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

CRN - - FRONT PAGE - ED­WARD J COR­REIA

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.

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