Lenovo IdeaPad 3 - New test laptop, very decent value

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Mrkvonic, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Boys with toys. I got me some new hardware! Ipso facto, here's a long, detailed review of Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14-inch laptop, with AMD processor and Radeon Vega 8 graphics, configured as a triple-boot system with Windows 10, Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa and Kubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla, covering setup and tweaks in each system, including specifications, ergonomics, initial configuration, HD display scaling, multimedia playback, network connectivity, stability, performance, responsiveness, battery life, quirks, annoyances, other observations, and more. Enjoy.

    https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/lenovo-ideapad-3-review.html


    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  2. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Well that's funny I bought a Lenovo IdeaPad 3 about 2 months ago. But I bought a different version with an Intel Core i5, 8GB DRAM, NVIDIA GeForce MX130 and 512GB SSD. But turns out that the NVIDIA GPU isn't actually active, a bit weird. So it's the Intel UHD Graphics 630 on-board GPU that is active.

    But anyway, I do like the 1920x1080 screen with a scale of 150%, too bad that you will need to change DPI settings for lots of older apps to make them look crispy, but this is a Win 10 problem. The keyboard is also pretty good, and I don't actually like to use touchpads, I always use a mouse.

    So it's a pretty good laptop for about 650 euro. It does lack an ethernet port, fingerprint scanner and no keyboard backlight, but it's not a big deal. I'm also not too happy about the Lenovo Vantage service, I disabled it. And of course I uninstalled the crappy Mcafee AV. But I have one big issue, it looks like the CPU fan is almost always on, is there something that I can do about this, any software to control this?
     
  3. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    I forgot to mention that battery life is not that bad, depending on your activities it will last about 3 to 4 hours and it will charge to 100% in about 60 to 90 minutes. I do think that the speakers are of bad quality. But it's my first laptop that I bought in 15 years, so I can't really compare it. But anyway, I still haven't found a way to make the CPU/GPU fan run less often, even when there is hardly any CPU and GPU activity, they will start to spin. I made a change in the BIOS, but it didn't help. And I haven't found any software to control the fans.
     
  4. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Try NoteBook FanControl.
    https://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Registry-Tweak/NoteBook-FanControl.shtml
    It includes profiles for a large amount of different laptops, which will reduce fan noise, and hopefully it will have a profile for your laptop or a similar model. I use it on my HP ProBooks to reduce fan noise. I edited the profile to make it run even quieter than with the included profile for my laptop.

    The Lenovo ThinkPad L530 that I'm using now, has excellent thermal management, so I have no need for such software. I can't even hear the fan running 99% of the time. Now and then, the fan ramps up for just a split second.
     
  5. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Rasheed187, I don't hear the fan that much - but then I've made changes to Windows defaults. In the Linux distros, there's even less activity.
    Mrk
     
  6. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Yes thanks, I did check it out, but I can't figure out which profile to use. I see a couple of Lenovo IdeaPad's being mentioned but I don't know if one of them matches my model. SpeedFan doesn't recognize my fans at all. Strangely enough both Lenovo and Intel don't offer any tool to control this.

    I saw that "intelligent cooling" was enabled in my BIOS and I changed it to "battery saving", but I don't think it makes any difference. Of course you can also change "maximum CPU state" in power options, but it seems like the system will become a bit slower because of less CPU processing power, so this is no option for me.
     
  7. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    I have to say it's not that bad, they don't spin at full speed, but I think it's a bit weird that they spin almost constantly during web browsing for example. But perhaps the CPU/GPU cooling system isn't that great.

    BTW, in your review you mention that if you use a scale of 150%, then your 1920x1080 screen basically turns into a 1280x1024 "old-skool" screen. This is true, but why on earth would you then offer such a high resolution?

    Because I have a lots of low resolution pictures and images and they still look small, even with the 150% scale. Also, I still can't believe that you will have to manually change DPI setting for lots of apps, otherwise they will look blurry, did you also notice this?
     
  8. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I've not changed dpi for windows apps - in Linux it works fine. But then, I only started playing with this box. As for why high resolution, because MOAR IS BETTER. Ordinary people care about 8K UHD 120FPS HDR nonsense, because it sounds cool, not because it has any practical value.
    Mrk
     
  9. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Try one of them and see if it reduces fan noise.
     
  10. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Very weird, I honestly don't see the point. I have had to manually change DPI settings for at least 20 apps so far, to stop them from looking blurry. I don't understand why Win 10 doesn't automatically do this and why developers of some newer apps like MSI Afterburner didn't take this in consideration.

    But to get back to your review, have you done any gaming and how does the AMD CPU with Radeon Vega 8 graphics perform? From what I understood, on my model I should be able to play video games with the Intel UHD Graphics GPU, and I have to manually choose which apps/games should be controlled by the NVIDIA GeForce MX130, this is crazy if you ask me.
     
  11. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    I have tried it and it seems to work. I chose the Lenovo IdeaPad 510s model, and seems like you can reduce the amount of time that fans start to spin, however I think it's a bit dangerous.

    I noticed that the Intel CPU will get a temp of 60 to 70C during web browsing and eventually fans will start to spin, so I changed the critical temp to 90C and the target speed fan to 10% and that was probably a bad idea, because fans didn't spin at all anymore, so the system got overheated.

    Vivaldi freezed and HWiNFO64 gave me some bad readings, so I turned of my system because I was afraid it got fried. So you really have to know what you're doing. But I came to the conclusion that there is probably a good reason why those fans are spinning, so I don't think I will mess around with it anymore. I will continue to use as NoteBook FanControl as a monitoring tool. BTW, what are the recommended settings, what are you using?

    https://www.hwinfo.com
     
  12. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    I'm not using the laptop with the customised settings right now. On my ThinkPad I get no fan noise, without using any fan control software. In your case, it would have most likely worked better if you hadn't changed the settings.
     
  13. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Yes I can always revert to standard settings, but I still don't get it, because with standard setting it doesn't really change anything. And it seems like when you change the target speed fan to 5.5%, fans will not run at all, causing the CPU to heat up to 60C.

    I already figured out that the whole aim of the standard cooling system is to cool the CPU down so that it stays between 40 and 50C, so that's why it's almost always spinning at 10% fanspeed. I guess I should leave it that.

    And I don't know why Notebook FanControl makes it so complex, I couldn't figure out how to keep fans running at a lower speed while still cooling the CPU down when the temp rises to 50 to 60C for a longer period. Also, sometimes it reports a fanspeed of -5%, but most of the time it reports it correctly.
     
  14. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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  15. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Rasheed, my suggestion is never to tweak system defaults. The only time I ever did that was on an old netbook where fans weren't working at all. But if they work, let them be.
    Mrk
     
  16. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Yes, I agree. I think I was being too picky and the funny thing is that you hardly hear the fans when you're sitting behind a desk. The last few weeks I was using the laptop on my bed so then you notice it more because I was leaning over the keyboard LOL. BTW, something else, I noticed that you could disable WIFI in the BIOS, isn't it enough to simply disable it via Win 10? I mean is the laptop still broadcasting a WIFI signal?
     
  17. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    ThinkPads are business laptops which have better build quality than the cheaper consumer lines such as IdeaPad. There are different series of ThinkPads and some are of better quality than others. ThinkPads were made by IBM until 2005 when Lenovo bought their PC business. Since then Lenovo has introduced some cheaper ThinkPad models as well as other product lines such as IdeaPad and Yoga to stay competitive.
    If you disable it in the BIOS, Windows will not be able to use the laptop's WiFi and there will be no WiFi device shown in Device Manager.
    I've installed in on a few computers, selected an appropriate profile and done nothing more. It did reduce fan noise. There was just one laptop on which I edited the fan settings. If you're not noticing any difference and don't want to change the speed settings, you may as well uninstall it.
     
  18. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 - Windows and Linux experience a week later

    My new test laptop has just had its first anniversary. Its first week. A weekaversary? So here's a follow-up review. We have a Lenovo IdeaPad 3 laptop, with AMD processor and Radeon Vega 8 graphics, configured as a triple-boot system with Windows 10, Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa and Kubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla, and we focus on the experience one week into the device usage life, covering various annoyances like Meet Now and partially uninstalled programs in Windows, Administrator account setup, standard account setup, AMD Radeon software, Edge tweaks, media playback and Secure Boot support in Linux, hardware quirks, other observations, and more. Enjoy.

    https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/lenovo-ideapad-3-review-second.html


    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  19. pb1

    pb1 Registered Member

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    What is the difference between "Read-only" and "Enabled" in functionality in the program?
     
  20. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    OK I see, they also look a like, so that's why I wondered. I have to say that the IdeaPad is pretty good and I just saw that Thinkpad's are ridiculously overpriced, you sometimes get even less.

    Yes I understand, but why do they give this option. I assume that if you disable WIFI via Win 10, then the device isn't trying to search for a WIFI signal?

    Well, I already explained it, I couldn't figure out how to configure it to make fans run less often without overheating the system. I still think it's a good fan-monitoring tool, I was surprised that other tools like SpeedFan couldn't do it, so I will keep it. But it's probably best not to mess around with the cooling system.
     
  21. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Just to make sure that's there's nothing wrong on my system: I installed Privacy Eraser on my Win 10 Lenovo laptop with 1920x1080 resolution with a scale of 150%, and the GUI looked blurry. Now I tried to fix it via the "High DPI scaling override'' setting and then the GUI looks sharp but very small. Do you guys also get this?

    https://www.cybertronsoft.com/products/privacy-eraser/
     
  22. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    You can also try O&O ShutUp10, this will block ads and I believe it can also disable Win Defender. And yes, the Lenovo IMController tool acts like a rootkit, so far I've disabled the service and the related tasks in the Task Scheduler, this should normally fix it. I don't know why PC companies install this kind of unneeded crap.

    https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

    If it's in "Read-only" mode it won't try to control fanspeed, it will simply monitor it.
     
  23. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    You are paying for the better build quality. I've got an IdeaPad 110, and it feels really cheap and flimsy compared to my main laptop, which is a ThinkPad L530. As an example, the hinges on the IdeaPad seem pretty flimsy, and I think that most likely they would break if the lid was opened and closed many times (which is a reasonably common issue with cheaper laptops). In contrast, the hinges on my ThinkPad are much sturdier and would not break easily. That's no say that all IdeaPads will be the same as mine, as the quality will vary from model to model.
     
  24. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    Yes I'm sure the build quality is better and I hope my IdeaPad won't break, I did read that someone commented about this, but it was another IdeaPad model. Perhaps best not to close and open it that much. But I don't think a ThinkPad is worth over 1600 euro, see link. BTW, can you check out the problem with DPI scaling on your laptop? See post #21.

    https://www.coolblue.nl/en/product/862277/lenovo-thinkpad-t14-20s0004bmh.html
     
  25. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Both my IdeaPad and ThinkPad have low resolution displays and I don't use scaling.
     
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