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Summary:

I’ve been working in a local coffee shop for an hour using the ThinkPad X100e laptop. I’m getting a lot of questions about the X100e, and it makes sense to do a brief Q&A session to shed further light on this small ThinkPad.

Coffee Dude
Photo taken with iPhone 3G- super bright room

Taken with iPhone 3G

It’s a beautiful day that called for heading out and working in the local coffee shop. I’ve been here about an hour working on the ThinkPad X100e laptop. I’m getting a lot of questions about the X100e, and it makes sense to do a brief Q&A session to shed further light on this small ThinkPad.

What is the battery life of the X100e? I have been watching battery life closely, due to concerns about the power consumption of the AMD Neo processor Lenovo is using in the X100e. I am working on battery power presently, and have the power management set to the “Maximum Runtime” setting. ThinkPads have outstanding power management as a rule and I have not customized it on the X100e. I did crank up the screen brightness just a tad, as the coffee shop has all of the blinds open and it’s incredibly bright in here. That will negatively impact the battery life, even at the  Maximum Runtime setting. Based on the length of time I have been working and the current battery percentage, I estimate I can work another four hours. The Windows 7 power meter concurs as it currently estimates 3:55 remaining. I suspect that Lenovo has tweaked the BIOS or other system operation, as this is longer than early reports from other reviewers have indicated. This run time concurs with what I have experienced both yesterday and today.

How good is the performance? My working experience pegs the X100e between Atom-based netbooks and fast notebooks. It is not a screamer, but things happen faster than on a netbook. There is very little lag during operation, and I don’t find myself wishing it was faster.

Does it play HD video? This one is not easy to answer. I find SD video of any kind will play fine, even in full screen mode. I have successfully watched HD video on Hulu, although it gets choppy in full screen mode. The Flash video here on our site is choppy in HD even in a small window. YouTube high quality video plays fine both windowed and in full screen mode. I guess technically the high quality videos of each of these sources are not necessarily true HD.

Does it get too hot? I find it is warmer than Atom-based netbooks, but not alarmingly so. It’s certainly not too hot.

Please leave any other questions you may have about the X100e here in the comments. This is obviously a very popular notebook, given the constant pinging  with various questions. I’ll answer anything I can so just ask away.

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  1. Mobilegadgetgeek Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Hi James,

    How are you finding the fan noise on this one? Is it on a lot since the AMD runs hotter? Is it very loud in a quiet room?

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    1. I have not noticed the fan at all, so it’s not too loud.

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      1. Mobilegadgetgeek Wednesday, March 17, 2010

        Thats good to hear…errr not hear I guess. LOL, thanks James.

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  2. Hows the keyboard when you type for longer periods of time? This is a brand new keyboard layout for thinkpads, I’m skeptical.

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    1. Actually, the chiclet keys were also used on the ThinkPad Edge. I find it to work very well, even for a few hours at a time.

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  3. You could maybe be a devil James and stick the Flash 10.1 beta on there and see if GPU acceleration helps the HD video.

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    1. Just installed it. I can now play HD flash video on this site, not full screen, though.

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  4. James – what’s the screen size on the X100?

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    1. 11.6-inch, 1366×768

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  5. How is the wifi performance? Is this the dual core version? Can you post a video with hulu, YouTube, netflix and overall performance like browsing and office?

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  6. Can you try running a 720p video in a native video application like VLC, that is to say, not Flash? Maybe an H.264 video or something of the like? If it runs that smoothly then great; 1080p is kind of useless anyway since the screen would just scale it down. I watch more HD video from files than from streaming Flash sites so it would be more relevant.

    Also what GPU is this thing running on? I’m assuming an ATI, but what model? Discrete or shared video memory?

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    1. According to the other post, The X100e uses an Athlon Neo MV-40 with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 for graphics.

      This CPU is a low voltage single core Athlon 64 @ 1.6 GHz intended for ultrathin notebooks. Performance should be similar to a Core 2 Solo at 1.4 GHz. It does support 64-bit and virtualization (though few ultraportable notebook/netbook users are interested in these two features…)

      The Radeon HD 3200 is the graphics component of the AMD 780G integrated GPU chipset, which supports but does not require dedicated memory (even then, it doesn’t support very much memory, 128MB is maximum I think). Typically if a particular motherboard included dedicated graphics memory, its a prominent feature in the specification sheet, I see no such item on any information about the X100e so it almost certainly doesn’t have any dedicated memory.

      The HD 3200 is capable of decoding AVC (H.264) and VC-1 (Windows Media Video 9) up to 1080p entirely in the GPU, applications which take advantage of this typically have the CPU better than 95% idle. Last I looked in depth, VLC didn’t take advantage of hardware decoding, so it’s not a real good first choice for a video player, it’s big advantage was that all the decoding software was self-contained which made it a great when your regular video player was having problems.

      Flash 10 acceleration is reportedly available for the HD 3200.

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      1. Thanks for the thorough reply. :)

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  7. Question for Sam, or other knowledgeable reader:

    What is the best option for watching h.264 and similarly optimized, high compression videos on the x100e? VLC and MPC are what I’ve used in the past, but if I’m going to watch stutter free HD on this, what will I want to use?

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    1. For free, I would suggest Media Player Classic Home Cinema (http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/) and read the information on setting up DXVA support. DXVA is Microsoft’s API for using hardware video decoding. You may need to refer to this (http://imouto.my/watching-h264-videos-using-dxva/), but this information may be out of date.

      I believe most commercial video players (Nero ShowTime, Cyberlink, etc) have DXVA support, some may still have hardware-specific support.

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  8. Did you test the laptop on an external monitor? How does it react (speed, resolution, quality, fan, heat, …) ?

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  9. Hey James, I recently got my x100e and I am a little bit disappointed… The fan is running all the time under Windows7 (with the latest bios patched to version 1.20a). No matter what application runs, the fan runs all the time (even when just showing the login screen). What bios version do you have installed?

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  10. Hi guys I managed to get 1080p video playing fullscreen smoothly using the latest ATI video driver and MPC with DXVA. Youtube HD video using Flash 10.1 beta has a few dropped frames, but still quite watchable.

    Check out my site for instructions on the video update.

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