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Which is faster: Lenovo Thinkpad X230 (Ivy Bridge) or X240 (Haswell)?

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September 3, 2013 4:31:41 PM

Hi!

I'm deciding between the Lenovo Thinkpad X230 and X240. I am committed to the 12.5 inch form factor, but want the one with more processing power. I'm interested in raw CPU power for scientific computing, gaming performance is irrelevant.

I've heard that the new Haswell processors improve mostly on battery life and little, if at all, on performance. Now I wonder whether the new X240 will come at all with a processor thats faster than the Intel Core i7-3520M currently offered in the X230.

Can anybody comment on that? Will any Haswell mobile CPUs be faster than the i7-3520M, and if so, are they likely to be offered for the X240? Any other reasons to get the X240 rather than the X230?

Thanks a lot!
Matt
September 5, 2013 12:44:12 PM

Maybe I should ask more generally: Is it obvious that a Haswel laptop will be faster than its Ivy Bridge predecessor? Does my question make sense at all?
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a b D Laptop
September 5, 2013 1:01:32 PM

Matt57348 said:
Maybe I should ask more generally: Is it obvious that a Haswel laptop will be faster than its Ivy Bridge predecessor? Does my question make sense at all?


Obvious = no. The architecture improves upon memory management and is more efficient overall, but you will not see a flagrant difference in performance between the two generations.
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a c 462 D Laptop
September 5, 2013 1:30:57 PM

At the same clockspeed Haswell performs on average 6% better than Ivy Bridge CPUs. The Haswell version of the dual core i7-3520m would be the dual core i7-4600m which shares the same clockspeed.

While the average performance increase is only 6%, the actual performance increase (a decrease is possible too). Is that extra performance worth waiting for? That depends on exactly what you are doing and the time involved.

For example, from time to time I encode videos and I generally do them in batches. The last time I encoded videos it took a total of 45.5 hours. A 6% increase in performance would mean the total amount encoding time will drop to 42.92 hours. That translates to about 2 hours and 35 minutes less time required to complete the entire batch.

To me, that improvement does not justify spending more / waiting longer for the next gen laptop. However, if you are working with time constraints on highly complex and time consuming calculations, then that extra 6% of performance might be worth it.
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a b D Laptop
September 5, 2013 2:59:13 PM

If CPU power is what you want but are interested in a laptop, look into the few workstation laptops out there. Clevo has the P570WM that has a desktop CPU in it instead of a laptop chip.
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Best solution

September 23, 2013 5:49:29 AM

Details so far suggest that the x240 will have a 1 soldered in RAM module with a maximum of 8GB. The x230 has 2 sockets so you can currently put in 16GB (maybe more if a 16GB module becomes available in the future). For some things 8 GB vs 16 GB could be quite significant.

Also most reports so far say that the x240 will use low voltage CPUs. So they may be lower clock speed than in the x230.
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September 23, 2013 7:33:59 AM

ssam said:
Details so far suggest that the x240 will have a 1 soldered in RAM module with a maximum of 8GB. The x230 has 2 sockets so you can currently put in 16GB (maybe more if a 16GB module becomes available in the future). For some things 8 GB vs 16 GB could be quite significant.

Also most reports so far say that the x240 will use low voltage CPUs. So they may be lower clock speed than in the x230.


That's what I heard, too, and it makes the decision easy. One RAM slot is just out of the question -- it moves the X240 from being a portable workstation to being a sub-standard small laptop. I've been using an X200 for almost four years now and, apart from the aging processor, it's still going strong with 8 GB RAM, an SSD and a new battery. Too bad these small-form-factor powerhouses will be history after the X230.

PS: Just realized that you wrote soldered RAM...if not even the single slot is user-replaceable, then this is really a laughable attempt at a "business notebook".
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