When you hear the term mobile workstation, you should rightly expect that the performance should be right up there with the best notebooks around. In the case of our review unit, we have the almost the top model CPU available with the Xeon E3-1505M, offering higher frequencies than the similar Core i7 models available in this 45-Watt quad-core line. The CPU is 2.7-3.8 GHz, but other than the ECC memory support and faster clock, is otherwise identical to the Core i7 models. Still, it should be interesting to see how it compares to other Skylake quad-core chips we’ve seen.

The other side of the performance coin is the graphics, and here we have one step away from the top model, with the NVIDIA Quadro M4000M, which is the professional version of the GTX 970M.

To compare performance, I’ve added several systems to the graphs which should give us an idea where the ThinkPad P70 lies. We don’t get a lot of mobile workstations through to test, but luckily they aren’t too far off from gaming laptops as far as the CPU performance. If anyone wants to compare the ThinkPad P70 to any other laptop we’ve tested, please use our online Notebook Bench. The Clevo system in the charts is an exception because it uses an 88W Devil’s Canyon desktop CPU, but none of the other systems we’ve tested include a professional graphics card. The GT80 Titan is our only quad-core Broadwell system we tested, and the Surface Book is added just to compare against an Ultrabook class laptop with a discrete GPU option.


PCMark 8 - Home

PCMark 8 - Creative

PCMark 8 - Work

PCMark 7 (2013)

PCMark is a comprehensive test which is influences by all aspects of the system, including CPU, GPU, storage, and even display resolution. The UHD resolution laptops are definitely at a disadvantage, but despite the UHD resolution the Clevo still has a big advantage with the desktop class processor inside. Despite one of the highest frequency Skylake processors inside, the P70 is near the bottom in this test.


Cinebench R15 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R15 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Once again the Devil’s Canyon based Clevo runs away with these tests, but here the Xeon pulls away from the other Skylake based processors, especially on the multi-threaded tests. Both the Dell XPS 15 and Lenovo Y700 are quite far back. Interestingly the Broadwell based GT80 Titan does very well here, and that’s played out on much of the Skylake testing since it was launched.


x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

On the first pass, pretty much all of the 45-Watt quad-core processors are pretty close, but on the second pass, the ThinkPad P70 outperforms them all by a nice margin. The Clevo continues to dominate here thanks to having twice the TDP to play with.

Web Performance

Web performance is still very important, and it’s highly influenced by the browser used. When Windows 10 launched, we switched to using Microsoft Edge for browser tests since it was finally competitive with Google Chrome. I’ve highlighted the different browsers used in each test.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1

Google Octane 2.0

WebXPRT 2015

WebXPRT 2013

Once again the Xeon is generally a strong performer, but it’s not very far ahead in these tests, if at all.

Storage Performance

Everyone has made the jump to NVMe storage over PCIe, and now PCIe can be the bottleneck instead of SATA. Luckily that’s not a bad thing. Pretty much every NVMe device that has come through has been the Samsung PM951 drive, which is a TLC version. It’s good, but the TLC NAND can be a big bottleneck to write speeds, especially on the lower capacity models where there’s not enough parallel NAND dies to bring the speed back up.

The ThinkPad P70 is the first device I’ve seen that bucks this trend and goes with the Samsung SM951 instead. What’s the difference in a letter you ask? Quite a bit really. The SM951 is the MLC version of the drive, and the performance is significantly better than the PM951. This is actually the second laptop to come through AnandTech with the SM951 installed – with the other being a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, specifically sent because it had this drive installed. Good on ThinkPad for not skimping on the drive.

Performance is excellent. Check out the above review if you want a deep dive on this drive, but here’s a quick glance at what it can do.

System Performance Thoughts

The main reason to spend the extra for the Xeon is not overall performance, but for the benefit of ECC memory support. While in most of these tests, the Xeon was ahead of the Core i7-6700HQ quad-core Skylake, it was never by a huge margin. Of course the desktop based Clevo laptop shows just how much more performance you’d still get if you have the TDP to play with, but for most people that need something portable, that’s not really an option. If you need ECC support, you really have no choice but to get the Xeon, but if you don’t need ECC, you can easily save some money on the CPU and DRAM and go with the standard Core based processors.

Design Workstation Performance
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  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    Anandtech has been going downhill for years. They are turning into just another backwater tech site.
  • zanon - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    Seriously, this new 3rd party "promoted stories" thing is pretty bad, much worse then anything in the past. On my main system I block ads in general for security reasons, but I've tended to whitelist Anandtech previously on other systems like mobile which is locked down enough that I'm less concerned. Today though:
    >Oh boy, an interesting review
    >Scroll down
    >Promoted Stories

    :\. God damn it Anandtech don't be like this too.
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    "moatads kept trying to download onto my machine"

    By any chance is that moatad.js? I've seen this report elsewhere before; apparently it's a MIME type error that's triggered when trying to load an external JS file, causing it to download instead. Moat itself is an analytics company, hence the external JS to begin with (ala Google Analytics)
  • rearden - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    I will say buyer beware. I have a client with a Lenovo P70 purchased in January. Three weeks ago the system wouldn't boot (not even POST). We had to wait a week for parts, despite a Next Business Day Warranty. The system board was replaced and was working great ... until this Monday when the system, again, wouldn't boot. Am currently waiting for parts before Lenovo can repair the machine. Maybe he got a lemon, but we're waiting for another new system board in the timespan of 1 month on a system only 6 months old.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    You have anecdotal evidence from a grand total of 1 user. Not exactly a scientifically reliable number.
  • dave_the_nerd - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    It helps if you avoid spilling coffee on it.
  • smilingcrow - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    But the fact that they had to wait a week for a part on a new model Business Class Workstation with a NBD warranty is a cause for concern. That is something that has never happened to me with Dell even on their consumer class laptops.
    It could be an odd occurrence but to happen twice in a month is enough to cause concern.
  • milmil - Friday, July 1, 2016 - link

    You are quick to dismiss it but yet you do not own one. There is indeed an issue and it took me 2 laptops and extra 2 motherboard replacements to make sure it is a fact.
  • milmil - Friday, July 1, 2016 - link

    I have had the same issue, one P70 with i7 bricked and one with Xeon 1505M then 2 motherboard replacements for the Xeon one, same story. It turns out it is the bios update that does the job. I am arguing for a refund of the laptop and the peripherals. Also look at the Lenovo forum, similar stories. It is such a pity because this is the best laptop ever (when it works that is). Not very happy with how Lenovo is handling the issue. They are wasting their time and money as well as my time and money. Sad...very sad.
  • adamto - Friday, July 1, 2016 - link

    I have P50 with touch screen and Pen and I love it,

    Here is my review as Surface Pro 2 owner who upgraded to P50!

    1) P50 is really powerful. I wasted my life with surface Pro. It was like being in loop at same level. P50 simply allow me to do double in half time.

    2) 15 inch FHD screen is prefect beside my Dell WQHD 27 inch monitor. Both have similar DPI. It mean happy remote desktop and Virtual machine and Linux desktop.

    3) As surface Pro user, I love touch input, Touch input is very useful when I use P50 on lap OR testing touchy apps!

    4) P50 and P70 are the only workstation laptop that have wacom pen option. The pen is very useful to edit 3d object when laptop is on lap where you can not use mouse or touch pad for such job. Point the pen to object and edit it directly on the screen. ( I don't use pen for drawing)

    5) FHD screen means double battery life on the go which is more important for P50 to be used as portable device.

    6) I'm in heaven with 4T SSD storage. All data everywhere. No more extra cable and case and disconnect issue that I had using Surface Pro

    7) Battery life is double than Surface Pro while using a desktop like VM!

    8) Windows score inside VM is bigger than windows score of physical Surface pro ( about 8). It is like having several Surface pro for free at same time!

    9) Surface Pro screen is glossy while touch screen on P50 is half Matt and it make very big difference.

    10) Removable battery is awesome. Fully day battery life with two batteries!

    11) I love fact that screen can open up to 180 degree. Looking forward for P51 with 360 degree screen with exact same design and nothing less!


    1) Black looks gray even when laptop is off. This make screen washed out at open air ( It is good at indoor) Still I am happy because I mostly use it indoor! Looking for P50 with AMO LED screen.

    2) Unlike Surface Pro, There is no car charger for P50. This is the biggest issue that I have with p50 right now. There is a airplane mode but it dont work too, because it don't allow to charge the P50 using airplane socket. However it is possible to charge the device using P50 adapter and a 200W car inverter but whole package is bulky. Lenovo need to provide a solution for people like me!

    3) Unlike Dell computer, USB C booting is not enabled at Bios! Why this is not documented? isn't USB type C suppose to cover whatever USB 3 do? for example I can not boot my portable Linux from external Type C SSD to enjoy full performance. That was one the reason I wanted to get P50 with The Thunderbolt / USB Type C port. I think this is important feature for people who like to enjoy a independent and fast OS on the go. Dear Lenovo please enable this feature at BIOS!

    4) Raid option is hidden at Bios.

    5) You have to order device with exact GPU you need right now. Upgrade wont be possible due to bios white list issue!

    Final Words) Thank you Lenovo for creating such awesome device. It help me to do my job faster and have more time to enjoy! It gave me opportunity to touch new area and learn and earn more!!. Looking forward P51 with fix for above issues!

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