Lenovo Launches Intel Nehalem Desktops

The new ThinkStation S20 and D20 workstations pack in the latest technology from Lenovo's chip and graphics cards vendors, said Ming Xie, ThinkStation worldwide product manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based Lenovo.

"The reason to launch a new generation of workstations is because there is a large, technological leap coming from technology partners," Xie said. "Intel, NVIDIA and ATI are refreshing their hardware which brings large performance increases."

Nehalem, first seen in last year's Core i7 rollout, is the successor to Intel's hugely successful Core microarchitecture. Improvements over the previous generation include energy efficiency, better power management capabilities and the integration of the memory controller for superior floating point operations.

Like new Apple Mac Pro workstations announced earlier this month, Lenovo's latest ThinkStations are built around either the Xeon 5500 or the W3500. The S20 features the Intel X58 Express chipset while the D20 is equipped with the Intel 5520.

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"There are a lot of cool features around the chips in these machines," said Xie. "The processors are good about borrowing down power when the system is idle -- that means customers won't have to pay for as much electricity when they are not using it."

Intel Turbo Boost is also included with the processors, providing additional performance when workload demands call for it. As the operating system of the workstation places a higher strain on the processor, Turbo Boost compensates in 133 MHz increments until the high end of the processors power is met. Once the workload decreases, Turbo Boost drops the demand on the processor incrementally until the processor is operating within regular limits.

Granted, not every situation is going to call for high end desktops with this much computing power. To that end, Lenovo has a certain type of customer in mind that might require the power that the hardware can deliver.

"The latest ThinkStation line was designed for engineers and designers, people designing automobiles and aircraft," said Xie. "These workstations are for users that demand the highest in performance, who are generally running processes on multiple cores. For most of these people a standard desktop wouldn't deliver the necessary performance."

Lenovo for the first time is offering customers a choice when it comes to graphics cards. Lenovo continues to offer NVIDIA graphics chips -- specifically the Quadro line of graphics cards. But in order to provide an alternative, Lenovo is now also providing the option of an ATI FirePro graphics card.

"Before, Lenovo only offered NVIDIA graphics," said Xie. "Now we're adding FirePro graphics in order to give our customers more choice. Adding FirePro graphics gives our customers more choice in the specific applications they want."

Aside from an increase in computing power and graphics performance, Lenovo designed these two desktops to run quietly. The company looked at comparable systems from its rivals and decided to design something to run with less noise.

"The D20 has a dual processor and 1060 watt power supply," said Xie. "It runs at about 24 decibels and that's lower than most ambient noise in an office."

Lenovo also built the D20 and S20 ThinkStations to be environmentally friendly. Both models are made in part from consumer recycled plastics. These latest entries into the high-end desktop market will also be rated EPA Gold and are Green Guard certified.

The ThinkStation S20 and D20 will be available in the first quarter of 2009 through Lenovo business partners and via Lenovo.com. Pricing for the D20 and S20 ThinkStations will start at about $1,070 and $1,550 respectively.

Damon Poeter contributed to this article