Lenovo Grows Mobile Workstation Lineup

The ThinkPad P50 and P70 systems will be powered by Intel's new Xeon E3-1500M v5 processors and include Nvidia GPUs and a new cooling system.

Lenovo workstation lineup

Lenovo officials are establishing a new family of ThinkPad mobile workstations that will be powered by new Xeon processors specifically designed by Intel for such systems.

On Aug. 10 at the SIGGRAPH 2015 show in Los Angeles, the company introduced the ThinkPad P50 and P70 workstations, which will run on Xeon E3-1500M v5 processors that Intel officials quietly unveiled three days earlier in a post on the company blog. Lenovo, the world's largest PC vendor, became the first system OEM to announce new workstations based on the processors.

Both systems also feature Quadro GPUs from Nvidia, Pantone color calibration technology from X-Rite, and a new Flex Performance Cooling system, a dual-fan design that not only cools workstations better than other technologies, but also is quieter and faster, according to Lenovo officials. The cooling system enables users to run the systems harder and for longer periods of time to meet the demands of the application.

"We've built features into these machines that were previously unachievable in a notebook," Victor Rios, vice president and general manager of workstations at Lenovo, said in a statement. "We're focused on making sure users have the tools necessary to drive innovation. That is why we are expanding our portfolio and raising the standard of mobile workstation performance."

The company currently offers two mobile workstations, the W541 and W550, both of which run Intel's Core i7 chips, the 4th generation Extreme processor in the W541 and 5th generation in the W550. However, Intel is now bringing its Xeon processors—normally found in servers—to the mobile computing space, enabling them to run mobile workstations like those from Lenovo.

In the blog post, Intel officials wrote that the new processors are aimed at the likes of architects, designers, content creators and engineers, who need more performance, energy efficiency and battery life to run the new applications that are coming into the market.

"If you fall in this camp, you understand that not just any PC will do," they officials wrote. "You need the right mix of processor performance, memory, graphics and storage that lets you create, test, and deliver solutions. With the increasing popularity of digital creation (4K videos, digital design etc.), more creative professionals and engineers are seeing a need for workstation class capabilities in a portable device."

The Xeon E3-1500M v5 processors are built using Intel's new 14-nanometer "Skylake" architecture, which promises better performance, power efficiency and battery life than the current 22nm "Broadwell" chips. Intel introduced Skylake a year ago, and more information is expected to come out during the company's Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2015 when it starts Aug. 18 in San Francisco.

Earlier this month, Intel rolled out two initial Skylake chips for high-performance PCs aimed at enthusiasts and gamers.

Lenovo's ThinkPad P70 is the first 17-inch mobile workstation for the company, and comes with up to 64GB of DDR4 error-correcting code (ECC) memory. It can handle up to four storage devices and up to a terabyte of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. It uses PCI-Express, which brings up to five times the speed of SATA technology, and also includes two Intel Thunderbolt 3 ports for fast connectivity. Workstation users have the option of a 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) display or full-high definition (FHD) touch.

The P50 is designed to be thin and light, with a 15.6-inch 4K UHD display. Lenovo officials said it is the follow-on to the W541.

Both will be available starting in the fourth quarter, with the P50 starting at $1,599, and the P70 at $1,999.