Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 08873AU review:

Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 08873AU

Though this system should play plenty of games well enough, its difficulty with Far Cry 2, a game now a step or two back from the cutting edge of PC gaming, suggests that the Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 will best satisfy those with modest gaming demands. If your ambitions demand more performance at a similar price, Gateway's FX6831-01, or a tower desktop like it, is still your best choice.

We've already detailed our thoughts on the lack of an HDMI input for the B500, but we're also a bit disappointed by the selection of other inputs and outputs. Lenovo went for a strictly bare-bones approach, featuring USB 2.0, a media card reader, an Ethernet jack, a handful of analog audio jacks, the TV tuner input, and an S-Video jack. That's it. We like the touch capacitive screen controls, which let you manage brightness, volume, and display power easily and more conveniently than other all-in-ones. Still, we'd also like to see FireWire, eSATA, and digital audio outputs.

Juice box
Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 Average watts per hour
Off (watts) 0.79
Sleep (watts) 2.01
Idle (watts) 53.43
Load (watts) 144.4
Raw (annual kWh) 231.75018
Energy Star compliant Yes
Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh) $26.30

Annual power consumption cost
Apple iMac
Lenovo IdeaCentre B500

The IdeaCentre B500 isn't remarkable in its power consumption, and though Gateway's gaming box is still faster, Lenovo can at least claim its gaming all-in-one is more power efficient. We have a feeling that might not translate to more sales. Also, we're still waiting for a Windows-based all-in-one that can give Apple legitimate competition in power consumption, but Lenovo is hardly alone in failing to crack that code.

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 when you purchase your system online. You can also find basic drivers and documentation on Lenovo's support site, which is a bit too fragmented for our taste. Lenovo includes plenty of manuals inside the box as well, including an explanation of how to pair the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Lenovo IdeaCentre B500
Windows 7 Home Premium; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400S; 6GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 250M; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

Apple iMac 27-inch (3.06GHz Core 2 Duo)
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1; 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7600; 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

Gateway FX6831-01
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5850; 1.5TB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drive

HP TouchSmart 600
Windows 7 Home Premium; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7450; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 230; 750GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

Sony Vaio L177FX
Windows 7 Home Premium; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400S; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 240M; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

What you'll pay

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