I bought my first ThinkPad nearly a decade ago and it’s served me very well over the years since then. A decade in tech years is a really long time, though. Admittedly, for the past 3 or 4 years I’ve mainly used my T400 as a backup while using my work-issued hardware as my main machine. Alas, it was time for me to purchase something new and put the T400 out to pasture.
This post isn’t intended to be a "review" of the T470. It’s mostly just an FYI for anyone out there looking to pull the trigger on the T470. Further, anyone looking to run Linux on the T470 might find some of this info particularly useful.
My configuration, as ordered, was pretty vanilla. There’s not much to report here. I will say that you should really think twice before upgrading things like RAM or hard drives on Lenovo’s site. It’s usually more cost effective to upgrade these yourself.
6-cell 48Whr rear battery
The keyboard backlight level cannot be adjusted using the special function keys on Linux. Luckily, there’s a workaround. I’ve noticed that even after turning the backlight off, it eventually comes back on anyway.
UPDATE on 2017.04.12
The keyboard backlight can indeed be adjusted using the special function keys. During a long plane ride, I discovered that
Fn + Space will adjust the keyboard backlight.
dmesg has been spewing CPU-related errors that seem to have something to do with the processors running too hot:
CPU0: Core temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 176426) CPU2: Core temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 176425) CPU3: Package temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 179182) CPU1: Package temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 179183) CPU2: Package temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 179182) CPU0: Package temperature above threshold, cpu clock throttled (total events = 179183) mce_notify_irq: 1 callbacks suppressed mce: [Hardware Error]: Machine check events logged mce: [Hardware Error]: Machine check events logged mce: [Hardware Error]: CPU 2: Machine Check: 0 Bank 128: 0000000088230c0b mce: [Hardware Error]: TSC 7a3204d69b37 mce: [Hardware Error]: PROCESSOR 0:806e9 TIME 1491872885 SOCKET 0 APIC 1 microcode 4e mce: [Hardware Error]: CPU 0: Machine Check: 0 Bank 128: 0000000088230c0b mce: [Hardware Error]: TSC 7a3204d6e26c mce: [Hardware Error]: PROCESSOR 0:806e9 TIME 1491872885 SOCKET 0 APIC 0 microcode 4e CPU0: Core temperature/speed normal CPU2: Core temperature/speed normal CPU3: Package temperature/speed normal CPU1: Package temperature/speed normal CPU2: Package temperature/speed normal CPU0: Package temperature/speed normal
I haven’t gotten to the bottom of this just yet. It seems to only happen when I have a VM running, though.
The SSD fiasco
There’s a full discussion here if you’re interested. Basically, if you think a SATA3 SSD is going to be a performance bottle-neck for you, buy a 42mm M.2 NVMe drive and use it in the PCIe slot instead of using an M.2 NVMe drive in the SATA3 slot, even if you do manage to figure out what adapter to buy. Buying the NVMe drive from Lenovo to go in the SATA3 slot is kind of a waste.
The 6-cell 48Whr battery adds a noticable bump to the bottom of the T470. This puts the back of the laptop about 1/2 of an inch off of the table at it’s highest point. This might be a major concern for some people as the laptop will not sit level with whatever service you have it on. If this is a problem for you then you should opt for the 3-cell battery.
I foolishly thought that the T470 would be compatible with my ThinkPad Port Replicator 2504. Don’t be foolish like me and assume you’re going to use your 2504 with the T470. Even if it did work, you probably wouldn’t want to use it anyway because of the lower resolution video outputs.
USB-C to HDMI
I purchased this guy for about $25 USD and it works as expected.
Getting the rear bezel off of the T470 was a lot harder than it seemed like it should be. I supposed it’s not a huge deal. The T470 comes with an internal (non-serviceable) battery which allows you to swap out your removeable battery when you’re low on power and have an extra to swap in place of it. Do not forget to disable the internal battery before servicing the T470. You must disable the internal battery from the BIOS. Also, RTFM.
I’ve grown accustomed to virtualization already being enabled whenever I acquire hardware. For some reason, my T470 arrived without Intel Virtualization and Intel VT-d enabled. This had me completely befuddled for a bit when I couldn’t figure out why any VMs I ran were moving very slowly.
Don’t Pay Full Price for the T470
Look for coupon codes. I got my T470 for under $900 USD (less taxes and expedited shipping).
It pays to search around the web to find as much info as you can about the T470 before you buy it. I found /r/thinkpad to be very useful.
Double whatever "ships in X to Y days estimate" Lenovo gives you before purchasing. My shipment took over a week longer than expected.