T-series ThinkPads get Optimus switchable graphics

In a strange, scattershot announcement this morning, Lenovo boasted about shipping its 60 millionth ThinkPad notebook and, at the same time, announced that ThinkPad T-series notebooks are now available with Nvidia Optimus switchable graphics. I’m not sure what the two events have to do with each other, but the Optimus thing is arguably a lot more interesting.

Optimus has already landed in the 14" ThinkPad T410s and 15" T510, both of which you can now purchase with switchable Nvidia Quadro NVS mobile graphics processors. Lenovo also says Optimus is coming to the 14" ThinkPad T410, but I’m not seeing anything but Intel integrated graphics on the product page. Prices start at $1,829 for the Optimus-enabled T410s and $1,069 for the T510. Lenovo quotes a $1,299 starting price tag for the still-unlisted T410 with Optimus graphics.

According to this post on the Lenovo blog, Optimus switchable graphics increased the ThinkPad T410s’ run time from 3.5 to 4.7 hours in the MobileMark battery life test. Lenovo’s announcement also says the new-and-improved ThinkPads "[support] Optimus technology to drive four displays via select ThinkPlus docks.

Comments closed
    • dropshadow
    • 9 years ago

    too bad that the current T4xxx and T5xxx are plagued with problems (freezing, overheating) because of the switchable GPUs. i have 30+ T410s with switchable nvidia + intel igp provisioned to users right now. i get multiple calls a day on freezing due to the GPU switching…check out the lenovo forums before you buy these things…

    and i’m not one to typically bash china, but ever since china took over the lenovo arm and thinkpad brand, build quality on thinkpads have gone DOWN DOWN DOWN…thinkpads are not the de facto business notebook they were years ago…

    • Ethyriel
    • 9 years ago

    Good job locking Linux users into your integrated graphics offerings, Lenovo.

      • Skrying
      • 9 years ago

      It’s sad this is reality but the majority of their users are running Windows and having Optimus graphics switching is a pretty big must have on better equipped laptops. The battery savings it delivers are very large.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe if Linux ever cracks more than 5% of worldwide desktop/laptop market share manufacturers will give a rat’s ass.

        • Ethyriel
        • 9 years ago

        IBM and Lenovo have always been good to us with the Thinkpad line, I really wasn’t expecting them to jump into a poorly supported and generally immature technology for a line that’s supposed to be eminently supportable and stable. Regardless of OS, I’ve seen nothing to indicate Optimus is ready for business class.

          • 5150
          • 9 years ago

          Nothing about Lenovo is business class, except their prices.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    If I recall correctly, the only hardware Optimus uses (well, besides the GPU obviously) is a ‘Copy Engine’ that is strictly dedicated to transfering frames from the discrete GPU’s framebuffer to the IGP’s framebuffer (so the GPU itself doesn’t have to stop and do it):

    §[<http://hothardware.com/Articles/NVIDIA-Optimus-Mobile-Technology-Preview/?page=2<]§ I think the copy engine is built into the GPU itself. I've heard its possible to use Optimus without the copy engine, but the performance would be greatly diminished. EDIT: Goddamnit! This was in response to #3. >_<

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    If I had a T410/510 with a NVIDIA GPU and this wasn’t a free upgrade to me I’d be pissed right now.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      They’ve had these for a bit. I’m surprised they didn’t just give them a new model name…or wait like two months for Sandy Bridge, since they’re invariably going to be replacing them, anyways.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 9 years ago

      Is Optimus software or hardware based? I thought it had a hardware implementation. Anybody know for sure?

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        It’s both. Think about it. :p

          • UberGerbil
          • 9 years ago

          Well, you /[

            • Turd-Monkey
            • 9 years ago

            If I’m not mistaken, Optimus IS software based, but setup is reversed from your description. (IGP connects to video outputs, GPU writes to it’s framebuffer) Thus allowing the GPU to be fully powered down.

            Lenovo supported the whole output rewiring thing (via BIOS) for it’s previous “switchable” graphics offerings.

      • ludi
      • 9 years ago

      I know! Don’t you just hate it how new product releases keep adding new technology that your current product, which you willingly paid money for while knowing what you were getting, doesn’t have?

        • 5150
        • 9 years ago

        I bet nothing more than a firmware update and software could add this feature to previously purchased T410/510s. Irregardless, my short run with Lenovo has been just that, short. Their laptops are a nightmare to work on, their support is absolute garbage for a firm that is supposed to cater to business.

          • Waco
          • 9 years ago

          I have a notion that you’ll lose that bet.

      • Dashak
      • 9 years ago

      Too bad the T-series doesn’t have an option for a more capable GPU. The Quadro NVS 3100M looks little better than the IGP offering according to notebookcheck.net’s benchmarks.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      They are just Quadros, no good for gaming afaik so why should consumers really care? If it’s a business laptop provided by a company it’s not as if the user really had any choice anyway, that leaves the very small self-employed can-actually-benefit-from-a-Quadro individuals to complain. I’m guessing there aren’t terribly many of them and of those they probably wouldn’t have bought a laptop i[

        • Dashak
        • 9 years ago

        It does have an option for a discrete GPU though… so either you want something significantly better than the NVS 3100m or there’s no reason for you to upgrade from the 5700MHD. My point isn’t that many people would benefit from having a gaming class GPU, but that the upgrade option they do give isn’t really an upgrade.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This