Lenovo Unveils Green Supercomputer Desktops


Lenovo unveils new ThinkStation S20 and D20 desktops, which the company is billing as personal “supercomputers”

Lenovo has announced two new ThinkStation desktops, the S20 and D20, which the PC maker is billing as personal “supercomputers” that are specifically tailored for digital designers, geophysicists or anyone dealing with enormous files and data.

“An engineering team in the oil and gas industry, they’re working with massive sets of seismic data, looking at, ‘Where do we drill?’” said Lenovo’s Jon Heim in an interview with eWEEK.

Before, Heim said, “they would have needed to buy time on a supercomputer and wait for results. … Now, you can do this in-house, on your own time, faster and cheaper. It’s a great time to be a workstation user.”

The ThinkStation S20 and D20 come with choices of the Intel “Nehalem” Xeon processors 5500 and W3500—also in the new Apple Mac Pro—and optional Intel Turbo Boost technology.

Users can also include the Nvidia Quadro line of professional graphics cards or optional ATI FirePro graphics.

Both ThinkStations meet Energy Star 5.0 criteria, and Lenovo has taken its “green” initiatives a step further, using 50 percent recycled content—30 percent of which is from post-consumer waste, likely recycled plastic water bottles.

The machines are also Greenguard certified, meaning they meet tests against chemical off-gassing.

Lenovo’s Heim said the company is also proud of the design details, saying ergonomics were taken into account with the handle; each system has an illuminated front, so ports can be seen in the dark; and an included latch makes repairs easier. The S20 and D20 are also quieter than past machines—which he said were already “nearly silent.”

Heim said there was a pleasure in designing for the savvy users of ThinkStations.

“A general PC user may not realize how much work [is involved],” said Heim. “But a designer or engineer can appreciate the work that goes into these devices.”

The S20 and D20 retail for $1,070 (£732) and $1550, respectively. Exact UK pricing and availability was not available at time of writing.

A ThinkStation D Series is the power behind another new Lenovo offering, the eLounge, which is a virtual shopping and interactive experience built on the Unreal Engine from Epic Games.

To enter the eLounge, software is downloaded at the eLounge site; once installed and relaunched, users create an avatar with which to engage the eLounge world, interacting in real time with other customers and sales representatives.

Ajit Sivadasan, vice president of global e-ecommerce, said the idea came about as a way of more naturally conveying product information, particularly very technical ones. Soon it became clear, though, that there were all kinds of opportunities for the eLounge.

For example, Lenovo and Microsoft created a W700 “photo laptop” together, which has attracted both professional and amateur photographers, Sivadasan said. “We created an experience [in eLounge] for amateurs to interact with professional photographers, look at photos and have an online meeting. We can send out an e-mail to a few thousand people and say, ‘We’re going to have this conversation at this time,’” said Sivadasan.

“It’s the next best thing to being face to face in a room.”

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