Lenovo ThinkPad T14 & T14s Owners Thread

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by Ramzay, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Creating this to gather all details/thoughts/reviews/comments from owners of Lenovo's new T14 & T14s.

    I've ordered both the T14 and the T14s, currently playing around with the T14 while I wait for the T14s to arrive, will post some of my thoughts in the coming days.
     
  2. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Current very quick thoughts after a day with the T14 ( /w AMD® Ryzen™ 5 PRO 4650U):
    • Great keyboard, as always
    • Very slim, despite the rather large bezels (wish they'd pull a Dell XPS and get rid of those chunky bezels, not really appropriate in 2020 on such a premium/expensive laptop)
    • Very quiet, even under load
    • Temperatures (CPU & keyboard deck) are very cool
    • 16GB of soldered RAM is operating in single channel (didn't think of that when ordering, for some reason I assumed it'd be in dual-channel)
    • Attracts fingerprints like crazy, as usual
    • Mousepad has a rough finish rather than smooth, not a fan of that personally
    • Nice screen, quite bright - I got the high-response time panel from BOE (B140HAN05.7)
    • Top-firing speakers sound OK, nothing too crazy but definitely better than most laptops that have speakers on the bottom
    Specs:
    • AMD® Ryzen™ 5 PRO 4650U
    • 16GB DDR4 3200 onboard RAM (soldered)
    • 128GB PCIE NVMe sSD
    • 14" low-power 1080p 400 nits display
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  3. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    Okay so I'll chime in.

    After 5 days with my T14s (Ryzen PRO 4750U)
    • fantastic keyboard
    • thin and light almost to the point where the magnesium alloy feels like thin plastic (it's not)
    • I can live with the "retro bezels" but just like Ramzay said, times have moved on
    • got the "bad" 400 nits low power panel, but can live with the slight ghosting, colors and brightness otherwise are great
    • 32 GB of soldered dual channel ram
    • fingerprints are not that bad, also the material doesn't feel as rubberized as that of the X1 carbon or other T-series laptops
    • trackpad is smooth, no issues there
    • I actually like the nipple and the buttons
    • down-firing speakers, they sound like laptop speakers, MacBooks hold the crown in this segment, there is no comparison, it's okay for soft listening to music in the background or the usual Windows beeps and blips or voice calling, for everything else: use headphones
    Issues:
    • wonky Wifi 6 which I wasn't able to fix yet, connection doesn't drop but data transfer just stops randomly, I'm getting a lot of timeouts on websites or stuck percentage between web-installations
    • this thing runs hot immediately, idle temperatures are between 58°C and 68°C, doing just one task, like installing something, it immediately sky rockets to well over 85°C, starting a big application, exporting a PDF, doing a benchmark or running League of Legends for like 20 seconds and it hits 98°C before throttling down. Fan runs relatively silent, but at lightspeed at almost all times as soon as I open any program.
    Still evaluating things and seeing if I can fix something myself or if it's a know issue, but at the moment, I'm about to return it and hope this goes without a hiccup.

    Specs:
    • AMD® Ryzen™ 5 PRO 4750U
    • 32GB DDR4 3200 onboard RAM (soldered) in dual channel
    • 512GB PCIE NVMe sSD
    • 14" low-power 1080p 400 nits display
     
  4. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    @Scollurio
    We've had a chat in another thread, and it really seems like you've got either a really bad paste job or just a lemon - those temps do not seem normal. While the 4750U should run a bit hotter, I don't think it should run that much hotter. My T14s is on track to arrive tomorrow, I can then add my findings.

    Going to literally copy-paste my post from that other thread here:

    Keep in mind my T14 has the Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U, so likely runs cooler than the 7 Pro 4750U.
    • While mostly idle, average CPU temps are around 42C (ambient temp of 24-25C). Laptop is silent and cool to the touch.
    • Running Cinebench R20 with Turbo set to "Efficient enabled" gets me avg CPU temps of around 57C, and the fan is pretty much silent (might be running so slow I can't hear it). Hottest part of the keyboard deck is 35C (WASD area 34C), CR20 score of 1809
    • Running Cinebench R20 with turbo set to "aggressive" (the default option the laptop ships with) gets me average CPU temps of around 66C (CR20 score of 2226), fan is quiet but somewhat audible. Hottest part of the keyboard deck is 35C (backspace key, near the vent) WASD key area is 34C
    Note that those avg temps were after multipe runs of CR20 - after just one run they barely went above 60C.

    Though it seems the Bios update Lenovo pushed out today might have changed the CPU performance - yesterday I was getting 2500-ish CR20 scores with turbo set to default (aggressive), today they're down to 2200 (temps are down too). I'm guessing Lenovo might have been getting complaints about temps, so they might have lowered CPU voltages, though I didn't make a note of the prior stats so I can't compare.
     
  5. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    Thank you again for your support. Just ran a few other tests. Now cinebench won't go over 2500 result anymore. Opening League of Legends (loading the LAUNCHER) breaks 85°C. Opening up Photoshop. Just, opening it, 80°C. Transforming a huge image, 96°C.

    Will return it and then wait till more reviews are available, if I should go buy another one or just do something else.

    Again, thanks a lot!
     
  6. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Probably the right thing to do at this point. The T14 seems to handle just fine, cool & quiet, so that's always an option for you. It really doesn't feel that thick at all, pleasantly surprised at that aspect. Slightly smaller battery, but a vacant SODIMM slot plus the (apparently) much better cooling seem to make it a winner.

    Barring that, the HP ProBook 445 G7 could be an option - apparently performs well, cool & quiet and much cheaper (though its a 15" machine).

    EDIT: Keep in mind my cinebench scores went down after installing the latest BIOS - I'm guessing Lenovo must have tweaked something that reduced performance while improving thermals. Turns out the reboot simply reset power performance to the middle option.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  7. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    I'm making too big of a fuss of all this already, I've been investigating Laptops for a while now and was holding out for the new Ryzen chips. I do love Thinkpads design language and aesthetics, I could definitely live with a T14 to be honest. It was my first choice anyways, just thought I'd go for the T14s for "finer" materials, better battery life. But yeah... I also checked the cooling solutions beforehand, I noticed that the T14 had a dual heatpipe system but also that the T14s had a THICKER heatpipe and since it should also be able to run the now usually hotter Intel chips, I thought it should be fine. But as you say, I don't think this is how it's supposed to be.

    Do you have any experience returning stuff with Lenovo? I bought it directly from their online store, which is handled by digital river over here in Austria. Should I make contact with Lenovo or Digital River? They have a 14-day period return policy and I only received mine on 27th of July, so should be fine.

    Again, thanks.
     
  8. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    I've never had problems returning things with Lenovo - I just contact Lenovo directly.

    Currently running some IntelBurnTest with Best Performance Mode turned on. Definitely running hotter than with Cinebench, getting max/avg temps of around 84/78C.

    Ran some more Cinebench R20 again - it looks like my system had defaulted to "Better Performance" when running my prior tests. Setting it to "Best Performance" gets me R20 scores of 2541 and max/avg temps of 83/79C (vs scores of 2220 and max/avg temps of 66C under "Better Performance"). Fan noise was noticeable (but not too loud).

    That being said, I'll gladly take the 300-point hit to Cinebench scores (and other performance hits) to shave off 12-20C of CPU temps, 2-3C of keyboard temps and obtain a practically silent fan.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  9. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    Hey, it's me again. I have some new interesting findings after some more testing.

    Let me begin with some curiousity. When I got the T14s I changed ONE setting in the BIOS. The amount of RAM that is going to be dedicated to the Vega GPU - I switched it from AUTO to 2 GB, which is the max, believing it would do some good. After thinking a lot about my thermal issues I remembered that this was the only setting I changed. So I went into the BIOS and set it back to default, AUTO.
    After that, I did another bulk of benchmarking with Geekbench 5 and Cinebench 20, in ECO, BALANCED and POWER modes.

    I've gathered some interesting data. I have to say, within all usecases the CPU speeds bounced around wildly, as is expected when putting a sustained load onto an 8-core CPU in a small form factor. Hardly did the cores hit full boost speed. Again, as expected, even though it's a shame (I'm getting the feeling your R5 might be the more sensible choice over my R7).

    Anyways, after I switched the setting back to AUTO, for whatever reason, the high spikes in temp during normal use were gone. Starting League of Legends brought it up shortly to 70°C. During normal use the average temp was around 65° (28 °C ambient temperature, so quite warm). Before it was reaching 75° or even 80° easily just running idly.

    Here's the benchmarks (during which I noticed that the Vega graphics took 860 MB of RAM for itself):

    Temperatures are averages.

    GEEKBENCH
    ECO | CPU 1030 singlecore, 3570 multicore, 68°C | GPU 10277, 70°C
    BALANCED | CPU 1122 singlecore, 5673, 80°C | GPU 12172, 85° C
    POWER | CPU 1133 singlecore, 5934, 92° C | GPU 12137, 92° C

    CINEBENCH 20
    ECO | 1625, 64°C
    BALANCED | 2545, 70°C
    POWER | 2900, 80°C

    INDESIGN PDF EXPORT
    Reference Ideapad 5, Kabylake i5, Quadcore: 53,42 s
    T14s
    ECO | 47,92 s
    BALANCED | 38,5 s
    POWER | 38,0 s

    Conclusions
    Unfortunately the R7 hardly ever uses it's full potential. The high temperatures during benchmarks are expected, there's heavy throttling going and still this thing crushes Intel's offerings in the same class by almost 100%. Can you imagine if this beast had enough cool air to breathe and wouldn't be limited to 15W TDP and got it's full thermal envelope of 25W TDP? One can dream.
    Also it seems like if you leave the Ryzen alone, have your power settings on balanced and don't fiddle with the BIOS settings for the iGPU, you get the best blend of performance and efficiency. The Power mode doesn't yield much benefit over the balanced one, except the thing is running hotter. The idle temperatures are now better than before, but still seem hot to me.
    The ECO mode will save a lot of power when you're running on battery but it will also severly affect the CPU power, I've seen the frequency drop as low as 1,2 GHz, well below the 1,7 GHz baseclock.

    Still on the fence of sending it back,
    would be curious to see Ramzay's numbers on his T14s when it arrives and how the values and temperatures compare.

    I feel like the powerful R7 is a waste of power for this kind of chassis and the R5 might be the more sensible, smart choice.

    Hope this all helps someone besides myself.
     
  10. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    That seems about right I think, maybe a tad high. A more powerful CPU in a smaller machine with a weaker cooling solution running 5-10C hotter than mine makes sense.

    That's a common trend these days - manufacturers put hardware in a chassis that can't properly cool it/feed it the power it needs. Remember the old Alienware laptops? They were thick and heavy, but ran cool & quiet - they were designed perfectly handle the components they housed.

    That was my finding too - increasing the power mode to the max did result in better performance (Cinebench scores went from 2200 to 2500), but temps went up 10-15C and the fan was no longer silent. Not worth it to me.

    For me, I don't really see any difference in real-world performance between a 4700U and the Pro 4650U despite the latter having twice the threads (I'm also testing a Inspiron 5505). Sadly, I'd read somewhere else that the T14s just doesn't cool as well as the T14. You could always check reviews for the T490/490s & T495/495s. Apparently the "new" T14/T14s are just minor refreshes of those machines, so any cooling discrepancy from those prior machines could very well apply to these machines.

    Many other choices around too. If you're looking for a powerful machine, the ASUS G14 has gotten great reviews - powerful and the laptop can actually (mostly) run the hardware it has. A few tweaks apparently greatly increase battery life and temperatures (reviews indicate the G14 runs about as hot as your T14s, except it is running a 4800HS/1660Ti or 4900HS/2060). Otherwise there's the HP ProBook G7 series, also apparently runs quiet & cool.
     
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