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Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

IBM or Lenovo Desktops, Workstations, ThinkStations, etc. Recent vintage, hardware/software..
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felixgogo
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Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Hong Kong

Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#1 Post by felixgogo » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:05 am

Hi,

I would welcome your advice. I currently run a Z61t 1.8G Core Duo machine with an Intel X25M SSD as my main desktop machine in an advanced dock. I am sold totally on a multi-monitor set-up and the increase in productivity this brings. I have tried to extend the Z61t to support this, but unfortunately I purchased the model that does not support DVI, so I can only connect one analog external monitor, so I presently have two additional usb connected monitors (using the Lenovo USB to DVI convertors) to give me three external and the laptop screen. All is well, but I want to run the laptop closed, and force the main screen with the start button to one of the 3 external monitors. Every time I try this the USB monitors go crazy, flashing and redrawing.

After consideration, I think I have extended the Z61t beyond it's capabilities, and as it spends all its time on the desk, I want to upgrade to a desktop and gain more power, and a bit of space!

I use Photoshop, Visio, Powerpoint and multiple browser windows open at the same time to 'create' and work. So the new machine must be capable of running multiple application / windows at once. All this is 2D work.

I am considering the S20 Thinkstation, and using this to drive my 3 L197 monitors, these models have analog and DVI but not displayport. I am not sure about the issues with additional display cards to allow 3 monitors. I do not, nor will, use the system for gaming.

Also in my sights is a M58p tower system, with a Quad processor. I have an unused Nvidia NX 555 display card, which would be nice to utilise.

So, finally(!) to my question. Will the M58p at around 1/3 of the price for a mid-low specced S20 be considerably slower?

Whichever machine I finally choose I would like to use a new Intel X25 G2 SSD as the main drive, and I would strongly prefer XP as the OS.

Any guidance about which machine to go for?
Z61t with Intel X25M 80GB
X200s
X61
X60
X60s with 32GB Mtron 7000
X100e

felixgogo
Freshman Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#2 Post by felixgogo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:45 am

Further Info:

S20 Thinkstation - Intel Xeon E5504 Processor ( 2.00GHz 800MHz 4MB )

M58p ThinkCentre - Intel Core2 Quad Q8400 (2.66GHz 1333Mhz 4MB)
Z61t with Intel X25M 80GB
X200s
X61
X60
X60s with 32GB Mtron 7000
X100e

felixgogo
Freshman Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#3 Post by felixgogo » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:28 am

After having another go at running the Z61t in lid closed, with the external monitor as the main monitor, I have been successful! Now both USB connected monitors are working. L2251 as main external monitor, two L197 as left and right. Very sweet!!

The Z61t is running this fine - the flashing issue has not occurred again.

However, I have decided to look at the new E20 Thinkstation, this is just about to come out and sounds perfect for me.
Z61t with Intel X25M 80GB
X200s
X61
X60
X60s with 32GB Mtron 7000
X100e

erik
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Location: United States

Re: Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#4 Post by erik » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:14 pm

unless you're performing extremely processor-intensive tasks, any of the above will work great.   the "speed" will come from your SSD since the storage device is the biggest bottleneck in any system.

if it meets your specs, my recommendation would be an E20.   thinkstations run very quiet and are solidly built.   it's hard to go wrong with them. :)
ThinkStation P700 | ThinkPad P40 · 600

felixgogo
Freshman Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#5 Post by felixgogo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:07 pm

Thanks Erik.

The Z61t has continued to play up. I am suspecting a heat issue, as it works some of the time, but then after working for a while it gets 'crabby' and starts flicking between CPU 1% and 100%, the mouse flicking to the centre of the screen preventing any selections - and the only way to recover is hard undock and force a reset by removing the battery. Then a reboot only works 50% of the time. Yuck.

A desktop seems to be in order. I had come to the same conclusion, the new E20 looks excellent, as soon as they are available on the Hong Kong website - I will place an order.

Thank you for your advice.
Z61t with Intel X25M 80GB
X200s
X61
X60
X60s with 32GB Mtron 7000
X100e

ducky2802
Junior Member
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Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:16 am
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#6 Post by ducky2802 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:52 pm

the S20 is AWESOME! With an SSD main drive, it also is very quiet (much less noisy than most dell workstations I use at work).

Lenovo sells the displayport to DVI adaptor. They work ok, but I sometimes have an issue with the "digital" side of things. As in: multimonitor setup, what happens if I turn 1 monitor off? The gpu detects the monitor is off and attempts to readjust the desktop to the new resolution. Sure, I can take care of the problem by never turning off my screens and letting them go into suspend with the computer, but still kinda bugs me. DVI to VGA adaptors dont have the problem, and I can turn off/on the monitors however I wish with no adjustments. Oh, and dont use the displayport-VGA adaptors. They frequently get an error and you have to unplug and replug in (and hope it remembered your last configuration).

S20 lets you install 2 pci x16 GPUs and comes with the powersupply (680W if I remember right) to handle two intermediate gpus just fine. Front honeycomb bezel is easily removed for installing an air-conditioning filter to keep the inside of the machine nice and clean.

Thinkcentre and E20 I think only have 1 pci x16. I dont know if the other lanes are pci x16 form factors at reduced speed or not.

Oh, and if you do use 3 monitors, its a worthwhile upgrade to buy a 4th and install above/below the 3 main displays for use as a folder directory window/toolbars, etc with the other 3 doing the most visual stuff.

felixgogo
Freshman Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#7 Post by felixgogo » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:58 am

Well, buying from Lenovo is sure not easy! Although I have been hovering on the website, waiting for the E20 to become available, it seems not be so from Hong Kong. When I weakened and called Lenovo HK, they said 'What - the E20 is available - we haven't got around to putting it on the website yet..... :evil:

So I try to order over the phone, no deal - it has to be a reseller...who after waiting 3 days for them to call me, I found out the local office number, called in and they promise to call back.... Still waiting.....

So - to the point - the question the reseller could not answer....

I am planning to get a E20 4220 RZ8 - i5 650 CPU, FX580 Nvidia video card. Poring over the specs, 'I think' the motherboard and CPU support integrated graphics for monitor one, and the FX 580 will drive the second and third monitor. All without using a USB-DVI adaptor (See http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkVision ... d-p/213346) for that tale of woe.

But I am not sure to be honest - but happy to risk it, if the machine can support 2 direct monitors, VGA, DVI, DP - I don't care, then the USB-DVI can drive the third one, as this should work, it's the second USB-DVI that causes the issues (I have since found out that this is a known unsolved DisplayLink issue with XP)

If anyone can shed any light....
Z61t with Intel X25M 80GB
X200s
X61
X60
X60s with 32GB Mtron 7000
X100e

felixgogo
Freshman Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Move to Thinkstation or ThinkCentre?

#8 Post by felixgogo » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:26 am

Well, As noted the Displaylink problem is a known issue with XP, it can only run one screen, the second Displaylink casues the PC to go unstable. As I have found!

I have ordered a i5 E20 Thinkstation, as I think this model can run 3 screens out of the box. Just need to 'downgrade' it to XP when it arrives.
Z61t with Intel X25M 80GB
X200s
X61
X60
X60s with 32GB Mtron 7000
X100e

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