Plenty of Performance for Business
However you can’t upgrade the IdeaCentre B540’s processor and graphics subsystem post-purchase, so choose wisely at the onset. (If you’re the type who likes to open the case a few years after purchase and swap in faster components, then a business desktop, not an all-in-one, is the machine for you.). The B540 we tested came equipped with an Intel Core i3 CPU and integrated Intel HD graphics chip. The Core i3 CPU should prove fine for most business needs, the exception being heavy image- and video-editing.
The integrated graphics chip can handle typical Windows screen-drawing tasks, but it won’t let you use the B540 for intense 3D gaming when work is done. If you do have the need, you can choose models with a Core i5 CPU and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 615 graphics engine.
Figure 3: The left edge of the IdeaCentre B540 houses two USB ports, a memory card reader, and headphone and mic jacks that are all easy to access.
Lenovo preloads the IdeaCentre B540 with Rescue System 3.0, a utility that can help you back up the system and return it to a previous state should software/OS problems arise. You also get PowerDVD 10 (by CyberLink) for music, video, and DVD playback, along with CyberLink’s Power2Go for creating DVD and CD discs. That software even supports writing data Blu-ray discs should you decide to connect an external BD burner. You also get a 30-day trial for McAfee Internet Security and a trial for Microsoft Office 2010.
The All-in-One Cost
Pricing for the IdeaCentre B540 starts at $749, although that's for a model that does not have a touch screen. Since touch is so essential for the Windows 8 experience—and this 23-inch screen begs to be touched—we recommend stepping up to a model with the touch screen. Best Buy has an exclusive configuration for $899 with the touch screen, a Core i3 CPU, integrated Intel graphics and a 1TB hard drive. If you don’t mind spending upwards of $1,100 you can go directly to Lenovo’s site to up the ante to a Core i5 processor, Nvidia graphics, 2TB drive, and a Blu-ray optical drive.
Granted, you pay a premium for the all-in-one design. You can get a mini-tower PC with similar performance specs for $400 to $600, and add a large monitor for another $200 or so. But then you’re stuck looking at a mini-tower PC for the next 5 years. The IdeaCentre B540 is easy to setup and use now, and will still be easy on the eyes for years to come.
Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.
|Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!|