Lenovo adds remote power management to new ThinkCentre line

New M58 and M58p desktops have earned EPEAT Gold, promise higher energy efficiency than predecessors

Lenovo today announced a new line of desktop computers, the ThinkCentre M58 and M58p, that boast some notable green credentials.

The feature I find most interesting is called Power Manager. It enables IT admins to monitor and remotely control the amount of electricity used by all Power Manager-enabled desktops in a PC fleet. For example, PCs can be programmed to shut down evenings and weekends -- or more often, depending on the employee's usage profile.

According to Dilip Bhatia, executive director of global desktop marketing at Lenovo, the systems are also quite energy efficient. "Compared to systems customers bought three or four years ago, they will enjoy new savings because of advances in energy efficiency. Customers can save 40 dollars per year buying the new systems," he says.

Those energy savings come from more efficient components such as power supplies, chipsets, and processors.

Speaking of power supplies, the new ThinkCentre optionally comes with an optional Energy Star-compliant external power supply, rated at 80 percent efficiency. That comes at a premium, however. (Lenovo's not the first to charge extra for more energy-efficient power supplies. I know HP does the same.)

[ Read about whether green IT premiums are worth the cost. ]

The ThinkCentre M58/M58p has also earned an EPEAT Gold rating, which means it complies with Energy Star 4.0 and the EU's ROHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) -- not to mention meeting several other green criteria.

Additionally, the M58/M58p has passed the testing of GreenGuard Environmental Institute, which probes machines for the presence of up to 2,000 potentially harmful contaminants, in addition to the GreenGuard Test, the Certification for Children and Schools, which takes into account children's higher sensitivity to pollutants.

Lenovo, like other vendors, is still struggling to remove all hazardous materials from its wares. For example, according to Bhatia, the company is trying to find ways to build desktop systems that contain no PVCs and BFRs (a feat Apple has achieved with its line of MacBook laptops). "We're constantly working with suppliers to understand what are they doing to get rid of those PVC and BFR components. Eventually in a year or two, we'll start to see major vendors getting rid of all harmful components," he says.

The ThinkCentre M58/M58p is quieter and cooler than any previous ThinkCentre PCs: across all form factors; it is up to six decibels quieter than the ThinkCentre M57/M57p, and the hard drive and processor power module run 6 and 11 percent cooler, respectively, than the M57/M57p.

Packaging for the ThinkCentre is 100 percent recyclable, according to Bhatia; it's also designed to be stackable for easier maintenance and disposal.

The ThinkCentre M58/M58p desktop starts at $499 and is available for immediately in Tower and Small Form Factor versions. The ThinkCentre M58/M58p Ultra Small Form Factor will be available in December.