Lenovo's ThinkCentre A62 mid-tower AMD-based desktop PC provides plenty of expansion, easy maintenance and enough power to complete intensive computing tasks such as video editing, in addition to everyday office tasks. It's a reasonably good value PC, but it does come with a lot of preloaded software, which will take some time to get rid of if you decide you don't need it.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre A62's case has a handle, so you can easily carry it, and on the front panel it has two USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, and a power button; a reset button isn't included. Around the back, the Lenovo ThinkCentre A62 has an additional six USB 2.0 ports, along with two PS/2 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, DVI, serial and parallel ports. Line-in, headphone and microphones jacks are also provided below the USB 2.0 ports.
While the mid-tower case is significantly larger than a small form factor desktop, the extra space allows for expansion, better air flow and easier maintenance. The interior of the case is a standard ATX configuration, and the motherboard provides full-height expansion slots for two PCI cards and a single PCI-Express x16 card; we would have liked to see a PCI-Express x1 slot as well, though this isn't a major requirement. An additional 5.25in optical drive can be installed along with a 3.5in floppy drive if necessary.
The hard drive caddy sits below the 3.5in floppy drive bay, and can be extracted from the case by pulling it from its locked position and swinging it outwards. The hard drive sits within a small plastic frame with a handle for easy removal from the caddy. Removing the drive could be done without having to swing or remove the caddy, but the CPU cooler blocks this. Though the entire operation is tool-less, it is overly complicated and could largely be eliminated if the drive bay were situated lower or perpendicular to the case. Lenovo only provides one caddy with the PC; additional ones can be bought directly from Lenovo for $6.60 each.
The ThinkCentre A62 uses an AMD 780C motherboard platform and supports a range of AMD processors from the energy-efficient single-core Sempron L1300 (which is also used in the recently tested HP Compaq dc5850) to the quad-core Phenom X4 9600B. Our review unit came with a 65nm 2.1GHz AMD Phenom X3 8450 CPU, which has three processor cores. Our configuration also had 2GB of PC-6400 DDR2 RAM, a single-platter 250GB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm hard drive and integrated AMD Radeon 3100 graphics, and it ran the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Business.
In our benchmarks, the ThinkCentre A62 desktop PC performed well. It scored 1509 points in 3DMark06 — a decent score considering it uses integrated graphics. Using iTunes it was able to convert 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s in 1min 34sec, while Blender rendered our 3D test image in 1min 9sec. It scored 75 points in WorldBench 6, which means it has enough grunt to multitask and edit images capably, and also occasionally perform some more intensive tasks like basic video editing.
The Phenom X3 8450 CPU has a thermal design envelope of 95 Watts, which is standard for multiple core processors. In conjunction with the 280W power supply, we found the ThinkCentre A62 consumed 2.2W when off but still plugged in at the outlet, 70W when idle and averaged 110W during intensive tasks.
One annoying thing about the ThinkCentre A62 desktop PC is the amount of additional software that Lenovo bundles with it. Along with the company's own suite of productivity, recovery, backup and update applications, the PC also includes InterVideo WinDVD, PC-Doctor and Roxio Creator; though useful individually, they generate enough registration and update notifications to cause headaches. We would have preferred it if Lenovo provided a clean install of Windows Vista Business instead.
Apart from this and the complicated drive caddy system, the Lenovo ThinkCentre A62 is a reasonably priced desktop PC with plenty of power for those who need to do a little more than simple word processing.
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