Lenovo ThinkCentre M55p

Summary: This desktop is smart looking, well designed, packs a lot of grunt and is Intel vPro-enabled.

  • Editors' rating:
    0.0
  • User rating:
    0.0
  • RRP:
    USD $1,089.00

Lenovo's first vPro-equipped desktop is smart looking, well designed and packs a lot of grunt. While there is not much room for expansion, the ThinkCentre M55p is already well equipped and the small form factor will be well received in a space conscious office.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M55p
vPro is Intel's answer to desktop asset and remote access management for IT administrators. At the moment, it's still in its infancy and there are a lot of features that Intel has been advertising which are not yet available such as network security (For more information on vPro, take a look on our recent review on the vPro-equipped Optima WorkPro X860).

How we tested
The ThinkCentre M55p is an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz machine with 1GB of RAM and an 80GB hard disk. Priced at AU$1,499, this could be seen as being a little on the expensive side considering we have just reviewed the WorkPro X860 which had Core 2 Duo running at 2.1GHz with 1GB RAM, 320GB hard disk and a GeForce 6600 video card for only AU$100 more.

We tested the vPro features using Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) SP1 with the Intel AMT plug-in for vPro management running on an Acer Aspire 3620 Laptop.

What's inside
While the Optima WorkPro X860 has much better value on paper, Lenovo offers value in a slightly different way. The design of the PC itself is exceptional. At the back is a Kensington lock mount point which also doubles as an automatic locking mechanism preventing the cover from opening while the Kensington lock is in place. Inside the case, everything is cleverly packed in tightly. The drives are easily serviced by swivelling the drive cage out and everything is connected via neat SATA cables and can be removed without tools. It comes in a small form factor housing which is designed primarily to sit flat on your desk with the monitor on top. The housing is a matte black finish, has sharp edges and is very industrial ... a smart looking machine in our opinion.

The other value-add is all the recovery and backup software which Lenovo and IBM are known for providing with their PCs. Disaster recovery is included as part of the package and very easy to use.

The machine is well designed and easy to service, however due to the nature of the small form factor case, there is absolutely no room for hard drive expansion and no spare SATA sockets. There is one free slot for extra RAM, one PCI-Express slot and one standard PCI slot for expansion cards. This limits its use to a run-of-the-mill office PC.

Viewing hardware information through the vPro console.
[Click to enlarge]
Viewing hardware information
through the vPro console.

With vPro included as part of the package, this is a welcome addition for administrators that want to streamline their asset tracking and monitoring capabilities. vPro can be used through management software such as Microsoft SMS and Altiris Management Suite or through the Web interface which each vPro machine should have. You can monitor what hardware is currently in the machine as well as if anything is faulty or failing. You can also reboot the machine to boot off another device or even off a disk image sitting on a server.

Some vPro machines have the ability to redirect the console in certain situations, such as to make changes in the BIOS. Unfortunately, unlike server remote management systems, vPro cannot redirect keyboard, video and mouse in a graphical environment. It can be done instead through software agents and vPro can then complement this functionality with hardware level control. An example of this includes powering up the machine for nightly backups or a software update and then powering down again afterwards.

Verdict
Overall, the ThinkCentre M55p is a smart looking, well designed machine that packs a lot of grunt. While there is not much room for expansion, it is already well equipped and the small form factor will be well received in a space conscious office. It might be perceived as being on the expensive side, but if the added software and design aspects bring value to how you plan to use it then this machine is a good place to start.

Product Lenovo ThinkCentre M55p (8808-9HA)
Price AU$1,499
Vendor Lenovo
Contact 1300 557 073
Interoperability
3 out of 5
Good number of USB ports but only one VGA port and networking.
Futureproofing
3 out of 5
Fast processor with plenty of RAM. Small form factor design limits expansion and use.
ROI
3 out of 5
Good package, possibly a little bit expensive if you do not see all the included features as useful value-added additions.
Service
4 out of 5
Limited on-site warranty. Three year parts and labour. Phone support is available. Knowledgebase, FAQs and trouble shooters are all available online.
Rating
3 out of 5

Specifications

General
Desktop type Budget desktop system, Vista certified system
Packaged Quantity 1
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Windows Vista Certification Windows Vista Capable
Product Form Factor Small form factor
Built-in Devices speaker
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Color business black
Cache Memory
Installed Size L2 cache - 2 MB
Cache Per Processor 2 MB
Processor / Chipset
Number of Cores Dual-Core
64-bit Computing Yes
CPU Qty 1
Max CPU Qty 1
Processor Main Features Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology, Intel Execute Disable Bit, Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology, Intel Virtualization Technology
CPU Socket LGA775 Socket
Chipset Type Intel Q965 Express
Front Side Bus 1066 MHz
RAM
Memory Speed 667 MHz
Memory Specification Compliance PC2-5300
Form Factor DIMM 240-pin
Features dual channel memory architecture, unbuffered
Configuration Features 1 x 1 GB
Environmental Parameters
Environmental standards EPA Energy Star
Min Operating Temperature 50 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Humidity Range Operating 10 - 80%
Sound Emission 29 dBA
Hard Drive
Interface Type SATA 3Gb/s
Spindle Speed 7200 rpm
Features vibration dampening
Storage Controller
Controller Interface Type Serial ATA-300
Channel Qty 2
Optical Storage
Read Speed 48x (CD) / 16x (DVD)
Write Speed 48x
Rewrite Speed 32x
Floppy Drive
Type none
Monitor
Monitor Type None.
Graphics Controller
Type integrated
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 3000 Dynamic Video Memory Technology 4.0
Max Allocated RAM Size 256 MB
Video Interfaces VGA
Audio Output
Type integrated
Compliant Standards High Definition Audio, SoundMAX
Input Device
Type keyboard, mouse
Keyboard
Keyboard Name Preferred Pro Full-size
Interface USB
Mouse
Technology optical
Interface USB
Features scroll
Networking
Type integrated
Interface (Bus) Type PCI Express x1
Ethernet Controller Intel 82566DM
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet
Remote Management Protocol DMI 2.0
Features Wake on LAN (WoL), ACPI support
Miscellaneous
Features administrator password, boot sequence control, boot without keyboard or mouse, diskette I/O control, hard drive password, parallel port I/O control, power-on password, security lock slot (cable lock sold separately), serial port I/O control
Compliant Standards ACPI 2.3, BSMI CNS 13438 Class B, C-Tick, CB, CCC, FCC Part 15 B, GOST, IRAM, ISO 9241-3, NOM, SABS, SASO, TUV GS, UL, VCCI Class B ITE, cUL
Expansion / Connectivity
Slots 1 (total) / 0 (free) x CPU
2 (total) / 1 (free) x DIMM 240-pin
1 (total) / 1 (free) x PCI - half-length, full-height
1 (total) / 1 (free) x PCIe x1 - half-length, full-height
Power
Device Type power supply
Power Provided 225 Watt
Operating System / Software
OS Provided Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Microsoft Office Preloaded Includes a pre-loaded image of select Microsoft Office 2010 suites. Purchase an Office 2010 Product Key Card or disc to activate preloaded software on this PC.
OS Certified Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional, PC DOS
Software Diskeeper Lite, Google Desktop, Google Picasa, Google Toolbar, InterVideo WinDVD, Lotus Notes Stand-alone Client license, Lotus SmartSuite Millennium license, Multimedia Center for Think Offerings, PC Doctor, Sonic RecordNow, Sonic Solutions Drive Letter Access (DLA), Symantec Client Security, ThinkVantage Client Security, ThinkVantage Productivity Center with Away Manager, ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery, ThinkVantage System Update
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Qualified Yes
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.2 in
Depth 14.1 in
Height 3.3 in
Weight 18.7 lbs
Manufacturer Warranty
Service & Support 3 years warranty
Sustainability
ENERGY STAR Qualified Yes

Topics: IBM, Hardware, Reviews

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