Lenovo ThinkCentre and ThinkPad machines pack AMD PRO APUs

Particularly attentive gerbils may recall that when we last looked at AMD's PRO APUs, the company had announced the chips would be inside machines from HP and Lenovo. At that time, we look at a few HP boxes packing the new APUs. Now, AMD is showing Lenovo's hand. The ThinkCentre M715 Tiny, ThinkPad E475, and ThinkPad E575 will all make use of AMD's seventh-generation business-oriented PRO chips.

AMD's press release is light on details and product pages haven't gone up yet, so we don't know a lot about the new ThinkPads. The E-series is the bottom of Lenovo's business laptop lineup. We can venture a guess that the Thinkpad E475 will be a 14" laptop, while the E575's screen has a 15.6" diagonal. AMD says the new ThinkPad lappies weigh "as little as 4.1 lbs (1.87 kg) and measure less than 1" thin (24 mm)." AMD also says the laptops pack Radeon R5 M430 graphics cards. That card is probably based on the venerable Oland GPU that dates back to the Radeon HD 8000M series.

The ThinkCentre M715 Tiny machine lives up to its name by measuring just 7" x 7" x 1.4" (18 cm x 18 cm x 3.5 cm), which works out to a volume of a just over one liter. The M715 Tiny can come equipped with 6th- or 7th-generation AMD PRO APUs, all of them picked from the "E" low-power variants. Lenovo says the machines can support up to four displays connected to their pair of DisplayPorts.

Like any PCs with AMD PRO chips, these machines support DASH remote management and ARM TrustZone. AMD says the ThinkCentre M715 Tiny will be available on Halloween. Folks looking for an AMD PRO-equipped ThinkPad will have to wait until November 7.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    I never thought someone would actually use these PROcessors.

    • moshpit
    • 3 years ago

    [url<]http://freebeacon.com/national-security/military-warns-chinese-computer-gear-poses-cyber-spy-threat/[/url<] Sorry, but Lenovo is now off limits for me or any customer purchases through me, and is now on the "recommended avoid" list I give to anybody who asks. Purchasing a lenovo means any intellectual property you create on it could be compromised, not to mention the other professional issues that an purposefully insecure device poses.

      • kn00tcn
      • 3 years ago

      boring IP is more important than every civilian’s info? it’s only bad if someone over the ocean is doing it? how hypocritical

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        The US Govt is unlikely to actually be hacking citizen’s machines on US soil. They bend the rules with for example phone records, but they didn’t take that so far as recording calls, which would have been well short of hacking machines. So the real hacking is reserved for foreigners, and being carried out against Americans by foreigners.

        Also, IP is potentially useful stuff. No government is going to have their spies scanning your photo collection. But they might like to learn about the activities of cutting edge industries in the West. That could be worth serious money to for example a Chinese company that is a few years behind, and intends to catch up fast.

        So yeah, maybe Lenovo would be a poor choice for designing aircraft and processors. Maybe.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    Sigh. I’m usually a big Thinkpad proponent, but if they’re really putting 8000M GPUs in these…

    Ew.

    [i<]Ewwwwww[/i<].

      • codedivine
      • 3 years ago

      I used to be a big Thinkpad fan too but over time Lenovo has lost my trust. Security fiascos and lackluster industrial design and poor component choices have become far more common with Lenovo than they should be.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        I forbid further use of the term “industrial design”.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 3 years ago

          Visualize me sticking out my tongue at you, cowardly downvoter.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 3 years ago

          Still waiting for someone to justify the term “industrial design”. I’m sure you’ll do a good job, be brave.

            • chuckula
            • 3 years ago

            THEY’RE JUSTIFIED.
            AND THEIR ANCIENT.
            [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPjggN-KByI<]AND THEY DRIVE AN ICE CREAM VAN.[/url<]

            • caconym
            • 3 years ago

            I’m not sure what you’re on about. Industrial design (ID) is a term that’s been in use since the 1920’s.

            [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_design[/url<]

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 3 years ago

            Tell me how, in the comment above, talking about “industrial design” communicates something useful that saying “design” doesn’t.

            I’m not much concerned that industry used the term starting in the 1920’s.

            • caconym
            • 3 years ago

            Sure, in the context of that post the modifier is superfluous. It’s probably not needed in most of the contexts it appears in.

            If you’d spelled that out, I don’t think you would’ve been down-voted into the lithosphere. I replied instead of voting you down because I was interested in figuring out exactly what you were taking issue with (e.g. industrial design as a valid field of study, etc …)

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 3 years ago

            Meh, I say they downvoted because they’re stuck in some kind of marketing style vortex that Apple generated years back. I’m visualizing guys dressed in man-approved-style clothes and wearing watches with gratuitous exposed screwheads and everything, all the right stuff to boost hair growth. All men need laptops that complement manhood. Women can have their models, in white, with soft edges. Oh yeah. Industrial design. I’m loving it.

            But maybe I’m the only one who gets this idea, who knows…

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]AMD also says the laptops pack Radeon R5 M430 graphics cards. That card is probably based on the venerable Oland GPU that dates back to the Radeon HD 8000M series.[/quote<] Wait what? Why should an ancient and never high-end GPU be necessary in a notebook that is purportedly including AMD's newest onboard graphics? These ain't gaming rigs and you'd never want to play games with the M430 in the first place.

      • Concupiscence
      • 3 years ago

      The more I stare at it, the less it makes sense. What’s going on here?

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      The best part is that the slowest GPU which comes in a Bristol Ridge APU is a GCN 1.2 part that has 384 shaders and a 128-bit path to DDR4 memory. Versus the M430’s 320 GCN 1.0 shaders and a 64-bit path to DDR3.

      I … I don’t know.

        • dodozoid
        • 3 years ago

        Might there just be a mistake in marketing materials?

        • EndlessWaves
        • 3 years ago

        It may only have 14.4GB/s compared to the 34GB/s system memory bandwidth but that is dedicated, so it’s in addition, not instead of.

        Those 320 shaders are also running at 1030Mhz instead of the 758 MHz that the APU’s 384 shaders are running at. And being a separate chip with a seperate heatsink it’s much less likely to thottle if you call for those speeds while the CPU is loaded.

        And of course they’re probably not competing but working together. AMD sorted out Dual Graphics (Hybrid Crossfire) out with Kaveri and it produces some pretty good results these days.

        The real question is whether this laptop has an appropriate cooling system to run at peak performance for any length of time or whether it’s just another laptop designed for a 15W Intel U-suffix model with a quick and dirty conversion job.

          • RAGEPRO
          • 3 years ago

          [quote<]It may only have 14.4GB/s compared to the 34GB/s system memory bandwidth but that is dedicated, so it's in addition, not instead of.[/quote<]Unfortunately, that's actually worse, not better. While gaming, main memory usage tends to be bursty, while GPU memory usage tends to be more steady-state. The two won't fight each other for bandwidth that much to begin with. Add on GCN 1.2's memory compression and it's even less of a problem. We also have to remember that AMD APUs support hUMA, or Heterogeneous Unified Memory Architecture. This means there's no copy operation involved when something has to move from "main memory" to "video memory." This drastically lessens the bandwidth required. There's also no need to move things over slow PCIe. Ultimately what you end up with is something that simply doesn't have enough memory bandwidth. 14.4GB/s is barely double what the original Xbox had. The Xbox 360 had more than half-again as much and that system (with the efficiency advantages of a game console!) struggled to maintain 30 FPS in its 720p games. By the way, the spec for Bristol Ridge is DDR4-2400, so it's actually 38.4GB/sec. 🙂 [quote<]And of course they're probably not competing but working together. AMD sorted out Dual Graphics (Hybrid Crossfire) out with Kaveri and it produces some pretty good results these days.[/quote<]Can't crossfire across different GCN revisions, but dual graphics was never good anyway. Even going by average FPS it never gave much improvement over the GPU alone. I don't even want to imagine what the frametimes were like. With that said, [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j41lI6y8XfY<]this guy[/url<] has an Acer laptop with an A12-9700P that ships with an R7 M440 in a dual graphics configuration that AMD refers to as an "R8 M445DX". (Ugh.) So either I'm wrong about being able to crossfire across generations, these chips aren't the old Oland die anymore, or there's something else hacky going on. The reviewer says the gaming experience is terrible, and worse than his ancient Dell Precision machine with an SNB CPU and a Quadro 2000M. That's GF106. Yeah.

            • EndlessWaves
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<]So either I'm wrong about being able to crossfire across generations[/quote<] You are. Most of the recent(ish) reviews combine Kaveri (GCN 1.1) with Oland (GCN 1.0) [quote<]Even going by average FPS it never gave much improvement over the GPU alone. I don't even want to imagine what the frametimes were like. [/quote<] They used to be abysmal but they looked a lot healthier with Kaveri: [url<]https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/AMD-A8-7600-Kaveri-APU-and-R7-250-Dual-Graphics-Testing-Pacing-Fixed[/url<] I don't know what progress AMD has made since then though.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            You’re correct, my mistake. I thought Kaveri was GCN 1.0. Cheers!

            • chuckula
            • 3 years ago

            All of that is lovely, but assuming it’s true for a business notebook (that was a full-bore desktop with no real power throttling being tested in that article) here’s the real question: Who in the business world would ever possibly care?

        • Musafir_86
        • 3 years ago

        Somebody please mention this to Scott Wasson, ASAP. Maybe ping him on Twitter.

        [b<][i<]Please[/i<][/b<] Please.....

      • NovusBogus
      • 3 years ago

      I was getting excited until I came upon that part. The whole point of an APU is that it does okayish graphics, but for that kind of weaksauce combo I might as well get a Quadro/Firepro workstation even if I’m after gaming performance. This was a perfect opportunity to upstage Intel who can’t seem to get Iris into corporate books, why does AMD keep doing this to themselves?

        • Neutronbeam
        • 3 years ago

        They like to play to their strengths?

      • Waco
      • 3 years ago

      I’m utterly confused by this…

      • YukaKun
      • 3 years ago

      “The E-series is the bottom of Lenovo’s business laptop lineup.”

      Why would a business need a “”””””high end GPU”””””” inside an APU?

      You wanna accelerate the Spread Sheets? I bet those Word images would look better, right?

      Cheers!

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Why would a business need a """"""high end GPU"""""" inside an APU? [/quote<] They wouldn't. Now ask yourself the real question at issue here: Why would a business want to pay more money and reduce the battery life of a notebook for a crappy discrete GPU that's not better than what the APU is already supposed to be doing for you anyway?

          • Voldenuit
          • 3 years ago

          [quote<]Why would a business want to pay more money and reduce the battery life of a notebook for a crappy discrete GPU that's not better than what the APU is already supposed to be doing for you anyway?[/quote<] No idea if the Radeon PRO drivers are up to FireGL and Quadro certification standards, but if you're running a CAD workstation designing automotive, aerospace or biomedical parts, the professional cards and drivers are what you want to ensure accurate display of complex parts. I have had the misfortune of trying to run Catia on intel IGPs in the past, and I literally had parts that were coincident incorrectly display as not touching, or vice versa. The problems went away with a FireGL add-in card. Currently, at work (aerospace), I have a laptop with basic (Kepler) quadro graphics, and while they may be slower than intel's latest and greatest Iris Pro IGPs in gaming, they are great for professional OpenGL applications. Maybe lenovo is aiming these at hybrid thin client applications? E.g. process analytical runs on a cluster, but download the results to display (and analyze) locally? Seems like it could be a niche application, though, not sure how big the market is for that, to be honest.

      • Concupiscence
      • 3 years ago

      Wait, I think I’ve got it. They’re specifically designed to support up to 4 displays, so it’s possible – bone-headed, but possible – that the APU is the primary driver for two displays, and the discrete chip with its own pool of memory exists to service the other two. That would at least keep a single low-end GPU from choking while outputting to four displays simultaneously.

      Please, someone tell me this makes sense.

      • mczak
      • 3 years ago

      FWIW – the R5 M430 is probably not THAT old. The linked article states Topaz aka Oland which is completely wrong. Oland (aka Mars) is a gcn 1.0 part (with max 6 CUs, 128bit memory, and actually a complete chip, it has video encode/decode, display outputs), however Topaz (aka Icelands) is gcn 1.2 (so same generation as Bristol Ridge, but it’s a pure companion chip, no video decode/encode or display outputs, 6 CUs, 64bit).
      However, unfortunately AMD decided to reuse the same product names for products using both chips, at least with M2xx and M3xx parts, so you can’t tell easily what part you get. But AMD _may_ have phased out chips based on Sun with the M4xx product names (which is another chip again, 5 CUs, 64bit, gcn 1.0). (But some products apparently still are based on Oland, because there’s no 128bit option with Iceland, but my money would be on Iceland for most everything else if I’d have to bet which chips they are using).
      Either way though yes the companion chip is slow (especially so if the APU isn’t limited by 15W TDP which usually notebooks have, which means the IGP only runs at around half the max possible clocks most of the time, but I don’t know what TDP they are configured for).

        • Concupiscence
        • 3 years ago

        Thank you for that info. I wish this were more visible in the thread.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        Confusing stuff.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 3 years ago

      It’s for Asians.

      That market is super spec-happy. They love dGPUs and stuff like that. It doesn’t matter if it’s better. The market doesn’t trust integrated graphics.

      Similarly, that’s why mediatek makes 10-core SOCs for phones (and i think they are working on 12 or 14, not sure). Asians love their core counts.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        I’m pretty sure Lenovo could make a version for Asia and a version for the West if there was a marketing-driven need to install superfluous hardware in one market. No need increase costs globally.

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