Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (275854M)
Falls just short of being special.
- Fast hardware, powerful graphics processor, good screen, excellent usability, latest networking options
- Heavy, doesn't use a 7200rpm hard drive
The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (275854M) is a fast and feature-packed workstation with a very effective graphics processor. However, this notebook is let down by the use of a 5400rpm hard drive.
Price$ 4,199.00 (AUD)
The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (275854M) is a mobile workstation that features a speedy processor, superb usability and a powerful graphics card. However, it has a relatively slow 5400rpm hard drive.
The W700 (275854M) lacks the Wacom digitiser pad, 7200rpm hard drives and high-end processor found in the more expensive ThinkPad W700 (27585GM). It also has a less powerful graphics card. This doesn't make it a bad notebook in its own right; its price is competitive with other workstations on the market, such as the HP Compaq 8710w Mobile Workstation.
What it does share with the ThinkPad W700 (27585GM), however, is an excellent chassis. The W700 (275854M) feels solid, from the sturdy 17in screen to the full-sized keyboard (which has good bounce-back and ample wrist support).
The 17in screen has a native resolution of 1440x900 and is also a strong performer with bold colours and plenty of brightness. By pressing the Fn and PgUp keys, users can toggle two small lights that provide enough of a glow to work with at night (although it isn't recommended for long periods).
The W700 (275854M) is run by a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 processor, and it comes with 2GB of RAM. The T9400 CPU can be found in many cheaper laptops but it is still worthy of being in this workstation, as shown by our performance benchmarks.
In our Blender rendering test, where both threads of the CPU are used to render a 3-D image, the W700 (275854M) managed a time of 1min 11sec. Our iTunes benchmark confirmed the processor's power by returning a time of 1min 8sec, which was within our expectations.
Lenovo has used an NVIDIA Quadro FX 2700M graphics processor that has plenty of kick. The 3DMark06 test score of 8460 means that rendering 3-D images can be done easily and you can run GPU-intensive programs like AutoCAD.
Less impressive is the 250GB hard drive with its relatively slow spin speed of 5400rpm. To test the hard drive, we copied a folder with 5GB of files from one location on the W700's drive to another. It recorded a rate of 19.48 megabytes per second, which is very slow compared to the Dell Precision M6400, for example. The Precision M6400 has a 7200rpm drive and averaged a rate of 36.55MBps in the same test.
The W700 (275854M) has plenty of expansion ports. Five USB 2.0 ports, mini-FireWire, CF and D-sub ports, a DisplayPort and a DVI-output are all present, as is an ExpressCard/34 slot. We'd prefer to see an ExpressCard/54 slot in a notebook as large and expensive as this one.
The W700 (275854M) comes equipped with Gigabit Ethernet and an Intel WiFi Link 5300 wireless adapter, which provides 802.11n dual-band capabilities. Bluetooth is available for users with suitable peripherals, like headset microphones for Web-conferencing.
There are plenty of business users out there who prefer Windows XP, and Lenovo has made it the default operating system on this notebook. If you prefer Vista, a DVD is included so you can switch to Windows Vista Business.
Our DVD rundown test lasted 1hr 24min, which is about average for a workstation. Even so, you probably won't be spending too much time away from a power point thanks to the W700 (275854M)'s weight of 3.75kg without the power supply and 4.75kg with it included.
If you need a workstation that is powerful, versatile and comfortable to use, then the W700 (275854M) is certainly worth looking at. Just make sure you're happy with its 5400rpm hard drive and heavy weight before you take the plunge.
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