The mark of a great business desktop computer is its ability to expand with your business to ensure your business runs smoothly at all times, which defines the Lenovo ThinkStation P500. The base memory and hard drive are below average, but the upgradable features are extensive. If our review focused on what a business computer could be with all the upgrades, then this desktop would be among the best business computers available. It doesn't matter if your business is a simple donut shop or a 3D rendering architecture firm, you can customize the P500 to fit your needs. Not many business computers are this moldable. However, the base model, which starts at about $1,200, is on the low end of the performance spectrum.
The most important feature of any computer is the processor, so to evaluate the business computers in our review, we started by assessing the CPU. We used the PassMark score, which is an industry benchmarking score of processors, to gauge performance. Then we considered the installed memory and storage. Lastly, we looked at the connectivity and expansion potential, which is where the ThinkStation P500 excels.
With an Intel Core Xeon E5-1607 v3 processor installed with the base model, the Lenovo ThinkStation P500 has passable but not impressive processing abilities. This processor has a PassMark score of 6,736, which is slightly above the 6,000 minimum score for a passable processor for multitasking. For comparison, the best processor in our review has a PassMark score of 11,000. When you consider that a 3,000 difference in a score is generally considered to reflect an exponential increase in processing power, this processor simply doesn't compare.
However, prior to purchase, you have 12 CPU options, with the best processor being the Intel Core Xeon E5-2643 v3, which has a PassMark score over 13,000. So you can definitely improve the processor, so long as you can afford it. This processor nearly triples the cost of the entire computer.
For memory, the Lenovo ThinkStation P500 starts with only 4GB, which is below average. While this is plenty of RAM to run simple business apps like Microsoft Word or Excel, it doesn't give you a lot of room for running multiple apps at once. It's certainly not enough memory for data-intensive apps. However, like the processor, you can upgrade the memory to meet your needs. For comparison, the standard is 8GB of memory while the best business computer comes with 16GB.
The P500's base model comes with a 500-GB hard drive, which is also below the 1TB standard. The base 500GB hard drive is sufficient for years of documents, but it isn't enough storage if you often deal with audio, video and graphics files. You can upgrade the hard drive to 4TB, and you can add as many as four hard drives.
As has been pointed out, the Lenovo ThinkStation P500's ability to expand with your business is its greatest value. It's designed for packing on muscle. It comes with four internal drive bays and two external drive bays. The motherboard includes six expansion slots, the most of any business computer we reviewed. In addition, the power supply unit comes with 490 watts and can be upgraded to 650 watts. If you choose the best upgradeable option for each component, you’d have a computer worth over $55,000 and capable of easily handling movie-level effects and graphics software.
Lenovo has an extensive support system that offers 24/7 online customer service, which includes remote diagnosis, accidental damage protection, asset-recovery services, online data backup and on-site support. The warranty starts at three years, but you can upgrade it to five years. Even if you have an issue with your computer at 4 a.m., you can have the issue remotely diagnosed and possibly fixed by a Lenovo tech support associate. Lenovo sends a technician to your business if components need to be replaced or fixed.
The Lenovo ThinkStation P500 is one of the most customizable business computers on the market, which makes it extremely valuable, because it can evolve with your business. The Intel Xeon processor doesn't have a great PassMark score, but it's sufficient for most small businesses. The expansion features are exceptional, but the base model only has 4GB of memory and a 500-GB hard drive, which is below average.