Tag : performance

Review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z

Are you looking for a top rated, middle of the road desktop for your offices? The Lenovo ThinkCentre M71z may be just what you need. With a touch screen 20 inch widescreen monitor at $917 direct, this PC is perfect for your mainline workers — the ones that manage projects, file and search data, or deal with your clients on a day-to-day basis. While less flashy then some other all-in-one PC’s such as the HP Compaq 8200 Elite or the Apple iMac 21.5 inch, it is definitely the biggest bang for your buck.

The desktop will blend seamlessly into your offices and while you should still supply a keyboard and mouse because of the vertical screen, the touch monitor is great for zooming in and out of photos, rotate online interfaces, and use swipe commands on the internet. The screen however isn’t the best for resolution. While still sufficient for clerical and mainline office workers, it’s not going to be ideal for digital artists who use their fingers as digital paintbrushes.

With two USB 2.0 ports, a media card reader, and audio jacks are on the left side; a tray-loading DVD drive on the right side; and a power button, drive light, and +/- on screen controls (brightness, etc.) on the front. The system’s forward-firing speakers are below the screen on the front panel as well. In the back, there are four more USB 2.0 ports, a standard 3-pin power jack, Ethernet, serial port (for older peripherals like bar code scanners), a Display Port-out port, a Kensington lock port, and a handle. The handle and power jack make things easier for your IT workers: the handle makes the system easy to transport, and the standard power port means that you don’t have to keep track of external power supplies (aka power bricks): you can just use the standard power cables used by tower desktops. If you have a 802.11 b/g/n wireless network, the M71z will connect to it easily. It would’ve been nice to see a Display Port-in or HDMI-in port, so you can reuse the M71z’s monitor with a future laptop or desktop when the M71z’s internal finally become too slow, but the DisplayPort-out is still useful. The DisplayPort-out port lets you use the system in a dual-monitor setup.

Performance wise the ThinkCentre M71z is very good as well—the ThinkCentre M71z’s 2,134 points on PCMark 7 beats the EC winning HP TouchSmart 320-1030 ($699.99 list), which got a lower 1,825 point score. The recently reviewed HP Compaq 8200 Elite and not so recently reviewed iMac 21.5-inch (Thunderbolt) are both quite a bit faster than these systems, but then again both the HP and iMac are significantly over $1,000.

The combination of price, capabilities, and corporate credibility earn the Thinkcentre M71z our Editors’ Choice award for all-in-one business desktops. Its features, performance, and price are excellent. This is the system we’d buy if we were outfitting an office with clerical level desktop PCs.

Kaspersky-AV (anti-virus) Product of the Year

Throughout the year AV-Comparatives.org tests security products in a variety of ways. Each product that passes a test receives at least a standard rating. Those that perform better than most but still have areas needing work get an advanced rating, and the very best receive the rating advanced+. At the end of the year, the company reports on all tests and names a product of the year. This year Kaspersky took that honor.

How They Test
In the on-demand test researchers scan hundreds of thousands of malware samples and note what percentage each product eliminates. The retrospective test is similar, but by forcing each product to use old virus definitions it emulates proactive detection of zero-day threats. The whole product dynamic test challenges each product to resist infection by hundreds of active threats over a period of weeks. The performance test measures how much impact each product has on system performance.

AV-Comparatives runs those four tests twice each year. This year saw the introduction of a new removal test. Researchers gathered a collection of threats that had been detected by every tested product for at least six months and then challenged each product to fully remove those threats. After all the testing, Kaspersky came out on top!

Reliable Back Up and Setting Correct Expectations

Over the last five years I have seen a more passive approach to back up and disaster recovery.  Organizations are letting their data reliability take a back seat to system up-time and performance which is starting to become scary.  I typically ask CEO’s and owners what an acceptable amount of downtime for their business and they all reference about 2 to 4 hours.  It always amazes me, these types of expectations people in power have about how quickly their systems can get back up.  Never taken into account is how long it takes to build their new system as well as the time consuming process of moving data from one location to another.  It is something that is always over-looked in normal system installations.  Many businesses out there feel that their system can be up in 4 to 5 hours and typically when we review and assess a small to medium size business, we find that the average rebuild time for a single server that has a disaster is roughly 10 hours.  Of course the 10 hours for a single server consists of:

  • server build via operating system install and patching
  • application set up and configuration
  • shares/drive set up
  • data migration
  • testing and validation

It is very important to build and structure a network system that can facilitate an agreed level of downtime.  In other words, if management decides that the network can only be down for 4 hours, no matter what time of the day it might be, that will drive a completely different back up system and methodology then if bva is told that 12 hours is satisfactory from 8am to 5pm on weekdays.  Documenting the process and timeline for bring back up the system is critical and imperative.

Many businesses are looking to move their data into the cloud and normally referenced to bva that it is a cheaper alternative to onsite back up, but I can tell you that is not the case.  Moving the data offsite in a reliable and consistent manner can be a bit tricky depending on the solution.  For the solution to thrive, you need a reliable telco provider such as fiber as well as a stable power grid.  Depending on the solution, data roughly can cost $4 to $12 per gigabit (GB) depending on the compliance standard set forth for data retention.  (30 days, 12 months, 5 years, 7 years)  There are several great softwares out there that can be loaded on any server and completely hardware agnostic.  This software drives the back up job and can point it to any iSCSI target. This software can also move the data offsite to any destination you prefer and typically the software you select will provide that option via several data centers.  Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and even Apple are a few that have gotten in this business and will continue to grow and large back up solution providers.

HP Touchscreen Is Impressive – TouchSmart 310

I had a client here recently request a notebook that they needed to be a touchscreen for their sales people via purchase orders and presentations.  We did some research and found some cool products that could fit their needs.  As a consulting firm its crucial that we look at all alternatives.  BVA does not always have the capability of trying out first hand all the models available but in many cases free test models are provided.  The HP TouchSmart 310-1000z pushes touchscreen use to the next level. This is the fourth version of  HP’s touchscreen technology.  The TouchSmart 310 retails for $1,159.  HP is normally pretty good about providing test models to lab with, such as HP, DELL, and Motorola.   The all-in-one touchscreen desktops fourth version of the TouchSmart interface intelligently replaces the vanilla Windows 7 interface with a touch-oriented playground that finally shows normal people what you can do with touchscreens on a PC.  While a base version of the TouchSmart 310 can start as low as $700, this upgraded version hits the sweet spot between savings and performance. The unit has a black plastic design with a speaker bar beneath a 16 by 9 screen and a webcam above the screen.  The 310 breaks a little from tradition by providing a shelf under the screen to store the wireless keyboard. The system has a good tilt mechanism, so you can find a comfortable position while computing.  The computer has a 20-inch widescreen with a 1,600-by-900 resolution.  The desktop comes with a 1TB, 7,200-rpm drive, which is great for downloading. Live TV is integrated into the system’s Windows 7 Media Center software.

New Samsung Galaxy Tab Unit – T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s has come out with their first Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  It is a good piece of hardware, but it doesn’t have enough great apps to be compelling.  It’s hard to compete with other units like it for a variety of reasons, I feel not having enough apps is the largest one.  The iPad makes it difficult to set itself aside from the others.  Sprint also has its own version that actually came out two weeks ago, but just last week had the chance to play with this version.  Both are part of the same line of device and make up the first true tablet competitors to the iPad. I will say this, this unit is sort of a new breed, because unlike the iPad, they’re truly small and light enough to be used on the go. In any case, they’re well built and worth watching, though they need more custom apps to be truly useful.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab is about $399-$599. After playing with the unit I feel that the speed is great, nice camera that takes good pictures, and overall great performance.

This unit has 16GB of internal storage plus a memory card slot and the T-Mobile’s 3G network is very fast and reliable which is key.  The Galaxy Tab can’t hit T-Mobile’s maximum HSPA+ speeds of 7Mbps, but its got a healthy 2Mbps on the Galaxy Tab’s HSPA 7.2 modem using the Ookla speed test app. The device also has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and it had no trouble connecting to our WPA2 protected network. There’s no Wi-Fi sharing mode, though, but there’s a USB tethering mode.  Looking over the web reports it is documented that some people have achieved 7.0 hours of video playback time, with screen brightness set to automatic.  The battery life for the galaxy is shorter than the iPad’s battery life, but Apple’s tablet is larger, thus the larger battery.  The Galaxy Tab model runs on Android 2.2. But here’s the biggest problem with the Tab: there is currently one good app for Android tablets. It is the new Wall Street Journal app, and it’s just beautiful, with a ‘virtual newspaper’ look and feel that is far easier and more fun to read than, say, the New York Times’ or the AP’s list format.  It is reported that more apps are coming, but who really knows when that is happening.

Device Specifications
Screen Size- 7 inches
Storage Capacity- 16 GB
Dimensions- 7.48 x 4.74 x 0.7 inches
Weight- 13.4 oz
Networking Options- 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 3G
Email Access- Dedicated email app