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Lenovo storms CES with a deluge of Windows 8 hardware

From buttoned-up business machines to a watercooled gaming rig, Lenovo unleashes a flurry of eclectic Windows 8 hardware

Lenovo, stop. Please -- just stop. The sheer volume of your CES offerings is out of control, and we're not sure the world can absorb so many new Windows 8 hardware announcements in a single day.

Microsoft, HP and Dell don't even have booths at CES 2013, but Lenovo has come to Las Vegas with bullish bravado and a seemingly bottomless trunk of new Ultrabooks, laptops, desktops and even a mobile display. The theme that threads almost everything together: Windows 8, in all its touchy, feely, fingerprinty glory.

The new Lenovo line-up spans from relatively pedestrian business machines to a hardcore gaming box, and the company made sure to include 10-point multitouch control on almost every device that warrants that feature.

Let's have a look at the seemingly never-ending line-up. (An intermission has not been scheduled, so please take your bathroom break now.)

Six new Ultrabooks and laptops

Lenovo's U series Ultrabooks top the list with the addition of 10-point multitouch LCDs (previous U models lacked touch-sensitive displays). The U310 Touch is 18mm thick, 3.85 pounds, and has a 13.3-inch screen. The U410 Touch is 21mm thick, 4.4 pounds, and has a 14-inch screen. Both models include Lenovo's "Intelligent Touchpad," which supports Windows 8 gesture controls.

Each U series machine boasts a 1366x768 widescreen display, and can be outfitted with various Intel processors up to Core i7. The U310 comes with integrated Intel graphics, while its big brother features Nvidia silicon. Wake-from-sleep is rated at 1 second, and battery life is spec'd at 8 hours.

The U310 will be available in March with prices starting at about $780. The U410 hits in April with prices starting at about $850.

If these entry fees are cost-prohibitive, you can explore two new Z Series machines. Aimed at, well, less discerning computer users, neither meets the lightweight Ultrabook spec, but they're less expensive than the U models, and still include Windows 8-ready, multitouch displays.

The Z400 Touch is 29.15mm thick, 5.3 pounds and comes with a 14-inch screen. The Z500 Touch is actually a smidgen thinner at 28.75mm, but weighs in at 5.7 pounds and comes with a 15.6-inch screen. Both models feature 1600x900 widescreen resolutions, Intel processors up to Core i7, Nvidia GeForce graphics, and the same Windows 8-ready "Intelligent Touchpad" founds on Lenovo's new Ultrabooks.

Both Z series machines start at around $699, with the Z400 landing in March, and the Z500 in April.

Finally, Lenovo continues to update its ThinkPad line for business users. The E431 and E531 boast 14- and 15.6-inch displays, respectively. The 1600x900 screens come with touch support options, but don't employ full, 10-point multitouch sensors. The laptops' ClickPads, however, are celebrated to "enhance" Windows 8 gesture control.

Both machines also support Lenovo's new OneLink system, which funnels all connectivity through a single cable connection in an effort to eliminate desk clutter. To make use of OneLink, you'll want the ThinkPad OneLink Dock, which centralizes connectivity for device charging, external video and audio, and up to four USB connections.

Both ThinkPads are 1-inch thick, and can be spec'd with Core i7 processors; integrated Intel graphics or discrete Nvidia graphics; up to 16GB of memory; and up to 1TB of storage. The E431 weighs 4.7 pounds; the E531 comes in at 5.4 pounds. The two new ThinkPads land in May for prices starting around $540. The OneLink Dock hits the same time for $100.

Desktops: From insane to sleek

Lest you continue to associate the Lenovo name with only safe-and-sane business PCs, the company has unleashed the Erazer X700, a huffing, puffing, snorting, fuming gaming rig that's even packed with water-cooling paraphernalia.

Yes, Lenovo does watercooling. We were a bit stunned as well.

As you can see from the photo below, it appears only the CPU (an Intel Core i7) is festooned with a cooling block, while the videocard is left to fend with traditional active air cooling. The whole watercooling schtick is intended to support Lenovo's "OneKey Overclocking" feature, which lets you bump up the CPU's frequency without messing around with BIOS settings.

As of press time, Lenovo hasn't yet revealed the Erazer's stock and overclocked frequency settings. But we can tell you that graphics options abound. If you prefer to roll with Nvidia, you can spec the Erazer with a GeForce GTX660, and even run two cards in SLI mode. If your preference is ATI, you can have an AMD Radeon HD 8950, and also run two cards via ATI's CrossFireX technology.

The Erazer X700 can be outfitted with up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, and up to 4TB of storage (two hot-swappable external drive bays let you add storage without shutting down the rig). Oh, and the machine's industrial design recalls the armor of Halo's Master Chief, doesn't it? Expect this bad boy to land in June for about $1,500.

Lenovo's premier all-in-one desktop line is also getting a new flagship model in the form of the IdeaCentre A730. This 27-inch, 10-point multitouch system is just 24.5mm thick. That's a pinch under 1-inch, and good for the title of the world's slimmest multitouch all-in-one, according to Lenovo.

Hitting in June for about $1,500, the A730 will offer two widescreen resolutions: 2560x1440 and 1920x1080. Specs top out at a Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce GT 745M graphics; 8GB of memory, and a 1TB SSHD drive with 8GB of SSD cache.

If you want a much more affordable Lenovo all-in-one, you can consider the 23-inch C540, which will arrive in February for a practically giveaway price of $550. There's just one caveat: Touch-capable versions of the C540 won't land until June.

Regardless, the C540 gets you in the Lenovo all-in-one club for less than the cost of most new iPads. You will, however, have to settle for Intel Core i3 processing.

Oh, and look: There's a new display too!

The new ThinkPads may not get touch support until June, but sometime in Q2 this year, you'll be able to buy the eminently portable, 13.3-inch ThinkVision LT1423p Mobile Monitor. A wired version will cost $350, while a wireless model clocks in at $450.

Covered in Gorilla Glass, the LT1423p weighs 1.6 pounds, and ranges between 0.3-inch at its thinnest point to 0.6-inch at its thickest point. The 1600x900 display supports 10-point multitouch for Windows 8, and comes with a digitizer pen to draw in digital ink.

Will it be a useful device? It probably will be--for certain ThinkPad-toting business people who require full Windows 8 touch support for interactive demos. But for the general population? No. Those folks should just buy Windows 8 hybrids and tablets with touch support built in.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out our complete coverage of CES 2013.


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