Lenovo's summer desktop lineup brims with IdeaCentres

Lenovo announces three new desktops coming to stores this summer.

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Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
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Rich Brown
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In anticipation of the summer/back-to-school shopping season, Lenovo brought three new desktops out of hiding Monday. The configurable IdeaCentre A700 and B305 all-in-ones, and the IdeaCentre Q150 Nettop all at least start at less than $1,000. The B305 hits the market first at the beginning of June, followed by the A700 and the Q150 a few weeks later.

Lenovo's June/July 2010 desktop lineup (photos)

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Starting with the most expensive system, the IdeaCentre A700 features a 23-inch touch-screen display and the most powerful components of the three new systems. The starting $999 configuration nets you an Intel Core i3 CPU, a DVD burner, integrated Intel graphics, Wi-Fi, and an HDMI input for displaying external video sources, among other features.

The IdeaCentre A700 boasts a 23-inch touch screen and all kinds of performance and multimedia options. Lenovo

That configuration seems reasonable for its price, but you can also ramp up performance with CPU options up to Core i7, a 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics chip, a Blu-ray drive, and up to 2TB of hard-drive space. We have no information from Lenovo about the cost of those options, but if Lenovo scaled the upgrades properly, you shouldn't have too much difficulty configuring an IdeaCenter A700 that would compete well against Apple's Core 2 Duo-equipped 21.5-inch iMac, which starts at $1,199.

Lenovo's IdeaCentre B305 comes in 20-inch and 21.5-inch varieties, the latter with a touchscreen option. Lenovo

If the A700 could help you satisfy your performance ambitions, the IdeaCentre B305 is a more modest offering for those looking to spend less. Starting at $699 for the 20-inch model, the B305 includes options for a 21.5-inch display, a touch-capable version of same, up to 1TB of hard-drive space, a TV tuner, and various other upgrades. Most unique, however, this system is one of the few, if not the only, all-in-ones we've seen with AMD CPUs.

The base model comes with an Athlon II X2 235e chip, with an Athlon II X4 coming in at the top of the scale. We'd expect slower performance than that of the IdeaCentre A700 above, but there's no obvious reason (at least that we can see from the press release) that an AMD-based all-in-one wouldn't suffice as a basic day-to-day productivity and light-duty entertainment box.

The petite IdeaCentre Q150 is perhaps the only Nettop we've seen with configurable graphics chip options. The unique keyboard-equipped remote costs extra. Lenovo

The IdeaCentre Q150 and its $299 starting price brings up the most affordable end of Lenovo's lineup. This Atom-powered Nettop offers two different Atom CPU options, the single-core D410 or the dual-core D510. You can also customize the graphics chip, with options for either Intel's dated GMA 3150 chip, or Nvidia's more powerful GeForce 9400M-based Ion chipset. The latter brings with it an HDMI output, and should be able to handle most sources of HD video online.

You'll need to provide your own optical drive for this system, as Lenovo doesn't provide the option. If you're seriously dedicated to the idea of a PC in the living room, you might also be interested in Lenovo's new multimedia remote, pictured above, which features a trackball and a keyboard. We have no pricing information on the Lenovo remote, but we can't help thinking that it looks like a clunkier version of Logitech's outstanding diNovo Mini from a few years ago.

Although we have only a few images and some product data sheets to go on at the moment, hopefully Lenovo will come through shortly with review units so we can offer a complete analysis of its newest systems.