Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Review: A Workhorse That's Got Game

ThinkPad X1 Extreme PCMark, 3DMark And Gaming Benchmarks

Futuremark benchmarks have been the go-to system tests since the late ‘90s. We ran the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme through PCMark 10, which is designed to gauge the system's performance in everyday use case scenarios with GPU acceleration-enabled, while 3DMark tests its gaming chops in synthetic DX11 workloads.

PCMark 10 
Productivity and System-Level Benchmarking
We ran PCMark 10, which put the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme through everyday workloads, from content creation to simple web browsing. The Essentials test covers workloads like web browsing, video conferencing and app start-up times, while Productivity tests everyday office apps from spreadsheets to word processing. Finally, the Digital Content Creation test evaluates performance of a machine with respect to photo and video editing, as well as rendering and visualization workflows.

ThinkPad X1 Extreme PCMark 10

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme chalked up the best Essentials score for web browsing, video conferencing and app start-up time sort of workloads, but it trailed in Digital Content Creation slightly, as well as Productivity chores. We sorted this graph in terms of the overall PCMark score, which probably sums-up this Lenovo config accurately overall in the field of test machines; in other words it's a close second place finish among the top-end, 15-inch, powerful ultrabook class machines. 
3DMark Benchmarks
3D Benchmarking
The more taxing tests in the 3DMark suite are designed to hammer on powerful desktop GPUs. However, since many gaming notebooks pack what are essentially desktop-grade graphics, many of them can handle the toughest of 3DMark tests. That said, we opted for the Cloud Gate and Sky Diver tests, for which we have plenty of comparison data, but also as lighter-duty 3D graphics and gaming benchmarks that are well-suited to thin and light 4lb-class laptops. Sky Diver is a bit more strenuous, but still well within the limits of our test group
3DMark Cloud Gate ThinkPad X1 Extreme

3DMark Sky Diver ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Here the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q GPU on board the ThinkPad X1 Extreme drops in about where we expected it to, a bit behind Dell's XPS 15 with a full-fat GeForce GTX 1050 Ti setup and roughly on-par with the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 with Radeon Vega M graphics on board its Intel-AMD hybrid Kaby Lake-G CPU.

Gaming / Graphics Tests
Putting The GPU To The Test
Next, we fired-up Middle Earth: Shadow Of War at 1080p with at various graphics image quality settings, along with Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which was run using its DX12 code path at the same 1080p resolution, and also various image quality presets. Both games offer a view of current, triple-A game engine performance for the machines we've tested here.

MIddle Earth Shadow of War ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Tomb Raider ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Somewhat surprisingly, Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Extreme with its GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q graphics engine took the top position, generally speaking, across the majority of our gaming test runs. This may speak to Lenovo's thermal solution on-board the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, or perhaps a more current graphics driver update for its GeForce Max-Q graphics subsystem. Regardless, it's a strong showing for the ThinkPad X1 Extreme here, especially when you consider the higher image quality presets.

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