The compact Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny's standout feature is its small size (for a desktop PC) and easy portability, but how good a machine can come in such a small package?

The Windows 7 Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny model we've found configured for sale in the UK costs only around £1,000 and yet carries an Intel Core i7 (3rd Gen) 3770/3.4GHz dual-core Ivy Bridge CPU that runs at a standard 3.4GHz, and boosts to 3.9GHz with Intel's Max Turbo Frequency. The system's 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM helps give the little box a bit of processing power. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny isn't yet featured on the Lenovo UK site, but it is available from resellers. See also: Group test: what's the best all-in-one PC?

Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny: Performance

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny we tested had an Intel Core i5-3470T dual-core Ivy Bridge CPU that runs at a standard 2.9GHz, and earned a mark of 95 in our WorldBench 7 benchmarking suite. Expect more from the i7 system.

This result indicates that the Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny runs about 5 percent slower than our baseline system, a fully equipped desktop PC configured with a discrete graphics card. Achieving so similar a score with a package that measures just 338x385x100mm is an impressive feat.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny packs a 500GB hard drive that runs at 7200rpm. To help you speed things up further, Lenovo provides four USB 3.0 ports - two on the front and two on the back. A single USB 2.0 on the system itself is typically dedicated to connecting the optical drive. But you don't have to worry about using the port for that purpose, since the optical drive has two USB 2.0 ports on it, yielding a net gain in ports when you connect the component.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny's optical drive - a standard DVD+R DL RW - is built into a tiny chassis where you dock the system. A Blu-ray drive would have been a welcome alternative to help push the system into media machine territory, but it would also have raised the system's price. On the underside of the case is a fixture that lets you attach the system to a wall or to a special monitor that Lenovo sells, turning it into an all-in-one-style desktop.

This is by no means a gaming machine. Intel's integrated HD graphics 2500 helps keep the system compact, but it also provides poor 3D graphics performance. On our graphics-intensive test games, run at high settings and the PC's maximum resolution of 1680 by 1050 pixels, the M92P struggled to generate 12.8 frames per second on Dirt 3 and a 5.2 fps on Crysis 2. This is nowhere near a playable frame rate unless you enjoy the idea of playing in slideshow motion. Even with the graphics settings lowered and the resolution dialed back to 1024 by 768 pixels, the system managed just 37.9 fps on Dirt 3 and 15.4 fps on Crysis 2.

Lenovo has done its best to ensure that this little system can stay on as long as you want it to, with proper cooling and energy efficiency. Lenovo's ICE (Intelligent Cooling Engine) feature keeps the system cool by monitoring key components in real time and providing optimum power to the fans at the right time. The M92P is also Energy Star 5.2 Certified, meaning that the machine is about as green as it can be.

Among the other ports that Lenovo included with the system are DisplayPort, VGA, gigabit ethernet, and the basic headphone/microphone jack. Unfortunately the M92P is not Wi-Fi ready out of the box, so you'll have to tack on a PCI Wi-Fi adapter. I was surprised at the lack of HDMI and stereo ports to support easy hookup to an HDTV. The machine's size would make it appealing as a media streamer, but needed ports just aren't there.

The ThinkCentre M92P vastly improves on Lenovo's most recent previous compact entry, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180. That machine managed a puny score of 38 on WorldBench 7, likely because of its Intel Atom D2700 processor.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny: Specs

  • [Model available in UK at press time] Intel Core i7 (3rd Gen) 3770/3.4GHz
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Max Turbo Speed: 3.9 GHz
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
  • 500GB Serial ATA-600 7200rpm
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • integrated High Definition Audio
  • Mouse, keyboard
  • Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet
  • 338x385x100mm
  • 7.5kg
  • [Model available in UK at press time] Intel Core i7 (3rd Gen) 3770/3.4GHz
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Max Turbo Speed: 3.9 GHz
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
  • 500GB Serial ATA-600 7200rpm
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • integrated High Definition Audio
  • Mouse, keyboard
  • Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet
  • 338x385x100mm
  • 7.5kg

OUR VERDICT

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P Tiny offers impressive processor power in a tiny package, but is caught between aspiring to be a full-fledged desktop and trying to be a high-quality media machine. Unfortunately, the lack of a Blu-ray drive, HDMI, stereo output, and especially Wi-Fi handicaps it in pursuing the latter goal. Charging a bit more money and equipping it to deliver on a specific function would have enabled the system to mkr a stronger argument for itself in the compact market. Still, its appeal to business users is undeniable.

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