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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  • deontologist - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    "spll-resistant keyboard"

  • overzealot - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    Brett: Did you test the audio jack?
    I recently bought a Thinkpad Yoga 14 and the amount of background hiss out of the 3.5mm jack is just terrible. It's practically unusable, even with my least sensitive headphones.
    I'm hoping that it's just this model that sucks, but given a lack of testing in reviews I'm assuming they just don't even bother to get decent audio any more.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I have used (now old) TPY 12 and was positively surprised at the audio quality. It was very clean with zero white noise, and I can say it was on par with macbooks and surface 3 pro.
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I definitely used the headphone jack and didn't notice any issues. I'll try and make a note to point this out in reviews going forward.
  • overzealot - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - link

    Thanks, I appreciate the responses.
    And I'm glad that it isn't a problem in all modern laptops.
  • Morawka - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    great all around powerhouse of a notebook. Sure it doesnt get as much battery life as the Dell XPS 13" but then again, this thinkpad has 3x the connectors, and i/o. no doubt the difference in battery efficiency.

    I love the true pro features such as integrated LTE, Ethernet, Display Port, Dual Battery for swap without power down, and fingerprint sensor.

    this is a true business class notebook that hardly anyone can match. Now i just wish they would have waited a month for skylake, but no doubt they will refresh the line once those mobile chips are out.

    Clap Clap for LTE and IPS display
  • GekkePrutser - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I really wish Lenovo would make the trackpoint optional.. I personally hate them, and a trackpad is just fine for me. The track point is really in the way when I'm typing and it gives an annoying bounce when I hit it by mistake. I usually remove the rubber cap to minimize this but it would be much better for me not to have it at all.
  • mscommerce - Monday, September 28, 2015 - link

    Ok, you don't get the point.

    [Sorry, nothing personal. I just couldn't pass up on the obvious pun :p ]
  • jasperjones - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    I realize you guys are primarily interested in the hardware. Nevertheless, I feel this review is incomplete, as it doesn't address the software side of things. With scandals such as Superfish and the Lenovo Service Engine (which is implemented at the BIOS level and survives even clean installs), I'm very hesitant to buy Lenovo at this point.
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    Those were never part of ThinkPads. I'm not going to claim Lenovo is innocent because clearly they made some bad decisions but it never affected this device.

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