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Lenovo H320 40411FU review: Lenovo H320 40411FU

Lenovo H320 40411FU

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
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.
Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
Rich Brown
6 min read

The Lenovo H320 is a worthy entrant in the higher-end slim-tower PC category. It boasts a fast, previous-generation Intel Core i5 CPU, a discrete graphics card, and a Blu-ray drive, all for $749. We have the same reservations about this system as with the Gateway SX2851-41 regarding the impending obsolescence of its CPU and the less-than-inspired design, but at least in the current PC environment, the H320 is competitive. We recommend it to anyone interested in an upper-tier slim tower for general home computing or for bringing content into your living room.


Lenovo H320 40411FU

The Good

The <b>Lenovo H320</b> has a strong assortment of performance and digital entertainment features, as well as a competitive price.

The Bad

The case is plastered with unsightly stickers and there are no dedicated digital audio output options.

The Bottom Line

Lenovo's slim tower H320 40411FU is a high-value system that's well-suited to home entertainment, day-to-day productivity, or a mix of both.

The H320's design is similar to that of most other Windows-based slim towers. Its trim chassis measures 11.5 inches high, 4 inches wide, and 15.5 inches deep, putting it in between HP's larger Pavilion Slimline and Gateway's smaller SX-Series case in terms of overall volume.

Like the SX-Series chassis, the design of the H320 is suitable for living room display, but Lenovo got carried away in applying external decals. Not only does it come with Windows, Intel, and Lenovo logos on the front, but Lenovo has also plastered the top and right side of the H320 with labels highlighting the machine's various features. Of course, the glut of stickers is not new to PCs. It's also comparatively easy to take them off. For slim towers such as these with serious living room aspirations, though, it's time for vendors to lay off the visual bloatware and put more thought into compelling system design and no-hassle setup.

Lenovo H320 40411FU HP Pavilion Slimline S5660f
Price $749 $759
CPU 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 650 2.9GHz AMD Phenom II X4 840T
Memory 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 512MB Nvidia GeForce 310 graphics card 512MB ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics card
Hard drives 640GB, 7,200rpm 1TB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive Blu-ray/DVD burner combo Blu-ray/DVD burner combo
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

From a value standpoint, the Lenovo H320 competes very well with HP's Pavilion Slimline S5660f. The S5660f is an older model at this point, but even the more recent S5670T will require you to spend $50 more for the same configuration as the H320. We can't think of anything else we'd expect to find for this price, although in a quarter or two we expect Intel's new Sandy Bridge Core i3 2100-series CPUs will emerge at this price point. Even without those new CPUs, though, this system will play HD movies from the Web or the included Blu-ray drive, and most PC games, with little difficulty.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo IdeaCenter H320

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Lenovo IdeaCenter H320
Gateway SX2850-33
Gateway SX2851-41

Among other small PCs, the Lenovo H320 40411FU is a very strong performer. Its Core i5 650 CPU is a dual-core chip that comes with Intel's HyperThreading technology to help it simulate two extra processing threads as necessary. That can't help the H320 compete on applications that use true quad-core chips like the Phenom II X4 in HP's s5660f, but with its fast 3.2GHz core clock speed, the Core i5 CPU in the H320 posted some impressive scores. On Photoshop CS 5 image processing, iTunes audio encoding, and even when playing a QuickTime movie while encoding audio files in iTunes, the Lenovo H320 posted the fastest scores in its category.

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.

Juice box
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
Raw kWh 172.21
Energy Star-compliant Yes
Annual energy cost $19.55

Annual power consumption cost
Lenovo IdeaCenter H320

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.

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System configurations:
Apple Mac Mini (Spring 2010)
Mac OS X 10.6.3; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 1,067MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 320M; 320GB, 5,400rpm hard drive

Gateway SX2850-03
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

Gateway SX2851-41
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


Lenovo H320 40411FU

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Performance 7Support 7