Lenovo's All-in-one: IdeaCentre A600

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Sept 16, 2009 by Mike Chin

IdeaCentre A600
All-in-one Desktop PC
Sale priced at US$699!; depends on components selected by buyer.

All-in-one PCs are not new. That is how the original personal computers began, back in the day — if not in a single self-contained package, then in a highly integrated assembly of components from a single brand. Think Amiga, Apple, Tandy, IBM... But by the 1990s, such computers had almost disappeared in the wave of discrete component PCs. In 1998, Apple's original iMac brought the all-in-one PC back to mainstream consumer attention. Over the past decade, the iMac evolved, from the original PowerPC CPUs to Intel C2D processors, from CRT monitors to flat LCD screens. Other brands also introduced all-in-one PCs running Windows, but none quite combined the sleek look, operational ease and sheer appeal of the LCD-screen iMacs.

Non-Apple brands are getting closer with their all-in-ones, though. Nettops using Atom processors are morphing into low-cost all-in-ones; the sub-$600 Asus 20" screen EeeTop PC ET2002 is one recent example of such machines. Lenovo's IdeaCentre A600 is a more ambitious all-in-one PC using not the performance-limited Atom processor, but Intel's mobile Core 2 Duo processor. The architecture of the mobile chip is the same as the desktop version; the key difference is much lower power demand, 25W instead of 65W TDP (Thermal Design Power).

The IdeaCentre A Series are Lenovo's first all-in-one PCs, and they became availble in the spring of 2009. The sample we received for review is the top model, similar to the A600-30114EU currently available for purchase at the US Lenovo web site. Its pricing and capabilities puts it in direct competiton with the iMacs.

Lenovo's highly processed PR photo deals well with the reflections off the IdeaCenter A600's glossy finish. The LCD monitor on all A600 variants measures a generous 21.5".

The IdeaCenter A600-30114BU sample we received had the following main components:

Lenovo IdeaCenter A600-30114BU Main Components
Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 Mobile Processor (2.13 GHz, 1066 MHz bus, 3 MB L2 cache, 25W TDP)
Chipset Mobile Intel GM45 Express Chipset, ICH9M I/O Controller Hub
ATI Mobility Radeon HD3650 Graphics Card, PCI Express x16, 512MB memory
4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (two sticks)
Hard Drive
1TB, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 3.5" wide (7200RPM)
Optical Drive Blu-ray Disc reader, BD-ROM, DVD recordable, 12.7mm high, slot-in
21.5"WUXGA (1920x1080) TFT color, VibrantView (glossy), CCFL backlight, 300 nits, 16:9 aspect ratio, 1000:1 contrast ratio
On top of screen, 2.0-megapixel, fixed focus, with dual array microphone
High Definition (HD) Audio, RealTek ALC272 codec / two speakers (3 watt) and subwoofer (8 watt), Dolby Home Theater Speaker System /
dual array microphone, mic input, headphone jack
USB Ports
6 Total (4 Rear, 2 Side)
Remote Control
4-in-1 remote control, via bluetooth, acts as motion game controller (requires games* support), VOIP headset, Vista MCE remote control, and air mouse
Gigabit Ethernet, Broadcom BCM5784
Mini PCIe Slots (2)
- 802.11a/b/g/n wireless, Intel WiFi Link 5100, 1x2
- AverMedia TV tuner, analog / digital support
Operating System
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Multicard reader
6-in-1 Multicard reader
Bluetooth 2.1 wireless + EDR, USB 2.0 interface via ICH9M, LED indicator
- Rear: Four USB 2.0, ethernet (RJ-45), TV antenna connector
- Left: Two USB 2.0, IEEE 1394 FireWire 400
External Power
150-watt AC adapter, RoHS-compliant
Chassis & Stand
- Black color, ABS plastic
- Tilt stand (15° back, 5° forward)
Dimensions & Weight
- (WxHxD): 20.47" x 18.22" x 1.06" to 2.36"; 520mm x 463mm x 27 to 60mm
- 27.7 lb (12.6 kg)
Provided Accessories
Wireless RF 2.4 GHz w/ touch pad, 6-row, 84-key, touch-sensitive multimedia & shortcut keys
Wireless RF 2.4 GHz Laser Wheel Mouse, 800/1600 dpi (user switchable)
* These items were not explicitly detailed in StoneWave's documentation at time of writing. More details will be provided after we get under the hood.

At time of writing, the similar A600-30114EU system on the US Lenovo site was sale priced at $1249. Two less fully-loaded variants were listed at to $999 and $949 with standard 1-year warranty/service.

Unlike the Lenovo M58p Eco USFF we examined in June, the IdeaCentre A600 is not EPEAT registered, nor is it an Energy Star; it is listed in neither of these directories, at least not at time of writing. Interestingly, there are no environment data sheets on any of the A600 models, either. These data sheets are the only place where detailed energy consumption, acoustics and environmental information is provided. The IdeaCentre PCs are consumer models; is the implication that consumers are less concerned about these issues than corporate or institutional buyers?

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