Lenovo Unveils 64-Bit, Dual-Core PCs &#151 What’s It Mean?

Lenovo, the Chinese company that acquired IBM’s desktop and notebook business, today announced its first desktop PCs since the deal went down. Eager to show the world that its products, quality, service and support remain essentially unchanged, Lenovo unveiled the ThinkCentre M52 and ThinkCentre A52, which both feature new 64-bit, dual-core processing capability.

But given that there aren’t any 64-bit applications yet that can take advantage of the new processors, will small businesses bite or wait to take the bait?

According to Dilip Bhatia, a program director and manager at Lenovo, the company is aiming the M-Series desktops at large enterprises, while the A-Series is designed for the small-to-medium business.

Leading off for the A-Series is the ThinkCentre A52, which is designed to conform to Intel’s Professional Business Platform — meaning systems will include Intel’s high-end 954G chipset and the latest processors. That includes the previously mentioned dual-core processing, which is designed to handle demanding tasks such as medical imaging, high-end video or graphics editing and statistical computations.

It can also handle heavy multi-tasking without impacting the application you’re currently using, according to Lenovo. An example of this would be burning DVDs while reading e-mail or working on an Excel spreadsheet.

The 64-bit processing won’t make your every day applications — such as Word or Internet Explorer — run any faster. It could prove useful if your business involves searching massive databases or performing scientific research — or anything that requires loading huge amounts of data into the PC’s system memory.

Hardware, Yes. Software, No.
The main issue with 64-bit, dual-core technology is that the only software currently available that can take advantage of the hardware is a version of Microsoft’s XP operating system — Windows XP Pro x64 Edition.

Lenovo’s Bhatia says that the applications are coming. “We expect to see the corporate enterprise stay with single-core processors until dual-core applications start to pick up steam in the second half of next year,” he said.

Still, Bhatia said Lenovo expects that small businesses will fall into the early adopter category, along with gamers and workstation users. “The [hardware] technology is early, but it’s a forward-looking tactic for companies that need the capability and want to invest now, so that they’re ready and deployed when the software arrives,” he said. ”

Why Lenovo?
When asked why small businesses should buy a PC from Lenovo, Bhatia replied, “We offer SMBs solid technology at an excellent price point. When it comes to buying computers, the majority — 80 percent — of the total cost of ownership comes from deploying, connecting and supporting, and disposing of, those computers. All of our PCs come with ThinkVantage Technologies — software tools that help SMBs manage those tasks and reduce those costs. That’s the number one question small businesses ask us. How can you help me control costs?”

ThinkVantage technologies offered on the ThinkCentre A52 include the following:

  • Rescue and Recovery with Antidote Delivery Manager
  • Image Ultra Builder
  • System Migration Assistant
  • Remote Deployment Manager
  • Embedded Security Subsystem
  • Secure Data Disposal

Part of today’s announcement also includes the news that future A-Series systems — not the A52 — will include Intel’s Active Management Technology. That means that even if your PC has crashed and you can’t re-boot the operating system, you’ll still be able to access help sites on the Internet to get your system operational.

Lenovo's ThinkCentre A52

Maximum Power &#151 Featuring the newest 64-bit, dual-core technology, the ThinkCentre A52 may be more powerful than only the most specialized SMBs need.

In addition, Bhatia maintains that although the name has changed, the company’s commitment to quality products and service has not. “Our service has not changed,” he said. “The infrastructure is exactly the same — the same account reps, the same products, services and support. We’re committed to the customers who buy our products and they will continue to see the same quality and service.”

Pricing and Configuration
You can configure the A52 to suit your company’s needs, and Lenovo offers a wide range of upgrades. The systems are also available in tower model systems or a space-saving small form factor design. Pricing for entry-level models starts around $749. Here’s a sample configuration:

  • Model Number: 8168-24U
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 531
  • Memory: 512 MB of PC 4200 DDR2
  • Hard Drive: 40GB Serial ATA
  • Optical Drives: Standard CD ROM
  • Input Devices: USB Optical Wheel Mouse and Preferred Pro full-size keyboard
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home
  • This model also includes a PCI modem and external stereo speakers.

If your business needs are somewhat more advanced, you can upgrade to a system with this type of tech specs:

  • Model Number: 8168-D7U
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 820
  • Memory: 512 MB of PC 4200 DDR2
  • Hard Drive:160 GB Serial ATA.
  • This model also features upgrades such as a dual-layer DVD burner, 128 MB ATI Radeon X700 Pro graphics adapter, 1394 Firewire connection, Windows XP Pro and Preferred Pro Fingerprint keyboard.

Bottom Line: SMB Options
So if your small business requires serious computing power, and you’re the type who likes to stay ahead of the technology curve, you might consider investing in this new technology. But if you don’t fall into this category, you’re still in a great position. You can bet that with the advent of 64-bit processing, the pricing on 32-bit PCs will drop significantly, and you can save yourself a bundle on computers that can easily mange your small business needs.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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