Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo range: Esprimo E5916 review
Look closely at these two PCs from Fujitsu Siemens, because they represent the future of the humble business PC. The E5916 may have the same chassis as the E5600, but beneath the white exterior lies a colossal change in the Esprimo’s core specifications. It’s tempting to think of Intel’s Core 2 Duo CPU only in terms of raw performance for power users, but the Core 2 Duo is also at the heart of Intel’s vPro technology.
Business PCs are usually some way behind the cutting edge in terms of speed: the average office user doesn’t need something that will cut through a complicated Photoshop action in microseconds, after all. But the justification for vPro is that a system remains responsive to the end user and IT services simultaneously. Both our review systems used an E6600 with a core speed of 2.4GHz, backed up with 1GB of RAM. In our application benchmarks, they both managed an impressive 1.44.
The E5916 and P5916 share more than just a CPU, though – inside those different chassis, they’re identical in terms of specifications throughout. The motherboards are built around Intel’s Q965 chipset. This is crucial, as it complies with both Intel’s Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP) and vPro. It means any PC built around the chipset will work with the same core drivers and software, so you can potentially provide an entire floor with differently specified PCs using the same disk image.
The chipset also delivers Gigabit Ethernet and Intel’s ICH8R chip, so you can add another hard disk to create a RAID array. The supplied 80GB disks are big enough for most businesses, while the optical drives are DVD combo drives.
Neither of the motherboards has an IDE controller, so both the hard disk and optical drive are SATA components. The obvious drawback to this is fewer available SATA ports, but the plus side is smaller cables, better airflow and simpler maintenance.
Both these systems also have a smart card reader on the front and come supplied with a smart card. Using the BIOS, you can specify which smart card is paired with which machine, creating a system that won’t boot without the correct physical token. Security is further bolstered by embedded TPM chips.
Fujitsu Siemens hadn’t finalised the full range at the time of review, but you’ll be able to buy vPro Esprimos with a wide variety of specifications from retailers. Companies placing larger orders will also be able to specify custom configurations from corporate-orientated retailers such as PC World Business.
Esprimo E5916 SFF
The E5916 is the smaller of the two chassis, and while the desktop form factor may be a little out of vogue, it’s easily slim enough to perch a monitor on top of. It’s also all but silent in use, thanks in part to the Core 2 Duo.
There are two PCI slots at the back of the motherboard, as well as a PCI Express 1x slot and a PCI Express 16x slot for graphics cards. In practice, getting much use out of these will be tricky, as they’re only half height. A converter that allows you to mount two full-height PCI cards horizontally will be available, but Fujitsu Siemens hasn’t yet committed to when. Elsewhere, expansion is equally difficult: there are two free SATA ports on the board, but nowhere to install another hard disk. Adding to the 1GB of RAM isn’t as tough, thanks to two free DIMM slots.
Replacing parts should be easy enough. Push a button on the side and the lid of the chassis is released, sliding forward and lifting off. Once you’re in, everything is tool-free, so getting components out and installing new ones won’t take more than ten minutes.