Lenovo puts AMD Ryzen chips in ThinkPads, giving Intel's rival a boost

AMD's new 12nm Picasso will power three new corporate-focused ThinkPads.

After a mostly lackluster showing in laptops, AMD’s APUs just bagged a really big win: ThinkPad. On Wednesday, Lenovo said it will introduce a new line of T and X-series laptops featuring the Ryzen Pro lineup.

Lenovo said the 14-inch T495  as well the 14-inch T495S will both feature up to AMD’s quad-core Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U chip. The Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U  is built on a 12nm process and features four cores with symmetrical multi-threading as well as 10 Radeon Vega graphics cores. The chip is rated to dissipate up to 15 watts of thermals and has a base clock of 2.3GHz and 4GHz boost frequencies.

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In a big win for AMD, Lenovo’s ThinkPad T495 will feature AMD’s 2nd gen Ryzen Pro processors.

The T495 will ship in May with a starting price of $939. The T495S will ship a month later with prices starting at $1,089.

While both the T495 and T495S are tested to MIL-STD 810-G standards, the new X395 might be the sexiest of the bunch. The X395 will feature up to Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U as well as a 13.3-inch display with PrivacyScreen, a feature that obscures what’s onscreen to if you’re trying to peek from either side. 

Lenovo said a feature to be added in July called PrivacyAlert will take it one step further. The ThinkPad will automatically enable the privacy feature when the laptop can see anyone trying to read over your shoulder.

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Lenovo’s Thinkpad X395 will arguably be the first high-end 13.3-inch ultrabook AMD makes it way into this year.

Lenovo won’t go exclusively with AMD of course. In fact, the new laptops will go head-to-head to with counterparts based on Intel’s 8th-gen Whiskey Lake CPUs. While Lenovo didn’t offer direct Brand A to Brand B performance numbers, we’d guess Intel-based models will likely having an edge in compute-based tasks, while AMD-based models are likely to have an edge in graphics-based tasks.

One thing Lenovo did offer up is the improved battery life of the new 2nd-gen Ryzen Pro chips. Lenovo said the new Ryzen Pro chips offered up to 4 hours more battery life than the same platform with the 1st-gen Ryzen Pro chips. Battery life, in fact, was probably one of sticking points of the original 14nm Raven Ridge Ryzen 7 Pro U chips. The new 12nm Picasso seems to fare quite better in battery life against Intel’s best. For what it’s worth: Lenovo also said the new 2nd gen Ryzen Pros offer about 18 percent more performance than before, too.

Why this matters: Although it’s just three laptops among a field of hundreds of models, ThinkPad is a big win for AMD. It’s proof that Lenovo is willing to bet on Ryzen Pro with the storied ThinkPad name. We'll be sure to tell you whether the bet panned out if we obtain a review unit.

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The ThinkPad T495 folds flat and runs an AMD Ryzen Pro chip.

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