I drive a Plymouth Neon to work every day. Not a Dodge Neon mind you,
but a good old fashioned Plymouth Neon. Nothing fancy. It’s a nice
little car. Gets great gas mileage. Runs nice. Peppy 2.0 liter 16 valve
4 cylinder. Not fast mind you, but it gets the job done. Certainly not
a Viper by any stretch of the imagination. But I like it. I wish
it was faster sometimes, but I still like it and use it.
That about sums up my experience so far with my Lenovo Tablet PC. Until now.
It’s been a nice little unit. I use it every day. I like it, but
I really had expected it to be faster than it was. I had
mentioned the speed problems I’ve had with it in other blog entries.
I originally thought it was because it was loaded down with too many
services. Then after I removed the unnecessary stuff, it still was
slow. Then I started suspecting Norton Antivirus which is notorious for
slowing down machines. But not even Norton’s could make it as slow as
Not any more. Now my Tablet PC is a Viper. It boots fast, opens
programs fast. Everything’s zip, zip, zip. What was the difference?
Lenovo shipped me the unit with its Power Management settings
configured to run the CPU at its slowest setting whether it was plugged
in or on battery. Specifically, it was running at 243Mhz. Kind of like
running a 10 cylinder Viper on 2 cylinders.
With my HP Omnibook and Dell Inspiron, the Power Management settings
were always configured to run at low speed on battery and high speed
when plugged in. I didn’t initially think to check to see if the Lenovo
was configured the same way, just rather made the assumption it was.
Using IBM’s Power Manager, you’ve got about a dozen different choices
for how the Tablet PC operates on AC and on battery. You can also set
custom configurations. Mine came from Lenovo configured for Timers Off,
which essentially set everythint to the slowes possible setting to
maximize battery life and speed recharge times.
The first thing I did was set it back to Thinkpad (Default). That made
the Tablet work like my Dell and HP – faster on plug-in, slow on
battery. The difference for the Thinkpad’s settign was how it handled
the CPU when plugged in. On the default setting, the CPU is configured
for Adaptive speed when plugged in. That means that the more you use
it, the faster it goes. When you’re not using the computer as much, it
throttles back the CPU. On battery, it still ran slow all the time.
When I ran the tests with the CPU on Adaptive, the computer told me it
was now 593Hmz. Closer, but not the fully advertised 1.5Ghz.
So, I set the settings to Maximum Performance. That was Full Power all
the time – battery or A/C. Immediately it registered at the full speed
and the computer responded exactly the way I expected it to out of the
box. Naturally however, the battery took a major hit. Running at full
speed, IBM’s 6.5-hour battery now exhausts itself in about 2 hours. And
because it’s running at full power when plugged in, the battery also
charges slower. I wound up with the speed of a Dodge Viper, and
mileage to match it.
For now it’s back to what should have been the original default. Why
Lenovo shipped it to me as it was, I can only speculate. Now it will go
fast when docked and slow to preserve battery power when not. I
may play with the Adaptive CPU speed to see how it affects battery
life, but that will be for another blog entry or TPG Article.