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Lenovo ThinkPad P52s (i7-8650U, Quadro P500, 4K) Laptop Review

Pushed to the limit. The P52s is back, this time with an improved screen and a slight bump in processing power. Is the 4K display an improvement for the P52s, or is the display too much for the weak GPU?

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Our recent review of Lenovo's P52s left us a bit disappointed, primarily with the weak Nvidia Quadro P500. The device is back under our scope today, this time with a better CPU (Intel Core i7-8650U) and a 4K screen. In addition to these changes, our review device today doubles the RAM to 16 GB and quadruples the storage via a 1 TB Samsung PM970 NVMe SSD. All of these options raise the price from USD $1375 to $2125 (via Lenovo's U.S. site). On paper, these specs look to be a substantive improvement over our prior review. We will see what how the improved internals impact overall performance.

The P52s sits in a niche category of "ultrabook workstations." Typically, machines designed for engineering and CAD work use powerful mobile CPUs (TDP typically 45 W or higher) and GPUs which are housed in thicker cases for better airflow and expandability. Due to its unique design, the choice of competition is rather thin. Lenovo's own ThinkPad T580 and P51s are perhaps the closest alternatives. HP's ZBook 15u G5 is another machine to be considered, as are Dell's Precision 5520 and Precision 3520. MSI's WS63VR is also an option.

As this review covers an updated version of the P52s, we will skip analysis of the external features (e.g., case, keyboard, weight) and will instead focus on actual software performance. For more information, please refer to our first review of the Lenovo P52s and the ThinkPad T580, as these machines use the same case as our review device today. Let's dive in.

Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS (ThinkPad P52s Series)
Processor
Intel Core i7-8650U (Intel Core i7), quad-core, Hyperthreaded
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA Quadro P500 - 2048 MB, Core: 1455 MHz, Memory: 1253 MHz, GDDR5, 64 Bit bus, 256 Unified Shaders, Nvidia Quadro Driver release 396 (ver 397.93), Nvidia Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2400 / PC4-19200, 1x16 GB
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel 282 PPI, Lenovo LEN40BD, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U + iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR, 1024 GB 
, 1 TB, PCIe NVMe, 952 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Combo headphone/microphone, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC Card Reader, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20.2 x 366 x 253 ( = 0.8 x 14.41 x 9.96 in)
Battery
80 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4-cell 32 Wh front + 6-cell 48 Wh removable
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD 720p w/ ThinkShutter
Additional features
Speakers: 2x 2W, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.01 kg ( = 70.9 oz / 4.43 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
2140 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell Precision 3520
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
210 MB/s ∼100% +158%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
157.5 MB/s ∼75% +94%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
 
151.3 MB/s ∼72% +86%
Average of class Workstation
  (17.2 - 213, n=47)
131 MB/s ∼62% +61%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
81.39 MB/s ∼39%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
76.8 MB/s ∼37% -6%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
254.5 MB/s ∼100% +190%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
 
211.7 MB/s ∼83% +141%
Average of class Workstation
  (18.4 - 255, n=47)
168 MB/s ∼66% +91%
Dell Precision 3520
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
119 MB/s ∼47% +36%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
89 MB/s ∼35% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
87.75 MB/s ∼34%

Communication

A quick note on the wireless solution for our particular device: while receive speeds are good, transmit speeds are inconsistent. After an initial strong showing, speeds rapidly drop down to about 150 MBit/s. This issue could affect only this specific device, but it is something consumers should be aware of.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
705 MBit/s ∼100% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
672 MBit/s ∼95% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
672 MBit/s ∼95%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
655 MBit/s ∼93% -3%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
639 MBit/s ∼91% -5%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
622 MBit/s ∼88% -7%
Average of class Workstation
  (292 - 705, n=32)
603 MBit/s ∼86% -10%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
559 MBit/s ∼79% -17%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
528 MBit/s ∼100% +234%
Average of class Workstation
  (158 - 690, n=32)
524 MBit/s ∼99% +232%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
508 MBit/s ∼96% +222%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
506 (min: 622) MBit/s ∼96% +220%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
475 MBit/s ∼90% +201%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
472 MBit/s ∼89% +199%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
378 MBit/s ∼72% +139%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
158 MBit/s ∼30%

Display

Subpixel matrix
Subpixel matrix

Perhaps the biggest change in our upgraded unit is the optional 4K screen. The most obvious plus is the doubled pixel density. It should be noted that the panel used has an RGB matrix instead of a cheaper RGBW array. The benefit is a crisper picture overall.

Aside from razor-sharp images and text, the IPS panel is unremarkable. Brightness distribution leaves room for improvement at 78%. In practice, the differences in brightness aren't distracting. Contrast is good, but not as good as that of the Full HD P52s. Response times are adequate. PWM is much lower than the FHD P52s and may affect sensitive users. Overall, the 4K panel looks sharp but has some flaws. Unless you absolutely need the increased resolution, the upgrade likely isn't worth it. It should be noted that if the resolution is dropped (i.e., set to 1920x1080 in Windows' display settings), the resulting image looks blurry and smeared.

275.5
cd/m²
311.7
cd/m²
298.3
cd/m²
257.9
cd/m²
305.5
cd/m²
273.9
cd/m²
242.3
cd/m²
292.4
cd/m²
276.5
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 311.7 cd/m² Average: 281.6 cd/m² Minimum: 3.17 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 78 %
Center on Battery: 305.5 cd/m²
Contrast: 1273:1 (Black: 0.24 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.51 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3, calibrated: 3.15
ΔE Greyscale 4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
89% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 58% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.18

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Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Lenovo LEN40BD, IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
CMN15E7, IPS LED, 15.6, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
BOE NV156QUM-N44, IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s-20LB000HGE
NV156FHM-N47, IPS LED, 15.6, 1920x1080
Dell Precision 3520
IPS LED, 15.6, 1920x1080
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
SHP1476, IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
SAMSUNG LƒFL156FL02-101 , IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Response Times
824%
-9%
659%
-31%
-84%
-2%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
43.2 (24.4, 18.8)
41.6 (22, 19.6)
4%
38.4 (20.4, 18)
11%
47.2 (25.2, 22)
-9%
48 (24.4, 23.6)
-11%
59.2 (27.6, 31.6)
-37%
36.8 (21.2, 15.6)
15%
Response Time Black / White *
18 (13.2, 14.8)
28.8 (15.6, 13.2)
-60%
24.8 (13.6, 11.2)
-38%
38.4 (22.8, 15.6)
-113%
34.4 (17.2, 17.2)
-91%
41.6 (26.8, 14.8)
-131%
28.4 (19.6, 8.8)
-58%
PWM Frequency
980.4
25770 (40)
2529%
980.4 (90)
0%
21550 (91)
2098%
1064 (90)
9%
1351 (30)
38%
Screen
-24%
-3%
-19%
-13%
0%
-31%
Brightness middle
305.5
229
-25%
317
4%
291
-5%
345
13%
372.4
22%
259.4
-15%
Brightness
282
212
-25%
290
3%
284
1%
329
17%
368
30%
247
-12%
Brightness Distribution
78
88
13%
85
9%
91
17%
88
13%
90
15%
85
9%
Black Level *
0.24
0.23
4%
0.32
-33%
0.11
54%
0.37
-54%
0.48
-100%
0.43
-79%
Contrast
1273
996
-22%
991
-22%
2645
108%
932
-27%
776
-39%
603
-53%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.51
4.2
-20%
3.6
-3%
6.7
-91%
5
-42%
2.6
26%
5.5
-57%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.28
18
-147%
6.6
9%
20.2
-177%
8
-10%
5.6
23%
12.7
-74%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
3.15
4.2
-33%
4.5
-43%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4
2
50%
4.2
-5%
4.5
-13%
6.2
-55%
3.7
7%
3.6
10%
Gamma
2.18 101%
2.23 99%
2.24 98%
2.28 96%
2.35 94%
2.14 103%
2.24 98%
CCT
7291 89%
6292 103%
6740 96%
7503 87%
6702 97%
7096 92%
7163 91%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
58
41
-29%
59.5
3%
39.6
-32%
61.8
7%
63
9%
45
-22%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
89
64.5
-28%
91.1
2%
61.7
-31%
94.7
6%
99
11%
71
-20%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
400% / 158%
-6% / -5%
320% / 126%
-22% / -17%
-42% / -14%
-17% / -24%

* ... smaller is better

Color accuracy is good. The DeltaE 2000 scores for colors and gray sit at 3.5 and 4, respectively, which are fairly respectable measurements. In general, a DeltaE 2000 of 3 or less is considered acceptable for professional color work, and the 4K panel comes close to this threshold. The tight variance in color accuracy (maximum DeltaE 2000 of 7.28) is also praiseworthy. Color temperature is a bit off-center at 7291 (6500 is ideal) when uncalibrated. White backgrounds are cooler and have a subtle blue shift to them, but this isn't distracting in everyday use. All said, colors look vibrant on the 4K screen, but there are better options (like Dell's Precision 5520) for professionals on the hunt for a color accurate screen.

ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Colorchecker (calibrated)
Colorchecker (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweep (calibrated)
Saturation Sweep (calibrated)
Greyscale
Greyscale
Greyscale (calibrated)
Greyscale (calibrated)

Color space coverage is also good but falls short of excellence. The P52s's 4K display covers 89% of the sRGB gamut and 58% of the AdobeRGB color space. Again, these are good, but there are better displays out there. Once again, Dell's options prove to be a bit better in this regard. Still, the P52s should offer enough colors for most users (save professional color workers).

vs sRGB: 89%
vs sRGB: 89%
vs AdobeRGB: 58%
vs AdobeRGB: 58%
FHD P52s vs 4K P52s
FHD P52s vs 4K P52s

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
18 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13.2 ms rise
↘ 14.8 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. » 15 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
43.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 24.4 ms rise
↘ 18.8 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. » 62 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

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 980.4 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 980.4 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 980.4 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8773 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Owing to its IPS panel, viewing angles are excellent. Images remain clear and color accurate when viewed at an angle. There is a bit of wash-out if the screen is viewed from the bottom (see the first picture below). The matte finish across the display helps to cut reflections, and the screen is usable under bright light or outdoors. There is some very slight grain visible on lighter backgrounds, but this can only be seen when viewing the screen closely (6 inches or less). Backlight bleed is minimal, present only along the bottom edge and barely noticeable to the unaided eye.

Screen under sunny skies
Screen under sunny skies
Backlight bleed is almost non-existent.
Backlight bleed is almost non-existent.
Exposure increased to emphasize bleed along bottom edge.
Exposure increased to emphasize bleed along bottom edge.

Performance

Performance can be summed up in one word: inconsistent. While the internals look good on paper (Core i7-8650U, Nvidia Quadro P500), there is a wide variance in performance over long tasks. In particular, the CPU holds back over lengthy workloads. The GPU, in particular, is problematic, as we will see below. Whether it is a driver issue or something specific to our unit, the Quadro P500 leaves a lot to be desired.

CPU-Z: CPU
CPU-Z: CPU
CPU-Z: Caches
CPU-Z: Caches
CPU-Z: Mainboard
CPU-Z: Mainboard
CPU-Z: Memory
CPU-Z: Memory
CPU-Z: SPD
CPU-Z: SPD
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWiNFO64
HWiNFO64
 

Processor

We've seen the Intel Core i7-8650U in several machines, and the ULV processor typically performs well. The 15 W processor ushers in a big change to Intel's ultrabook-class CPUs, doubling the core count without raising the TDP. Unfortunately, the P52s is not the best showing for the 8650U. In Cinebench R15's multicore test, the P52s surprisingly came in about 10% behind the Core i7-8550U; while similar, the 8550U has a slightly lower boost clock.

In long-term workloads, the limits of the P52s become evident. After its first pass in our Cinebench R15 loop, the P52s sees about a 20% reduction in performance during its second run. Subsequent runs see further degradation, coming in about 30% lower than the initial test. While the cause for this throttling is not readily discernible (see the Stress Test section below), it is nonetheless disconcerting and may be a point of frustration for those that tax the CPU with lengthy projects. As a workstation, this result is particularly disappointing.

For more information on the Intel Core i7-8650U, please see our dedicated CPU page here.

Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580GE
Intel Core i9-8950HK
191 Points ∼90% +14%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼82% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s-20LB000HGE
Intel Core i7-8550U
171 Points ∼80% +2%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
170 Points ∼80% +1%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (137 - 178, n=14)
169 Points ∼79% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
168 Points ∼79%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
167 Points ∼78% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
162 Points ∼76% -4%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
160 Points ∼75% -5%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
156 Points ∼73% -7%
Average of class Workstation
  (117 - 189, n=79)
155 Points ∼73% -8%
Dell Latitude 7490
Intel Core i5-8350U
153 Points ∼72% -9%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580GE
Intel Core i9-8950HK
1074 Points ∼35% +66%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
1053 Points ∼34% +63%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
840 Points ∼27% +30%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
740 Points ∼24% +14%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
736 Points ∼24% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s-20LB000HGE
Intel Core i7-8550U
719 Points ∼23% +11%
Average of class Workstation
  (260 - 1267, n=81)
704 Points ∼23% +9%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
654 Points ∼21% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
647 Points ∼21%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (447 - 675, n=16)
599 Points ∼19% -7%
Dell Latitude 7490
Intel Core i5-8350U
569 Points ∼18% -12%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
379 Points ∼12% -41%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580GE
Intel Core i9-8950HK
2.16 Points ∼89% +13%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
2 Points ∼82% +4%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (1.7 - 2.04, n=7)
1.94 Points ∼80% +1%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
1.92 Points ∼79% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
1.92 Points ∼79%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
1.85 Points ∼76% -4%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
1.79 Points ∼73% -7%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.74 Points ∼71% -9%
Average of class Workstation
  (1.09 - 2.15, n=80)
1.668 Points ∼68% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580GE
Intel Core i9-8950HK
11.95 Points ∼44% +70%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H
11.82 Points ∼44% +69%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.14 Points ∼30% +16%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
7.96 Points ∼29% +14%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
7.89 Points ∼29% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
7.01 Points ∼26%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (5.77 - 7.24, n=7)
6.72 Points ∼25% -4%
Average of class Workstation
  (2.16 - 13.9, n=98)
6.61 Points ∼24% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
4.03 Points ∼15% -43%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
6782 Points ∼63%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (5307 - 6782, n=4)
6337 Points ∼58% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
6263 Points ∼58% -8%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
5776 Points ∼53% -15%
Average of class Workstation
  (3094 - 9142, n=83)
5283 Points ∼49% -22%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
28975 Points ∼58% +79%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
22369 Points ∼45% +38%
Average of class Workstation
  (8373 - 43681, n=84)
19159 Points ∼39% +18%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (16227 - 21455, n=4)
18738 Points ∼38% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Intel Core i7-8650U
16227 Points ∼33%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Intel Core i7-7600U
13170 Points ∼26% -19%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Average of class Workstation
  (130 - 1390, n=56)
331 s * ∼4%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
319 s * ∼4%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (268 - 335, n=3)
302 s * ∼4%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
216.41 s * ∼3%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Average of class Workstation
  (-1 - 172530, n=685)
8619 Seconds * ∼38%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U
  (8 - 7939, n=16)
1954 Seconds * ∼9%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
561 Seconds * ∼2%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
489 Seconds * ∼2%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
4374
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
16227
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
6782
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
72.52 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.01 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.92 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
71.94 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
647 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
168 Points
Help

System Performance

Despite the disappointing CPU performance, overall system speed is good. The snappy NVMe SSD makes for a highly responsive system; apps open immediately and never seem to hang. Standard office tasks (web browsing, word processing) are fluid, and more demanding workloads (video rendering, 4K video streaming) leave little room for complaint. As a standard office machine, the P52s is excellent. However, heavy projects like CAD design are better handled by more robust machines (e.g., Dell's Precision 3520 and MSI's WS63VR).

PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
5813 Points ∼58% +136%
Average of class Workstation
  (2466 - 6907, n=24)
4744 Points ∼48% +92%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3397 Points ∼34% +38%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
2466 Points ∼25%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
2466 Points ∼25% 0%
Productivity
Average of class Workstation
  (4897 - 7994, n=24)
6902 Points ∼71% +27%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
6777 Points ∼70% +25%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
6685 Points ∼69% +23%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
5424 Points ∼56%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
5424 Points ∼56% 0%
Essentials
Average of class Workstation
  (7172 - 9366, n=24)
8321 Points ∼78% +16%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7810 Points ∼73% +9%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
7490 Points ∼70% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
7172 Points ∼67%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
7172 Points ∼67% 0%
Score
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4751 Points ∼61% +45%
Average of class Workstation
  (3281 - 5738, n=24)
4583 Points ∼59% +40%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4046 Points ∼52% +23%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3281 Points ∼42%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
3281 Points ∼42% 0%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
5194 Points ∼80% +24%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
5137 Points ∼79% +22%
Average of class Workstation
  (3311 - 5655, n=62)
4762 Points ∼73% +13%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4390 Points ∼67% +5%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4291 Points ∼66% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
4196 Points ∼64%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
4196 Points ∼64% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
4193 Points ∼64% 0%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
4183 Points ∼69% +32%
Average of class Workstation
  (2320 - 5505, n=62)
3919 Points ∼64% +23%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
3739 Points ∼61% +18%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3721 Points ∼61% +17%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
3504 Points ∼58% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3232 Points ∼53% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3178 Points ∼52%
Average Intel Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
3178 Points ∼52% 0%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3178 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4196 points
Help

Storage Devices

The Samsung PM981 in our P52s is currently one of the fastest NVMe SSDs available, and the 1 TB of storage space is very generous. As with most SSDs, the higher the storage capacity, the better the performance (relative to lower capacity drives of the same line). That is indeed the case; the P52s bests most competitors, save the Dell Precision 5520, in AS SSD.

There is an important note to make: despite the impressive performance in these benchmarks, the P52s's storage solution is locked down by the PCIe x2 interface. As such, the PM981 is held back from its full potential. That said, most users won't notice the difference, but large file transfers will be affected by the lower throughput. There is a second M.2 2242 slot compatible with WWAN cards and SATA III SSDs. Unfortunately, RAID configurations using an NVMe SSD are not possible as a result.

AS SSD
AS SSD
CrystalDiskMark 5.2.1
CrystalDiskMark 5.2.1
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s-20LB000HGE
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Dell Precision 3520
Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Average Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
 
AS SSD
-11%
-15%
-50%
-57%
19%
-38%
14%
Copy Game MB/s
720.6
741.77
746.92
921.16
1120
Copy Program MB/s
411.46
324.8
340.39
372.79
515
Copy ISO MB/s
1200.25
1145.95
1052.86
1659.32
2577
Score Total
4038
3131
-22%
2771
-31%
1697
-58%
1646
-59%
3681
-9%
1979
-51%
4633 (4038 - 5355, n=3)
15%
Score Write
1468
868
-41%
1271
-13%
710
-52%
248
-83%
1379
-6%
557
-62%
1891 (1468 - 2147, n=3)
29%
Score Read
1703
1504
-12%
990
-42%
689
-60%
961
-44%
1554
-9%
962
-44%
1817 (1616 - 2132, n=3)
7%
Access Time Write *
0.04
0.026
35%
0.027
32%
0.051
-28%
0.034
15%
0.023
42%
0.033
17%
0.0373 (0.028 - 0.044, n=3)
7%
Access Time Read *
0.04
0.065
-63%
0.082
-105%
0.103
-158%
0.123
-208%
0.038
5%
0.128
-220%
0.045 (0.034 - 0.061, n=3)
-13%
4K-64 Write
1245.29
612.14
-51%
1018.28
-18%
564.31
-55%
134.53
-89%
1054.63
-15%
314
-75%
1614 (1245 - 1815, n=3)
30%
4K-64 Read
1523.57
1312.4
-14%
792.39
-48%
488.39
-68%
787.91
-48%
1222.65
-20%
710
-53%
1594 (1453 - 1805, n=3)
5%
4K Write
100.47
139.96
39%
130.78
30%
101.5
1%
93.75
-7%
155.28
55%
114.6
14%
109 (94.4 - 131, n=3)
8%
4K Read
44.33
44.98
1%
52.79
19%
31.28
-29%
32.58
-27%
51.45
16%
40.2
-9%
44 (30.7 - 56.8, n=3)
-1%
Seq Write
1219.9
1163.6
-5%
1216.85
0%
441.04
-64%
201.91
-83%
1694.02
39%
1287.2
6%
1685 (1220 - 2336, n=3)
38%
Seq Read
1351.25
1462.8
8%
1449.55
7%
1695.81
25%
1405.86
4%
2799.35
107%
2132.5
58%
1791 (1320 - 2703, n=3)
33%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Sequential Read: 1351.25MB/s
Sequential Write: 1219.9MB/s
4K Read: 44.33MB/s
4K Write: 100.47MB/s
4K-64 Read: 1523.57MB/s
4K-64 Write: 1245.29MB/s
Access Time Read: 0.04ms
Access Time Write: 0.04ms
Score Read: 1703Points
Score Write: 1468Points
Score Total: 4038Points

GPU Performance

As we mentioned in our review of the FHD P52s, the Nvidia Quadro P500 is a weak point in the machine. The P500 roughly sits between Nvidia's MX130 and MX150, both of which are low-powered GPUs designed for office machines. It's curious, then, why Lenovo chose this GPU for what they advertise as a workstation. While performance is a fair bit better than Intel's UHD Graphics 620, it's a far cry from what is to be expected of a workstation class machine. The P52s falls 4% behind last generation's ThinkPad P51s in both Fire Strike and Cloud Gate, raising questions as to whether or not an upgrade is worth the price. Other compact workstations, such as Dell's Precision 5520, are better positioned for professional design and engineering work. The P500 requires less power than these beefier GPUs, but with workstations, power efficiency commonly comes second to raw performance.

The biggest problem with the GPU is its inconsistency. As seen in the Stress Test below, frame drops are common and performance can vary wildly in some situations. This may be due to the Quadro P500 drivers from Nvidia; at the time of this review, the only driver listed for the P500 is still in beta.

For more information on the Nvidia Quadro P500, please see our dedicated GPU page here.

Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
12312 Points ∼30% +450%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
NVIDIA Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6
5786 Points ∼14% +158%
Average of class Workstation
  (752 - 14990, n=86)
4370 Points ∼11% +95%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
4165 Points ∼10% +86%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
3204 Points ∼8% +43%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U
2644 Points ∼7% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
2342 Points ∼6% +5%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
  (2239 - 2270, n=2)
2255 Points ∼6% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
NVIDIA Quadro P500, 8650U
2239 Points ∼6%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
74933 Points ∼41% +482%
HP ZBook 15 G4-Y4E80AV
NVIDIA Quadro M2200, E3-1535M v6
37796 Points ∼20% +194%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
28254 Points ∼15% +120%
Average of class Workstation
  (5836 - 102368, n=86)
28099 Points ∼15% +118%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
23259 Points ∼13% +81%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U
17922 Points ∼10% +39%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
13394 Points ∼7% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
NVIDIA Quadro P500, 8650U
12868 Points ∼7%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
12868 Points ∼7% 0%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Average of class Workstation
  (20741 - 310648, n=18)
115491 Points ∼16%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
42129 Points ∼6%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
20741 Points ∼3%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
9296 Points ∼51%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
5312 Points ∼29%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U
4606 Points ∼25%
Average of class Workstation
  (830 - 12508, n=94)
4550 Points ∼25%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
3994 Points ∼22%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
3016 Points ∼17%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
2912 Points ∼16%
1280x720 Performance GPU
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ
15837 Points ∼31%
Average of class Workstation
  (841 - 20623, n=94)
5370 Points ∼11%
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
NVIDIA Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6
5105 Points ∼10%
Dell Precision 3520
NVIDIA Quadro M620, 7820HQ
3801 Points ∼7%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U
3632 Points ∼7%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
3022 Points ∼6%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
NVIDIA Quadro M520, 7600U
2658 Points ∼5%
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
9301 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
2093 points
Help

Gaming Performance

As with general GPU performance, gaming is a weak point in the P52s. With a GPU slightly weaker than Nvidia's MX150, most titles are only playable at HD resolutions (1366x768) and lower, and even then only at lower settings. Gaming at the display's native 4K resolution is completely out of reach for most games.

Rise of the Tomb Raider
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
144 fps ∼64% +454%
Average of class Workstation
  (14 - 149, n=33)
58.9 fps ∼26% +127%
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
36.6 fps ∼16% +41%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
29.1 fps ∼13% +12%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
  (26 - 27.7, n=2)
26.9 fps ∼12% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
26 fps ∼12%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
21.5 fps ∼10% -17%
1024x768 Lowest Preset
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
176 fps ∼58% +319%
Average of class Workstation
  (25.6 - 189, n=29)
87.7 fps ∼29% +109%
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
62.2 fps ∼20% +48%
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
50.4 fps ∼17% +20%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
  (42 - 47.8, n=2)
44.9 fps ∼15% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
42 fps ∼14%
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
30 fps ∼10% -29%
Far Cry 5
1920x1080 Medium Preset AA:T
Average of class Workstation
  (5 - 80, n=6)
31.8 fps ∼24% +165%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
  (12 - 15, n=2)
13.5 fps ∼10% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
12 fps ∼9%
1280x720 Low Preset AA:T
Average of class Workstation
  (12 - 122, n=6)
58.2 fps ∼35% +94%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
  (30 - 32, n=2)
31 fps ∼19% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
30 fps ∼18%
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
1920x1080 Medium Preset
Average of class Workstation
  (15 - 42, n=2)
28.5 fps ∼22% +90%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
15 fps ∼12%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
15 fps ∼12% 0%
1280x720 Low Preset
Average of class Workstation
  (39 - 104, n=2)
71.5 fps ∼46% +83%
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
39 fps ∼25%
Average NVIDIA Quadro P500
 
39 fps ∼25% 0%
low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 3823138fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 42261211fps
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (2018) 3915148fps
Far Cry 5 (2018) 3012108fps

Stress Test

Stress shows how unstable the P52s can be in certain workloads. Running Prime95 presents no major problems, although the CPU does seem restrained. After boosting to 3.9-4.2 GHz at the beginning of the test, the processor sits near its base clock at 2.0 GHz for the majority of the hour-long run. FurMark is also well-handled by the GPU, which never sees temperatures higher than about 70° C. Even running Prime95 and FurMark together cannot make the P52s break a sweat, although there is some headroom for increased performance.

It's in real-world testing that the P52s falls apart. During an hour-long session of The Witcher 3 (1366x768, Medium settings), frame drops were rampant after about 15 minutes of gameplay. Even when holding the same scene for an hour with no changes outside of the game's day/night cycle, the frame rate drastically dropped for about 30 minutes before correcting itself (see the chart below). Again, this is likely due to a lack of optimization on the part of the GPU. As a Quadro card, the P500 is designed for professional use rather than gaming, and the drivers are so new they haven't yet left beta testing. This inconsistency is present in a select few applications and is mostly present in workloads demanding real-time rendering (such as games).

Prime95
Prime95
FurMark
FurMark
Prime95 + FurMark
Prime95 + FurMark
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 2.0 - 60 -
FurMark Stress 3.9 1260 70 70
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 1.9 1518 70 66
Witcher 3 Stress 3.9 1227 75 70
01234567891011121314151617181920212223242526Tooltip
The Witcher 3 medium

Emissions

System Noise

Fan Noise Profile
Fan Noise Profile

Fan noise is fairly quiet. Under lighter workloads like simple office tasks, the P52s is relatively silent. The fan almost never kicks on, and when it does, it remains a low hum. Under load, the fan ramps up smoothly to an audible 40 dB(A). It should be noted that under load, the fan pulses between 36 and 40 dB(A), which may be distracting for some. However, its low pitch is more akin to a whir than a squeal. There is no noticeable coil whine.

Noise Level

Idle
28.3 / 28.3 / 29.8 dB(A)
Load
40.6 / 40.6 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.3 dB(A)
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
Quadro P500, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s-20LB000HGE
Quadro P500, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
Quadro M520, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Dell Precision 3520
Quadro M620, 7820HQ, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
Quadro M1200, E3-1505M v6, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Noise
5%
0%
3%
-7%
-7%
-7%
off / environment *
28.3
29
-2%
29.2
-3%
29.8
-5%
29.6
-5%
28.7
-1%
28
1%
Idle Minimum *
28.3
29
-2%
29.2
-3%
29.8
-5%
29.6
-5%
28.7
-1%
33.2
-17%
Idle Average *
28.3
29
-2%
29.2
-3%
29.8
-5%
29.6
-5%
32.1
-13%
33.2
-17%
Idle Maximum *
29.8
31.2
-5%
31.1
-4%
30.8
-3%
31.2
-5%
32.1
-8%
33.2
-11%
Load Average *
40.6
32.5
20%
36.7
10%
32.9
19%
43
-6%
41.3
-2%
41.4
-2%
Witcher 3 ultra *
40.6
32.5
20%
36.5
10%
45.5
-12%
38.4
5%
Load Maximum *
40.6
37.5
8%
39.4
3%
36.5
10%
46.9
-16%
45.5
-12%
43.5
-7%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Heat exhaust
Heat exhaust

External temperatures present an interesting dichotomy. When idle or during light work, the case remains at or below room temperature, save for the areas on the bottom panel directly covering the cooling array. This path gets mildly warmer than the surrounding temperature but is in no way uncomfortable, making the P52s suitable for users' lap when performing lighter tasks like word processing or light web browsing.

Under load, the chassis gets warm directly over the CPU, GPU, and cooling system. In particular, the center and upper-left of the keyboard feel warm when the CPU and GPU are placed under full load, and the bottom panel becomes uncomfortable. As such, heavy work should be done at a desk. Keep in mind that all heat is exhausted out the middle of the left side; keep this area unobstructed for proper ventilation.

Max. Load
 35.2 °C
95 F
33.2 °C
92 F
30 °C
86 F
 
 39.6 °C
103 F
41.4 °C
107 F
30.8 °C
87 F
 
 34 °C
93 F
28.4 °C
83 F
29 °C
84 F
 
Maximum: 41.4 °C = 107 F
Average: 33.5 °C = 92 F
34.4 °C
94 F
37 °C
99 F
49.2 °C
121 F
38.8 °C
102 F
57 °C
135 F
44.4 °C
112 F
35.4 °C
96 F
30.4 °C
87 F
28.8 °C
84 F
Maximum: 57 °C = 135 F
Average: 39.5 °C = 103 F
Power Supply (max.)  44 °C = 111 F | Room Temperature 22.6 °C = 73 F | Fluke 62 Mini
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.5 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 31.2 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Workstation.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.4 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 37.2 °C / 99 F, ranging from 23.1 to 69.8 °C for the class Workstation.
(-) The maximum temperature on the bottom side is 57 °C / 135 F, compared to the average of 40.3 °C / 105 F, ranging from 23.5 to 77.3 °C for the class Workstation.
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 26.6 °C / 80 F, compared to the device average of 31.2 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (34 °C / 93.2 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (-5.9 °C / -10.6 F).
Keyboard, Idle
Keyboard, Idle
Bottom, Idle
Bottom, Idle
Keyboard, Load
Keyboard, Load
Bottom, Load
Bottom, Load

Speakers

Speaker profile
Speaker profile

The speakers are decent enough for the laptop's intended use case. While the sound profile is poorly suited to music and media, highs and mids are clear, and the speakers are well-tuned for conference calling and voice. At maximum volume, there is no chassis rattle and the speakers remain clear. Overall, the speakers are good for business but not so much for pleasure.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2039.739.62537.738.23134.234.14033.5345034.133.1633334.68032.331.210031.530.612530.230.316029.442.920028.855.625027.866.131527.367.540025.965.950025.766.363025.167.480025.374.3100024.671.3125024.470.7160024.268.620002465.6250023.862.731502465.5400023.666.8500023.565.5630023.569.4800023.366.71000023.362.41250023.363.71600023.259.8SPL36.480.3N2.750.7median 24.4median 65.9Delta1.54.845.64345.638.335.938.336.535.936.535.734.235.735.433.235.433.934.333.936.835.136.846.732.646.753.731.153.758.23058.254.229.154.249.627.649.65427.95457.527.157.556.826.856.866.625.766.668.325.268.366.725.166.765.524.765.56925.16958.824.558.862.524.262.569.223.969.27223.97266.423.866.463.323.763.37123.67166.823.666.869.523.769.566.323.766.379.636.879.646.82.946.8median 65.5median 25.1median 65.55.22.15.2hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUSDell Precision 5520 UHD
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (74.3 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17.7% lower than median
(-) | bass is not linear (15.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.9% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.8% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 28% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 66% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 19%, worst was 31%
Compared to all devices tested
» 20% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 77% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Dell Precision 5520 UHD audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (79.57 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 12.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.3% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (12% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 14% of all tested devices in this class were better, 14% similar, 72% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 19%, worst was 31%
Compared to all devices tested
» 15% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Prime95. Notice the drop in power draw at the 40 second and 3 minute marks.
Prime95. Notice the drop in power draw at the 40 second and 3 minute marks.

Thanks to its ULV CPU and low-powered GPU, the P52s is relatively energy efficient. While performance is not up to snuff compared to competitors like the more powerful Precision 5520 and MSI WS63VR, power draw is significantly lower; under load, the P52s only pulls 63 Watts from the wall, about half that of the Precision 5520. Compared to the FHD P52s, power draw is about 18% more on average. The P52s is packaged with a 65 Watt power adapter, which may explain some of the performance throttling and inconsistencies we have observed thus far; a more powerful adapter could help performance. The P52s charges via a USB Type-C port on the right side and may benefit from supported higher-wattage adapters.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.33 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5.9 / 11.7 / 15.6 Watt
Load midlight 63 / 63.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
8650U, Quadro P500, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s-20LB000HGE
8550U, Quadro P500, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
7600U, Quadro M520, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0), IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
8550U, Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Precision 3520
7820HQ, Quadro M620, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK), IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
7700HQ, Quadro P4000 Max-Q, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Power Consumption
22%
2%
20%
-17%
-54%
-69%
Idle Minimum *
5.9
4.1
31%
5.8
2%
3.2
46%
5.8
2%
8.9
-51%
13.3
-125%
Idle Average *
11.7
7.7
34%
10.4
11%
6.1
48%
10.7
9%
13.6
-16%
17.2
-47%
Idle Maximum *
15.6
10.7
31%
13.5
13%
9.7
38%
13.3
15%
14.1
10%
17.9
-15%
Load Average *
63
52
17%
62.4
1%
62
2%
78.2
-24%
100.3
-59%
83.7
-33%
Load Maximum *
63.1
65
-3%
73.1
-16%
71
-13%
116
-84%
126.3
-100%
114.3
-81%
Witcher 3 ultra *
48.4
38.8
20%
48
1%
58.8
-21%
100.2
-107%
101.9
-111%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

In typical ThinkPad fashion, there are several battery options available to consumers. In addition to the integrated 32 Wh front battery, our review unit was packaged with a single 3-cell 24 Wh "flat" and two 6-cell 48 Wh rear batteries. Lenovo also offers a 6-cell 72 Wh cylindrical rear battery. All the rear batteries are hot-swappable thanks to Lenovo's Power Bridge technology; this can theoretically extend battery life indefinitely.

In practice, the 48 Wh rear battery (80 Wh total) grants some impressive runtimes. In our Wifi v1.3 battery test, the P52s lasted just over 11 hours, which is a far cry better than the more powerful competitors from Dell (Precision 3520 and Precision 5520) and the MSI WS63VR. With the default 24 Wh rear battery, the P52s powered off after 6 hours 41 minutes in the same test. Road warriors in need of an all-day battery should consider the 72 Wh option as it lasted over 16 hours in our WiFi test.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
17h 11min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
11h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 26min
Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS
8650U, Quadro P500, 80 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s-20LB000HGE
8550U, Quadro P500, 104 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad P51s 20HB000SGE
7600U, Quadro M520, 104 Wh
HP ZBook 15u G5 2ZC05EA
8550U, Radeon Pro WX 3100 Mobile, 56 Wh
Dell Precision 3520
7820HQ, Quadro M620, 68 Wh
Dell Precision 5520 UHD
E3-1505M v6, Quadro M1200, 97 Wh
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
7700HQ, Quadro P4000 Max-Q, 48 Wh
Battery Runtime
75%
60%
13%
-27%
-50%
-71%
Reader / Idle
1031
2360
129%
1581
53%
1301
26%
996
-3%
724
-30%
235
-77%
WiFi v1.3
665
974
46%
712
7%
514
-23%
455
-32%
254
-62%
175
-74%
Load
146
221
51%
323
121%
200
37%
79
-46%
61
-58%
54
-63%

Pros

+ excellent ThinkPad keyboard
+ well-built case
+ relatively slim profile (with smaller battery)
+ hot-swappable batteries via Power Bridge
+ good battery runtimes
+ Thunderbolt 3 and docking port
+ good selection of other ports
+ crisp 4K screen
+ quiet under most workloads

Cons

- inconsistent performance
- thermal throttling is present
- Quadro P500 is weak and erratic
- driver issues with GPU (possibly due to beta drivers)
- games have resolution issues
- hot spots get very warm
- no quick charge options

Verdict

In review: ThinkPad P52s 20LB001FUS. Test model provided by Lenovo
In review: ThinkPad P52s 20LB001FUS. Test model provided by Lenovo

The Lenovo P52s sits in a peculiar spot. Lenovo's attempt at marrying energy-efficient components with a workstation-class device is a story of compromises. While the goal of a ULV-powered workstation is closer than ever thanks to Intel's Kaby Lake R series of CPUs, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The weakest point lies in graphical power. Considering the P52s is posited as a portable workstation, the poor graphics performance is disheartening. Most professionals would do better to purchase an office-grade laptop with an Nvidia MX150 or GTX 1050 as these would offer better graphical performance without much sacrifice to energy efficiency or battery life. Compared to other thin-and-light workstations, the P52s lacks power but makes up for this shortcoming with far superior battery life.

What about this particular variant? Is the 4K display worth the extra cost? Considering the weak Quadro P500, the upgrade is not worth it. Most applications will be forced to run at Full HD due to the lack of graphical horsepower anyway, negating the benefit of a higher resolution panel. In addition, some applications experience glitches or rendering problems at the screen's native 4K resolution. 

All said, the 4K variant of the P52s maintains the same disappointments from the Full HD model. Worse, some of the complaints we had about that machine are magnified here due to the weak GPU, buggy drivers, and overall weak workstation performance. 

Those in need of a compact workstation should look to Dell or MSI for their offerings. Everyone else should stomach the slight increase in thickness and purchase a full-fledged workstation like the ThinkPad P51.

Lenovo ThinkPad P52S-20LB001FUS - 07/07/2018 v6
Sam Medley

Chassis
86 / 98 → 87%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
66 / 81 → 82%
Weight
63 / 10-66 → 94%
Battery
94%
Display
88%
Games Performance
67%
Application Performance
78%
Temperature
87 / 95 → 92%
Noise
91 / 90 → 100%
Audio
36%
Camera
39 / 85 → 46%
Average
74%
81%
Workstation - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad P52s (i7-8650U, Quadro P500, 4K) Laptop Review
Sam Medley, 2018-07- 9 (Update: 2018-07- 9)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.