As mentioned earlier, the H320 is also a more competent gaming PC than we're used to at this price. It won't let you play every game at maximum image quality, but it played the Dragon Age II demo at 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution smoothly. The Crysis 2 demo was, perhaps unsurprisingly, more challenging for this PC. We had to drop the resolution down to 1,280x720 pixels, and even then the frame rate was only passable. As long as you keep your expectations reasonable, gamers should get some enjoyment out of this system, at least with current titles.
You get a few options to expand the Lenovo H320. One RAM slot is free, and it also has an available 1x PCI-Express slot. If you want to upgrade the existing graphics card, you'll need a half-height card due to the width of the case. Upgrade possibilities in that format include the Nvidia 430 GT or the AMD Radeon HD 5570 or 5670, all of which are available for under $100.
The H320's external connections meet most of our expectations, although audiophiles will be disappointed. The graphics card offers HDMI and VGA video outputs, which should cover most display options, although you'll need to find an adapter if you want to use a DVI connection. The six USB 2.0 ports around the case should satisfy most of you, but with only 5.1 analog audio support, owners of digital audio devices or 7.1 speaker sets should look elsewhere. We also wish eSATA and FireWire jacks hadn't become such a rarity at this price range.
|Lenovo H320 40411FU||Average watts per hour|
|Off (60 percent)||0.68|
|Sleep (10 percent)||2.48|
|Idle (25 percent)||42.81|
|Load (5 percent)||83.54|
|Annual energy cost||$19.55|
In addition to faster performance, one of the benefits of Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs should be better power efficiency, even in this already efficient product category. The Lenovo's annual $19.55 power cost shouldn't hurt too badly, and its power draw is in keeping with its faster CPU and dedicated graphics card. Still, if the Mac Mini can come in under $10 a year, we'd like to see comparable Windows PCs approach that figure as well.
Lenovo's service and support policies hold to the near-universal industry standard of one year of parts and labor accompanied by a 24-7 toll-free tech support number. You can add at-home service and extended warranty coverage if you purchase your system online from Lenovo directly. You will find basic drivers and documentation on Lenovo's support site, but we wish the site gave you more direct access to the product-specific information.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 550; 4GB 800MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive
HP Pavilion Slimline s5660f
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 550; 4GB 800MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Lenovo H320 40411FU
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 650; 6GB 1,066MHZ DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 310; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive