Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 Eco Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (47,374)

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 Eco is a small form factor and low power consumption desktop. This environmentally friendly design lets the desktop draw a fraction of the power of standard desktops and just above what most power friendly notebook computers draw. Read on to see if this desktop deserves a spot in your office.

Our review unit of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 Eco has the following specifications:

  • Windows Vista Business (32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E8400 (3GHz, 6MB L2, 1333MHz FSB)
  • Intel X3100 Integrated Graphics
  • 2GB (1 x 2GB) PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM (maximum capacity 4GB)
  • 160GB 7200rpm 3.5″ Seagate 7200.10 Hard Drive
  • DVD Burner 40X Max
  • Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 11.8″ x 9.4″ x 3.2″
  • Weight: 7 lbs 14oz
  • 120W (19.5V x 6.15A) 100-240V AC Adapter
  • 3 Year Limited Warranty Standard
  • Price as configured: At the time of this review, this exact configuration isn’t offered, but a model with similar specifications, just the slower E8200 processor costs $1,134.

Build and Design

The design of this computer is very office friendly, and able to be hidden almost anywhere. For this review we had the desktop mounted to an optional stand from Lenovo, which took the desktop out of the picture completely. Lenovo offers this optional monitor stand for $69.99, which the desktop mounts to the rear of, and thus hides the desktop behind the LCD.

The build quality of the case is excellent, with a durable plastic outer shell, and a steel internal frame to allow the desktop to hold a significant amount of weight without bending. For support, the case offers easy access to all internal components without a screwdriver needed, for quick and painless onsite repairs or upgrades.

Upgrades and Expansion

Since the case is so small to begin with, it doesn’t offer as much of an upgrade solution as other larger desktops. Even so, you can still upgrade quite a few parts inside the case that are accessible without the need of a screwdriver.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is mounted inside a removable plastic tray, which offers an easy repair or upgrade solution. Simply unclip the tray from the case of the desktop, and it easily slides out for a swap.

RAM

In our test configuration, only one slot of RAM was used, which lets users easily upgrade the RAM by purchasing an additional stick of memory. RAM is one of the easiest parts to upgrade on this machine, as the lots are exposed as soon as the side of the case is opened up.

This machine does not offer an internal PCI or PCIe slots. This is one of the downsides to having such a small form factor computer, and you are limited to upgrades through processor, RAM, and hard drive.

Keyboard and Mouse

The included keyboard and mouse is very simplistic, but fine for regular office use. No multimedia keys or fancy features are found on the USB keyboard. In some ways I wish it offered at least volume and mute keys, but that could be corrected with the purchase of different keyboard.

The mouse is a standard 3 button USB optical mouse with scroll wheel. Performance was adequate, although I would have preferred larger Teflon pads for easily sliding on desk surfaces.

Performance

The 3GHz dual-core Intel E8400 processor made the system very easy to use; with almost no lag encountered when opening up a wide range of applications. Microsoft Office applications opened in 1-2 seconds, Adobe reader almost as soon as the second click, and iTunes in less than two seconds. 3D performance was lacking with its integrated graphics, but that was expected from the start.

PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance).

PCMark05: 5,275 PC Marks

3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance (higher scores mean better performance).

3DMark06: 240 3D Marks

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi. (Lower numbers mean better performance.)

wPrime: 25.879s

HDTune results:

Ports and Features

While the small footprint did cut out options for greater expansion, it didn’t prevent Lenovo from cramming a ton of connectors on the front and back of this machine.

  • 6 USB Ports (2 Front and 4 Rear)
  • 1Gb Ethernet
  • VGA and DVI
  • Front and Rear Audio Jacks

Front: Optical Bay, Power, 2 USB, Headphone/Mic

Rear: AC Jack, VGA, DVI, 4 USB, Headphone, Mic, and Line-in Audio

Heat and Noise

Thermal performance of this desktop was excellent, with its very power friendly design. Heat output was minimal, with an exhaust temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit in a room that was 71 degrees. The case design only has one fan keeping case temperature down, as well as pulling double duty for the processor. To keep components cool, the fan is almost constantly running at a low speed with constant drone sound.

Internal component temperature was always very low, with no hot spots inside the cramped case using only one fan. Not only does this make the computer not hot to the touch, but it also decreases the chances of component failure during the life of the machine.

Processor Temp

  • Idle 37C
  • Load 46C

Hard Drive temp

  • Idle 35C
  • Load 35C

Speakers and Audio

No speakers were included with the computer, which is a very good thing considering this machines target audience is office users. Instead it offers front and rear audio jacks, offering workers the ability to easily (or covertly) plug their headphones in to help time pass by.

Power Consumption

Power consumption was excellent for a desktop machine, drawing only 36 watts while idle, ramping up to 40W under minor activity, and peaking at 63w under load.

During an average 8-hour work day, the ThinkCentre M57 consumes only 0.28kWh of electricity. In our area where each kWh costs 11.6 cents, this machine costs us about 3.6 cents per day to operate.

Conclusion

The power friendly Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 Eco offers businesses a low cost solution to a power hungry office environment. It costs pennies a day to operate, and puts out very little heat into the office environment. The small size offers many mounting solutions, including behind a LCD using the optional monitor stand from Lenovo. The ultra small form factor M57 requires no screwdrivers to upgrade or repair most components, reducing downtime for repairs, and even letting end users handle minor fixes. Overall its a great choice that is perfect for the business or even home setting.

Pros

  • Very small size
  • Small footprint, both size and power consumption
  • Costs barely anything to operate per day
  • Low heat output

Cons

  • Limited expansion with small form factor


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