RE­VIEW: Len­ovo Thinkpad P52

More than just a per­for­mance up­grade – the P52 makes mo­bile a se­ri­ous al­ter­na­tive to a desk­top PC for ren­der­ing

3D Artist - - CONTENTS - Orestis Bastounis

Orestis Bastounis tells us how sped through with this new mo­bile work­sta­tion from Len­ovo

The Len­ovo Thinkpad P52, which is the first mo­bile work­sta­tion we’ve seen that of­fers a choice of a six-core, 12-thread In­tel Core i7 or Xeon-e pro­ces­sor, isn’t just a stan­dard lap­top with the ex­tra cores crammed into it. In many ways, the spec­i­fi­ca­tion and fea­tures amount to a re­think, and re­design, of what a pro­fes­sional-grade lap­top has to of­fer, ca­pa­ble of se­ri­ous 3D work that makes it a se­ri­ous por­ta­ble al­ter­na­tive to a full-sized desk­top rig.

Be­sides the pro­ces­sor, the cus­tomised re­view spec­i­fi­ca­tion we’re look­ing at has 32GB of DDR-2400 mem­ory, which is up­grade­able to 128GB, an Nvidia Quadro P3200 graph­ics card and a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) colour-ac­cu­rate 15.6-inch dis­play with 100 per cent SRGB cov­er­age, ev­ery bit as gor­geous to edit ren­ders on as a desk­top monitor, with brighter and more vivid colours than a stan­dard LCD panel that you’ll no­tice as soon as the P52 boots into Win­dows. There’s in­ter­nal space for plenty of stor­age too, as there’s sup­port for two M.2

SSDS, in ad­di­tion to a hard disk.

Weigh­ing 2.57kg, and just un­der 3cm thick, the P52 isn’t ex­actly as por­ta­ble as a Mac­book, but com­pared with some of the brick-like de­signs of yes­ter­year, it’s rel­a­tively slim and can still be car­ried with­out caus­ing dis­com­fort.

A men­tion must also be made of the com­fort­able keys and spa­cious track­pad, which (op­tion­ally) sup­ports 10-point multi-touch.

The power adapter pushes into to the rear of the lap­top by way of a cus­tom Len­ovo con­nec­tor, where it’s joined by two Usb-c/thun­der­bolt ports, HDMI and wired eth­er­net. A Dis­play­port, head­phone jack and two stan­dard USB 3.0 ports are on the right, with an SD card reader and a third USB port on the left side. A sep­a­rately sold dock lets you drop the P52 into a desk­top con­fig­u­ra­tion with an ex­ter­nal dis­play and mouse, with charg­ing and data all han­dled via USB-C. On the road, the 90W/hr bat­tery de­liv­ers ap­prox­i­mately nine hours of us­age, al­though this pre­sum­ably as­sumes light use rather than run­ning com­pu­ta­tion­ally com­plex fi­nal ren­ders when on bat­tery life.

The In­tel pro­ces­sor in our re­view sam­ple is a Core i7-8850h, based on the Cof­fee Lake de­sign gen­er­a­tion – with a 2.6GHZ base, 4.3GHZ Turbo clock speed and the afore­men­tioned six cores that can ex­e­cute 12 threads. The Nvidia Quadro P3200 is one of the more high-end mo­bile Quadro graph­ics cards – sport­ing 6GB of ded­i­cated GDDR5, 1792 shaders and a 1.2GHZ base clock, which is one of the best mo­bile graph­ics cards for 3D use.

As a ba­sic indi­ca­tor of rel­a­tive per­for­mance, a Cinebench 15 CPU re­sult of 1046 is in line with desk­top six-core pro­ces­sors, with the 170fps Opengl re­sult putting the P3200 graph­ics card slightly be­low the P4000. A solid show­ing in Specview­perf 13, espe­cially the score of 165 in the Maya-05 test, re­veals results that chal­lenge mid-range desk­tops, al­though coming in lower than the most high-pow­ered desk­top rigs. An Opencl re­sult of 13,583 points in the Luxball bench­mark re­veals a score that in­di­cates great Gpu-ac­cel­er­ated com­pu­ta­tion.

The over­all pic­ture from the bench­marks in­di­cate desk­top-class raw per­for­mance in 3D apps which will only strug­gle when faced with the heav­i­est work­loads.

Un­til now, the age-old ques­tion of desk­top vs lap­top was firmly in favour of desk­tops for 3D work, as even the best mo­bile sys­tems were left with hard­ware that lagged far be­hind the hard­ware you could get in a tower filled with desk­top com­po­nents. The P52 goes a long way to chang­ing the sta­tus quo, with a top-notch dis­play, oo­dles of mem­ory and stor­age ex­pand­abil­ity and very ca­pa­ble per­for­mance.

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