System Performance

We’ve already seen a lot of Broadwell Core i5 and i7 devices this year. The T450s comes with a couple of CPU options and we have the middle tier which is the Intel Core i5-5300U. This is a dual-core chip with hyperthreading, and it has a base frequency of 2.3 GHz with a Turbo of 2.9 GHz. As with most of the Ultrabook parts, it is designed in a 15 Watt envelope. Skylake has just been announced, but Ultrabooks featuring it are still not available, so Broadwell is where we are at. That’s not really a bad place to be either. The T450s can be configured with up to 20 GB of memory and it has a single DIMM slot to let you upgrade the RAM. This means that 4 GB of memory is soldered onboard. The model we received has 8 GB of memory in a dual-channel configuration.

Graphics are powered by the Intel HD 5500 GPU, with a 300 MHz base frequency and 900 MHz turbo. The HD 5500 has 24 execution units arranged in three slices of 8. Storage can be either hard disk based or solid state, and the review unit has a Toshiba 256 GB SSD. This is not going to offer the insane performance of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s PCIe Samsung drive, but any of the SSD choices are obviously the right decision unless you are really on a budget. Lenovo offers up to 1 TB of hard drive or 512 GB of SSD, but the Opal 2.0 certified option maxes out at 256 GB.

Performance Graphs

For system performance, we have run the ThinkPad T450s through our 2015 laptop workloads. The graphs include a sampling of other similar notebooks, but if you want to compare the ThinkPad T450s to any other notebook we have tested please use our Notebook Bench. As a reminder the ThinkPad T450s is not yet offered with Windows 10 from Lenovo, so these results are based on Windows 8.1


PCMark 8 - Home

PCMark 8 - Creative

PCMark 8 - Work

PCMark 8 - Storage

PCMark 7 (2013)

PCMark tries to replicate real world use scenarios with its various workloads. It will have sustained performance as well as burst performance requirements, and storage is also a factor in the scores. The ThinkPad T450s scores very well on these tests, outperforming other devices with Core i7 even. Since PCMark is a comprehensive test, even things like display resolution come into play so the 1920x1080 panel is a benefit to these scores since the GPU has an easier time. Storage is right in line with other SSD based devices. PCMark tends to group all SSDs pretty closely together because of the traces it uses to score the result.


To get a better feel for the absolute performance of the drive, CrystalDiskMark was run which provides the typical maximum speeds and this will show more of a difference in maximum speeds than PCMark will. That does not discredit PCMark though since it is trying to show real world performance, and maximum transfer speeds don’t come into play as often when you are doing office tasks. The T450s shows good performance, but for those that need to move very large files around, a notebook with PCIe storage is going to be a better choice. I don’t think that’s the target market for the T450s though the performance is adequate.


Cinebench R15 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R15 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench is a mostly CPU benchmark. The Core i5-5300U is exactly where you would expect which is between the X1 Carbon with its Core i7-5600U and the Dell XPS 13’s Core i5-5200U.


x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

As with Cinebench, this mostly CPU based test shows the performance gain achieved with the mid-level Core i5 in this notebook.

Web Tests

Mozilla Kraken 1.1

Google Octane 2.0


Web browsing continues to be an important metric. On this Windows 8.1 device, testing was done with the latest version of Chrome (version 45) but with Windows 10 now released, we’ll be switching to Edge since its performance is now comparable. The i5-5300U once again shows it is a decent upgrade over the base i5-5200U.

Overall System Performance

There is not a lot of surprises right now in the Ultrabook space. Broadwell-U based devices have been shipping since the beginning of the year and this notebook is still only available with Windows 8.1. Overall performance is very good for this class of device and the i5-5300U is a reasonable upgrade over the base offering. For those that need better performance, there is an i7-5600U model as well which should then score this laptop similar to the X1 Carbon in the above graphs. The choice of SSD is not the fastest around, but it still offers good sequential and random speeds, it just can’t compare to the latest PCIe based storage on something like the X1 Carbon.

Design GPU Performance
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  • fackamato - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    Would you actually use the touch screen?
  • nerd1 - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    They are very useful when you use the laptop in bed...
  • Human Bass - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Wait, there is no hdmi output? That is dumb. I love to connect my notebook to my tv to watch a movie or a stream.
  • evilspoons - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    It has a MiniDP output, which you can adapt to HDMI passively.
  • gamesclub201 - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

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  • evilspoons - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    I have one of these (1080p non-touch, 5300U, 500GB hard drive + 16 GB cache SSD, Win 8.1), and I absolutely love it. Keyboard is excellent, the 1080p screen with Win8.1/Win10's display scaling gives you about the same "workspace" as 1440x900 but with nice crisp text when stuff is zoomed out for coding. It's also nice and light but still substantial enough that I don't feel like I'm going to break it in half all the time, like with most ultrabooks.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    You can put a 42mm m2 SSD for boot drive, and I do recommend that.
  • evilspoons - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    Yeah, I got the model without a smart card reader or fingerprint reader so it has like 3 m.2 slots. I just can't find any 42mm m.2 drives locally :(
  • Hulk - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I have a t450s and don't recommend using the M.2 slot for the boot drive. I set it up that way, fresh Windows install and after about 10 to 30 minutes of use it would lock up and only a hard restart would fix it. I'm pretty sure it was due to the M.2 being the boot drive and it's probably why Lenovo says NOT to use this drive for the boot drive. On the other hand the 2.5" Crucial BX100 500GB SSD I'm using for the boot drive works perfectly. And I cloned the M.2 to the BX100 so I don't know what else could have been the cause of the freezing I was experiencing? But as always most of the people around here are smarter than me so it could have been something else;)
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I put mydigitalSSD 42mm drive on my thinkpad yoga 12" and it worked flawlessly. You may double check the BIOS settings?

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