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Lenovo ThinkPad E585 - Ryzen 2500U/Vega 8 - Review, Impressions, Linux, etc


#1

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.

Specs:

  • 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 hours give or take. Linux works well with the latest kernel/mesa… only bluetooth doesn’t work.

Full lshw output here: http://paste.ubuntu.com/p/6WVhFQygKn/
Full lspci -vvv output here: http://paste.ubuntu.com/p/g7FP5nN9JX/








Note: I got cinebench GPU score slightly over 40 on another run… not pictured here.


Here are some general thoughts:

Chassis/Build Quality:
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.

Keyboard/Trackpad:
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. Clicking feels VERY nice on the bottom trackpad buttons… it’s like a muffled clicky sound which is really satisfying. Difficult to explain. I like the keyboard a lot. The keys have good travel, no flex. I have issues with palm rejection on linux… sometimes my hand touches the trackpad while typing, which is really annoying (any tips for this?). 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 is not backlit.

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

CPU:
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.

Graphics:
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.

Display:
edid dump: https://paste.ubuntu.com/p/NfH4wVV9bN/
Panel model: BOE NV156FHM-N49
It’s the same display used in the E580, which notebookcheck reports 58% sRGB and 37.6% AdobeRGB.

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.

Audio:
Meh. Speakers are down-firing and tinny. Very little bass.

Disassembly/Upgradeability:
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.

Fan Noise:
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.


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: ivrs_ioapic[32]=00:14.0

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 … he also recommends adding spec_store_bypass_disable=prctl, but it was not necessary for me.

Out of the box, all hardware works fine on Ubuntu 18.04.1 except for Bluetooth. Media keys all work, trackpad works good, sound works fine, etc. I simply cannot get bluetooth working, I have a thread open HERE.

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. I’ve done everything I can think of to try. I ended up submitting a bug to the linux kernel developers, so hopefully they can figure something out. Wifi+BT combo chips seem to just flat out not work on this thing.

Resume from sleep works fine when the laptop lid is opened (that tends to be an issue on linux).

If you run linux, make sure to run very new stuff, even nightly builds where possible. I’m using KDE Neon 18.04 testing release, kernel 4.18.5, latest mesa from the padoka PPA. Everything is running stable for me now. It was a little crashy a few weeks ago when I originally tested.

I get about 4.5 hours of very active use on Linux, which was on par or better than I get on Windows. I haven’t tested tlp yet.


Todo:

  • Test more games on both windows and linux
  • Test some non-Ubuntu distros
  • Get some proper benchmarks (any specific requests?)
  • Test thermal throttling

A Ryzen laptop with an external GPU? That's what Thinkpad.com shows for the E585
Linux on the Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41) - Memory & reboot problems
Ubuntu 18.04 on Acer Nitro 5 Ryzen 5 2500u
#2

A color gamet of 45% is kinda sad, but I am glad that it has a matte finish to it. Glossy screens on laptops need to be thrown into the fire. People are portable with these things.

And speaking of portability, the 4 hours of battery life is a let down. I wonder if it would be possible to upgrade the battery on it. From the picture you posted, it kinda looks like that would be feasible.

But the amount of upgrades that you can put into this thing is amazing. Glad to see that Lenovo did not skimp out on this, as the E series is their most basic in the Thinkpad line.

For benchmarks, I don’t know what software you could use. But I would love to see throughput numbers on that nvme drive. And do you know the manufacturer of that nvme drive?


#3

Yea. In all honesty, it looks nice though. I have no real complaints about the display for daily use (at least for someone who doesn’t need high color accuracy). According to a reddit user, the panel can be upgraded. But I think he got the model number wrong because I can’t find the NV156FHM-F61 he mentioned.


#4

Step 2

  • eGPU

  • :joystick::monkey:


Lowest EU price I could find

659.99 €
“645.00 + Delivery 14.99”
https://www.notebook.de/lenovo-thinkpad-e585-amd-ryzen-5-2500u-200ghz-win10-p-123085

Fuckery bonus
My dear Finnish Multitronic fucktards are asking 1143.80 € + shipping :joy:


#5

I just saw your edit. NVMe SSD is lenovo brand. Model LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA

I’ll update my main post with SSD benchmark in a bit, check back later


#6

There is the NV156FHM-n61 that has 71% color gamut. Came out in 2016


#7

Just googling this really quick, it appears that this nvme drive was in the X1 Carbon gen 5. It’s pretty cool that you have something that is in one of their top of the line models.


#8

hey welcome to the ThinkPad E5-club have the near exact laptop(E570) as yours only with a intel + nvidia.

I found Tlp to be super helpful for getting through until the end of day.

Same thing happened to me with the middle scroll button, when I had the E570 for the first couple of months the button wouldn’t work. A month later some update fixed the driver and perfect middle scrolling.


#9

45Wh battery.
That is sad.

What is so hard about copying the one thing apple gets right: 90Wh battery?
The case even looks like someone planned to get at lest 60Wh in there, but no! 45 shall be enough to the peasants.


#10

Its one of the easiest areas to cut costs.

Especially on the ‘lesser’ product lines where 4 hours is ‘acceptable’.


#11

Seems that the NVMe is fixed differently than in the E485. Can I get a photo of the bottom cover?

And you have also the folded ESD BAG in the 2.5" slot. Any idea why it is there?

The battery time after unplugging is not very indicative, the power consumption changes a lot. If you have the “Windows Installer Modules Worker” running in the background, it will suck your battery empty.


#12

I was wondering what that bag thingy was.

At first I thought it was a wallet.


#13

It’s not an ESD bag, it’s some kind of electrical shielding. It’s just a flat piece of metallic material with 4 holes and perforated edges with adhesive. I think it’s meant to wrap around the bottom and sides of the SSD during installation. I didn’t use it because I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to be used at first. Looking at it again, I understand now what it was meant for. I was in kind of a rush to get the system finished… if I ever open the laptop up again, I’ll put it on.

Here’s the pic of the back. Not much to it. The whole back cover has to come off to change out any components.


#14

Oh sorry, I wanted a picture from the inside face. In the 485 the NVMe “cover” is attached to the bottom cover.
And regarding the 2.5" slot I think we are talking about different things, I do not mean the dummy, but the silvery folded thing taped to the dummy.

Btw the sticker on top of the battery also contains the S/N. Clearly readable on the photo.


#15

Thanks for the heads up on the s/n … probably no big deal but prefer to crop it out

We were referring to the same thing on the 2.5" slot. The silvery folded thing is the electrical shielding that’s supposed to get fixed to the SSD before installation as I described previously. The decoy SSD I was talking about is underneath the tape and silvery thing

I don’t want to open the laptop back up at the moment, it’s kind of a pain. If I do open it back up I’ll try to get more pictures. There was nothing on the rear side of the back cover though, if that’s what you’re asking. It’s literally just a hunk of plastic with no other function.


#16

I’d recommend using the Ubuntu X PPA, as it gets stable releases. I’ve had a couple updates be broken for me on my Fury cards, nothing Timeshift couldn’t fix, but still something to mention.

P.S. BTW, get Timeshift, it’s saved me countless times. I basically don’t worry about trying out a nightly package, because I know I can revert the system quickly and painlessly, to just before it broke.


#17

I bought a e585 too. I’m using Devuan (Debian fork without systemd) and volume keys work, but bright ones and some others don’t. Any idea for solving that?


#18

lenovo are now making it easier to update the firmware on linux too.

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Lenovo-LVFS-Support


#19

The brightness works fine for me. Maybe try updating your kernel? I know on mine, after installing a new kernel (4.18 in my case), after the first reboot the display goes super dim and I have to turn it up. Maybe the brightness just wasn’t working on the 4.15 kernel that shipped with 18.04. I can’t remember if I tested brightness before updating my kernel.


#21

Try hitting up the small Linux problem thread. Maybe it’s as easy a fix as editing a file.