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Lenovo ThinkCentre A61e green PC

Consumes less power than a lightbulb?

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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.

Lenovo ThinkCentre A61e

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.

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