Fork me on GitHub

New laptop - Thinkpad P14s

under Nix, Nixos, Gentoo, English

~4.5 years ago I bought Dell XPS 15. It was a powerhorse without a match for that size/price.

I must admit that I wasn't happy about it:

  • Webcam is positioned below the screen, recording my typing fingers instead of my face.
  • Battery getting swollen (and being forced to fly that way wasn't fun), after replacing it happened again.
  • The CPU fan is loud and throttles a lot.
  • There's only one company in Slovenia that does warranty repairs and takes the law-specified 40 working days to finish their job (replacing a battery, for example).
  • Too heavy (over 2kg)

I've decided to go back to Thinkpads, as they are unmatched by the overall experience and quality to run Linux.


Inspired by Ben Gamari's post, I've figured out I have the following requirements for the new laptop:

  • A bright screen (400 nits or possibly more), so I can work outside.

  • A high-resolution screen (UHD), so that I can reasonably split the screen vertically.

  • 14" or 15" screen, I've still not made up my mind but both of these work well for me.

  • Light-weight (less than 2kg) so that I can travel light (and hold the laptop with one hand if I have to move a few meters).

  • 32 GB of RAM, so that I don't have to worry about hitting the limit (I don't even configure swap these days).

  • No discrete GPU, to make it less convenient to play video games and there's less power drain from the battery.

  • Quiet fans, I haven't bothered with this before. XPS was really loud and I'm getting older.

  • Best CPU possible, as I'm frequently compiling Haskell.

  • Good battery life (ideally 8h or more), so that I can do my day of work without worrying about a plug.

  • Fast repair turnaround, I get that with Lenovo in Slovenia with about a day (if they have spare parts).

  • At least 2 years of warranty, possibly 3.

Thinkpad P14s

I've bought a Thinkpad P14s:

AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U Octa Core (8 Cores / 16 Threads)
1.90 - 4.40 GHz, 4 MB L2 and 16 MB L3 cache

32 GB DDR4-3200 MHz (16GB soldered)
(no slot free, max.48GB )

Hard disk:
1 TB SSD M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe OPAL2

14 "UHD (3840x2160) IPS, Dolby Vision
500 nits, 16: 9, 1500: 1 contrast, 170 °, anti-glare
100% DCI-P3 gamut

Graphics card:
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8

Network / communication:
10/100/1000 Mbit RJ45 Ethernet
Realtek WLAN RTL8852AE 11ax, 2x2
Bluetooth 5.2
IR webcam 720p with ThinkShutter prepared for Windows Hello
WWAN / LTE-A, module optionally available

2x USB 3.2 Gen1 (1x powered)
2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DisplayPort 1.4a, Power Delivery 3.0)
1x HDMI 2.0
1x SideDocking Port (CS18)
1x 3.5mm Mic-In / Audio-Out combined
1x MicroSD Card Reader
1x SmartCard Reader

- Match-On Touch FingerPrint Reader
- TPM 2.0 Security Chip
- Kensington Port

input devices:
6 rows Precision Keyboard German with backlighting
UltraNav / UltraNav Touch 3 + 3 Button Design

3 cell lithium-polymer battery (50Wh) internal. Run time up to 10 hours.
RapidCharge: 65W USB-C adapter 80% in 1 hour.

Size and weight:
329 x 227 x 17.9 mm, 1.47 kg

65W USB-C power supply

3 years bring-in manufacturer warranty
1 year on battery

CPU benchmarks claim I'm going from 6945 to 19504 CPU marks (for comparison, Apple M1 has 15139). Quite impressive!

After a few days of using it, it's noticeable faster.

Even with the fan at 4500 RPM, it's completely quiet.

Overall it meets all my requirements except for the battery (while I haven't tested it, I expect it to last below 8h).

Having a German keyboard is a price I pay for the current chip shortage, as it's hard to get a hold of P14s model with US/UK keyboard (also Brexit). Is there some kind of keys replacements service?

NixOS Setup

As NixOS doesn't yet support Secure Boot, the first thing you need to do is boot into BIOS and disable it.

I've written Building bootable ISO image tutorial and nixos-hardware support for Thinkad P14s to be able to boot with an ISO image that has wifi card support.

Installation of NixOS is almost identical to official instructions with a twist of encrypted root partition.

Wifi works (although there are issues with speed), Bluetooth works, brightness control works, webcam works, trackpad works, suspend works.