Lenovo P52 build ideas and questions! I hope this may help others too!

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by Rob, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Rob

    Rob Toughbook Aficionado

    Reputations:
    450
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Hey all,

    Those that know me here know I'm a Toughbook guy but I have a new usage case for my job/career so here it goes.

    I was up all night reading the egpu.io forums (I've posted this thread there too with no replies yet) after I stumbled upon the eGPU enclosures on Dell.com looking at precision workstations. Man I’m glad I did because I was seriously considering a $5800 Dell laptop so I could get a P6200 GPU and while I can afford it I’d obviously rather not spend 6 grand on a laptop. After a few hours of sleep I think I have my mind made up. Please let me know below if I missed anything?

    Let me paint you a picture so you can see why I want to do this and also so you can see what I have now.

    I’m NOT a gamer and will NOT be playing games. This is to be used as a high end workstation that is on 24/7/365 and will NEVER be turned off. Average RAM usage currently is 16 – 22GB with the VM’s I use too. Win 10 Pro 64 bit is of course my OS of choice (Although with Xeons I guess it’s “for Workstations”. Currently I am using a workstation I built from scratch back in 11/2016. There is nothing wrong with it and it FLYS but it’s NOT portable. It’s an ultra-small Mini ITX unit (Fractal node case) with 32GB DDR4 2133, I7 6700 (Not K, just a regular 6700), Samsung 960 Pro NVME (970 wasn’t out then of course) and it has this video card in it (PCIe 3.0 x 16): https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127948

    My needs have changed in the last year and a half or so and I’m to the point where I *NEED* to be able to take my high end workstation on the go when needed. I only travel a little bit through airports so having a big bulky laptop isn’t too big of a deal really as it would be to and from work in my backpack on my Segway or my truck. The eGPU would stay at the office all the time too and I’d use the dedicated P2000 GPU when I’m mobile. I am actually the Vice President of Service at Rugged Depot and as such I’m a Toughbook guy and rock a $3,000 CF-54 but let’s face it, Panasonic Toughbook’s aren’t known for their speed lol. It’s just a basic touchscreen unit with an i5 6300u, 16GB RAM and of course an EM7355 4G LTE card for use on Verizon. I could get a newer version of that which is an i5 7300u with an AMD WX 4150 but let’s face it that’s not the same as a workstation Xeon CPU with a Quadro video card and an NVME SSD. The Toughbook I was eyeing that I’ve decided to NOT get is here: https://ruggeddepot.com/shop/product/rugged-laptops/toughbook-54/panasonic/cf-54j7900vm/259112227/0

    The Lenovo P52 with an Intel Xeon E-2176M with 32GB of ECC RAM and a P2000 GPU with 4G LTE is what I’m 99% sure I’m going with unless someone can point me in an even better direction keeping in mind the cost. Price is $2388 the way I have it configured but that is without the Samsung 970 Pro NVME 512GB SSD which is another $168. Talking to the web-chat person they were able to do $2028.60 on it which isn’t much but every penny helps right?

    Per Lenovo it has TWO USB 3.1 / TB3 connectors. Pictures & specs here towards the bottom: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-p/ThinkPad-P52/p/22WS2WPWP52

    Here is where I want to start being demanding J. My needs are pretty simple *cough*:

    - Reliability and longevity is the most important thing over all

    - CONVENIENCE is a close 2nd to the above reliability need. What do I mean by this? Since the P52 doesn’t have an actual docking station like I’m used to with my Toughbook (Dock at the office + a rugged dock in my truck mounted too) (I chatted in and the guy on the web chat said it doesn’t due to the TB3 docking capabilities. Makes sense). As such, I want to be able to plug and unplug 1 or 2 cables every day I come and go, end of story… I don’t want to be messing around with disconnecting all these cables, HDMI, etc etc etc. I’m a busy person and I don’t have time for any nonsense with tons of cables, etc.

    - Expanding on what I said just above – According to Lenovo (Again on the web chat) the lady told me that the 170W charger is the high power one but you can trickle charge and use the laptop by powering it through the TB3 connector too. This basically takes it from 2 plugs to connect/disconnect every day and brings it down to 1.

    - 2nd sub point to the convenience point above – The P52 has TWO TB3 connectors and according to the lady on the web chat they *BOTH* have 4 x PCIe lanes to use = 8 total lanes. In theory I could get TWO eGPU eclosures with TWO 1070’s or 1080’s or whatever for native 8 screen support as opposed to using just 1 with the rest being pluggable video cards like I use now on my current desktop. This of course would add quite a bit to the cost. Figure another grand minimum to do this minimum.

    - The laptop *HAS* to have 4G LTE in it for use on Verizon, no exceptions here. CHECK

    - The laptop *HAS* to have a touchscreen. CHECK

    - I cannot and will not use 4K screens for my job. 4 smaller 1080 res screens is better for what I do.

    - 4K on the laptop is *NOT* required although for touch on the P52 it’s 4K. Whatever…

    - The laptop *HAS* to be able to be equal to or greater in overall performance than the desktop I have above. CHECK

    - I absolutely need to have a MINIMUM of 6 screens but with a new office in mind shortly here it will be 8 screens. CHECK provided I use TWO eGPU enclosures or a couple Display Link Pluggables (I know, gag)

    - I’m eyeing the Razer Core V2 due to the fact that it has gigabit Ethernet and 4 USB ports on it. I look at this as a docking station in addition to the dedicated GPU.


    Here are the remaining questions:

    1). Are there any other enclosures that are better that have more ports? Really 4 – 6 USB ports is fine, Ethernet is a must and a speaker port would be nice so I don’t have to buy a USB sound card

    2). Is the P52 *ACTUALLY* rated for 8 total lanes?? I got the detailed spec sheet from Lenovo here but it doesn’t make any mention of it? Yes, I’m pushing this further for documentation from the lady I’m working with at Lenovo too! http://psref.lenovo.com/syspool/Sys... P52/ThinkPad_P52_Platform_Specifications.pdf

    3). Will there be a theoretical drop in performance from the PCIe 3.0 x 16 I’m rocking now? According to Wikipedia it’d be running currently at 15.8GB/s. Of course we’d be using a 4x lane now VS 16 so with the 3.0 card I have is it safe to assume we’re dropping from 15.8GB/s to 3.94GB/s? This is literally a 75% decrease in performance yes??

    4). Are there any enclosures that can utilize BOTH thunderbolt ports and run them together to get 8 lanes using just the single video card I have now?

    5). If it’s cost effective I’m open to getting a new video card but I’d have to see real world numbers to justify it.

    In closing, I’ve tried using a “high end laptop” in years past and it just never seemed to work as it just wasn’t powerful and reliable enough for my HIGHLY DEMANDING work so I gave up. I literally gave up and have been using a desktop for over 2 years now as a result of this. I’m hoping now that this is a feasible thing and if it isn’t then I guess I’ll just scrap this idea and just keep doing what I’m doing and struggle with having to constantly sync data between 2 computers L.

    Thanks in advance for your time!

    ~Rob~
     
  2. Rob

    Rob Toughbook Aficionado

    Reputations:
    450
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    116
    No one?! Is my geek level too much?! I guess I'll just just buy it and try it out lol.
     
  3. rlk

    rlk Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    47
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    136
    Trophy Points:
    56
    What about the P72 (which offers faster GPUs and almost surely has better cooling)?
     
  4. Rob

    Rob Toughbook Aficionado

    Reputations:
    450
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Too heavy. The idea is to bring this to and from work every day and the P72 as awesome as it is; is too big to be doing this. $1,000 more for this unit too the way I want it and you cannot have 4G LTE built in to it. Also the screen isn't possible to be a touchscreen. I *NEED* touch due to some of the applications I use. (Although I don't require 4K)
     
  5. rlk

    rlk Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    47
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    136
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Fair enough. I have been known to schlep both my personal P70 and work P50 and netbook-size tablet, but that's admittedly not very light and hopefully my bag straps won't break :)
     
  6. bobbie424242

    bobbie424242 Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I think the P52 is indeed a good choice for your requirements. I have a P72. detailed lspci
    on my system indicates the Thunderbolt 3 bridges are 4x.

    You could also look into the HP Zbook G5 15" and the Zbook Studio x360.
     
  7. Rob

    Rob Toughbook Aficionado

    Reputations:
    450
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    116
    So that means that the lady at Lenovo was wrong about them both having 4 dedicated lanes then? 4 shared between the two is what you're saying? What does device manager say for the titan ridge controller? Just one or two?

    Thanks!
     
  8. bobbie424242

    bobbie424242 Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    16
    No, there are several. I'm on Linux and here's the output of lscpi:


    sudo lspci -vv | grep "Thunderbolt 3"
    04:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018] (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
    05:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018] (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
    05:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018] (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
    05:02.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018] (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
    05:04.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018] (rev 06) (prog-if 00 [Normal decode])
    06:00.0 System peripheral: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 NHI [Titan Ridge 4C 2018] (rev 06)


    Each one has a line like this:


    LnkCap: Port #0, Speed 8GT/s, Width x4, ASPM L1, Exit Latency L1 <2us
    ClockPM+ Surprise- LLActRep- BwNot- ASPMOptComp+

    Notice the Width x4.
     
  9. Rob

    Rob Toughbook Aficionado

    Reputations:
    450
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Thanks for the update! Okay, will roll with the P52 :)
     
Loading...

Share This Page