Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Mobile Workstation Review: Xeon And Quadro On The Go

Introduction and Specifications

At a time when laptop makers are shunning big and bulky notebooks in favor of thin and light designs, Lenovo went a different direction with its ThinkPad P70, a mobile workstation brimming with high-end hardware for tackling rough and tumble tasks in the field. It's all about finding the right tool for the job, and just as a lumberjack wouldn't trade his gas-powered chainsaw for a Swiss Army knife just because he could fit in his pocket, there are certain computing tasks that require desktop-class performance. That's what the ThinkPad P70 aims to deliver.

The ThinkPad P70 is one of the first mobile workstations to employ a mobile Xeon processor option based on Intel's Skylake architecture. It's especially noteworthy because never before has Intel offered a Xeon chip in a mobile-targeted package. This particular configuration features a Xeon E3-1505M v5 CPU, a brawny quad-core slice of silicon clocked at 2.8GHz to 3.7GHz with a generous 8MB of cache and Hyper Threading support. And for graphics, Lenovo crammed a discrete NVIDIA Quadro M4000M GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory inside.
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
That's a potent one-two combo to throw at heavy duty workloads. To keep its feet from dragging while pounding on complex data sets, Lenovo installed a nimble 512GB NVMe PCIe solid state drive inside the model it sent us for evaluation. It's this combination of speed and power that justifies the ThinkPad P70's larger and heavier frame.

How large and how heavy are we talking about? Try 16.38 inches (W) by 10.85 inches (D) by 1.18-1.35 inches (H) and around 7.3 pounds—oomph. If those were the only specs you glimpsed, you might think you'd fallen into a time warp. However, this machine is based on a 17-inch and every bit targeted as a desktop replacement, with an Ultra HD 4K IPS display.

Here's a look at what else is included in the model (20ER000XUS) Lenovo sent us:

Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Mobile Workstation
Specifications & Features
Processor Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 (8MB cache, 2.8GHz to 3.7GHz)
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (downgrade rights to Windows 7 available)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics P530 + NVIDIA Quadro M4000M w/ 4GB GDDR5
Memory 16GB DDR4 2133MHz SDRAM (1x16GB) w/ ECC
Display 17.3-inch 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) IPS w/ X-Rite PANTONE color calibration
Storage 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
Optical N/A
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless Connectivity Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC (2x2) 8260 + Bluetooth 4.1 vPro
Interface (Left)
USB 3.0 Always On, Smart Card reader
Interface (Right)
3.5mm Audio connector, 2 x USB 3.0, 4-in-1 memory card reader, ExpressCard slot, mini DisplayPort, Security lock slot
Webcam 720p w/ dual array microphones
Battery 96Whr (8-cell)
Dimensions 16.38 (W) x 10.85 (D) x 1.18-1.35 (H)  inches
Weight 7.3 pounds
Manufacturer Warranty 3 years (1-year battery)
Pricing: $3,849 MSRP as tested

The above configuration is a special SKU that's increasingly hard to find in-stock through third-party sellers. Similar setups are available to configure direct from Lenovo, though be wary of the details—by default, Lenovo offers just a 1-year warranty on its base models. Also pay attention to the memory configuration. This particularly model ships with a single stick of 16GB DDR4-2133 ECC RAM, robbing users of a bit of memory bandwidth that typically comes with a dual-channel memory setup.

It's really the one weak point in what's otherwise a stout collection of parts, and it's not even fully loaded, so this can easily be user configurable. The ThinkPad P70 supports up to 64GB of ECC memory and has room for two SSDs and a single HDD. There's also an option to bump the graphics up to a Quadro M5000M with 8GB of GDDR5 memory if you need more graphics muscle for serious VR work (for example), than what the Quadro M4000M provides.

We know you're anxious to spy the benchmarks but we've only scratched the surface of what the ThinkPad P70 brings to the table. Let's take a closer look.

Related content