Though the unit we have on hand is actually the one I bought for myself (again, eating our own dog food as it were), it does bear mentioning that Lenovo's ThinkPad X100e has been getting seeded around the media lately. Initial reviews of the notebook back in February were mixed, and understandably so: Lenovo commanded a frankly obscene pricetag for a notebook with AMD's mediocre Athlon Neo MV-40. $550 for a notebook that got just barely over four hours of battery life under the best of circumstances with a processor that was marginally superior to the Intel Atom at the expense of heat and power. Lenovo was asking CULV prices for low-end tech, and most review sites weren't biting.

Flash forward to today, and it appears Lenovo has been sending out ThinkPad X100e units in the configuration that probably should've been their leader in the first place. Of course, things have changed in the intervening time frame. AMD's Nile platform is starting to pick up steam in the marketplace, with Acer and Toshiba both selling notebooks based on Athlon II Neo K-series processors, Radeon HD 4225 graphics, and DDR3 support. The prices on the ThinkPad X100e have also dropped: when it came out, the Turion Neo version we have on hand would've meant parting with seven Franklins, but now Lenovo asks a still-hairy-but-more-reasonable $529. So what do you get for your hard-earned cash?

Lenovo ThinkPad X100e Specifications
Processor AMD Turion Neo X2 L625
(2x1.6GHz, 65nm, 2x512KB L2, 18W)
Chipset AMD RS780M Northbridge, AMD SB750 Southbridge
Memory 2x2GB DDR2-800
(Shipped with: 1GB DDR2-667)
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200
(40 Stream Processors, 380MHz Core, Integrated)
Display 11.6" LED Matte 16:9 768p (1366x768)
Lenovo LTN116AT01401
Hard Drive(s) Intel X25-V 40GB SSD
(Shipped with: Fujitsu 250GB 5400RPM Hard Disk)
Optical Drive None
Networking Realtek Gigabit Ethernet
Lenovo 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN
Audio Conexant Cx20582 HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Headphone jack
Battery 6-Cell, 10.8V, 56Wh battery
Front Side Speakers
Left Side Exhaust vent
2x USB 2.0
Gigabit ethernet jack
Headphone jack
Right Side SD/MMC reader
1x USB 2.0
Kensington lock
Back Side AC jack
VGA port
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
(Shipped with: Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit)
Dimensions 11.1" x 8.2" x 1.16" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.3 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Webcam
Trackpoint and touchpad
Flash reader (4-in-1)
WWAN Mini-PCIe support
Warranty 1-year standard warranty
Pricing Starting at $449
$629 as shipped

It's not exciting but it's not what we're here for either. The AMD Turion Neo X2 L625 is the best AMD's Congo platform had to offer, and it's not bad. It has the same dual 1.6GHz cores as the L335, but bumps L2 cache up to 512K on each one. There's also supposedly improved PowerNow! capability over the Athlon Neo chips, allowing it to scale voltage lower; while I can't confirm it, the Turion Neo does seem to have superior battery life to Athlon Neo-based portables as we'll see later. Attached to it are the familiar AMD Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics and support for DDR2.

Since this is my personal system, I opted to upgrade the unit to an Intel X25-V 40GB SSD (on sale locally) and 4GB of DDR2-800. It originally shipped with a Fujitsu 250GB 5400RPM hard disk to ensure it would never reach its full potential, along with a paltry 1GB of DDR2. Note that the specs it shipped with are the basics for the $629 pricetag. We actually have a few benchmarks later on with the system running in both configurations. It should also be noted that the RAM never runs at a higher speed than DDR2-667; the way the integrated memory controller is tuned on Congo-platform processors means even DDR2-800 will run at a reduced speed. That said, it can run in dual channel mode, so adding another 1GB stick of DDR2-667 should at least offer a marginal gain alongside the additional performance boost that comes with more memory.

The ThinkPad X100e, On the Outside Looking In
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  • fire400 - Monday, September 06, 2010 - link

    msi wind u230 is garbage compared to the lenovo x100e Reply
  • FishyFish - Monday, September 06, 2010 - link

    I agree with allasm. The refurb X60s and X61s are basically identical to the X100e in size and weight, yet they are cheaper and faster. The X60s also lasts longer than the X61s: nearly 6 hours on a charge (8 cell). There's no webcam, but there's a fingerprint reader *and* a keyboard light... Reply
  • cosmotic - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    Eating your own dog food is a reference to using the products you make. I'm pretty sure that has nothing to do with this article or Anandtech's core business of reviewing tech products.. Reply
  • GMan123 - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    I've bought my L625 model about 6 weeks ago. They had a deal where you get 2GB of RAM (1 DIMM), 320 GB hard-drive, WIfi and BT for about $530 shipped. I re-installed Win 7 Pro 64bit (comes with 32bit) and added another 2GB of RAM.

    As for my impressions, I was upgrading from an ASUS 1000H and the difference is huge. First off (as noted in the review) is the keyboard. It is one of the best! The next difference is the screen resolution - moving from 1024x600 to 1366x768 is terrific. I did have issues with contrast and colors, but playing around with the ATI settings, it looks a lot better (and now I can distinguish the lighter grays from white). You really need to play with those settings - I can post my settings if there is any interest.

    Overall speed is better than the Atom, but I occasionally get the Win 7 spinning wheel of delay (not sure if this is a generic Win7 problem or not). Once I get this, I can really do anything on the machine until it stops. Really annoying, but maybe its the hard drive (there is no drive activity light!) so moving to an SSD may help. Outside the spinning wheel, I can do most productivity related tasks without issue or concern. Have not played any games on it yet, but Hulu and Netflix streaming is much, much smoother.

    One issue that I did come across is some weirdness with the "sleep on lid close" setting. I think this is generic to Windows 7 and not to this laptop, but occasionally once I wake the computer, the brightness cannot be changed! The shortcut keys or control panel cannot change the brightness. Outside of a reboot, the only solution was to change the setting from "sleep on lid close" to "do nothing on lid close". Then close the lid and reopen it. Now you can change your brightness.
    Reply

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