Choosing the Right Lenovo Workstation for Creative and Pro Applications

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Calling something a workstation is a bold claim. This means power, reliability, and professional design, at the very least. Lenovo makes a series of ThinkPad and ThinkStation P Series laptops and desktop computers which, by the numbers, certainly can compete. We are talking about VR-ready laptops and fully customizable desktops that can handle the growing demands of virtual reality content, high-end engineering and design work, and even critical business software. We are going to help you find the right workstation for your needs.

Stay Mobile

Do you need a portable PC that can handle the tasks you would’ve only asked a desktop to do? I think the ThinkPad P Series will do the trick. Focusing on the P52 and P52s, I think many of you will find a heavy-duty machine that will get your work done. The P52 especially will deliver awesome performance and it is Lenovo’s first VR-ready certified 15.6" mobile workstation. Among the top models is a laptop equipped with a 2.6GHz Intel® Core™ i7-8850H Six-Core Processor, 32GB DDR4 RAM, a 512GB NVMe SSD and 2TB HDD, and a 15.6" Full HD display. The surprise here is that it also comes equipped with an NVIDIA Quadro P3200 graphics card with 6GB GDDR5 memory that makes rendering VR possible. Another thing about the P52 is that it is ISV certified from Autodesk, AVID, Bentley, Dassault, PTC, Siemens, and more. You can work on detailed CAD documents just as easily as you can edit video on a 4K timeline.

Pure power is important for pro tasks. If you want to start editing 4K+ 360° and virtual reality content while moving from the office to home, the P52 is the right one for you. Make sure you get an appropriate graphics card, since it is available with the NVIDIA Quadro P1000, P2000, or P3200. Obviously, the higher the resolution of your timeline or the more intense graphics work you need to do, the better the card should be, although any should be able to handle 3D and VR content. After that, you should look at the screen. It’s 15.6" and available in either Full HD or UHD 4K. The 4K option has boosted brightness and vivid color, along with multi-touch functionality.

There is such a thing as too much power. Power eats batteries, produces heat, and means bigger devices (generally). In that case, Lenovo has the ThinkPad P52s. Just about a pound lighter than the P52, this device is still super capable, but a bit more modest with the specs. It’s also more affordable. If you are doing light video editing or handling simple timelines with limited graphics work, this ThinkPad will be just right.

Among the biggest advantages of the P52s is that it can offer all-day battery life with a dual-battery configuration. Packing Power Bridge Technology means that the P52s can travel with you anywhere so that you can keep working whenever and wherever you need. 8th-Gen Intel® Core™ quad-core processors and an NVIDIA Quadro P500 card with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM keep your software running smoothly, as well. 

Security and ergonomics are another critical aspect of any professional workstation. The P52 series offers plenty of that, with integrated fingerprint readers, optional IR face recognition on select models, and a privacy cover for the standard webcam. Then, just by looking at it, you know it’ll feel nice to operate. A full-sized keyboard, complete with keypad, is a highlight. It’s a clean black case, too, so you won’t stand out at meetings. Can’t forget they feature Thunderbolt™ 3, USB 3.1 Gen 1, DisplayPort 1.2, Dolby Atomos via headphones, and have a generous number of other ports.

Lenovo 15.6" ThinkPad P52 Mobile Workstation

In nearly any configuration, the P52 will make a powerful portable workstation. It’s perfect for VR, 360° video, and advanced CAD work. Don’t necessarily need that much power? Get the P52s, with its all-day battery life and more affordable setups. This will be plenty for video editors not working with as many intense graphics or rendering-out features.

Customize and Upgrade

Desktops are still the best option if you need power. Miniaturization has done wonders—the P52 is a great example of such—but simply cannot match the abilities of a full-fledged workstation. Enter the P520 Series.

Lenovo ThinkStation P520 Tower Workstation

The main P520 is a force to be reckoned with. With Intel® Xeon™ W four- or six-core options, the ability to be upgraded with up to 256 GB RAM, and lots of space for extra hard drives and SSDs, this tower is perfect for those who want total control over their build. It is also a great place to start because you can acquire it either without a graphics controller or the powerful NVIDIA Quadro P2000 or P4000. Being bigger is better for intensive tasks such as rendering 3D animations or handling large design documents. This is because you can build more storage right into the computer for faster throughput and Tri-Channel Cooling to ensure optimal performance of all your devices.

You can still get compact towers, however. Designated as a compact version, the P520c offers many of the same VR-ready and ISV-certified components as the P520 but with a lower entry price and a little less space inside. This means fewer drive bays, PCIe slots, and memory slots. Compared to the P520, the memory of the P520c maxes out at 128GB. A model exclusive to B&H gives you some serious power, with a 4.0 GHz Intel® Xeon™ W-2125 Quad-Core processor, 32GB ECC RAM, a 512GB SSD and 2TB HDD. It does not come with a graphics card, so feel free to get whichever one you need. We highly recommend NVIDIA Quadro for those working with VR and 360° video. Both the P520 and P520c are impressive. Insane upgradeability and, with Lenovo PC Diagnostics built-in, you can make sure that everything is running at optimal performance. When flexibility and reliability are key, the desktops are the way to go.

The Lenovo ThinkStation P520 Series offers plenty of room for upgrades.

Which one is best for you? Great question. First, decide whether you need a desktop or laptop—ThinkStation and ThinkPad in Lenovo’s terms. The next part is easy, as well: if you need maximum upgradeability and power, go with the P520 for desktops or P52 for laptops. If you want something a little smaller or simply don’t need as much from your setup, then the P520c and P52s are right up your alley. Oh yeah—they all run Windows 10 with all the latest functions.

Ever think you could trust a laptop for virtual reality? Have another mobile setup you love? Be sure to let us all know in the Comments section, below!

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