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My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

X1/X1-Carbon (X1C) series specific matters only
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PaulBrause
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Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:08 am
Location: Dortmund, Germany

My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#1 Post by PaulBrause » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:46 am

Hello forum,

my partner bought a ThinkPad X1 Extreme and I reviewed it while setting up the machine for her.
You can read my thoughts about it in my blog, here:

https://ikarios.wordpress.com/2018/12/1 ... 1-extreme/

Greetings from Germany, Janni

w0qj
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Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#2 Post by w0qj » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:26 am

Wow, FINALLY a real world hands-on review of 15" X1 Extreme (circa 2018), many thanks!

1. Question: Did you get to actually open up the insides of the X1 Extreme, to confirm that the empty/spare PCIe/NVMe slot is in working condition, with the copper parts of the PCIe/NVMe pins in place?
(The reason I'm asking this is, previous P-series workstations sometimes *do*not* have the SSD connection parts in place (no PCIe/NVMe pins),
if you did not order a second SSD directly from ThinkPad originally.) So cannot add your own SSD in aftermarket.

2. Comment:
The usage for 15" X1 Extreme is very similar to how I use my 14" X1 Carbon, albeit with a larger LCD screen.
My 14" X1 Carbon uses 1920×1080 resolution also. I also avoided the touchscreen, same reason as yours.
I also have 30-40 tabs open in my browser, and sometimes have a second browser open (up to 10 tabs for that one).
Thunderbird email program with tens of thousands of emails with attachments.
Large Excel spreadsheets with macros.
Sometimes run specialised trading programs of small RAM footprint, but intense on CPU.
I also use X1 Search to find both my files and my emails (older versions of X1 Search worked on Thunderbird still! www.x1.com )

RAM usage regularly is 10-12 GB. (Webpages are memory hogs nowadays; some even have videos embedded in them!).
[Edit: We also extend warranty to 5-year On-Site Warranty for our key machines]

All files/photos are on my 1 TB SSD, which is almost full. This is the max SSD size on X1C4 from ThinkPad.
I also have 2+ TB worth of videos, stored on external storage.
[Edit: Correction: 2+ TB]

Guess I'll seriously consider X1 Extreme when my X1C4 bites the dust!
Thanks again for your very detailed real life usage review!
Last edited by w0qj on Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#3 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:31 am

w0qj wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:26 am
(The reason I'm asking this is, previous P-series workstations sometimes *do*not* have the SSD connection parts in place (no PCIe/NVMe pins),
if you did not order a second SSD directly from ThinkPad originally.) So cannot add your own SSD in aftermarket.
That's incredibly distateful on Lenovo's part...especially for a P-series machine.
w0qj wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:26 am
also have 2+ GB worth of videos, stored on external storage.
Wow...either you made a typo or all your videos are 176x144 .3GP videos :lol: . Wouldn't surprise me if that is the video coming right off the internal webcam knowing Lenovo's supreme component picking!!
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

PaulBrause
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Location: Dortmund, Germany

Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#4 Post by PaulBrause » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:19 pm

w0qj wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:26 am
Wow, FINALLY a real world hands-on review of 15" X1 Extreme (circa 2018), many thanks!
Thank you, I am glad that I was helpful.
1. Question: Did you get to actually open up the insides of the X1 Extreme, to confirm that the empty/spare PCIe/NVMe slot is in working condition, with the copper parts of the PCIe/NVMe pins in place?
(The reason I'm asking this is, previous P-series workstations sometimes *do*not* have the SSD connection parts in place (no PCIe/NVMe pins),
if you did not order a second SSD directly from ThinkPad originally.) So cannot add your own SSD in aftermarket.
Sorry, no.
2. Comment:
The usage for 15" X1 Extreme is very similar to how I use my 14" X1 Carbon, albeit with a larger LCD screen.
My 14" X1 Carbon uses 1920×1080 resolution also. I also avoided the touchscreen, same reason as yours.
I also have 30-40 tabs open in my browser, and sometimes have a second browser open (up to 10 tabs for that one).
Thunderbird email program with tens of thousands of emails with attachments.
Large Excel spreadsheets with macros.
Sometimes run specialised trading programs of small RAM footprint, but intense on CPU.
I also use X1 Search to find both my files and my emails (older versions of X1 Search worked on Thunderbird still! www.x1.com )

RAM usage regularly is 10-12 GB. (Webpages are memory hogs nowadays; some even have videos embedded in them!).
[Edit: We also extend warranty to 5-year On-Site Warranty for our key machines]

All files/photos are on my 1 TB SSD, which is almost full. This is the max SSD size on X1C4 from ThinkPad.
I also have 2+ GB worth of videos, stored on external storage.

Guess I'll seriously consider X1 Extreme when my X1C4 bites the dust!
Thanks again for your very detailed real life usage review!
Very interesting, thanks for sharing :-)

Greetings from Germany, Janni

w0qj
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Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#5 Post by w0qj » Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:41 am

[Edit: Err... Thinkpad4by3, you are correct, my Video collection is 2+ TB, so I'll edit my typo on my original post!]

Spent quite a few weeks babysitting computer to digitize parts of my DVD collection into *.MKV for personal use;)

"Medium" quality 1080p video is about 9 GB for each movie (typically 90-100 minutes long).

(Saying even this may betray my age, yikes!)
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:31 am
Wow...either you made a typo or all your videos are 176x144 .3GP videos :lol: ...
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

w0qj
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Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#6 Post by w0qj » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:05 pm

Hi PaulBrause,

If/when you ever have a chance, can you try charging your X1 Extreme on an airplane?
For details please see below related thread, many thanks!

viewtopic.php?f=62&t=127285&p=828452#p828452
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

w0qj
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Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:53 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#7 Post by w0qj » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:06 pm

Just got new info, and to answer my own question (see below):

~If you did not order a 2nd SSD from Lenovo,

a) Lenovo should have the physical copper connections in place for you to add a 2nd M.2 NVMe "2280" SSD.

b) HOWEVER, Lenovo did not include the small screw that holds that 2nd SSD in place, so you either have to buy it from Lenovo, or source it yourself !!
(You *must* have this screw in place, otherwise your SSD would not fit correctly).

(By the way, there are now many X1 Extreme or P1 videos showing the bottom cover open and showing the empty 2nd SSD slot, and all are missing this screw in the empty 2nd SSD slot!)
w0qj wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:26 am
1. Question: Did you get to actually open up the insides of the X1 Extreme, to confirm that the empty/spare PCIe/NVMe slot is in working condition, with the copper parts of the PCIe/NVMe pins in place?
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

jayeye
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:50 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#8 Post by jayeye » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:00 pm

w0qj wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:06 pm
Just got new info, and to answer my own question (see below):

~If you did not order a 2nd SSD from Lenovo,

a) Lenovo should have the physical copper connections in place for you to add a 2nd M.2 NVMe "2280" SSD.

b) HOWEVER, Lenovo did not include the small screw that holds that 2nd SSD in place, so you either have to buy it from Lenovo, or source it yourself !!
(You *must* have this screw in place, otherwise your SSD would not fit correctly).
The screw in question is an M2 (meaning metric, 2mm, nothing to do with the M2 slot) one. A great source of those is dead disk drives. I always have fun disassembling them, keeping the tiny M2 and M2.5 Torx screws for various projects, and for larger disks even keeping the magnets.

/ji
Lord High Everything Else

w0qj
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#9 Post by w0qj » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:08 pm

==> I'm wondering if anyone had actually bought a retail PCIe NVMe "2280" SSD to replace the one on your ThinkPad?

***PERHAPS the retail NVMe SSD comes with that screw?
(I don't know--if anyone has actual experience, pls let us know!)
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

jayeye
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:50 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#10 Post by jayeye » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:57 pm

w0qj wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:08 pm
==> I'm wondering if anyone had actually bought a retail PCIe NVMe "2280" SSD to replace the one on your ThinkPad?

***PERHAPS the retail NVMe SSD comes with that screw?
(I don't know--if anyone has actual experience, pls let us know!)
Actually, I was wrong; my P1 came with a screw on the second (empty) slot (I just looked at some pics I had taken last month). Maybe after a while Lenovo realized that they were being stupidly cheap and decided to add the screw.

It will happily take two Samsung 970PRO 512G sticks -- that's what I have.

In case people are confused why I am mentioning the P1: the X1Extreme and the P1 are almost identical; the differences are that they have different video card options, and that the P1 can also be configured with a Xeon and ECC memory (which I do not recommend; see my recent post on the P1 forum). Hopefully, lack of a screw is not another difference :)
Last edited by jayeye on Sat Mar 30, 2019 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lord High Everything Else

w0qj
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#11 Post by w0qj » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:46 pm

That's GOOD to hear ;)
Many thanks for confirming; we appreciate this!
jayeye wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:57 pm
...my P1 came with a screw on the second (empty) slot (I just looked at some pics I had taken last month)
...
Daily Driver: X1 Extreme 1st Gen (X1E1): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS
Current Thinkpads: X1E1 | X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

JayNYC
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#12 Post by JayNYC » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:56 pm

PaulBrause wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:46 am
Hello forum,

my partner bought a ThinkPad X1 Extreme and I reviewed it while setting up the machine for her.
You can read my thoughts about it in my blog, here:

https://ikarios.wordpress.com/2018/12/1 ... 1-extreme/

Greetings from Germany, Janni

@PaulBrause thank you for posting this review.

BillMorrow
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Re: My ThinkPad X1 Extreme review

#13 Post by BillMorrow » Thu May 02, 2019 12:54 am

JayNYC wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:56 pm
PaulBrause wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:46 am
Hello forum,

my partner bought a ThinkPad X1 Extreme and I reviewed it while setting up the machine for her.
You can read my thoughts about it in my blog, here:

https://ikarios.wordpress.com/2018/12/1 ... 1-extreme/

Greetings from Germany, Janni

@PaulBrause thank you for posting this review.
yes, good review..
since i just picked up the most extreme of the extreme as it has the 4K touch matte display..
it is a lenovo refurb..
pretty nice..
Bill Morrow, kept by parrots :parrot: & cockatoos
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She was not what you would call refined,
She was not what you would call unrefined,
She was the type of person who kept a parrot.
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