The PC comes with a basic selection of media software that consists of InterVideo WinDVD 5 and Sonic RecordNow 2 as well as PC-Doctor 5 and Diskeeper Lite. The ThinkCentre software is familiar to anyone who has used a ThinkPad laptop, but the truth is you need a bare minimum of tools to keep a basic desktop PC working properly.
Power Draw Results
Power Draw in Watt (W)
The performance of the system is fairly pathetic, but it is adequate for day-to-day duties. The surprise was how limp the Radeon X1200 graphics were compared to the X1250 core that we saw when we looked at the 690G chipset a year ago on the Asus M2A-VM motherboard - all reviewed here. Having said that, the A61e does give you the tools that you need to write e-mails, work on a spreadsheet or buy DVDs from Amazon.
And Lenovo's claim to eco-friendliness? It does have merit: during testing we found the power draw of the PC was 40W at idle and a mere 55W under load - well below the 130W the bundled power brick is capable of delivering. So, Lenovo, why didn't you include a smaller AC adaptor?
Would we recommend that you buy this small, quiet, relatively cheap PC? Well, no.
How green is my desktop?
The problem is that the A61e is cheap but it’s not cheap enough. You can buy a comparable Dell Vostro 200ST with an Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive and Windows XP for £175 plus shipping. You can get a 19in Dell TFT for £150. Granted, the Vostro isn’t quite as small as the A61e and it won’t be passively cooled, but it should be quiet enough for use in the home or office. Added to that the extra hard drive space and DVD burning capability, and the difference in price is telling.
The ThinkCentre A61e is very basic and while it does a competent job it seems terribly expensive compared to a better-specced Dell Vostro.
Lenovo ThinkCentre A61e
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.