Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 review

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Lenovo’s ThinkCentre M57 is the heaviest PC on test this month: it tips the scales at a hefty 6.24kg, compared with the 4.92kg of the Shuttle, its nearest competitor. It’s a dubious honour, especially when neat and tidy design will be beneficial this month.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 review

The M57, though, isn’t bloated – the excess weight is put to good use in a chassis packed with ingenious design. Pop open the lid and a hinged carriage containing the hard disk and optical drive, and the rest of the machine is laid bare. The DIMM slots and PCI slot are easily accessible. The hard disk can be removed without using tools.

The exterior is also well equipped. Two USB sockets, as well as headphone and audio jacks, adorn the front, with a further six USB ports on the rear (more than any other machine in the group) alongside eSATA, more audio ports, a VGA output and even a parallel port.

The heavyweight design and emphasis on top build quality hasn’t seen the performance suffer either, with a decent specification contributing to a 2D benchmark score of 1.07. This is higher than most machines on test, only beaten by the Transtec and VeryPC.

Performance can be attributed, in part, to the larger chassis. The extra space means Lenovo has been able to cram in more desktop parts than other smaller systems, which rely on mobile components to keep the bulk down. There’s an Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 processor running at 2.4GHz, complemented by 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Only the VeryPC and the Shuttle can beat this CPU for clock speed, though the VeryPC’s is only an Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile.

The hard disk is also one of the biggest on test: 250GB of storage is more spacious than all but the 500GB drives in the Shuttle and Sony machines, but it’s still enough to store plenty of data – and that eSATA port will come in handy should you begin to run out of space.

There’s a lot to like about the Lenovo: the excellent specification is backed by innovative design that enables plenty of the parts to be replaced simply and easily. If you’re willing to give up a little space, it’s a viable alternative to the Transtec.

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