Lenovo ThinkPad T14 & T14s Owners Thread

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

  1. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    Hey there, I can provide a bit information for you.

    Firstly about the screens. I feel like you, 300 nits is not bright enough. Luckily the 400 nits low power display on my T14s is bright, vibrant and most importantly perfectly matte. It hardly shows any reflection, it's a blessing to my eyes so yes, whenever you can get a matte display, get it. Also, it appears to me that on all ThinkPads the memory is dualchannel, at least if it's more than 8GB, so your should be fine. Lenovo is very sloppy when it comes to documentation. Nowhere near does it say" dual channel capable" (like in the T14 psref file) for the T14s but it's definitely dual channel. Even a support guy told me it's single channel. It's not. It's dual channel. On the T14s that is, if you get the T14, you DO need to add a ram stick to the free slot (or order it with one) to get dual channel for the overlapping porting of RAM.

    About the Ryzen 7 PRO, if you read up my walls of text in this thread, I have this exact processor in my T14s but ended up returning it, will be picked up on tuesday. It hurts my head, because that laptop is wonderful when it comes to everything else but cooling. The Ryzen 7 PRO in it is blazingly fast, but throttles hard all the time and the whole laptop get's blisteringly hot, at least my unit. Probably got a bad paste job though but I don't want to have to repaste a brand new laptop. Now that I'm sending it back, I saw in my country the R7 PRO is sold out. Great so I can't get a new one. Also, I might get a T14 instead of a T14s vor allegedly better cooling, but now professional reviews are out yet. This really get's on my nerves but running just Photoshop or having a few browser tabs open and having an average temp of 85°C is too toasty for my taste. Playing League of Legends for 10 Minutes rams the R7 into it's thermal limit of 105°C really agressively. Throttles hard afterwards, even below base clock just to cool down. So, the Ryzen 7 PRO is a GREAT processor and punches in the category of way bigger workstation processors, only the T14s has a REALLY hard time cooling it. During benchmarks it mostly runs at 2,8 GHz instead of 4,2 GHz max boost. It only boosts that high in bursts, which is expected, but then it gets hot so fast, after it it needs to run at base clock or even below to cool down. The right side of the keyboard gets really hot around the exhaust, about 50-60°C easily.

    I just hope I got a lemon and can get a T14s or T14 with the R7 later on, that won't melt through my table and sink to the centre of the earth...

    If you have specific questions, I still have my T14s till tuesday.
     
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  2. FusionR86

    FusionR86 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the detailed response. One reason to go for the Ryzen 5 might be that it runs cooler (I assume?), and if the Ryzen 7 can't reach its full potential because of the thermal limits then that's just wasted money. Though I hope that your device is just a lemon and that the others work fine. If you had the option to try another Ryzen 7 T14s would you? Or are there other (minor) annoyances you have with it?

    I do have two small rather specific questions.
    1. Can you open the laptop with just one hand, or is it too stiff? From what I've heard Lenovo laptops are usually not that easy to open with just one hand. This won't make me change my mind about the laptop itself, but I was just wondering.

    2. The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 has three keyboard backlight brightness options. If I were to describe them as a scale from 0 - 100 it would be 0% (off), 90% (bright) and 100% (a tiny bit brighter). The last two options hardly differ in brightness. How is this on your T14s?
     
  3. FusionR86

    FusionR86 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Oh and how is the touchpad? (Can't edit my post for some reason).
     
  4. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    @FusionR86 I have a T14 with Ryzen 5 Pro 4650, 16GB on-board RAM

    1. You cannot open the laptop with one hand, its quite stiff (which I personally enjoy)
    2. Only two brightness options. I'd probably describe it as 75% and 100%
    3. Opinions may differ, but I personally often just go with the sligtly less-powerful CPU, as its cheaper, runs cooler/quieter, and I don't need the extra power from the more powerful CPU (neither does the vast majority of laptop users in the world). I have a Latitude E7440 with a core i5-4300U, and for the work that I do, it doesn't really perform that much worse than this brand-new T14 (it is slower, but not by a huge margin).
    4. When speccing out a "normal" Lenovo product, I'd usually buy the extra RAM/SSD directly from them (its cheap). But they grossly over-charge for ThinkPad upgrades, so if you're buying a ThinkPad, get the smallest amount of SSD you can, then upgrade yourself. If you're getting a T14, get the soldered-on RAM quantity you need, then buy your own RAM stick to put in the SODIMM for the same reason.
    5. Trackpad is fine, though its a rough plastic Synaptics, while on such a premium/expensive machine is should be a smooth glass Windows Precision pad.

    The soldered-on RAM on the T14 is single-channel, need to add a stick to make it dual-channel (as was mentioned above). Unless you're using heavy workloads (rendering or some other 100% CPU task that runs for 30min +) I don't think the Ryzen 7 is a big difference-maker. For normal productvity workload (Office, web browsing while listening to music, Slack, Remote Desktop, etc. all at the same time) it doesn't make a difference from what I can tell. Obviously you have to know your workload needs and how much CPU you need. but if your CPU spends most of its time under 100% load, you probably won't notice the difference between the Ryzen 5 & 7 (benchmarks don't really matter much in real-word scenarios for most people).

    My overall take on the ThinkPad T14/T14s is they are just too expensive for what they are. Chunky bezels that have no place on a premium ultraportable in 2020, trackpad is just ok, performance isn't really any better for most people than a Dell Inspiron or IdeaPad 5 with the non-pro Ryzen 4000 chips, they are fingerprint magnets, edges are a bit sharp depending on how you sit at the laptop (fine for typing, but sharp for using the trackpad). But, the keyboard is superb (at least on the T14), thermals on the T14 are good, screen is bright, build quality is good and the T14 has top-firing speakers.

    They're just too expensive in my opinion. I bought a Inspiron 5505 with Ryzen 7 4700U, 300 nits screen, better trackpad, worse keyboard, nice finish that doesn't attrack fingerprints, and performs about on par while costing almost 60% less where I am.

    EDIT: added 1-2 details, some minor corrections.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
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  5. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    Hey there, I know the struggle of decisionmaking when it comes to a Laptop (or anything else really), so I am happy to help you out where I can.

    If the Ryzen 7 would be cooled properly, yes I'd always go for the Ryzen 7 because even with heavy throttling this thing is a beast. But also, I had occassions, where it was all slowing down to a crawl as the T14s tried to avoid catching fire. Judging Cinebench 20 benchmarks the Ryzen 7 in the T14 seems to run at 2,8 GHz on average, whereas the R7 in my T14s runs at 2,6 GHz on average, I suspect the cooling solution on the T14 to be better, because it's made for an Intel CPU + discrete graphics chip, when you select the AMD option you don't have a descret graphics card so my idea is, that the cooling solution should be able to batter handle the R7. Still it seems to throttle. I understand that thin laptops with powerful hardware are a compromise, but in my understanding this compromise is already the 15 W power limit on the CPU, and it still can't stretch it's legs. After comparing benchmark scores with other users and owners, also of a T14 with Ryzen 5 I still cannot come to a conclusive answer if the R5 can reach its potential better than the R7. Numberwise the R7 seems to be about 15-20% faster. If it was properly cooled I'd guess it'd be about 40% faster than the R5. But that's just a gut feeling.

    Sorry for making this long, but I am very enthusiastic about this topic. The R7 (and also the attached Vega 7 graphics) are so powerful, I could even run quite new and demanding games on "medium" with good framerats (only the temperatures would almost melt my mousehand).

    Besides the R7 seeming underutilized I only have one minor quip with the T14s and that is Wifi 6. Being the only Intel part in the system it's ironic that it's making problems. I do get, at times, not always, drops in connection. Like when downloading web based installers, like Adobe Creative Cloud stuff, the download % would keep getting stuck at a certain value for a time before it continued normally. Same with steam. All that while being in the same room with my router and no problems on other devices. I suspect, if there was something wrong with it, a future update would fix it.

    1. No, you cannot open the T14s with one hand. The hinge ist stiff (and screams QUALITY), the laptop is really light and will skid all over the place when you try to open it with one hand. I didn't mind this.
    2. With FN+Spacebar you can adjust the brightness of the keyboard to OFF/50%/100% and it seems to be well balanced around this values, but since the keys have a deeper and much more satisfying travel distance than other non-thinkpad keyboards you get a lot of "light bleed" around the keys. It's not only the letters like you'd get on a MacBook. Personally, I don't mind .

    Besides the gripes I have with it the laptop is fantastic. I just wonder if it's even possible to cool the R7 properly at all in this kind of form factor. It's workstation-grade performance, really. Remember the times of the MacBook Air? You KNEW you'd get a slow laptop but for that the battery would last forever and it was light and portable. Nowadays all laptop makers strive for thinner machines while sticking performance parts in it that run like crap, but it reads well in the brochure "8 core Ryzen 7" compared to "4 core Intel i5". Yes it's more powerful, yes Intel is put to shame by AMD this year, BIG time. But seing that R7 crippled by thermals in a T14s hurts my heart because it's more like a "preview" of what's possible. I also hope I just got a bad machine. It's sad sending it back because besides the heat issue I completely fell in love with this machine. It's aesthetics, feel, and oh the keyboard. I even use the nipple and enjoy it.

    If you have further questions, just shoot!
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
  6. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    I agree on everything you said about pricing. While I love the ThinkPads design and build quality, compared to their own IdeaPad line they ARE too expensive. Processors really can't stretch their legs and I was wondering, who they actually are for. Someone who needs the Performance of the R7, can't use it fully because of thermals. The typical target audience would be business people holding presentation, showing stuff to customers, traveling a lot, doing excel spreadsheets and word. But for that use even the smaller R5 is WAY overproportionalized. I mainly got mine as a "writer's laptop" and for that, the keyboard is PERFECT. BUT... I'd rather not use it as my main machine (doing graphics design also) and JUST for writing, but what processor to get? There is no Ryzen 3 option which I feel would be the better choice for such a thin chassis. Quadcore Ryzen would be plenty, really. Also Lenovo messes up their whole product lineup. No AMD options for their workstations, nor AMD for X1 Extreme. They are all stuck to Intel, which look inferior to the AMD chips.

    I feel like a ThinkPad T14s with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, 400 nits low power screen and a Ryzen 3 Quadcore for 1.100 Dollars would be a sensible choice.
    Also a P14 workstation for those who need it with a properly cooled Ryzen 7 would also be something that'd fly.
    After losing some sleep over all of it, like you say, with the thick bezels and all that... T14 and T14s are too expensive. Yes, security features. Sure. But I don't use any of them except the 2 cents worth of plastic ThinkShutter! :)
     
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  7. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    I guess I edited my post while you were writing yours, might be worth checking what I added in case you disagree with anything.

    How are the edges on the T14s? Sharp or smooth? The speakers are bottom-firing correct?

    I've really been looking hard at the HP ProBook G7 series. They seem to have proper cooling (dual heatpipes, larger fans) and are attractively priced. Only real downside is the sub-par screens (250 nits, 50-60% sRGB). Fine for me, I don't do any video/photo work and mostly work indoors. But for anybody who works sometimes outside or does any kind of media editing, the screens aren't good enough. Then again, if you're looking at an entry-level business notebook like the ProBook, you likely aren't a content creator...
     
  8. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    Yeah I still agree, but with sustained workloads and the Difference between R7 and R5 the problem only gets accentuated. Like you said, in real life scenarions unless you're rendering or video editing, the R7 won't "feel" faster than the R5 at all. But exactly when I need the R7 performance I'm left with a hot mess running at oonly 65% capacity to prevent a nuclear meltdown! :) I'd rather go with a R5 then that's closer running to it's max boost clock during sustained load without throttling and zig zagging with performance spikes all over the place (which my R7 does).

    The Edges are smooth, well rounded and nicely coated. Nothing sharp anywhere. I've read they can be quite sharp on the front end of the palm rest on the T14 right? Speakers are bottom firing yes and really nothing to write home about. Yet they are branded "Dolby Atmos" - I'm not sure if this was a wise choice by Dolby... not much of good advertsing for their tech! :D

    I've checked out the HP series per your recommendation, they just didn't grow on me yet! And yes, you are right about the screens. Too dim. 250 nits in this day and age is just as sub par as ultra thick bezels...
     
  9. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Yes, front and sides are somewhat sharp.

    On laptops that are cheaper, 250nits is fine in my opinion. I have a portable monitor that I plug into my laptop, and at 250 nits its perfectly fine for my needs (indoors). But on premium machines (or gaming laptops), 300 nits with 75%+ sRGB is the minimum I'd like to see.

    When working on spreadsheets, 250 nits + 50% sRGB doesn't really make much of a difference in my productivity vs 400 nits and 90% sRGB.
     
  10. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Guru

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    Nice argumentation on screens there, and again, I agree. Would you (or anyone) need a Ryzen 7 when working on spreadsheets though? I kinda miss the ability to really mix and match the T14 or T14s for that matter to my specific needs. I also hate how they gimp (so you buy the more expensive ones) the E and L series on purpose, for example on battery life, when in reality, because of the thick chassis those machines could easily have the best cooling AND biggest battery. But they also get the cheaper keyboard (non backlit, flimsy plastic) and only really crappy screens.

    I get that they want/need to differenciate their product lineups. But honestly, If a customer is willing to pay for an L14 with standard ThinkPad Keyboard, 300-400 nits screen and a Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 in it with big cooling vents and large battery, why not provide that option?

    Speaking of overprices, what's your thought on the X1 line then? :D

    EDIT: About that sharp edges... I also think this shouldn't be a thing with premium laptops. But in reality laptops stink in general in one way or another. No matter what OEM. XPS also overheat like mad, have coil whine issues and really slow response screens (otherwise great though), MacBooks depending on their year of production have ALL SORTS of issues from crappy keyboards to melting graphics cards, broken screen connectors, etc...

    I really get the impression that we're just at a point in tech and consumerism where lasting, well built machines aren't that easy to come by anymore, even if you're willing to shell out extra for it. I'd argue if I'd get a 500 euro Ryzen Acer machine, which medium specs, for what I paid I'll be happy and there won't be any Quality Control issues. Yes screens will be sub par, yes the keyboard is no ThinkPad Keyboard, etc... but they don't cost an arm and a leg.

    Still,
    I want a ThinkPad for Writing! :)
     
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