Lenovo ThinkCentre M75e I've had the pleasure of playing with the new Lenovo ThinkCentre M75e since my last post: The first AMD powered Lenovo M-Series to be released on Oct 19th. They sent me the following unit to play with: - CPU: Quad Core AMD Athlon II X4 640 - RAM: 4 GB's of RAM - Hard Drive: 500 GB internal hard drive - Chipset: AMD 780G chipset (as discussed in the previous post) - Graphics: Internal AMD 760G/ATI 3100 graphics card (DVI and VGA) - Network: 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T network card - Optical: DVD-RW Drive - Ports: Front: 2 USB, 1 mic, 1 headphone. Rear: 4 USB, 2 PS/2, 1 serial port, 1 VGA, 1 DVI, Ethernet, 1 mic, 1 line in, 1 headphone - 1 USB keyboard - 1 USB mouse With the following software pre-installed: - Windows 7 Professional - Microsoft Office 2010 (Trial) - Skype - Norton Internet Security - Corel DVD MovieFactory - Lenovo ThinkVantage Tools (keeps various software up to date, and provides overall system health status) I chose to review one of the slim units rather than the towers since to a business it is more attractive to have smaller units on desks (and they use less power), some of the features above may be expanded on the full size tower. Lenovo was also kind enough to send me two Lenovo ThinkVision L1951p 19" Widescreens. Both of the screens came with a VGA cable and a DVI cable. The ThinkCentre M75e out of the box is able to drive the two displays at 1440 x 900 without blinking and the included cables made connecting the monitors a snap. One thing I did notice is that the VGA cable came already connected to the monitor whereas the DVI cable was loose in the box, I found that this was a great touch because the ThinkCentre M75e has both a VGA and DVI port. Out of the box -- Go time Set up out of the box was really fast. I was up and running in less than 15 minutes. Lenovo has cut down on the packaging size, and compared to the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z, where there is a lot of air in the box, the main computer box with one of the monitor boxes was about the same size. This is great news for the environment as it means less shipping costs and more space to ship multiple items. This seems to be something more and more companies are moving towards and I am a big fan. Unboxing the monitors was a pleasant experience. Lenovo instead of just putting the flaps on the top of the box has decided to put them on the side, this means you put the box flat on the table, remove the tape and lift the monitor out gently, and it can easily be done by a single person whereas most other monitors I have used in the past have always come in boxes where two people were required where one is holding the box and the other is lifting it out vertically. (Please excuse the poor pictures, my camera is broken, all I have is my iPhone, see the attached pictures at the end of this thread.) Included with the computer is a stand that allows the computer to stand on its side, this has the advantage that it takes up less desk space and can easily be tucked behind the monitors in tight situations but also means that inserting a DVD into the DVD drive requires a bit more care to make sure it is latched behind the notches in the drive. I'd personally prefer a slot loading drive in cases such as these. Booting and Noise (there is none!) Lenovo has worked together with Microsoft to decrease the boot times on all of their computers. They call it the Lenovo Enhanced Experience for Windows 7 and it makes boot times extremely fast on this ThinkCentre M75e. After the initial setup the second boot was 25 seconds from cold boot to Windows 7 desktop. After an initial burst of the fans, the computer is completely silent. Even at full load with 100% CPU usage (all 4 cores) the computer fans don't turn up. It is currently in a room that is fairly warm and above room temperature, which really surprised me, since my MacBook Pro likes to go all out and become a jet that is about to take off. Windows 7 As can be expected, this machine runs Windows 7 like it is nothing. There is not much to write home about regarding the graphics performance, but it seems to fair well enough for most tasks, if you have read my previous post you would have noted that there is an upgrade coming that will give the ThinkCentre M75e better graphics performance. These are the scores Windows 7 assigns to the computer: - Processor: 7.3 - Memory (RAM): 5.9 - Graphics: 3.7 - Gaming Graphics: 5.2 - Primary hard disk: 5.9 So Windows assigns a Windows Experience Index of 3.7, Aero is enabled and works beautifully. ThinkVantage Tools The ThinkVantage tools provide a variety of different options, the main one I did as soon as the system was installed was to make some DVD's containing a copy of the OEM OS as it came straight from the factory, also known as the Factory Recovery Disks. The ThinkVantage Toolbox is also used to register for support and warranty purposes, along with that it will notify the user if their anti virus is no longer up to date or no longer functioning, Firewalls, passwords, and overall provides a quick overview of the entire computer. It also includes various utilities to do a full test of a system, including a stress test to find faults under heavy load. The software is powered by PC-Doctor, and overall it was a nice addition, although I am not a big fan of it taking up a lot of space in my task bar next to the notification area, and the option to disable that feature is not immediately apparent; requiring a lot of searching within the programs options. Monitors The Lenovo ThinkVision L1951p 19" Widescreens are an absolute pleasure to use. The screen is fully adjustable in all directions, not just tilt but also up and down allowing the monitor to easily be adjusted to eye level, thereby providing the best ergonomics for the user. It is a matte display, and not glossy at all which makes it easy to look at even with sunlight shining on the monitor. The monitors provide a sharp and clear image and required very little adjustment to the brightness/contrast out of the box to look good. There are also no bright LED's on the monitor save for the green LED in the corner letting the user know the monitor is on. The backlight does take a couple of minutes to fully warm up so that it is at full brightness but that has not bothered me. The two monitors I received did not have any dead pixels, and it is one of the sharpest LCD's I have owned with vivid colours, that just pop. Pictures look amazing and when I did game on the screen I did not see any issues with ghosting or the like. Overall This is an absolutely solid workstation for both business and home use. Out of the box setup is amazingly fast and while it comes with some pre-installed software it does not get in the way and is easily removed if not required. The form factor is also fantastic for workstations where there is not a whole lot of room and overall provides a lot of processing power. The machine itself is also very solid and would definitely stand up to use in businesses where it may get bumped or not always treated as well as it should. It has an hefty feel but is still very light compared to most full towers. Out of the box the support for dual monitors is a "killer" feature that sets it apart from most other computers at the same price range. The fast boot speed makes it easier for companies to ask employees to shut computers down at the end of the work day (or schedule it) without necessarily destroying employee productivity waiting for the machine booting in the morning, there certainly no time to go grab a mug of coffee while the computer is booting. The screens I tested were bright, had vivid colours and excellent viewing angles. They worked extremely well with the computer and Windows 7 in general. The ThinkCentre M75e is definitely a computer I'd recommend when it comes to purchasing a new desktop for home or office use where the primary use is not 3D rendering or gaming. It provides plenty of power for multi-tasking. As a software engineer I am in love with the processing power and the speed at which it is able to compile my projects. ---- If you have any questions, please ask and I will attempt to get back to you as soon as I can!