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The first Skylake laptops are Lenovo's Thinkpad P50 and P70 graphics workstations

Gordon Mah Ung | Aug. 11, 2015
Your chance to get a laptop with Intel's newest Skylake CPU is almost here. On Monday at the Siggraph show in Los Angeles, Calif., Lenovo announced two new mobile workstations stocked with the 6th-gen mobile chip and a dream checklist of advanced features.

pcw lenovo thinkpad primary
Credit: Rob Schultz

Your chance to get a laptop with Intel's newest Skylake CPU is almost here. On Monday at the Siggraph show in Los Angeles, Calif., Lenovo announced two new mobile workstations stocked with the 6th-gen mobile chip and a dream checklist of advanced features.

How next-gen? Think up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, true PCIe SSD performance, Thunderbolt 3 and true USB 3.1 too. There's even a new Nvidia GPU.

Of course, the new ThinkPad P50 and ThinkPad P70 both pack Intel's Xeon E3-1500M v5 CPUs, based on the Skylake microarchitecture. We reviewed the desktop Skylake chips last week, or if you're into the brevity thing, you can just read this short FAQ. For mobile users, beyond saying unlocked, overclockable versions would be available, Intel has been mum.

Why this matters: Few want to buy a Pentium II the day before the Pentium III comes out, so many wait for the latest CPU before taking the plunge. With Windows 10 now here, the second part of that WinTel formula just dropped, meaning it's "safe" to buy the latest and greatest.

Expect Skylake to stay in the news

Intel's really playing out its Skylake launch, with announcements first for gamers and enthusiasts at Gamescom, the largest gaming show in the world, and now the Xeon v5 at Siggraph. Intel still hasn't provided deeper information about Skylake. That's going to happen at its own show, the Intel Developer Forum, starting August 18.

Lenovo's 17-inch P70 is the latest in a line of big old ThinkPads aimed at workstation users. The first was the giant ThinkPad W700, as well as the over-the-top ThinkPad W700ds with two monitors. Yes, a laptop with two monitors. 

The 7.6-pound P70 doesn't get that crazy, but its specs will make its predecessors green with envy. Besides the quad-core Skylake Xeon, the P70 and P50 feature a new Nvidia Quadro GPU too.

Thunderbolt 3 is in the house

Of the two, the giant 17-inch P70 stuffs in the most hardware. Besides the Skylake Xeon and Quadro chip, Lenovo also used Intel's new Alpine Ridge controller. Alpine Ridge supports the fastest Thunderbolt 3 spec as well as full-speed USB 3.1 across its USB-C ports. By full speed, I mean up to 10Gbps transfer speeds using USB 3.1. The first laptop with USB-C, Apple's 12-inch MacBook, is a bit of a sleight of hand. It has USB-C, but its ports run standard USB 3.0 speeds. Google's updated Pixel Chromebook also is limited to USB 3.0 speeds on its USB-C ports. Running Thunderbolt 3 mode, Lenovo's ports should crank it all way up to 40Gbps speeds.

 

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