We have the Lenovo ThinkCentre M83 tiny to review for a couple of days. This is a kind of business-oriented product, but I think it must be an interest to people of small businesses and larger companies. It is a little desktop kind of like an Intel nook or something like that.
Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny: Quick Overview
The Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny’s got a Quad Core i5 built-in. What I found interesting about it, though, is that it works with this monitor, so you just slide it into the back of it, and the monitor kind of takes over so you can turn it on from the front of the monitor.
You don’t have to have all these extra wires going around. You just slide this in, plug the monitor in, and you’re good to go.
I will show you how that works in a minute.
Now, this is a Quad Core i5. There are many different configurations you can get with it, so the least expensive version right now looks like it’s an i3 processor; it’s under 500 dollars, with four gigs of RAM.
This one with the Quad-Core i5, 8GB RAM, and 500 GB spinning hard disk comes in around $800 because they installed Windows 7 on here, a $50 add-on to keep Windows 7 over 8.
- Comes with Windows 7 Pro with Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade
- Good upgrade options
- Small enough to hide behind a monitor or under a desk
- 8GB of memory
- No VESA mount included
Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny: General Overview
Let’s take a look at the hardware on the Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny, and then we’ll show you how it works with the monitor.
You got USB 3 in the front here. You have a microphone/headphone jack separated into two different jacks.
We see less and less of that these days, so that’s kind of a handy thing to have. You have a USB port on the front that doubles as a power adapter, and the power when it’s plugged in the monitor, it comes in from the back.
Still, we see this dual-port on many different Lenovo devices, so if you don’t have it plugged into power, you can use that port for USB, or you can power the device through that.
On the back of the Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny, you’ve got a bunch of stuff here. We’ve got a USB 2.0 port gigabit ethernet, an antenna for the wireless.
They give you the antenna here also, so when you have it plugged into the monitor, it kind of sticks out the back of its little housing there. You have DisplayPort and VGA, two more USB 3 ports, another display port.
This is for the monitor when it plugs into there and power, which also works with the monitor when it’s plugged in. Now I did take it apart, cause I know a lot of you would be interested in that.
Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny is kind of upgrade-able. Here, you got the spinning hard disk. Underneath it is 2 RAM banks. They’re Esso Dims, so this new kind of the standard laptop memory.
You really can’t see it too well in there, but it’s underneath a hard drive, and you can upgrade these to 16 GB of RAM total. Pretty beefy size fan. I don’t hear it all that much when it’s running, so it’s relatively quiet.
And when it’s on the monitor, you listen to it a lot less. IT has some excellent venting on the back as well. I will put this back together to show you how it works with my monitor. We’ll boot it up and see how it performs.
All right, let’s get the Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny installed. We’ve got it right here. I’m just going to slide it directly into the back of the monitor like so.
You can see that if you’re in like a corporate environment, how nice this might be to have because what this does is that it gives you the flexibility just simply to swipe out the PC and swipe in another one.
If something were to go wrong with it, there’s a little module here.
When you plug this in, this lines up with the USB 3 port of the display port and the power adapter.
That’s how everything gets to the computer and back and forth without any need for additional cabling. They do suggest though you plug the keyboard into the USB port that is available here.
The reason is that you can power the computer on just by hitting all p on the keyboard, but you can also hit the power button on the monitor.
It does connect because it gives you access to 3 USB ports on the front of the monitor, and also on the back, you get two additional USB 2.0 ports as well, so you have some options there.
You may want to plug your mouse into one of those ports in the back there, but that’s pretty much it. What I’m going to do now attach power to it, and we’ll see how fast it comes up now.
Note that this is running Windows 7 because this is again more of a business-oriented machine, so it’s going to take a little longer to boot.
But it’s also running with a spinning hard drive, so the boot time will be a little bit slower than we typically see with our Windows 8 machines.
I plugged power into the monitor.
I got Ethernet connected to the computer also, so we’ve added a couple more wires, not too many. I’m going to hit the power on the monitor.
What’s cool is that not only will that turn the monitor on, it will also turn on the computer.
You can see when it opens that it says All-In-One Mode, so it’s kind of got a little mode it switches into when it knows it’s plugged into the monitor.
By the way, they have a DisplayPort input as well as a USB input over there also. So if you wanted to run this for different computers, you could, so you’re not tied in with the monitor just using the one that fits in the back.
All right, we’re finally booted. It does take a little bit longer than I would like; I think it’s probably because we’re running Windows 7, and we’ve got the spinning hard drive in there.
Web Browsing on Chrome
So these two factors are probably contributing to that, but we’ll boot up Chrome real quick, and we’ll go and visit a couple of websites and see how those perform on the Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny.
So we’ll see the New York Times here, and we’ll just click on an editorial to see how fast it comes up. Pretty fast web browsing performance on the basic side; we’ll go to YouTube next, and let’s see how that looks.
We’ll go there and see how things pop up on the screen. We’ll boot up a random video, and we’ll go to play that back after we skip the ad.
We’ll go and drop this into 1080p and go full screen. So you can see it’s running very, very nicely. The color on the screen isn’t too bad, either. We can also get these stats for nerds and see if we’re dropping any frames.
That is definitely on the high end of the scale for a lot of the PCs we usually look at when you look at less expensive, less powerful computers, so the processor in here, the i5, is doing quite well in performing about where other processors of its class are performing.
So that is always a good thing to see.
Let’s take a look now at some Word processing on the Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny, and then we’ll get to some gaming. All right, so our next test here in some Word 2010 Processing and see how things load on there.
I do run Word 2010 versus the current version just because they have put this text animation into the new version, making everything look slower than it is. I’ll go ahead and type some things; it’s keeping up with my typing quite nicely; the page is rendering as I’m scrolling down here.
Feels about the same as other i5 and even some other i7 processors I’ve looked at in the past, so it seems to perform on par with those. We’ll resize the image here and see how fast the text reflow is around it to see that it is performing quite nicely too, so it is, you know, a good performer.
We saw that with the octane test, and we also see it here, it can do many of the tasks that it was designed for quite well. In a corporate environment, this is kind of the stuff that you’ll be doing, and I think it will do very well at those things.
Now, if the boss is not looking, you can, of course, load up Minecraft and other games that are kind of low impact. So it does run Minecraft pretty well; I’m seeing our frame rates consistently around the 40 frames per second mark, occasionally dumb jumping up a little bit higher depending on what I’m doing.
I am running with the Optfine Plugin, which gives us a little better performance, but this is pretty much what you’ll see out of it.
This has the Intel graphics on it just like most of the other machines that we looked at in that sub $1000 price points, so this is about the performance we’ve seen on similarly equipped devices, so it isn’t too bad at all.
Again, you’re not going to be playing any of the modern games here necessarily. Still, some of the older ones or ones that don’t really require all that much horsepower should be able to accomplish those tasks quite well. So this is an exciting computer.
I like the fact that especially from a corporate environment, it is very easy to swap out the guts and replace them because normally if you’re in a place where you’ve deployed a bunch of these computers.
You’re running off the same image each time so you can easily take one of these things out, pop in a spare, get the person back to work, get the computer fixed, replace the hard drive, or whatever you need to do, then replace it again later if you need to.
So it’s very quick from that standpoint, very efficient for IT departments.
The only issue with it is that this will work will only work with this monitor. You can’t plug in other computers into its side, but this is a system that you would be deploying company-wide to get everything to work.
This is kind of is really geared toward, so it’s really much very much like a fleet kind of computer. Still, the computer on the back is sold.
These are two things that are sold separately. The computer on the back is evasive mount compatible, so you can just screw it onto the back of an existing monitor.
It also has a little stand, too, so you can put it as a stand-up device on your desk too if you don’t want to make the jump on the monitor.
So that will do it for the Lenovo Thinkcentre M83 Tiny.