LAS VEGAS--Lenovo's pair of attractive, updated IdeaCentre B-Series all-in-ones add some welcome features. The bigger news is the as-yet unannounced Nvidia graphics chip listed among their specs.
Lenovo lists two systems in this B-Series update, the 23-inch B540 and the 21.5-inch B340. Both feature more streamlined designs than Lenovo's preceding B520 and B320, having lost the overly stylized trim for a clean-looking frameless display.
The new systems also feature an option for Lenovo's OneKey display feature. OneKey lets you use the unit's display to watch devices connected via HDMI without first powering on the PC. Handy.
But among the specs for each new unit, which include options for Intel Core CPUs, Blu-ray drives, and memory (up to 8GB), Lenovo has also specified "up to Nvidia GeForce 615M 1GB graphics." That chip family, the GeForce 600-series, has not yet been announced by Nvidia.
Any scandal here is minimal. Lenovo may have simply crossed its wires on the timing of an imminent Nvidia GPU announcement (perhaps at Nvidia's press conference at 4 p.m. PT on Monday the 9th). Nvidia could also be planning an announcement closer to the June release of these systems, but note its GeForce chips currently lag behind AMD's new Radeon 7000-series that took the 3D speed crown in December.
For the all-in-ones, the design looks appealing, but if the GeForce 615M series is an entry-level chip as the "15" suggests, it looks as if Lenovo is backing off the IdeaCentre B500-series as a true gaming all-in-one. This year's B520 and its midrange GeForce GT 555M was the most 3D capable all-in-one for its price, a distinction that would be hard to sustain with an entry-level graphics chip.
Also notable is the fact that Lenovo hasn't introduced a 27-inch all-in-one to compete with HP's Omni 27, announced last week, or Vizio's forthcoming 27-inch model. I'd be surprised if Lenovo doesn't review that plan.
When the new IdeaCentre B-Series systems launch in June, they will start at $699, presumably for the lowest-end 21.5-inch model. Lenovo's timing also suggest those unspecified Intel Core CPUs will be Ivy Bridge models. If that also means Thunderbolt, Lenovo hasn't said.