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Lenovo ThinkPad T495 with Ryzen 5 Pro is slower than Core i5 ThinkPad T490 in initial benchmarks

The new ThinkPad T495 has finally arrived. It is Lenovo's first full-fledged AMD laptop within the popular ThinkPad T-series. Our test sample is equipped with the AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U, which is beaten by the Core i5-8265U in the ThinkPad T490.

Lenovo has released the AMD counterpart to the ThinkPad T490 we reviewed a couple of weeks ago. The new ThinkPad T495 is the successor to the ThinkPad A485, but the manufacturer discontinues the ThinkPad A-series in 2019 and integrates the AMD models into its usual line-up instead. Our test sample carries the designation ThinkPad T495-20NKS01Y00 and is available for just 999 Euros as a Campus model for students and teachers. It is equipped with the AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U including RX Vega 8 iGPU, 512 GB SSD storage, and 16 GB RAM. We already performed some benchmarks and the results are quite interesting, especially compared to the ThinkPad E495 with the consumer Ryzen 5 3500U

One note upfront: Contrary to the ThinkPad E-series (E490 & E495), the T490 and T495 are completely identical in terms of the case or the case materials, respectively.

CPU data Cinebench R15 Multi
CPU data Cinebench R15 Multi

The TDP configuration of the new ThinkPad T495 is identical to the ThinkPad T490 in general. The processor can consume up to 30W for short periods and up to 25W for sustained workloads. We can see this exact behavior during the Cinebench Multi test. The time with more than 25W differs for each benchmark run, which explains the small differences in the first four iterations of our Cinebench loop. 25W is enough for 4x ~2.8-2.9 GHz on our model. This means the performance of the Ryzen 5 Pro in the T495 is slower than the Intel T490, both with the Core i7-8565U as well as the Core i5-8265U. Compared to the old ThinkPad A485, we can see a performance increase of ~15%.

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Lenovo ThinkPad T495-20NKS01Y00 Vega 8, PRO 3500U: Ø576 (569.82-610.73)
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N3S02L00 GeForce MX250, 8565U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G: Ø639 (632-673)
Lenovo ThinkPad A485-20MU000CGE Vega 8, PRO 2500U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ: Ø504 (495-536)
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N2004EGE UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G: Ø617 (613-650)
Lenovo ThinkPad E495-20NE000JGE Vega 8, 3500U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG: Ø658 (656.79-659.13)

We are still a bit disappointed by the results, especially compared to the results of the ThinkPad E495 with the consumer version of the Ryzen 5 3500U. The lower score of the ThinkPad T495 has two reasons. First of all, it looks like the quality of the two chips differs. Without any additional comparison devices, we cannot say whether we have a good model of the Ryzen 5 or a bad model of the Ryzen 5 Pro. Both our samples are standard retail units though. This variation can happen to any customer, and this is also the case for Intel chips in general.

The Ryzen 5 3500U in the ThinkPad E495 runs at 4x 3.0-3.1 GHz at 25W, but the Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U in the T495 "only" at 4x ~2.8 GHz. There is also a difference in respect to the TDP configuration between the two systems. In addition to the limits for short-term and long-term power consumption, AMD uses another limit with the somewhat cryptic acronym STAPM, which stands for Skin Temperature Aware Power Management. This limit is supposed to make sure the surfaces do not get too warm. You can basically think of it as an empty glass, which slowly fills up under load. This value is set at 22W for the T495. This STAPM value is increasing until it reaches the limit of 22W (which is the case after the fourth iteration of CB R15 Multi here). Once the value reaches the 22W, it will limit the actual consumption of the CPU to 22W. The ThinkPad E495 also has the STAPM limit, but it is set to 25W and therefore identical to to the long-term TDP limit. This explains why there is no performance drop during the CB loop.

We will ask Lenovo why the limit is lower on the ThinkPad T495 compared to the less expensive ThinkPad E495, so stay tuned.

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Andreas Osthoff, 2019-06-16 (Update: 2019-06-16)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.