Lenovo ThinkCentre A52

Lenovo ThinkCentre A52

Pros: Good performance and security, great value

Cons: Fourth overall in terms of performance

Price: $1,072

Performance: B

Features: B+

Value: A

Power efficiency: B

Not willing to part with $1,400-plus for the Dell OptiPlex we like so much? Then take a look at the ThinkCentre A52, which has a government price tag of only $1,072. It's not as fast as the Dell, nor as feature-rich, but it has at least one important feature the Dell doesn't, and it can more than hold its own in the enterprise.

The A52's benchmark score of 8,369, while not top-of-the-class, was above average. As a baseline, we've found that a score above 8,000 in our new tests reflects solid performance in demanding applications. Our tested system had a 2.8-GHz Pentium D 920 dual-core chip with an 800-MHz front-side bus and 1GB of 533-MHz DDR2 SDRAM. The 160GB SATA bundled hard drive proved roomy, but spun just 7,200 RPM'certainly not a bad thing, but other systems came with faster drives.

During testing, the A52 idled at 94 watts per second, right in the middle of the pack. And it was fairly efficient launching programs, despite its slower drive.

Although mostly packed with standard hardware components, the A52 does come with a unique client security subsystem. Through the system you can set up a virtual drive that automatically encrypts everything you put into it. Setting up rules for the drive is extremely easy and designed to thwart hacking attempts from either remote or local users, as well as anyone who steal the computer. You can also put the virtual drive on a timer where it will lock itself down after a period of inactivity. So if you go to lunch and leave your workstation powered, it will secure your important files automatically.

Aside from the built-in encryption, nothing about the A52 stands out, save for its price. That said, we can't find much about the A52 we don't like. It's a good workstation for any agency. Just ask the State Department, which recently bought about 15,000 similar models [GCN.com, GCN.com/601].

Lenovo Group Ltd., Purchase, N.Y., (866) 458-4465, www.lenovo.com

About the Authors

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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

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