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Thinkpad L14 gen 2 AMD

A285, A475, X395 and later Series
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wolfman
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Posts: 841
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 8:40 pm
Location: Pine Grove, PA

Thinkpad L14 gen 2 AMD

#1 Post by wolfman » Thu Jun 30, 2022 6:03 pm

After 10 years, I've finally picked up a new Thinkpad... My wife has been using my old T420 for a while now and I've been using a desktop workstation. A few months ago, i got the itch for a new Thinkpad - a lot has changed since I was reading this board regularly years ago.

That said, after a lot of research, I landed on the Thinkpad L14 gen 2 AMD model as I can modify it to match what I really want (which isn't possible at the Lenovo site presently). It arrived yesterday and I've been updating it and testing everything out - so far so good! This model still has a lot of the upgradability that I remember from older Thinkpads. Here's what the unit came with (purchased from the outlet, labeled as new not a refurbished unit):

AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 5850u (8 cores / 16 threads)
8 GB RAM (Hynix)
256 GB M.2 SSD (Hynix)
14 inch 1920x1080 IPS display (this is the 250 nit model)
Windows 10 Pro

I've got the following upgrades on the way:

Intel AX210 wifi 6 / bluetooth 5.2 replacement for the Realtek wifi 6 m.2 card
64 GB of RAM (Crucial) - needed for VMs
1 TB Hynix P31 Gold M.2 SSD

I'm also considering swapping the panel for the Innolux n140hcg-gq2 400 nit, low power unit. I understand if I do this it'll void the warranty? Is that true? The only configurable option above the 250 nit screen on the Lenovo site when I bought this model was the 300 nit touch screen which I didn't want. I saved money buying a new one from the outlet anyway...

I'm excited to get this machine fully assembled and then run it through some paces for my typical work / development use cases. Overall, very pleased with this machine. The build quality is not what the T420 was, but it's still pretty solid and I like that I can change so many things on this model (unlike many of the others that are limited due to soldered RAM, etc.). It's been a while since I've posted, so I wanted to say "Hi!".

Steve
Thinkpad L14 gen 2 | AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 5850u | 64gb RAM | 1tb SK Hynix P31 Gold | Intel AX210
Desktop: AMD Threadripper 1950x | 64gb RAM | 512gb Samsung 970 Pro + 1tb Crucial SSD | Ubuntu 20.04 LTS | Dell S2721DGF
Previous Thinkpads: A21m, R40, X61, T410, T420, W520

mikemex
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:54 pm
Location: Coyoacan, Mexico

Re: Thinkpad L14 gen 2 AMD

#2 Post by mikemex » Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:51 am

Yeah, the L series is the most modular at the moment. Too bad Lenovo markets it as economy line, which means you don't get the niceties of other lines, like magnesium casings. Should be durable still if you are careful.

Not sure about the 5850U because I have a 4750U, but an AMD Thinkpad hasn't been the experience I expected. It's fast, there is no doubt about it, but all the software you typically run on a Thinkpad doesn't work here. TPFanControl, for example, hangs on the latest version, you have to use 0.62 and even so, it doesn't seem to work properly. ThrottleStop doesn't work on AMD. The T14/P14s G1 draws a lot of power when suspended and Lenovo seems to have been unable to fix it. Battery life isn't great, either.

Probably a lot of this has been fixed in the 5000 series but I'd investigate first if I were you. Also keep in mind that the third generation is just coming out and probably will sell for not much more.

T61: T8300 | 8GB | 400GB S3610 | SXGA
X301: SU9600 | 8GB | 400GB S3610
T420s: 2640m | 16GB | 400GB S3610 | HD+ 4200M
W530: 2740qm | 32GB | 400GB S3610 | FHD K1000M
X1C5: 7600U | 16GB | 1TB PC711 | FHD
P14s G1 AMD: 4750U | 32GB | 1TB PC611 | PG FHD Touch
T14 G2: 1145G7 | 32GB | 1TB PC711 | FHD

wolfman
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Posts: 841
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 8:40 pm
Location: Pine Grove, PA

Re: Thinkpad L14 gen 2 AMD

#3 Post by wolfman » Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:13 am

Thanks for the information, I'll look into that further on the 5850u. I did the installation of the new hardware yesterday. I was a little concerned about removing the bottom and breaking some clips, but that went fine. Just had to go slow and take my time. The biggest issue in swapping the components was reattaching the wifi leads - what a pain to get them in exactly the right alignment to snap back on.

I saw that the 3rd series L14 AMD models removed the magnesium reinforcement to the frame that was under the keyboard for the L14/15 gen 1 and gen 2 models (but wasn't in previous L series models). I also didn't want to get locked in to soldered RAM on the L/T14 gen 3 AMD (though I understand it's faster). So I decided to buy the L14 AMD gen 2 mostly for it's upgradability vs waiting for the gen 3. I bought this one new on the outlet for $696 before the upgrades I mentioned.

The case on the L reminds me of the case on my R40 from years ago (which I still have in the closet). There isn't any flex in the keyboard, likely due to the magnesium frame reinforcement. There is some flex to the screen when opening from the side vs middle of the screen. This machine will be used mostly on my desk, so I'm hopeful it'll hold up well over time. I'm still trying to decide if it's worth it to do the LCD upgrade to the 400 nit, low power model. For general office tasks, development, etc. this screen seems fine (I don't do any graphics work). It could be a touch brighter, for sure... TBD. I think the component that I'm most suspicious of from a longevity point of view is the USB-C power plug. It just doesn't feel "solid" like the old Thinkpad plugs did.

Steve
Thinkpad L14 gen 2 | AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 5850u | 64gb RAM | 1tb SK Hynix P31 Gold | Intel AX210
Desktop: AMD Threadripper 1950x | 64gb RAM | 512gb Samsung 970 Pro + 1tb Crucial SSD | Ubuntu 20.04 LTS | Dell S2721DGF
Previous Thinkpads: A21m, R40, X61, T410, T420, W520

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