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ThinkPad P73 has a problem with the fan control – Lenovo is working on a solution

Teaser
We noticed the comparatively low performance of the graphics card when we reviewed the ThinkPad P73. Lenovo was also surprised by the results. We were able to confirm our findings with an additional test sample and were able to show that the GPU fan control does not work properly. Lenovo is already working on a solution, but we can offer a workaround until then.
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Lenovo's ThinkPad P73 is a classic mobile workstation, which does not use the slimmest chassis, but has a focus on good thermals and numerous ports instead. This is why we were surprised by the comparatively bad performance utilization of the Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000, especially under sustained workloads. The fans were very restrained at the same time; it appeared as if Lenovo favored a quiet operating noise.

Lenovo was also surprised by our results and contacted us. However, we were able to confirm our findings with an additional test sample of the ThinkPad P73, this time with the more powerful Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000. The maximum fan noise was once again ~33 dB(A), so we started to investigate (BIOS and drivers were up to date).

Our first suspicion was the BIOS setting, where you can deactivate the integrated graphics unit of the processor. However, this was not successful, the fans just did not want to spin faster. A change of the Windows power profile did not improve the situation, either. After a lot of communication with Lenovo, the manufacturer now confirmed the problem and is already working on a solution via BIOS update. The CPU performance is not affected, we are only talking about the dedicated graphics card.

Until then, we can offer a workaround with the tool TPFancontrol, which is probably already familiar for many ThinkPad users anyway. The fans now reach around 39 dB(A) with the Auto-profile, which is pretty much the target value that was communicated to us by Lenovo. We have some results with and without TPFancontrol in the tables below. The GPU performance, especially under sustained workloads, is much better with the tool running.

Stress test (Prime95 + FurMark 1920x1080 8xAA), GPU Mode BIOS: dGPU, Power Plan: Lenovo Intelligent Power
TPFancontrol CPU Clock CPU Temperature GPU Clock GPU Temperature Fan Noise
Off ~2.2 GHz 96 °C 1200-1300 MHz 86 °C ~32 dB(A)
On ~2.2 GHz 92 °C 1560 MHz 83 °C ~39.6 dB(A)
3DMark Time Spy, GPU Mode BIOS: dGPU, Power Plan: Lenovo Intelligent Power
TPFancontrol Total Score GPU Score CPU Score Stress Test Fan Noise
Off 6833 6897 6492 76.8 % – not passed ~33.4 dB(A)
On 7532 7473 7890 96.1 % – not passed ~35-39 dB(A)

The results clearly show that the GPU now runs at a much higher clock, but also stays cooler at the same time. The CPU temperature is also a bit lower, but the clock is identical. We noticed one more thing during our tests: The benchmark results for the CPU are lower when you select the Hybrid Graphics mode in the BIOS. You should therefore use the BIOS mode dGPU for the best performance, even though this will obviously affect the battery runtimes. However, we believe most P73 users will prefer the performance over stamina.

We are still in contact with Lenovo and are eager to test the new BIOS version. We will update this article as soon as we have new information.

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Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Laptops - 1320 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 12 > ThinkPad P73 has a problem with the fan control – Lenovo is working on a solution
Andreas Osthoff, 2019-12-26 (Update: 2019-12-26)