Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2014, A Fantastic Revision

Gaming Benchmarks

Most ultrabooks like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon aren’t designed to be serious gaming machines, especially business-class notebooks. However, even though these systems don’t have discrete graphics GPUs, Intel's latest iteration of their HD Graphics 4400 IGP can still handle casual gaming. To see how the ThinkPad X1 Carbon fares, we fired up 3DMark11, Cloud Gate, and Far Cry 2.

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Simulated DX11 Gaming Performance
As a synthetic gaming benchmark, 3DMark 11 puts extra emphasis on your system’s handling of DirectX 11. However, 3DMark 11 measures more than just the graphics card’s performance; the processor has an influence on the score as well as system memory bandwidth. As a result, this benchmark is a good way to get a feel for how well the system can handle gaming and general computing tasks.

Here we see Intel's integrated HD 4400 Graphics engine, in the Core i5-4200U that powers the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, start to approach mainstream discrete graphics performance.

Futuremark 3DMark Cloud Gate
Simulated DX11 Gaming Performance
3DMark is the latest flagship benchmark in Futuremark’s catalog. As a result, it is a popular choice for testing all types of PCs. 3DMark has a separate test suite for different device categories. The Cloud Gate test is aimed at entry-level PCs and laptops. It has two subtests: a processor-intensive physics test and two graphics tests. Cloud Gate uses a DirectX 11 engine but the graphics are designed to be compatible with DirectX 10 systems. We ran the test suite at its default 1280 x 720 resolution and at default rendering quality settings. It’s important to remember that 3DMark Cloud Gate scores aren’t comparable to scores from other categories such as 3DMark Fire Strike (gaming PCs) or Ice Storm (smartphones and tablets).

Here again, the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon makes a strong showing but what's perhaps most impressive is the gain seen versus the previous generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon circa late 2012.  The performance gain with Intel's latest Haswell Core series processor is an impressive 20 percent.

Far Cry 2 
Midrange DX10 Gaming Performance
Far Cry 2 uses high-quality textures, complex shaders, and dynamic lighting to create a realistic gaming environments and jungle battlegrounds. Using the game’s built-in benchmark, we can get a better look at a system’s performance with DirectX 10 level gaming graphics.

Here we've got a wealth of data to share from generations of notebooks over the years.  We like to include older benchmarks like this because it gives you view of performance with legacy software but also versus machines that were optimized for these applications back in their day.  Here again, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon for 2014 shows how far Intel's architecture has come in terms of graphics performance, once again at least getting within sniffing distance of discrete graphics.  On a side note, you might be scratching your head with respect to the ThinkPad Yoga's score here, with an identical processor powering that machine, as is configured in the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon.  With the ThinkPad Yoga, Lenovo decided to go with a single channel memory configuration and as a result, graphics performance takes a significant hit.  Again, thankfully, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon sports a full-bandwidth dual-channel DDR3-1600 memory configuration.

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