2019/03/11 - LINUX USERS: If you ever want a stable, smooth experience on this device, please do your part to help and contact Lenovo. The kernel is doing well, but Lenovo’s bios is a mess. A few of us are working hard to get issues resolved (IOMMU issues, bluetooth not working, suspend/wake problems), but we need help. Lenovo doesn’t officially support Linux on this laptop and we may never get help, but we have to keep trying. We have an ongoing thread on the Lenovo forums (HERE) that you should follow.
Lenovo’s Twitter support is actually pretty good (HERE). Please be friendly. If they tell you Linux isn’t supported, politely ask them to forward your comments higher up (when I asked, they obliged). If we make enough noise, someone might listen. Thanks.
Original post below.
Hey all. I picked up the ThinkPad E585, thought I would do a mini review of the laptop now that I’ve had some time to play around with it. This will not be a thorough review, just some general thoughts and info. I intend to edit it as I continue tinkering with it.
- Ryzen 5 2500U with Vega 8 Mobile graphics
- 16GB (8+8 dual channel) DDR4 2400
- 256GB m.2 NVMe SSD
- (mod) 500GB SSD for dual booting
- 1080P IPS
TL;DR: I like the laptop. Good build quality, decent display, good performance. Battery life isn’t great… around 4-4.5 hours give or take. Linux is working OK, but it has some issues. See below for more notes.
Note: I got cinebench GPU score slightly over 40 on another run… not pictured here.
Here are some general thoughts:
Very happy with the laptop in terms of quality. It feels very solid, no creaks or pops, no keyboard flex. Everyone seems to complain about the E-series thinkpads being cheap but I was pleasantly surprised. Top is aluminum, the rest is plastic. The lid does attract fingerprints pretty bad, but it’s not a big issue.
Disclaimer: I’ve never used a laptop with windows precision trackpad drivers, so I can’t compare to that. This laptop uses a synaptic trackpad and it seems to track well. Everything works as expected in both Windows and linux. On linux, palm rejection is non-existent, which is frustrating sometimes. Clicking feels nice on the bottom trackpad buttons. The keyboard is average or above average. The keys have good travel, no significant keyboard flex. One issue I did notice, at least under Linux, is that you cannot use the trackpad while using WASD keys. You can use the trackpoint, but not the pad. Just something I ran into while testing CS:GO without a mouse.
KEYBOARD UPDATE: There is a serious problem with the keyboard on the E485 and E585. If you type too fast, characters will get typed out of order. This is a firmware-level issue, not OS-dependent. Big thread about it HERE. Lenovo acknowledged and are preparing a new bios update to fix this.
KEYBOARD UPDATE #2: This has been fixed with the 1.32 BIOS update
I’m happy with the CPU performance. It runs as well as I expected and is on par with mid to upper-mid range Intel systems.
I will update this again when I get more testing done. Things have changed. So far, so good. It runs about how I expected after some updates. 3DMark cloudgate scores over 12,800. Uningine Heaven scored 564 with avg framerate of 22.4.
GRAPHICS UPDATE: Make sure to check my note below about the Power Management Driver. This made a considerable improvement in Windows. I’ve now tested Skyrim and Banished via SteamPlay, and I’m pretty impressed by the results. Skyrim runs through the intro scene between 30-40FPS on high settings @ 1080p. Banished runs about 70FPS on high at 1080p.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the display, I just wish it was brighter. Sharp graphics, good blacks, no bleed and a fantastic matte finish (I really like the quality matte layer). It’s only 250 nits max brightness, which is comfortable to view, but any dimmer and it gets too dark.
2019/03/08 UPDATE: I’m upgrading the display soon to a 120hz panel. For details, see my post HERE. I will update here once I’ve received the new part.
Speakers aren’t good. Down-firing, and tinny with almost no bass. Not the worst I’ve heard, but nothing to write home about.
Taking the laptop apart is a matter of unscrewing about 10 phillips-head screws. It takes some gentle prying to get the back cover off. It snags on some of the ports so be careful. Also, be SUPER careful if you add a drive to the 2.5" bay. It comes with a plastic decoy SSD that you have to pull out, it takes some strong pulling and it kind of releases from the chassis unexpectedly… it is very easy to accidentally yank the tiny SATA cable out of the motherboard. Expandability: 2 DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, 1x 2280 m.2 NVMe slot, 1x m.2 for Wifi+BT, 1x 2.5" drive bay.
Not bad. The fan seems to run a lot in Windows, but it’s not very loud. It’s much quieter in linux… I guess there’s just not as much going on in the background. Even at full tilt while playing a game, the noise isn’t bad. I’ve heard much worse.
Windows: The majority of my time here has been working in visual studio and other work-related software. I’ve not yet tested any games, just Fusion 360. Everything seems to run pretty well. After unplugging from a full charge, Windows reports an estimated 4 hours 20 minutes of battery life. I haven’t let it drain the battery on Windows yet, but I expect that number to be pretty accurate for casual use. I will add more info as I continue to use it.
UPDATE: Install Lenovo’s updated power management driver for significantly improved graphics performance. https://support.lenovo.com/mn/en/downloads/ds032258
This update improved my 3DMark CloudGate benchmark from a score of ~10,900 to ~12,800.
UPDATE: You’ll probably want to uninstall Lenovo App Explorer. It has a tendency to hog lots of CPU and keep the fans spinning loud for hours at a time. Pointless bloatware.
LAST WINDOWS UPDATE: I’m not using Windows on this laptop anymore, I’m sorry. I have no free time or interest in testing it further. In general, it worked just fine for everything I needed it for and has stabilized since release. You can find plenty of 2500U graphics tests online if you need more info about gaming.
Linux: To get linux to work at all, you must add this kernel parameter in Grub due to a firmware bug, otherwise you will just get a black screen:
Huge thank you and credit goes to this blog, which also has some more information about booting linux on the E585 https://evilazrael.de/comment/914
Out of the box, all hardware works fine on Ubuntu 18.04.1 except for Bluetooth. Media keys all work, trackpad works good except there’s no palm rejection at all. Bluetooth simply will not work. I have a thread open HERE.
UPDATE: Follow my thread on the Lenovo forums. There are some new developments about broken suspend/wake and IOMMU issues.
UPDATE: Bluetooth seems to be a bigger problem than I thought. I ordered an Intel Wireless AC 9260 (9260.NGWG.NV) and swapped it out. Same exact problem. Wifi works, bluetooth won’t. You can get bluetooth to turn on with both wireless cards by letting the device suspend and wake again. Myself and other users are actively working on finding a solution.
- Test more games on both windows and linux
- Test some non-Ubuntu distros
- Get some proper benchmarks (any specific requests?)
- Test thermal throttling