The ThinkPad P50 features a beautiful 15.6-inch UHD 4K display and is certified to run users’ most requested ISV applications. The ThinkPad P50 is a feature-rich, highly powerful mobile workstation for performance-seeking users. As the follow-on to the ThinkPad W541, the P50 builds on the innovation and purposeful design of Lenovo’s industry-leading ThinkPad mobile workstations. – Lenovo Newsroom
The Lenovo Thinkpad P50 is a beast but I can understand the difficulty in picking one – there are so many variations!
For the purpose of putting a gauge on hardware criteria, I am assuming to employ this laptop for 3D CAD software such as Revit 2018 and/or ArchiCAD 21. Please read System requirements for Autodesk Revit 2018 products and System Requirements for GRAPHISOFT Products for more info. These system requirements will be the basis of my recommended configurations.
Processors: There is no question that if you want stability and reliability, then the Xeon processor is the way to go. Not to say that the i7 processors aren’t good, they are great and powerful… but the Xeon’s are truly professional grade on a Windows platform. If budget was a concern then an i7 will be the way to go. They have 2 types of i7 processors available for the P50 – the i7-6820HQ and the i7-6700HQ.
RAM: For your needs and based on Revit 2018 system recommendations (as well as what I feel is good to have these days), 16GB of RAM is what you’re looking at.
Hard Drive/s: The Thinkpad P50 offers 2 hard drive slots and depending if you go with 2 hard drives or 1 hard drive and also depending on what size hard drives you feel you need will affect the price tag significantly. My baseline though these days for a work computer is probably 1TB hard drive for C: drive. This gives you plenty of room for programs and locally stored data.
GPU (graphics card): Not much of a choice in this arena but from what choices they do have – they are all great. They all come with Quadro graphics card which is professional grade. It’s an option between the Quadro M2000M and the Quadro M1000M. The 2000M obviously being the better one.
Here are a few configurations which use different processors and hard drive options. But note that the RAM, primary hard drive, and GPU are all the same as per my recommendations. (16GB of ECC RAM if using Xeon, 16GB of Non-ECC RAM if using i7, 1TB hard drive for C: drive, and NVIDIA Quadro M2000M 4GB for GPU). All options come with Windows 10 Pro 64bit.
Configuration #1: Xeon E3-1505M v5 Processor, spare second 1TB HDD hard drive = $ 2,100.60
Configuration #2: Xeon E3-1505M v5 Processor, spare second 500 GB SSD hard drive = $ 2,325.60
Configuration #3: Xeon E3-1505M v5 Processor, no spare second hard drive = $ 1,938.60
Configuration #4: i7-6820HQ Processor, spare second 1TB HDD hard drive = $ 1,992.60
Configuration #5: i7-6820HQ Processor, spare second 500 SSD GB hard drive = $ 2,217.60
Configuration #6: i7-6820HQ Processor, no spare second hard drive = $ 1,830.60
Stepping down a notch – they offer the P50 with the i7-6700HQ… this option only comes paired with the NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 4GB instead of the NVIDIA Quadro M2000M 4GB. So you’re stepping down a bit in processor and GPU, however, the difference between the i7-6820HQ and the i7-6700HQ is negligible. The biggest difference you’ll see between configurations 4-6 and 7-9 is the GPU (graphics card). Here are the configurations using the i7-6700HQ:
Configuration #7: i7-6700HQ Processor, spare second 1TB HDD hard drive = $ 1,754.10
Configuration #8: i7-6700HQ Processor, spare second 500 SSD GB hard drive = $ 1,979.10
Configuration #9: i7-6700HQ Processor, no spare second hard drive = $ 1,592.10
Notes: These prices are “after instant savings” based on Lenovo’s website and the time of this writing 8/20/17. Also, add $10 if you want a smart card reader built-in.
Where To Buy?
I’ve gone through several customizations in Lenovo’s website and searched through various options readily available on Amazon, Newegg and other online stores and it seems that buying directly from Lenovo is the best deal and you get to customize to exactly what you want.
I originally came up with these configurations for a client of mine to help him decide which setup would be best for him and thought it would be helpful for others.