Lenovo ThinkPad P50s delivers workstation performance in a lightweight, durable package.

About half of the Dell Precision mobile units used by employees at Smith Brothers of Berne have hardware issues or recently had their motherboards replaced. Even when they work properly for the engineering, design, finance and I.T. employees, their fans are loud and their seven-pound weight makes them a burden to carry, explains Derek Augsburger, network manager.

Located in Berne, Indiana, Smith Brothers of Berne manufactures upholstered living room furniture sold in 35 states. The company was a Dell shop until about a year ago, when it started buying Lenovo ThinkCentre M53 tiny desktops. But of the company’s 450 employees, about 25 exclusively use mobile workstations with docking stations.

“The Dell systems are big and heavy,” he says. “It seems like every time we hand somebody a Precision, they say, ‘Ugh….’ We began thinking, do we really want to keep going down this road?”

Instead, Augsburger and other members of the I.T. team set out to find a workstation that was lighter and thinner—yet more powerful. A workstation with the power of a desktop and the portability of an Ultrabook. A workstation that could be a real difference maker in employee productivity.

Augsburger found that with the Lenovo ThinkPad P50s, which starts at just 5.6 pounds and packs plenty of computing power.

A workstation for all functions

Augsburger had just begun to investigate workstation options when he joined a Spiceworks SpicePanel to test and provide feedback on the ThinkPad P50s. During the four-week panel, 12 I.T. decision-makers from the Spiceworks community tested the mobile workstations for product optimization and marketing strategy.

“When we started looking at the specs we were just like, ‘Wow, now that’s more what we’re looking for,’” he says. “This provides the power we need, but in a nicer, smaller, thinner package that our users would be much happier with.”

The ThinkPad P50s Augsburger tested includes an Intel® Core i7-6600U CPU, NVIDIA Quadro M500M GPU, and 32 GB RAM. When he opened it, he was awed by how thin it is. At the same time, it’s a solid, rugged unit, so he wouldn’t worry about breaking it if it’s dropped, he says.

“Out of the box I was very impressed with its aesthetics. It’s a nice-looking unit.”

He used it for several days to remotely access computers and troubleshoot issues. The more he used it, the more impressed he became. It was powerful enough to do everything he needed, and the LCD display with anti-glare technology and in-plane switching for almost 180-degree wide-angle viewing produces a “phenomenal” picture.

Another benefit of the ThinkPad? The keyboard. Augsburger has seen a lot of laptop users carry keyboards with them because they couldn’t stand laptop keyboards. “But the keyboard [on the ThinkPad] is very nice. You could easily type on it all day if you had to,” he says.


Image Breaker

A workstation that saves time

Next, Augsburger gave the workstation to some employees who routinely work from home, including a designer and an accountant.

“They liked the power of it—it was definitely fast enough for their needs—but they loved the size,” he says. “That really set it apart. It was light, easy for them to take home, and they fell in love with it. They didn’t want to give it back!”

When the designer rendered an image on the ThinkPad, it took only about six minutes, versus the 10 minutes it usually takes on the Dell. Because they’re often rendering images, over a month or a year, those three to four minutes can mean significant time-savings.

With their Dell devices, users can only go about three hours without having to plug in—making it essentially a mobile solution that is tethered to a cord. One of the Smith Brothers employees used the ThinkPad for six hours, unplugged, and still had plenty of battery life left.

Battery life isn’t the only thing that sets the P50s apart. It also has an internal battery Li-Polymer 3-cell (44Wh). The workstation drains the external battery first, then the internal, giving the user time to swap out the external battery. Overall, the workstation was a hit.

A workstation that drives productivity

Everybody agreed with the need to change laptop brand, but there was some concern about whether the thinner size would mean less power.

“A lot of people are afraid to give up size for power,” Augsburger says, “but once you show them there are machines that are just as powerful—or more powerful— yet thinner, lighter and still have all the features you want, it’s hard to beat that. And it’s in the same price range as what we’re paying for other, less effective equipment.”

Over the past year, Smith Brothers of Berne has bought about 100 Lenovo desktops, and they’ve been very happy with them, Augsburger says. There have been no support issues “…and their quality seems to be a step above Dell.”

The next time he gets a request for a mobile workstation, Augsburger will likely buy a ThinkPad P50s, he says. The lightweight workstations could be a real difference makeras employees would be more willing to take them home.

Augsburger has occasionally heard employees say they have projects they could work on at home, but they didn’t want to “drag the boat anchor” with them, so they instead put off the work until the next day. “Hopefully, once we get them new Lenovo ThinkPads, they’ll be more apt to say, ‘You know what, it’s easy to carry this workstation back and forth, it doesn’t bother me.’”

This will mean meeting deadlines quicker and being more productive, Augsburger says. “This really is a nice workstation. Compared to our Dell Precisions, I already feel this Lenovo is miles ahead. A couple of years from now, I wouldn’t doubt that we’d pretty much be a Lenovo shop.”

The Lenovo ThinkPad P50s: Workstation muscle with Ultrabook mobility

In the ThinkPad P50s, Lenovo has built a robust workstation that incorporates ultrabook mobility for powerful, cutting-edge processing, all-day battery life, and rugged construction paired with high-resolution
video with discrete graphics, multi-port flexibility, and business-class security. It’s a powerful yet lightweight workstation that employees will be happy to carry from place to place. All for less cost than comparable computing power from other brands.

Download Here the PDF: Workstations Can Make All the Difference


A lot of people are afraid to give up size for power, but once you show them there are machines that are just as—or more— powerful, yet thinner, lighter, and with all the features they want, it’s hard to beat that. And [the ThinkPad P50s] is in the same price range as what we’re paying for other, less effective equipment.

Derek Augsburger, Network Manager