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In review: Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 is slower than its predecessor

In review: Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 is slower than its predecessor
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 is slower than its predecessor
Normally, you would expect a newer laptop being faster than its older predecessor. Sometimes however, this isn't the case. Unfortunately, the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 2019, which we are reviewing right now, is slower than the older model.
Benjamin Herzig,
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Thermal throttling has become a major problem with recent generations of Intel processors. Due to Intel's inability to release 10nm CPUs, the semiconductor giant instead relied on more CPU cores & a higher power consumption to make its CPUs faster.

This has lead to some performance gains, but it has made the performance more unpredictable as well. Laptop buyers can not rely on the spec-sheet anymore if they want to know how  fast a laptop is. Instead, they have to read reviews to find out how much & for how long a processor in any given laptop can actually utilize its advertised turbo clock-rates. Laptops equipped with the same CPU can deliver a vastly different level of performance, depending on the cooling system & its settings. Sometimes, laptops equipped with an i7 CPU can even be slower than the same model with an i5.

In other cases, newer laptop models are slower than the older ones. One such case is the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2, a high-end mobile workstation equipped with the newest Intel Coffee Lake Refresh H-series CPUs. For such a device, CPU performance is extremely important. Thus, we were disappointed to find out during our review that the ThinkPad P1 2019 actually lagged behind its predecessor, the ThinkPad P1 Gen 1. This graph shows sustained CPU performance in the Cinebench R15 Multicore test:

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Lenovo ThinkPad P1 2019-20QT000RGE Quadro T1000 (Laptop), i7-9850H, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G: Ø961 (896-1114)
Lenovo ThinkPad P1-20MD002LUS Quadro P2000 Max-Q, E-2176M, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB2T0HMLB: Ø1026 (1012.5-1120.61)

Both ThinkPad review devices were equipped with similarly fast hexa-core processors and Lenovo did not change the hardware design of the cooling system. It seems like one possible explanation is that the firmware settings of the cooling systems are worse on the ThinkPad P1 Gen 2. That definitely seems like a possibility and indeed, ex-factory, the CPU performance under sustained load was even worse. Lenovo has optimized the performance with a newer BIOS version. Still, as visible in the graph above, it still lags behind the older ThinkPad P1 2018.

Our full-review with many more benchmarks and measurements should be ready until the end of the week.

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Benjamin Herzig
Benjamin Herzig - Managing Editor - 891 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I was an ardent reader of Notebookcheck’s laptop reviews even back in school. After writing reviews as a hobby, I then joined Notebookcheck in 2016 and have worked on device reviews and news articles ever since then. My personal interest lies more with laptops than smartphones, with business laptops being the most interesting category for me. Technology should make our lives and work easier and good laptops are an essential tool for that to happen. This is why laptop reviews are not just my work but are also my passion.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 08 > In review: Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 is slower than its predecessor
Benjamin Herzig, 2019-08-22 (Update: 2019-08-22)