Lenovo ThinkPad W700 Sports Latest Intel, Nvidia Chips

The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 mobile workstation is the latest ThinkPad notebook offering from Lenovo that will compete with other mobile workstations from HP and Dell. The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 will use Intel's quad-core Core 2 Extreme mobile processor along with the latest Nvidia Quadro graphics chip.

Lenovo is rolling out its latest mobile workstation, dubbed the ThinkPad W700, which will sport Intel's quad-core mobile processor and the latest Nvidia Quadro graphics chip.

At the SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles Aug. 12, Lenovo will offer details behind its latest mobile workstation, including a chance for some to see the yet-to-be-released Intel Core 2 Extreme X9300 mobile processor, which features four processing cores. Intel is expected to release specifics about the X9300 chip, such as clock speed, at its Intel Developer Forum, which starts Aug. 19, although Lenovo will offer a sneak peak at the chip the week of Aug. 11.

The entire PC market is moving toward more mobility, and workstations, which are still mostly thought of as traditional desk-bound PCs, are no longer an exception. Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Dell keep bringing updated mobile workstations into the market, and the overall workstation market is now worth $5.3 billion in revenues each year, according to IDC.

At the SIGGRAPH show held Aug. 11 to 15, HP also showed off some of its new workstations, including the EliteBook 8730w, which uses the same Intel processor.

While a mobile workstation does not offer the flexibility and ease of use of an ultraportable notebook or even a more mainstream laptop, these enterprise-class notebooks offer some flexibility for professional and semiprofessional photographers, digital content creators, graphic artists, mechanical engineers, and those working for oil and gas companies.

"Computer animators are doing this three-dimensional animation that is basically photo-perfect for film and you can't tell that it was done by a computer, and they need to have everything [in the ThinkPad W700] from the standard performance options to the display," said Wes Williams, a Lenovo segment manager. "They don't want to this on a gaming system that has been overclocked and might die tomorrow."

While Lenovo has focused in 2008 on bringing more consumer products into the PC market, Richard Shim, an IDC analyst, said the ThinkPad W700 shows that the company is still working on its enterprise offerings.

When it comes to mobile workstations, Shim said he believes that the security, networking and manageability features that Lenovo offers-features that include Lenovo's ThinkVantage technologies, data rescue and recovery, and remote management for IT departments-are keeping the W700 ahead of other offerings.

"Right now, the commercial PC market is in a slump, and when it comes back, and it will come back, I think Lenovo is going to be well positioned within the workstation market," Shim said.

There are some drawbacks to the ThinkPad W700, including its weight of 8.4 pounds, which takes away some of the mobility. Also, the W700 uses 170 watts of power, which means it can only support up to 2 hours of battery life.

In addition to the upcoming Intel Core 2 Extreme X9300 processor, Lenovo is including the Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M graphics chip, which features 1GB of dedicated video memory. The ThinkPad W700, which will have a 17-inch display, also features up to 8GB of DDR3 (double data rate 3) RAM, which Intel began supporting with the release of its Centrino 2 platform.

The ThinkPad W700 also supports Intel's vPro technology-a set of management and security features that Intel builds directly into the silicon.

The ThinkPad W700 features dual integrated hard disk drives that can be configured in a RAID array. There's also an option to install a third HDD, which can boost the workstation data storage capacity up to 960GB. If users skip the RAID array, they can add an SSD (solid state drive.) There is also an option for a Blu-ray player/burner.

For those users interested in CAD, the ThinkPad W700's screen offers 400 nits, which makes it brighter than most conventional notebooks, and the workstation will recognize 72 percent of Adobe's RGB color space, Williams said. There is also an optional integrated color calibrator.

The ThinkPad W700 also features three video ports that support dual-link DVI (Digital Video Interactive), Display Port and VGA, which allows for multiple displays.

Lenovo has also certified 23 applications, including many Adobe applications, for the ThinkPad W700, and more certified applications will be added later.

The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 will be available Sept. 2 with a starting price of $2,995.