March 2021 update: the production was significantly delayed by Lenovo, so I eventually cancelled the order. Nonetheless, the reason for purchase detailed in this post is still valid.
I'm a big ThinkPad lover, partly because I'm a nerd, and partly because of my wife's experience as she heavily used a ThinkPad T43 (or similar model) back in her teenage years. We (mostly I) started collecting classic ThinkPad models about 2 years ago off of Kijiji, the most popular flea market in Canada. I was albe to score a T61 and a X200 both in very good conditions. The T61 is a 32-bit machine, though, we are keeping it simply for nostalgia reasons; the X200, on the other hand, has been my fun little companion for the last two years. I showed it off to my professor at school (who is a Linux user), and brought it with me to Italy for school.
During the last couple of months, I bought and sold a few relatively modern ThinkPads. Currently I am rocking a T460s as my main machine, which features an Intel i5-6300U CPU. I have upgraded the RAM to 12 GB and storage to 1TB NVMe drive, however, the 2-core CPU is really showing its age. I could just add some RAM and not bother getting a new machine. At least that was my plan, until yesterday.
An incredible deal appeared on Lenovo's website: the P14s Gen 1 (AMD) model is on sale for only $747.15 CAD. The specs are shown below:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U (Zen2, 8 Cores 16 Threads)
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 3200 soldered (one empty slot up to 32GB)
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD (M.2 2242 can fit a second SSD)
- Wireless: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11AX (soldered)
- Screen: 14.0” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, 250 nits, 45% NTSC
- NIC: Realtek RTL8111EPV Gigabit Ethernet (why not Intel? possibly cost down)
- OS: Windows 10 Pro pre-installed (RHEL and Ubuntu LTS certified)
Without much thinking, I pulled the trigger on this deal. Such a no-brainer, literally. Overall, the specs are decent and upgradable (RAM and SSD). The Ryzen Pro is just like vPro version of Intel CPUs for business market. The RAM's frequency is high enough and upgradable. The weakness come from the display: 45% NTSC is just garbage in 2021. Also, in 2021, I use it at home all the time connected to a beautiful 27 inch monitor. So who cares about the colour gamut of the built-in display!
Price-wise it is simply insane: normally, similar spec ThinkPad P series would sell for double the price. However, note that the P14s Gen 1 is the little brother of the P series and it is based on T14. Still, it has solid build quality with fiberglass plastic and magnesium alloy frame, the usual ThinkPad genes. The differences between it and T14 are as follows:
- T14 (AMD) comes with Ryzen 5 or 7 Pro whereas P14s only comes with Ryzen 7 Pro
- T14 graphics is the same as P14s (Vega 7), but T14 uses AMD normal driver whereas P14s uses AMD Pro APU driver (for Windows; AMD open source driver rules on Linux, although you can run AMD proprietary driver)
- T14 max RAM is 32GB (8GB soldered and 16GB slot) whereas P14s (AMD) max RAM is 40GB (8GB soldered and 32GB slot)
Lenovo website says the shipping time is 5 weeks. I can't wait to get my hands on the new laptop! I'm happily dreaming about the performance and graphics capability of 4750U: maybe I can finally play Civilization VI without a dedicated gaming rig.
As for the T460s I'm currently using, it will be re-purposed as either a dedicated NVR (network video recorder) or a Proxmox box running virtual machines. Laptops make great servers: silent and low power (until the only hard drive fails and no backup). I will never complain about the number of computers at my disposal.