Lenovo's ThinkCentre 58p Small Form Factor is a business-oriented desktop PC that's quick, expandable, won't take up too much space on a desk, and features Intel vPro technology, which facilitates remote management.
It's a solid little unit that sits flat on a desk, and a monitor can be placed on top of it. It features a lot of modern connections, including Gigabit Ethernet (Intel model 82567LM-3), eSATA and DisplayPort, but it lacks a more common DVI port. This isn't an issue, though, as you can either choose a DVI bracket or a DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter during the ordering process.
There are six USB 2.0 ports on the rear and two more at the front, while on the inside there are two low-profile expansion slots: one PCI, and one PCI Express x16. This gives the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p good scope for expansion should there ever be a need to install a more powerful graphics card or a wireless networking adapter, for example.
The configuration of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p PC is solid, and it produced good results in our tests. Our review model came with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 CPU running at 3.17GHz, integrated Intel GMA 4500 graphics, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 7200rpm, 250GB SATA hard drive (Seagate's ST3250310AS). In WorldBench 6 this configuration mustered a score of 106, which is a good result. The PC's power was also reflected in the Blender 3D and iTunes MP3 tests, in which it recorded times of 57sec and 53sec, respectively. Basically, it's a PC that will handle almost any office task you throw at it, and because it's a dual-core CPU, it will multitask efficiently.
IT departments that like to fiddle with their machines and configurations will appreciate the ease with which the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p can be opened. It requires no tools: simply press two buttons as you lift up the cover to expose the hard drive and motherboard. Then, lift up the optical drive to expose the four memory slots and gain access to the CPU socket. It really is a very simple design, so there is no head-scratching as to what goes where and how.
The inclusion of vPro technology allows the machine to be controlled remotely if it's connected to a network, but it doesn't ship with a management console. However, it does come with a slew of preinstalled ThinkVantage utilities for managing its power profiles, creating backup discs and implementing security. ThinkVantage Client Security works in conjunction with the installed TPM (Trusted Platform Module) to encrypt user passwords. The utility can also be used to disable the USB ports on the machine and to alert administrators if the machine has been tampered with (it has a chassis intrusion switch).
Despite having a powerful CPU, the ThinkCentre M58p doesn't consume a huge amount of power. Under a full load (that is, both CPU cores running at 100 per cent utilisation), it consumed a maximum of 74W; while it was idle it consumed 39W, and while it was switched off but in standby mode it consumed 1.2W.
The biggest selling point of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p Small Form Factor PC is, well, its small form factor. It's not as small as the Lenovo ThinkCentre A57 ultra small form factor PC (which has an external power adapter instead of a built-in power supply), but it will only take up 317x355mm on a desk and it's only 100mm tall. It has a built-in speaker and an easily accessible headphone port, so there is no need to use speakers with it. Even though it has two fans installed — one for the CPU and another for the power supply — it's not a loud PC.
The design of the ThinkCentre hasn't changed a lot over the years (the Lenovo ThinkCentre M57 looked the same, and was reviewed in 2007, for example), but that's not a bad thing as IT administrators will appreciate the familiarity of the layout. However, the CPU speed and the efficiency of the unit have changed: the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p Small Form Factor is faster than the M57 it replaces and it also consumes less power. It's a great little PC for any corporation, or even a small business, looking to roll out new desktops in the near future.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.