Fujitsu Siemens Scenic E620 review
Fujitsu Siemens was the joint winner, along with IBM, of PC Pro’s Service & Reliability Award in 2004. Obviously, this didn’t imply that the Scenic E620 would be a great PC, but we weren’t disappointed: it’s not only one of the fastest machines on test, but also the most environmentally friendly.
The Scenic E620 is the only system on test to comply with the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, legislation from the European Union designed to combat the environmental problems caused by the comparatively short lifecycle of electronic equipment. In practice, this means that the E620 is built using recycled plastic, reduced-lead circuit boards and even the manuals are printed on paper that hasn’t been bleached with chloride. It has also been built to run quietly and using minimum electricity, so any company that’s seeking to reduce bills should consider the E620.
Low power consumption doesn’t mean a lack of power in our application tests, however. With its 3GHz Pentium 4 and 1GB of RAM, the Fujitsu Siemens scored an impressive 1.69 in our tests, second only to the Dell with 1.77. The custom motherboard boasts the Intel 915G chipset and, with it, the GMA 900 integrated graphics. These will just about allow some 3D programs to be run, but they couldn’t deliver playable frame rates in the latest 3D games at 1,024 x 768. More importantly, the chipset means the E620 supports PCI Express, which could be a benefit when upgrading components during the PC’s lifetime.
Storage comes in the form of the Serial ATA Samsung SpinPoint P80. The spacious 80GB will be more than sufficient for most office tasks. Optical storage is provided by LG’s GDR-8163B, a 16x DVD-ROM drive; there are no writing capabilities. If you need a custom disk image, Fujitsu Siemens is happy to provide this service, charging £8 per PC (minimum 100 PCs). The company also offers on-site installation for £22 per PC and will upgrade the three-year, 48-hour on-site warranty to a 24-hour response time for £111. Network pre-configuration isn’t offered, however.
Security-conscious firms will be pleased by the padlock lug, chassis intrusion detector and case lock on the E620, as well as the option of installing an internal smart-card reader for £25. This would prevent unauthorised access of information on the hard disk unless the user has their smart card and password to hand. Once the chassis is open, everything is tool-less and, because of the small case, rather cramped. However, the E620 opens clamshell-style in a similar manner to the IBM ThinkCentre, and access to internal components is easy. Only accessing the CPU is tricky, as it’s enclosed under plastic air ducting and the usual heatsink. Memory and PCI slots are unobstructed, though.
Expansion-wise, there’s one full-height and one half-height PCI slot free, both of which are mounted horizontally. An internal mono speaker means Windows alert sounds can be heard without any extra wiring, but the monitor has built-in speakers too. These are the only noises you’ll hear from the E620, as it was the quietest machine on test. An idle noise level of just 25.9dBA and an active noise level of 29.8dBA mean you simply won’t hear this PC’s fans or hard disk in an office where there’s air conditioning. And even if there isn’t, you’ll still have to be right next to the system unit before you can tell whether it’s on.
Sold separately to the PC (but included in the price quoted) is the B17-1 TFT. It’s a decent monitor, although in terms of style it looks as dull as the beige PC unit. In technical terms, whites became saturated very quickly in our monitor tests, but even tiny fonts were visible against a variety of coloured backgrounds. This, and the good contrast, means there’s no reason that users working with Microsoft Office will complain. The monitor is matched by the keyboard and mouse, neither of which is particularly noteworthy, although the power-on button on the keyboard will be useful for those whose machine is in an out of the way location.