Notebookcheck

Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS Workstation Review

Pricey yet powerful. Lenovo’s latest P70 configuration features an Intel Xeon Skylake CPU and bumps the GPU to an NVIDIA M4000M, while also introducing NVMe SSD storage. How do these upgrades affect overall performance? And is this still a workstation worth considering today?

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Back in January, we evaluated the Lenovo ThinkPad P70, which, at the time, was the first 17.3-inch workstation to be released by the manufacturer in roughly five years. Since then, we’ve evaluated units from HP, Gigabyte, and Dell in that same size and class—so the segment is certainly not short on competitors. Today, we take another look at the P70 with revised specifications and some minor revisions.

Specifically, our review unit—which retails for a cool $3,849—boasts an Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 quad-core CPU, an NVIDIA Quadro M4000M GPU, 16 GB of DDR4-2133 MHz ECC RAM, and an ultra-fast Samsung SM951a 512 GB NVMe SSD. In other words, it’s decked-out—and with combined CPU And GPU TDP values of 145 W, it’s not afraid to burn some energy to get the job done, either.

Is it really that much of an upgrade over our previous configuration? And can it stand among the latest competition otherwise?

Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS (ThinkPad P70 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA Quadro M4000M - 4096 MB, Core: 975 - 1013 MHz, Memory: 5012 MHz, 21.21.13.6926 - nVIDIA ForceWare 369.26
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2133 MHz
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 3840x2160 pixel 255 PPI, no, Panasonic VVX17P051J00 / LEN4123, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Sunrise Point CM236
Storage
Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512), 512 GB 
Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio, Card Reader: SDXC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: X-Rite Pantone Color Calibrator
Networking
Intel(R) Ethernet Connection (2) I219-LM (10/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 32 x 415 x 277 ( = 1.26 x 16.34 x 10.91 in)
Battery
96 Wh, 6200 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Primary Camera: 1 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: 2.0, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
3.65 kg ( = 128.75 oz / 8.05 pounds), Power Supply: 974 g ( = 34.36 oz / 2.15 pounds)

 

Case

Case, Connectivity, and Input Devices

The P70’s case, port selection, and input devices have not changed from the previous version we reviewed back in January. For plenty more detail about each of these items, please see that article.

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

The display panel model (Panasonic VVX17P051J00 / LEN4123) also has not changed; however, we have performed a subsequent analysis on its attributes thanks to possible differences in calibration or other parameters. The 17.3-inch anti-glare panel carries a 4K (3840x2160) resolution for a PPI of 255. Subjectively, it seems relatively rich in color and appears to carry good brightness and contrast values.

315.5
cd/m²
351.4
cd/m²
312.5
cd/m²
302.2
cd/m²
332
cd/m²
302.3
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
325.2
cd/m²
302.8
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 351.4 cd/m² Average: 316.5 cd/m² Minimum: 3.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 332 cd/m²
Contrast: 836:1 (Black: 0.397 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.15 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 3.72 | - Ø
100% sRGB (Argyll) 74.3% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 1.86
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Panasonic VVX17P051J00 / LEN4123, IPS, 17.3, 3840x2160
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
SDC3854, IPS, 17.3, 1920x1080
Dell Precision 7710
SDC8151, VHN17_173HL, IPS LED, 17.3, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
LEN4123, IPS, 17.3, 3840x2160
MSI WT72-6QM
LG Philips LP173WF4-SPF1, IPS, 17.3, 1920x1080
Response Times
-20%
-29%
-8%
-26%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
34.8 (15.2, 19.6)
50.4 (17.2, 33.2)
-45%
50 (17, 33)
-44%
44 (17.2, 26.8)
-26%
42 (13, 29)
-21%
Response Time Black / White *
26.8 (4, 22.8)
28.4 (7.2, 21.2)
-6%
36 (11, 25)
-34%
27.6 (4.8, 22.8)
-3%
26 (7, 19)
3%
PWM Frequency
219.3 (99)
200 (40)
-9%
198 (25)
-10%
228 (95)
4%
86 (10, 15)
-61%
Screen
13%
1%
-9%
-24%
Brightness
317
243
-23%
307
-3%
341
8%
298
-6%
Brightness Distribution
86
86
0%
83
-3%
85
-1%
94
9%
Black Level *
0.397
0.21
47%
0.33
17%
0.4
-1%
0.46
-16%
Contrast
836
1200
44%
1006
20%
913
9%
659
-21%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.15
2.2
30%
3
5%
3.8
-21%
5.77
-83%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.72
2.7
27%
4
-8%
6.09
-64%
4.87
-31%
Gamma
1.86 129%
2.28 105%
2 120%
2.3 104%
1.99 121%
CCT
6103 107%
6686 97%
7089 92%
6332 103%
7363 88%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
74.3
62
-17%
62
-17%
76.01
2%
56.04
-25%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
96
-4%
97
-3%
99.97
0%
85.27
-15%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-4% / 4%
-14% / -7%
-9% / -8%
-25% / -24%

* ... smaller is better

Measurements of 836:1 for contrast and 316.5 cd/m² for brightness reinforce our impressions. These values don’t deviate much from those of our previous measurements, which is expected. Brightness distribution of 86% again is practically unchanged, as is the black level of 0.397 cd/m² (which contributes to the good contrast values).

CalMAN 5 provides somewhat different measurements this time around, however, due to differences in calibration. DeltaE2000 values have dropped across the board, indicating greater color accuracy (ColorChecker DE2000: 3.15 vs. 3.8 on the previous P70; Grayscale DE2000: 3.72 vs. 6.09 previously). Total Gamma, on the other hand, is further from its ideal value of 2.2 (1.86 versus 2.3 previously). The same goes for CCT Average, which at 6103 indicates a warmer than ideal color temperature (6332 before). Color space measurements at least have not changed materially—we measured nearly identical values to our previous review in both AdobeRGB 1998 and sRGB comparisons (74.3% and 99.95%, respectively).

Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)

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
26.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4 ms rise
↘ 22.8 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 51 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
34.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.2 ms rise
↘ 19.6 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. » 23 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (43.4 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 219.3 Hz99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 219.3 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 219.3 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 58 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 5069 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoors, the panel is easy to read in the shade and is still functional in sunlight. Viewing angles are very good, as is always the case for IPS panels.

Indirect sunlight
Indirect sunlight
Shaded usage
Shaded usage

Performance

Apart from the significantly more powerful GPU and much faster NVMe solid-state drive, not much else has changed in terms of the internal specifications of the P70, either. The CPU has been swapped from the previous Intel Core i7-6820HQ for an Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5—not really an upgrade in terms of raw performance apart from the Xeon’s support for ECC memory and security management features. RAM capacity and speed remains the same at 16 GB of DDR4-2133 MHz, though now, the RAM is ECC (thanks to the upgrade to the Xeon CPU), which provides greater stability during intensive computational activities. The configuration is also single-channel (1x16 GB SODIMM) versus the previous dual-channel setup. This actually means slower memory performance unless a second 16 GB DDR4 stick is added aftermarket; however, on the bright side, the machine is ready and waiting for that upgrade—whereas the previous P70 would have required replacement of both SODIMMs to achieve the same performance at 32 GB capacity.

A couple more preliminary notes before we dive into performance analysis: LatencyMon provides no reason for concern as to the P70’s ability to stream real-time audio and video, and—as expected—performance suffers while operating unplugged (we measured 1394 in 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra versus 1927 while plugged in).

We will cover GPU and storage upgrades in later sections of this review, which is where most of the differences lie. For now, let’s take a closer look at the CPU and how it performs in comparison to its peers.

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 RAM SPD
CPU-Z RAM SPD
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
Octane v2
Octane v2
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

Processor

The Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 is a high-end quad-core CPU designated for mobile workstations. Like the CPU in the previous P70 (Intel Core i7-6820HQ), it is a member of the Skylake series of CPUs, and it remains a quad-core processor. Clock rates are virtually identical (100 MHz higher, to be exact) at 2.8 – 3.7 GHz single-core and 3.3 GHz quad-core. We should expect few if any major performance deviations from the i7.

Since the Xeon supports ECC memory for greater system stability, the RAM (as previously mentioned) has been swapped for 16 GB ECC memory to take advantage of this capability. Apart from that, no major differences exist versus the Core i7—and exploring performance differences is likely to be a matter of splitting hairs.

Our benchmarks provide few substantial deviances between the previous P70 (equipped with the i7) and the current one. For starters, performance in Cinebench R15 is strong enough, with scores of 149 and 725 (single and multi-threaded, respectively). These values are within a few percentage points (3-6% lower) than the highest scores posted by competing machines, both of which hail from the Dell Precision 7710. The older P70 in this test is either roughly on par or slightly behind today’s configuration. Mostly the same observations apply to the Cinebench R11.5 results, which present a slightly wider gap (up to 8% advantage for the Precision 7710 in single-core performance and 7% lower scores for the older P70 in multi-core) but which otherwise are no different.

Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell Precision 7710
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
1.84 Points ∼83% +8%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
1.83 Points ∼83% +7%
MSI WT72-6QM
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
1.77 Points ∼80% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
1.71 Points ∼77%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
1.7 Points ∼77% -1%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Dell Precision 7710
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
8.24 Points ∼35% +4%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
8.16 Points ∼34% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
7.94 Points ∼33%
MSI WT72-6QM
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
7.85 Points ∼33% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
7.63 Points ∼32% -4%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell Precision 7710
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
162 Points ∼83% +9%
MSI WT72-6QM
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
157 Points ∼81% +5%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
156 Points ∼80% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
153 Points ∼78% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
149 Points ∼76%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Dell Precision 7710
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
746 Points ∼35% +3%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
742 Points ∼35% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
725 Points ∼34%
MSI WT72-6QM
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
724 Points ∼34% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
699 Points ∼33% -4%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
234.4 s * ∼3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
230.77 s * ∼3% +2%
Dell Precision 7710
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
214.5 s * ∼3% +8%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
561 Seconds * ∼2% -0%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
559 Seconds * ∼2%
MSI WT72-6QM
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
528.8 Seconds * ∼2% +5%
Dell Precision 7710
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
511 Seconds * ∼2% +9%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
89.35 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.94 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.71 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
93.23 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
725 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
149 Points
Help

Workstation Performance

Of most interest here, of course, is workstation performance—and in this category, the P70-20ER flexes its muscle. We use SPECviewperf to synthetically evaluate the performance of mobile workstations, and in both versions 11 and 12 the P70 proves its worth.

In SPECviewperf 12, the ThinkPad P70-20ER generally lands near the top of the chart—and in the couple of instances where it does not (Medical -20%, Energy -14%), it’s still well above the original P70—which is nearly always in last (or second-to-last) place. The difference between January’s model, which featured the M3000M, and this month’s P70 is dramatic—and only the MSI WT72-6QM (translated), with its M5000M GPU, can claim absolute dominance over it. Results from SPECviewperf 11 line up similarly.

Obviously, this is a factor of GPU performance more so than anything else, and the additional power provided by the ~25W TDP heavier M4000M clearly makes a substantial difference. When you are within throwing distance of the MSI WT72-6QM—a $4,500 heavyweight in the workstation segment—you have little to be ashamed about.

SPECviewperf 12
1900x1060 Solidworks (sw-03)
MSI WT72-6QM
101.01 fps ∼100% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
97.11 fps ∼96%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
84.84 fps ∼84% -13%
Dell Precision 7710
73 fps ∼72% -25%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
52.35 fps ∼52% -46%
1900x1060 Siemens NX (snx-02)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
127.75 fps ∼100%
MSI WT72-6QM
86.87 fps ∼68% -32%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
65.79 fps ∼51% -49%
Dell Precision 7710
63 fps ∼49% -51%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
39.84 fps ∼31% -69%
1900x1060 Showcase (showcase-01)
MSI WT72-6QM
44.14 fps ∼100% +9%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
43.81 fps ∼99% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
40.33 fps ∼91%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
39.81 fps ∼90% -1%
Dell Precision 7710
37 fps ∼84% -8%
1900x1060 Medical (medical-01)
MSI WT72-6QM
31.35 fps ∼100% +20%
Dell Precision 7710
27 fps ∼86% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
26.06 fps ∼83%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
22.34 fps ∼71% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
17.46 fps ∼56% -33%
1900x1060 Maya (maya-04)
MSI WT72-6QM
69.57 fps ∼100% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
64.04 fps ∼92%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
50.38 fps ∼72% -21%
Dell Precision 7710
46 fps ∼66% -28%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
23.08 fps ∼33% -64%
1900x1060 Energy (energy-01)
MSI WT72-6QM
6.86 fps ∼100% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
6.04 fps ∼88%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
4.85 fps ∼71% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
4.68 fps ∼68% -23%
Dell Precision 7710
3.17 fps ∼46% -48%
1900x1060 Creo (creo-01)
MSI WT72-6QM
81.34 fps ∼100% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
78.36 fps ∼96%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
64.76 fps ∼80% -17%
Dell Precision 7710
50 fps ∼61% -36%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
42.17 fps ∼52% -46%
1900x1060 Catia (catia-04)
MSI WT72-6QM
94.45 fps ∼100% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
88.09 fps ∼93%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
77.86 fps ∼82% -12%
Dell Precision 7710
58 fps ∼61% -34%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
45.24 fps ∼48% -49%
SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Siemens NX
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
111.36 fps ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
67.36 fps ∼60% -40%
MSI WT72-6QM
61.76 fps ∼55% -45%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
49.91 fps ∼45% -55%
Dell Precision 7710
49 fps ∼44% -56%
1920x1080 Tcvis
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
58.13 fps ∼100%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
56.28 fps ∼97% -3%
MSI WT72-6QM
55.94 fps ∼96% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
41.16 fps ∼71% -29%
Dell Precision 7710
36 fps ∼62% -38%
1920x1080 SolidWorks
Dell Precision 7710
74 fps ∼100% +21%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
61.34 fps ∼83%
MSI WT72-6QM
49.26 fps ∼67% -20%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
48.01 fps ∼65% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
35.28 fps ∼48% -42%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
22.46 fps ∼100% +20%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
18.79 fps ∼84%
MSI WT72-6QM
17.87 fps ∼80% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
16.08 fps ∼72% -14%
Dell Precision 7710
11.7 fps ∼52% -38%
1920x1080 Maya
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
109.16 fps ∼100%
Dell Precision 7710
106 fps ∼97% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
85.96 fps ∼79% -21%
MSI WT72-6QM
71.59 fps ∼66% -34%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
57.76 fps ∼53% -47%
1920x1080 Lightwave
Dell Precision 7710
84 fps ∼100% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
76.25 fps ∼91%
MSI WT72-6QM
59.58 fps ∼71% -22%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
51.87 fps ∼62% -32%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
35.34 fps ∼42% -54%
1920x1080 Ensight
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
110.21 fps ∼100%
MSI WT72-6QM
73.98 fps ∼67% -33%
Dell Precision 7710
70 fps ∼64% -36%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
59.49 fps ∼54% -46%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
59.1 fps ∼54% -46%
1920x1080 Catia
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
82.32 fps ∼100%
Dell Precision 7710
61 fps ∼74% -26%
MSI WT72-6QM
55.25 fps ∼67% -33%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
53.44 fps ∼65% -35%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
43.12 fps ∼52% -48%

Legend

 
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5, NVIDIA Quadro M4000M, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
 
MSI WT72-6QM Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5, NVIDIA Quadro M5000M, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
 
Dell Precision 7710 Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5, AMD FirePro W7170M, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
 
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5, NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
 
Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Intel Core i7-6820HQ, NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH

System Performance

PCMark 8’s benchmarks are not particularly kind to the P70-20ER, which, in spite of its acceptable scores, can’t achieve comparable results with most of the other candidates in the Work and Home Accelerated tests. That’s primarily due to the notebook’s 4K screen, which inherently produces lower results in these benchmarks. Creative Score Accelerated, meanwhile, places the P70 at the top of the rankings, though the MSI WT72 is conspicuously absent from this test.

Regardless of synthetic results, we found the P70-20ER’s operation to be smooth and snappy throughout our time with it.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
5655 Points ∼87% +31%
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5417 Points ∼83% +26%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5271 Points ∼81% +22%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
4411 Points ∼68% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
4307 Points ∼66%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
6007 Points ∼65%
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5668 Points ∼61% -6%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4564 Points ∼49% -24%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4770 Points ∼80% +17%
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
4731 Points ∼79% +16%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4133 Points ∼69% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
4062 Points ∼68%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
3345 Points ∼56% -18%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4062 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
6007 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4307 points
Help

Storage Devices

The ThinkPad P70 manages blistering storage speeds thanks to its incredibly fast Samsung PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD. It absolutely dominated the field practically across the board, with AS SSD sequential read/write speeds of 2104 MB/s and 1458 MB/s contributing to scores of 1341/627 and an overall score of 2630. That’s 10% faster than our second-place candidate, the Dell Precision 7710. Much of the victory here is attributable to greatly enhanced sequential write speeds over other NVMe drives. CrystalDiskMark yields agreeable results, with sequential read/write speeds of 1598 MB/s and 1543 MB/s, again, beating most other notebooks in its class.

The single NVMe drive installed in the P70-20ER leaves room for still a second NVMe drive in an adjacent slot, which can also be configured for RAID (0 or 1) functionality within the system’s BIOS. The most compatible drives for such configurations (as reported by the community) are Samsung SM951 and Samsung 950 Pro drives. In addition to this, there’s also an empty SATA drive bay waiting to be populated with either a conventional 2.5-inch SSD or mechanical storage drive.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
AS SSD
AS SSD
Both NVMe SSD bays, one populated...
Both NVMe SSD bays, one populated...
...and the empty SATA drive bay
...and the empty SATA drive bay
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
AS SSD
-11%
-10%
-60%
-19%
Score Total
2630
2302
-12%
2435
-7%
1012
-62%
2433
-7%
Score Write
627
449
-28%
517
-18%
384
-39%
651
4%
Score Read
1341
1248
-7%
1304
-3%
412
-69%
1237
-8%
Access Time Write *
0.026
0.025
4%
0.022
15%
0.056
-115%
0.04
-54%
Access Time Read *
0.047
0.041
13%
0.069
-47%
0.069
-47%
0.092
-96%
4K-64 Write
349.3
230.45
-34%
275
-21%
255.54
-27%
473.5
36%
4K-64 Read
1082
1037.36
-4%
1064
-2%
341.67
-68%
935.3
-14%
4K Write
131.87
148.18
12%
179
36%
82.69
-37%
96.4
-27%
4K Read
48.38
51.1
6%
51
5%
22.61
-53%
37.5
-22%
Seq Write
1458.42
703.32
-52%
626
-57%
458.15
-69%
809.8
-44%
Seq Read
2103.83
1596.24
-24%
1886
-10%
477.84
-77%
2637.8
25%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
Transfer Rate Minimum: 924.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 1155.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 1121.3 MB/s
Access Time:
Burst Rate: 203 MB/s
CPU Usage: 8.5 %

GPU Performance

Workstation-class GPUs are not optimized for the sort of benchmarks that are typically used to judge gaming machines; as such, we don’t expect to see the same sorts of numbers that we would from an equivalent NVIDIA GTX GPU. Still, the results we see from the P70’s M4000M demonstrate a more than capable package. In 3DMark 11, we recorded a performance GPU score of 10259, a mere 15% below the M5000M in the MSI WT72-6QM, and besting the rest of the field (including the previous P70, which fell in last place, 19% behind the M4000M-equipped model).

3DMark Fire Strike Graphics provides nearly identical relationships between the contestants, with the MSI WT72 once again predictably taking first place by an 18% margin and the M3000M P70 yet again placing last, off by a 17% discrepancy as compared to today’s P70-20ER. The latter’s score of 7723 is a respectable result, slightly above what we might expect to see from a typical GTX 970M.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
MSI WT72-6QM
NVIDIA Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5
9356 Points ∼59% +19%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5
8654 Points ∼54% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ
8644 Points ∼54% +10%
Dell Precision 7710
AMD FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5
8311 Points ∼52% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
NVIDIA Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5
7892 Points ∼49%
1280x720 Performance GPU
MSI WT72-6QM
NVIDIA Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5
11820 Points ∼23% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
NVIDIA Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5
10259 Points ∼20%
Dell Precision 7710
AMD FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5
9708 Points ∼19% -5%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5
8313 Points ∼16% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ
8264 Points ∼16% -19%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
MSI WT72-6QM
NVIDIA Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5
9087 Points ∼22% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
NVIDIA Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5
7723 Points ∼19%
Dell Precision 7710
AMD FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5
6935 Points ∼17% -10%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5
6658 Points ∼16% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ
6415 Points ∼16% -17%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
MSI WT72-6QM
NVIDIA Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5
61789 Points ∼38% +26%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5
50666 Points ∼31% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
NVIDIA Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5
49204 Points ∼30%
Dell Precision 7710
AMD FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5
43124 Points ∼26% -12%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ
38539 Points ∼24% -22%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
MSI WT72-6QM
NVIDIA Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5
251633 Points ∼66% +43%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
NVIDIA Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5
176003 Points ∼46%
3DMark 11 Performance
9549 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
121354 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
21920 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
6937 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
3694 points
Help
BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
85 fps ∼40%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
69.8 fps ∼32% -18%
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
66 fps ∼31% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
69.7 fps ∼32% -18%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
181 fps ∼59%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
166.7 fps ∼54% -8%
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
158 fps ∼51% -13%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
163.8 fps ∼53% -10%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
196 fps ∼61%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
182.7 fps ∼57% -7%
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
178 fps ∼56% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
176 fps ∼55% -10%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
3840x2160 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
20 fps ∼26%
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
48 fps ∼30%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
33.4 fps ∼21% -30%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
55 fps ∼31%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
40.2 fps ∼22% -27%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
90 fps ∼40%
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
69.9 fps ∼31% -22%
low med. high ultra4K
BioShock Infinite (2013) 19618185fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 90554820fps

Stress Test

CPU and GPU stress tests independently prove unproblematic for the ThinkPad P70, which aces the CPU stress tests with maximum clock rates of 3.3 GHz across four cores and—in the GPU test—whose GPU TDP limitations come into play long prior to any sort of temperature throttling becoming a concern. Combined stress is a bit more interesting of a scenario, as we were unable to provoke the GPU to work at its full potential any time considerable CPU load was applied (see our screenshot for more detail). However, this does not appear to affect the machine materially in real-world situations, as benchmarks are right in line with what we’d expect to see from similarly-equipped machines. Furthermore, a subsequent 3DMark 11 run provided nearly identical scores after GPU and CPU stress was applied, thus confirming that temperature development should have no bearing on practical performance.

Full CPU stress
Full CPU stress
Full GPU stress
Full GPU stress
Combined CPU + GPU stress
Combined CPU + GPU stress

Emissions

System Noise

The P70-20ER is also not a terribly noisy workstation. While idle, the fan is completely inactive and inaudible, and we measured absolutely no noise above our baseline for environmental background levels. Under load, the machine gets a bit noisier, averaging 40.5 dB(A) and maxing out at 45.7 dB(A). These values are not horribly intrusive, however (though they are, of course, noticeable)—and the frequency of the fan noise is fairly low, meaning that there isn’t a lot of high-pitched whining to deal with that some other laptops produce.

The P70-20ER compares favorably to the rest of the field, taking into account discrepancies in environmental noise levels. Having said that, the MSI WT72 is quite a bit subtler in its operation under load even in spite of its more powerful GPU, and the previous P70 is significantly quieter also.

Fan noise profile
Fan noise profile

Noise Level

Idle
28.8 / 28.8 / 28.8 dB(A)
Load
40.5 / 45.7 dB(A)
 
 
 
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: 28.8 dB(A)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
Quadro M4000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
Quadro M3000M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Dell Precision 7710
FirePro W7170M, E3-1535M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Quadro M3000M, 6820HQ, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
Noise
-7%
-4%
1%
-6%
off / environment *
28.8
30
-4%
30
-4%
30
-4%
Idle Minimum *
28.8
30
-4%
30
-4%
30
-4%
33.3
-16%
Idle Average *
28.8
30
-4%
30
-4%
30
-4%
33.4
-16%
Idle Maximum *
28.8
30
-4%
30
-4%
30
-4%
33.5
-16%
Load Average *
40.5
48.9
-21%
43.2
-7%
36.5
10%
38.8
4%
Load Maximum *
45.7
48.9
-7%
47.13
-3%
40.8
11%
40.2
12%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Although the temperatures we recorded here might at first seem abnormally high, in fact, environmental temperature must be considered—and at 25 °C, it was roughly 5 °C above the rest of the candidates when the measurements were taken. Even after taking that into account, however, the P70-20ER still suffers higher-than-average temperatures as compared to its peers—with the exception of the HP ZBook 17, which (temperature adjusted) seems to grow quite a bit hotter under load. Idle temperatures in the P70-20ER are the biggest inconsistency—most certainly thanks to the fact that the cooling fan seems to be completely disabled under these conditions. To avoid confusion about the influence of environmental temperature here, we have omitted the temperature comparison table.

Thermal profile, top of base unit
Thermal profile, top of base unit
Thermal profile, bottom of base unit
Thermal profile, bottom of base unit
Max. Load
 45.6 °C47.8 °C52 °C 
 38 °C40 °C39.4 °C 
 32.6 °C35.6 °C34.6 °C 
Maximum: 52 °C
Average: 40.6 °C
51 °C47.6 °C45.2 °C
34.8 °C38 °C34.4 °C
29.2 °C32 °C31.2 °C
Maximum: 51 °C
Average: 38.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  45.4 °C | Room Temperature 25 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

The P70 features a very rudimentary set of stereo speakers augmented by a questionable set of presets from the Dolby Audio app. Overall, the sound is dominated by the midrange frequencies when left at default settings. Playing with (or otherwise disabling) the post-processing software improves this somewhat, opening up the high frequencies and perceptibly balancing out the profile a bit more. However, ultimately, the results are quite poor for a notebook of this size; volume level is also merely passable.

Sound profile
Sound profile
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2038.836.2253736.63134.233.74034.633.75032.232.86332.732.48032.232.410031.231.812529.732.516030.640.420028.750.525028.557.531527.46140027.15950026.862.963024.565.880023.664.110002361.7125022.861.1160022.562.320002260.5250021.956.4315021.952400021.857.1500021.859.5630021.657800021.649.31000021.540.71250021.535.91600021.530.2SPL35.272.1N2.529.9median 22.8Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUSmedian 57.1Delta2.48.135.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (72.07 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 12.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.1% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.6% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (14.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (25.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 63% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 25% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 21%, worst was 31%
Compared to all devices tested
» 67% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 25% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 18%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox selectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Predictably, the P70-20ER is a power-hungry device; after all, the combined TDP of its Xeon CPU and the M4000M GPU is approximately 145 W. The previous P70’s M3000M manages roughly 30 W lower consumption under load average, which is right along the lines of what we’d expect to see, considering the GPU’s 25W lower TDP. The rest of the field—excepting the ZBook—does a better job under load most of the time. Idle values were measured to be oddly high, roughly on par with the MSI WT72.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.34 / 0.61 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 22.8 / 29.7 / 31.1 Watt
Load midlight 124.2 / 177.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
E3-1505M v5, Quadro M4000M, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512), IPS, 3840x2160, 17.3
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
E3-1535M v5, Quadro M3000M, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 1920x1080, 17.3
Dell Precision 7710
E3-1535M v5, FirePro W7170M, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 17.3
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
6820HQ, Quadro M3000M, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH, IPS, 3840x2160, 17.3
MSI WT72-6QM
E3-1505M v5, Quadro M5000M, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7, IPS, 1920x1080, 17.3
Power Consumption
39%
19%
32%
0%
Idle Minimum *
22.8
6.7
71%
6.04
74%
12.1
47%
24.8
-9%
Idle Average *
29.7
12.5
58%
15.2
49%
19.7
34%
29.7
-0%
Idle Maximum *
31.1
13.2
58%
42.3
-36%
20.5
34%
30.1
3%
Load Average *
124.2
128.2
-3%
112.8
9%
94.3
24%
105.2
15%
Load Maximum *
177.4
158.9
10%
182.2
-3%
139.6
21%
192.2
-8%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

All that power surely means brief battery runtimes, and unsurprisingly, that’s what we get. Just 3 hours and 11 minutes of web surfing activity isn’t going to buy you a lot of productivity unplugged, and if you decide to load the machine down a bit, expect to scramble for an outlet in under an hour—just 52 minutes. The fact that this is so far below the results of the M3000M-equipped P70 would be shocking if we hadn’t already measured such higher power consumption while idle. The reasons for the discrepancy here are not immediately obvious, but just to be sure nothing was amiss, we ran our battery benchmarks multiple times in their entirety to ensure the results did not change significantly—and they did not. If any additional light is shed on this situation, we’ll be sure to update our article.

Fortunately, in spite of the fact that literally every competitor in our selection embarrasses the P70-20ER with its far more favorable battery performance, battery life is arguably among the least important qualities of a workstation.

BatteryEater Pro Classic Test
BatteryEater Pro Classic Test
Wi-Fi Surfing v1.3
Wi-Fi Surfing v1.3
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 52min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
3h 11min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 52min
Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS
E3-1505M v5, Quadro M4000M, 96 Wh
HP ZBook 17 G3 TZV66eA
E3-1535M v5, Quadro M3000M, 96 Wh
Dell Precision 7710
E3-1535M v5, FirePro W7170M, 72 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
6820HQ, Quadro M3000M, 96 Wh
MSI WT72-6QM
E3-1505M v5, Quadro M5000M,  Wh
Battery Runtime
130%
106%
57%
38%
Reader / Idle
292
956
227%
775
165%
464
59%
413
41%
WiFi v1.3
191
290
52%
365
91%
361
89%
245
28%
Load
52
110
112%
85
63%
64
23%
76
46%

Pros

+ strong processing performance from both CPU and GPU
+ powerful workstation performance
+ extremely fast storage speed
+ solid build quality
+ ECC memory for greater stability
+ quiet operation while idle

Cons

- high idle temperatures
- high idle power consumption
- weak battery performance
- poor speakers
- odd stress test results show plummenting GPU performance under CPU stress
- low PWM frequency once again across all brightness settings lower than maximum

Verdict

The Lenovo P70-20ER000XUS
The Lenovo P70-20ER000XUS

A lot of variables combine to create a strong mobile workstation, but when you boil it all down, the most critical of all aspects are generally stability, CPU/GPU performance, and storage speed. The Lenovo P70-20ER000XUS reveals itself as more than capable in all of these categories, justifying its hefty $3,849 price tag with its strong benchmark numbers and reliable operation. As compared to the previous P70 configuration we reviewed several months ago, this one features greatly improved storage performance with a new NVMe SSD, a more powerful (and power-hungry) NVIDIA Quadro M4000M GPU, and a somewhat lateral shift to a Xeon CPU which paves the way for ECC RAM for enhanced stability (16 GB of which is preinstalled).

Is it worth considering when viewed alongside the competition? In short, yes—provided the unique benefits it brings (and the various shortcomings) line up with the specific needs of the buyer. Workstations, while often championed as no-compromise devices, are certainly not that: rather, they are devices which refuse to compromise performance—but elsewhere, there are always trade-offs. If the M4000M will get the job done, ECC RAM is a desirable trait, and battery life isn’t of paramount concern, the P70 is a prime candidate and is priced accordingly.

Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS - 10/17/2016 v5.1
Steve Schardein

Chassis
87 / 98 → 89%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
78 / 81 → 96%
Weight
52 / 66 → 75%
Battery
70%
Display
88%
Games Performance
92%
Application Performance
93%
Temperature
83 / 95 → 87%
Noise
87 / 90 → 97%
Audio
30%
Camera
71 / 85 → 84%
Average
79%
89%
Workstation - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad P70-20ER000XUS Workstation Review
Steve Schardein, 2016-10-11 (Update: 2016-10-11)
Steve Schardein
Steve Schardein - Review Editor - @othersteve
In grade school, my first computer—an Apple IIGS—started it all for me. Later, in the nineties, if I wasn’t repairing computers for family and friends, I was busy cooking up nifty Visual Basic projects and playing PC games like Command & Conquer and Heroes of Might and Magic. Soon, much of my free time was spent moderating popular gaming forums and covering the industry for various websites. All the while, I never stopped repairing computers, and in 2006, I started a technology consulting company in Louisville, KY—Triple-S Computers—which I have been fortunate to nurture to great success by specializing in not only repairs, but also new machine consultations and purchasing, data recovery, and malware/security. And since 2012, I have proudly contributed many dozens of reviews to Notebookcheck, a site which I have long considered to be the ultimate authority on laptops and related technology. Today, I am truly living my dream: still a child at heart, ever-curious, constantly learning, and thankful to you, our readers.