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ghanwani
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ThinkBook questions

#1 Post by ghanwani » Tue Jan 23, 2024 2:10 pm

What is the general take on ThinkBooks? Are they as durable as ThinkPads?

I am interested in the recently announced machine because of its 3:2 aspect ratio.
https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/p/coming-s ... en101b0036

How long does Lenovo take to start selling a laptop after announcing it?
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#2 Post by ZaZ » Tue Jan 23, 2024 10:29 pm

Depends on a lot of factors, which generally Lenovo will not be forthcoming about. If the 3:2 aspect ratio is your thing there are some you can buy right now.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#3 Post by ghanwani » Tue Jan 23, 2024 11:22 pm

ZaZ wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2024 10:29 pm
Depends on a lot of factors, which generally Lenovo will not be forthcoming about. If the 3:2 aspect ratio is your thing there are some you can buy right now.
What are some of those? Display on the Microsoft Surface Laptop & Laptop Go doesn’t work for me for some reason. I feel eye strain just playing with it in the store.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#4 Post by ZaZ » Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:27 am

There's the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Acer Swift 3, HP Spectre, Asus Zenbook S.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#5 Post by ghanwani » Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:53 am

ZaZ wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:27 am
There's the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Acer Swift 3, HP Spectre, Asus Zenbook S.
I don't think the current Zenbook S is 3:2 and the new HP Spectre is also moving away. There may be last year's Spectre available with 3:2. Current X1 Yoga also looks like 16:10. Swift 3 is 16:9.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#6 Post by TPFanatic » Wed Jan 24, 2024 10:28 am

If I needed a new laptop so desperately and didn't want to pay big $$$$ I'd even go for IdeaPad. $400 could get me a nice 17" IdeaPad at Staples. ThinkPads have always been pricey. Specs and modularity over price favors new ThinkBooks and Legions over new ThinkPads.

Granted, buying 6-8 year old ThinkPads for my personal use has generally worked for me so far....

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Re: ThinkBook questions

#7 Post by ZaZ » Wed Jan 24, 2024 12:59 pm

I don't think having a CPU that's a gen or two older makes much of a difference in practical terms, but it's your money. This Swift 3 is clearly 3:2.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#8 Post by ghanwani » Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:10 pm

ZaZ wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 12:59 pm
I don't think having a CPU that's a gen or two older makes much of a difference in practical terms, but it's your money. This Swift 3 is clearly 3:2.
It looks like they moved away from that aspect ratio. I prefer to have a CPU no older than 13th gen. Anyway, let's see. I need a machine for getting my taxes done. If the ThinkBook doesn't become available in the next couple of weeks or so, I may go with something else.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#9 Post by ZaZ » Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:21 pm

I'm curious why you'd need a 13th gen to do your taxes, which I would presume is not particularly onerous for any PC made in the last decade? Of course buying a notebook with a 3:2 screen likely precludes getting one with a 10-key, which may be advantageous for entering numbers.
ThinkPad L14 - 2.1GHz Ryzen 4650U | 16GB | 256GB | 14" FHD | Win11P
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#10 Post by ghanwani » Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:24 pm

ZaZ wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:21 pm
I'm curious why you'd need a 13th gen to do your taxes, which I would presume is not particularly onerous for any PC made in the last decade? Of course buying a notebook with a 3:2 screen likely precludes getting one with a 10-key, which may be advantageous for entering numbers.
The urgency to buy a machine comes from wanting one to do my taxes on, but I expect it to have some longevity and decent performance with the latest OS for regular usage. Older CPU tend to have all kinds of lag effects when starting apps, loading pages with heavy graphics, etc.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#11 Post by mikemex » Wed Jan 24, 2024 9:20 pm

ghanwani wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 1:24 pm
The urgency to buy a machine comes from wanting one to do my taxes on, but I expect it to have some longevity and decent performance with the latest OS for regular usage. Older CPU tend to have all kinds of lag effects when starting apps, loading pages with heavy graphics, etc.
I can totally understand your desire to have the latest, but to claim that previous technology is inadequate is completely false. Buy one, two, three generations older... you're unlikely to notice the difference.

You see, computer technology has been pretty stagnant for many years. For example, PCI Express was introduced with the T43 in 2005 and is the same technology computers use today, just updated with higher frequencies and the like. Multi-core, LED / IPS screens, fast USB ports, WWAN connectivity, Webcams, Gigabit Ethernet, Fingerprint readers... Thinkpads have had all of that for more than a decade now. I assure you: with a generous amount of RAM, a modern SSD and *properly configured* environment, pretty much any machine less than 10 years old will serve your daily needs.

Just to give you a concrete example of what I'm talking about: I still use my X301, and that thing uses an ancient Core 2 Duo chip. I just did install, like I do with all my machines both old and new:

* Firefox. Not the fastest browser, but the most configurable. I disable disk cache to avoid wear on my SSDs.
* NoScript. It blocks all the unneeded crap most web sites load. Makes a day and night difference on ANY machine.
* Multi-account containers. By having different profiles you save the need to open a second browser for other tasks, saving both memory and CPU.
* H264ify. Sites like Youtube use modern codecs by default that older machines do not decode via hardware. By forcing the H264 video format (AVC1, Blu-ray encoding) everything is handled by the GPU, even on old machines.

You'd be surprised about how responsive it is.
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C5: 7600U | 16GB | 1TB | FHD
X1C9: 1145G7 | 16GB | 1TB | WXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WXGA
P14s G1 AMD: 4750U | 32GB | 1TB | PG FHD Touch
T14 G2: 1145G7 | 32GB | 1TB | FHD

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Re: ThinkBook questions

#12 Post by ghanwani » Wed Jan 24, 2024 10:13 pm

What OS are you running on it?

Also there’s usable vs comfortable. If it’s spinning the fans and heating up which is what tends to happen as the machine gets older then there’s a problem. Plus battery life tends to be lower because the cores are not as efficient. From what I understand the 14th gen Intel brings some pretty substantial improvements. The 10th and 11th gen were pretty bad. At work our laptops come in maxed out config and by the end of 3 years they are really having a tough time even with regular apps like office. The difference when we get new ones is huge.

Recent processors bring improvement in boot time, sleep mode, security, graphics processing, power management, etc.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#13 Post by mikemex » Thu Jan 25, 2024 1:04 pm

ghanwani wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 10:13 pm
What OS are you running on it?
Windows 10 (and Ubuntu 22.04). My machine is of the late batches with Windows 7 instead of Vista and 7 to 10 was a free upgrade. So I'm running a fully lincesed OS, still supported officially by M$. (I prefer Windows 7 but I'd rather not keep fighting windmills).
ghanwani wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 10:13 pm
Also there’s usable vs comfortable. If it’s spinning the fans and heating up...
Sure, I'm not telling you to use an ancient laptop like mine. My point is that progress has been pretty slow over the years, specially when it comes to features. My 9th generation X1 Carbon (11th intel) has 4 antennas pre-installed, for 5G WWAN, but only a 4G card. It already comes with cutting edge technology such as self-refreshing panels to save battery. So other than minimal gains in real world performance from the extra cores, I don't see any tangible benefit compared to 10th and 11th generations.

Truth is that brands like Lneovo make a lot of their money selling products that companies can deduct from taxes. They have to release a new product every year to keep that cycle going. It's not even technical; it's financial / corporative logic.
ghanwani wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 10:13 pm
... which is what tends to happen as the machine gets older then there’s a problem.
Hardware doesn't get slower with time. It is exactly as fast as when it was released. It is new software that becomes unoptimized and bloated over time. And that's because developers reason just like you: they don't need to make an effort to extract maximum efficiency because people will just buy more powerful hardware to compensate their lazyness (or incompetence).

I've been toying with Sphinx C-- lately, a development environment from over two decades ago that can produce Windows software which is amazingly small and compact. That's because it relies on the Windows API directly, rather than getting into the habit of linking huge runtime libraries into applications. I'm talking about things like a 2Kb MP3 player or 5Kb Direct 3D demo. I only saw that level of software development skill and efficiency back in the days of the DEMOSCENE.
ghanwani wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2024 10:13 pm
Plus battery life tends to be lower because the cores are not as efficient. From what I understand the 14th gen Intel brings some pretty substantial improvements. The 10th and 11th gen were pretty bad. At work our laptops come in maxed out config and by the end of 3 years they are really having a tough time even with regular apps like office. The difference when we get new ones is huge.

Recent processors bring improvement in boot time, sleep mode, security, graphics processing, power management, etc.
Not sure what you are talking abut but it sounds to me like you have a big problem with the software environment you run. I'm using my X1C9 (1145G7) in a parking lot right now, thus connecting to Internet via WWAN and Windows battery meter shows nearly 18 hours with 93% charge.

This machine came pre-installed with Windows 11 but I'm using Windows 10.
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C5: 7600U | 16GB | 1TB | FHD
X1C9: 1145G7 | 16GB | 1TB | WXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WXGA
P14s G1 AMD: 4750U | 32GB | 1TB | PG FHD Touch
T14 G2: 1145G7 | 32GB | 1TB | FHD

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Re: ThinkBook questions

#14 Post by TPFanatic » Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:03 pm

I find the 4c8t intels which were mainstream from 1st gen clarksfield to 7th gen kaby lake remain competent processors especially paired with an SSD and slimmed/trimmed/lightened + firewalled OS. Most apps by default will abuse network privileges to self update or do telemetry , in the past we called this spyware, now its Just business as usual. Block them and the OS suddenly gets a lot leaner.

Right now i think an intel skylake 4c8t workstation with Thunderbolt 3 40gb/s is the oldest that remains competitive. These are served by thinkpad p50 and p70, which as well as supporting modern i/o (Thunderbolt, nvme) also have legacy i/o (bottom dock, optical drive on p70, sata, expresscard).

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Re: ThinkBook questions

#15 Post by ZaZ » Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:07 pm

My HP with 8th Gen Core i CPU feels about the same as my desktop, which has a CPU that offers about 4x the oomph, doing typical tasks like office, consuming media or surfing, though is definitely coding video.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#16 Post by TPFanatic » Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:33 pm

admittedly im biased to p50-51-70-71 because i own a p71, and my sister has a p70 (cpu performance is 1% difference between skylake and kaby lake) we both use them for personal media creation (3d art, 2d art, photography editing, video editing) and then all other PC tasks (network browsing, optical and streaming media consumption, some games). We favor P70’s ability to fit two 2.5” SATA drives in addition to two B+M key m2 slots. The wwan slot can hold an SDXC adapter, the expresscard slot can hold another M key SSD. The GPUs are powerful and replaceable, even base maxwell m600m is faster than all prior thinkpads’ weak kepler and fermi Nvidias. I use a more powerful egpu over Thunderbolt for software that needs more VRAM. We also use the thinkpad USB-C and Thunderbolt cable docks to hook up additional USB-encased hard drives.

And They have the best 6-row keyboards of the entire 6-row thinkpad lineup.

They totally beat our prior ivy bridge thinkpads in performance and expansion. But the ivy and olders are still OK for anything a chromebook can do.

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Re: ThinkBook questions

#17 Post by mikemex » Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:34 pm

ghanwani wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2024 2:10 pm
What is the general take on ThinkBooks? Are they as durable as ThinkPads?

I am interested in the recently announced machine because of its 3:2 aspect ratio.
https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/p/coming-s ... en101b0036

How long does Lenovo take to start selling a laptop after announcing it?
Back on topic: I will not consider any laptop from Lenovo that doesn't come with a Trackpoint. But if that's not an issue for you, that machine looks pretty nice. 74Wh battery at 1.25 Kg sounds really impressive. And the fact that it comes with Arc graphics means that it'll have the 28W CPUs (the U CPUs still come with Xe graphics). However, the wisdom of running a high power CPU in an ultra-portable laptop remains a mystery; it has proven to be a bad idea over and over. Quality is likely to be very good; Lenovo is known for a lot of things but bad quality is not one of them. I believe Thinkbook is placed below the Thinkpad brand, but direct comparison between an L series Thinkpad and a top of the line Thinkbook would be misleading.

I'd expect such machines to be available around April. It's usually by the end of the first quarter that machines really hit up the market.
Last edited by mikemex on Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C5: 7600U | 16GB | 1TB | FHD
X1C9: 1145G7 | 16GB | 1TB | WXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WXGA
P14s G1 AMD: 4750U | 32GB | 1TB | PG FHD Touch
T14 G2: 1145G7 | 32GB | 1TB | FHD

ghanwani
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#18 Post by ghanwani » Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:40 pm

mikemex wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:34 pm
I'd expect such machines to be available around April. It's usually by the end of the first quarter that machines really hit up the market.
Bummer. I will likely need to get something by early to mid Feb. The ThinkBook has what I consider to be my ideal specs -- 3:2 aspect ratio, matte LCD display, < 3 lb.
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Re: ThinkBook questions

#19 Post by TPFanatic » Thu Jan 25, 2024 3:18 pm

If you can tolerate a little more weight (3.5 lbs) and widescreen, department stores sell ideapads under $400.

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Re: ThinkBook questions

#20 Post by mikemex » Thu Jan 25, 2024 3:45 pm

ghanwani wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:40 pm
Bummer.
Call Lenovo if you are really into it. Mine is only an estimation
ghanwani wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:40 pm
The ThinkBook has what I consider to be my ideal specs -- 3:2 aspect ratio, matte LCD display, < 3 lb.
The battery. None of the truly portable Thinkpads has 74Wh battery capacity to my knowledge. Whatever you end up purchasing, remember to install ThrottleStop to adjust the PLx levels. The PL2 in particular (turbo) is what makes a laptop really drain power. I usually set it to 9W/15W and the fan almost never turns on.
TPFanatic wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:33 pm
admittedly im biased to p50-51-70-71 because i own a p71, and my sister has a p70 (cpu performance is 1% difference between skylake and kaby lake) we both use them for personal media creation (3d art, 2d art, photography editing, video editing) and then all other PC tasks (network browsing, optical and streaming media consumption, some games). We favor P70’s ability to fit two 2.5” SATA drives in addition to two B+M key m2 slots. The wwan slot can hold an SDXC adapter, the expresscard slot can hold another M key SSD. The GPUs are powerful and replaceable, even base maxwell m600m is faster than all prior thinkpads’ weak kepler and fermi Nvidias. I use a more powerful egpu over Thunderbolt for software that needs more VRAM. We also use the thinkpad USB-C and Thunderbolt cable docks to hook up additional USB-encased hard drives.
Nothing a more modern P16 can't do. It has four DIMM slots, the graphics card is slotted too and it has two M.2 slots. Honestly, the logic of equipping 5 drives into a laptop to expand capacity is obsolete. M.2 keep growing and growing in size and prices keep plummeting. They are also much more efficient at the same capacity than running multiple drives.

With my X301 I learned that it makes no sense to spend the expansion slots increasing capacity. The real purpose of having expansion slots is to add features. I've been thinking, just for the fun of it, to add USB 3.0 support to my X301 - and a more modern WLAN/WWAN. Not that can you much with PCI Express 1.0...
TPFanatic wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:33 pm
And They have the best 6-row keyboards of the entire 6-row thinkpad lineup.
Absolutely. My X1C9 is faster and runs longer on battery, but the ergonomics on my X1C5 are on a different level.

But the best reason to keep a classic Thinkpad is how durable they were. My X301 is simply better built than a more modern T14. I do not worry when handling it, compared to my X1s, which I always treat as if they were made of glass...
TPFanatic wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2024 2:33 pm
Ivy and olders are still OK for anything a chromebook can do.
A good friend of mine has inherited my old stuff (T420/T530) and seems to be quite happy with it. He only does CAD stuff with old software and basic web browsing. Performance is more than adequate.
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 1TB | WXGA+
X1C5: 7600U | 16GB | 1TB | FHD
X1C9: 1145G7 | 16GB | 1TB | WXGA | WWAN
X1Y8: 1365U | 32GB | 1TB | WXGA
P14s G1 AMD: 4750U | 32GB | 1TB | PG FHD Touch
T14 G2: 1145G7 | 32GB | 1TB | FHD

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