MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Lenovo ThinkCentre A55 (8982-A11)
- Simple design, Potential for remote access for system admins, compact.
- Limited upgrade options.
The Lenovo A55 offers businesses a whole package solution suited to the office environment. The capacity for RAM upgrades and the available expansion slots give the system a degree of future proofing, but the limited size of the case suggests Lenovo intend this system to be replaced, rather than dramatically upgraded, when it eventually becomes obsolete.
Price$ 1,548.00 (AUD)
The unchanging face of Lenovo's business range conceals the constantly updated components that keep these machines running smoothly and efficiently with the ever increasing demands of today's business software. We took a look at the Lenovo ThinkCentre A55, our first glimpse of Lenovo's ThinkCentre range based on the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. For the price tag, you get a package which also includes a Lenovo keyboard, mouse and 17in LCD monitor all ready to go, right out of the box.
The A55 uses an Intel E6300 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, one of the mid-range chips of the Core 2 Duo group. The system also comes with 512MB of DDR2 667MHz RAM with a capacity for up to 4GB of RAM across two DIMM slots. In our World Bench 5 test, it scored 89. This score is not bad and will run most current software packages with relative ease. However, even at this price bracket this score is a little lower than some other comparably priced systems. As a business PC it comes installed with a mainboard-based Intel graphics system, which helps explain the lower than expected World Bench 5 score for a Core 2 Duo-based system. The A55 is similar to most of the budget PCs we've looked at which have with only 512MB of RAM included to keep prices down. Simply upgrading the RAM to 1GB could improve overall system performance if you find it struggling to run all the programs you need. The 64-bit E6300 CPU will also be of benefit when Windows Vista rolls out and software packages begin to utilise the 64-bit capabilities that the processor can handle.
From the ground up, the Lenovo ThinkCentre range are built as pure business PCs to suite small businesses right up to enterprise level. In this respect, they are simple in design and direct in function. The case can lay flat with a monitor sat on top, or can be placed upright on its side. Quick access to a DVD re-writer, two USB ports and audio ports on the front panel keeps things clear and practical for users from advanced to basic. If you're buying a fleet for your business, Lenovo also sell a Windows based software package called LANDesk, which the company has co-developed with the software developers Avocent to allow remote administrator access. This application is designed to make patches and inventory checks a far simpler task across interstate installations as well as large office environments.
Apart from the RAM, there's little room for upgrading. The compact nature of the case, built to support a mini-ATX motherboard, only allows for one hard drive. If the 80GB drive is not big enough, you'll have to replace it or use a network storage solution. There is one PCI Express 16x, one PCI Express 1x and 2 PCI expansion slots for adding cards, but beyond these you're effectively stuck with what you bought.
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