ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) Owners Lounge

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by Anthony Accioly, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Anthony Accioly

    Anthony Accioly Notebook Consultant

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    Installed a few hours ago. So far so good.
     
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  2. chumley

    chumley Notebook Consultant

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    Hello everyone. I'm a new X1C6 owner. I'm also new to Lenovo, coming from many years with Dell Latitude laptops. I had no real complaints about the Dells, but this time I was free to choose, and Lenovo offered a more appealing combination of features and price.

    I bought the Costco model which has i7-8550U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 1080p screen. It came with the Samsung SSD and Delta cooling unit.

    I haven't yet read through this whole thread, but I plan to. A few quick questions:

    - Is a clean install of Windows recommended, or is the factory install good to go?

    - Any recommendations on docking solutions? One reason I chose Lenovo is because they are one of the few manufacturers who still offer mechanical docks. Previously I used the Dell E series docks with my Dell machines and never had a problem with them. Dell only offers tethered docks now (i.e. USB-C or Thunderbolt). I'm leaning toward the Lenovo Pro dock 40AH, or the TB3 dock 40AC. I'll be driving a pair of 1440p displays connected via DP, so either of those docks will handle it. The pro dock seems like it might be a little easier to use, since the laptop just snaps in and no driver software is needed. The TB3 dock seems like it might be more versatile, since it keeps a TB3 port available on the dock and on the computer, while the Pro doc covers up both TB3 ports. The TB3 doc can also be used with non-Lenovo computers in the future. I've also read that the X1C6 can run hot, so another benefit of the TB3 dock is that it would allow the use of a cooling pad under the computer if desired. Any comments would be appreciated.

    - Any other tips or tricks for a Lenovo/X1C6 newbie?

    Thanks in advance!

    Edit:
    Found this thread on reddit that has some related discussion, including a list of known issues.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/8ybokm/new_x1c6_on_the_way_what_do_i_need_to_know/
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  3. aliv

    aliv Notebook Enthusiast

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    The clean installation is the only way I follow when I purchase a new laptop. Two main reasons:
    1. I try to use portable apps where possible and only install those apps, that I absolutely need to be installed. Nothing more.
    2. I don't use Windows 10 Pro with all telemetry and rest of the garbage that default Windows 10 Pro is coming with. Right away I legally upgrade to Enterprise LTSB, reconfigure firewall and turn off many useless features.

    So for me a complete reinstall is the only way to go.
     
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  4. chumley

    chumley Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks. For the time being, I will only have the license for Win 10 Home that came with the machine. I will probably still try to do a clean install.
     
  5. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    Perks finally came in around 40%, so I went for an i5 HDR 16GB model.

    Not a glossy fan, so I am hoping the backlight can overwhelm most glare.

    This will be my first laptop since 2010 without a Nvidia GPU o.0

    Edit. I got it a couple of days ago and have been using it side by side with my E5450 Dell.


    TL;DR: I like the laptop. Some things about the old Dell I still appreciate, but overall, I like the X1 carbon's first impressions and am looking forward to keeping it for at least 2-3 years (and hopefully not 4 years like the Dell).



    KB is a bit better than the Dell, trackpoint is actually easy to use, compared to the Dell. It's a firm trackpoint, and not mushy like the Dell version. The screen isn't a massive upgrade over the Dell (glossy vs a really good matte), though 2560x1440 basically removes a lot of the issues with Windows Snap - namely, many apps require at least 1100 or so horizontal pixels, which is more than a 1920x1080 display can provide in Windows Snap side by side mode. This meant Windows Snap usually allowed one app to take over ~60-70% of the screen, while the other application is crammed into a smaller sliver of the display. With the WQHD display, this is no longer an issue! :D


    As for battery life, it seems to be a tiny bit better than my E5450 with the 62Whr battery (Thinkpad has 57WHr). Acceptable, IMO, given the much higher specs and lighter weight of the X1.

    It lacks a dGPU (which the Dell has), and will be my first computer to rely solely on Intel IGP that I have ever purchased. After experiencing my parents' Intel Extreme Edition 2 graphics when I was younger, and GMA950 a bit later, I've always held off buying anything with Intel IGPs. Hopefully the Skylake IGP doesn't fall flat on its face (only game I really play anymore is Starcraft 2).

    In the SSD lotto, I got the Intel Pro 6000p 256GB, which is a fairly slow NVMe SSD. I ordered a Samsung 970 Pro 512GB long in advance, and will likely keep the Intel SSD as the "restoration/backup" SSD.

    In the fan lotto, I may have lost out, I'll know for certain when I upgrade my SSD. It seemed noisier before the latest BIOS upgrade was applied, so maybe the fan lotto results won't matter.

    Battery life when watching YT videos is (from 80% to 20%, just like the Dell) around 4 hours, a bit better than the 3.5 hours then Dell afforded. When typing or other less Network + Display heavy tasks, it seems to be around 7 hours (estimate only).

    Modern standby seems to work for now. If/when it fails, I will revert to S3 standby. From what I've read, S3 standby on the X1 carbon doesn't take appreciably longer than Modern Standby. On the Dell, the laptop would be basically unusable for at least 30 seconds, due to some odd latency (and this is even with Hybrid Standby/Hibernate disabled - enabling it made everything far worse. 16GB RAM with a slow SATA SSD was never a recipe for success in that mode).

    A couple of gripes compared to the Dell (and Sony):
    Battery charge limit values are poorly retained. Seems to lose them whenever the app is updated, or if I started charging when the laptop was powered off. I don't know what caused it to fully charge. I'll keep track for future purposes.
    That leads into my second complaint: the BIOS is really limited compared to the Dell. It's not HP consumer PC bad (though their Probooks are quite good, IMO), but in the Dell, the battery charge limit could be set in the BIOS. This ensured that the charge limit would be respected across all OSes and a software update wouldn't just "lose" the limit value. After reading about the TB3 BIOS settings potentially bricking Thinkpads, I'll hold off adjusting anything I don't need to adjust.

    I've stumbled a tiny bit with the fn-ctrl placement, but I think I've gotten used to it. The placement is the same as my old Thinkpad and a Sharp Aquos laptop we used to have (that laptop had a bright, glossy, high resolution display, too).

    I'll have to see in a year if the laptop has held up as well as the Dell did after a year. The Dell battery started randomly dying and taking the laptop with it. The chassis of the Dell was quite a bit stronger than I expected, including a metal lid on the display half of the laptop (no longer available on the Latitude 5000 series). The chassis of the Dell finally started cracking after 3 years. Part of that is likely due to being in a backpack with only a softsleeve for protection. I'll try to avoid that with the X1 carbon, since it's actually small enough to fully fit in that sleeve (which has a handle), whereas the Dell and Sony were a bit too large..

    The display seems to somewhat match the capabilities of my old U2711h that I still use. In a worst case scenario, I will at least have a light, portable version of that display.


    Now, if this wasn't already long and rambling enough, I may as well get into why I chose the Thinkpad? TL;DR? Dell doesn't make what I want. I will never, ever buy another HP (no explanation given), and Lenovo still seems capable of making a passable Thinkpad.


    The first computer I used was a Thinkpad, 310ED. Used it for 6 years (was my parent's laptop). Didn't even know "mouse" meant some external puck and not the red eraserhead until I was older. I recently pulled that old laptop out during an x86 assembly project (rather than relying soley on a Win98 VM) and rediscovered the fun of using the Thinkpad (only relation in this old laptop were KB, trackpoint - it also has a 6row, rather than the classic 7 row). Since my first computer purchase was a M11xR2, I've been somewhat biased in favor of small, compact powerhouses. However, these are anathema to Macbook Air clones, so that segment is basically dead. The Vaio I bought was the next best thing (13.3", dGPU), as was the Dell that I replaced it with (14", dGPU). Anything else was simply too big and too heavy to really count. I considered the XPS15 for a while, but the lack of a trackpoint and the poor KB (worse than my E5450 Dell, almost worse than my Vaio), basically nixed that for me. It was only marginally larger than my E5450, too.

    I'm not a stranger to the Lenovo era thinkpads, either. I purchased and gave a X230 to someone leaving for university. That owner is quite careful, and even so, that laptop has survived a lot (including what seemed to be a malicious attempt by a 3rd party to spill a lot of OJ into the KB and cover it up). I haven't gotten much feedback on it, other than it has taken a beating over 4 years and still easily functional. That person now uses a MBP15, though. Maybe a 12.5" display was a bit too small, and I should have chose a T430s, instead. But this was back when I still had the M11x, and I was in strong favor of smaller laptops (and the 12.5" display was already larger than my 11.6" display - little did I know how good small laptop displays could get, even in small chassis, like the XPS13 9343). I guess this is a good time to bring up the XPS13 9343. Wasn't mine, but I have a bit of experience with one (2 months). Decent display, matte coating isn't as strong as I'd like it to be. Fit and finish were good, but I've read it wears poorly under heavy use, and I can believe that. Very rigid chassis, but I didn't iike the cold, aluminum exterior (mag alloy on the E5450 was better, IMO). CF/plastic interior was great, though. The KB just isn't great, nor is the KB layout. They fixed the KB layout with the latest gen, but strunk the battery and nixed basically all of the ports. I'm okay with the missing ports, but not the shrunken battery. Also, a display model in Costco didn't seem as rigid or well assembled as the 9343 sample. It now only comes with glossy displays, and the WQHD+ option was removed, in favor of a 4k display (overkill, IMO).

    In the Latitude side of things, it wasn't much rosier. Given the continuous decontenting of the 5000 series latitudes, the high price and limited featureset of the 7000 series latitudes, I decided to look in the Lenovo waters. The X1 was the only one that came with a higher resolution display (vs 1080p) and had an interesting camera shutter feature. The T480 and T480s lacked that specific combination. The Dell Latitude 5000 series used to have decent quality display panels, too. That is no longer the case, and passable displays are now exclusive property of the 7000 series.

    Ultimately, the X1 Carbon 6 isn't exactly what I wanted (I wanted a dGPU), but it is close enough to the ideal. I like that it uses USB-C PD charging, which reduces the number of unique chargers I have to carry on trips. It may actually outperform my i7 2600k desktop in CPU tasks. I like it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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  6. PentiumMMX

    PentiumMMX Newbie

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    Hello everyone.

    Does anyone have any experience using regular Kensington locks with 6th gen?
    Manual says that it is only compatible with Kensignton MiniSaver with Cleat system. However, 5th gen (which seems to have exactly same body) is compatible with regular lock, so I suspect this might be just a cashgrab by Lenovo (they sell the lock for 50$).
     
  7. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    I don't know. I've found surprisingly little information comparing the two (beyond the basics: the newer MiniSaver is smaller). At a glance, it shouldn't work.

    I have a question of my own: can the fan itself be directly replaced without replacing the heatsink, or is it all an unified unit?
     
  8. FinchX

    FinchX Notebook Enthusiast

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    The new Intel graphics drivers once again break ChromaTune! Stick with .6168.
     
  9. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Unified unit.

    The Furukawa Nidec one is even spot welded so you can't take the fan out to clean.

    The Delta one is held on by several screws so you can partially take it apart to clean the fins inside.


    Even if the Furukawa Nidec one isn't spot welded there's still the issue of the top cover plate being differently shaped and that's soldered to the heatpipes, presumably to act as a passive heatsink / more surface area.
     
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  10. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    Thanks! Everything is so fast on this laptop. Even Edge works properly o.0. I'm beginning to realize how thermally (firmware) broken my old Dell was.

    Is there anything less desirable about the current Lenovo 6223 drivers?
     
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