Lenovo Cranks Up the Green with M58p PC

Channel Products

The M58p ThinkCentre promises to be the greenest, most manageable and the most secure PC to date from Lenovo, but does it live up to the hype?

While Lenovo has become a master of the portable PC with the Thinkpad series of notebook computers, the company still has a way to go before mastering the desktop with the ThinkCentre series of desktop PCs. Luckily for Lenovo, the ThinkCentre M58p brings them one step closer to mastery of the desktop.

Lenovo faces a great deal of competition in the desktop PC arena – challengers such as HP, Dell and Acer all outsell Lenovo and leave little room for the No. 4 PC manufacturer Lenovo to gain market share, yet Lenovo has no intention of giving up. As a matter of fact, Lenovo aims to be a little craftier and is looking to capitalise on the company’s focus on manageability and green technology, something the M58p delivers.

At first blush, the M58p doesn’t look all that much different than the M57p, the previous generation of Lenovo’s lean, green and mean desktop PCs, but delving a little deeper reveals a host of improvements, advancements and innovations that promise to deliver that much more value to the enterprise.

The big news with the M58p is “Power Manager,” a ThinkVantage technology that allows PC users to control their electricity consumption remotely. For the channel, Power Manager could be an important tool, allowing solution providers to remotely manage power saving features for their customers as part of a managed service.

The M58P is available in three form factors, as a tower, small form factor (SFF) and ultra small form factor. A wide range of Intel’s Core 2 Duo CPUs are available and channel partners can choose various configurations that dictate included RAM, HDD sizes and Optical Drive options. Prices for the M57p will range from $499 (£350) to well over $1000 (£702), depending upon configuration.

Lenovo sent over a M58p configured as a tower system sporting a 3Ghz Core 2 Duo CPU and 2 Gbytes of RAM for testing. The system also featured a DVD multidrive and 160Gbyte hard disk drive and was preconfigured with Windows Vista Business. With a MSRP of $1036 (£727), model 7484-AEU approached the top of the line for a ThinkCentre M58p.

Featuring a plethora of ports, an easy access tower case and a minimum of bloatware, the M58p screamed quality. The location of ports and associated labeling was well thought out. What’s more, initial setup was a snap, with the system preconfigured with the necessary drivers and with Vista completely preinstalled, eliminating the lengthy setup procedure often found with a new Vista PC. There were some trial versions of software pre-installed, but none were intrusive, just simple icons on the desktop that an installer can choose to launch or ignore.

We tested the M58p with Passmark Performance Test V6.1 and were rewarded with an overall Passmark score of 845.4. While not an overly impressive score, the system was hampered by the onboard graphics – a discrete graphics GPU would have greatly improved the overall score. Even so, there was still something impressive about the Passmark score and that was the fact that during testing the unit never exceeded 75 watts of power consumption according to our Kill-a-watt pro meter. What’s more, average power usage was under 65 watts for our complete suite of tests, showing that the M58p is indeed very efficient.

But, that is only the beginning of the story when it comes to efficiency, thanks to Lenovo’s Power Manager, several settings can be modified to further reduce power consumption. Solution providers can choose to power down hard drives, reduce CPU voltages, setup automatic sleep and hibernation and many other elements to reduce power consumption. That really gives the M58p a green hue!

Sticking with the green theme, Lenovo made sure that the unit was environmentally friendly by adhering to RoHS, Energy Star and several other eco-standards to deliver a system that has minimal environmental impact, while still sipping power efficiently and keeping a small carbon footprint.

For solution providers going for the green – both environmentally and financially – it is pretty hard to beat Lenovo’s latest stab at a manageable PC.

Those looking to play in the Manages Services space will appreciate the unit’s “green tune-ability” and integrated support for Intel’s VPRO II hardware management platform. Lenovo offers various partner programs to solution providers and ships products through major distributors. Savvy solution providers should be able to realise margins as high as 20 percent, but the real revenue potential will come from bundling managed services with the PC, while using the M58p’s “touch of green” to fuel the sales process.