No matter what variant of the Lenovo ThinkPad T410s you buy, and no matter how you customize it, you’re always going to end up with Intel’s Core i5 560M processor. There are no other options available. Of course, that’s nothing to cry about. The 560M is clocked at 2.66 GHz and promises a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 3.2 GHz. Let’s start off by examining this processor with the SiSoft Sandra 2010 processor benchmarks.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T410s and its Core i5 processor prove faster than the ASUS U33JC by a fair margin, but they don’t blow it away. The gap between them is in fact less than you’d expect given the Core i5’s extremely high Turbo Boost max – the Core i3 doesn’t even offer Turbo Boost.
This small performance gap can be explained by the way Turbo Boost works. Turbo Boost ramps up the clock speeds as allowed by the thermal limits of the processor. When under a heavy workload – such as a benchmark – those loads are more intense and the Turbo Boost overclocking is limited. During most of our benchmarks the Core i5 kept itself clocked at 2.66 GHz.
Still, the Core i5 is one hell of a fast mobile processor. For example, it easily doubles the scores of the AMD Turion processor in the Acer Aspire 5551G we recently tested during the Processor Arithmetic benchmark. Subjectively, I feel confident in saying that the Core i5 is the fastest mobile processor most users will ever need, including those who regularly run processor intensive applications.
With the processor addressed, let’s take a look at some of the Futuremark synthetic benchmarks to gain some perspective on how the laptop works as a whole.
No, that’s not a typo. The PCMark Vantage score really was over eleven thousand, and the hard drive score really was over twenty-four thousand. Remember, the Lenovo ThinkPad T410s packs an SSD by default, so it absolutely destroys the competition in any benchmark that places a load on the hard drive. However, this result demonstrates PCMark Vantage’s inability to generate useful scores for SSD equipped machines more clearly than it provides a picture of the ThinkPad’s performance.
The Peacekeeper Browser Benchmark isn’t as I/O dependent, and it provides a result that is more in line with what we saw with the SiSoft Sandra benchmarks. The T410s outperforms the Core i3 equipped ASUS U33JC, but only slightly. 3DMark 06 has more of the same to report, which isn’t surprising. The Nvidia NVS 3100M graphics processor that ships in the Lenovo ThinkPad T410s is essentially a re-branded Nvidia 310M.
Now let’s have a look at how the T410s stands up in games.
As you can see, the performance of the T410s in the Just Cause 2 benchmark is nearly identical to that of the ASUS U33JC. This is what I expected. However, the T410s clearly demolished the ASUS U33JC in the Far Cry 2 benchmark. This does not make sense, which leads me to believe that something went wrong while the benchmark was running on the U33JC. The ASUS U33JC also uses Nvidia Optimus, so it is likely that Optimus did not kick in while the benchmark was running on the U33JC but did kick in while the benchmark was running on the T410s. Unfortunately, I no longer have access to the U33JC, and so I can’t confirm this.
In any case, the benchmarks make it clear that the T410s isn’t a gaming machine. It can run some modern games, but it won’t necessarily run them well, and you’ll likely have to turn down the detail settings to make demanding games playable.
Now that we’ve had our fun, let’s take a look at some application benchmarks and also the system’s boot and resume times.
The 7-Zip and TrueCrypt benchmarks both heavily favor the Lenovo ThinkPad T410s. As with the PCMark Vantage benchmark, most of the credit for these victories can be given to the solid state hard drive. Solid state drives are expensive, but they’re worth the price if you run applications or perform tasks that are dependent on hard drive performance.
Of course, the solid state hard drive also has an effect on boot times. The ThinkPad T410s boots 10 seconds quicker than the Acer Aspire 5551G and a full 40 seconds quicker than the ASUS U33JC. The T410s also comes back from resume in just 14 seconds. Although not essential, this hot-rod boot and resume time performance is convenient.