Affordable, Small Form Factor Workstation
It’s not often that I get a chance to review a small form factor workstation, because I’m usually running mega-machines through their paces. Indeed, I was amazed when I got the box and could actually carry it without fear of a visit to the chiropractor to straighten out my back—again.
Needless to say, the Lenovo ThinkStation E32 SFF with its small form factor was easy to place on my desktop, but I did have some concerns that it wouldn’t be the professional workstation I’d hoped for. Well, it didn’t take long to make me a believer! While the E32 won’t compete with the mega-machines for animation or video, it’s more than adequate for your day-to-day Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and graphic or Web design tasks. The upside is that the ThinkStation E32 saves a ton of space and doesn’t turn your office into a sauna, as larger workstations do.
But that’s not what makes this machine special: Its specs are unheard of for this class of computer. The model we tested was loaded with the standard Intel Xeon E3 (3.40-GHz) processor and optional 8 GB of memory (4 GB is standard), which makes this a very fast machine right out of the box. Pair that up with the optional NVIDIA Quadro K600 graphics card and a 1 TB hard drive, and you have a potent combination that will have you blasting through your projects in no time.
Another great feature is that this combination is ISV (independent software vendor) certified for programs such as AutoCAD that, in turn, gives it all the power you need for the Creative Suite/Cloud programs. In addition, the E32 provides more functionality with four USB 2s, four USB 3s, and a display port—a ton of ports for your peripherals.
To put the Lenovo ThinkStation E32 through its paces, I used it to import a recent shoot of approximately 700 photos into Adobe Lightroom. The import was quick and effortless, with about the same speed as my workhorse machine. That alone was impressive. In Photoshop, I was able to maneuver easily through files that had more than 70 layers, as well as video. I won’t bore you with the numbers, but the benchmarks rival that of machines that cost twice the price of the E32. Basically, I was able to work without hesitation, and this small form factor was more bang for the buck than I expected.
And that brings us to one of the best features of the Lenovo ThinkStation E32: the price! At around $1,100 for the workstation I tested, it’s a bargain. If you’re in the market for a powerful, small form factor machine, this is the one for you. Heck, even if your work doesn’t include intense projects, and you’re looking for a new machine, this may be a perfect solution for you, so check it out.
Once again, there’s not enough space in one page to really explore the possibilities of the E32, but you definitely owe it to yourself to check it out, as it’s more than worth the price.
Price: From $809 ($1,149 as tested)
Hot: Price; small form factor; Xeon and optional NVIDIA power