Lenovo debuts new Thinkpad mobile workstations


— 1:00 PM on February 7, 2017

Solidworks is holding its annual Solidworks World designers' conference right now in lovely Los Angeles, and Lenovo is one of the show's major sponsors. The company took the opportunity to annouce major updates to its mobile workstation lineup, known as the Thinkpad P series. Unsurprisingly, the new models are called the Thinkpad P71, P51, and P51s. The new series includes Lenovo's thinnest and lightest mobile workstation, as well as the company's first laptop certified for VR development.

Starting off with the big boy, the Thinkpad P71 is a highly-configurable mobile workstation. It comes with a 17" frame that can house 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 IPS panels. CPU options for the P71 include Kaby Lake Core processors or a Xeon E3 v6 processor. The machine's four SO-DIMM slots can accept up to 64GB of DDR4 memory at 2400 MT/sec, although there's no mention of ECC support. Buyers can configure the P71 with up to four storage devices, including a pair of 1TB NVMe SSDs in a RAID 0 or 1 configuration.

The P71 is certified by Oculus, HTC, and Nvidia for VR content creation, and to that end it can be configured with a Quadro P5000 graphics card. That's essentially a Quadro-ified GeForce GTX 1080, except with twice the memory (16GB) of the consumer version. Folks can make use of all that graphical horsepower by connecting devices to the P71's HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt 3 jacks. Using a Thunderbolt connection for a display won't leave you wanting for high-speed connectivity, though, because the P71 comes with two of 'em.

Folks for whom the P71 is just too big can step down to the P51. Its 15" IPS display can come in 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 resolutions, just like its bigger brother. Lenovo also offers a 1920x1080 touch-screen option on the P51. The same CPU options from the P71 are available here too, as well as the same four SO-DIMM slots. However, given its smaller size the P51 does lose one storage bay. The graphics also take a downgrade in this model: the fastest Quadro available for the P51M is the Maxwell-based Quadro M2200. That chip appears to be built on a GM206 GPU like the GeForce GTX 960, and connects to 4GB of GDDR5 memory.

Stepping down once again we have the P51s. Lenovo says the Thinkpad P51s is its lightest and thinnest mobile workstation at 0.79" (20mm) thick and 4.3lbs (1.95kg). This machine offers seventhth-generation (Kaby Lake) Core i7 processors, up to 32GB of 2133 MT/s DDR4 memory in two SO-DIMM slots, and 2TB of storage split between an HDD and an NVMe SSD. It also uses a 15.6" display, and has the same display options available as the standard P51. Those displays will be connected to a Quadro M520, which is a miniature Maxwell part with 384 shaders and 1GB of GDDR5 memory. Curiously, the P51s can be ordered with Windows 7 pre-loaded.

All three of the laptops come with Gigabit Ethernet jacks, plus Intel 8265-powered 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1. All three also include cellular WAN connectivity. Lenovo says it expects the new machines to begin shipipng in March. The lightweight P51s will start at $1,049, the midrange P51 will start at $1,399, and the high-end P71 will start at $1,849.

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