GPU Performance

We’ve tested Raven Ridge before, which is the platform name for Ryzen Mobile, but that was the Ryzen 7 2700U with Vega 10 in the Acer Swift 3. The Thinkpad A285 ships with the Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U, which features the Vega 8 GPU, meaning 8 Vega cores, which means if you do want the best GPU performance you can get in a 15-Watt PC APU, you will have to get the highest-tier Ryzen Mobile.

To test the ThinkPad A285, we ran it through our GPU suite for integrated GPU laptops. If you’d like to compare the A285 to any device not shown in the graphs, please check out our online bench.

3DMark

Futuremark 3DMark Fire Strike

Futuremark 3DMark Sky Diver

Futuremark 3DMark Cloud Gate

Futuremark 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Futuremark 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited - Graphics

Futuremark 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited - Physics

UL Benchmark’s 3DMark offers a set of tests with varying degrees of complexity, with Fire Strike being something made for dGPU devices, and Ice Storm Unlimited the same test they offer on smartphones and tablets.

The ThinkPad A285 with its less-powerful GPU definitely takes a step back from its faster brother in the Acer Swift 3, and coupled with the lower frequency CPU, finds itself more-or-less tied with the Intel iGPU. Which isn’t really praise by any measure. AMD also hasn’t really been updating performance with drivers as quickly as hoped on the Raven Ridge platform for DX11.

GFXBench

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal DX12 Off-screen

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High DX12 Off-screen

GFXBench has been updated to version 5 on the PC, and brings with it new DX12 tests with the Aztec Ruins scenes. As such, we’ll be transitioning to these new tests as our baseline for GFXBench going forward.

Aztec Ruins offers both a normal (1080p) and high (1440p) mode, and here the Vega 8 does quite a bit better than it did on DX11 with 3DMark. The results on both level are slightly behind the Vega 10 Acer Swift 3, but well ahead of the iGPU in the Surface Pro 6.

Dota 2

Dota 2 Reborn - Value

Dota 2 Reborn - Mainstream

Dota 2 Reborn - Enthusiast

For iGPU laptops, we use Dota 2 as our real-world gaming test, since it’s both a very popular game, and quite adaptable to low-end hardware. Unfortunately, there was no way to run 1366x768, on this device, so it was run at 1280x720 instead. Dota 2 is a DX11 title, and the performance of the ThinkPad is not great here compared to either the Ryzen 7 2700U, or the Intel laptops.

GPU Conclusion

There’s little doubt that Vega can offer a lot more performance than Intel’s iGPU offerings, and we’ve seen that before with the Vega 10, but Vega 8 in the ThinkPad A285 doesn’t offer quite the performance level, especially on DX11 titles, which is still the most popular API on the PC. As a result the iGPU portion of AMD's APU is still competitive with Intel offerings, but it won't offer the kind of class-leading performance that AMD is better known for.

System Performance Display Analysis
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  • jardows2 - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    This chassis is not too thin for an Ethernet port. Our organization just ordered in a bunch of HP probook 450's that are every bit as thin as this, and they all include an Ethernet port. To make Ethernet connectivity a dongle is just a stupid business decision made by Lenovo for this class of laptop. Reply
  • HStewart - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    It not that thin of notebook, it include Type-A USB so it still fat notebook - I would think it possible to include ethernet at back part of it - probably a cost saving measure - just like the display. Reply
  • IGTrading - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    I find it ridiculous that the reviewers felt the unexplained need of including 15" laptops and notebooks with a discrete video card and compared them with a 12.5" Thin&Light portable without a discrete GPU.

    Why the heck are we comparing plums to grapes and apples to pineapples ?!

    The most basic journalistic "rules" for an initial review are to compare products priced similarly and of course, products with comparable specifications.

    Does anybody care to compare a Lamborghini to a Ford K ? Sure those are both cars, both use petrol and both have 4 wheels ... but really !?!

    You want to have an expert comparison between similar products from DIFFERENT product lines .... to show just how much extra performance does a larger chassis bring ... or a higher price ... ok, do it and present it as such.

    Here's a 12" ThinkPad with X CPU vs a 15" ThinkPad with the same X CPU (or similar) and here is the extra performance the larger and more expensive product gets you.

    But why the heck would you compare a 15" Microsoft Surface 2 with a discrete GPU costing 2300 USD with a 12.5" ThinkPad with just an APU (no discrete GPU) costing half the price ?!?!

    Is this to bury the good test results of Lenovo's AMD-based ThinkPad and make it look mediocre ?!

    If Ford launches a new Ford K ... what kind of reviewer will compare it and test it against the newest Ferrari ?!

    This is being forced (on all reviewers) by Intel's PR team. You either do it, or next time you have ZERO access to anything Intel-related. (happened to me too, many years ago)
    Reply
  • nico_mach - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    It doesn't seem to have a great analogue in these numbers, true. But it is very close to the Surface Pro i5 results, which is much thinner and lighter, so it still doesn't look good. Unfortunately, the prices aren't listed in these performance results - so the dGPU and i7 that look so good aren't really in the same league, but we don't know by how much.

    The results are unfortunate, but this is still progress by AMD, considering where they were 2 years ago. And getting Intel to respond the way they have - buying AMD graphics, matching their core counts, moving on with a hybrid 10nm scheme - really shows how competitive they've become. And when was the last time Intel had to resort to dirty tricks? Unfortunately I think both Intel and AMD should worry more about Quallcomm and Apple than each other. This comparison is ultimately irrelevant.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    Adding the 1060 was arguably gratuitous; but all the fanboiing on the Ryzen mobile had been about how it was going to crush the competition so Intel's mainstream parts and NVidia's entry level MX150 are entirely appropriate. And Lenovo's performance here is just awful. With 8 clusters of GPU cores instead of 10 it should be able to do at least 80% of the performance of the 15W Ryzen 7 in the Swift 3 (and a bit closer should be expected since it can use its TDP to clock the GOU higher); but instead it's coming in around 2/3rds. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    There is allot of issues in regards to Ryzen mobile, drivers and TDP.
    In some instances, limiting the CPU will allow the GPU in the 2500u to run faster than the 2700u.

    I have the Lenovo E585 myself with a Ryzen 2700u. - It does Overwatch, 60fps, 1080P at 56% scaling all settings low.

    The driver situations is certainly bullshit though, my notebooks drivers are months out of date... AMD doesn't offer any newer revision... And if I "work around" the drivers and install unofficial ones, windows update will override it at a later date and downgrade them.

    I honestly expected more out of it... Going to upgrade the Ram to 16GB with lower latencies and hope that might make a small difference. My next notebook will certainly have a discreet GPU.
    Reply
  • IGTrading - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    Yes, the mobile driver for Ryzen needs work and needs it quick. If OEMs don't give a crap about their customers and offer no decent support, AMD should step in with a Beta mobile driver. Doesn't need to be WHQL, doesn't need anything special ... just offer it.

    As for testing in exactly the same conditions, HP x360 has Ryzen and Intel models in the same chassis. When tested these two, AMD Ryzen trounced the Intel model.
    Reply
  • Hul8 - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    It's helpful to have the *one* token example with a discrete GPU, so readers can tell how much you give up by going integrated. Otherwise the review would be in a bubble of similarly handicapped systems. Reply
  • HStewart - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    My comment was nothing about Intel - your response falsely assume it was.

    Most notebook users use notebook for word processing, spreadsheets and such and don't need descret CPU.

    What does the GPU matter in comment about USB Size? I had to look up the specs to see what specs it had - is Vega 8 even descrete GPU? it not part of discussion - just falsely assume it was bias statement.
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    I agree when it comes to some of the performance tests. The dGPU model really skews the graphs by being so much better than iGPU models. Makes a comparison of similar models harder to do. Reply

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