Lenovo ThinkCentre M90p USFF PC

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Thermals & Acoustics

Thermals & Acoustics
CPU Temp
HDD Temp
SPL @1m
SPL @0.6m
20 dBA
24 dBA
x264 Playback
22 dBA
26 dBA
CPU Load
25~26 dBA
30~31 dBA
CPU + GPU Load
25~26 dBA
30~31 dBA
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

The system ran fairly cool when idle and during video playback, but the CPU temperature skyrocketed 55~62°C on load. The processor runs fairly hot when pressed into service, an unavoidable consequence of being cooled by a small fan in a compact case.

When idle the system's noise level was audible but fairly inconspicuous at a distance of one meter. At 0.6m, the ISO 7779 seated user position distance, it was noticeably louder as the SPL increased by 4 dBA. The hollow-sounding idle whirl of the Seagate 500GB 7200.12 combined with the system fan produced some tonality, but it was not as irritating as the M58p. On load, the noise level increased dramatically with the system taking on more tonal elements, evidenced by spikes in the spectrum at 270~280 KHz and 500~600 KHz. When operating at higher speeds, the fan emits an annoying whine.

The M90p idles at 20 [email protected]

The M90p on load measured 25~26 [email protected] Note the tonal spikes at 270~280 KHz and 500~600 KHz.

Comparison: SPL @ 1m / 0.6m (dBA)
ThinkStation E20
ThinkCentre M90p
ThinkCentre M58p
19~20 / N/A
20 / 24
21 / 27
CPU Load
20~21 / N/A
25~26 / 30~31
27 / 32
Ambient temperature: 22°C.

When idle, the M90p is quieter than its predecessor, especially at 0.6m and closer where it sounds smoother and slightly less tonal. The M90p isn't as prone to vibration as the M58p (putting pressure against the top of the M58p actually altered the quality of the acoustics). On load, the acoustic profiles of the two machines are more difficult to differentiate and figuring out which system sounds worse is an effort in futility. Both generated unacceptable levels of noise at 0.6m; at 1m they were bearable but intrusive.

The ThinkStation E20 is a much quieter PC, thanks to its tower case. With the extra breathing room inside and room for three 92 mm fans, the acoustic advantage is undeniable.


Keyboard & Mouse:

The M90p ships with a full-sized keyboard and optical mouse. The keyboard is very responsive and quiet, but it has an odd filmy/gritty surface that takes some getting used to. The mouse has a generic, inoffensive shape and is fairly comfortable. Our only complaint is it produces very sharp clicks when you use the rickety scroll wheel.


Not much thought was put into the built-in speakers which produce hollow, tinny, and just generally low quality mono sound. It's actually perfect for a workplace environment as quality speakers would only encourage recreational use.

Pre-installed Software:

The amount of pre-installed software was about average for a machine of this type. There were plenty of Microsoft programs/updates including a trial version of Office, SQL Server, Visual C++, and MSXML. The only nonessential, non-Lenovo applications present were Adobe Flash and Reader, and DVD creation/burning programs from Corel.

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