Lenovo Announces Updated ThinkPad Lineup Ahead of CES

Subject: Mobile | December 28, 2016 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: yoga, update, Thinkpad, Refresh, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, kaby lake, Intel, convertible, CES 2017, CES, 7th generation, 2-in-1

Lenovo has unveiled their new ThinkPad notebook lineup ahead of the upcoming CES 2017, with refreshed models featuring the new 7th-generation Intel (“Kaby Lake”) processors, among other new features.

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ThinkPad Yoga 370 (Image credit: Lenovo)

New models include the newly-designed ThinkPad Yoga 370 2-in-1 convertible, refreshed T Series (T470, T570, T470s, and T470p) and L Series (L470 and L570) models, the new X270, and an updated version of the ThinkPad 13.

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ThinkPad 13 (Image credit: Lenovo)

In addition to the move to 7th-generation Intel CPUs, there are number of features across the board with the new ThinkPads, including:

  • Microsoft Signature: All ThinkPads comes loaded out of the box with the Microsoft Signature Image (clean install, no bloatware)
  • Precision TouchPad: Microsoft’s PTP standard supported across all devices
  • USB-C “Anti-Fry” Protection: Systems with USB-C have equipped with protection circuit to protect from improperly designed/malfunctioning USB-C power supplies
  • dTPM 2.0 security support: Universal implementation of discrete TPM 2.0
  • ThinkPad Intelligent diagnostic codes: Intelligent Diagnostics with musical tones from notebook interpreted by companion smartphone app
  • Intel Optane Performance: Non-volatile storage medium in the PCIe M.2 format for significant improvements in endurance, performance, and power consumption

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ThinkPad X270 (Image credit: Lenovo)

** Edit by Allyn **

Digging further into the model options / specs, it appears that some of these models will have an optional 16GB (smaller of the two) variant of Optane storage installed as a Storage Accelerator. This accelerator appears to be configurable with either an NVMe (NAND) SSD *or* a HDD. Intel will most likely overlay this cache using their RST Driver, as that infrastructure was put in place way back in 2011 when they introduced Z68 RST Caching. The 2011 version of this caching was an attempt to overlay a small SATA SSD onto a HDD, and while it was effective, the rapid adoption and sales of low-cost MLC SSDs quickly outweighed the need for such a cache as a boot volume.

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XPoint should offer enough of a performance boost (particularly for very small random access) to make for effective performance gains even over NVMe SSDs. Depending on how Intel tunes their RST driver to employ XPoint, we might see some impressive benefits, especially if the non-volatility is taken advantage of. Near instant wake from hibernates if the hiberfile is mostly cached on wake/boot, as an example.

Something else worth considering, that is not present in the above leaked specs, is that Optane will very likely be able to handle <4KB random accesses extremely well (XPoint is byte / word randomly writable / addressable). The key question is if that is possible in its first generation implementation, which we should know more about shortly after CES.

** End edit **

We won’t have detailed information about hardware (specific CPU models, etc.) until CES, so stay tuned!

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo

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December 28, 2016 | 07:27 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Optane? No thank you. Double RAM for me please.

December 28, 2016 | 12:57 PM - Posted by CNote

Get a W model then...

December 28, 2016 | 08:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The bizarre thing is their spec sheets show that you'll only be able to get 16 GB of Optane, which is maaybe enough for a bare Windows install, but the moment you decide you want some programs on it, you're gonna have to get another drive, which negates any kind of power consumption advantage you could have hoped for.
Is Optane really so expensive as to make offering 16GB parts worthwhile?

December 28, 2016 | 08:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Oh, nevermind. Anandtech has an article explaining that Optane will be used as a cache. Disappointing, but understandable.

December 28, 2016 | 09:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No Optane used as cache is going to be faster than SLC NAND so the M.2 SSD's controller can do the cache management to keep the most recently used/needed data/code on the Optane. So by default only the necessary OS code will be on the Optane and really the paging files should be using the Optane mostly for better system performance.

And the article listed:

"Intel Optane Performance: Non-volatile storage medium in the PCIe M.2 format for significant improvements in endurance, performance, and power consumption"

So what's the issue, I'd still rather have some DRAM on any M.2 Flash drive as a top level Cache with the Optane mosty used for the paging swap. That way the OS/applications will be more responsive running from mostly the Optane part with MLC(2) level NAND filling out the rest of the dirve's storage.

Maybe in the future there can be Optane in the DRAM DIMMs with some very wide on DIMM BUS fabric to tie the Optane directly to the DRAM. The Server SKUs will probably get this first before the consumer market.

December 28, 2016 | 06:26 PM - Posted by TheProfosist (not verified)

just get enough ram and completely ditch the Page File I have done this since Vista since windows manages it poorly.

I still think its cool that were now caching lighting quick M.2 SSDs which just showed up not too long ago.

December 28, 2016 | 07:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's a laptop so it's questionable regarding enough RAM to ditch the page file. If you are using the laptop for any memory intensive workloads it's better to have the memory page-able so the OS code/bloat does not get in the way of any large data sets that the application needs to be in DRAM. Graphics applications can be very memory hungry so I'd rather have paging swap turned on and the physical DRAM given over to the application's needs rather than having the memory in use by any OS/Bloat that can not be paged out of memory with paging disabled.

With enough Optane used as page swap for at least 16GB of page swap things will degrade a lot less if the SSD's DRAM first level cache and Optane cache can be utilized for handling the page swaps. Depending on the size of the DRAM needed by any application. 16GB of Optane would be enough to manage the paging needs of any laptop with 8GB of DRAM and probably not degrade too much for the paging needs of 16GB of DRAM in a laptop. I’d like there to be Hybrid Optane/NAND flash drives with at least 64GB of Optane for enough Optane Cache to provide for a page swap for 32GB of DRAM with a 2:1 ratio of Optane to DRAM allocated to handle paging needs if any graphics application needs all/most of the DRAM for some big graphics files.

I’m mot saying that the computer will need that much page swap most of the time and probably 32GB of Optane would be fine for the paging needs of 32GB of DRAM on a Laptop but for Graphics files using 32 bit or higher color depth with alpha channel memory needs can get big fast for large images at the highest resolutions and eat up available DRAM very quickly.

January 2, 2017 | 12:56 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There is probably very little reason to turn off the page file and several good reasons not to. For desktops, it is almost certainly better to add more DRAM, if it is needed. For a laptop with limited expandability, being able to add 16 of 32 GB of non-volatile cache could be a very good solution. It would allow wake from sleep very quickly. It also could save a lot of power. DRAM takes a lot of extra power compared to writing to non-volatile storage for cache. I don't know if this means we will not be getting cheaper x-point anytime soon but only having 16 or 32 GB devices doesn't sound that good.

December 28, 2016 | 08:23 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I called this one back in June :)

Going to whip up another post to clarify further / repeat.

December 28, 2016 | 07:44 PM - Posted by LW (not verified)

thank you CES is right around the corner!

December 28, 2016 | 10:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)



December 28, 2016 | 11:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Anyone running windows 10 has malware for an OS to go along with the Lenovo baked into the firmware malware! It's all spyware all of the time until folks close their wallets and say enough! It's a big slurp fest for the marketing driven PC/laptop as the Boob Tube market that has taken of the Interwebs! It's that Apple business model on the PC brought to you by M$, Intel, and Nvidia/others and the metrics driven marketing to all the fools without brains so easily made to part with their money.

December 29, 2016 | 12:56 AM - Posted by razor512

For the laptop and OS, am I doing it right?

December 29, 2016 | 09:19 AM - Posted by Drbaltazar (not verified)

Microsoft signature.as in .Ms verified and gave a cert or whatever Ms give that say :yes this came out of Lenovo with only our product ? ( I know Lenovo would add a few card promotion etc inside the box but I meant in the PC or laptop?/!)dam these will sell very well .It's what buyer have been asking for years

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