IBM ThinkCentre S50 series

Outfitted for corporate cubicles, the IBM ThinkCentre S50 may also be just the thing for small offices with an eye toward data management and PC usability. The series offers a range of Intel Celeron D and Pentium 4 processors inside a crafty small-form-factor case that's laughably easy to access. Our test system's performance was hampered by an older Pentium 4 processor that could not take advantage of the system's newer Intel 865G chipset, but choosing a compatible CPU should improve the ThinkCentre S50's efficiency. (Hint: the newer chips have a three-digit model number, as in Pentium 4 540.) This system's true claim to fame is its IT-management software, which includes Rapid Restore for preserving data and applications in case of system failure, and Access IBM, a configuration utility. Combined with IBM's copious warranty services, the ThinkCentre S50 is one of the finest business-minded PCs to pass through our Labs.