Lenovo ThinkPad W530 User Review: Performance

August 22, 2012 by esotericdesignstudio Reads (67,636)


The ThinkPad W530 unit being evaluated features the following configuration:

  • Intel Core i7-3820QM CPU (8M Cache, up to 3.70 GHz)
  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display
  • Intel HD 4000 Integrated Graphics
  • 2GB K2000M NVidea Discrete Graphics
  • 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 (1 DIMM)
  • UltraNav multi-touch touchpad & TrackPoint with Fingerprint Reader
  • 720p HD Camera
  • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (3 x 3)
  • 500 GB HDD
  • 320 GB HDD (Ultrabay) *Note: This is no longer a purchase option at the time of this writing. A 1 TB option is still available
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Express Card Slot & 4 in 1 Card Reader
  • 9-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • 170W AC Adapter

In addition, to better simulate the W530 as it would be used by a professional, 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM was added, leaving the fourth DIMM slot empty. A 32GB SanDisk mSATA was also added where the WWAN card would normally be located.

The W530 does not come with recovery discs. However, the included software allows the user to create a recovery medium.

Upon the first start-up of the laptop, the user is confronted with several pieces of bloatware. These include Norton Software, Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Pack, Sugar Sync Cloud Storage, Google Chrome, Lenovo ThinkVantage Suite, Skype, and Evernote. This actually is so bad, as most of these programs are usable. However, if one wishes to remove all of them, it is possible to do a clean install of Windows 7. For the purposes of this review, the only bloat ware removed was the trial version of Norton and Evernote.

wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

PCMark 7 is the latest synthetic benchmark measuring overall system performance in Windows 7 (higher scores mean better performance):

3DMark Vantage measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:

In addition, because this review is testing the W530 for the purposes of both consumers and businesses, it is being benchmarked under real world conditions. Resultantly, several additional programs were added. These programs include:

  • Adobe Production Premium Creation Suite 6
  • Autodesk AutoCAD 2013
  • Autodesk Inventor Professional 2013
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013
  • Avast Antivirus
  • Battlefield Heroes (For comparative play testing, game graphics settings are versatile for low end to high end computers)
  • Google Earth
  • Google Sketchup
  • iTunes
  • Microsoft Office Professional 2010
  • QuickTime

The Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN wireless card has quickly found networks in a variety of environments, included both home, office, and a number of coffee shops. In addition, it has not yet lost a signal while in range, and its range is extensive.

The Bluetooth 4.0 has been paired with multiple devices, including several cell phones, a headset, and a Bluetooth mouse.

CAD Test

This reviewer has never put much stock in benchmarks; however, as they often are run in pristine environments and do not always accurately reflect real world performance. Therefore, an additional real world test will be performed using Autodesk Inventor Professional 2013.

Please note that this test is to demonstrate the limits of this machine in terms of 3D rendering using CAD software in a quick manner. The models will begin with a non-complex rectangle, known as Part 1.

At this point, the W530 was still running very smoothly, even with 1000 copies of the original part meshed together. The number of faces on Assembly 1,000 can be estimated at between 6,000 and 12,000 due to interlacing layers. All in all, that is an extremely impressive number of faces and components. However, the goal of this test is to see what it takes to crash this program. So we will be pressing on.

At 10,000 parts and between 60,000 and 120,000 faces, we begin to see some lagging in the program. However, this proves to be due to the undo file being overloaded, where expanding its devoted memory smooths things over, allowing us to continue. It should be noted, that this is the maximum that most users would use with Autodesk Inventor, likely switching over to a collaborative project program at this point. 

The program begins to seriously lag at 100,000 parts and 600,000 to 1,200,000 faces. There actually were points where the program did not respond for as long as 15 seconds.

This is the point where it is ineffective. Attempts to render an assembly with 1,000,000 parts proved to simply be too time intensive and stressful on the program to complete.

However, this reviewer concludes that the W530 in this configuration handles 3D modeling beautifully, and is a very solid choice for professionals.

Game Test

Out of curiosity more than anything, a copy of FRAPS was downloaded along with a copy of Battlefield Heroes. The game was run on the highest settings, and consistently ranged from 78 fps to 124 fps. For highly detailed games, such as BF3 or COD, this would translate into ranges of between 40 fps to 70 fps on high settings.

Heat and Noise

The W530 was marketed as having a new duct system to handle heat more efficiently than previous models and reduce dust accumulation. The Laptop seems to live up to those promised standards, as even after running on turbo boost after rendering 500,000 objects on Autodesk Inventor and running as series of benchmarks, the W530 remains cool to the touch on all parts of the keyboard and the bezel. On the underside, the only considerably warm area is near the vents, which is far from unexpected.

Battery Life

With the 9-cell 70++ battery, the Lenovo W530 actually has an impressive lifespan for its class. For intense applications such as CAD work or Games, expect between 2 and 4 hours of life, depending on whether turbo boost is enabled and what brightness settings are being used. For less intensive uses such as web surfing and word processing, life typically varies between 5 and 7 hours.

As far as charging goes, the battery typically takes around 1.5 hours to reach a full charge while running other applications.



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