I'm getting a Lenovo thinkpad w520 with 8gb of ram/2000m quadro GPU/2760qm Corei7 to use as my secondary work laptop.

I mostly deal with large amounts of ortho photos and some GPS software.

Do you guys think this is overkill or any of these specs useless? I'm just hoping this was a good purchase, I didn't think a mid consumer laptop would be able to run GIS very well (without crashing)....given that I do not do much 3D work, just alot of different GIS tasks, is the Quadro 2000m going to benefit me more than say a Nvidia 540m mid level card?

  • 2
    Perhaps SSD would help here a bit? I replaced HD in my Thinkpad X220 and difference was pretty amazing. Note: I'm on Linux with FOSS GIS so cannot comment on Esri performance.
    – user173
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 15:09
  • 1
    Second that. SSD makes a huge difference in performance. Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 23:12
  • Thirding the SSD, nothing makes a bigger difference in PC performance these days than the move from mechanical to solid-state hard drive.
    – Dan C
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 15:32
  • I also just added a 256GB SSD and notice a significant increase in performance using ArcGIS. My ArcGIS workflow is often read/write heavy so has always been my bottleneck.
    – Kstoney
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


First off, I would agree with @radek and @Jakub regarding the SSD. I recently got a new laptop for work, and the only thing that I would do differently would be an SSD. If you don't go with an SSD, then you definitely want to go with a 7200 RPM hard drive, as the 5400 will definitely impact performance.

Here are my specs: Intel Core i7-2630QM - 2.0Ghz - Quad Core - 6MB L3 Cache, 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200 RPM hard drive, 1GB AMD FirePro M5950/Intel integrated graphics

I know that there is some discussion over whether the i7 or any other multi-core processors are really effective for ArcGIS, since it does not support multi-threading, but I think it is worth planning for the future. Most people that I know who do GIS, never have just one instance of ArcGIS running at the same time, and so the ability to have each instance running on its own core makes a huge difference. The laptop that I have is the fastest one I've ever used, and I feel that if at 10.1 they start to support more multi-threaded processes, then the performance gains are going to be even more evident. In addition, even if ArcGIS isn't using multiple cores, having them allows you to move all the other software you are using to a separate core from your GIS software, thus improving performance.

I don't really know how much gain in performance you get from the higher level video card, but if you are working with large layers or aerial photography that you are zooming around in, more video power can't hurt.

I think in all, the specs you have are going to allow you to use the laptop for longer, and be able to realize more performance gains as the ArcGIS software is slowly upgraded to be able to take more advantage of the 64 bit architecture and/or multi-threading. It will simply push your timeline for replacement further into the future, which is good in this time of tight budgets.

Hope this helps.


did you check arcgis spec on ArcGIS Desktop 10 System Requirements. there is a good hardware requirement in this site.

and Esri Hardware Partners Promotional Offers site gives some spec. computer as laptop too which are close to your spec... and if someone ask me for arcgis on laptop, i dont advice them laptop..because of huge amounts data will make you slow with laptops.. for this type data you need multicore machine...

in some forums i have read that ESRI is willing to stamp their name on for processor is a 3.1GHz.

and some spec from Esri Hardware Partners Promotional Offers :

Intel Core™ i7-2620M Dual Core 2.70 GHz Processor, with Turbo 
Boost Technology 2.0 and 4 MB Cache, 4 GB (2 DIMMs) of Memory, NVIDIA Quadro 2000M Graphics with 2 GB GDDR3 Memory

i hope it helps you...

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