Ideapad Flex 14 w Ryzen 3700u, hidden gem? (Also performance enhancements)

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by Biker Gremling, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. Biker Gremling

    Biker Gremling Notebook Consultant

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    For a very long trip I must do next January I was looking for a 14inch 2-in-1 affordable laptop that could also game. Despite not being available in my country, after lots of research, I finally decided in purchasing a Lenovo Ideapad Flex 14 with the Ryzen 3700u (SKU 81SS0002US).

    At first this laptop doesn't seem like an upgrade from the 3500u equipped version, but that is not the case since there are differences that are well worth the upgrade.

    During my research, I found that there is critical information about this laptop hidden, and I would like to share it here:

    1. The Ryzen 3700u equipped Ideapad Flex 14 does come with 4GB of soldered RAM, so this laptop is running in dual channel memory even at the 8 gig version. This is fantastic since performance is not hampered.
    2. The keyboard is very clicky and BACKLIT. The backlighting can be adjusted in 2 levels, and even secondary function keys are backlit.
    Now, the most important feature from a gamers perspective, Ryzen Controller is compatible with this version so you can increase the power limit of your CPU past the factory 25W, drastically increasing the performance of the device. In addition, the laptop is equipped with a dual-fan cooler so extended gaming at increased power levels is completely feasible.

    The compatibility of Ryzen Controller means that you can set up the performance of the laptop depending on what you are doing. For example, you can lower the Power limit for extended sessions with battery (let's say so you can play on a plane for hours), or you can drastically increase performance when plugged in (from my initial testing, a very conservative 35W power limit gives you ~10% performance increase. In short, you either can have the battery gaming endurance of an Intel 620 iGPU or the gaming performance of an MX250 IN THE SAME CHIP! ALL THIS FOR $620!

    Of course the build quality if not great, The screen is a lower grade IPS one, but bearing in mind the performance, who cares!

    In this thread I will be posting more detailed info like settings for Ryzen Controller, repasting and a memory upgrade.

    Guess more is to come!

    [​IMG]
    My Flex 14 undergoing some initial testing with added RGB for extra performance ;)

    [​IMG]
    The THICC boi vs the Flexy boi
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
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  2. Spring1898

    Spring1898 Notebook Consultant

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    I was between this and the T495s, I decided to go with the Flex 14.
    It should be a good carry through until the Zen 2 cores come to mobile.
     
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  3. Biker Gremling

    Biker Gremling Notebook Consultant

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    The Flex 14 is such a great value that other Ryzen equipped laptops are hard to justify, unless you are going for much better screen or stiffer chassis.

    During my testing I have found that the included NVMe SSD does tend to overheat. I have replaced it with a Silicon Power 1TB SSD and added a 2mm thermalpad on top. Now temperatures are in check.

    Overall I'm very happy with my device, specially after re-pasting and re padding and finding a good set-up with Ryzen Controller. You know you are doing great when you launch a game to test performance and just end up playing for a while!
     
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  4. Biker Gremling

    Biker Gremling Notebook Consultant

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    Lenovo Ideapad Flex 14 Repaste, Memory Upgrade and SSD upgrade Guide (Also for Ideapad C340)

    In the following Guide I'm going to explain the steps and procedures required to upgrade a Flex 14. For the task we will need the following:

    • Mini Torx T5 screwdriver.
    • Phillips 1 size screwdriver.
    • Spudger.
    • Anti-static surface and grounding bracelet.
    • Thermal paste (Artix MX4 2019 used).
    • 0,5mm Thermal Pad (Thermal Grizly Minus Pad 8 used).
    • Alcohol
    • Paper towels
    • Nitrile gloves (Optional)
    • Tooth brush (Optional)
    • Artic Silver ArtiClean (Optional)
    • Magnetic Tray (Optional)
    1. Start by removing the 9 T5 headed screws in the bottom of the laptop.
    [​IMG]

    2. Remove the bottom cover by inserting the Sprudger through the top. Pry outwards all the way around. Be careful not to break any tabs.

    [​IMG]

    3. With the bottom cover opened, first disconnect the battery (if the cable is too tight, leave the battery connected but under no circumstance power on the laptop). Using the Phillips head screwdriver remove the fan screws (RED). Then loosen the heatsink screws (ORANGE). Heatsink screws must be undone partially in steps going in order 3->2->1. In GREEN the screw for the NVMe SSD is shown (under the Lenovo sticker).

    [​IMG]

    4. With the heatsink screws completely loosened, proceed to carefully remove the heatsink. Fans are not attached to the heatsink.

    [​IMG]

    5. Now is time to prepare the CPU and heatsink for the new thermal paste and pads. First start by scrapping the excessive thermal paste from the CPU die and the Heatsink.

    Next with a paper tower sokaed in alcohol, proceed to rub the rest of the thermal paste away. With a toothbrush it is possible to gently finish up removing the paste from the electrical components of the CPU.

    In addition, we can use Artic Silver ArtiClean to further clean the CPU die and heatsink and also purify (remove surface copper oxidation) the heatsink.

    [​IMG]

    6. Cut a strip of thermal pad and place it over the Chokes and MOSFETs.

    Alternatively, depending on the fit of the heatsink, it is possible to replace thermapads with thermal paste if the gap is too small. In addtition, it is possible to apply Thermal Paste -> Thermal Pad -> Thermal Paste on the Chokes and/or MOSFETs to enhance thermals.

    Apply the new thermal paste using your preferred method on the CPU die.

    [​IMG]

    Assemble the heatsink and tighten the screws in steps following the order 1 -> 2 -> 3

    7. To upgrade the memory, carefully remove the metal cover to expose the RAM module. Open the tabs and let the module pop up. Remove and replace bearing the position of the notch in mind.

    I replaced the original stick with a Crucial DDR4 2400 MHz SODIMM module since it has the same latency values as the original module.

    Attach the cover back by aligning the tabs all around.

    [​IMG]

    8. Turn on the laptop and check that it POSTs. Using HWinfo64 check that the memory is detected and timings are correct. Check that the CPU temperature is normal.

    [​IMG]

    9. If everything is OK, turn of the laptop and assemble the bottom cover. Make sure all clips have engaged.
     
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  5. IKAS V

    IKAS V Notebook Prophet

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    Would love to see some FPS numbers and temps when gaming?
    Would get one but with the 4800U right around the corner I’m hesitant but there’s no denying you can find good deals for this ?
    Out of curiosity where did you buy it from and for how much?
    Last question do the fans get loud when gaming? at 25W or higher what temps do you get and does fan noise get worse?
     
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  6. Biker Gremling

    Biker Gremling Notebook Consultant

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    Regarding temperature, it's basically what you set power and temperature limit with Ryzen Controller. But with re-paste, 30W limit and rising the back of the laptop, it will run at 75~80°C.

    FPS numbers, depend on the game and setting. What are you looking for in particular?

    The 4800U has still the Vega 10 iGPU, and power adjusting might not be an option on that CPU. The only thing is that some apps that depend on single core performance will choke with the 3700U, but in my testing, Lightroom, Photoshop, Resolve and basically any good program that takes advantage of multi core and GPU acceleration just works fine.

    Laptop was purchased on Adorama for $620


    Fans do get louder under load, but compared to a gaming laptop, this thing is much, much more quiet when gaming.
     
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  7. IKAS V

    IKAS V Notebook Prophet

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    Nothing particular just curious about gaming performance in general, I’ve been thinking a lot of buying a AMD laptop.
     
  8. Biker Gremling

    Biker Gremling Notebook Consultant

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    Performance is between an MX130 and a MX150.

    Basically, AAA games before 2010 is 60fps at 1080p high settings. Modern AAA games is 30fps at 720p minimum settings. Then there's everything in between.

    Enviado desde mi GM1913 mediante Tapatalk
     
  9. IKAS V

    IKAS V Notebook Prophet

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    That’s actually not too bad .
     
  10. Biker Gremling

    Biker Gremling Notebook Consultant

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    Recently had to take my wife to the hospital. While she was being attended, I got up to date on work, played for 2 hours Company of Heroes 2, and still had 20% of battery to spare.

    Probably will look into replacing the screen since it is the low point of the device, but don't know if this will be possible since everything might be glued together.

    Enviado desde mi GM1913 mediante Tapatalk
     
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