A Week with the W541

My first week with the W541 has been bittersweet.

The W541… in better lighting

As crazy as it sounds, I wasn’t the happiest to be switching from the familiar T-series to the (largely unknown to me) W-series. Buying the W541 presented a lot of uncertainties for me: will the W-series hold up well? Will this machine perform as well as, if not better, than my previous machines? Will this new supplier I’ve never used before do a good job?

Specs and ratings are nothing compared to getting the machine and seeing it perform for yourself. And I got to say, I was worrying for nothing.

The W541 has been a super solid performer for the first week after some of the quirks got ironed out. When I got it, the audio didn’t sound right and there were some other annoying things that I typically don’t see when unboxing a computer. A Dolby setting was somehow turned on by default, but changing that was nothing.

My W541 also had a very difficult time working with the older Dell monitor I have at my father’s apartment. I couldn’t get the W541 to identify it and scale the image to size. Even when manually scaling the image, the Dell was not cooperating at all.

First things was installing the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere are all as I know and love them. But InDesign is doing this strange display scaling thing I don’t like. It either makes the program text large and blocks off half the toolbars, OR you disable the scaling feature and it makes everything super tiny. There’s no in between.

I used Minecraft as a very basic test of the dedicated graphics. In the world of video games, Minecraft probably doesn’t even really register on the scale of graphics intensity when compared to first-person shooters and games like Fallout, Overwatch and countless others.

But the W541 and it’s dedicated Nvidia Quadro graphics chipset fared fine. I gave it a huge test last night. I had a video project due for a class. Naturally, I threw the challenge on the W541.

And it delivered with flying colors. Although the video was a measly two minutes, it was edited in 1080p and was being exported under the H.264 codec. The computer was able to export the video in about three minutes, with the Core i7 4810MQ clipped along at speeds up to 3.38 GHz.

This computer is an amazing and powerful upgrade from its predecessor, the T450.

Changes are being made to the spec chart in the original entry that this entry is a follow-up to.