Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Review (Core i7-9850H, Quadro RTX 5000)



    November 5, 2019 at 1:13 am

    Nice review! This site is the first one (in English) to actually publish a well thought out in depth review. Minus the screen information.

    Anywho, I just received my P53. 9850h, RTX5000, 4k Oled, 16GB ram, with 512GB SSD. I'm noticing similar thermal issues (and at times worst).

    Also there seems to be a bug that throttles the machine (cpu & gpu) to the battery power levels if the machine is moved. My CPU idles at 63c and quickly goes to 97c where it throttles.

    My RTX5000 cannot seem to run at its full speed. My time spy score was 5983 with a – 110mv undervolt.

    While I like everything else about the laptop including the design, keyboard, ir camera, fingerprint sensor, and the thunderbolt ports in rear. I'm thinking of sending it back. It performs worst then the thin and light laptops like the GS65.

    Question : based off your review I also ordered a MSI GE75. While loud, it is almost the same size as the P53 but with the full 150w 2080.

    Why did lenovo decide to create a thick machine that is slower than other thick machines by using the internals of thin and lights (like the razer blade studio) and still have it perform worst?

    • Sam Medley

      November 5, 2019 at 6:29 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Derrell. It kills me that I don't have the proper tools to evaluate the screen, but c'est la vie.
      I believe that Andrei experienced a similar bug with the P73. IIRC, he noticed that performance took a hit or odd behavior occurred when the machine was moved. I'd check out that review for more details, but it seems endemic to the line. I didn't notice anything like that, but I left the machine flat on a table for most of my time with it.
      So the RTX 5000 in the P53 is the 80 Watt Max-Q version, although you won't find that on the laptop product page. We had to ask directly for that information. That's my guess as to why you're seeing the bad numbers in TS. It's baffling as to why Lenovo used such a low wattage GPU in suck a thick chassis, but considering the poor thermal management, it's probably all they could muster.
      IIRC, the P52 and P72 had similar performance issues. What's baffling is that Lenovo didn't listen to customer complaints about thermals and poor performance from last year and fix anything. This device really makes me think Lenovo phoned it in on the P53, but that's my personal opinion.
      The GE75 is an interesting alternative. You get the benefit of a full-powered RTX 2080 AND a 144 Hz screen, but I've read that thermal throttling is pretty beastly on it. Keep an eye out for inconsistent performance and dropped frames when gaming, and be sure to check for backlight bleed on that machine. Otherwise, I think it's a fine device. I personally like MSI laptops because of their keyboards and overall good value.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 5, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      Hi, that's the Active Protection kicking in. The system uses the accelerometer to kill certain functions when the laptop is moved, but I found it way too aggressive on the P73. In the past you could deactivate this from the settings, it's no longer possible right now on the P53, but I think it might be added into a later update. I've been told they are aware of this aspect and working on it.


    November 6, 2019 at 3:24 am

    Thanks for the replies. I read the P73 review as well. This is very disappointing, I didn't know about similar issues on the P52/P72.

    I would be fine if my P53 performed as well as yours. I took the advice of Andrei and elevated the laptop which increased my time spy score to 6400, with mostly cpu gains.

    My P53 was bought on sale for under $2400 including taxes. So performance the same as the razor blade studio for that price is worth it.

    As far as my GE75, it scores around 9300 in time spy with a -150mv on the cpu. I haven't seen any thermal issues with the laptop. The cpu runs around 80c with 100% load at 3.6ghz, and the gpu around 76c.

    One of these laptops is going back, as of now I'm heavily leaning toward keeping the GE75. While I'm not much of a gamer, it seems that the only powerful laptops are gaming laptops.

    Again thanks for the review. It really validated my experiences so far.

    • Sam Medley

      November 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      Cheers, Derrell! Glad to help out.

  3. Roksi

    April 27, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    I've had this laptop for half a year with the top end xenon + quadro rtx5000, + oled touch and I'm beyond disappointed.

    The screen is horrible, the touch layer has a mesh that is clearly visible in front of anything you view (saying its not noticable is bs), the colors distort to to blue and red with the slightest viewing angle, even visible from head on, and most importantly, the screen looks like it has a crappy uneven backlighting even if its OLED. If your screen is not full white or full black, the brightness or value of grey will be inconsistent and have clear horizontal and vertical lines. HDR Causes issues with Windows10 and doesn't play back properly if you have multiple displays connected to your laptop.

    Lenovo software caused throttling which made the GPU get less than a quarter of the score of a laptop gtx 1060 in Unigine benchmarks. I had to manually test out all possible drivers from nvidia to find ones, not recommended by Lenovo, that were able to bypass the throttling software.

    The laptop froze once a day if I was afk long enough for it to go to sleep, it would not wake up no matter what and it had to always be hard restarted. I had to disable sleep completely, and even then, the workstation dock causes similar freezes once or twice in a few weeks due to bad drivers and software.

    On top of all of this, the thing gets absolutely sizzling hot under NO LOAD AT ALL, and has already bent the chassis so that only three of the four feet touch the table surface.

    The windows has already been re-installed twice due to crashing and being unable to boot to windows.

    There have been loads of refunds going in for the P53 and its taken Lenovo many months to refund any of the Laptops, nor do they address or admit any of these COMMON issues with the P53. There was a huge thread on the Lenovo user forums about the issues and refunds but some of the issue threads have even been removed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *