Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z review

  • Editors' rating
    7.9 Very good
  • $999.00

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.

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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
Desktop type All-in-one desktop system
Type Personal computer
Product Form Factor All-in-one
Packaged Quantity 1
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Built-in Devices stereo speakers
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3470S / 2.9 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 3.6 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Chipset Type Intel Q77 Express
Processor Main Features Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2, Intel Virtualization Technology
Processor Socket LGA1155 Socket
Cache Memory
Installed Size 6 MB
Cache Per Processor 6 MB
Per Processor Size 6 MB
Installed Size 6 MB
Storage
Interface Type Serial ATA-600
Type none
RAM
Memory Speed 1600 MHz
Memory Specification Compliance PC3-12800
Configuration Features 1 x 4 GB
Technology DDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 4 GB
Rated Memory Speed 1600 MHz
Memory
Max Supported Size 16 GB
Form Factor SO-DIMM 204-pin
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 1
Display
Widescreen Display Yes
Image Aspect Ratio 16:9
Monitor Features monitor stand
Type LED
TFT Technology IPS
Diagonal Size (metric) 58.04 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Full HD
Hard Drive
Capacity 1 x 500 GB
Interface Type SATA 6Gb/s
Spindle Speed 7200 rpm
Type HDD
Interface Class Serial ATA
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 500 GB
Input
Type keyboard, mouse
Storage Controller
Type 1 x SATA - integrated
Interface Type Serial ATA-600
Type Serial ATA
Installed Qty 1
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Hard Drive (3rd)
Type none
Optical Storage
Drive Type DVD-Writer
Type DVD-Writer
Interface Type Serial ATA
Processor
Installed Qty 1
Max Supported Qty 1
Type 3rd Gen Core i5
Processor Number i5-3470S
Generation 3
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.9 GHz
Storage Removable
Type none
Header
Brand Lenovo
Product Line Lenovo ThinkCentre M92z
Model 3318
Localization English
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Miscellaneous
Color business black
Features Intel Active Management Technology (iAMT), USB port control, boot sequence control, boot without keyboard or mouse, hard drive password, power-on password, swivel adjustment, tilt adjustment
Compliant Standards EuP, GREENGUARD, Green Mark, RoHS, TCO Certified Edge, UL Environmental SPC Gold
Manufacturer Selling Program TopSeller
Flat Panel Mount Interface 100 x 100 mm
Security Slot Type Kensington security slot
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 4.0, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Ethernet Controller(s) Intel 82579LM
Wireless LAN Supported Yes
Wireless NIC Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230
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 LED - IPS
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Diagonal Size 23 in
Image Brightness 250 cd/m2
Image Contrast Ratio 1000:1
System
Type personal computer
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Hard Drive Capacity 500 GB
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Graphics Controller
Form Factor integrated
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500
Video Interfaces DisplayPort
Max Monitors Supported 2
Dimensions & Weight
Width 22.4 in
Depth 9.7 in
Height 17.8 in
Chassis
Form Factor all-in-one
Manufacturer Form Factor all-in-one
Built-in Devices stereo speakers
Camera
Form Factor integrated
Audio Output
Form Factor integrated
Sound Output Mode stereo
Compliant Standards Dolby Advanced Audio v2, High Definition Audio
Mainboard
Processor Socket LGA1155 Socket
Chipset Type Intel Q77 Express
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 3 years warranty
Keyboard
Keyboard Name Preferred Pro USB
Interface USB
Printer
Type none
Environmental Standards
EPEAT Level EPEAT Gold
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Mouse
Technology optical
Interface USB
Physical Characteristics
Form Factor all-in-one
Weight 25.79 lbs
Power
Type power supply
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition
OS Provided Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition (available through downgrade rights from Windows 8 Pro 64-bit) + Windows 8 Pro 64-bit License
Type Adobe Reader, Corel Burn.Now Lenovo Edition, Corel DVD MovieFactory, Lenovo Message Center Plus, Lenovo Simple Tap, Lenovo Solution Center, Norton Internet Security (30 days subscription), RapidBoot HDD Accelerator, Skype, ThinkVantage Automatic Lock Utility, ThinkVantage Communication Utility, ThinkVantage Power Manager, ThinkVantage Product Recovery, ThinkVantage System Update, ThinkVantage View Management Utility
Preinstalled OS Windows 7
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500
Graphics Processor Series Intel HD Graphics
Max Monitors Supported 2
Video Interfaces DisplayPort
OS Provided
Preinstalled OS Windows 7
Service & Support
Type 3 years warranty
On-Site Warranty on-site
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Location on-site
Full Contract Period 3 years
Response Time next business day
Sustainability
Greenpeace policy rating (Nov 2011) 3.8

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