Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

In IT you would think there was only one color—green. Everything nowadays seems to refer to green technology and reduce energy costs and carbon footprints. Sure, being environmentally friendly benefits everyone, but sometimes green technology is just too hard to sell. 

Lenovo is looking to take the pain out of the green process with the ThinkCentre M57/M57p, a diminutive desktop that sips electricity like an out-of-work yuppie sips lattes at Starbucks. First off, the ThinkCentre M57/M57p machines won’t impress anyone looking for raw horsepower, but these latest PCs from Lenovo are the first desktops from any PC maker to garner Greenguard certification. The units go even further when it comes to the Eco-ability factors, which include an EPEAT Gold rating and Energy Star 4.0 rating, and the units are the first ThinkCentres made with recycled material from consumer plastics.

As with most ThinkCentre PCs, there are a range of models. A basic M57 lists for $699 and includes an Intel 1.8GHz Celeron 430 processor with 1GB of RAM, a DVD-ROM drive and Serial ATA hard drive with 80GB of capacity. While not especially cheap, the unit is affordable considering the use of notebook computer components to reduce the size and energy consumption of the M57.

Click here for some green ideas VARs can take to their customers.

Lenovo sent over an M57 Model 29U for review, a unit that is at the top of the line of the M57 spectrum and retails for about $1,350. It includes Windows Vista Business, an Intel 3GHz Core 2 Duo E8400 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 160GB SATA hard drive and a DVD-Recordable optical drive. As with most of the M57p models, the unit is equipped with an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 series, integrated audio, Gigabit Ethernet and an external power brick. Buyers will also find a USB keyboard and mouse included with the system.

Performance was tested using PerformanceTest V6.1 from PassMark Software, while power consumption was judged using a KillaWatt Pro from P3 Electronics. The unit scored exceptionally well under PerformanceTest, netting an overall PassMark rating of 798.5. That score was relatively impressive, considering the system was using integrated graphics from Intel and running Windows Vista Business edition.

During testing, the unit peaked at 68 watts of power consumption. Power consumption hovered around 32 watts when the unit was idle. During sleep mode, the M57p only consumed 3 watts of power, proving that the unit truly was an efficient power sipper. Users will find that putting the system into sleep mode only takes a mouse click and a couple of seconds, while waking the system up is almost instantaneous.

An added benefit of the low-power design is how quiet the system is. By eliminating a large internal power supply, which usually has a noisy fan, and using cooling technology suited for a portable system, all operational noise was virtually eliminated, save for the audio provided by the built-in speakers.

Lenovo has done a commendable job of combining power efficiency with a small size and more than adequate performance, and the little M57p should be a welcome addition to most anyone’s desktop.

The only downsides to the unit are limited expansion options and a price point a little bit higher than systems with comparable processor performance. Otherwise, Lenovo has put together a system that should meet the green needs of most any corporate user today