Lenovo ThinkCentre M75e Review
Lenovo’s new ThinkCentre M75e Desktop PC is aimed at businesses looking for an affordable, but reliable system that doesn’t sacrifice much in the performance department. One of the M75e’s key features is its support for a dual display set-up right out of the box. This system is also the first M series PC to be powered by AMD processors with the ATI Radeon HD 3000 integrated graphics card, and it also happens to be the lowest cost ThinkCentre solution if you’re looking for a dual independent display set-up. The M75e can be expanded with up-tp 6GB of ram. In particular we reviewed a system with 4GB of ram and the AMD’s 3.0GHz quadcore Athlon II X4 640 processor, with an ATI Radeon HD 3000 integrated graphics card, a 500GB hard drive and Windows 7 Professional.
Available in a small form factor or as a tower, the ThinkCentre M75e has the signature Lenovo Thinkpad look going for it. In other words, although it may be a desktop it takes a lot of styling from its Thinkpad-sibling counterparts. We reviewed the small form factor PC. Although not nearly Mac-mini in size, its chassis is on the smaller side for a desktop. The front of the system sports built-in speakers which helps save space, as well as two USB ports, a mic-in and audio-in port. The back of the system has a another 4 USB ports. The M75e’s chassis along with its motherboard are both toolless for easy upgrades. The chassis also looks very well made and feels like it’s built to last, which is something you can come to expect from ThinkCentre desktops. The included wired keyboard and mouse also match the system’s design. We found the keyboard in particular to be super comfy to type on with great tactile feedback, it’s definitely one of the better wired bundled keyboards you get standard with a PC.
Lenovo has been making a concerted effort to make their new ThinkCentre systems as green as can be. Not just so that the system will be better for the environment, but also so that the system uses less power consumption and as a result companies can cut expenses on their energy bills. In particular, the M75e is actually 16% more energy efficient than the Energy Star 5.0 certification. Also, 65% of the system is made of recycled post consumer content, along with reduced toxic materials, so that eventually down the line, the system doesn’t hurt the environment too much when it is finally retired.
The M75e’s support for a dual display set-up right out of the box is accomplished by sporting both an analog VGA and DVI digital input. In particular we tested the system with two of Lenovo’s matching 19″ ThinkVision L1951P LCD Monitors. These monitors sport a matte finish with a 1440 x 900 widescreen resolution and are also energy star 5.0 compliant as well as being tilt and height adjustable. Personally, I prefer glossy displays, but most business environments prefer matte. That said, this is a very good display that is able to get nice and bright, it’s got sharp visuals and good color reproduction too. Each L1951P has analog and DVI-D video connectors. Out of the box I was able to connect both displays to the M75e by connecting one via VGA input and one via DVI. Windows 7 recognized the dual independent display set-up right away. Using the system with a dual independent display set-up is very neat. If you haven’t ever worked with a dual display set-up, it might be hard to know what you’re missing – and you’re definitely missing out. It’s makes multitasking that much more efficient. And fortunately, the M75e’s AMD processor is able to handle it all. I was able to surf the web, send instant messages and watch videos on one display, while leaving Excel open on the other.
The system earned a Windows Experience Score of 3.5. But don’t let that number scare you. We found the system to be very peppy and have plenty of power while multitasking. That said, it’s low Windows Experience Score just indicates that this isn’t exactly a robust multimedia machine and it certainly isn’t suitable for real gaming – but obviously, it’s intended audience couldn’t care less. However, when we played 1080p movies on the ThinkCentre M75e they played back without a hitch. The system also garnered a PCMark05 score of 6180 PCMarks, a 3DMark06 score of 1263, while in GeekBench it earned a score of 5349.
The system thankfully comes preloaded with very minimal bloatware. It does however come with Microsoft Office starter which includes Word and Excel 2010, with an option to upgrade to the full suite, and it also comes with a trial of Norton Internet Security, Corel DVD, and Lenovo ThinkVantage tools which helps maintain your computer with software and updates and general computer maintenance and support.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M75e is certainly not the most exciting business PC on the market, but it is a solid performer with very good value and fair pricing. It’s combination of a compact form-factor, energy efficiency and generous warranty makes it a highly desirable entry level desktop designed for businesses and large enterprises. If you’re looking for a more “exciting” business PC and you have a bigger budget, you should check out Lenovo’s ThinkCentre All-in-one M90z or A70z. The ThinkCentre M75e Series comes with a generous 3 year On-site Warranty which includes both parts and labor. The configuration we tested runs about $709 without the displays or for about $690 at Amazon. Also, the M75e will also soon be available with an AMD processor and the ATI HD5450 Graphics card which can allow the system to accommodate unto 4 independent displays at a time.
The Good: Compact tool-less design, capable performance, support for dual independent display out of the box, minimal bloatware, very comfy keyboard, low power consumption
The Bad: No Webcam, performance is good but not super fast either, generous warranty