Product Notes: Lenovo ThinkCentre (Ivy Bridge)

May 9, 2012

In early May 2012, Lenovo announced its next generation ThinkCentre M enterprise class desktops, which are based on Intel's Ivy Bridge platform. These new models, designated M92, M82, and M72 will be available starting in June 2012. While Apple and Dell have not yet announced their enterprise class Ivy Bridge desktops, these new Lenovos give some hints about what we can expect to see.

Design and Changes

In addition to the expected small form factor and mini tower configurations, Lenovo has introduced an extremely small form factor, called the M92p and nicknamed "Tiny". The M92p is only 1.4 inches thick, with a volume of 61 cubic inches. It replaces the previous M91p ultra small form factor configuration and is restricted to Core i5 processors, instead of the Core i5 and Core i7 choices available in the small form factor and mini tower configurations.

Lenovo M92z

The ThinkCentre Edge M92z (pictured) is Lenovo's latest enterprise class all-in-one available with a 20-inch display or an anti-glare 23-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) display with optional multitouch. Discrete graphics for the 23-inch are also newly available in a Lenovo all-in-one.

The biggest single internal change for the new ThinkCentres is the move to Intel's Ivy Bridge platform, which includes improved HD 4000 integrated graphics. With and only with HD 3000 graphics or above, Information Systems & Computing (ISC) plans to remove the requirement for a discrete video card from the FY2013 desktop recommendations.

All the new ThinkCentres include multiple USB 3.0 ports. The M92 series includes the latest version of Intel's vPro.

When appropriately configured, these new ThinkCentres are EPEAT Gold-compliant and Energy Star 5.2-certified. 92%-efficient 80 PLUS Platinum power supplies are available in some configurations.

Ordering Notes

Several notes when ordering a ThinkCentre:

  1. Having 4.0 GB to 8.0 GB of RAM is essential for the optimal functionality of any modern performance desktop, including the new ThinkCentres.
  2. Though solid state drives are available in the new ThinkCentres, ISC does not believe that they are currently an appropriate choice for many performance desktop users because the cost trade-offs are still too great. This opinion will become more informed as actual pricing information for these systems is released.
  3. If a system is going to be in use for the full four year life cycle, a four year warranty (which adds about $60 to the overall cost of a three year warranty) often is appropriate.
  4. Many Schools and Centers at the University may wish to choose the "Non-Return HDD" option, which allows the School or Center to retain a defective hard drive when receiving a replacement hard drive under warranty.

See ISC's Performance Desktop Purchasing Guide for more configuration suggestions.

Analysis

ISC sees these new ThinkCentres as solid upgrades, but is particularly interested in the "Tiny" and the new all-in-one M92z, with its optional Windows 8 touch readiness. Reviews of at least one if not both configurations will follow when these products are released.

ThinkCentre M92z graphic courtesy of Lenovo

--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services

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Date Posted: May 9, 2012 Tags: Product Notes, Lenovo, AllInOne

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