Lenovo ThinkCentre A55 9640-A11
- Small form factor, quiet, easy maintenance design
Although the ThinkCentre A55 system didn't perform quite as well as the Core 2 Duo M55, it remains reasonably priced and is well suited for business environments.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
The small form factor business PC is Lenovo's domain, and the ThinkCentre A55 9640-A11 offers all the usual ThinkCentre features, but also comes with Windows Vista Basic (optional to upgrade). Like other Lenovo desktop systems, we were impressed by the thoughtful business orientated design, but weren't so happy with the less than stellar performance.
Unlike the ThinkCentre M55 9BM, which we looked at recently, the A55 9640-A11 uses an older Pentium D 935 3.2GHz CPU, rather than the faster and more efficient Core 2 Duo CPU. Also installed are 1GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM and an onboard Intel 946GZ graphics chip. For storage the ThinkCentre has an 80 SATA hard drive and a DVD re-writer.
With Windows Vista Basic Edition installed, we were able to run our new WorldBench 6 software. WorldBench 6 is a scripted application-based test, which measures the ability of any given system to run important and commonly used applications in the Windows Vista environment. In WorldBench 6 the A55 9640-A11 scored a total of 61. This score is not overly impressive when compared to Core 2 Duo-based systems. The total score was brought down by the lack of a graphics card in the DirectX tests, where this machine is not designed to excel. Unfortunately, individual test scores for multitasking and Firefox were also slower than other low frequency Core 2 Duo machines.
One area where the ThinkCentre managed to keep relatively on par with the more powerful machines we've tested was in the Microsoft Office tasks, which is probably the focus of this unit. Lower scores in the rendering, Photoshop and media encoding tests show that this system will struggle to perform CPU intensive tasks.
Despite its lower performance, the A55 is priced fairly and will appeal to a business IT department rather than the end-user, as Lenovo puts a lot of effort into making these systems easily serviceable. Apart from the compact design, which will suite cramped or limited working conditions, the small form factor case has been built for quick access. Two buttons on either side of the chassis release the main lid, which rolls back and out of the way on a set of hinges, revealing the motherboard and the full-size expansion slots (including one PCI slot and one PCIe 1x slot). Once this is removed, users can unlock the front part of the inner cage with two slider locking mechanisms. This whole section houses the hard drive, optical drive and the system fans and they all become easily accessible. Most importantly, all of this can be done in a matter of seconds without a single tool. On the front panel are two USB ports and audio ports (headphone and microphone), so quick access for USB keys and other devices is available, without having to mess around at the back of the unit.
The CPU and chipset are passively cooled with airflow being delivered from the two front mounted system fans. These twin fans are designed to work together to reduce overall spin-speed and subsequent noise. They draw air from the front of the case and blow it towards the rear where it can exit via a grill. Overall, we found the system to be fairly quiet during general operation.
On the rear port cluster are six more USB ports as well as two PS/2 ports for a keyboard and mouse, though Lenovo has supplied USB peripherals with this unit. Also available on the back panel are a parallel port and a serial port, and a gigabit Ethernet port. There's also another set of audio ports at the rear (speaker and line-in).
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Qualcomm: First Windows 10 ARM PC coming in the fourth quarter
- User-created patch lets Kaby Lake and Ryzen PCs receive Windows 7 updates
- Samsung DeX turns your Galaxy S8 into a shockingly good desktop PC
- Intel scraps annual IDF event as it looks beyond PCs
- HP rises again to be the world's top PC maker as Lenovo slips
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTDigital ProducerNSW
- FTRisk and Quality ManagerNSW
- FTDeveloper / Junior Solution DesignerQLD
- CCSenior Devops EngineerVIC
- FTTechnical WriterACT
- FTIT Service Owner - Supply Chain TechnologiesNSW
- FTSecurity ConsultantVIC
- TPStrategic Business AnalystVIC
- FTHealthcare Application Integration SupportQLD
- TPLevel 2/3 Desktop Support AnalystVIC
- FTTester AnalystACT
- CCTelecommunication Business SpecialistTAS
- FTInfrastructure Project Manager Office 365 ImplementationVIC
- FTProject Manager - Data MigrationNSW
- TPWeb DeveloperNSW
- TPEducation TechnologistNSW
- FTBusiness Intelligence Analyst - Microsoft BI Stack - NewcastleNSW
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- FTSystem AnalystsACT
- FTContracts ManagerNSW
- FTBusiness Development Manager IT HealthcareQLD
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)VIC
- CCPersonal AssistantNSW
- FTEngineer Control Systems SpecialistSA
- FTAsst. Director - Claim Analysis. Work Location - CanberraNSW