Downsizing Never Looked So Good

If you feel like you’re office is getting more crowded by the minute, you’re not alone. According to a recent New York Times article, the average work area has decreased from 227 square feet to somewhere between 150-200 square feet, bringing to mind the old joke: My office is so small, even the mice are hunchbacks.

IBM feels your pain and offers its bantam ThinkCenter S50 as a way to reclaim your office real estate &#151 a boon for any space-strapped small business. The S50 measures just 11×10.2×3.3-inches &#151 eight percent smaller than IBM’s ThinkPad T41 &#151 and weighs a scant 13 pounds.

Form and Function

Size is only one aspect that makes the S50 worthy of your consideration. It also includes the kind of computing power needed to keep small businesses moving.

IBM plans to offer three hardware configurations with Pentium 4 Celeron- based processors ranging from 2.4GHz to 3.2GHz and memory ranging from 128MB to 512MB DDR SDRAM (upgradeable to 2GB maximum).

All three models will include one PCI slot, one slim-line optical drive slot, a 3.5-inch internal hard drive and Intel Pro-1000 Ethernet. External expansion capability includes six USB 2 ports plus the usual serial and parallel ports. Certain models offer Firewire as an option. Note: these configurations include a mouse and keyboard, but no monitor.

Supporting Small Business
Recognizing that supporting hardware is often an issue for small businesses with limited IT resources, IBM designed the components inside the tool-free chassis &#151 such as the hard drive and memory &#151 so the customer can easily remove/replace them, with the intent of limiting the downtime and cost of on-site support.

IBM also plans to ship the S50 with ThinkVantage Technologies that are, according to Fran O’Sullivan general manager of IBM’s personal computing division, “designed to address other everyday office problems, such as viruses, lost data and to reduce time on the phone with the help desk.” These technologies include:

IBM's ThinkCentre S50

Saving Spaces: Seventy-five percent smaller than the average desktop, the IBM ThinkCentre S50 fits in just about anywhere.

  • Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore: a one-button backup and recovery solution that restores previously saved data, settings and applications after a software failure.
  • ImageUltra: Software image management technology designed to help small helps companies lower costs by reducing the number of software images managed by IT departments.
  • Access IBM Button: Onboard resources, diagnostic tools, automated solutions, and links to online updates and service for customers with Internet access.

IBM expects the ThinkCentre S50 to be available in August with prices starting at just under $600.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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