Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tiny review

Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tiny review

Summary: Unless internal expansion is required, we can find little wrong with the ThinkCentre M92p Tiny as a business-class ultra-small-form-factor PC.

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TOPICS: PCs, Lenovo, Reviews, SMBs
12
  • Editors' rating:
    8.0
  • User rating:
    4.5
  • RRP:
    £531.05

Pros

  • Compact 'one-litre' form factor
  • Four USB 3.0 ports
  • Business-grade manageability
  • Monitor-mountable
  • Multi-monitor support

Cons

  • No internal expansion
  • Lacks Wi-Fi as standard
  • Entry-level CPU lacks vPro support

The days of the traditional tower-format PC as a business workhorse may be numbered, but that doesn't mean it's appropriate for every organisation to embrace BYOD, filling their offices with assorted notebooks, ultrabooks and tablets. There remains a need for affordable and manageable desktop PCs that are space- and energy-efficient, and that IT departments can deploy with minimal hassle.

Lenovo's ThinkCentre M92p Tiny takes the small-form-factor PC very seriously, squeezing a perfectly reasonable (albeit minimally expandable) specification into a very small 'one-litre' volume of desk space. The price of our review system (system unit plus keyboard and mouse) was UK£531.05 (ex. VAT); nearest-equivalent prices elsewhere are US$774 and AU$651.89 (both these configurations are for a Core i5 rather than a Core i3 processor, as reviewed here).

lenovo-tc-m92p-1
The ThinkCentre M92p can be specified with an optional VESA monitor mounting bracket that also accommodates a USB 2.0 optical drive.

Design
The overall impression of the ThinkCentre M92p's design is functional and unobtrusive. We measured the base unit at 18.2cm by 17.8cm by 3.3cm, which works out at 1.07 litres, so we'll give Lenovo its 'one-litre' claim (that's 7.2in. by 7in. by 1.3in. and 2.27 pints). Our review unit was fitted into a VESA monitor mounting bracket that also accommodates an external USB optical drive, bringing the full dimensions of our review sample to 18.2cm by 18.2cm by 6cm (7.2in. by 7.2in. by 2.36in.). The weight is 1.32kg (2.91lb) for the system unit and 2.07kg (4.56lb) with the VESA bracket and optical drive.

lenovo-tc-m92p-2
The ThinkCentre M92p (minus the optical drive) mounted on the back of a monitor using the VESA bracket.

When used independently of the VESA mount, the M92p can be lain horizontally or propped up vertically in a custom stand. There's no user access to the internals, so you'll need to make sure you get your initial specification right. 

Features
Our review M92p unit runs a 2.6GHz Intel Core i3-2120T processor with 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM. Graphics are handled by the integrated Intel HD Graphics 2000 GPU and the OS is Windows 7 Professional (Windows 8 Pro is now available too). The second-generation Core i3 processor used here doesn't support Intel's vPro remote/out-of-band management technology, but a third-generation Core i5-3470T chip is available that does.

For storage, our review unit had a 320GB SATA II (3Gbps) Western Digital hard drive spinning at a moderate 5,400rpm. Options include alternative hard drive capacities (500GB, 750GB) and a faster 128GB solid-state drive. We also had an optional USB 2.0 optical drive attached to the monitor mount.

The M92p has four USB 3.0 ports — two at the front and two at the back — plus another USB 2.0 port at the back for attaching the optical drive (which adds two more free USB 2.0 ports). For networking there's a Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) port, with the option (not present on our review unit) for Wi-Fi (single- or dual-band 802.11n) as well. Video connectivity is good, with two DisplayPort connectors and a legacy VGA port on offer. If you buy a couple of the optional splitter cables, you can configure a single large screen using four monitors in what Lenovo calls Mosaic mode (we didn't get to test this, as the cables weren't supplied):

lenovo-tc-m92p-3
The ThinkCentre M92p driving four monitors in Mosaic mode, courtesy of a pair of DisplayPort splitter cables.

The power supply is a reasonably compact external 65W unit.

Performance & power consumption
The Windows Experience Index (WEI) for the ThinkCentre M92p is a moderate 4.6 (out of 7.9), the WEI corresponding to the lowest component score. As usual, this is for the integrated graphics — specifically Graphics (Desktop performance for Windows Aero). Memory (RAM) (Memory operations per second) and Primary hard disk (Disk data transfer rate) both scored 5.9, Gaming graphics (3D business and gaming graphics) registered 5.8 and Processor (Calculations per second) led the field with 6.9:

tc-m92p-tiny-wei

This isn't stellar performance, particularly on the graphics front. However, there are options available for boosting speed if necessary: upgrading the RAM to 8GB or even 16GB; specifying a faster third-generation Core i5 CPU; or fitting an SSD rather than a 5,400rpm hard drive. All of these upgrades will boost the cost, of course.

Running the demanding Cinebench 11.5 CPU and GPU benchmarks shows that the Core i3/HD Graphics 2000/4GB ThinkCentre M92p performs similarly to the Core i3/HD Graphics 2000/4GB ThinkCentre M92z AIO system we reviewed recently:

lenovo-tc-m92p-cinebench

However, when it comes to disk performance, the ThinkCentre M92p's 320GB SATA II 5,400rpm hard drive lags behind the M92z's 500GB SATA III 7,200rpm drive in the ATTO Disk Benchmark (61.1MB/s write and 67.1MB/s read versus 129MB/s write and 130.3MB/s read respectively):

lenovo-tc-m92p-atto

One of the reasons for specifying a small form factor PC is to minimise power consumption, so it's pleasing to see that the ThinkCentre M92p is frugal in this regard, drawing between 13.6W and 37.6W under various workloads:

lenovo-tc-m92p-power
ThinkCentre M92p power consumption under different levels of load (PT8 = Passmark Performance Test 8; CB = Cinebench 11.5).

Conclusion
Unless internal expansion is required, we can find little wrong with Lenovo's ThinkCentre M92p as a business-class small-form-factor PC (and there are bigger models in the range if expansion is required). Our review unit was only a moderate performer, but alternative configurations are available to give it more muscle if required.

Specifications

OS & software
Operating system Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Software included Auto PC Lock, Corel Burn Now (InterVideo BurnNow SD), Corel DVD MovieFactory (DMF 7 SD), Corel InterVideo WinDVD, Microsoft Office 2010, Norton Internet Security (30 day trial), PC Cloud Manager (vPro), SimpleTap, Skype Application 5.0
Chipset & memory
Chipset Intel Q77 Express
RAM installed 4096 MB
Number of memory slots 2
RAM capacity 16 GB
Video
GPU Intel HD Graphics 2000
GPU type integrated
Video connections 2 x DisplayPort, VGA
Connections
USB 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0
Networking
Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbps
Input
Pointing devices Wheel Mouse
Keyboard Lenovo SK-8825
Audio
Audio connectors microphone, headphone
Miscellaneous
Accessories AC adapter, VESA monitor mount
Service & support
Standard warranty 3 years
Hard drive
Form factor 2.5in.
Rotation speed 5400 rpm
Hard drive interface SATA II
Hard drive type standard
Hard drive capacity 320 GB
Optical storage
CD / DVD type DVD±RW (±R DL)
Processor & memory
Clock speed 2.6 GHz
Processor manufacturer Intel
Processor model Core i3-2120T
Expand

Prices

Price
Price AUD 652
Price GBP 531
Price USD 774

Topics: PCs, Lenovo, Reviews, SMBs

About

Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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Talkback

12 comments
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  • Why?

    3.0

    Why price it at $774? I don't get it? It's way to slow and under powered to be priced that high. There's are tons of other options that are more powerful and has more bang for the buck. Again, why?
    evan33
  • YUCCCK

    2.0

    That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. They really need to hire a designer ASAP. GROSS.
    spaulagain2
  • What a rip-off

    5.0

    I have to agree. Why not just buy an all in one? I notice that BB has one on its pre-Black Friday sale, with a touch screen, for under $600. Now days you can buy a very nice pc for the price of this basic machine.
    dachba
  • A lot of the Mini PCs have smaller footprints.

    1.0

    Case in point:

    http://www.zotac.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=100167&lang=en
    Arm A. Geddon
  • Overpriced

    2.0

    Waaaaay overpriced.
    Greenknight_z
  • Tiny is so Sad that the cost is the only fun part

    2.0

    Is the DVD Blue I think not, total waste of time. Think about the cost and then compare it to a $100 mouse, realty check the last dc power brick I had to replace from L. cost me $90. Have you every heard of a dc power brick failing L. is racking it in the big bucks. I'm Going back to Sony, then bottom fishing with MSI & Acer.
    dbrown@...
  • Way overpriced for such ugly box

    1.0

    If you're gonna start playing Crapple's overpriced for bueaty game, consider making something beautiful and top tech.
    MrElectrifyer
  • You want it beautiful? ...

    10.0

    It's a enterprise machine, not your next home desktop for christ sake... It don't need to be beautiful, it need to be functional. And let me say that being that small in size and having nice manageability (vPro), 3rd gen core procs... I couldn't ask for anything else (perhaps a discount...). Anyway, there price are for the unit... volume purchases sure get a better price.
    So can you guys thinks more about bussiness?
    erick.mendes
    • I agree. Think business.

      8.0

      Not every application requires exceptional computing power or expansion capability. I just ordered 63 units to run single purpose software which emulates a dumb terminal. This is an important function for the people who receive the data and these units have performed well in testing. No other software should be on these computers which could interfere with the mission. As a bonus, the Tiny is easily locked down and lacks a CD drive to tempt users to fiddle. Now I only have to deal with calls from users reporting that their “hard drive” was stolen but the computer is still working fine.
      Plant Doctor
  • Business Machine!!

    7.0

    I don't think the "Mini" is meant to compete in the "PC" market!! Rather the "Thin client" market?? Most business are heading to the "Thin client" for may reasons! The "Mini" will fit very nicely in to that niche!!
    milanomonent
  • Two things I don't understand about this design

    7.0

    1. Why have a vertical box? How can you successfully insert a DVD, when the drive is sideways? I have two SFF machines like that but since it seems as though the disk would never insert properly, I always place the box horizontally on a shelf.

    2. Why put the box in back of the monitor? Seems counter productive and not that stable, since presumably you'll be typing on your physical desktop. Also, the cords hanging out. I don't see how that design is at all convenient, either.
    brainout
  • Simply Not competitive comparing to DELL & HP Offering in Australia

    6.0

    Lenovo will NEVER be as competitive as DELL & HP in Australia!!!!!

    We were in the Market for approx 25 Lenovo M92P Tiny after seeing reviews and links to fantastic deals on them from ANTONLINE going for $608.98USD.

    Only to be disappointed once more with LENOVO AUSTRALIA quoting for exactly the same machine for $1278.44 inc GST AUD!!!!!! That didn't even have the DVD option & WIFI option.

    There was nothing sales people could do with the pricing. GO FIGURE THAT ONE OUT!!!! More than 2x the price here. LENOVO partners weren't as helpful as their costs were still quoting me approx $1200 inc gst AUD. We decided to go with DELL Optiplex 9010 USFF for under $1k.

    Even if we were to apply for example a 25% discount.. that will still be close to $1K.
    pin0y