ThinkPad T410: Fast for Applications

For general applications, the CPU is going to be the biggest determiner of performance. An SSD would also boost performance, particularly in benchmarks like PCMark where storage performance is a major factor. With the fastest i5 dual-core CPU currently available, the T410 is obviously going to churn out some good benchmark results.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark PCMark05

Internet Performance

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

General application performance is right where we'd expect given the components. Laptops equipped with i7-720QM processors will typically offer a bit better performance in lightly threaded scenarios and quite a bit more performance in heavily threaded tasks. Cinebench, PCMark Vantage, and Peacekeeper show that the single core performance of the i5-540M can surpass the i7-720QM, thanks to aggressive Turbo Modes (the i7-720QM default clock is 1.6GHz but it can Turbo as high as 2.8GHz; in contrast the i5-540M stock clock is 2.53GHz with up to 3.06GHz Turbo Mode). In tasks like 3D rendering or video encoding, however, there's no beating the eight threads of the 720QM. Cinebench multi-threaded is 25% faster with 720QM and x264 encoding (second pass) is 40% faster than the 540M.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

Futuremark 3DMark05

Futuremark 3DMark03

We know that some people like to see 3DMark results, so we've included them as usual. We'll show actual gaming performance next, and even though ThinkPad has never targeted gaming the Quadro NVS 3100M is at least capable of running most games at low detail at the native resolution. The T410 is basically the same graphics performance as the UL50Vf, as we would expect from the GPU specs. Now let's take a quick look at some actual games.

Lenovo ThinkPad T410 Specifications and Features Not so Fast at Games
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  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    IdeaPad is definitely more for consumers IMO. As for HP business laptops, I've got an HP ProBook that I'm working on reviewing as well, so stay tuned to see how that compares. Unfortunately, determining reliability is a bit beyond the scope of a 30-day product evaluation, as they all tend to work well within that time period.
  • strikeback03 - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    By PSU do you mean the power brick? Because I know they changed the plug between the T43 and the T60.

    A note on the warranties: I don't know if they still have the site set up (my T43 went out of warranty a few yrs ago) but it is worth checking if they still track warranty periods by serial number. They at least used to have a site set up where you could check whether a certain system was still in warranty. Important if you are thinking of buying used or selling, no need to deal with receipts or anything, they track what coverage it has.

    Part of the reason I have not upgraded is the loss of the Flexview screen. I love my 1400x1050 IPS screen, most don't match the resolution and I'm not sure any match the viewing angles.
  • DukeN - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    Amen brother - can definitely say agree with everyone in there.

    I can not even fathom using another laptop after having a W500 and T61/T60 the last few years.

    Great matte screens, standard power bricks and amazing build quality - no creaking, loose hinges or plasticky feels after years.

    I wonder if the screen quality is noticeably improved in the W series, or the T410s.

    Some great promos came out here in Canada in March, lots of folks bought really nicely outfitted T410s' for $1300ish after taxes.
  • ekul - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    I had a thinkpad (T42) through my last employer and I miss it everyday. The keyboards are amazing, the hinges take any abuse you can offer, the thinkvantage driver program makes sure you always have the newest drivers and did long before windows 7, they are quiet and they are unobtrusive. Everyone I know who has used a thinkpad on a regular basis comes around to the conclusion they are the best.

    I spent nearly 4 years lugging that thinkpad around both my and client locations. It still looked like it had just come out of the box. It never put a foot wrong. Meanwhile, I had clients on their 3rd or 4th dell latitudes that had suffered various calamities from broken screens, dead motherboards to overheated cpus.

    I almost forgot the absolute best feature. Standardized powerbricks means you can forget yours at home and IT has some spares sitting in their desk and it just works, regardless of what model you have. One of those features where once you need it you realize the brilliance of the engineer who fought for it.
  • jonup - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    The function key is at the wrong place!
    We both a few R61 about two years ago and they had a superior hw than anything else in the office and they ran slow as hell. They were ugly, heavy and did I mentioned the function key? Thank god they got passed down to the staff so I do not have to hear the managers complaining about them all the time!
  • Xenoterranos - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    There's actually an option in the BIOS to switch the functionality of the ctrl and fn keys. They'll still say fn and ctrl, but they'll operate they way their locations are supposed to!

    I bought this laptop after being disgusted with a compaq that literally disintegrated after only 2 years. Screws where falling out of the thing!
    I replaced that with a cheap (500$) acer that barely lasted a year before the power plug broke off the motherboard.

    For me, the deciding factor was the 3 year accidental damage protection for 160. (with student discounts). I got mine 20 days after they where announced :)

    And for anyone wondering about thinkpad vs macbook build quality, you could probably bash a mac into pieces with a thinkpad, and still use the thinkpad afterward :)
  • jonup - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    "both" should read "bought"
  • takumsawsherman - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    As a former fan of Thinkpads, I have to say that this unit seems like a big disappointment, though the review "sounds" positive, there are a lot of problems pointed out that make the laptop actually sort of "meh".

    In any case, in IBM's defense, not knowing about the new ones, if I need a part for the IBM thinkpad line, IBM is usually not only the quickest and best source, but also the least expensive. Case in point, a customer damaged their hearsink/fan assembly. Cheapest price for a replacement was IBM parts, who had it in stock (5 year old laptop) shipped it 2-day for about $68, and it came with screw hole covers (stickers) to replace any that lost their stick after replacement.

    Now, Lenovo might have similar service, but the failure rate of the laptops that I see is way up (anecdotal, to be sure) and the quality is down. Of course, the same has happened with Toshiba, as they all race to the bottom. But IBM I always felt was more like Apple in putting quality over "low, low prices".

    In any case, I think it would be crazy to buy this laptop. "The blah blah blah is wonderful for the business user". Business users should continue to switch to the much more pleasant MacBook Pro and throw VMWare on it if they need Windows. Then they can use the kick-butt snapshots, which you should be talking about, and talking to niche vendors about getting their dragging rears in gear to natively support the platform. This will help the business long term, and probably the Lenovos of the world as well. They shouldn't be able to count on the trapped consumer any more. They might even have to spend some time trying to improve the product.
  • Drag0nFire - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    I actually think the T410 is fine for a 14 in chassis. The T510 (15 inch) is much less palatable competitor to the MacBook Pro. It actually comes in at 1.5in thick (and let's not even talk about weight)!

    Also of note, although the T410s was advertised with switchable graphics, Lenovo later dropped this feature.

    I'm a long time fan of thinkpads, but I think the Lenovo is shifting in a very negative manner to respond to threats from "cheap" laptop manufacturers (Acer, Asus, HP). The T series used to be in the same category as the Macbook pro, a premium machine. The premium category is gone from the Lenovo line-up. You simply can't build the elegance of a 15in macbook pro for a base price of $800.
  • Belard - Sunday, March 28, 2010 - link

    The R, T and above series have their roll-cages, its very much there. The weight and feature set is a bit better. And Mac keyboards are now standardized pretty-looking but awful looking keys (HP & SONY uses it). You can only get so thin... besides, the T510 is 1.4" thick including its rubber feet which are a bit thicker than apples.

    Lets compare pricing a features, basic:
    Thinkpad T510: $1505 = Core i5 2.53Ghz / 4GB / 500GB HD / Win7 Pro / 15.6" LCD @ 1600x900 / Cam / blue-tooth / Wifi-N upgrade / WAN added with GPS function. 512mb Quadro discrete graphics (performs between 9400m & 9600m GT)

    MacBook Pro 15" : $1950 = Core2 2.53Ghz / 4GB / 500GB HD / OS X / 15.4" LCD @ 1440x900 / Cam / Wifi N / blue-tooth / (no WAN) / 9400M - shares 256mb. (Less than half the Quadro NVS 3100m above).

    $450 more... A CPU that is 1/3 slower, no WAN built-in, no discrete graphics. The ThinkPad T-510 can be had for under $1000 if I made it like the $1700 version of the iMac, but still with an i5 CPU. What I quoted for $1500 was a semi-top end model. I didn't make it 8GB or faster i5 CPU.

    So this is Apples bottom end 15" notebook, but I changed the HD to 500GB and added the anti-glare screen ($50) as ThinkPads don't have stupid glossy screens. Funny thou, Apple charges $150 to upgrade the 320GB to a 500GB. Lenovo charges $80.... hmmmm.

    If we upgrade the MAC 15" to the best...
    MacPro 15" = $3300! Core2Duo 3Ghz / 8GB RAM / 500GB HD / Antiglare.
    it would still be slower (CPU wise) than the $1000 T510.

    T510 max: $2195 Core i7 620 2.66ghz / 8GB RAM / 500GB HD / WAN, etc.

    I think I'd rather let apple keep that 0.45 " thinner body for that $1100 price difference.

    Apple makes generally good products... I'd prefer to get something better for less.

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