This media transcoding workhorse lacks storage.
Lenovo has gone for a slightly larger form factor with the TS130, inhabiting a microATX tower. This makes it a little too big to hide behind your monitor, but on the flipside the extra room allows for more connectivity options. While pricing starts at around $800, our review sample checked in at $1,260, putting it in the same league as the WD and Acer servers.
Thanks to the larger case, the TS130 provides far greater scope for expansion than the competition... unless you’re talking hard drives. Alongside the dual PCI-E slots are two more legacy PCI slots, and it’s the only server to arrive with a DVD-ROM in place. USB 3.0 is an optional upgrade (delivered courtesy of an add-in card), but the default model ships with eight external USB 2.0 ports.
VGA and DisplayPort out are also included. The 280W power supply is the most powerful in our roundup, with ample energy to make the most of the various expansion slots. However, drive options are incredibly limited for such a large box, with just two 3.5in HDD bays. This is a very strange oversight, and hurts the overall score considerably. Our test unit also arrived with just two 250GB hard drives in RAID 1 mode, considerably less storage than the other servers and again weakening this server’s merits.
Powering this server is another Intel Xeon, in this case the E3-1225 processor, which is slightly less powerful than the Xeon found in the Acer AC100. It’s still a quad core chip, but the maximum Turbo frequency is 3.1GHz instead of the Acer’s AC100 3.3GHz. When combined with the integrated Intel HD Graphics, it’s plenty powerful enough for media transcoding on the fly to multiple clients.
Windows Server 2008 R2 comes pre-installed, suggesting that Lenovo sees this box living in an office environment, and the one-year warranty is standard for this price point. Like the Acer AC100, Intel Active Management Technology 7.0 is included, allowing for a robust set of remote monitoring and configuration options.
On the downside, our file transfer tests left us unconvinced of the TS130’s prowess at managing data transfers across the network. While the write tests were excellent, reading from the server to our test PC showed some very lacklustre speeds, possibly as a result of the hard drives used within.
While we love the ThinkServer’s expansion capabilities, the lack of internal hard drives and bays is a troubling oversight. After all, the first thing most server owners will want to upgrade is the number of drives and with just 500GB of storage it’s an upgrade that will come sooner rather than later in the TS130. Yet with just two bays, owners will need to replace the old drives entirely, which is a waste of old storage.
Special features :
- 2GB DDR3 1333MHz ECC memory
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
- VGA and DisplayPort out
Pros : Excellent expansion options, powerful CPU, strong write performance.
Cons : Only two 3.5in HD bays, just 500GB of storage.
Verdict : 7 out of 10.
Available from Lenovo, retailing for $1,100