The Lenovo 3000 J115 desktop PC comes only in a tower case with an appealing gray-green, flat plastic front panel that displays colourfully lit buttons; it reminded us of a kitchen appliance.

If you want a desktop or ultracompact Lenovo system, you'll have to choose from the company's ThinkCentre line. The Lenovo 3000 J115 series is intended to be more appropriate for small businesses, while the ThinkCentre models are aimed at enterprise computing.

But behind its trendy, attractive facade, the Lenovo 3000 J115 has a surprisingly bare-bones, old-fashioned case. You must remove two thumb screws to slide the side panel off. The Lenovo 3000 J115's hard drives, optical drives and expansion cards are held in by screws, so to swap an optical drive, for instance, you'll have to remove both of the Lenovo 3000 J115's case's side panels. Removing anything else inside the PC (aside from RAM) requires tools.

The Lenovo 3000 J115 uses small, traditional fans - one in the power supply, located against the back of the case, and one mounted on top of the CPU's heat sink. The Lenovo 3000 J115 is not a loud system, but it puts out more noise than the Dell OptiPlex 740 we tested at the same time. The standard-issue fans will probably cost less than Dell's, however, should you need to replace them out of warranty.

The Athlon 64 X2 processor in the Lenovo 3000 J115 can take advantage of AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet technology, which allows the PC to adjust the speed and voltage to meet the user's needs. AMD says that Vista systems can take advantage of the technology without a driver, whereas XP systems require one.

In our WorldBench 6 Beta 2 speed benchmark tests, the the Lenovo 3000 J115 scored a reasonable 68, just a point behind the identically configured OptiPlex 740.

The Lenovo 3000 J115 model we tested allowed only a single, VGA-monitor connection.

Lenovo 3000 J115: Specs

  • 2.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 4200+
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 2GB DDR II SDRAM
  • 1MB L2 Cache
  • Integrated nVidia GeForce 6100
  • Lenovo D221 Wide
  • 1-year warranty
  • PCI Express x1, ethernet, fast ethernet, gigabit ethernet
  • Serial ATA (Serial ATA-300)
  • IDE (ATA-133)
  • sound card
  • 160GB hard disk
  • 9-in-1 card reader
  • 180x445x392mm
  • 9.1kg
  • DVD writer DVD±R DL/DVD±RW
  • Lenovo Care Tools, Norton Internet Security 2006, Roxio Digital Media, Intervideo WinDVD Creator, Diskeeper Lite, Corel WordPerfect Office 12.0
  • 2.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 4200+
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 2GB DDR II SDRAM
  • 1MB L2 Cache
  • Integrated nVidia GeForce 6100
  • Lenovo D221 Wide
  • 1-year warranty
  • PCI Express x1, ethernet, fast ethernet, gigabit ethernet
  • Serial ATA (Serial ATA-300)
  • IDE (ATA-133)
  • sound card
  • 160GB hard disk
  • 9-in-1 card reader
  • 180x445x392mm
  • 9.1kg
  • DVD writer DVD±R DL/DVD±RW
  • Lenovo Care Tools, Norton Internet Security 2006, Roxio Digital Media, Intervideo WinDVD Creator, Diskeeper Lite, Corel WordPerfect Office 12.0

OUR VERDICT

Lenovo's reliability marks - which are better than Dell's and HP's - should earn the Lenovo 3000 J115 desktop PC some buying consideration, and we did like the look of it. But the OptiPlex 740 has a better design by far. If you're partial to the Lenovo brand, we'd recommend a system from its ThinkCentre line, which has many of the interior features and service options offered by the OptiPlex.

Find the best price