First off Happy Chinese New Years!
Well Lenovo released this recently and I kept a tab on it and notified my clients as this was one of the best workstation laptops to be built…. they were finally moving Xeon E3 processors to their Thinkpad P Series! This was big because my client used autocad/3d Studio max most of the time and these processor’s are simply the best for his work load. Along with this, it comes with a free upgrade to the Nvidia Quadro M2000M 4GB which is based on the Maxwell architecture (I believe this is about the same performance as the GTX 950 for gaming).
We ordered it with 32GB of ram, Xeon E3 processor,Quadro M2000M, 4k screen with color sensor and 512GB Samsung NVMe SSD …. it arrived fast and man does this thing move … the Samsung NVMe SSD has almost 4 times faster read speeds than the old SATA Samsung SSD’s we were used to. Booting and copying files were instant …. I thought my old SATA Samsung 850 series SSD was fast but it feels slow compared to these new Samsung SM951 series NVMe SSD’s!
We benchmarked the machine using userbench and it benched at 108% for desktop which screams as their highest mark of UFO class. For gaming as expected it scored a low 36% which is decent for a laptop when compared to desktop class GPUS. You can read more about my benchmark run at userbench here – Userbenchmark – Nathan Wan
In terms of durability, this machine is tested to 11 military specs, especially with a NVMe SSD in it, I believe it can survive a lot of drops and feels very solid.
The downside is the 4k screen… it seemed a bit dim. I tested it with the generic 4k Costa Rica video on youtube (here) . The colors seemed good after using the color sensor to calibrate the screen, but maybe I am just used to glossy screens which appear brighter. The description from Lenovo says this is a 4k IPS screen but it felt more like a TFT TN screen when I used it (the brightness/colors is similiar to my CyberpowerPC Fangbook’s TN panel), especially looking at it at extreme angles, you will see black bleeding on the sides of the screen. The screen isn’t horrible but for this class of this machine, I was expecting a screen more inline with the Macbook Pro Retina etc which have some of the best screens.
Overall if you are working on databases or graphic design or 3d modeling / CAD, this machine is probably the only machine you will need for a long time. This thing absolutely hauls in terms of performance. The Lenovo P50 is like the Ford F350 of the laptop world … it isn’t a sports car meant to play games, it hauls and tows and is a true work horse. I rate this machine a must buy if you are serious about getting work done and don’t want to wait around for your computer to render or query the results.
Overall Nathan Wan rates this 4.7 stars
Update: 2/29/2016 – Just a heads up, most applications are not programmed for 4k resolutions yet. Applications like Quickbooks for example look horrible at 4k resolution. Only way to make it look correct is to turn down to 1080P resolution sadly. Intuit and other software companies are working on making their software 4k compatible, but for now I would not recommend the 4k screen unless you are watching 4k movies (you can turn it down to 1080p but this negates the use of the 4k screen). Example here from the Intuit forum -> Link