Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p Eco USFF: Green Corporate SFF PC

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The Lenovo ThinkCenter M58p Eco USFF is a solid corporate/enterprise oriented PC. The Gold EPEAT rating assures us that its production and distribution processes and materials are as ecological as any computer maker can employ today. This does not automatically mean it has the lowest energy profile; it does mean the unit meets Energy Star's current specification for an energy efficient PC of its class. (For more details, please see the Eco PC Review article on EPEAT.)

Power draw of 41W AC at idle by today's standards is very good, but not really exceptional, and the same can be said about the 97W under maximum load. It's a bit surprising that the E8400 is the lowest price CPU offered for this system. A less costly processor in the E6000 or E7000 series would have done just as well; the E8400 is more or less overkill for most functions asked of a typical office PC. It's also surprising that a 2.5" 5400RPM drive is not an option for lower noise and power consumption, nor a solid state drive with even more of the acoustic and power advantages. While SSDs are still costly compared to HDDs, a low capacity model would be perfectly acceptable in corporate settings where networked servers with high storage capacity are commonplace.

The mechanical design of the Lenovo USFF case shows a high level of intelligent system engineering. The efficient integration of components is impressive. Still the design is let down acoustically by two details:

  • The HDD mounting causes too much of its vibration to get into the chassis, which makes for a complex, intrusive sonic signature. A 2.5" drive would be quieter and an SSD would be silent.
  • The fan appears to have a typical (annoying) ball-bearing sound and it is louder than most silent PC enthusiasts would like. (For the inveterate modder, it's important to note that this is a 70x25mm PWM, a not common type of fan.)

Keep in mind the intended purpose of the system, however — a corporate space rather than a quiet home. The Lenovo M59p Eco USFF emits a level of noise low enough to be masked by the ambient noise in almost any corporate office.

The price of the system seems a bit high, but a comparably equipped Gold EPEAT corporate system from Dell, the OptiPlex 760 Ultra Slim Form Factor, is priced almost exactly the same. It would appear that one pays more for a very small corporate machine with extensive IT support functions and longer service warranty.

Finally, the accompanying ThinkVision L1940p is an exceptionally energy efficient LCD monitor with very good overall performance. The ~13W power consumption measured at the wall is quite simply the lowest we've measured for any monitor. It may be a small monitor by current standards, but a >20" monitor is not ideal or necessary for every application. This one is a green power gem.

Our thanks to Lenovo for the review samples.

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