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Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook Review

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

System Device Port Testing

ATTO Disk Benchmark

To validate that the board’s device ports were functioning correctly, ATTO was configured to test against transfer sizes from 0.5 to 8192 KB with Total Length set to 512 MB against the Thinkpad Twist's primary SATA drive. Lenovo uses a priority technology on the Twist dubbed RapidDrive. The RapidDrive technology combines the SATA III drive and the 24GB micro SSD drive into a hybrid drive, resulting in increased data access speeds.

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RapidDrive Hybrid drive illustration
Courtesy of Lenovo

External device testing was done against the included USB 3.0 ports using conversion cables to connect to an OCZ Vertex 3 90GB SATA III SSD. Using ATTO, All tests were run 3 times with the highest repeatable read and write scores recorded in MB/s values. The SSD selected for testing has a maximum read throughput of 550 MB/s and a write throughput of 500 MB/s on a SATA III port and a maximum read throughput of 280 MB/s and a write throughput of 260 MB/s on a SATA II port .

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According to various other testing sites, the real-world performance maximum of USB 3.0 peaks at 200-250MB/s (about 60-75% of its rated 350MB/s throughput).

Apparently, Lenovo did something right with its RapidDrive technology, as evident in the massive read numbers on the SATA III controller. The internal hybrid drive came in with a throughput number of 3825 MB/s, over 30x that of the write performance of the same drive and almost 10x that of an SSD drive on the same controller. This performance was theorized to be a result of the data being read existing in the cache portion of the hybrid drive. The USB 3.0 port performance numbers fell exactly as expected, with both read and write drive performance approaching that of a SATA II device.

SoftPerfect Research NetWorx Speed Test

In conjunction with Windows Performance Monitor, SoftPerfect Research NetWorx Speed Meter application was used to measure the upload and download performance of the motherboards integrated network controllers. Speed Meter was used to measure average network throughput in MB/s with Windows Performance Monitor used to measure CPU utilization during the tests.

Realtek GigE controller

For the wired network adapter, the testing consisted of copying two file sets from and to a remote system directly connected to the local system via a crossover cable. Use of a crossover cable eliminates the possibility of throughput loss due to router passage. The two file sets used consisted of a single 3 GB archive file and a folder containing 3 GB of audio files.

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The Realtek controller performed well, with upload and download speed during the large file tests within 6 MB/s of each other. The small file transfer tests were slower than the large file tests, with the spread between them at almost 10 MB/s. When compared to the theoretical maximum throughput for gigabit Ethernet (125 MB/s), the large file transfer tests performed better than the small file transfers. The average CPU utilization remained below 15% during most tests with the exception of the small file download tests where utilization averaged over 20%.

Broadcom 802.11n wireless adapter

For the wireless network adapter, the testing consisted of copying two file sets from and to a remote system connected via router. The target system was connected to the router via a wired GigE link to eliminate the possibility of throughput loss due to wireless transmission. The two file sets used consisted of a single 200 MB archive file and a folder containing 200 MB of audio files.

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The wireless adapter performed well with speed averaging 5 MB/s during all tests. This is well below the theoretical maximum of 18.75 MB/s for 150Mbps rates wireless throughput, but remains well within expectations due to overhead and packet loss inherent in wireless-based systems. The CPU utilization remained below 10% during most tests with it going just above for the duration of the small file download test.

Broadcom Bluetooth adapter

For the Bluetooth network adapter, the testing consisted of copying two file sets from and to a remote system directly connected via the Bluetooth link. The two file sets used consisted of a single 10 MB archive file and a folder containing 10 MB of audio files.

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The Bluetooth adapter performed very well during both the large and small file tests with performance measured during the large file transfers seen to closely approach the 375 KB/s (3.0 Mbps) rated throughput of a Bluetooth-based connection. Due to its wireless nature, Bluetooth-based connections can suffer the same overhead and packet loss issues of other wireless networking types. CPU utilization remained below 5% during all tests.

December 26, 2012 | 06:37 PM - Posted by Patrick546

Wow nice ultrabook!!

December 26, 2012 | 06:43 PM - Posted by DusanVarga

Never been a big fan of IBM, but this i liked.
Powerful and classy

December 28, 2012 | 02:32 AM - Posted by v81 (not verified)

Just a comment on the trend of displays, not a fan of the low res on a lot of portables lately.
At a time when smartphones are pushing 1280x720 and 1920x1080 on 4 and 5 inch displays, we still have netbooks and notebooks sporting resolutions like 1024x600 and 1366x768.
Isn't it time we started expecting 1080p as a minimum on these displays 10 inches and upward?

December 28, 2012 | 07:14 AM - Posted by Ship (not verified)

@v81 - I totally, totally agree.

Lenovo's Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook is looking machine but I refuse point-blank to buy such a low resolution machine.

December 28, 2012 | 11:30 AM - Posted by Ship (not verified)

P.S. This low resolution thing on Windows 8 tablets/convertibles is starting to feel a bit like a "Conspiracy of Uselessness" !

My strong suspicion is that the Windows operating system itself is deeply screwed when it comes to displaying things at higher resolution, due partly to the way applications have been coded.

If a Windows application has defined its layouts in sizes that are fixed by using pixels (rather than as percentages etc), then on a very high resolution screens everything starts to become too small to read. And if the user increases text size so as to make text large enough to read, then if a box is of fixed height and width number of pixels, then the text can disappear off the bottom of the visible area in question. Worse, it can take the Submit button with it! Thereby making the application unusable!

I understand that Apple applications/apps do not suffer from this problem - at least not so badly. Which sounds like extremely bad news for those of us who have invested heavily in Windows software. :^(

December 28, 2012 | 04:24 PM - Posted by Gordon (not verified)

Get the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13.3 inch convertible Ultrabook instead of the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist 12.5 inch convertible Ultrabook computer/tablet PC!

December 29, 2012 | 10:42 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

The one thing the Twist has over the Yoga (and the big reason I got this one for my wife over the Yoga) is that the display folds over the keyboard on the Twist while in Tablet mode.  On the Yoga, the keyboard sits behind the display on the devices bottom while in Tablet mode. 

IMHO, more chance of having keyboard related issues if you use it as a tablet a lot and put it down on a hard surface...

December 31, 2012 | 11:08 AM - Posted by orvtrebor

Damn nice design, the twist/fold display is perfect.

Being able to slap in an SSD of my choice is a nice touch as well.

The battery situation will keep me from buying this, but if they revise it with the next generation I'm in.

Low res doesn't bother me at this screen size, My vision is too crappy.

February 18, 2013 | 03:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Get an extended life battery with the regular one it comes with. Worth the extra expense - over 12 hours of lovely battery life. I live in kenya.

January 3, 2013 | 09:21 PM - Posted by Max (not verified)

Such awesome display should be standard, except for resolution. That and the hidden hardware feel like dealbreakers.

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