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 Post subject: ThinkCentre M57 review
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:35 am 
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Location: Austin, TX
As promised (not that many are into Lenovo desktops here)...

Basic specs:

3.16Ghz E8500 Core 2 Duo, 8gigs 800Mhz RAM (newegg), ati radeon 2400 XT, Vista x64 Business, Small Form Factor (model 6072)

Review:

My reason for buying the Lenovo is that I wanted a small, quality, QUIET machine with good support, that would support 8gigs of ram and vista x64. I didn't find anything from other builders except for the Dell Optiplex, which I bought first. The Dell turned out to be WAY too loud. The fan noise on the Dell was annoying loud even from 15ft away. So I returned the Dell and ordered the M57 which took a couple of weeks to get.

The M57 small form factor is good looking in that IBM/Lenovo corporate way. It's a great size for putting on your desk. The box is designed well and can be serviced mostly without tools. All the usual stuff (changing HD, ram, etc.) is easy to do.

The Lenovo is much quieter out of the box than the Dell. I'd estimate that it is subjectively 70 percent less loud than the Dell was. Fan noise is there but it is perhaps at the volume of a whisper. However, the harddrive (Seagate 500gig) is still too loud. The seeks are loud but what is much more annoying is the constant, brain scrambling, hum around 120hz. I guess this is true of all hard drives that run at 7200rpm but the relatively small case and how the hard drive is mounted to it amplifies the hum from the hard drive. Hard drive hum is a problem in other cases too, it's just that the M57 is so quiet that the hum becomes irritating. I like the machine though, and didn't want to return it so I decided to try a laptop hard drive in it. I put a Seagate Momentus 5400.4 into it and now it's super quiet with just a little bit of fan noise (and only a small performance penalty).

As far as heat goes, the M57 probably does run hotter than the Dell Optiplex because the M57 is running fewer fans at slower rates. The CPU temp seems to range from 45c to 65c which is well within the limits (but hotter than some guys like). It's not a good case for overclocking, but that's to be expected.

Lenovo packs a lot of extra software onto their preload. So much so that it really seems to effect the performance of the machine. So after much pain and figuring out how to do a clean install(reading faqs, etc.), I did a clean install of Vista x64 Business and the machine is much snappier (very similar to XP). I have Vista down to 36 processes after a boot which is similar to a clean xp install.

So now I have a fresh install of Vista x64 on a laptop hard drive in the M57 and it all working well EXCEPT I can't get my Samsung 245t monitor to sleep. The screen goes black but the monitor never turns off. It appears that Vista and sleep don't work too well yet but this is not a deal killer just an annoyance.

Overall, happy with the machine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:21 am 
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, really nice review.

I'm glad that you've finally found a quiet and small desktop pc which you're satisfied with also.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:43 am 
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skellington wrote:
However, the harddrive (Seagate 500gig) is still too loud. I decided to try a laptop hard drive in it. I put a Seagate Momentus 5400.4 into it and now it's super quiet with just a little bit of fan noise (and only a small performance penalty)..


So, does this mean the machine comes with a 3.5 inch hdd, and you can replace it with a 2.5 inch drive?

With the original drive, did you try isolating the drive from the chassis to cut out the noise? Say with rubber straps or something? I've done that with desktops with great success.

How's the keyboard...as nice as the ThinkPad keyboards?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:55 am 
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skellington wrote:
I wanted a small, quality, QUIET machine...

I'm going to second the OP in mentioning that the ThinkCentre line is nice and quiet. I'm running a bargain-bin priced A60, and it is whisper quiet compared to the other desktops I've had experience with. Certainly beats custom-built/performances rigs in that regards, but probably is better than many home and business line models as well. Like the OP, the only noise problem I'm having is with the HD seek sounds, although in my case I'll probably upgrade to a larger capacity HD soon and hope that the newer generation 7200 3.5" drives are a little better. I can live with a little HD noise if I have 1 TB of storage.

The Lenovo desktop keyboards are great, which is one reason why I was looking to trade my unused 1 GB of desktop ram for a Lenovo or older IBM keyboard in the marketplace a while back. Very pleased with my ThinkCentre.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:57 pm 
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Location: Austin, TX
Thanks ryengineer.

mgo, yes it comes with a 3.5" SATA drive so replacing it with a 2.5" drive is just a matter of getting adapter mounting rails (you might have to play with how to attach the rails depending on how the adapter is designed).

The way the drive is held and because the box is small it would be hard to suspend the drive.

As for the keyboard, it's pretty much a standard PC keyboard, not bad but nothing special.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:48 pm 
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skellington wrote:
...The seeks are loud but what is much more annoying is the constant, brain scrambling, hum around 120hz...

That's exactly what's annoying me on my thinkpad (5400rpm hd). Everything is quiet except that :? .

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:24 am 
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Hmm, that's odd for a laptop drive. The 5400rpm drive in my macbook is totally silent.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:58 pm 
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snessiram wrote:
That's exactly what's annoying me on my thinkpad (5400rpm hd). Everything is quiet except that :? .


HDD's real-time acoustic level is hit or miss, I've a 320GB 5400rpm drive from Western Digital which is considerably noisier than another WD drive of same speed a co-worker of mine has in her notebook.

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With the man who takes me from my horse, and leads me to a bar."
The man who took her off her steed, and stood her to a beer,
Were a bleary-eyed Surveyor and a DRUNKEN ENGINEER.


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm 
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One drive I've found to be very quiet is (ironically) the drive that may have come with the OP's former desktop system, the OptiPlex 755. We have legions of the Dells at work, and they all have Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200.10 SATA hard drives which are (to my ears) dead silent. They are also very thin in comparison to a standard 3.5" drive; I suspect they may have only a single platter. Their performance is outstanding; Vista rates the drive a 5.9 (which is not all that common for a single drive).

Here is a link to the drive at Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148261

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