Lenovo ThinkCentre M90 review

Price when reviewed

We’ve seen a number of Lenovo ThinkCentre machines in the past, and we’ve always been impressed by their combination of ingenious easy-access design and powerful specifications. The latest ThinkCentre, the M90, is the smallest and most powerful yet.

We’re pleased to report that the compact dimensions – the M90 measures just 275mm across and 78mm tall – don’t mean a compromise when it comes to usability. The M90 folds open like a book and, while it doesn’t open wide enough to lay flat on a desk, the system’s various components are all within easy reach.

The motherboard, for instance, can be lifted entirely out of the lid by releasing two purple catches, and its pair of SODIMM slots are easily accessible. The other end of the board is home to a PCI slot that’s been rotated to sit horizontally on the PC. While space is restricted – there’s only room inside the case for low-profile cards, unlike the full-size Dell Optiplex 980 – this still allows for sensible upgrades such as the addition of a wireless card.

Other components can be accessed just as simply. The hard disk sits in a purple, plastic caddy and is held in place by small rods rather than screws, so it can be effortlessly popped out and replaced, while four small screws unlock the CPU heatsink and allow access to the LGA 1156 processor socket.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M90

The only component that puts up a fight is the DVD writer, which is fully encased in metal and offers no easy solution for removal – the only way to unseat this part is to separate the two halves of the machine, and that requires special tools.

We were also slightly disappointed to note that Lenovo’s colour-coding – so prevalent in the preceding ThinkCentre A58 – has taken a back seat. While removable components such as the hard disk and motherboard are signified by purple plastic, the motherboard’s various jumpers and power connectors aren’t, so it isn’t as easy to pull apart and put back together again.

Thankfully, Lenovo hasn’t compromised on build quality. The M90’s panels are extremely strong and rigid, and the machine is covered with a sensible matte finish, so fingerprints, scratches and scuffs won’t ruin its looks.

The port selection is mostly fine, with plenty of USB 2 sockets – including two on the front of the machine that can be deactivated – but the M90 does have its quirks: there’s no eSATA, and display output is limited to D-SUB and DisplayPort, with no DVI-I in sight.


Warranty3 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity500
RAM capacity4.00GB
Screen sizeN/A


CPU familyIntel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency3.33GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketLGA 1156
HSF (heatsink-fan)Lenovo proprietary


MotherboardLenovo proprietary
Conventional PCI slots free1
Conventional PCI slots total1
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total0
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SATA connectors4
Internal SAS connectors1
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors1
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardIntel GMA X4500
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingN/A
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA X4500
Graphics card RAM256MB
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
DisplayPort outputs1
Number of graphics cards0

Hard disk

Hard disk usable capacity465GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Cache size16MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A


Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelN/A
Resolution screen horizontalN/A
Resolution screen verticalN/A
ResolutionN/A x N/A
Pixel response timeN/A
Contrast ratioN/A
Screen brightnessN/A
DVI inputsN/A
HDMI inputsN/A
VGA inputsN/A
DisplayPort inputsN/A

Additional Peripherals

Speaker typeN/A
Sound cardN/A


ChassisLenovo proprietary
Case formatsmall form-factor
Dimensions274 x 238 x 78mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)6
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readerno

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardN/A

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition and discs
Software suppliedLenovo ThinkVantage suite

Noise and power

Idle power consumption22W
Peak power consumption86W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score2.01
Office application benchmark score1.70
2D graphics application benchmark score2.14
Encoding application benchmark score1.86
Multitasking application benchmark score2.33
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

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