Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p Eco USFF: Green Corporate SFF PC

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ThinkCentre M58p
Eco Ultra Small Form Factor
Desktop Computer
ThinkVision L1940p Wide LCD Monitor
Starts at US$869; depends on components selected by buyer. $249

The trend towards smaller PCs is at least as pronounced in the corporate world as it is in the mainstream consumer markets. Nowhere is this more evident than in Lenovo's current Ultra Small Form Factor models. A few scant years ago, the typical business PC featured a full size ATX or BTX motherboard and was housed in a case with 15"~17" as one of its dimensions. Today, almost all mainstream PCs are housed in cases no taller than about 13", and the vast majority use micro-ATX size motherboards. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p Eco Ultra Small Form Factor is especially small, with a case that measures 238 x 275 x 80mm. The two larger dimensions barely exceed the size of a standard letter-size sheet of paper.

The M58p Eco USFF is more than just another small PC, however. It happens to be Gold certified by EPEAT, the US environmental assessment system for IT gear, which puts it at the forefront of green technology. This is the key feature which brought SPCR's attention to the M58p. Our request for a review sample resulted in a complete system being shipped to us, including a ThinkVision L1940p Wide LCD Monitor, also a Gold EPEAT product, as well as a keyboard and mouse. We'll be assessing the system for its computing performance, for energy consumption, for acoustics, and for thermals in various conditions. In the process, we'll also examine its mechanical systems.

The standard mouse and optical drive opening should give you a good sense of the small size of the Lenovo M58p USFF. Note AC/DC power brick in the background.

The $69 optional Vertical PC and Monitor Stand II "lets you combine your desktop PC and monitor into one compact, space saving, and flexible solution."

The Lenovo M58p is marketed to large enterprises as well as education, public sector and mid-market. Most large PC makers equip business desktops with a smaller capacity hard drive, less powerful video card, and fewer bells & whistles than their consumer-oriented counterparts. The most obvious aspects of the business orientation of the M58p are the Windows Vista Business operating system and the absence of any memory card readers. The latter seems like an unnecessary ommission as memory cards have become ubiquitous. Surely, business people also use digital cameras, videocams and other devices that require frequent access to memory cards. A multi-memory card reader is available as an option, however.

Lenovo promotes several aspects of the M58p: Manageability and security for IT managers, performance and productivity for users, and high energy efficiency and green qualities for the environment. All of these aspects are exhaustively covered on the Lenovo Thinkcenter M series web pages. Like other major PC makers, Lenovo offers extensive end-of-life asset recovery and recycling services, which are essential today.

The M58p Ultra Small Form Factor sample we received had the following main components:

- Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Processor (3.00GHz, 1333MHz, 6MB L2 cache)
- Intel Q45 chipset motherboard w/Integrated Video GMA4500
- 2GB PC3-8500 SDRAM (two sticks)
- Hitachi HDT725025VLA380 250GB 3.5" SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
- Windows Vista Business
- Mechanical Package Eco USFF 1x2, 87 Plus / WW
- 130W External 85% Efficiency AC/DC Power Adapter
- Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
- DVD Recordable drive (w/ DVD Playback & Burner Software)
- Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
- Integrated High Definition Audio

Accessories included:

- Lenovo Preferred Pro USB Full Size Keyboard
- Lenovo Optical Wheel Mouse - USB Primax 400 DPI
- DisplayPort to DVI Dongle

This is one configuration from wide range of available options. At time of writing, the sample system came to $914 with standard 3-year warranty/service at the US Lenovo site. The price for the base configuration M58p Eco USFF was $869, the differences being 1GB less RAM, a smaller 160GB hard drive and no optical drive.

The ThinkVision L1940p Wide is a 19" wide 1440 x 900 LCD Monitor with ergonomic stand designed for office use. A sample was sent by Lenovo as a logical accompaniment for the M58p. Like the M58p Eco USFF, it is rated Gold by EPEAT, which makes it relatively friendly to the environment. The modest size is ho-hum for many PC users now enamored with 22", 24" and even bigger wide screen monitors, but its low power consumption, rated at 16W typical and 23W maximum, is compelling to the green user. This monitor is being reviewed separately, but we'll touch on various aspects of its design here in the context of a companion piece for the M58p.

- 19-inch wide (481 mm) viewable image size
- Native resolution of 1440 x 900
- Internal power with 16 watts / 23 watts power consumption (typical/maximum)
- Up to 30% less power consumption than conventional monitors of same size / resolution
- 50% less mercury content than conventional monitor of the same size and resolution
- Tilt, swivel, and height adjustable stand for optimum viewing comfort
- Pivot for portrait or landscape viewing (graphics card dependent)
- Button for automatic image setup / brightness allows quick and easy monitor setup
- Analog and DVI-D video signal connectors
- Supports High Definition Content Protection (HDCP)
- Compliance with ENERGY STAR 5.0
- Kensington Lock slot for security
- TCO'03 compliance
- EPEAT Gold certified
- GREENGUARD certified
- Direct input selection allows easy switching between two systems
- Matches ThinkPad, ThinkCentre and ThinkStation design
- Wide viewing angles enlarge the workspace for comfortable viewing
- Meets 100 mm VESA standard for mounting
- Detachable base for wall- or arm-mounting (sold separately)

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