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Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

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Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#1 Post by upgrades » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:56 pm

Some say the souped up quadcore i7 Lenovo model w520 is still better than a W530 and will outperform most newer top model laptops . Can anyone elaborate dispute or confirm? Thank you

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#2 Post by brchan » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:20 pm

Well, a W530 goes up to a 3920XM which is much faster than a top W520.

Additionally, newer processors, especially broadwell and skylake, have added instruction sets and significant optimizations. Even if you have a newer cpu whose 'raw' score is a bit lower than a 2960xm, the newer CPU can still be faster in most real world applications. Here is an example between a W530 and P70: https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... _the_w530/
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#3 Post by upgrades » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:41 pm

From benchmark comparisons the 2960xm beat out in some tests the 44xxqm or k and is right up there in overclocking 3.7 vs 3.8gz. Im trying to find out more actual realtime specs for the 2960xm and modern ones.tt

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#4 Post by Cigarguy » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:31 am

The classic keyboard in the W520 beats it for me. The processing power, for my usage, is still insignificant. A T60 is still sufficient for my portable computing needs. A desktop with better everything is what I use when I need serious computing power. Having said that, if you need latest and greatest portable computing power, I'd look at an Elitebook or a business class Dell before a late generation Lenovo.

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#5 Post by upgrades » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:42 am

i owned a loaded T61 which was top of the line way back but it died on me few moths ago videocard motherboard toast..it was still pretty good up until it died.

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#6 Post by upgrades » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:32 am

Maybe George can answer this he owned a loaded one before

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#7 Post by upgrades » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:36 am

brchan wrote:Well, a W530 goes up to a 3920XM which is much faster than a top W520.

Additionally, newer processors, especially broadwell and skylake, have added instruction sets and significant optimizations. Even if you have a newer cpu whose 'raw' score is a bit lower than a 2960xm, the newer CPU can still be faster in most real world applications. Here is an example between a W530 and P70: https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comme ... _the_w530/
would that depend on the applications? Surfing, burning dvds, downloading pdf files videos and movies?

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#8 Post by bit_twiddler » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:21 pm

What tasks might you want to be doing?
The best way to figure out what you need
is to work back from there.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#9 Post by upgrades » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:59 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:What tasks might you want to be doing?
The best way to figure out what you need
is to work back from there.
intense many hours of surfing, factfinding, downloading music, burning dvds cds, youtube watching recording onto laptop, opening lots of files including adobe and pdfs, facebook and social media..at least 6 hours each time i get online,

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#10 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:56 am

You shouldn't even need a W520 for that.
A regular T500 or T520 could do that!
Looking for braggin' rights?


Also: no double-posting please (W520 vs W530).

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#11 Post by bit_twiddler » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:01 pm

Agreed, definitely overkill.

Nonetheless, they are very nice machines, although not particularly
portable when you consider the power brick. Sandy Bridge was a big
jump in terms of CPU, and gains have been incremental since then.

The only reason why one might consider a more modern machine
would be if you need newer graphics or have some other special
requirement.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#12 Post by tipo33 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:00 pm

I purchased a used quadcore W520 about 3 years ago now, and couldn't be happier. I am a moderate user, I like to run Virtualbox to test linux distros, and have no less than 40 tabs open in Chromium at any given moment. The 16Gb of RAM certainly help, but the advantages of a newer processor would come at the cost of a decent keyboard. I purchased it with the knowledge that it will be the last laptop I purchase for a long time.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#13 Post by FryPpy » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:45 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:Agreed, definitely overkill.
But my vote for W530.
tipo33 wrote:but the advantages of a newer processor would come at the cost of a decent keyboard.
Last week i've got one. Already i maxed out RAM to 32Gb. And now planing keyboard mod to reconquest classic keyboard. In terms of raw power W530 can do more with 3940XM but 3840QM and 3820QM can be on par with topmost 2960XM from W520. Yes it is possible to mod 20-series Thinkpads to eat 3nd generation Core-i CPUs - but this mod is more complicated (for me) than keyboard mod. The only one drawback of W530 - absence of eSATA port if one needs it.

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#14 Post by bit_twiddler » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:51 pm

I think it's great if you guys love the W530, and bypass the W520, because
I want to pick up another one.

So, I take back what I said. W520... terrible machine. Or, to rephrase,
"These aren't the droids you are looking for."
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#15 Post by BakedKentucky » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:37 am

FryPpy wrote:
bit_twiddler wrote:Agreed, definitely overkill.
But my vote for W530.
tipo33 wrote:but the advantages of a newer processor would come at the cost of a decent keyboard.
Last week i've got one. Already i maxed out RAM to 32Gb. And now planing keyboard mod to reconquest classic keyboard. In terms of raw power W530 can do more with 3940XM but 3840QM and 3820QM can be on par with topmost 2960XM from W520. Yes it is possible to mod 20-series Thinkpads to eat 3nd generation Core-i CPUs - but this mod is more complicated (for me) than keyboard mod. The only one drawback of W530 - absence of eSATA port if one needs it.
What sort of mods do you have to do to throw in a 2960xm into a 520?? A bigger cooling fan?? and bios updates?? What about a 2860qm?? Is that an easier mod for the 520??

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#16 Post by bit_twiddler » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:19 pm

What sort of mods do you have to do to throw in a 2960xm into a 520?? A bigger cooling fan?? and bios updates?? What about a 2860qm?? Is that an easier mod for the 520??
A 2860qm should be a very easy mod, although I haven't actually done one.
I just picked up a machine that had one. It's an overlooked processor with
performance inbetween the 2920XM and the 2960XM (from benchmarks, I don't
own an XM machine.)

The 2960XM is probably a different motherboard part, and a quick check through
the hmm should confirm this.

Sandy Bridge was actually the last big jump in CPU performance. Since then we have
seen big strides in GPU performance. If you intend to use the integrated GPU and not
the nvidia chip (which you can turn on and off in various ways in these machines),
then that might be a consideration. Benchmarks like Passmark include the integrated GPU
performance as part of their calculation.

As a point of reference, I picked up a Dell Precision 7510 with a Xeon E3-1545 processor,
thinking that I would get a factor of 2 speed improvement for a compute-intensive
project that I am working on. I was wrong, and am actually seeing only about a 20%
improvement overall. I would not consider this to be a significant improvement.

On the other hand, GPUs have advanced by leaps and bounds. If you want to play games
or something like that, then you might need the latest stuff. There were several nvidia
GPUs which went into W520 and W530 machines. If you really need the most powerful
GPU then you might have to get an XM machine (although I cannot confirm this.)

All this being said, the W530 looks like a great machine. I've used a lot of keyboards
over the years, and IMHO the one on the W530 is not so bad for a laptop.
I just don't see any great necessity for someone to buy one and swap in a W520
keyboard when a W520 with a high-end CPU is such a great performer.
I would just go with the one that has the keyboard and discrete GPU that you want.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#17 Post by Hans Gruber » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:08 pm

This is the wrong forum to be asking such questions. If there is a loaded thinkpad that exists. Rest assured one of the forum members has it or one just like it that has been modded with faster processors than Lenovo sold it with. The rare bird that I have is the W500 fully loaded with the 3.06ghz CPU.

When you consider things like integrated GPU's. that is something the newer Thinkpads have in spades over a W520 or W530.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#18 Post by BakedKentucky » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:41 pm

bit_twiddler wrote:
What sort of mods do you have to do to throw in a 2960xm into a 520?? A bigger cooling fan?? and bios updates?? What about a 2860qm?? Is that an easier mod for the 520??
A 2860qm should be a very easy mod, although I haven't actually done one.
I just picked up a machine that had one. It's an overlooked processor with
performance inbetween the 2920XM and the 2960XM (from benchmarks, I don't
own an XM machine.)

The 2960XM is probably a different motherboard part, and a quick check through
the hmm should confirm this.
Im hearing conflicting reports on the ease of the 2960xm mod. Some say you have to upgrade the cooling fan to the 55w and possibly update the bios. Others say its more complicated, really haven't gotten definitive answers. I really want to know bc im always interested in builds and mods.
But, I have heard the 2860qm runs on the same 45w fan and is the biggest CPU in the w520 without mods. Does this sound right? Correct me if im wrong.

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#19 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:51 pm

BakedKentucky wrote:
Im hearing conflicting reports on the ease of the 2960xm mod. Some say you have to upgrade the cooling fan to the 55w and possibly update the bios. Others say its more complicated, really haven't gotten definitive answers.
No BIOS mod/update required BUT a 55W heatsink is AND these were only available for W520, not T520. It's not clear to me - might have something to do with the fact that I'm tired - whether you own a T or a W.
But, I have heard the 2860qm runs on the same 45w fan and is the biggest CPU in the w520 without mods. Does this sound right? Correct me if im wrong.
Correct. Plug & play, all the way.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#20 Post by BakedKentucky » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:28 am

ajkula66 wrote:
BakedKentucky wrote:
Im hearing conflicting reports on the ease of the 2960xm mod. Some say you have to upgrade the cooling fan to the 55w and possibly update the bios. Others say its more complicated, really haven't gotten definitive answers.
No BIOS mod/update required BUT a 55W heatsink is AND these were only available for W520, not T520. It's not clear to me - might have something to do with the fact that I'm tired - whether you own a T or a W.
But, I have heard the 2860qm runs on the same 45w fan and is the biggest CPU in the w520 without mods. Does this sound right? Correct me if im wrong.
Correct. Plug & play, all the way.
Awesome! Thats good news I have the w520 with the 2760qm and recently came across a 2960xm. Do you know any good places to get a 55w heatsink so I can slap that puppy in there?

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#21 Post by ajkula66 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:48 am

BakedKentucky wrote:
Awesome! Thats good news I have the w520 with the 2760qm and recently came across a 2960xm. Do you know any good places to get a 55w heatsink so I can slap that puppy in there?
Not really. Try posting a WTB (want to buy) ad in the forum's Marketplace, check feebay...it's shouldn't be a difficult item to get hold of.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#22 Post by theterminator93 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:24 am

BakedKentucky wrote:
But, I have heard the 2860qm runs on the same 45w fan and is the biggest CPU in the w520 without mods. Does this sound right? Correct me if im wrong.
My W520 shipped factory with the 2860QM and the 55W fan. However mine also has the Quadro 2000M GPU.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#23 Post by bit_twiddler » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:40 am

I'd be interested in hearing if a W520 with a 1000M can be upgraded to a 55W fan
since there are so many motherboards specified in the HMM. The HMM lists different
motherboards for 2000M and 1000M machines (as well as for many other options,
such as RAID.)
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#24 Post by MikalE » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:44 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:You shouldn't even need a W520 for that.
A regular T500 or T520 could do that!
Looking for braggin' rights?


Also: no double-posting please (W520 vs W530).
Heck, my I7 T520 still smokes most new mid-grade machines. I doubt I'll be replacing it in the near future.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#25 Post by Raidriar » Mon May 15, 2017 9:43 am

Though I don't have a sandy bridge based thinkpad off hand....I can tell you the 2920XM/2960XM is not a tired chip in the slightest. Just upgrade the heatsink, fan, and if the heatsink is copper based, use some liquid ultra and download throttlestop. I have my 2920XM in my Alienware M18x R2 running at 4.4Ghz all 4 cores and will destroy anything short of an overclocked new desktop, CPU wise. It's a very capable chip, just need to make sure it is properly cooled.
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#26 Post by thinkpadcollection » Tue May 16, 2017 3:06 pm

i7 and Quads processors are significant asset on W10 even firefox and malware scanners benefits most than from this vs running windows 7 that does not utilize cores very well. I had to go W10 on few machines and seen improvements especially i5 and i7, in future in my cards, xeon for my HP z220 (currently i5-3570, 16GB 1600MHz). I went from C2D 3.33 on optiplex 780, 16GB, W10 and even on that 780 had *some* improvements too even with W10 yet C2D 3.33 is suffering. Q2D can help but that is 3GHz and too expensive for the age.

I had to place malwarebytes on this W10 z220 recently and this even did not impact the performance that much. :)

In a nutshell, go 4 cores if you can for any reasons.

Cheers, thinkpadcollection

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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#27 Post by MikalE » Tue May 16, 2017 5:08 pm

Doing that very thing on Sunday after my i7-2760QM arrives along with some A/S and a new power supply to feed it.

I expect to see a bit of improvement in performance over my current i7 dual core.
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T520 i7 4242-4UU(CTO)


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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#28 Post by Saucey » Wed May 17, 2017 8:14 pm

Well with the Dell Precision M4600 and M4700 you can upgrade the graphics card, and can utilize some of the Alienware GPUs if you ever fry the graphics.
With the W520 and W530, you need to replace the motherboard for that. :oops:
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Re: Is Lenovo W520 quadcore with 2960xm cpu still Better than the top W530 and most of The newer laptops of today?

#29 Post by nforce4max » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:52 pm

Been using a 2920xm in my W520 with the Quadro 2000m for almost two years now and it is true that the older quads do beat out a lot of newer laptops because they only have wimpy low clocked dual cores. Against newer quads the W520/30 is left behind but for the cost Sandy and Ivy Bridge wins out as they are so much cheaper these days. The only down side for this platform is that the cooling isn't up to the job handling a 55w quad with full turbo on all four cores ( seen mine pull 69w with four cores at 3.2ghz). At least for those wanting one of these XM proc is that the prices are dropping and it won't be long people will be buying only for the prices to balloon back over $200+ for a while.

The cooler for the W520 just isn't beefy enough and the fan profiles (bios level) is annoying so I keep it forced with TP fan control. Really wish these TPs had a proper mxm slot so that gpu upgrades were possible instead of paying out the rear for another board with a slightly better gpu (done this).

By the way you can use fast ram should you desire but it needs to be 1.5v compatible and you can go up to ddr3 2133. Using stock bios so no updates.

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