Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 2 vs MBP 15" Retina

Which one? (Specs in the post)

  • ThinkPad X1 Carbon (CTO)

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Refurbished MacBook Pro

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Mar 31, 2013
I'm in the market for a new laptop and I'm ambivalent about which operating system. My main use will be statistical simulations (which can take a long time to run), research, writing, web use, and playing non-cutting-edge games like DotA 2. I intend to use this computer for at least 4 years, with heavy usage almost daily.

I've narrowed it down to two machines.

Lenovo X1 Carbon

  • ■ Display: 14" QHD IPS
    ■ CPU: i7-4600U
    ■ Storage: 256 GB SSD
    ■ Memory: 8 GB DDR3L
    ■ Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400
    ■ OS: Windows 8.1 (and maybe Linux)
    ■ Price as configured, plus MS Office 2013: $2,118
Macbook Pro 15.6" Retina

  • ■ Display: 15.6" Retina
    ■ CPU: i7-4850HD (source: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/index-macbookpro.html)
    ■ Storage: 512 GB SSD
    ■ Memory: 16 GB DDR3L
    ■ Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
    ■ OS: OS X Maverick (and maybe Linux)
    ■ Price for a refurbished machine, not including Office 2013: $2,199
So if I buy refurbished (which I'm glad to do), it seems I can get a hell of a lot more for my money from Apple than from Lenovo. However, I love my Lenovo T400 and if I didn't treat it like garbage in college (it's falling apart) I wouldn't have to replace it and wouldn't want to. The matte finish on the palm rest is unbelievably comfortable after long hours of typing, I love the little red nipple mouse pointer, and the Lenovo is a lot thinner and lighter than the Apple, even given the smaller screen.

I could also downgrade the Apple machine to the same specs as the Lenovo and knock a cool $500 off the price.

The reason I'm going for crazy max specs is future-proofness. Yes, I know this is actually impossible, but it seems to have served me well in the past. If you amortize the cost of the machine over equivalent replacements you end up spending basically the same amount.

I know this will come down to personal preference. But I'd like to hear arguments in favor of one or the other. I also have some questions: Which machine has better battery life under its native OS? Which machine has better Linux performance and battery life? I'm not a Linux user (yet), so I haven't settled on a distribution if that matters. Which machine is less likely to overheat and damage itself over time like my T400 did? I'm going to get a cooling pad but I won't always have it with me.

tl/dr help me decide. Thanks!


Nov 1, 2013
If those are your only two options, go the MacBook- Superior graphics performance and a quad core CPU and a better screen. However, Mac OS isn't good for the battery and will cut down the life, so in a year or so the battery will be awful. Instead, if you like Lenovos, look into their T540p. It can have a quad core i7 (For those simulations) and with its extended battery can make ~15 hours of light usage. The graphics max out at the less powerful 730m, though. The T540p can also come with a 3k IPS screen, which is on the same level as the rMBP. The T540p's battery is also removable, so if it starts to show wear you can easily buy a new one, or keep two on hand for hot swaps (~30 hours of light usage, although it may be overkill).

I remembered that the T540p can be configured with an mSATA cache drive as well as a HDD. If you want the speed of an SSD, rather than get one at purchase, install a Samsung 840 Pro 512GB as I think it's pretty much the fastest SSD available on the maket. Or get a Samsung 840 Evo 1TB, for huge SSD storage.
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