Lenovo ThinkStation E20: A Quiet Entry-level Workstation

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TEST RESULTS

System Measurements
Activity
Idle (GPU fan @30%)
Idle
x264 Playback
CPU Load
CPU + GPU Load
Avg. CPU Core Temp
21°C
22°C
25°C
61°C
63°C
HDD Temp
27°C
GPU Temp
41°C
39°C
46°C
41°C
68°C
GPU Fan Speed
2210 RPM
2810 RPM
System Power (AC)
40W
56W
95W
115W
SPL@1m
19~20 dBA
20~21 dBA (23~25 dBA with HDD seeking)
Ambient temperature: 21°C.
Ambient noise level: 11 dBA.
Idle/Sleep power consumption: 1W.

With a Clarksdale chip and an 80 PLUS Bronze power supply, the E20's power consumption was excellent as expected. The system pulled only 40W measured from the wall when idle, and 95W on a full CPU load. This is particularly impressive as the system also has a discrete graphics card. Stressing the GPU with FurMark drew an additional 20W. The CPU and GPU temperatures were at safe levels throughout testing, and the hard drive was very well cooled. The internal temperatures were so good that at no point did any of the fans speed up (as far as we could tell).

The noise level measured only 20~21 dBA@1m and was fairly benign in nature, though slight vibrations passed by the hard drive to the case producing a faint electrical buzzing type of sound at close proximity. Using MSI's Afterburner utility, we were able to reduce the GPU fan speed by 600 RPM resulting in a small acoustic improvement. Without performing any tweaks, hard drive seeking was the only thing that made the system louder than 21 dBA. The Seagate drive inside the E20 produced loud thumps when seeking, pumping up the noise level to between 23 and 25 dBA@1m.


The system noise level was 20~21 dBA both idle and on load.


The system noise level peaked at 25 dBA@1m when the hard drive was seeking.

Performance

Performance Benchmarks
Model
ThinkStation E20
ThinkCentre A70Z
CPU
Core i5-650 3.2GHz
C2D E7500 2.93GHz
GPU
Quadro FX 580
GMA X4500
RAM
2x2GB
1x2GB
NOD32
4:43
68W
5:24
49W†
WinRAR
3:36
64W
3:56
48W†
iTunes
3:07
69W
3:37
50W†
TMPGEnc
3:24
84W
5:11
57W†
Boot-up*
1:01
0:38
PCMark05
9352
5557
3DMark05
10635
1597
3DMark06
5189
851
*start button to when the desktop loads fully
after adjusting for screen power consumption

The ThinkStation E20 is one of the speedier complete systems we've reviewed, but in our timed benchmarks, the Core i5-650 wasn't much faster than the Core 2 Duo E7500 found in the ThinkCentre A70Z all-in-one PC. It really only shone in our TMPGEnc encoding test, where the i5's Hyper-threading ability gave it a substantial edge. Most workstation applications should benefit from this as well and CAD programs should run much faster with the Quadro FX 580 than integrated graphics. The FX 580 isn't a gaming card though, despite its $160 price-tag, as it is based on the same chip as the GeForce 9500 GT. It doesn't perform nearly as well in 3DMark as comparably priced gaming-class cards. For comparison, the $70 HD 4670 scored 6341 in 3DMark06 on our VGA test system.



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