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Thinkpad T420s Owners' Thread

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by John Ratsey, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Thors.Hammer

    Thors.Hammer Notebook Enthusiast

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    Call support and have them ship you another palm rest. You'll have it overnight and it's easily replaced. You'll be happy in 24 hours. Stuff happens.
     
  2. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    My T420s has reported for duty. I see that it came from Wistron. The first task was a weigh-in:

    Without battery or optical drive: 1.41kg (3lb 1.75oz)
    With main battery and without optical drive: 1.70kg (3lb 12oz in old units)
    With main battery and optical drive: 1.83kg (4lb 0.5oz)
    with main and bay batteries: 1.94kg (4lb 4.5oz)

    After all the adverse comments about the display, it looks OK to me. The monitor ID is LEN40A1, whatever that may indicate.

    John
     
  3. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    Glad to see your T420s had arrived safely John. The LEN40A1 tag seem to just indicate its a 1600x900 Lenovo monitor, it doesn't tell you exactly what panel you have though. But numerous applications including HWInfo32 will tell you which one you have.

    Tipping the scales under 2 kilos is pretty light for a fully fledged notebook, I look forward to see your trademark review on your latest addition.
     
  4. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    HWiNFO32 reports the display as LP140WD2-TLB1. I have previously had good experience with the LG displays. If I put my nose close to the screen I can see some griddiness.

    I can just read the text on the HWiNFO32 screen at the default settings but I wouldn't want it any smaller. HWiNFO32 is currently showing the CPU power as around 3.5W and Lenovo's Power Manager says 8W, which is a promising start. I see that the CPU's idle speed is 800MHz. The CPU core temperatures are 42 and 43C (on idle) and the fan is running at an almost inaudible ~2,000rpm (it's now gone up to ~4,000rpm which is audible and doesn't want to go back down).

    John

    PS: A further observation: With a 65W PSU the bay battery only starts charging when the main battery is full charged. That's very conservative power management if the computer is only drawing 10W (even if the computer was using 20W it would leave 45W for battery charging).
     
  5. bigbulus

    bigbulus Notebook Consultant

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    John, how good is the display? It says that the display is HD+ (which I assumed it'll at least much better than my E6400 Latitude 1440x900 WXGA+).

    Now my concern is, the people at HP business notebook forum said that the Lenovo screen is a garbage??? I really don't know how good the HP screen could be, but they said HP screen is much much more superior. They called it HP radiance HD+ or something. Lenovo HD+ and HP HD+, my initial thought was they would be very similar, but the HP people said otherwise.

    Please send your feedback. Screen is important to me, the best screen I've ever seen is MBP.
     
  6. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    After reading all the adverse comments about the display I can safely say that I'm pleasantly surprised by it. The contrast is excellent and the white is very white (and I haven't touched the Windows display calibration tool). The colour properties are similar to the LG display that I had in my E6400 which I reckon was slightly better than the Samsung panel in my E6410 (both WXGA+). The only drawback (which I knew about) is that the 900 vertical pixels are squeezed into 17.5cm instead of 19cm so, at default settings, everything is a bit smaller.

    If you are used to a business grade matte display and get this LG panel then you should have no problem with the quality (shame about the pixel size).

    And another bit of good news: This UltraBay HDD adaptor appears to work OK in the T420s.

    My biggest grumble at the moment is that, having exercised the CPU a bit with wPrime, the fan is running at a noisy 4600rpm while the CPU temperature is down at 42C.

    John

    PS: Thought I would test the battery: It's suggesting around 4 hours run time on the main battery but the fan is still running at full speed in spite of the CPU temperature being below 40C. That's necessary wasted power considering I'm in the maximum battery life power profile and the cooling is set to passive cooling. Time to check for a newer BIOS. Mine is 1.09 dated 24th March. Another observation is display brightness below about 50% is too dark for normal usage.

    PPS: It looks like Tpfancontrol can fix the noisy fan problem. I'm using the smart setting at the moment and wait to see if things get a little warm. The CPU is currently idling at about 55C with the fan off.
     
  7. Thors.Hammer

    Thors.Hammer Notebook Enthusiast

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    Which forum and thread are you looking at?
     
  8. jalaj

    jalaj Notebook Geek

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    But the T420s has 1600x900.
    I was looking forward to the X201s successor (hopefully a shift from 1440x900 to 1600x900), but there's no news yet.
     
  9. rubaiyan

    rubaiyan Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hmm... is it that easy to replace? I don't see any "edges" to the palm rest area it seems that the whole are around the keyboard is one big piece (including the speaker bezel thing). But I'll give it a shot and see what they say.
     
  10. rubaiyan

    rubaiyan Notebook Enthusiast

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    So I just ran into another issue, After playing Portal 2 for a while the frame rate suddenly drops to about half or less (unplayable) and the only way to fix it is to restart the game.

    Using Core Temp I noticed the cores where at 96 and 94 degrees. I'm not sure about the GPU temp.

    I'm going to try to use the Intel HD graphics to run the game (still not sure how to do that) and see if the problem is specific to the Nvidia GPU chip/driver.
     
  11. PatchySan

    PatchySan Om Noms Kit Kat

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    You should be able to switch the graphics on the BIOS though 94-96c seems rather hot for the CPU. What game settings are you playing on the T420s, high detail?
     
  12. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    Well also what is your ambient room temperature? That will play a factor in determining if it truly is overheating. Core i series processors run hot. My i3-380M in my E6410 easily hit 70+ running Prime95, even close to 82-83C.
     
  13. rubaiyan

    rubaiyan Notebook Enthusiast

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    ambient room temperature 70-71 degrees F

    I was running the game at the default settings (native res 1600x900, settings were medium/high overall).

    I called them about the touchpad button and like I thought it's a big piece to replace so they suggested it's better to send it over, I'm getting a box thursday and they said it will take about 6 days. I also mentioned the issue with the frame rate and temperature so they will check that also.
     
  14. syhead2

    syhead2 Notebook Guru

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    Today, I became a T420s owner.
    Quick specs: i5, HD+, Win 7 64bits, 4Gb of RAM, 320Gb HDD, Bluetooth, Cam, No FPR

    First impressions, coming from a quite satisfied X200 user:
    (I've also onwed other thinkpads, such as: 600E, T42, X40...

    PROS
    -Feels solid when held with a single hand
    -Great screen (HD+). I've seen lots of people complaining. Maybe they got a different screen model. Or maybe they come from a Macbook. I come from a X200 and I think that the T420s is a great improvement.
    -I like the position of the ports. I don't use a port replicator and I usually have a usb hub and a second screen constantly plugged into the computed. These cable are all going to the back of the machine now, which is GOOD.
    -Quite cool and silent operation

    CONS
    - Battery life is dissapointing
    -Will have to get used to the form factor
    -Keyboard had to be reinstalled with 4 or 5 small business card pieces below it. This is the first thing I do to every thinkpad I've owned: check the keyboard for flex and weak areas. Keyboard is top notch after my adjustments. The weak spots are at the left and right edges.

    Additional comments:
    I could not feel any significant difference with the EE and new chipset. My X200 feels as speedy and the T420s.

    I have ordered a Intel SSD 320, 160Gb. Still waiting for it to arrive. Let's see if I feel significant differences...

    A 4Gb DIM came with my order, so that I could upgrade it to 8Gb. I got a BSOD after installing the DIM. What a terrible luck! The vendor told me that another costumer also had the same problem. Looks like my DIM is incompatible for some reason.

    I'm torn between the T420s and my old X200. The new screen will be good for my productivity. Having a DVD drive is good too. But I still think that the X200 looks nicer...
     
  15. Thors.Hammer

    Thors.Hammer Notebook Enthusiast

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    My bad. I just looked more closely at mine and the hardware maintenance manual. You are right. It's much more complicated than other ThinkPads. I'd still rather do it myself than ship it.
     
  16. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Which model panel? My display is the LP140WD2-TLB1 and it is better than comments had led me to expect. The contrast is excellent but there's not a lot of headroom on the brightness. HWiNFO32 will give you the panel type.

    for me, coming from the Dell E6410 which has all the USB ports on the sides (but at the back), having only one USB port on the sides is a major step backwards.

    That was my initial impression but after the fan speed stayed on high after running wPrime to test the CPU I have installed TPfancontrol to ensure that the fan only gets noisy when it needs to. [The 2000 rpm fan speed is very quiet, 4000rpm is tolerable and 4500rpm is noisy).

    We can expect impressive results from a 44Whr battery. It may be 6 cells, but they are low capacity. In power drain terms, 8W may be achievable but this will give only 5 hours compared to 7.5 hours with the T620's higher capacity 6 cell battery. My impression is that both the main and bay batteries have a solid casing (they feel almost bullet-proof) but not much battery inside.

    I've no complaints about the keyboard as provided (except I would prefer a backlit version).

    What are the specs of your RAM. I've just installed a 2GB Crucial PC3-10700 module to supplement the installed Samsung 2GB PC3-10700 module (eventually I'll move over 2 x 4GB OCZ modules from my Dell).

    John
     
  17. poiuytr

    poiuytr Notebook Enthusiast

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    John & syhead2, thanks for your first impressions!
    I have some question about battery life.
    You said that battey life is disappointing, but with what kind of tasks (web browsing, Office) ?
    How many hours did the 6-cells last ?
    Have you buy (and try) the ultrabay battery ?

    Thanks :)
     
  18. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    See below: display on half brightness. Computer almost idle (I'm watching the power drain and using the snipping tool).

    Main battery only:
    [​IMG]

    Main and Bay Batteries:
    [​IMG]

    I have a couple of observations on the above: (a) Adding the bay battery increases the projected run time disproportionately to the additional capacity; and (b) The computer discharges the bay battery first (presumably so that when it is empty one can swap it for the next one).

    As I have noted somewhere, a power drain of around 8W is fairly typical of light usage. I'm now playing a DVD at half brightness and that's in the range of 14 to 20 W so a 2 hour DVD will almost drain the main battery.

    Half brightness is as low as one can reasonably go unless in a gloomy room. Full brightness will add another 2W to the power drain.

    Battery time depends a lot on what is happening. If one is consciously trying to maximise the run time and is only working on a document then 5 hours should be achievable on the main battery alone.

    John
     
  19. poiuytr

    poiuytr Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you for the detailed answer! One last question: :D
    Are you playing a DVD in the DVD burner or a video files (DivX, .mkv) ? DVD burner should drain the battery a bit faster than playing video files, I guess.
     
  20. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    That was in the DVD drive. However, the supplied DVD player (WinDVD) uses all spare RAM to cache the data so the drive only runs up occasionally. It looks as if I could get to about 2.5 hours of playback at half brightness.

    John
     

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