ThinkPad W Series
The ThinkPad W Series laptops from Lenovo are described by the manufacturer as being "mobile workstations". The W Series typically include high-end processors and discrete graphics cards. Primarily a product aimed at designers, the W Series laptops offer ISV-certifications from various vendors such as Adobe, Maya, SolidWorks, and so on. Other features on the laptop are typically hard disk drives in RAID configuration, options for solid state drives, and HD displays.
The ThinkPad brand and product line were formerly owned by IBM. Lenovo acquired ThinkPad following its purchase of IBM's Personal Computing Division in 2005. However, the W Series laptops were not part of IBM's original ThinkPad line of laptops.
The W Series laptops were introduced by Lenovo to replace the T Series models suffixed with ‘p’. Originally, the Txxp models were laptops used by professionals who needed high performance. The W Series laptops were launched in 2008, at the same time as the Intel Centrino 2, marking an overhaul of Lenovo’s product lineup. The first two W Series laptops introduced were the W500 and the W700.
- 1 Models
- 2 Features
- 3 References
- 4 External links
A list of laptops in the W Series is given below. The list is arranged in chronological descending order, with the oldest models listed towards the end of the page.
Announced in 2013 and released in the US and Europe early 2014, the W540 featured a brand new design based on the new generations of T4XX series released the year before. The new design received mixed reactions from traditional thinkpad users. Critique was mainly aimed towards lower build quality and missing user interface indicators, together with a new style of trackpad where the traditional thinkpad trackpoint functionality had been radically changed, and the controversial Chiclet style keyboard introduced in 2012 on other products, which many enthusiasts claimed abandoned the core tactile principles established by IBM over previous decades.
The new W-series however featured the newer hardware such as the 3K IPS display.
Other mentionable points are:
- Full size keyboard w/numeric keypad (though offset from center of screen causing criticism from those who rarely use the keypad)
- New trackpad/trackpoint integration (though TrackPoint "thumb" buttons were removed causing criticism due to lost tactile feedback)
- Changed UltraBay design (the easy eject locking buttons were replaced by a hidden locking screw rendering "hot swap" functionality moot and earlier UltraBay modules incompatible)
- New rectangular connector for charger (rendering earlier accessories and docking stations obsolete)
- Thinner profile
- Lighter weight
Probably the last authentic sturdy looking Thinkpad is the W530. It is the last Thinkpad with lid lock and the keyboard light with the authentic style keyboard and the wireless, HDD led indicators.
The W530 was also the last W series laptop to support the easy to eject UltraBay modular system. Newer models would come to be incompatible with older UltraBay hardware, and would require the use of a screw driver, resulting in the exposure of sensitive electronics when swapping UltraBay modules, thus diminishing the "hot swap" flexibility of the design considerably.
June, 2012 Lenovo released the W530.
- 3rd generation Intel Core ix (Ivy Bridge) processors
- Mini DisplayPort v1.2
- Precision keyboard with backlight
The W Series laptop released in 2011 was the W520.
- 2nd Generation Intel Core processors (Sandy Bridge)
- 32GB memory capacity
The W520 was released in March 2011 and offered the following specifications:
- Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7-2920XM
- RAM: up to 32GB DDR3 (4 SO-DIMM slots)
- Graphics: NVIDIA QUADRO 2000M discrete graphics card (2GB video RAM, 192 CUDA cores)
- Dimensions: 372.8 x 245.1 x 31.8 - 35.6 mm
- Weight: 5.95 lbs (with an optical drive)
According to LAPTOP Magazine, “the ThinkPad W520 offers blistering performance that should satisfy the most demanding users and businesses.” On PCMark Vantage, the ThinkPad W520 scored 9909, 30% higher than the average score of desktop replacements. It also scored higher than the Dell Latitude E6420, which received a score of 7796.
The ThinkPad W Series laptops released in 2010 were the W701, W701ds, and W510.
W701 and W701ds
Released in April 2010, the W701 and W701ds, offered the following specifications:
- Processor: 2 GHz Intel Core i7-920XM Extreme 
- RAM: Up to 16GB DDR3
- Dimensions: 410 x 310 x 40.6 mm
- Weight: starting at 8.9 lbs
The W701, released with the W701ds, received positive reviews. Techradar.com has this to say about the W701: “the ThinkPad W700 – [the W701’s] predecessor – was once the most powerful laptop we had seen, but the W701 has successfully stolen that crown.”
Gizmodo said, about the W701ds laptop, "Lenovo ThinkPad W701ds pairs beastly specs with an integrated secondary screen." The laptop also received favorable reviews from PCWorld, which called the laptop a “portable goliath that could replace desktop workstations, letting pros stay productive from anywhere”. Gadgets Fan said about the W701ds, “Despite its massive size, Lenovo ThinkPad W701ds laptop is worth the purchase” and suggested that it was “almost comparable to a desktop workstation”.
The W510 was released in January 2010. The laptop’s specifications are as follows:
- Processor: 2 GHz Intel Core i7-920XM Extreme Edition
- RAM: up to 16GB 1333 MHZ DDR3 RAM
- Dimensions: 372.5mm x 245.1mm x 35.8mm
- Weight: starting at 5.89 lbs (with a 6-cell battery)
The W510 laptop was summed up by Laptop Review as, "The W510 provides performance, reliability and mobility. It is Ultra responsive for graphics-intensive tasks so you can accomplish more on the go."
The W series laptops released in 2008 were the W700, W700ds, and W500.
The W700 laptop was lauded for its performance and for a host of features that were industry-first at the time. It was the first laptop with an internal color calibrator. A digitizer was available on the palm rest and the W700 was the first laptop to offer a secondary display. With the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300 processor and NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M workstation graphics, the laptop was among the most powerful at the time. The W700 laptop was found to be capable of handling demanding games at native resolutions, including Crysis and World in Conflict. One point not in the laptop’s favor was the low battery life – at 2 hours and 31 minutes.
Both the W700 and W700ds were released in October 2008. Some of the specifications were common to both laptops.
The specifications common to both laptops are as follows:
- Processor: 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9300
- RAM: up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M (1 GB video RAM)
- Display: 17-inch (maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels)
- Storage: up to 320GB hard disk drives
- Optical drive: DVD reader/writer
The difference between the two laptops was an additional 10.6 inch screen with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 760 pixels, present on the W700ds. The W700ds laptop also offered additional storage space, with up to two 260GB hard disk drives.
The W500 laptop was similar in design to the Txxp models it replaced – the all-black appearance was retained, as well as the TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard. The W500 was appreciated for being equivalent in craftsmanship and stability to previous ThinkPads. Large metal hinges were used to hold the display in place, preventing a worn out or unsteady display. Other features on the laptop were a digital display port, three USB ports, a docking port, a maximum possible resolution of 1920x1200 pixels, Intel Core 2 Duo processors and an ATI FireGL v5700 GPU – aimed at professional CAD users.
The W Series laptops are designed to function as mobile workstations, offering features that allow the laptop to be used as a desktop replacement. In keeping with the mobile workstation theme, the W Series are Lenovo’s most powerful laptops with features aimed at professionals working on graphics- and processing-intensive tasks.
The features of the W Series laptops can be grouped into the following categories:
- Processing and Graphics
- ISV certifications
- Security and reliability
- Green/Environmentally friendly
Processing and graphics
The 2011 line of W Series laptops includes up to Intel Core i7 Quad Core Extreme Edition processors with Intel Hyper-Threading technology. They are also equipped with Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 for Windows 7.
Graphics options on the 2011 W Series laptops included NVIDIA Fermi architecture-based graphics with Optimus technology. This allows for support for up to two additional monitors. Despite the fact that the W series laptops are Ubuntu certified, Optimus is not well supported in Linux, requiring workarounds for proper functionality. The 2011 W Series laptops offer 1080p Full High-Definition (FHD) displays with 95% color gamut. X-Rite Pantone color calibration is also included.
Security and reliability
The W Series laptops include a collection of features to improve laptop security and durability. Among these are:
- Lenovo’s ThinkVantage Technologies
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- Intel anti-theft protection and vPro technology
- Trusted Platform Module
- Secure Managed Client
- BIOS port-disablement and BIOS Password Manager
Some of the environmentally friendly features on the 2011 W Series ThinkPads are given below:
- EPEAT Silver and ENERGY STAR certified
- GREENGUARD certified (tested for up to 2000 contaminants)
- Mercury-free displays
- Reduced power utilization compared to previous W Series models
- "ThinkPad W Series". Retrieved 15 February 2012. Cite error: Invalid
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- "ThinkPad T / W / X / L Series Release Dates Unveiled". 8 March 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Lenovo ThinkPad W520 Datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Avram Piltch (25 April 2011). "Lenovo ThinkPad W520 Review". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Lenovo ThinkPad W701 and W701ds Datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Lenovo ThinkPad W701 review". 30 May 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Brian Barett (23 February 2010). "Lenovo ThinkPad W701ds Pairs Beastly Specs With an Integrated Secondary Screen". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Zack Stern (22 April 2010). "Lenovo ThinkPad W701ds". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Lenovo ThinkPad W701ds Laptop". 25 April 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Lenovo ThinkPad W510 Datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 11 July 2011.
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- David Rasnake (2 February 2009). "Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds Review". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Sagar Karandikar. "Optimal Ubuntu Graphics Setup for Thinkpads". Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Laarni Almendrala Ragaza (22 February 2011). "Lenovo Launches New, Improved ThinkPads". PC Magazine. Retrieved 11 July 2011.