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Lenovo ThinkPad W530 preview: workstation on the go

The W530 can be considered an entry-level model in Lenovo's line of mobile workstations. A mobile workstation? In case you don't know, it's a powerful portable computer for professionals that can handle demanding software such as for CAD/CAM, video processing, design and so on. It's also certified for those types of software, which means you can get support from the manufacturer should you need it.

For the average consumer this is all a bit superfluous, but for the business segment and professionals that use a particular software package on daily basis it's very useful.

Workstations typically have more powerful hardware, higher quality screens and higher resolutions than consumer notebooks. The ThinkPad W530 comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD display, and you have the option of an Intel Core i7 quad-core Extreme processor.

In terms of GPU, you can choose between a Quadro K1100M (also called the K1000M) or a Quadro K2000M. These are Nvidia cards for the business segment, and are intended for demanding applications moreso than games. The K1000M is based on the GK107 chip, like the GeForce GT640M.

Drivers for the Quadro cards are focused on stability, and combined with certain software they offer advantages not available to the consumer GeForce cards. The K1000M is Kepler-based, and is the entry-level model for mobile workstation graphics. You can also fit plenty of RAM in the ThinkPad, up to 32GB.

The test sample we received from Lenovo has a pretty modest configuration when you compare it to what's possible with the ThinkPad W530. It has a quad-core Intel Core i7-3630QM, an entry-level and affordable processor in this segment. There are four available memory slots, but only one is used for a 4GB DDR3-1600 RAM module.

Storage is provided by a conventional hard disk, a 500GB 7200 RPM hard drive, but there's no SSD. You do get a Matshita DVD burner. For a workstation that can be potentially very powerful, we had expected more. Check out the rest of the review of the Lenovo ThinkPad W530 laptop on The cheapest configuration that we found for this workstation starts from £1,280.