My New L520

Welp I got my first modern thinkpad yesterday as a bday gift. Its not my first thinkpad, I have a 600X and a Transnote (wierd fuckin thing), but they don't really compare with modern machines very well.

Now I'm a little (actually very) annoyed to say that I'll have to retract PART of my statement about iGPU's. When done well, they're ok. I have used many many machines with HD3000/4000/520's in them and they were all crap for some reason. It could have been shoddy construction, something wrong with the screen, I don't bloody know but those machines even made ZSNES look bad.

As usual, I have my small list of benchmarks I usually do. I didn't do any of the over complicated ones, I just stuck to games as a test as I have a pretty concise list that I even play. As this is now, permanently, my personal laptop that I will take everywhere this is a lot shorter than normal.

Specs: i5 2520 @ 2.5GHZ Turbo to 3.2 (can actually stay there too. GREAT cooling system!!)
4GB Ram (can and will be going to 8)
500 GB HDD (will be replaced with 1TB SSHD that I have)
Intel HD 3000
And all your basic ports that you would probably expect on the back of a nuc, including 3 USB, 1 powered, Display port, VGA, ESata, Card reader, Gigabit Eth, and surprisingly a cardbus slot. No fingerprint verify on this one, which is just as well.

I'll start with the top of my list installed and just go down.

DX 9 Benches

Cities Skylines: Chosen because of map generation and simulations. However, crawls like a mofo.
13 FPS at Best
2 FPS Min
Map generation took 20 minutes total, map generated fine, it was rendering it that was the problem.

CSGO: Its ok, but I don't really have any fun with this game anymore, especially now that I have Quake and I'm back into CSS.
45 FPS Best
13 FPS Min
Load times are ok, the game settings were all over the place and I put them all at lowest and dropped res from 1366X768 to 1280X720.

CSS: I play this a lot.
170 FPS Max
48 FPS min
It doesn't dip a lot which is nice.

Deus Ex HR: My only thought here was that I got 100 FPS with a PX7900GT on a pentium 4 so it HAS TO run on this right?
70 Max FPS
14 FPS Min

Skyrim: Cuz fuck you thats why.
60 FPS Max
22 FPS Min
I was surprised this actually played TBH.

Empyrion Galactic Survival: Similar test to Cities.
25 FPS Max
2 FPS Min.

Fallout NV: Well I tried skyrim right?
60 FPS Max
47 FPS Min
I wasn't expecting that.

Paranautical Activity: Lots of action on screen all the time.
50 FPS Max
18 FPS Min.
Might make me play this again...

Planetary Annihilation: Again, lots of shit on screen. Also shit on other planets to calculate.
48 FPS Max
17 FPS Min
Actually ran fine.

Rocket League
20 FPS Max
20 Fps Min
It really liked the number 20. Even with explosions and shit flying everyvhere.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted: Lots of grass :V
@ 800x558 (or whatever the letterbox ver is)
60 FPS Max
45 FPS Avg
13 FPS Min
@ 1366X758 (native)
14 FPS Max
1 FPS Min
Lots of grass :/\

Stardew Valley: I was curious
Its fine and it was stupid to test.

Stranded Deep: WATERWORLD
27 FPS Max
5 FPS Min
On laptop settings

TF2: Its NORMALLY just labeled as a CPU problem and I have seen macbook air's rip this game to shreds so fuck it.
125 FPS Max
40 FPS Min
This makes me happy. I'll actually use this a lot.

Xcom EU: Its relatively graphics intensive. I didn't even touch the settings they were at high.
70 FPS Max
19 FPS Min
I don't really have a comment. Its just amazing the game is put together that well.

Edit: OpenGL tests from antergos.

230 FPS Max
98 FPS Min

85 FPS Max
27 FPS Min (drops)
This was at 1024X768

This is pretty much the same as the CSS gameplay.

Xcom EU
31 FPS Max
22-23 FPS AVG
1 FPS Min
Rendering times for models is significantly faster here

Rocket League doesn't start, but it also doesn't start at home so.....

Stellaris starts, but it takes forever to load. I'll have to play the most of a game to say its good gameplay or not.

Now I have yet to do OpenGL tests with fiddling in blender and Unity3D, but reports online say that a 1 hour 1080p render in kdenlive takes around 15 ish minutes, which I can live with. Theres probably some mods I can do to speed that up.

I'll be adding 4GB of ram to make it a full go 8, and I'll be swapping the drive for the SSHD from my Y40-70 as soon as I can move a game server off the drive.

All tests listed were done in windows 10 drovided by the store selling the unit.

As for personal opinion... YAY. I've actually wanted an up to date thinkpad for a really long time. You would be amazed at how many I have looked at that were just beat to shit and really considered. This one is pretty much brand new though. Hardly used at all. The only wear is on the mousepad. The keys are perfect and can be rearranged though I'll probably message lenovo for a couple keys for the trackpoint mouse so I can have dvorak and NOT cut any plastic (I would prefer not doing that). The volume control has its own buttons, including a mute mic button which is genius.

The cas- is sturdy and while the lid has no latch, it stays closed on its own easily. Screen is vibrant. Not bad blacks but I don't exactly care about color depth. Nothing is fuzzy! Trackpoint mouse had a fucked up nub, so I stole the one off my 600X and its nice and sturdy (its basically a pebble with a hole in the bottom). Also no webcam, which is actually a bonus for me. I would rather use an external one if I need to use one and the onboard always watches you nowadays :3

Also it has a 3G system built in... Never seen that before but I might use it someday.

I'm happy with it.


Out of pure curiosity, I put the low power 8GB ram chit from my Y40-70 in my L520 and it worked. Then I put the 4GB chit that was in it originall back in and it still worked. Since I'm not going to be using my Y40-70 anymore, probably ever, I'll keep it like this.


I'm happy that you're happy with it. :smiley:

As for intel HD, those GPU's somewhat love older DX9 games with octree/BSP based worlds.
So that's everything from source engine to fallout nv, skyrim etc

If you want to boost performance even further on Intel HD GPU's there is a modded driver project PHDGD that can help you out:

There's a guide for that on the lowspec gamer subreddit (really neat youtube channel too)

But the website
seems to be down as of right now, I'm not sure when it will be back.

1 Like

What sort of boost would that give me?

Depending on the game:
A lot to a Little. Most of the gain can be done merely by adjusting the default intel drivers to performance mode already.

If you can find the PHDGD drivers, the primary site is down right now.

Huh, neat.

Actually I got a HUGE frame boost just by going to 12GB of ram, faster ram (1333 vs 1600), and an SSHD.


Actually if I drop DXHR down to a 50Hz mode the game stays at 50 o.o
wow ok. I didn't know that would make THAT BIG of a difference....

Fuck me even cities skylines runs at ~25 FPS now.


I'm editing in my OpenGL Tests.

Happy birthday :slight_smile:


The i5-2450M/i5-2520M are surprisingly decent chips, probably about as decent as the mid-range Phenom II X4s.

Yeah except I get basically the same performance as my desktop lol.