Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small
Specification and Review
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small was first released in 2012. Although more than five years old, this model is still a viable option for home and office use. You can even turn this PC into a gaming machine with a proper GPU upgrade.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small is a Desktop form factor computer. The Desktop form factor, just like the Tower, comes with 4x PCIe slots but low profile ones. Often manufacturers will use the same motherboard as the Mini Tower model. Usually Desktop form factor PC will have the same height as a Tower but with a lower profile.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small supports Gen3 Intel Core technology. The 3rd gen Intel Core CPUs have the code name Ivy Bridge. They use a 22nm manufacturing process developed by Intel. Here the maximum number of core are 6 with i7 processor. Desktops model use either the LGA 1155 or the LGA 2011 sockets and DDR3-1333 to DDR3-1600 RAM. CPUs often used with this model are Core i3 3220, Core i5 3470, and Core i7 3770.
A RAM slot (also called memory socket) is where RAM memory sticks are inserted into the computer. Most desktops will have two to four slots. This model has 2 RAM slots. It should be more than enough for most users. For those who need extra flexibility and RAM size you, go for 4 RAM slots and more.
Faster RAM speeds permit your processor to access the data stored in the RAM memory faster. This is important for the overall speed of your system. The motherboard of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small supports RAM speeds of up to 1600 MT/s. In case you want faster RAM speeds, you will need to upgrade your system with a newer generation one.
Size of the RAM is another important parameter. It is important not to run out of RAM memory during everyday work. If this happens often, you may see significant drop in performance. For everyday work and light gaming we recommend 8GB of RAM. For everything else, go for 16GB and more. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small supports a maximum of 16 GB of RAM.
Ports are something important that people should pay more attention to. For example, if you don't have enough USB ports, using external devices becomes problematic. Before buying, considering your use case and plann for extension ports in advance.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small comes with 6 USB ports in total. Having more USB ports is always better, but also pay attention to the version of those USB ports. Higher version of USBs support faster transfer speeds. Unfortunately, this model doesn't come with a USB 3.1 port. If you need a faster connection for your peripherals, like external Solid State Drive, you will need to choose another model.
DisplayPort (DP) is crucial for any desktop machine as it allows you to connect external monitors. It is unfortunate to see that the Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small doesn't have one. Check out the HDMI section and make sure that you are at least getting an HDMI port - a good substitution for the DP.
HDMI port is another digital video port which allows you to connect external monitors. It has very similar capabilities to the DisplayPort with few exceptions. However, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small doesn't have one. It is not a problem if there is a DisplayPort is available.
SATA slots are located on the system board and it is where HDD, SSD and Optical Disk Drives are connected. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small comes with 240 SATA slot(s). Keep in mind that having too few SATA slots might restrict your options for connecting additional memory drives. Think about your use case and decide if the SATA slots provided by this model will be sufficient.
The M.2 SSD interface allows you to transfer data with higher speeds compared to the old SATA interface. Sometimes the M.2 interface will be 5 times faster or more. Unfortunately, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small doesn't come with one and you will need to rely on the good old SATA.
Side note: It is good if the available M.2 slots support the PCIe/NVMe interface. Sometimes the M.2 slot will only support the inferior SATA III interface. For comparison, the SATA III has max speeds of 6Gb/s, while the PCIe 3.0 x4 can go as high as 32Gb/s!
Having a PSU (Power Supply Unit) with high power rating is important, especially if you are going to use components, like dedicated GPU and additional HDD, which require extra power. The Lenovo ThinkCentre M72e Small comes with a 240 Watt PSU. Deciding if this will be enough depends on your specific requirements and use. Please also pay attention as some models might have more than one PSU option. Whenever possible, get the most powerful one as it might make future upgrades easier.