GCN Lab Review: Lenovo ThinkStation S10

The ThinkStation S10 from Lenovo is a powerful workhorse at a good government price. Getting inside to the components is difficult, but once you are there, you will find lots of room to expand.

On the back of the ThinkStation we found an assortment of ports. There were eight USB ports, not counting the two in the front, and two Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The default sound jacks are equipped to handle 5.1 surround sound and normal stereo output. There is no parallel port, but because non-USB printers are rare these days, it is not much of an issue. The front also had a 6-pin FireWire 800 port, and a 9-in-1 media card reader. The ThinkStation's Nvidia Quadro FX1700 is a powerful graphics accelerator with two DVI ports.

The case of the ThinkStation S10 is sturdily built and, as a consequence, somewhat heavier than the average minitower design. However, it does have a handle in the front that made it easier to move around ' and pretty cool to boot.

The Lenovo has plenty of room for expansion. The 2G of RAM uses only two of the four memory slots, so as much as 4G could be added without the need for replacement. It has an open PCI Express x16 slot in addition to the one used by the graphics card, a PCI Express x8 slot, and two regular PCI slots. It has two additional 3.5-inch internal bays, one 5.25-inch external bay and four free Serial ATA ports. The 650-watt capacity power supply has power to spare for practically any upgrade.

The ThinkStation's powerful Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor scored an impressive 959 points in our performance benchmark tests, despite having only 2G of memory. This was largely because of the graphics tests, in which the Lenovo blew the others systems away.

The Achilles' heel of the ThinkStation is how it is organized inside. Wires were haphazardly placed and tied back with permanent plastic cable ties that would have to be cut to be repositioned. In a few cases, the wires were hard to move for simple operations, such as removing or inserting a hard drive. In the most basic terms, the insides of the ThinkStation could be considered a mess. Even with this flaw, the performance and upgradeability net it the Reviewer's Choice for this review.

The ThinkStation S10 from Lenovo retails for $1,518, a good price. The government price of $1,366 makes this a bargain. It is the perfect choice if you will need to upgrade soon but aren't certain in what direction.

Lenovo, 866-968-4465, http://www.lenovo.com

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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