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