System Performance

The review unit that I received should be no slouch for performance, since it has the Intel Core i7-5600U processor. We have seen a few Broadwell powered notebooks already this year, including Core M and Core i5 models, but this is the first Core i7 that has come across my desk. The i7-5600U is a dual-core processor with Hyperthreading, and it has a base frequency of 2.6 GHz and turbo of 3.2 GHz. All of this processing occurs within a 15 watt TDP.

The memory is 8 GB of DDR3L-1600, and it is in dual-channel mode. Graphics are the Gen 8 Broadwell graphics with 24 Execution Units and the GPU is 300-950 MHz.

The final piece of the performance puzzle is storage, and this X1 Carbon has the fastest SSD available for a laptop in it. The Samsung SM951 drive is a 512 GB PCIe SSD, and despite the lack of NVMe in this particular model it is a potent offering. Kristian reviewed the SM951 in great detail so if you want all of the particulars, check that out.

Performance Graphs

For performance workloads, the X1 Carbon was run through our standard laptop workload. For comparison, I have chosen a sample of other Ultrabooks and other similar devices like the Surface Pro 3, and I have also included the 2013 X1 Carbon as well which had the i5-3427U processor, but if you would like to compare the X1 Carbon to any other device we have tested, please use our Laptop Bench. I have seen some questions about why some devices are not included in all of the results, and it boils down to our benchmark workloads are always evolving, so older devices would not have been run through some of the newer workloads. We do not get to keep all of these devices in order to go back and re-run older ones through the new workloads.


PCMark 8 - Home

PCMark 8 - Creative

PCMark 8 - Work

PCMark 8 - Storage

PCMark 7 (2013)

PCMark tries to replicate real world use scenarios with its various workloads. It will have sustained performance as well as burst performance requirements, and storage is also a factor in the scores. Overall, the X1 Carbon aces these tests with its combination of i7 processor and PCIe SSD. The PCMark storage score shows the X1 Carbon as the fastest device we have tested, but due to the nature of the benchmark the scores are all very close to each other. Make no mistake though. This is a drive that can read at 1500 MB/s. For a full breakdown on the drive, please check out Kristian’s review linked at the top of this page.


Cinebench R15 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R15 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench renders an image, and can leverage multiple cores. It loves IPC and frequency, both of which the i7 has in abundance, so the X1 Carbon sits at the top.


x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

This test converts several videos, and much like Cinebench it loves more cores and higher speeds. The i7-5600U easily passes all over U class notebooks we have tested in this test. This test is all about sustained performance, since it can last an hour or more.

Web Tests

Mozilla Kraken 1.1

Google Octane 2.0


With a 3.2 GHz turbo frequency, the i7-5600U has no issues with javascript. As you can see in these results, it is by far the fastest Ultrabook tested in these kinds of short workloads.

System Performance Conclusion

With 8 GB of memory, a Core i7 processor, and the fastest consumer SSD available, day to day tasks on the X1 Carbon are done with ease. This is easily one of the fastest Ultrabooks around when configured as the review unit is. I don’t love that the base model comes with just 4 GB of memory, but the cost to move to 8 GB is not a lot and should be done by all prospective buyers. I’m not sure if we are at the point where 16 GB of system memory would be needed in an Ultrabook, but it likely will not be long before that does happen.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Design GPU Performance
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  • Systemsplanet - Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - link

    +1 on HP.
    -2 Dell
    I previously bought Dells until two XPS 18's with flaky USB3 drivers that ran at USB2 speeds no matter what perpheral/cable you used. Dell blamed Microsoft. Who knows. Premium Dell price means it should be integrated. With USB2 or wireless backup the machine was worthless to me. Luckily my wife cracked the display while mopping the floor. Never been so happy.

    Bought the HP Zbook 17 last December in a minimal config. Installed a Samsung pcie boot disk xp941 which gets 800/700 MB/ss. Pulled out the DVD and it now hosts a total of 4 1TB SSD drives in a laptop form factor. Love the BIOS. Never had such a problem free experience tricking out a new computer.

    Reviewed here on amazon:

    Also, 20Gb/s Thunderbolt 2 rocks for backup and high resolution display on a single bus.
  • mooninite - Thursday, May 21, 2015 - link

    Lenovos are a joke. People associate them with "business" and "reliability" and unfortunately put their dollars in an inappropriate place.

    The ASUS Zenbook line far exceeds what you get from Lenovo. The current Haswell UX301LAA is a marvelous piece of technology. HiDPI screen. i7. Iris graphics. 8GB ram, 512GB SSD. The new Broadwell version is coming out soon and will blow any other laptop - sans discrete cards - out of the water in every category (cpu, graphics, IO, battery life).

    It's time for people to wake up and stop drinking the Lenovo / ThinkPad coolaid. They're not the prized, derived from the Gods, piece of hardware any longer.
  • alexdi - Thursday, May 21, 2015 - link

    This review is missing a conclusion. The basic question is: given everything else out there, would you buy the thing with your own money? If not, what would you buy instead and why? The initial tone of the review is almost an advertisement, but then slides down after the CPU charts. What's your verdict?
  • BGADK - Thursday, May 21, 2015 - link

    The X1 was one of the ultrabook PC's for business users I evaluated, but in the end I choose the Fujitsu U904. Lighter, and with better specs, even if it still does not have a Broadwell CPU.
    I hope Anandtech take a look at the U904, which for me is the best ultrabook in the market.
  • Laststop311 - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    if this had the i7-5650u with 6000 graphics and double the eu's at 48 I would of probably bought it. Would of preferred the 1920x1080 screen being ips. If you game at 1920x1080 its going to look better on a native 1920x1080 screen. Also less pixels means larger pixels that let more light through increasing battery life as well as less pixels to process. Also wouldn't mind if they made it a little thicker and heavier and bumped the battery up to 75wh 50% more than the 50wh battery.

    If only I could have that laptop changed to those specs I'd be a buyer 100%
  • coder111 - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    Are they still shipping their computers with malware/spyware rootkits installed?
  • flabber - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    I have found ThinkPads to be my preferred laptops for two reasons : full maintenance documentation available online, the keyboard/trackpoint.
    I still have a T41p kicking around, a X61 Tablet and a T61p. Only the T61p had given me a problem with the nVidia graphics adapter. Lenovo had made a recall, but it failed 3 after it had expired.
    Great machines - no need to replace my X61 Tablet, so I am sticking with that for now.
  • Scipio Africanus - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    HP Elitebook/Zbooks will have the same documentation and also has a pretty good keyboard and trackpoint. Their service has been exemplary as well giving me fast turnaround for a simple loose power connector.
  • seanleeforever - Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - link

    I have yet to find a track pointer implementation that's come close to thinkpads. and I have used 4 elitebook/zbooks including the very last generation of them, and number of dell workstations. my work always has HP/Dell but my personal purchase is always thinkpad just for the track pointer. the fact that you even mentioned "trackpoint" in Zbooks means you don't use the track pointer at all.

    truth to be told. I desperately want another manufacture to come up with a decent trackpointer so I can dump thinkpad line.
  • just2btecky - Friday, May 22, 2015 - link

    What OS was this laptop tested on, or can The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon miraculously run sans OS? Just curious!

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