Solid value: Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z
With its strong price-performance, Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z is a solid value for a small business looking for a PC for general productivity
WThe E93z has been optimized for Lync, which means that it is approved by Microsoft for use as a video and audio telephony workstation using VoIP
e had to do a double-take when the performance numbers started coming in from the ThinkCentre E93z, Lenovo’s latest all-inone (AIO) PC. Granted, the tested system was sporting a 3.1 GHz quadcore processor, but that an AIO would perform like a workstation wasn’t expected. Yet, there it was in fourth place in the CRN Test Center’s all-time performance list for desktops, right behind three of the fastest workstations we have ever seen.
Lenovo’s replacement for the E92z all-in-one is equipped with Intel’s 4th generation Core i3, i5 and i7 Haswell processors. The tested unit was built around a highend Intel Core i7 4770S quadcore processor running at 3.1 GHz, Intel’s HD Graphics 4600 and Nvidia GT 720A graphics controllers. Though Windows 7 is an option, Windows 8 Pro 68 bit was running on the system we received, but more on the performance details later.
Out of the box, testers were impressed with the tools free assembly of the CPU’s VESA mount to Lenovo’s new ultra flexible pedestal base. The unit connects in seconds and is ready to plug in with no power brick. After about 18 seconds to fire up, the unit displayed Windows 8 Pro’s Metro screen on a 21.5-inch 1,920x1,080 pixel screen that is bright and crisp. Its responsive 10-point multi-touch panel sits behind edgeto-edge glass, lending style to the unit. The stand easily lowers the bottom edge of the display to desk level and up to as high as 5-inches to 8-inches if measuring from the bottom of the Windows desktop.
Also on the right edge are volume controls and an input button, which allows the E93z to be used as a monitor for laptop, tablet or other device through its HDMI input port. There is also an HDMI output port for adding a second display. On the left edge are two USB 3.0 input ports (one with standby power), a headset jack and a 7-in-1 multi-card reader. Four additional USB 2.0 ports and a gigabit Ethernet port are on the rear. A pair of down-firing speakers put out clear sound without distortion at high volume. An HD webcam includes a physical shut-off switch. The E93z has been optimized for Lync, which means that it is approved by Microsoft for use as a video and audio telephony workstation using VoIP.
To test overall speeds of the E93z, testers configured Windows properties for maximum performance, launched Geekbench 2.3 and conducted multiple test runs. Its high score of 15,686 put the new ThinkCentre in fourth place on the Test Center’s all-time list for desktops, behind workstations from HewlettPackard and Dell. Of course, that tells only part of the performance story. In IOmeter tests, the E93z was able to sustain a maximum of about 4,500 small (512 byte) transactions per second and transfer sequential data at about 104 MB per second. That’s not bad for a general-purpose PC, but it’s light years behind that of high-performance workstations—and that is while consuming about 45 watts compared with an average of around 567 watts of similar (non-Haswell) systems we have tested.
With pricing that starts at $839, the ThinkCentre E93z is a solid value for a small business looking for a PC for general productivity. For the higher-end user, the unit we tested had a quadcore i7 processor, 450 GB hard drive, DVD-RAM drive, 4 GB RAM, Windows 8 Pro, and a list price of $1,329. All systems include a one-year warranty and recovery discs.
We also looked at and liked Lenovo’s $49.99 Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse, though we generally prefer the faster setup and increased range of wireless peripherals that use a USB dongle. The optional flex stand costs about $15 if ordered during the initial configuration.