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Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga Workstation Review - Page 2 of 3 - Tech Altar

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 System Benchmarks

The Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga differs from the standard business notebook, or ultrabook (a class name rarely in use now it seems) in that it offers a discreet GPU with its own dedicated VRAM, though it uses much slower DDR3. That GPU is a Maxwell GM108 derivative that has 384 shaders, a 30W power consumption and a 64-bit memory interface. It isn’t included to allow you to play games, but instead to help accelerate light to moderate compute workloads that would otherwise be slower on the CPU. It’s can potentially be a great help to those that CUDA optimized applications that can take proper advantage of that parallelism.

The chassis is thin and light, though, so the CPU and its cooling system may be limiting factors in just how fast it is in any given workload. It’s SSD with a traditional SATA interface is also a slight limiting factor, though only for those looking at benchmarks and not overall responsiveness. SATA SSDs are still less expensive, so it may have been a cost saving measure, though slight, when it was added.

Let’s take a look at how fast this little bugger is in a variety of tests. We’ll start with memory, which is DDR3L, so may present itself as being slightly slower than you may be used to.

Memory Bandwidth

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Though we see the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 is definitely slower than those DDR4 equipped laptops, which is to be expected, it handily outperforms the Surface Book which is equipped with DDR3L as well. It’s an unexpected victory, and certainly fast enough for the types of tasks you’ll be conducting on this machine. It’s not a massive desktop, or a desktop replacement, but a thin, light and quite mobile machine.

CrystalDiskMark

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

We only have one, though adequately sized, drive to test with the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga. Its’s SATA-based which means we know that it’s slower than anything with an NVMe, m.2 drive. So 540MB/s read speeds are expected. It’s a shame they weren’t able to fit a, admittedly smaller, m.2 drive into this beast. It would greatly decrease the amount of space used inside and increase the speeds. It’s sufficient for what it is, and unless you have i/o heavy workloads moving through the drive, it shouldn’t be an issue. In terms of user experience, the difference isn’t necessarily detectable, unless you’re especially sensitive to such. Latency isn’t an issue. It’s still odd they chose SATA as their interface.

USB Performance

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

USB speeds are about on par with anything else using Intel’s USB interfaces. There are three USB 3.0 ports that are easily accessible and though that isn’t a lot, three present a good amount for being productive while traveling. If you need more, you likely want something more than a thin and light 2-in-1 device such as this. What’s missing, and will likely turn up on the next generation, is USB 3.1 Type C and subsequently Thunderbolt 3. The latter could be immensely useful for compute workloads and even games on the road. For now, we’ll have to settle with three USB 3.0 ports and a card reader. Sufficient for a small little machine.

Wireless Network Performance

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Wireless performance is now being tested with SiSoft Sandra so that it can easily be replicated by anyone who wishes to compare. The free edition easily allows you to test latency and throughput. The choice of the Intel 8260 with it’s 2×2 antenna array seems very efficient. Over the 5GHz band we’re seeing delightfully low latency and a very high throughput while 1-meter away from the router. The WLAN card can be replace if you so desire with the antenna already setup into the chassis. The module also supports Bluetooth 4.2 in order to connect to any Bluetooth devices you may have.

Google Octane 2.0

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Google Octane 2.0 was tested on Google’s own Chrome browser for consistency, and because it’s cross-platform. Across an average of three tests we see a rather high score, easily faster than the i5 toting Surface Book from Microsoft that we have as an example. It was also able to best the larger TDP i7-6700HQ processor in the Gigabyte P34W, showing that Octane is not exactly the best of benchmarks outright. Nonetheless, it’s a capable web-browsing machine, and actually faster while using Microsoft’s Edge browser.

Mozilla Kraken

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Mozilla’s Kraken test is a similar story, showing an improvement over the Surface Book, one of it’s chief competitors and being placed rightfully where one would expect. The Lenovo ThinkPad P40 is a great traveling companion by virtue of its web browsing prowess alone, a staple in most workloads as it is.

Cinebench R15

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Moving over to a more creative set of benchmarks we can see that it does not necessarily excel, but is capable of rendering complex scenes admirably within a reasonable amount of time and with Cinebench, giving a reasonably high score. 281 isn’t bad for four-threads working as hard as they can. The best part? It doesn’t even get very loud while doing so.

POVRay

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

POVRay is a great way to show how the CPU can handle slightly more complex compute jobs. This raytraces a scene and reports back how long and how many photons per second it can render while doing it. 665 isn’t anything to laugh at and certainly a good speed considering the i7-6600U is somewhat limited in core-count compared to the more powerful brethren. The result is good for its class, very good. Sound levels while doing this benchmark were not terribly high, nor were CPU temperatures. A reasonable result.

X265 Bench

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

We’ve moved on from the typical x264 encoding test to the more complex and efficient X265 protocol. It’ll soon see more widespread use, though it’s not quite as prolific in the wild just yet. Regardless, the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 likely isn’t going to be your main rednering rig. It’ll do in a pinch with the CPU, and you’ll have GPU acceleration on most apps that make use of it anyhow.

Also for rendering, making the above video in Adobe Premier Pro was very simple and quick. The 739MB 4K24 video with three elements and one audio element rendered flawlessly within 10 minutes and 23 seconds.

WinRAR Compression

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

WinRAR is a good test of the CPUs cache and of the RAM’s timings and speed. It’s almost a full system benchmark, if it were GPU accelerated. Here we see 3.1KB/s, a reasonable result though we expected slightly higher given the larger cache it has access to. Regardless, the resulting score is still adequte for the TDP of the processor.

CNTK DNN

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Due to the rather intense nature of a true DNN, we don’t expect this to be terribly quick on this laptop. It’s thin and light, afterall. The Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga is still able to process a fair amount of samples. This could make it useful as a development and platform as you’re trying to perfect your code and DNN. DNN’s are the future, and even smaller platforms are capable of running those, though with obvious limitations. It’s a highly capable machine within the limits of its TDP, and that’s pretty rad.