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Mark Minasi

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My old faithful Lenovo X230 Convertible (16GB RAM, 2.9 GHz i7, two SATA slots, touch screen) is slowly biting the dust.  And with 2016 around the corner (or Win 10 here now), we can run virtual Hyper-V servers in a supported manner, so it's time to move on.

Many of you may know about the Lenovo P50.  I just ordered one.  Despite having bought several zillion bits of hardware in the past, something they can still be a bit exciting.
  • The standard "minimal" model comes with 16 GB of RAM.  That's the "lame" version. [smile]  It can take 64GB and the upgrade's expensive (although the price seems to vary daily on the Lenovo site) at $630.  As we've all done in the past, though, a little web searching brought the upgrade cost down to a mite less than half that, and overnighted.
  • Oh, and as an option you can stick ECC RAM in it.  Didn't spring for it but I love the idea.
  • A Xeon processor.
  • Only one SATA slot, but two of these NVMe PCIe m.2  slots.  The drives they support are supposed to run faster than gossip, although they're not cheap.  But as they're just little circuit boards, I look forward to eventually having a couple of 1TBs in the m.2 slots and whatever's cheap in SSD SATAs.
  • No touch screen options, though.  Lame.
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jsclmedave

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"No touch screen options, though.  Lame."

Do you use it that often?  I was thinking the same thing then started keeping track when I actually used it on my Surface Pro 4.  Hardly ever at all...

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Wes

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Ever since going to the Surface Pro I've been using touch all the time... I find myself stabbing at friends/clients' screens wondering why they don't respond...  Very useful in concert with the keyboard/mouse/trackpad etc.

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wobble_wobble

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The drives are mental fast.
Not tried them on Hyper-V yet but on VMware

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Mark Minasi

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Reply with quote  #5 
I use touch all the time.  At least for me, it is the most natural way of scrolling up or down on some screen of text.  And Tim, the beauty of something like a Surface Pro 4 (for me, anyway) is being able sometimes to just poke at things and give your wrists a rest. [smile] 
Joe -- any idea why?  Were we wasting all that much time forcing SSD over a SATA interface optimized for things that spin?  
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Wes

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Not to mention pinch zooming into small text on some websites...  Eyes ain't what they used to be :-(
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wobble_wobble

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Yes i think it's because they are bypassing the spinning disk cache and interface
It's essentially RAM with a fancy battery (well a bunch more but you get get the meaning)
Fusion IO cards are really what we want to be for $50 for 1TB.
But these will suffice for now.

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Mark Minasi

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes
Not to mention pinch zooming into small text on some websites...  Eyes ain't what they used to be :-(

Duh.  I forgot that. [smile]  Definitely.  I'll miss it on the P50.

What drives me crazy is the micro-fonts that appear on the Surface Pro 4.  I guess the insanely large resolution for a relatively small screen leads to trouble on some things.  I'd heard that Win 10 was supposed to fix it but it seems that it hasn't yet!
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Wes

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Some of it is up to the software developers to fix their own stuff and make it hidpi friendly...
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wobble_wobble

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes
Some of it is up to the software developers to fix their own stuff.........





HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Its Windows

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cspanburgh

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My Surface 4 Pro.  What a machine.

As for me , I wish I had a few COOL and QUIET Dual Zeon towers in my lab for more VMs.   Or a lot more Azure bucks.

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Mark Minasi

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Reply with quote  #12 
Just one P50, my friend.  Slap a 2TB SATA drive in the first slot, a couple of 512GB m.2's in the other, and 64GB of DDR4 in the four memory slots and you've got a nice little lab in 5.6 portable pounds. [smile]

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Mark

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Some other notes...

1) If you have a P50, update the flash immediately.  You'll get told that you have ECC RAM when you don't.  And you get a Win 10-aware "Device Guard" setting.
2) The thing has three storage slots: one for a normal 2.5" HDD/SSD and two for any of the m.2-compatible things.  (Got one but don't understand "m.2?"  They're the things with slots for "hard drives" about the size of a stick of gum.  The thing to understand is that they support three kinds of interfaces.  Thus, if you're not careful, you might buy an m.2 drive from The Slow Interface (sata), The Mildly Less Slow Interface (AHCI), and not buy from the Right Interface (NVME).)  Now, most of the default $2K packages come with an m.2 256GB SATA and a copy of Win 10 home or Windows 7.  The biggest m.2 NVME right now is only 1/2 terabyte in size, so you might think, "well, I'll just get a 2.5" drive and beef up my storage."  You can't however, as you need a proprietary cable to USE that 2.5" space, and Lenovo doesn't send you one unless you bought a system with a 2.5" drive.  You can in theory buy one -- mine's been back-ordered for a while now -- and pay $18 for about a buck fifty of parts.  If you need it, the part is called the "ThinkPad Mobile Workstation Storage Kit."     
3) Don't even waste your time looking at the docking station.  Basically it's $300 for six USB 3.0 ports and a bunch of video ports... but only one or perhaps two can be used at a time.  I long for the old T61P docking station, that thing rocked.
4) Oh, back to storage... if you buy a second m.2 drive, you'll need a special "cartridge" for it.  Actually you can just shove it into the m.2 port, but then it's not secured.

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DM-AVAL

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Reply with quote  #14 
The cable/cartridge issues are what makes me hesitate to buy one of these (P50 or P70).

If you buy the unit with a "classic" 2.5 7200 RPM drive and want to add even a 512 GB m.2 SSD (not NVMe), that costs an extra $400. If you add a second 512 GB SATA (not NVMe), that's an extra.... $700!

That's $1100.

You can get these types of drives at a much lower price (Kingston, Crucial, although I think only Samsung has the NVMes).

Except you need those cartridges (or trays) to maintain them in place and I don't think you can get them elsewhere than from Lenovo. Last time I looked at the Lenovo forums, there was some wait time - if you ordered separately.

On the other hand, yes, if you get a small m.2 SATA drive (it will be inserted in the tray if it comes directly from Lenovo) and want to add a regular 2.5 drive (spinner or SSD), it look like it does not slide into a receptacle where the pins make contact but instead requires a cable that connects to the end opposite (?) of the one that is inserted into the connector. It looks like ordering this cable can be a challenge too.

Still undecided...

Mark, do you have a NVMe drive -with the OS installed there?
 
If so, how much faster than a regular SSD drive?
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pct

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DM-AVAL
The cable/cartridge issues are what makes me hesitate to buy one of these (P50 or P70).

On the other hand, yes, if you get a small m.2 SATA drive (it will be inserted in the tray if it comes directly from Lenovo) and want to add a regular 2.5 drive (spinner or SSD), it look like it does not slide into a receptacle where the pins make contact but instead requires a cable that connects to the end opposite (?) of the one that is inserted into the connector. It looks like ordering this cable can be a challenge too.



I just ordered a ThinkPad Mobile Workstation Storage Kit | 4XB0L63274
for the Thinkpad P50 2.5 drive and a M.2 SSD Tray 4XB0K59917

I had no problem ordering these in Germany, you should be able to find these through the part numbers.

I found a very comprehensive description of the kit 4XB0L63274:
https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-P-and-W-Series-Mobile/P50-Hard-disk-drive-cable/m-p/3297640#M58076%3F

Lenovo_P50_HDDs.jpg


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