Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z review

Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z review

Summary: The ThinkCentre M92z is a good-quality business-grade 23in. all-in-one computer. To get the most out of it, though, you may need a better-specified model than the entry-level system reviewed here.

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TOPICS: PCs, Hardware, Lenovo, Reviews
1
  • Editors' rating:
    7.9
  • User rating:
    10.0
  • RRP:
    £600.00

Pros

  • 23in. matte IPS screen with good viewing angles
  • DisplayPort in and out
  • Power-frugal
  • Quiet in operation

Cons

  • Non-vPro Core i3 CPU
  • Integrated graphics
  • Moderate performance

Lenovo's ThinkCentre M92z All-In-One Desktop is a business-class stablemate of the hybrid SME/consumer ThinkCentre Edge 92z that we examined recently. Built around a 23in. screen, the ThinkCentre M92z can be configured with a full set of security and manageability features: our relatively low-end review unit was missing a few options, though, including a vPro-compliant processor and the touch-screen that could render the system fully Windows 8-ready.

Design
The ThinkCentre M92z is a matte-black system with a PC's innards built onto the back of its 23in. screen. It conforms to the standard layout, with a selection of easily accessible ports on the left, an optical drive on the right and further ports at the back.

tc-m92z-1
ThinkCentre M92z: a business-class 23in. All-In-One with a touchscreen option.

Our review unit came with a height-adjustable stand that allows for plenty of tilt and swivel, so you should be able to arrange the screen at a comfortable angle whether you're sitting at a desk or using the system in kiosk mode.

tc-m92z-stand
Our review unit came with an adjustable stand.

The screen itself is a matte-finish IPS unit with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. It sits, slightly recessed, within a 3cm bezel — with an extra 4.5cm at the bottom for the stereo speakers and monitor controls. Viewing angles are good, and there's plenty of brightness at the 100 percent setting. We had the regular screen, but a touchscreen option is also available, which will be of more interest to anyone planning to run Microsoft's imminent Windows 8 OS.

The ThinkCentre M92z is no designer system, but it looks smart enough in an understated way — apart from the outbreak of no fewer than six (wonkily applied) vendor stickers on the bottom right-hand corner:

tc-m92z-stickers
The bottom right corner of the system is liberally plastered with distracting vendor stickers.

Our review unit came with an old-school, clacky USB keyboard and a wired USB mouse. Wireless options are available.

Features
The ThinkCentre M92z that we were sent for review was powered by a low-end second-generation Intel Core i3-2120 processor running at 3.3GHz. This is not vPro-enabled, which may rule this particular model out for many businesses. However, third-generation Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs with vPro are also available. For memory our system had 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, expandable to a maximum of 16GB. Graphics are handled by the integrated HD Graphics 2000 GPU (a discrete AMD Radeon HD7650 GPU is also available) and the OS is Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

Storage comes in the form of a 500GB Seagate SATA III (6Gbps) hard drive spinning at 7,200rpm; HD options go to 1TB, while SSDs are available in 128GB and 64GB capacities — the latter as an mSATA card.

Wireless connectivity is catered for by an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 module, which supports single-band (2.4GHz) 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Wired Gigabit Ethernet networking is supported too, naturally.

There's a decent set of ports and slots dotted around the system. On the left is a pair of USB 3.0 ports, audio in and out jacks and a card reader for SD-compatible media. The right-hand side has a tray-loading optical drive, while the back has the power input, an Ethernet (RJ-45) port, DisplayPort in and out, and four USB 2.0 ports. The DisplayPort connectors allow the 23in. screen to be used as a regular monitor, or a second screen to be attached.

Lenovo makes much of the ThinkCentre M92z's suitability for communication and collaboration — one of the aforementioned stickers proclaims the M92z's Microsoft Lync certification, for example. In the middle of the top bezel is an HD webcam with a sliding cover so you can ensure it's not going to operate when you don't want it to, a dual-array microphone helps optimise audio quality, and there's a convenient pair of volume (up/down) controls on the right hand side of the screen. We made video calls with the bundled Skype application, and can confirm that the camera, mic and speakers all perform very well.

Performance & power consumption
The Windows Experience Index (WEI) for the ThinkCentre M92z 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 6.6:

tc-m92z-wei

This isn't stellar performance by any means, particularly on the graphics front. However, there are plenty of options available for boosting speed if necessary: upgrading the RAM to 8GB or beyond; specifying a faster CPU; specifying discrete rather than integrated graphics; and/or fitting an SSD rather than a conventional 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 M92z lags behind Dell's Core i5/HD Graphics 4000/8GB OptiPlex 9010, as you'd expect. Note, though, that Lenovo's AIO is some £400 (ex. VAT) cheaper than the Dell unit we reviewed.

tc-m92z-cinebench

When it comes to disk performance, the ThinkCentre's 500GB SATA III 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive is quicker than the Dell's, using the ATTO Disk Benchmark (129MB/s write and 130.3MB/s read versus 106.3MB/s write and 115.7MB/s read respectively):

tc-m92z-atto

The ThinkCentre M92z is pretty power-frugal for a 23in. system, its lower spec combining to deliver similar power draw (41.6W-67.5W) to Dell's 21.5in. OptiPlex 9010 (37.4W-71.1W) when running various workloads:

tc-m92z-power

Lenovo's AIO system is also admirably quiet in operation, even when running demanding workloads.

Conclusion
The ThinkCentre M92z is a good-quality business-grade 23in. all-in-one computer that's particularly well suited to video communication. To get the most out of it, though, you may need a better-specified model than the entry-level system reviewed here.

Specifications

General
Manufacturer's specification http://shop.lenovo.com/ISS_Static/WW/EMEA/merchandising/pdf/en/M92z_DS_EN.pdf
Case form factor All-In-One
Dimensions (W x H x D) 45.2x56.8x25.4 cm
Weight 12.76 kg
OS & software
Operating system Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Software included Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Flash Player, Lenovo Solution Center, PC Auto Lock, Communication Utility, View Management Utility, Corel DVD Movie Factory 7 Lenovo Edition, Corel Burn SE Lenovo Edition, InterVideo WinDVD, Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Norton Internet Security 2012 (30 day trial), Skype
Chipset & memory
Chipset Intel Q77
RAM installed 4096 MB
Number of memory slots 4
RAM capacity 16 GB
Video
GPU Intel HD Graphics 2000
GPU type integrated
Video connections DisplayPort in, DisplayPort out
Display
Display technology IPS TFT
Display size 23 in
Native resolution 1920x1080 pixels
Connections
USB 2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0
Flash card SD-compatible media
Networking
Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbps
Ethernet controller Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Wireless
Wi-Fi 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
Bluetooth 4.0
Input
Pointing devices optical USB mouse
Keyboard USB, full-size
Camera
Main camera resolution 2 megapixels
Audio
Audio connectors microphone, headphone
Speakers stereo
Audio processor Realtek HD audio
Microphone dual array
Service & support
Standard warranty 3 years
Hard drive
Form factor 2.5in.
Rotation speed 7200 rpm
Hard drive interface SATA III
Hard drive type standard
Hard drive capacity 500 GB
Number of hard drives installed 1
Optical storage
CD / DVD type DVD±RW (±R DL)/DVD-RAM
Processor & memory
Clock speed 3.3 GHz
Processor manufacturer Intel
Processor model Core i3-2120
Expand

Prices

There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topics: PCs, Hardware, Lenovo, Reviews

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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