We had to do a double-take when the performance numbers started coming in from the ThinkCentre E93z, Lenovo's latest all-in-one PC. Granted, the tested system was sporting a 3.1GHz quad-core processor, but that an AiO would perform like a workstation wasn't expected. Yet, there it was in fourth place in the CRN Test Center's all-time performance list for desktops, right behind three of the fastest workstations we've ever seen.
Lenovo's replacement for the E92z all-in-one is equipped with Intel's 4th-gen Core i3, i5 and i7 Haswell processors. The tested unit was built around a high-end Intel Core i7-4770S quad-core processor running at 3.1GHz, Intel's HD Graphics 4600 and Nvidia GT720A graphics controllers. Though Windows 7 is an option, Windows 8 Pro 64-bit was running on the system we received, but more on the performance details later.
Out of the box, testers were impressed with (and service providers and IT staff will appreciate) the tools-free assembly of the CPU's VESA mount to Lenovo's new ultra-flexible pedestal base. The unit connects in seconds and is ready to plug in with no power brick. After about 18 seconds to fire up, the unit displayed Windows 8 Pro's "Metro" screen on a 21.5-inch 1,920-x-1,080 pixel screen that's bright and crisp. Its responsive 10-point multitouch panel sits behind edge-to-edge glass, lending style to the unit. The stand easily lowers the bottom edge of the display to desk level and up to as high as 5 inches (8 inches if measuring from the bottom of the Windows desktop). Once we discovered that handles on either side were there to help reposition the display, we stopped accidentally pressing the power button along the display's right edge.
Also on the right edge are volume controls and an input button, which allows the E93z to be used as a monitor for laptop, tablet or other device through its HDMI input port. There's also an HDMI output port for adding a second display. On the left edge are two USB 3.0 input ports (one with standby power), a headset jack and a 7-in-1 multicard reader. Four additional USB 2.0 ports and a gigabit Ethernet port are on the unit's rear. A pair of down-firing speakers put out clear sound without distortion at high volume. An HD webcam includes a physical shut-off switch. The E93z has been optimized for Lync, which means that it's approved by Microsoft for use as a video and/or audio telephony workstation using VoIP.
NEXT: Speeds And Pricing