Lenovo ThinkPad W520 Battery Life, Heat and Noise

April 29, 2011 by Amber Riippa Reads (326,928)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Features
    • 9
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 8.29
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Heat and Noise
When running on idle or ready-mode, the fan and noise levels are practically unnoticeable and when being worked at normal capacities, the fan can be heard humbly, but shouldn?t be a problem. If pushed to the limit so to speak, we found that the fan still does not become a nuisance. It seemed as though when running our benchmark tests, though, that the heat levels rose significantly higher as the time went on and while the workstation was on for five or more hours on end the areas to the left and right of the touchpad got quite warm. During this time the bottom did not seem to get as hot; the peak temperature we recorded during the benchmarks for the bottom was 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the peak for the top of the chassis was 87 degrees.

Battery Life
With the new Intel Core second generation processors coupled with the 9-cell Li-ion 94Whr battery, the unplugged W520 was expected to last at least one hour longer than the W510, even though the system has this high performance display and is quite power hungry. The previous review model delivered four hours and 30 minutes of unplugged life. With the display brightness turned to down to 70%, Wi-Fi active and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, the ThinkPad W520 lasted six hours and 50 minutes. Since this is both better than expected and is able to deliver over five hours even with the Intel i7 quad-core processor and NVIDIA Quadro 2000M graphics, we are satisfied at that amount. The system?s rather large A/C power brick is 170W/20V.

Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):

The Lenovo ThinkPad W520 workstation most definitely lives up to its ThinkPad name and workstation standards. It provides great all-over performance with its quad-core i7 processor, NVIDIA Quadro 2000M graphics, and 8GB DDR3 RAM. The 95% color gamut FHD display is easily conducive to professionals in the graphics arts or similar industry. It also has a wide range of ports and features, such as the two HighSpeed 3.0 USB ports and the Pantone huey PRO color calibration system. We did not feel as though the complaints we did have about the workstation were deal breakers in the least bit. For those in need of a powerful workstation, this system should be a definite option.


  • Excellent all-around performance
  • Beautiful 95% color gamut FHD display
  • Solid build quality
  • Comfortable keyboard with great tactile feedback


  • Collects dust and grease easily
  • Below par audio quality
  • Expensive for some configurations and options



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