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ScreenDazed

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


#290652 25-Nov-2021 13:34
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Hi there. After some reading I decided one of the latest Intel 11th Gen Core i5 based laptops would be a good choice for my home computing/streaming, and because the integrated Iris XE graphics - widely praised as a decent leap ahead the previous UHD graphics - would be good for my young kids light 3D gaming (just Minecraft now but probably more in years ahead). Going for a gaming laptop/separate GPU seemed unnecessary.

 

So I bought a pre-built Lenovo E14 gen 2 ThinkPad, i51135G7, 16 GB SO-DIMM DDR4 3200 RAM, 512GB SSD and listed as having "integrated Iris XE graphics" on the Lenovo NZ website on a special, seemed to tick all my boxes for a long term purchase. 

 

Only after buying did I read elsewhere that "To properly enable Iris® Xe Graphics the system must be in dual-channel memory configuration" - without this, it performs like the old Intel UHD graphics, perhaps 30% slower (see: Intel and this blog).  Further inquiries with Lenovo confirmed the RAM is single channel, and they sent me a link to a different product spec website listing all models as having "Integrated Intel Iris XE graphics functions as UHD graphics". The support people were awful and tried to bamboozle me with rapid talk of MHZ and caches and how other parts of the system make it great, especially the 16GB of RAM.

 

A couple of questions about this-

 

(1) I presume even 16GB of RAM does not overcome the single channel limitation? As in, you can't configure a single 16GB RAM stick as 'dual channel' (partition it somehow?)? My basic understanding is that it's the 2x physical slots with 2 RAM sticks that doubles the CPU's access to the RAM units and hence speeds up performance? 

 

(2) I'm pretty sure I have grounds to cancel my order for a refund. The sales website and order confirmation only stated "Iris XE graphics" - nothing about it 'functioning as UHD'.

 

(3) Or am I worried about nothing - will the real world difference likely be so negligible that I should just not bother with changing this over?

 

I also wonder how many others were persuaded to shell out extra for the latest chip, only to find (or perhaps never realise) that with one RAM stick they may be getting no graphics advantage over the older models. 

 

Any help appreciated!


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wratterus
1501 posts

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  #2819175 25-Nov-2021 13:39
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Wow, I'd not come across this...following with interest. 


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ScreenDazed

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2819177 25-Nov-2021 13:42
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Thanks - I posted links to the sources but they seem to have been taken out- trying again:

 

Intel:  https://www.intel.com.au/content/www/au/en/support/articles/000059744/graphics.html 

 

Blog:  https://ruggedpcreview.com/wp/2021/08/22/the-intel-iris-xe-graphics-mystery/ 


Zeon
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  #2819188 25-Nov-2021 14:17
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Multiple issues here. First that is a real failure on the OEM model - its designed so that everything should function as expected. I also would say its borderline desceptive for them to market it with a capability it does not have. The best option probably would be to return it and bring the misleading aspect of the product promotion up with the retailer (covered by Fair Trading Act I believe) if they cause a fuss.





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SpartanVXL
846 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2819197 25-Nov-2021 14:50
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Yes this is likely a failure in advertising. I believe Intel’s fine print actually says OEM’s have to brand it as Intel UHD instead of Xe if the system cannot provide dual channel bandwidth.

As to the technical side, it’s unsurprising that there is a performance deficit. These integrated GPU’s have always relied on system memory performance (see Ryzen APU’s) for gpu/gaming performance.

Laptops are always a minefield when it comes to true performance. Far too many limitations put in place due to power/heat/cost for the portability factor. Desktops are far easier to navigate when choosing hardware.

Edit: the reason this model gets into hot water is because there is no second dimm slot to configure dual channel memory. If it had a second slot, albeit empty, the OEM could still claim Xe capability as it’s there, it just needs to be configured as such

But yes your Lenovo E14 gen 2 doesn’t fit that bill. You lose about 30% up to 60% depending in workload due to lack of memory bandwidth.

ratsun81
425 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2819238 25-Nov-2021 16:12
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As the actual functionality you purchased the device upon is not actually able to be met by the device (and mislead to believe it could) you should expect to be enabling the CGA and return it as product not fit for purpose. 

 

 

 

You will likely have to fight them on this a bit, but you are within your rights to get a full refund. 


ScreenDazed

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2819252 25-Nov-2021 16:27
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Thanks for the response - it's not great from Intel but definitely a failure in Lenovo's advertising. Other i51135G7 models were correctly listed as having UHD graphics, but not this one.

 

I think I will send it back, that seems like quite a significant performance difference. 


Batman
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  #2819260 25-Nov-2021 16:42
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How interesting. Yes I'll call it scam.




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MaxineN
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  #2819265 25-Nov-2021 16:59
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That's infuriating and I would very much be taking that back.

 

However with only a single stick of RAM, integrated graphics is just gonna perform really bad in any scenario so you absolutely want to make sure it's labeled as dual channel(even if it's soldered you can still do dual channel) and you may end up getting a better deal by going the AMD Ryzen APU route on laptops because those APUs are crazy fast in both GPU and CPU and more than likely you get dual channel.

 

Also I'm going to take a stab at guessing how you paid for it and it was around 1600. You can get so much more for less and yes you could even get a gaming laptop at that price.

 

 

 

PBTech has some pretty great Black Friday sales on laptops right now(The MSI Prestige 14 takes my recommendation and yes it is dual channel and it even has thunderbolt! You could look at the Acer Swift 3 with the 5700U but with only 8GB of RAM and it's soldered it's not a great choice, There is also the MSI GF63, yes it's a gaming laptop) so check them out.





Ramblings from a mysterious lady who's into tech. Warning I may often create zingers.

 

Opinions are my own. They don't represent my employer.


ScreenDazed

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2819319 25-Nov-2021 17:34
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Yes you are spot on, $1602. Thanks for the suggestions, I'd looked at both the MSIs but felt wary of the less mainstream brand. 

 

Infuriating for sure.  The first response from Lenovo is they will charge a 20% restocking fee if I cancel. I am arguing the full refund under CGA (again). My bank may also be able to step in and reverse the payment...

 

 


ScreenDazed

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2860049 1-Feb-2022 14:32
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Just a footnote - after explaining the Fair Trading Act to Lenovo with screenshots of the misleading advertising (which is an FTA issue) they agreed to a full refund including shipping, so it was worth a couple of extra emails. It took 6 weeks but done now. 

In it's place I bought an ASUS light gaming laptop with the RTX 3050 graphics card in the back to school sales. Seems laptops really are blazing fast for daily use now with their SSDs, at least compared to my old system which caused daily complaints from the kids. Very happy.

 

 

 

 


nitro
464 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2860056 1-Feb-2022 14:46
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glad you got the right result!

 

and this would now be something we'd be on the lookout for.


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