Performance and Benchmarks
The Lenovo ThinkPad W510 is a mobile workstation that offers a similar performance of most desktops. Our particular configuration included 8GB of DDR3 memory, an Intel Core i7-920XM Extreme Edition processor, and an NVIDIA Quadro 880M FX graphics card. System performance was excellent in every one of our lab situations, and the 920XM barely broke a sweat. Compared to past systems, this configuration did seem to give us benchmark results lower than other notebook components. It’s a result we’ve seen before with past workstation models that have drivers fine tuned for CAD and rendering applications, but not video games.
The only problem we came across was when we tried to use a power brick lower than the 135w model that was supplied. When the notebook detects you have anything less than the stock power adapter connected it severely limits the notebook’s performance. In this situation, it ran about three times slower than it did running on battery power. wPrime in this mode took more than 70 seconds to complete and the PCMark05 returned a score of 2,000. We bring this up because long-time Lenovo users might have a collection of power bricks from past notebooks. Lenovo hasn’t changed the adapter since the T60, which is great for compatibility. This also makes it convenient to use at home, work or during travel trips without bringing the brick with you. However the W510, or at least our configuration of it, will not come close to the level of performance when using the small power adapter.
Wprime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
SPECviewperf 10.0 workstation performance test:
Heat and Noise
Under normal conditions, the W510’s the heat and noise levels are fairly modest with low fan speeds and comfortable case temperatures. When the system is sitting at or near idle, the case fan cycles on and off at a near whisper level. When the system is under stress — like while running SPECviewperf for more than 15 minutes — temperature and noise levels rose considerably. During the middle of the workstation benchmark run, we measured a peak exhaust temperature of 136 F as it was drawing 111 watts from the wall. Case temperatures during this time jumped 10 to 15 degrees, placing the system well into an uncomfortable range. However, we didn’t have a problem with the temperature rise because most users in this situation would be using the portable workstation on a desk instead of their lap.
This particular ThinkPad was a bit of a power hog throughout most of our tests. On the AC-power side, the notebook demands the larger 135w power supply when turned on or it locks the system into a low-power mode which drastically reduces performance. When running off of a battery, the system draws between 16 to 17 watts of power, which didn’t help its battery test results. With the screen brightness turned to 70%, wireless active, and Windows 7 set to a balanced profile, the ThinkPad W510 stayed on for four hours and 30 minutes before turning off. This time could be attributed to the Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition processor and the NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics card.
The Lenovo ThinkPad W510 offers great performance, excellent build quality, and a beautiful 1080P multi-touch display with a 95% color gamut. The notebook offers a wide range of high-end features including four DDR3 memory slots to allow a total of 16GB of RAM, an optional Intel Core i7-920XM Extreme Edition processor, an optional multi-touch 1080P display, and an optional built-in color calibrator. For the average user, most of these features are excessive, but if you demand the highest performance from a mobile workstation, the ThinkPad W510 has you covered.
- Beautiful FHD multi-touch display
- Great build quality
- Excellent performance
- Pricey when you add the options