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Customers are left in the dark: Only vapor-chamber models of the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 G4/X1 Extreme G4 offer full CPU performance

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 G4
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 G4
Depending on the dGPU configuration of the ThinkPad P1 G4 or ThinkPad X1 Extreme G4, you will get a more powerful cooling system and therefore more CPU performance. This is, however, not communicated very well, and you might pay a lot of money for a supposedly fast CPU if you do not pay attention.

High-performance laptops or mobile workstations are often equipped with vapor chamber cooling solutions nowadays since they are more efficient than traditional heat pipes. Lenovo also uses such a more powerful vapor chamber unit for its new ThinkPad P1 G4 and ThinkPad X1 Extreme G4, which sounds positive at first, but it can be a problem if you do not pay attention. The manufacturer uses two different cooling systems and they do not really tell potential customers about this and the implications; there is only a small footnote in the official spec sheet.

This can result in some problems. As we have seen in our review of the base model ThinkPad P1 G4, the CPU performance is below average and the 45W processor drops below 40W after a little while. Since the entry-level model is equipped with the small dGPU Nvidia T1200, you only get the conventional cooling system with heat pipes. If you select a model with a more powerful dGPU, however, will also enjoy more CPU performance. We can confirm this since we have a unit of the ThinkPad P1 G4 with the RTX 3070 in our editorial office.

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Lenovo ThinkPad P1 G4-20Y30017GE T1200 Laptop GPU, i7-11800H, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ: Ø1405 (1380.5-1547.99)
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 G4-20Y4S0KS00 GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU, i7-11850H, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR: Ø1803 (1759.48-1988.07)

The Core i7-11850H (with vPro) has a slightly higher maximum clock than the i7-11800H, but the two chips should be almost identical when they have the same cooling capabilities. While the base model of the ThinkPad P1 G4 quickly drops below 40W under sustained CPU load, the more powerful unit can maintain almost 60W, so about 50% more. The average result in our Cinebench r15 Multi loop is also almost 30% better.

Lenovo should mention this difference, because if you just get a ThinkPad P1 G4 or ThinkPad X1 Extreme G4 with a fast processor and just do not need a powerful dGPU like the RTX A3000 (or RTX 3060), you will probably be disappointed. The i7-11850H, for example, is available with both cooling systems, but the performance is much lower when you get a unit with the conventional cooling system.

This is an unnecessary problem for the customer and we would have preferred the more powerful vapor chamber cooling system for all models or Lenovo could at least be more transparent. Please see our review of the base model ThinkPad P1 G4 for all information including other differences of the two cooling systems. The review of the more powerful version with the matte 4K screen and the GeForce RTX 3070 will be published later next week.

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Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Laptops - 1401 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 10 > Customers are left in the dark: Only vapor-chamber models of the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 G4/X1 Extreme G4 offer full CPU performance
Andreas Osthoff, 2021-10-16 (Update: 2021-10-19)