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Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p Tiny review

  • lenovo-tc-m92p-1.jpg
  • lenovo-tc-m92p-1.jpg
  • lenovo-tc-m92p-front-and-back.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent
  • $1,188.00
  • Average user rating

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.

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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

General
Desktop type Small-form-factor PC
Product Form Factor Tiny desktop
Packaged Quantity 1
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Built-in Devices speaker
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3470T / 2.9 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 3.6 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
64-bit Computing Yes
Chipset Type Intel Q77 Express
Processor Main Features Hyper-Threading Technology, Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2, Intel Virtualization Technology
Processor Socket LGA1155 Socket
Cache Memory
Installed Size 3 MB
Cache Per Processor 3 MB
Per Processor Size 3 MB
Installed Size 3 MB
Storage
Interface Type Serial ATA-300
Type none
RAM
Memory Speed 1600 MHz
Memory Specification Compliance PC3-12800
Features dual channel memory architecture
Configuration Features 1 x 4 GB
Technology DDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 4 GB
Memory
Max Supported Size 16 GB
Form Factor SO-DIMM 204-pin
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 1
Display
Type none.
Hard Drive
Capacity 1 x 320 GB
Interface Type SATA 3Gb/s
Spindle Speed 7200 rpm
Type HDD
Interface Class Serial ATA
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 320 GB
Input
Type keyboard, mouse
Storage Controller
Interface Type Serial ATA-600
Type Serial ATA
Installed Qty 1
Hard Drive (3rd)
Type none
Processor
Installed Qty 1
Max Supported Qty 1
Type 3rd Gen Core i5
Processor Number i5-3470T
Generation 3
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.9 GHz
Floppy Drive
Type none
Storage Removable
Type none
Header
Brand Lenovo
Product Line Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p
Model 3238
Localization English
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet
Form Factor integrated
Ethernet Controller(s) Intel 82579
Features Wake on LAN (WoL)
Features Wake on LAN (WoL)
Software
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.
Monitor
Monitor Type None.
Miscellaneous
Color business black
Features Intel Active Management Technology (iAMT), USB port control, administrator password, boot sequence control, boot without keyboard or mouse, hard drive password, power-on password
Compliant Standards GREENGUARD, RoHS
Included Accessories vertical stand
Color Category black
Theft/Intrusion Protection security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
System
Type personal computer
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Hard Drive Capacity 320 GB
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Dimensions & Weight
Width 7 in
Depth 7.2 in
Height 1.4 in
Chassis
Form Factor ultra small form factor
Manufacturer Form Factor tiny desktop
Built-in Devices speaker
Graphics Controller
Form Factor integrated
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500
Video Interfaces DisplayPort, VGA
Mainboard
Processor Socket LGA1155 Socket
Chipset Type Intel Q77 Express
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 3 years warranty
Audio Output
Form Factor integrated
Sound Output Mode stereo
Compliant Standards High Definition Audio
Printer
Type none
Keyboard
Keyboard Name Preferred Pro USB
Interface USB
Environmental Standards
EPEAT Level EPEAT Gold
ENERGY STAR Qualified Yes
Audio Input
Type none
Mouse
Technology optical
Interface USB
Features scroll
Physical Characteristics
Form Factor ultra small form factor
Weight 9.04 lbs
Power
Type power adapter
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition
OS Provided Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition
Type Adobe Reader, Corel Burn.Now Lenovo Edition, Skype, ThinkVantage Communication Utility, ThinkVantage Power Manager, ThinkVantage Product Recovery, ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery, ThinkVantage System Update, ThinkVantage View Management Utility, Corel DVD MovieFactory, Lenovo AppShop, Lenovo Message Center Plus, Lenovo Password Manager, Lenovo Simple Tap, Lenovo Solution Center, Microsoft Live, Norton Internet Security (30 days subscription)
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500
Graphics Processor Series Intel HD Graphics
Video Interfaces DisplayPort, VGA
Audio Output Details
Speaker Type none
Input Device
Type keyboard, mouse
Expansion Slots
Type CPU, PCIe Mini Card, SO-DIMM 204-pin
Total Qty 1, 2
Free Qty 0, 1
Interface Provided
Type DisplayPort, LAN (Gigabit Ethernet), USB 2.0, USB 3.0, VGA, headphones, microphone
Qty 1, 4
Location 1 in front, 2 front, 2 rear
OS Provided
Family Windows 7
Edition Windows 7 Professional
Type Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition
Power Device
Type power adapter
Power Provided 65 Watt
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
Service & Support
Type 3 years warranty
On-Site Warranty on-site
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Location on-site
Full Contract Period 3 years
Response Time next business day
Sustainability
Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2011) 3.8

Topics: PCs, Lenovo, Reviews, SMBs

Where To Buy

Price
$1,188.00

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Where To Buy

Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p 3238 - Core i5 3470T 2.9 GHz - 4 GB - 320 GB

Part Number: 3238F1U
Price
$1,188.00

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