X120e Successor- Thinkpad X121e with Intel? (SPECULATION)
Keep in mind that this is completely speculative (and a bit of wishful thinking) based on information available online from a variety of sources which may or may not be accurate.
I'm very interested in a Intel-based (preferably Core i-series) X120e sized notebook. It would solve my gripe about the anemic E-350 processor and potentially have lower CPU idle temps (mine idles around 60-63C).
So what hints are there for an Intel X121e? There's a WWAN certification page (www.ptcrb.com/vendor/complete/complete_request.cfm...) listing AMD in Intel variants for both X121e and X120e (more on that later).
A product listing for a X121e reading 'Lenovo THINKPAD X121e Ci3-2357 320GB 4GB 11.6In W7P' (execute.be/ficheprod_en.asp?idprod=897223663). This suggests a Core i3 2357, which has a TDP of 17W which is along the lines of the existing E-350. This page also contains a lenovo.com/xe link, which gives me a 403. I'm not sure what that particular program is at Lenovo.
The link also provides a reference number (NWN6UMB) which shows both the i3 model as well as a E-350 in a Google search result:
Lenovo THINKPAD X121e Ci3-2357 - NWN6UMB. Price : € 561,47 (Excl VAT).
Lenovo THINKPAD X121e FUSION E350 - NWS5RMB ...
Lastly, Lenovo's release notes for the RapidBoot software lists the X121e as a supported model (download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles/83...). Incidentally, the models listed appear to all be Intel-based, which is consistent with the fact that it is an Intel toolkit.
So why no Intel X120e? It's quite plausible that Lenovo always wanted a Core i3 X120e and had one in development. However, the first gen i3 required an external graphics solution and may not have been feasible from both a physical and thermal footprint. With the second gen Core i family, the CPU and GPU are on a single chip like AMD's Fusion APU which alleviates this issue.
While there are i5 and i7 variants which fit in the same 17W TDP, I think it is unlikely that Lenovo will ever stuff them into the X121e, but one can always hope.
Of course, after saying all that, more options is always better :)
The only games I've played on the X120e are minecraft, TF2, and L4D2, the latter two mostly to try out how they performed. None of them run as smoothly as I expected, and TF2/L4D2 seem to be CPU bound. Since I'm not much of a gamer anymore, I wouldn't mind trading the graphics horsepower for more CPU capability and longer battery life.
The preference depends on the user's needs, and like you said, more options are always better.
So the rumors of the chassis redesign are true- they went with more of a Macbook type hinge. I don't know if I'll upgrade to the x121e because it might now be too wide for my backpack when carried vertically.
The only option available in the UK at the moment is the Intel i3 2357 1.3GHz. Althought I couldn't find much information on the web, it seemed like a good choice for someone who commutes daily and a step up from the IdeaPad S205 with the E350 chip for relatively little more money.