A Peek under the M58p’s Hood:

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

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?

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 to well over $1000, 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, 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 realize 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.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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