Author Topic: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).  (Read 2417 times)

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Offline iLLucionist

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6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« on: Sun, 08 October 2017, 09:55:42 »
So I needed to replace my ageing MacBook Pro 15" 2010 (Core i7 2.7 Ghz, 4GB, GT330M, high res matte screen, 256 GB SSD). It suffered from the GT330M capacitor issue, so whenever I plugged in an external monitor it literally kernel panicked due to high temperatures.

I thought about purchasing a new MacBook Pro but man... at that price point for all that you don't get, I didn't think about it twice. So I went for the Lenovo X1 Carbon 2017 instead at half the price with more features I find important: great keyboard, black rubberized soft coating (better in winters... Aluminum is really cold), and matte hi-res 1080p screen. And battery life.

Now, I am super content with this laptop, but there is also super weird stuff I HAVE NEVER SEEN ON APPLE.

So overall: best laptop ever, minus what I write below. Would I buy it again? Yes. Will I stick with Lenovo Thinkpads? Yes. Why? Keyboard, screen, and battery life, mostly.

Minus

  • Windows 10 cpu cycling: WTF. On Apple, when you work on battery, you notice ZERO lag or performance issues. In Windows, cpu cycle scaling (e.g. going from 900 MHz to 2 GHZ because compiling, booting up adobe, whatever) sucks. It is slow. It always lags behind.
  • Screen Scaling: My eyes are good, but not perfect. So I scale at 110-115%. Some websites look weird. This is a known issue of Win10, where sub-ratio multipliers don't scale well (e.g., something else than 1x 2x 1.5x etc.).
  • Trackpad accidental clicks: This is super annoying and has to do with precision trackpad. Update drivers? Configure it differently? Bull****. It is just rushed out, the algorithm is flaky. Sometimes it is perfect, sometimes it misclicks on everything. One day is like "great, dunno what happened yesterday". Then next day "this is crap, gonna buy a MBP next year".
  • Trackpoint: Cannot get used to it. Tried really hard. Trackpad feels more natural. Sorry Thinkpad fetishists.. It's not for me.
  • Wireless performance: On my workstation with LAN,  I get 22-25 MB/s. On my Thinkpad, never beyond 7 MB/s. WHY? I have it maxxed out in energy settings. I cannot get it beyond 7 MB/s. My old MBP (2010! with older wireless standards) gets around 15 MB/s, easily.
  • Accidental wakes at night: "Hi, wanna update Win10?" FFFUUUUUUU.. I wanna SLEEP. I turned of wake on lan in Bios, i turned of wake in windows 10 wherever I could find a setting for it. STILL it wakes up.
  • Slow webpage renderingWhatever browser I use, rendering pages is slower even than my old MBP. Probably a combination of cpu cycle scaling and wifi performance, but it is super annoying.

So people say Mac is overrated. Mac is too expensive. Mac is underpowered. Yes, true. However, having all that power and Lenovo / Windows is tuned to never USE that power because of "50 years battery life on one charge" makes it useless as well. With my mac, I never experienced any of the above. "Out of the box it just worked" as if it was plugged in on AC with a lan cable stuck in it. Trackpad works beautifully, no issues. Zero deaths. And that machine is from 2010.

I am more content with my Lenovo than with my MBP. The keyboard is competitive with my 87UB 55g, the screen has better black levels than my Dell 27"s. It is SUPER LIGHT. But the aforementioned issues? WHY can't PC world solve this?
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Offline TalkingTree

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 08 October 2017, 11:15:34 »
Accidental wakes at night
That seems to be a specific Lenovo BIOS issue. See if there's a BIOS upgrade to flash.

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 08 October 2017, 11:37:04 »
Accidental wakes at night
That seems to be a specific Lenovo BIOS issue. See if there's a BIOS upgrade to flash.

Thaaaankss!!
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 08 October 2017, 18:42:21 »
  • Windows 10 cpu cycling: WTF. On Apple, when you work on battery, you notice ZERO lag or performance issues. In Windows, cpu cycle scaling (e.g. going from 900 MHz to 2 GHZ because compiling, booting up adobe, whatever) sucks. It is slow. It always lags behind.
This is probably due to overly aggressive power savings, it's really bad on Core I3's.
If you go into power settings in control panel, fins minimal CPU state and up in a a few percent while on battery, that will knock the edge off of the problem and not effect battery that much. You can also bump the max performance up a bit, which will help with things like Adobe.

That said, you are wrong about it not effecting Apples, there is a VERY obvious difference on my Macbook Air when on battery vs power when doing something CPU intensive. Prepping large 3d prints shows it very quickly, though it's one of the few times you can see it. Best I can tell Apple power management knocks you down to about 30% cpu power, however it is a bit less noticeable simple because Apple spent a lot of time building OSX to work on low power systems, possibly in preparation for a switch to ARM.

This theory is backed up by the fact that OSX will only run so fast. My 4th gen I7/ssd/8gb Air is almost as fast as my I7 2600k/ssd/16gb, which is nearly as fast as my  6700k/ssd/16gb. While yo may think they are all I7's, no, there is 4 generations spanned, plus a laptop. Worse, if you install Linux or Windows there is a MASSIVE difference in performance. Mac, you can barely tell under normal use.

Basically, it's not that Macs are not effected, it's more that Macs are so kneecapped on performance that it can be difficult to see a difference unless you run something that really taxes it.

  • Trackpad accidental clicks: This is super annoying and has to do with precision trackpad. Update drivers? Configure it differently? Bull****. It is just rushed out, the algorithm is flaky. Sometimes it is perfect, sometimes it misclicks on everything. One day is like "great, dunno what happened yesterday".
Apple spends a lot on touchpads, there is probably only 2 or 3 Windows machines that match it.
Windows people generally don't know how good Apple touchpads are. Mac you can pretty much get by without a mouse using the touchpad for regular use (yes, Windows users, I'm serious, it's that good!), but for any other computer, for any lengthy use, you will want a mouse.  Linux touchpad implementation on a Mac is very close to Mac performance, it lacks a few gestures, but otherwise works well.

Touchpads, keyboards, hard drives and internal frame structure is where PC manufacturers often save money because they are not easy to see or test, and you probably won't notice them in a 10 second demo in a store. If you want something less likely to have these problems, you need to go corporate or small business laptops such as the traditional X or T series. The Carbon is sort of a hybrid between home and corporate, it's nice but they still cut some corners they shouldn't have in the name of savings and looking flashy.

  • Wireless performance: On my workstation with LAN,  I get 22-25 MB/s. On my Thinkpad, never beyond 7 MB/s. WHY? I have it maxxed out in energy settings. I cannot get it beyond 7 MB/s. My old MBP (2010! with older wireless standards) gets around 15 MB/s, easily.
Wireless standards are tricky, full of loopholes, and lack stringent standards. Your performance may be as much about your router and antennas as it may be about what else is connected to your router and the protocols they can handle. Not all are created equal.

By default the router will dumb down to the lowest common denominator connected to it on that band, however, this is subject to supported protocols and the handshake. Those who remember dial up will remember how some days you could get max speed and other days, nope.  I once bought a modem 40% faster and due to how the new one handled compression, lost 80% bandwidth compared to the older modem I had. So much for being faster!

Also, newer protocols often have shorter range.
Yes, AC can support higher rates, but the range is less and ANY interference can completely destroy the connection. Linus Tech Tips actually had one router lose connection at 3 feet simply because some sat between the router and laptop.

Point is, faster isn't always.
One thing you can try here is set your router to not use AC and instead limit it to wireless N or even G. Sounds counter productive, but can work, at least until you can find a guide where someone has actually solved the issue. Of course this is based on the idea there is just a settings conflict, which does happen.


  • Accidental wakes at night: "Hi, wanna update Win10?" FFFUUUUUUU.. I wanna SLEEP. I turned of wake on lan in Bios, i turned of wake in windows 10 wherever I could find a setting for it. STILL it wakes up.

Windows can do this for updates, there is also some programs that will do it.
The only install of Win10 I have is on a netbook, which I don't even have handy to lookup the setting to stop the update wakes (I hate win10), maybe someone who has it can elaborate. It's like smart or hybrid wake or update... And as mentioned it could be a bios issue.

Basically it can be a hassle to track down the culprit, my advice to people is if you are home and plugged in, don't worry about it, and if you plan on sticking your laptop in a bag, shut it off. I've had several come on and get super hot. While this sucked a few years ago, with today's SSDs, boot times are about as fast as wake times, so does it really matter?

Even if you solve it, I still recommend shutting down when you put it in a bag, I've had two systems wake in a duffle bag and nearly damaged both laptops.


  • Slow webpage renderingWhatever browser I use, rendering pages is slower even than my old MBP. Probably a combination of cpu cycle scaling and wifi performance, but it is super annoying.
Probably the cpu idle being set to low as mentioned before, most web pages render just fine on a 3meg connection. You may want to check lag, but I doubt that is the problem since it would effect everything. You may also want to check your cache settings, if it;s too small or too large it can effect it. Also any plugins or extensions can REALLY create issues with lag and start times. My Firefox used to be really slow to start until I realized one extension alone was adding 2 seconds to the startup. Removed it and it was almost instant start.
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Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 09 October 2017, 13:27:22 »
  • Windows 10 cpu cycling: WTF. On Apple, when you work on battery, you notice ZERO lag or performance issues. In Windows, cpu cycle scaling (e.g. going from 900 MHz to 2 GHZ because compiling, booting up adobe, whatever) sucks. It is slow. It always lags behind.
This is probably due to overly aggressive power savings, it's really bad on Core I3's.
If you go into power settings in control panel, fins minimal CPU state and up in a a few percent while on battery, that will knock the edge off of the problem and not effect battery that much. You can also bump the max performance up a bit, which will help with things like Adobe.

That said, you are wrong about it not effecting Apples, there is a VERY obvious difference on my Macbook Air when on battery vs power when doing something CPU intensive. Prepping large 3d prints shows it very quickly, though it's one of the few times you can see it. Best I can tell Apple power management knocks you down to about 30% cpu power, however it is a bit less noticeable simple because Apple spent a lot of time building OSX to work on low power systems, possibly in preparation for a switch to ARM.

This theory is backed up by the fact that OSX will only run so fast. My 4th gen I7/ssd/8gb Air is almost as fast as my I7 2600k/ssd/16gb, which is nearly as fast as my  6700k/ssd/16gb. While yo may think they are all I7's, no, there is 4 generations spanned, plus a laptop. Worse, if you install Linux or Windows there is a MASSIVE difference in performance. Mac, you can barely tell under normal use.

Basically, it's not that Macs are not effected, it's more that Macs are so kneecapped on performance that it can be difficult to see a difference unless you run something that really taxes it.

  • Trackpad accidental clicks: This is super annoying and has to do with precision trackpad. Update drivers? Configure it differently? Bull****. It is just rushed out, the algorithm is flaky. Sometimes it is perfect, sometimes it misclicks on everything. One day is like "great, dunno what happened yesterday".
Apple spends a lot on touchpads, there is probably only 2 or 3 Windows machines that match it.
Windows people generally don't know how good Apple touchpads are. Mac you can pretty much get by without a mouse using the touchpad for regular use (yes, Windows users, I'm serious, it's that good!), but for any other computer, for any lengthy use, you will want a mouse.  Linux touchpad implementation on a Mac is very close to Mac performance, it lacks a few gestures, but otherwise works well.

Touchpads, keyboards, hard drives and internal frame structure is where PC manufacturers often save money because they are not easy to see or test, and you probably won't notice them in a 10 second demo in a store. If you want something less likely to have these problems, you need to go corporate or small business laptops such as the traditional X or T series. The Carbon is sort of a hybrid between home and corporate, it's nice but they still cut some corners they shouldn't have in the name of savings and looking flashy.

  • Wireless performance: On my workstation with LAN,  I get 22-25 MB/s. On my Thinkpad, never beyond 7 MB/s. WHY? I have it maxxed out in energy settings. I cannot get it beyond 7 MB/s. My old MBP (2010! with older wireless standards) gets around 15 MB/s, easily.
Wireless standards are tricky, full of loopholes, and lack stringent standards. Your performance may be as much about your router and antennas as it may be about what else is connected to your router and the protocols they can handle. Not all are created equal.

By default the router will dumb down to the lowest common denominator connected to it on that band, however, this is subject to supported protocols and the handshake. Those who remember dial up will remember how some days you could get max speed and other days, nope.  I once bought a modem 40% faster and due to how the new one handled compression, lost 80% bandwidth compared to the older modem I had. So much for being faster!

Also, newer protocols often have shorter range.
Yes, AC can support higher rates, but the range is less and ANY interference can completely destroy the connection. Linus Tech Tips actually had one router lose connection at 3 feet simply because some sat between the router and laptop.

Point is, faster isn't always.
One thing you can try here is set your router to not use AC and instead limit it to wireless N or even G. Sounds counter productive, but can work, at least until you can find a guide where someone has actually solved the issue. Of course this is based on the idea there is just a settings conflict, which does happen.


  • Accidental wakes at night: "Hi, wanna update Win10?" FFFUUUUUUU.. I wanna SLEEP. I turned of wake on lan in Bios, i turned of wake in windows 10 wherever I could find a setting for it. STILL it wakes up.

Windows can do this for updates, there is also some programs that will do it.
The only install of Win10 I have is on a netbook, which I don't even have handy to lookup the setting to stop the update wakes (I hate win10), maybe someone who has it can elaborate. It's like smart or hybrid wake or update... And as mentioned it could be a bios issue.

Basically it can be a hassle to track down the culprit, my advice to people is if you are home and plugged in, don't worry about it, and if you plan on sticking your laptop in a bag, shut it off. I've had several come on and get super hot. While this sucked a few years ago, with today's SSDs, boot times are about as fast as wake times, so does it really matter?

Even if you solve it, I still recommend shutting down when you put it in a bag, I've had two systems wake in a duffle bag and nearly damaged both laptops.


  • Slow webpage renderingWhatever browser I use, rendering pages is slower even than my old MBP. Probably a combination of cpu cycle scaling and wifi performance, but it is super annoying.
Probably the cpu idle being set to low as mentioned before, most web pages render just fine on a 3meg connection. You may want to check lag, but I doubt that is the problem since it would effect everything. You may also want to check your cache settings, if it;s too small or too large it can effect it. Also any plugins or extensions can REALLY create issues with lag and start times. My Firefox used to be really slow to start until I realized one extension alone was adding 2 seconds to the startup. Removed it and it was almost instant start.

Thanks! That's really informative.

Especially the CPU and net performance get me all worked up. I am already used to just pluggin in a G403 wireless when I really need to.[/list]
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 09 October 2017, 23:50:12 »
Thanks! That's really informative.

Especially the CPU and net performance get me all worked up. I am already used to just pluggin in a G403 wireless when I really need to.

You're welcome
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Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 10 October 2017, 17:32:25 »
One thing I forgot to mention: the god awful fingerprint scanner. It works.. 30% of the time. And Win 10 is designed that IF YOU HAVE ONE, it will force you to use it UNTIL it fails. My iPhone 5S for crying out loud recognizes my fingers almost always, unless I just came out of the shower or washed my hands. Win 10 / X1 carbon almost never recognizes my finger. WTF
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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 10 October 2017, 20:02:22 »
You can tweak the cpu up with a bunch of methods..

buhhhh battery life will take a DIVE..


Also, definitely try formatting from a fresh win 10 iso, and get rid of all the lenovo bloat stuff..  it just generates extra fappening pics of you , you don't need

Offline Leslieann

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 11 October 2017, 03:32:59 »
One thing I forgot to mention: the god awful fingerprint scanner. It works.. 30% of the time. And Win 10 is designed that IF YOU HAVE ONE, it will force you to use it UNTIL it fails. My iPhone 5S for crying out loud recognizes my fingers almost always, unless I just came out of the shower or washed my hands. Win 10 / X1 carbon almost never recognizes my finger. WTF

Sounds like fingerprint hasn't gotten any better than it was on my Sony 10 years ago.
Disable it in device manager or preferably bios.



buhhhh battery life will take a DIVE..

Also, definitely try formatting from a fresh win 10 iso, and get rid of all the lenovo bloat stuff..  it just generates extra fappening pics of you , you don't need

A few percent up on minimum cpu will not have a significant effect on battery and like you said, can be compensated with removing a Lenovo utilities.
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Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 11 October 2017, 03:52:52 »
You can tweak the cpu up with a bunch of methods..

buhhhh battery life will take a DIVE..


Also, definitely try formatting from a fresh win 10 iso, and get rid of all the lenovo bloat stuff..  it just generates extra fappening pics of you , you don't need

Good point, I really need to do that.

Also, I want win10 side-by-side ubuntu. But I've heard that every win update may or may not overwrite your bootloader. So you know... you eventually give up on linux I guess is M$'s point.
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Offline chuckdee

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 11 October 2017, 09:58:47 »
One thing I forgot to mention: the god awful fingerprint scanner. It works.. 30% of the time. And Win 10 is designed that IF YOU HAVE ONE, it will force you to use it UNTIL it fails. My iPhone 5S for crying out loud recognizes my fingers almost always, unless I just came out of the shower or washed my hands. Win 10 / X1 carbon almost never recognizes my finger. WTF

I've never had any problem using my fingerprint scanner for login, though I've turned it off now in favor of password as it's more convenient for me.  The option for that is under Start > Settings  > Accounts  > Sign-in options > Windows Hello..
« Last Edit: Wed, 11 October 2017, 10:01:14 by chuckdee »
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Offline chuckdee

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 11 October 2017, 10:00:49 »
double post
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Offline Prothrin

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 12 October 2017, 04:11:05 »
I think you really ought to give Trackpoint more of a try. I used to hate it, as well. However, once you get used to it, it is so much more efficient and convenient than a touchpad for non-gesture navigation. It's really the thing I miss most when using non-ThinkPad laptops/keyboards.

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 12 October 2017, 11:24:01 »
One thing I forgot to mention: the god awful fingerprint scanner. It works.. 30% of the time. And Win 10 is designed that IF YOU HAVE ONE, it will force you to use it UNTIL it fails. My iPhone 5S for crying out loud recognizes my fingers almost always, unless I just came out of the shower or washed my hands. Win 10 / X1 carbon almost never recognizes my finger. WTF

I've never had any problem using my fingerprint scanner for login, though I've turned it off now in favor of password as it's more convenient for me.  The option for that is under Start > Settings  > Accounts  > Sign-in options > Windows Hello..

Thanks!!
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Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 12 October 2017, 11:25:31 »
I think you really ought to give Trackpoint more of a try. I used to hate it, as well. However, once you get used to it, it is so much more efficient and convenient than a touchpad for non-gesture navigation. It's really the thing I miss most when using non-ThinkPad laptops/keyboards.

I really should.. I imagine the Trackpoint to be to a mouse what hjkl in vim is for a keyboard: you, theoretically, literally need to move your hands less.

Also, Trackpoint makes me swear a lot.. I should practice more.

** furiously tries to click post with trackpoint **
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Offline Prothrin

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Re: 6 Months with the Lenovo X1 Carbon 7th Gen (max specs minus 4K).
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 12 October 2017, 11:32:21 »
I think you really ought to give Trackpoint more of a try. I used to hate it, as well. However, once you get used to it, it is so much more efficient and convenient than a touchpad for non-gesture navigation. It's really the thing I miss most when using non-ThinkPad laptops/keyboards.

I really should.. I imagine the Trackpoint to be to a mouse what hjkl in vim is for a keyboard: you, theoretically, literally need to move your hands less.

Also, Trackpoint makes me swear a lot.. I should practice more.

** furiously tries to click post with trackpoint **

You should look into adjusting the sensitivity, if you think it is too high or too low for you. That may help you adjust to it. I kind of liken it to driving. You steer with the "pointing stick," and "accelerate/brake/etc" with the buttons below the keyboard. Of course, in this case, clicking probably won't actually change your cursor speed.  :))