Lenovo improves the performance of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen3, but we would like to see a bigger update with AMD Ryzen
After the second generation of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme had problems with the utilization of the CPU performance, Lenovo uses the familiar chassis once again. We get updated processors (Intel 10th gen) and a slightly more powerful graphics card. LTE is now an option as well for the multimedia laptop. Lenovo did increase the fan speed under load, which solves the performance issues of the predecessor.
However, this brings us to another problem, the lack of AMD Ryzen options. Maybe there is a contractual situation with Intel, but it is a bit strange that both Lenovo's flagship X1 lineup as well as Dell's XPS models are only available with Intel CPUs, which are inferior right now. If you compare the Core i7-10750H from the X1 Extreme with the Ryzen 5 4600H, the latter is not only faster, but the power consumption is also much lower at the same time. Lenovo could easily solve two problems here, because in addition to the higher performance, there would be more headroom for the cooling of a more powerful graphics card. Like we said, we see the same thing on the direct rival Dell XPS 15.
The X1 Extreme Gen3 is a very good multimedia laptop, but we see plenty of room for improvements. So what exactly would we like to see from a fourth generation of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme? We do not know if there will be AMD CPUs, but we hope so. Intel's upcoming Tiger Lake-H CPUs will be faster, but it is not clear if they can keep up with AMD's CPUs (then Ryzen 5000). The Tiger Lake ULV chips are beaten by AMD's current Ryzen 4000 chips.
We also expect a switch to 16:10 panels, which is already the case for the Dell XPS 15. A faster GPU would also be nice, a slimmer chassis on the other hand is not necessary. The latter would probably only require compromises in terms of ports and the key travel, which should be avoided. The keyboard of the X1 Extreme is (except for some mechanical keyboards in gaming laptops) probably the best input you can get in the mobile segment. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon got a slimmer chassis a couple of years ago, which resulted in less key travel, and this is noticeable.
We have to wait a while before we know if any of the desired changes will actually happen. Until then, we still have the third generation of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme. Please see our comprehensive review for more information about the device:ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen3 2020: Lenovos Premium-Multimedia-Laptop mit GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q im Test