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Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Workstation (Xeon, 4K) Review

Better with 4K? Once again, we review the mobile workstation from Lenovo. This time, however, the ThinkPad P50 is equipped with a Xeon processor and a 4K screen, but the latter does not make sense for every user.

For the original German review, see here.

The new workstation models from Lenovo's ThinkPad-P-series could already prove themselves in our reviews and left a very good impression, but the ThinkPad P50 still had to fight with some quirks. This included the processor Turbo utilization bugs and the comparatively bad Full HD screen, for example, which could not really meet the high expectations considering the high price.

Our review update today takes a look at the ThinkPad P50 20EN0008GE, which is currently the most expensive pre-configured model available at German retailers. Some shops already offer the device for 2850 Euros (~$3151; campus version: 2500 Euros/~$2764). On the other hand, you get a mobile Xeon processor, a Quadro GPU from Nvidia as well as a matte 4K panel, which is supposed to have a wider gamut compared to the FHD model in particular. Lenovo is not very generous in terms of memory, because although we do get a PCIe-SSD, it comes with a capacity of only 256 GB. 8 GB RAM is not a lot for such a workstation, either, but it is at least ECC-RAM.

Another problem of the ThinkPad P50 was the WWAN support, because the first models were not WWAN-ready, despite the specifications from the manufacturer. This has changed in the meantime, and at least Lenovo' online shop lists corresponding models with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE-A (+155 Euros/~$170). If you buy the device from a retailer, you should ask in advance or buy directly from Lenovo if you have any doubts.

Our review unit is very similar to the previous model, so we will not cover the sections Case, ConnectivityInput Devices and Speakers in this article. The corresponding information is available in the review of the ThinkPad P50 with the Full HD display. The chassis pictures are from this device as well.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 (ThinkPad P Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M - 4096 MB, Core: 1137 MHz, Memory: 1252 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 354.88, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, ECC-DDR4-2133, Single-Channel, 1/4 Slots occupied, up to 64 GB
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel 282 PPI, LQ156D1JW05, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel CM236 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm Combo, Card Reader: 4-in-1 (MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC), 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 29.4 x 377.4 x 252.3 ( = 1.16 x 14.86 x 9.93 in)
Battery
90 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 6-cell
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64 Bit) + Windows 10 Pro (64 Bit)
Camera
Webcam: HD-Webcam
Additional features
Speakers: 2x 1.5 Watt, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 170-Watt-PSU, Quick-start guide, Warranty information, Lenovo Tools, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office 365 (trial), McAfee Live Safe (trial), 36 Months Warranty
Weight
2.59 kg ( = 91.36 oz / 5.71 pounds), Power Supply: 670 g ( = 23.63 oz / 1.48 pounds)
Price
3200 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Subpixel array
Subpixel array
Some backlight bleeding
Some backlight bleeding

We were obviously eager to try the matte 4K-IPS panel. The Full HD screen could not really impress us due to the comparatively low brightness and the small color gamut. At least the specifications of the 4K display are better: 300 nits, 1000:1 and full sRGB coverage. Our review unit is equipped with a LQ156D1JW05 panel from Sharp.

However, our initial measurements are rather sobering because while we can measure a decent maximum luminance of 276 cd/m², the average brightness is just 250 cd/m² due to the mediocre brightness distribution of 86%. This means that we are quite far from the manufacturer's claims. The contrast ratio of 801:1 (black value: 0.31 cd/m²) cannot meet the advertised value, either. So far, the 4K model is just slightly ahead of its Full HD counterpart.

Subjectively, there is still not a whole lot to criticize. Thanks to the high resolution (282 PPI), the picture is very sharp, and the colors are also very vivid. The luminance was okay indoors, but you will want a brighter picture outdoors. Our review unit came with Windows 7 preloaded, where the maximum scaling factor is 150%. This size was still okay for us, but there are some scaling issues from time to time. Generally, we would recommend an upgrade to Windows 10 when you use the 4K panel. There is some screen bleeding at the top and the bottom, and you can also see a slight blue hue at the left edge.

Unlike the Full HD panel, the 4K screen uses PWM to control its brightness. This is the case for level 8/15 and lower at a pretty low frequency of 217 Hz, so there can be problems for sensitive users.

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 217 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 217 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 217 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9705 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

247
cd/m²
248
cd/m²
237
cd/m²
253
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
240
cd/m²
276
cd/m²
239
cd/m²
257
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 276 cd/m² Average: 249.7 cd/m² Minimum: 8.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 243 cd/m²
Contrast: 806:1 (Black: 0.31 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.5 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 7.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
94.5% sRGB (Calman 2D) 98.6% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 85% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.31
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
3840x2160, IPS, LQ156D1JW05
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
1920x1080, IPS, LP156WF6-SPK1
HP ZBook 15 G3
1920x1080, UWVA-IPS, Samsung SDC5344
Dell Precision 5510
3840x2160, IGZO LED, SHP143E, 7PHPT_LQ156D1
Schenker W505
3840x2160, IPS, Sharp LQ156D1JW04 (SHP1436)
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
2880x1620, IPS LED, VVX16T028J00, LEN40B5
Response Times
-18%
-36%
-50%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
39.2 (14.8, 24.4)
46 (17, 29)
-17%
54 (24.4, 29.6)
-38%
56.4 (23.2, 33.2)
-44%
Response Time Black / White *
22 (7, 15)
26 (9, 17)
-18%
35.6 (11.6, 24)
-62%
34 (11, 23)
-55%
PWM Frequency
217
198 (95)
-9%
Screen
-2%
-1%
16%
11%
3%
Brightness middle
250
263
5%
306
22%
391
56%
288
15%
360
44%
Brightness
250
236
-6%
289
16%
361
44%
293
17%
330
32%
Brightness Distribution
86
78
-9%
85
-1%
87
1%
93
8%
87
1%
Black Level *
0.31
0.34
-10%
0.34
-10%
0.4
-29%
0.27
13%
0.57
-84%
Contrast
806
774
-4%
900
12%
978
21%
1067
32%
632
-22%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.5
2.35
48%
5.1
-13%
4.85
-8%
3.76
16%
2.85
37%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.3
9.9
-6%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.2
3.33
54%
7.4
-3%
4.01
44%
4.83
33%
4.29
40%
Gamma
2.31 95%
2.38 92%
2.37 93%
2.18 101%
2.39 92%
2.32 95%
CCT
6399 102%
6917 94%
7263 89%
7340 89%
7602 86%
6310 103%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
85
37
-56%
63
-26%
96
13%
61
-28%
62
-27%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
98.6
58
-41%
95
-4%
100
1%
96
-3%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-10% / -5%
-19% / -9%
-17% / 4%
11% / 11%
3% / 3%

* ... smaller is better

CalMAN Grayscale with the integrated calibration
CalMAN Grayscale with the integrated calibration
CalMAN Colorspace with the integrated calibration
CalMAN Colorspace with the integrated calibration
CalMAN Grayscale with the integrated calibration
CalMAN Grayscale with the integrated calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps with the integrated calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps with the integrated calibration

The ThinkPad P50 is once again equipped with an integrated Pantone colorimeter, so we use the calibrated results for our database. However, the performance in combination with the 4K screen is hardly convenient. The average DeltaE 2000 deviations compared to the sRGB reference are 7.2 for the grayscale and 4.5 for the colors, while the target values should be smaller than 3 in both cases. We can also notice a slight red cast.

CalMAN Grayscale with our calibration
CalMAN Grayscale with our calibration
CalMAN Colorspace with our calibration
CalMAN Colorspace with our calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker with our calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker with our calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps with our calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps with our calibration

The full potential of the display is revealed by our calibration with the spectrophotometer X-Rite i1 Basic 2 and the software CalMAN. The deviations of the grayscale and the colors (0.5 each) are on a reference level, and the red cast is gone as well. Both the color temperature as well as the gamma value are close to their respective ideal values, too. However, this was also the case for the Full HD model.

We can see a clear advantage for the 4K panel in terms of color gamut, because sRGB is covered almost completely and AdobeRGB still by 85%. The high-resolution screen is therefore clearly the better choice for professional tasks.

sRGB coverage: 98.6%
sRGB coverage: 98.6%
AdobeRGB coverage: 85%
AdobeRGB coverage: 85%

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
22 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 15 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 24 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.4 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
39.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14.8 ms rise
↘ 24.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 42 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (40.7 ms).

The ThinkPad P50 benefits from the matte screen surface outdoors, but we would still like to see a more powerful background illumination in brighter environments. You can still see the display content, but the eyes can become tired rather quickly.

As with the FHD model, the IPS technology ensures wide viewing angles, but once again we can see a comparatively quick brightness drop when we change the viewing angle. Our photo montage enhances the effect slightly. The colors, however, are stable even from flat angles.

Outdoors with reflections
Outdoors with reflections
Outdoors without reflections
Outdoors without reflections
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Our review configuration of the ThinkPad P50 is suitably equipped with an Intel Xeon processor, dedicated Quadro GPU from Nvidia as well as a PCIe-SSD from Samsung. One highlight is the memory, because we get ECC-RAM (Error-Correcting-Code) for improved error correction. However, we only get 1x 8 GB in a single-channel configuration, which is pretty meager when you consider the price. ECC-RAM is also much more expensive compared to standard DDR4-RAM. One 8 GB module currently costs around 90 Euros (~$99), which is twice as expensive as a standard DDR4 memory.

Our configuration is currently the most expensive retail unit, but you can also configure the device comprehensively in Lenovo's online shop. You can spend up to 5500 Euros (~$6081; Xeon, 64 GB ECC-RAM, 2x 512 GB PCIe-SSD, 4K).

 

Processor

Maximum Turbo Boost
Maximum Turbo Boost

Intel's Xeon E3-1505M v5 is currently one of the fastest mobile processors. The Skylake chip has a TDP of 45 watts, and it can reach up to 3.7 GHz via Turbo Boost. Here we can also see an improvement over the previous test model with the Turbo Boost problems, because it works properly now. All the benchmarks were executed with the maximum clock.

Lenovo even gives the processor more headroom, because it can continuously consume up to 55 watts and even up to 75 watts for a short period (28 seconds). Users will only benefit from this when they also use the integrated GPU though, because the processor itself does not even reach 45 watts. HWiNFO shows 41 to 42 watts in the Cinebench Multi test and ~43 watts in Prime95.

Intel XTU: increased TDP limit
Intel XTU: increased TDP limit

As expected, we cannot see any surprises in the benchmarks, and the Xeon inside the ThinkPad P50 is one of the fastest chips within the comparison group. The consumption of the processor is limited to 40 watts on battery power, so the performance takes a small hit (CB R15 Multi: 729 vs. 698 points).

More benchmarks with the Xeon E3-1505M v5 are available in our Tech section.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
158 Points ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
157 Points ∼99%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
Quadro K2100M, 4910MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
154 Points ∼97% -2%
Schenker W505
Quadro K5100M, E3-1231 v3, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
152 Points ∼96% -3%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
142 Points ∼90% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
117 Points ∼74% -25%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
Quadro K2100M, 4910MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
739 Points ∼100% +1%
Schenker W505
Quadro K5100M, E3-1231 v3, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
732 Points ∼99% 0%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
732 Points ∼99% 0%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
732 Points ∼99% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
729 Points ∼99%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
592 Points ∼80% -19%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1.78 Points ∼100% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1.78 Points ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
Quadro K2100M, 4910MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
1.72 Points ∼97% -3%
Schenker W505
Quadro K5100M, E3-1231 v3, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
1.7 Points ∼96% -4%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
1.6 Points ∼90% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
1.32 Points ∼74% -26%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
Quadro K2100M, 4910MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
7.99 Points ∼100% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7.99 Points ∼100%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
7.93 Points ∼99% -1%
Schenker W505
Quadro K5100M, E3-1231 v3, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
7.91 Points ∼99% -1%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7.91 Points ∼99% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
6.48 Points ∼81% -19%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
4519
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
21372
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5494
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
4989 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
28262 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
7316 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.99 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
44.17 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.78 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
729 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
157 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
45.03 fps
Help

System Performance

Subjectively, there is no criticism for the system performance of the ThinkPad P50. Windows boots quickly and applications are quickly launched as well, thanks to the SSD. Basically, there are no annoying waiting times. Both configurations of the ThinkPad P50 perform similarly in the PCMarks, but it is interesting that the lower-end SKU is actually slightly ahead most of the time.

PCMark 7 - Score
Schenker W505
E3-1231 v3, 16384, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
6052 Points ∼100% +22%
HP ZBook 15 G3
E3-1505M v5, 32768, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5521 Points ∼91% +11%
Dell Precision 5510
E3-1505M v5, 16384, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
5317 Points ∼88% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
4910MQ, 8192, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
5011 Points ∼83% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
E3-1505M v5, 8192, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4979 Points ∼82%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
6820HQ, 8192, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
4892 Points ∼81% -2%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
HP ZBook 15 G3
E3-1505M v5, 32768, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5221 Points ∼100% +19%
Dell Precision 5510
E3-1505M v5, 16384, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
5100 Points ∼98% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
6820HQ, 8192, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
4677 Points ∼90% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
E3-1505M v5, 8192, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4372 Points ∼84%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
4910MQ, 8192, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
3905 Points ∼75% -11%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Dell Precision 5510
E3-1505M v5, 16384, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
4429 Points ∼100% +3%
HP ZBook 15 G3
E3-1505M v5, 32768, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4392 Points ∼99% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
E3-1505M v5, 8192, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4291 Points ∼97%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
6820HQ, 8192, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
4213 Points ∼100% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
E3-1505M v5, 8192, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4023 Points ∼95%
HP ZBook 15 G3
E3-1505M v5, 32768, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3959 Points ∼94% -2%
Dell Precision 5510
E3-1505M v5, 16384, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
3941 Points ∼94% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
4910MQ, 8192, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
2834 Points ∼67% -30%
PCMark 7 Score
4979 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4023 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4291 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4372 points
Help

Storage Devices

Data can be stored on a fast PCIe-SSD from Samsung. The SM951 has a storage capacity of 256 GB. We are happy about the fast drive, but would have expected at least another hard drive considering the price. However, it is possible to integrate more drives.

The drive performs very well in the benchmarks and can easily surpass the SATA-III SSD inside the FHD-P50. More benchmarks are available in our comprehensive SSD/HDD list.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
HP ZBook 15 G3
Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Schenker W505
Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-59%
-5%
-51%
-57%
Write 4k QD32
389.6
291.9
-25%
393.8
1%
350.3
-10%
334.1
-14%
Read 4k QD32
953.4
345.3
-64%
797.8
-16%
370.9
-61%
390.5
-59%
Write 4k
256.7
124
-52%
207.3
-19%
121.2
-53%
85.85
-67%
Read 4k
60.23
35.58
-41%
59.11
-2%
48.93
-19%
33.03
-45%
Write 512
1291
301.3
-77%
1432
11%
378.9
-71%
406.3
-69%
Read 512
1364
465.3
-66%
1164
-15%
468.2
-66%
436.7
-68%
Write Seq
1304
302.4
-77%
1538
18%
512.1
-61%
440.7
-66%
Read Seq
1771
525.6
-70%
1502
-15%
527.7
-70%
523.9
-70%
Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Sequential Read: 1771 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1304 MB/s
512K Read: 1364 MB/s
512K Write: 1291 MB/s
4K Read: 60.23 MB/s
4K Write: 256.7 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 953.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 389.6 MB/s

GPU Performance

The test model is once again equipped with the dedicated Quadro M2000M GPU from Nvidia, which is also the fastest GPU for the ThinkPad P50. More technical information about the chip is available in our previous review. Thanks to Nvidia's Optimus technology, the notebook can switch to the integrated processor graphics Intel HD Graphics P530 for simple tasks to save power.

However, we noticed some problems with the preloaded GPU driver 354.25. The GPU allocation did not always work properly, which was not completely fixed with an update to driver 368.39, either. The GPU allocation worked properly in the benchmarks, but “The Witcher 3”, for example, could not be launched at all and the system crashed repeatedly, which required a reboot. Only a switch from Hybrid to Discreet Graphics in the BIOS did help, which will completely deactivate the integrated GPU.

We downloaded the new driver directly from Nvidia. In addition, we also installed the latest driver from Lenovo. The latter installs ForceWare 354.88 – and the problems were actually solved. We can therefore recommend Lenovo's driver.

Usually, there are only small differences in the benchmarks. We can only see a bigger gap compared to the FHD model in terms of the OpenGL performance, but this is related to the newer driver version.

Unlike the FHD model, the performance of the Quadro M2000M is reduced by 14% on battery power (3DMark 11 Graphics: 5203 vs. 4493 points). More benchmarks with the Quadro M2000M are available here.

LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Room GPUs-only
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
930 Samples/s ∼100% +25%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
791 Samples/s ∼85% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
742 Samples/s ∼80%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
534 Samples/s ∼57% -28%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
68 Samples/s ∼7% -91%
Sala GPUs-only
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
1556 Samples/s ∼100% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
1426 Samples/s ∼92% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
1344 Samples/s ∼86%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
889 Samples/s ∼57% -34%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
146 Samples/s ∼9% -89%
SiSoft Sandra 2016
Image Processing
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
228.6 MPix/s ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
222.6 MPix/s ∼97%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
155.73 MPix/s ∼68% -30%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
127.5 MPix/s ∼56% -43%
GP Cryptography (Higher Security AES256+SHA2-512)
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
12.28 GB/s ∼100% +28%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
9.82 GB/s ∼80% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
9.6 GB/s ∼78%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
7.38 GB/s ∼60% -23%
GP Financial Analysis (FP High/Double Precision)
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
21.8 KOPT/s ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
21.75 KOPT/s ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
21.49 KOPT/s ∼99%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
17 KOPT/s ∼78% -21%
SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Siemens NX
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
43.31 fps ∼100% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
43.29 fps ∼100%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
43.17 fps ∼100% 0%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
41 fps ∼95% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
30.87 fps ∼71% -29%
1920x1080 Tcvis
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
44.89 fps ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
43.93 fps ∼98% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
43.79 fps ∼98%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
40 fps ∼89% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
34.34 fps ∼76% -22%
1920x1080 SolidWorks
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
53.03 fps ∼100%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
51 fps ∼96% -4%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
48.13 fps ∼91% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
46.69 fps ∼88% -12%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
41.64 fps ∼79% -21%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
21.57 fps ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
21.27 fps ∼99%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
21 fps ∼97% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
17.54 fps ∼81% -18%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
15.96 fps ∼74% -25%
1920x1080 Maya
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
57.67 fps ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
57.35 fps ∼99%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
56.89 fps ∼99% -1%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
56 fps ∼97% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
52.03 fps ∼90% -9%
1920x1080 Lightwave
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
56.4 fps ∼100%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
54 fps ∼96% -4%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
51.97 fps ∼92% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
48.27 fps ∼86% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
47.6 fps ∼84% -16%
1920x1080 Ensight
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
46.68 fps ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
46.43 fps ∼99% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
45.8 fps ∼98%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
39 fps ∼84% -15%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
24.64 fps ∼53% -46%
1920x1080 Catia
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
54.07 fps ∼100%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
54 fps ∼100% 0%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
53.54 fps ∼99% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
53.48 fps ∼99% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
39.12 fps ∼72% -28%
SPECviewperf 12
1900x1060 Solidworks (sw-03)
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
86.99 fps ∼100% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
74.69 fps ∼86%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
71.68 fps ∼82% -4%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
66.02 fps ∼76% -12%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
62 fps ∼71% -17%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
22.41 fps ∼26% -70%
1900x1060 Siemens NX (snx-02)
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
56.94 fps ∼100% +73%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
35.87 fps ∼63% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
33.95 fps ∼60% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
32.86 fps ∼58%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
31 fps ∼54% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
21.35 fps ∼37% -35%
1900x1060 Showcase (showcase-01)
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
27.73 fps ∼100% +35%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
23.86 fps ∼86% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
21.35 fps ∼77% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
20.58 fps ∼74%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
20 fps ∼72% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
11.23 fps ∼40% -45%
1900x1060 Medical (medical-01)
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
22.66 fps ∼100% +57%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
15.03 fps ∼66% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
14.68 fps ∼65% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
14.43 fps ∼64%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
12 fps ∼53% -17%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
2.16 fps ∼10% -85%
1900x1060 Maya (maya-04)
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
47.94 fps ∼100% +29%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
38.46 fps ∼80% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
37.15 fps ∼77%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
35.94 fps ∼75% -3%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
30 fps ∼63% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
15.82 fps ∼33% -57%
1900x1060 Energy (energy-01)
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
3.29 fps ∼100% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
3.2 fps ∼97% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
3.13 fps ∼95%
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
2.58 fps ∼78% -18%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
0.69 fps ∼21% -78%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
0.17 fps ∼5% -95%
1900x1060 Creo (creo-01)
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
48.29 fps ∼100% +23%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
40.61 fps ∼84% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
39.39 fps ∼82%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
38.95 fps ∼81% -1%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
34 fps ∼70% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
19.14 fps ∼40% -51%
1900x1060 Catia (catia-04)
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
62.35 fps ∼100% +39%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
47.08 fps ∼76% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
46.26 fps ∼74% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
44.98 fps ∼72%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
37 fps ∼59% -18%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
19.6 fps ∼31% -56%
Unigine Heaven 3.0
1920x1080 OpenGL, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
51.6 fps ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
50.2 fps ∼97%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
43.4 fps ∼84% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
32.4 fps ∼63% -35%
1920x1080 DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
52.9 fps ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
52.5 fps ∼99% -1%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
51.8 fps ∼98% -2%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
44.9 fps ∼85% -15%
Unigine Valley 1.0
1920x1080 Extreme HD DirectX AA:x8
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
20.6 fps ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
20.4 fps ∼99% -1%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
20.4 fps ∼99% -1%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
18.7 fps ∼91% -9%
1920x1080 Extreme HD Preset OpenGL AA:x8
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
18.3 fps ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
18.2 fps ∼99%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
16.2 fps ∼89% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
13.2 fps ∼72% -27%
3DMark
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Combined
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
527 Points ∼100%
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Physics
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
10215 Points ∼100%
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Graphics
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
1086 Points ∼100%
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Score
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
1117 Points ∼100%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Combined
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
1780 Points ∼100% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
1590 Points ∼89% +2%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
1558 Points ∼88% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
1554 Points ∼87%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
1401 Points ∼79% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
618 Points ∼35% -60%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
10568 Points ∼100%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
10518 Points ∼100% 0%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
10414 Points ∼99% -1%
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
10230 Points ∼97% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
8526 Points ∼81% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
4496 Points ∼43% -57%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
4902 Points ∼100% +20%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
4126 Points ∼84% +1%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
4091 Points ∼83% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
4071 Points ∼83%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
3517 Points ∼72% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
1594 Points ∼33% -61%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
4467 Points ∼100% +17%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
3820 Points ∼86% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
3813 Points ∼85% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
3805 Points ∼85%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
3344 Points ∼75% -12%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
1542 Points ∼35% -59%
1280x720 Sky Diver Physics
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
9983 Points ∼100%
1280x720 Sky Diver Graphics
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
15910 Points ∼100%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
11179 Points ∼70%
1280x720 Sky Diver Score
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
14686 Points ∼100%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
10951 Points ∼75%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
7687 Points ∼100%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
7641 Points ∼99% -1%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
7629 Points ∼99% -1%
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
7343 Points ∼96% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
6966 Points ∼91% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
6224 Points ∼81% -19%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
30495 Points ∼100% +14%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
30236 Points ∼99% +13%
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
28522 Points ∼94% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
26669 Points ∼87%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
23777 Points ∼78% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
11770 Points ∼39% -56%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
18230 Points ∼100% +6%
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
17381 Points ∼95% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
17219 Points ∼94%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
16337 Points ∼90% -5%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
16180 Points ∼89% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
10205 Points ∼56% -41%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
49653 Points ∼100% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
49518 Points ∼100%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
44965 Points ∼91% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
44602 Points ∼90% -10%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
41557 Points ∼84% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
39650 Points ∼80% -20%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
154518 Points ∼100% +28%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
124103 Points ∼80% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
120601 Points ∼78%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
76826 Points ∼50% -36%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
46451 Points ∼30% -61%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
41161 Points ∼27% -66%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score
Schenker W505
NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
105162 Points ∼100% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
91433 Points ∼87%
HP ZBook 15 G3
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
89211 Points ∼85% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
63578 Points ∼60% -30%
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M
46026 Points ∼44% -50%
Dell Precision 5510
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M
41248 Points ∼39% -55%
3DMark 06 Standard
26643 points
3DMark 11 Performance
5444 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
91433 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
17219 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
3805 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The performance of the Nvidia Quadro M2000M is roughly on par with the consumer GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, so many modern games can be played smoothly in Full HD and medium up to high settings. Gaming in the native 4K resolution on the other hand is only possible with simple games; complex games such as “The Witcher 3” or “Rise of the Tomb Raider” are not playable with our 4K preset. More gaming benchmarks are available in our Tech section.

low med. high ultra4K
BioShock Infinite (2013) 219132.3114.743.3fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 76.247.326.313.69.4fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 724525.521.69.2fps

Emissions

System Noise

The two test models do not differ much in this section. Both devices are usually silent while idling, but there can be some fan activities from time to time. The maximum noise under load is again similar at 42 dB(A), but we can already measure this value under medium loads. This is probably the result of the Turbo Boost working properly. The noise is increased stepwise (33.3/39.6/42.1 dB(A)). The fans do not run at their maximum speed all the time, even under maximum load, so the noise level is not always steady. We could not hear any annoying sounds.

Noise development in different scenarios
Noise development in different scenarios
Maximum speaker volume: 76.7 dB(A)
Maximum speaker volume: 76.7 dB(A)

Noise Level

Idle
30 / 30 / 30 dB(A)
Load
42.1 / 42.1 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30 dB(A)

Temperature

Stress test ThinkPad P50 with Lenovo's GPU driver
Stress test ThinkPad P50 with Lenovo's GPU driver

The 4K model with the more powerful Xeon processor gets warmer than the Full HD model with the Core i7. We can already measure a few degrees more while idling, and we can measure much higher temperatures of up to 52 °C (~126 °F) under load. You should not use the device on your lap in this scenario.

As with the FHD model, the performance under sustained load is affected slightly by the temperature limits implemented by Lenovo. The processor can only reach 85 °C (~185 °F), where the clock is reduced from 3.3 to 3.1-3.2 GHz in the stress test (Prime95 and FurMark). We had some problems with heavily fluctuating GPU loads, which also resulted in fluctuating power consumption. This behavior was fixed with the GPU driver from Lenovo. After the GPU reaches a core temperature of 75 °C (~167 °F), the GPU will fluctuate slightly (between 927 and the full 1136 MHz), so the consumption also fluctuates between 110 and 120 watts. A 3DMark 11 run immediately after the stress test did not determine a lower score.

Max. Load
 43.7 °C
111 F
44 °C
111 F
41.6 °C
107 F
 
 39.2 °C
103 F
41.1 °C
106 F
38.2 °C
101 F
 
 33.6 °C
92 F
34.2 °C
94 F
33.5 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 44 °C = 111 F
Average: 38.8 °C = 102 F
45.2 °C
113 F
52.6 °C
127 F
40.9 °C
106 F
41.5 °C
107 F
50.8 °C
123 F
42.2 °C
108 F
32.9 °C
91 F
34.1 °C
93 F
32 °C
90 F
Maximum: 52.6 °C = 127 F
Average: 41.4 °C = 107 F
Power Supply (max.)  50.1 °C = 122 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Fennel FIRT 550-Pocket
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.8 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 31.1 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Workstation.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 44 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 37.1 °C / 99 F, ranging from 23 to 69.8 °C for the class Workstation.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 52.6 °C / 127 F, compared to the average of 40.4 °C / 105 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 31 °C / 88 F, compared to the device average of 31.1 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (34.2 °C / 93.6 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 27.8 °C / 82 F (-6.4 °C / -11.6 F).

Energy Management

Power Consumption

We can see the effect of the high-resolution 4K panel in the idle measurements. The device already consumes 10.2 watts at the lowest luminance, 3.4 watts of which is used by the display. The difference is even bigger in the other two idle scenarios at the highest luminance, because the panel does not use PWM in this range and the display is also slightly brighter compared to the FHD model.

The ThinkPad P50 consumes up to ~123 watts under maximum load, so the consumption is rather higher than that of the Full-HD model (up to 105 watts). The 170-watt power adapter is more than sufficient for this consumption and needs around 2.5 hours to charge the battery.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 10.2 / 17.8 / 18.3 Watt
Load midlight 76.9 / 123.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
Schenker W505
Quadro K5100M, E3-1231 v3, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
Quadro K2100M, 4910MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
Power Consumption
29%
17%
4%
-140%
-6%
Idle Minimum *
10.2
5.6
45%
5.7
44%
8.6
16%
36
-253%
11.3
-11%
Idle Average *
17.8
8.6
52%
12.2
31%
16.2
9%
41.2
-131%
18.5
-4%
Idle Maximum *
18.3
9.3
49%
12.6
31%
16.7
9%
47.4
-159%
19.7
-8%
Load Average *
76.9
89.5
-16%
83.1
-8%
82.6
-7%
126.6
-65%
84
-9%
Load Maximum *
123.5
105
15%
138.2
-12%
131.8
-7%
235.8
-91%
121.9
1%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The battery (90 Wh) has not changed, so the increased power consumption does affect the battery runtimes. The minimum runtime is 81 minutes in a loop of the SPECviewperf 12 benchmark, while our usual Battery Eater Classic Test runs for 98 minutes. Compared to the Full HD model  the two tests with an adjusted luminance of around 150 cd/m² (level 13: 137 cd/m²) are much worse. Compared to more than 8 (WLAN) and almost 9 hours (video), our review unit with the 4K panel only lasts for almost 5 and 5.5 hours, respectively.

Maximum runtime (Battery Eater Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Battery Eater Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Battery Eater Classic Tests)
Minimum runtime (Battery Eater Classic Tests)
SPECviewperf 12 loop
SPECviewperf 12 loop
WLAN test
WLAN test
Video test
Video test
Charging
Charging
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 59min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (IE 11)
4h 48min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
5h 31min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 38min
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Quadro M2000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
Schenker W505
Quadro K5100M, E3-1231 v3, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 20EF000SGE
Quadro K2100M, 4910MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
Battery Runtime
52%
34%
-13%
-48%
10%
Reader / Idle
539
860
60%
822
53%
428
-21%
147
-73%
649
20%
H.264
331
533
61%
449
36%
197
-40%
WiFi v1.3
288
498
73%
386
34%
286
-1%
342
19%
Load
98
113
15%
110
12%
109
11%
75
-23%
89
-9%
WiFi
298

Pros

+ very good build quality and stability
+ excellent input devices
+ very high performance, also under load
+ modern port selection
+ many security features
+ very fast PCIe-SSD
+ quiet cooling solution
+ can be configured
+ 36-month warranty
+ matte 4K panel with wide color gamut
+ good upgradeability in theory (4x RAM, 3x hard drive) ...

Cons

- ... that is unnecessarily complicated
- display results do not meet the advertised specs
- PWM
- shorter runtimes and higher temperatures compared to the FHD configuration
- no RAID support

Verdict

In review: Lenovo ThinkPad P50. Test model courtesy of Notebooksandmore.
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad P50. Test model courtesy of Notebooksandmore.

The review update of the ThinkPad P50 is very interesting, but it does not really make it easier to choose the right model for potential buyers. We want to start with two positive aspects: The Turbo Boost problem, which affected the benchmark results of our Full HD model, seems to be fixed. This means that users can now utilize the full performance all the time. The crackling speakers were apparently fixed as well, because we could not notice any issues in this regard.

The situation is more complicated for the display. The Full HD screen was not very impressive in terms of luminance and color gamut, but the 4K panel has its problems as well. The advertised luminance of 300 nits is missed, and PWM is used to control the brightness. The contrast is not much better, either. The 4K panel does have a clear advantage in terms of the color gamut, so it is pretty much the only solution for serious picture editing. You should, however, calibrate the screen. The integrated colorimeter does not produce good results for our review unit. Other drawbacks are the much higher power consumption and therefore much shorter battery runtimes.

The fans are spinning a bit sooner under load, and the device gets warmer in general. You will have to decide: If you are often on the road, you will probably prefer the long battery runtimes of the Full HD model, while other users need the wider gamut. Unfortunately, the 4K panel– despite the slightly darker FHD screen – is not the better choice for all users. Because of the mentioned drawbacks, the 4K review unit also gets a slightly lower overall rating of 84%.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 - 07/05/2016 v5.1
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
86 / 98 → 88%
Keyboard
95%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
73 / 81 → 90%
Weight
59 / 10-66 → 88%
Battery
82%
Display
85%
Games Performance
80%
Application Performance
91%
Temperature
85 / 95 → 90%
Noise
91 / 90 → 100%
Audio
68%
Camera
42 / 85 → 49%
Average
78%
84%
Workstation - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Workstation (Xeon, 4K) Review
Andreas Osthoff, 2016-07-10 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.