Optimus)
Author: Martina Osztovits, 2010-12-16 (Update: 2013-06- 6)