Product Review: Lenovo desktop tower PC and monitor

15 Jan 2008

Is it my imagination or is it that as notebook computers become slimmer and lighter and less business-like, their desk-bound brethern are getting larger, more serious, even menacing?

Lenovo describes its M57p ThinkCentre Tower as a “workhorse”. Just don’t go dragging this workhorse to water or you’ll do your back in.

The M57p is a serious business machine for executives who want performance and speed. But since computers are only as fast as the users who use them, prepare to play a little catch-up from time to time.

A relatively painless switch-on signals the machine is targeted at rapid deployment within organisations

Despite this, the M57p is bristling with components and power and is being positioned by Lenovo as a merger between the day-to-day grind of email and Excel spreadsheets and demanding and intensive graphics applications.

The machine contains the latest Intel vPro dual-core processor and has something like 10 USB slots, so you could feasibly have a lot of fun pushing the machine to its limits. The machine also sports a 160GB hard drive.

If you didn’t want to use the machine for just work, it comes with two 1GB RAM cards that can be expanded to up to 8GB of RAM. This would be a must for hardcore gamers or anyone engaged in intensive graphics work, such as an architect or CAD designer.

The machine comes with an impressive widescreen, 22-inch monitor which was so large I had to actually keep pushing it away from me. But for users who again want to exercise the multimedia aspect of the machine to play movies or games or simply to try and do several things at once on the large screen, this is ideal.

Despite the widescreen, and my best efforts to adjust the contrast, wording on the screen appeared unnecessarily fuzzy.

Because it is primarily a business machine security is vital and Lenovo has jam-packed the M57p with security software, biometric identification and rescue and recovery technology for easy back-up and recovery if anything goes wrong.

The machine, which is powered by Windows Vista Basic, arrives pre-loaded with the latest Microsoft Office technology and for €1,120 comes at an attractive price point for businesses that want maximum performance at a reasonable outlay. The monitor sells separately for €420.

The only reservations I have about this high-performance machine is the sheer size of the tower unit. As I said earlier, at a time when notebook computers and some desktop machines are getting smaller and more discrete, the 432mm height and 13.5kg weight of the M57p will swallow up a lot of deskspace.

Blame Lenovo’s rival Apple for this reasoning. At a time when the machine power of computers is accelerating and, in Apple’s case this machine power is being hidden discretely behind the monitors, the only things getting bigger are the monitors. In the case of Lenovo’s M57p, even the impressive widescreen 22-inch monitor is dwarfed by the ‘tower’.

Pros: Solid and sturdy performance

Cons: This ‘tower’ will swallow up most of your deskspace

Price: €1,570

By John Kennedy