All this ensures the A61e is very quiet when it's operating, although we were rather caught out by the integrated mono speaker that is connected to the ADI 1984A audio chip. The only volume control is in software so it’s hard to avoid the wretched Windows sound at start-up.
The use of an AMD 690 chipset is very sensible as it consumes a tiny amount of power and has integrated graphics that are competent enough to handle Windows. However, the list of features that have been provided on this PC is rather short. There’s a VGA output on the I/O panel along with three audio jacks, Gigabit Ethernet and four USB 2.0 ports, with two more on the front of the case.
Easily accessed innards
Lenovo includes a wired optical mouse and a basic keyboard in the package but the £311 price doesn’t include a display. We were sent a ThinkVision L193p TFT that sells for £231 - a heft price considering it's just a basic 19in display with a 1280 x 1024 resolution. While the L193p has both DVI and VGA inputs, the A61e only has a VGA output so that’s something of a mismatch.
This is somewhat depressing as the Radeon X1200 graphics in the 690 chipset are perfectly capable of supporting a digital connection.
The other notable feature of the L193p is the pivot function. However, the screen is rather square in shape so pivoting from landscape to portrait doesn't actually make much difference. You have to manually rotate the image using the ATI Catalyst Control Centre, and while it’s not a difficult task it's unlikely to appeal to the PC Luddites who are, you would think, the natural customers for such a basic computer.
Lenovo has chosen to install Windows XP Pro on the A61e, rather than Vista, which is probably a good idea as a slow processor and 512MB of RAM is hardly a match made in heaven for Microsoft's latest.
Lenovo vs Dell
This is aimed at the business deskspace - I've recently deployed several of these and their variants. And I'll go for a ThinkCentre over a Dell any time thank you very much.
"why didn't you include a smaller AC adaptor?"
Why should they? The physical size hardly matters for a desktop machine, and if they can use this PSU on other products too then it saves money. The annoying thing is that the power supply is not built in, like with a normal desktop machine.
Also, just because you measured 55W maximum doesn't mean that there won't be larger peaks - disk spin-up is an obvious one.
I've a hunch this puppy is aimed at the business desktop space, hence the small capacity HD and no DVD writer. The low power consumption would be of much more interest if you're running 200 or 10,000 of these! Of course a 2.5" HD would've used even less...
On a similar quest my home server uses low power components (Via CPU, 2x 160GB laptop drives) and uses around 31w at idle, rising to 45-50w under heavy load.
RE: Windows Sound at Start Up ??
Or you could just use the Sound option under Control Panel. That'll just change it or even disable it without mucking around.
Windows Sound at Start Up ??
'...so it’s hard to avoid the wretched Windows sound at start-up.'
I've always removed and replaced that naff Windows sound file on every PC I've owned or had to use.
Try looking in C:\WINDOWS\Media where you'll find :-
Windows XP Startup.wav and many more system sound files, which are of course easily replaced by any .wav sound file of your choice, renamed to the original filename of course.
Other Windows systems have similar files, easily found and replaced.