Our W540 review unit as configured has very good performance for demanding applications. It has a number of notable upgrades bringing its as-configured price about 80% higher than the base model; these upgrades include the upgraded Core i7-4800MQ processor (+$140 over the standard i7-4700MQ); the 3K resolution IPS display with color sensor (+$270 over the standard 1920 x 1080 display); Nvidia Quadro K2100M 2 GB graphics (+$250 over the standard K1100M 2 GB); a Professional edition of Windows (+$50); 8 GB of RAM (+$50); 256 GB SSD (+$320); and finally the Intel 7260AC wireless card (+$30). The ending price is overall reasonable for what’s included; it’s considerably less than a similarly equipped HP ZBook 15 Mobile Workstation and about the same as Toshiba’s Tecra W50. It’s a good value, all things considered.
Although not designed for games, we found the W540 was certainly capable of playing the latest titles; we achieved 35-45 frames per second (FPS) in Battlefield 4 running at a 1600 x 900 resolution and a mix of medium and high settings. The Quadro K2100M graphics in our review unit are significantly more powerful than the standard K1100M and therefore a worthwhile upgrade if your workload involves 3D work or play.
- 15.5-inch 3K display (2880×1620 resolution, IPS panel, anti-glare surface)
- Built-in X-Rite PANTONE color calibrator
- Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Intel Core i7-4800MQ quad-core processor (2.7GHz, up to 3.7GHz Turbo Boost, 6MB cache, 47W TDP)
- Nvidia Quadro K2100M w/ 2GB GDDR5 memory
- 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM (1x 8GB: 32GB max. supported – 4x 8GB)
- 256GB mSATA SSD (Samsung MZ7TE256HMHP)
- Internal DVD burner (PLDS DVD-RW DU8A5SH)
- Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 wireless network adapter
- Integrated Bluetooth 4.0
- Integrated 720p webcam
- Integrated fingerprint reader
- 9-cell li-ion battery (9.21 Ah)
- 1-year limited warranty
- Dimensions: 14.8″ x 9.8″ x 1.1″
- Weight: 5.57 lbs.
- Starting Price: $1,119.20
- Price as Configured: $2,007.20
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
We run our new Powermark benchmark in “Balanced” mode to simulate fairly intense user activity to provide a more accurate measure of battery life. This test is a combination of automated web surfing, word processing, video playback, and 3D gaming. Naturally the numbers produced are significantly lower than those from a standard rundown test.
The W540 managed 3 hours, 53 minutes which is good for a desktop replacement, especially a mobile workstation. Expect to get up to an additional 2 hours of battery life if running less strenuous tasks with reduced screen brightness.
One large fan in the back left corner of the chassis takes care of the heat produced by the W540’s formidable internal components. This fan occasionally turns on during normal usage such as web surfing and stays on while running more demanding applications like photo and video editors. The fan develops a small amount of whine at top speed but is acceptable given the overall low noise level and can be ignored even in quieter environments. The W540’s chassis gets warmer than expected around the fan area especially the left palm rest; it’s borderline uncomfortable after extended periods.