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The U.S. Department of State made a large enterprise class purchase with Lenovo, buying thousands of the Chinese PC makers ThinkCentre Desktops through direct reseller CDW.

The $13 million order includes 16,000 Lenovo desktops, large-format LCD displays and integrated networking and storage components, with some bought from third parties. The desktops have been delivered in weekly batches of about 500 units since November, to meet a tight State Department deadline, said CDW Government, CDW’s government and education business unit.

The order is part of the State Department’s GITM (Global Information Technology Modernization) initiative, begun in 2004 to provide life-cycle computer upgrades to its IT infrastructure and classified and unclassified systems.

CDW’s ability to rapidly respond to the State Department’s requirements and execute large, staged deliveries was essential to meeting the department’s life-cycle computer upgrade requirements on time, said Max Peterson, vice president of federal sales, CDW Government.

“The purchase is also significant because of its scale and sophistication,” Peterson said. “To meet the State Department’s requirements for state-of-the art systems supporting classified and unclassified computing environments, CDW-G integrated specialized networking and storage components.

“To meet their worldwide deployment schedule, CDW-G delivered systems and related items in stages and maintained additional stock on hand to respond to urgent needs.”

The State Department declined to comment, citing an agency policy.

The contract is for 15,000 ThinkCentre M51’s and 1,000 ThinkCentre M51 mini-towers integrated with Gigabit Ethernet communications and removable hard drives.

Lenovo, which purchased IBM’s ThinkSeries PC line in 2005 for $13 billion, launched a low-end line, 3000 Series, in February and a restructured channel program last week, as the company aims to define itself apart from the IBM legacy.