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Lenovo ThinkCentre M73 SFF Desktop $499 Delivered. i5-4460, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD

1100
OZM73

Lenovo sent me this clearance offer for ThinkCentre M73 SFF small form factor desktop PC. RRP is $1,099, the current sale code gives you $400 off, but OzBargain-exclusive code OZM73 gives you $600 off. This is what you are getting for $499 delivered:

  • Intel Core i5-4460 Quad core
  • Windows 10 Home 64
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • DVD Recordable optical drive

It's a small form factor PC with 1x 5.25", 1x 3.5" & 1x 2.5" drive bays and 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 + 2x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. 2x DIMM slots for maximum 16GB RAM.

The biggest problem would be its 240W slim PSU, which really limits the GPU you can put in, as HD Graphics 4600 cannot drive UHD at 60Hz.

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  • Nice alternative to a NUC if more CPU power is required.

    • +3

      It's still around 10x the volume of a NUC.

      Best option I've found for decent processors are the Dell Optiplex Micro or the Lenovo Tiny.

      I got a used Optiplex 9020 Micro from eBay with a low power i5 Quad core + 8GB RAM + 128GB SSD for under $400

      They also show up on the Dell outlet occasionally for $500-700

      • Why is everyone so obsessed with size of PCs these days? Fair enough moving away from ridiculous ATX towers but where are people stashing PCs that they need to be NUC sized?

        • Behind the TV seems to be the most common place for NUCs among the people I know.

        • Never said I was, I have a full sized gaming machine.

          I specifically mentioned it in case OP's comment made some people believe that this is a lot smaller than it really is.

          My Optiplex Micro is in a network cabinet running CCTV so space is very much as a premium in there.

        • Behind my router has my RPi and behind my TV is my old computer… let's just say my RPi is far more conspicuous serving up media than my old computer is (it has RGB LEDs lol). Old computer just sit there as a spare now.

          Thanks for the tip re the 9020 I am looking for a media server that is more powerful than the RPi so it can do on the fly transcoding and also serve faster than the 100Mbps ethernet can handle.

        • @jlogic: I have a 240GB m.2 SSD and a 1TB 2.5" drive in mine just for CCTV

          If you use Plex, youll soon be able to use the Intel Graphics to do your transcoding so it would be an amazing little Plex server for USB drives or if you have a NAS for your media.

        • @XeKToReX:

          Thank you. I have been looking at mini pc's for friends so they can run it as a Plex server. Many of the models I was looking at had no HDMI. You have helped me look in the right direction with the model suggestions

        • @4agte: these dont have a HDMI port on them, but it is possible to get an addon board with hdmi from Dell

          It isnt cheap though :/

        • @XeKToReX:

          Yes but I can always use a DisplayPort to HDMI cable or adaptor. Without your comments I probably wouldn't even be considering them. Thanks again

        • +1

          @4agte:

          I have one, ill test it and see if it does Audio also next week when Im home if you want.

        • @XeKToReX:

          That would be awesome

    • Seeing as it can take a low profile GTX 1050 Ti I picture it more as a console killer.

  • +1

    it only takes slimline gpu anyway so that would be the limiting factor overall

    • +2

      Yes only slimline GPU. I don't game much but would like to be able to drive a 4K monitor for work. GTX 1050 comes in slimline but needs at least 300W PSU I think.

      • +1

        thats a beastly psu for a card without any power inputs?

      • You'd be lucky to cram in a 750ti into this without exhausting the PSU … 84W TDP for the CPU alone.

        Just for ref 750ti has TDP of 60w vs 1050 of 75w from most specs I've looked at.

        • +2

          People have done it, it is not luck at all. The 240W PSU can run a GTX 750 ti just fine.

      • I find the "recommended" PSU is usually a little generous but I think in this case 240W just isn't enough for the 1050 ti unfortunately
        I put together a rough list on pc part picker of similar parts and upgrades that I would would be doing https://pcpartpicker.com/list/nT3Fpb
        PC part picker suggests ~270W and you want to add 10% for safety so in this case the 300W seems spot on

      • +1

        Could maybe reduce power requirement by swapping HDD for SSD?

  • Another consideration is VGA and displayport only ..

    Optional extras (dont think these are included) - if you were hooking up to HDMI

    DisplayPort to DVI Video Adapter Converter
    Display Port to HDMI Dongle
    
    • +1

      Nothing wrong with DisplayPort. I use my Lenovo x230i as an HTPC and it only has miniDP (or full size DP via the ultrabase). You can get dp to hdmi cables or dp to hdmi dongles. In both cases not more than about $15 I guess. DP can pass video and audio, so no issue other than considering the cable or dongle.

  • +1

    Just wondering if there will be codes for a customizable version of the M73 SFF?

    • Agreed, that would be great. Alternatively any OzBargain deal on M73.

  • +1

    4th gen CPU seems to be killer too … they're up to 7th gen already. Seems like it's at least a ~3year old model.

    Any know if display port MST works with this computer?

    • not a huge difference in speed i believe, you can see the 7th gen i5 at the same price tag is doing about 5% to 11% faster than the i5-4460, but more power efficient tho
      http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i5-7400-vs-I...

      • +2

        Yeah - i get that, but I feel like 3 year old models should be selling for 70-90% off RRP.

        The dell outlet machines seem like they're better value at this price point.

  • +3

    Yeah I think so too. $699 is definately not justified for what it is. Even $499 isn't bargain pricing, it's just bordering on what should be it's normal price. They should discount the m700 so there's some scope of upgrading the gpu at least

  • I don't think this is a bargain, old cpu, no ssd, limiting form factor.

    however if someone did want one of these, you can get a GTX 1050 (decent mid range GPU) that is low profile enough to fit in one of these

    https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GTX-1050-2GT-DisplayPort/dp/B01N6...

    • 240W PSU. GTX 1050 recommends 300W minimum.

    • Probably can under clock it and use it reliably in the system?

      • Good luck … the CPU is already consuming 1/3rd of the PSU capacity. Add Motherboard, drives, fans and any other usb devices and you would find you're getting into unstable territory. The GTX 1050ti requires 70w minimum whilst gaming.

        • +1

          So I've decided to take some measurements of my i5-6500 (65W CPU) system with GTX 1050 Ti using a mains power meter purchased from Aldi. Hopefully this will allow others to adopt as much risk as they feel comfortable with.
          Fallout 4: 128W peak
          GTAV Bench: 115W peak
          For both, Intel Xtreme Tuning Utility (XTU) was hovering around 30W package TDP and the light loading was reflected in task manager.

          Prime95 4 threads, small FFT: 106W, XTU measured 70W package TDP.
          Idle: 35W, XTU: 15W

          MSI Kombustor Furry Donut: 120W, XTU: 27W
          Furry Donut with P95 4 threads, small FFT: 160W, XTU: 58W

          GTX 1050Ti will use a maximum of 75W as something will have gone horribly wrong if it draws more, owing to PCI-e standards.

  • Switched last year from an old fashioned box-under-the-desk setup last year to an I5 All-In-One. Never looked back .. :-) . !!

    • Which model for that all in one?

      • +1

        HP Compaq 8200 Elite .. corporate refurb, as new, hasn't missed a beat and it was about $450 delivered .. love it .. and no more headstands in the footwell to plug and play .. laughing .. :-0 .. !!

        • Thanks, will check it out

        • @dropbolt: Hard to find in Oz, there are a few on eBay in the USA.

    • +3

      All-In-Ones are great till they break, then you're often looking at a whole new unit. If you're going down that path you're better off bolting a micro system like a NUC to the VESA mount on a monitor.

      • 100% agree. You can even get vesa monitor mounts that accommodate SFF and USFF PCs. However they seem to be proprietary so you need to purchase from Dell, Lenovo, HP etc.

        • I am guessing those that do this don't have much need for access to the USB ports or use extension cables. But how do you press the power on button when it's attached to the back of the tv?

  • Looks good.

    What is a good free way to backup existing windows, and transfer across to a new system?

    Is there a windows equivalent to time-machine on mac?

  • -1

    These PSU normally fail in 2-3 years time and can be expensive to get replaced.

    • +2

      I disagree with this, I saw ~ 20 Lenovo PCs much older than this one that work without any problem for 2 years. The PCs had gen 2 CPUs so when I started to use them they were already very old. That is why most companies use these.

      Do you have a first hand account of this exact PC (or Lenovo ones) having problems?

  • +3

    I have been trying to sell an lenovo m93p with almost exactly the same specs for some time now with a much smaller price :).

    Some comments that I think apply to this PC too.
    *) if you plan to move this to another bigger case together with another PSU you will need a 14pin to 24 pin cable adapter. It has a proprietary PSU cable, you cannot just use another PSU just like that
    *) If you replace the PSU with another one (you will need a TFX one I believe) you will still need the adapter cable from above. The biggest PSU I saw was I believe 400W.
    *) I believe a 1050 / 1050 TI would actually work just fine in this PC. In the m93p you can put a ti750 for sure (many people did it). Would I bet money on the fact that a 1050 would run on this machine?? I would certainly bet that it works in mine because it has a i5-4660s that consumes less than this PC.
    *) the PC has inside of it a SSD bracket and a HDD bracket (at least my m93p does). You should be able to add an SSD to this and get a decent PC.

  • +1

    Are we able to upgrade Home to Pro? Need pro.

  • Better off building a mini-STX system with a better onboard GPU if you want to go one up from the NUC.

  • Ok complete noob question, I apologise in advance… My partner loves the Sims but we've only ever had Macs which obviously don't run games too well.

    How would this go as a Sims 4 PC?

    • +1

      It's missing one crucial component, a graphics card, without one you are playing on the built-in gpu of the processor which barely plays it

      Examples already discussed above

      • Thanks mate.

  • Thanks for your post! I've been looking for a similar PC for a primary student. $499 is a good price. It's cheaper than I buy individual parts to assemble the same specs myself.

  • $600 off

    The RRP for 3 year old might not be same now. Lot of used hardware with similar specs on ebay and gumtree for $300-400 range.

    • True, the tech in these is getting old but they aren't used and they are covered by a warranty. I'd pay a little extra rather than risk buying second hand.

      • Make sense. But paying 25 to 30% extra for just warranty …. I won't do that.

        For that Price, I can get a i3 having much latest version built with 3 years warranty. New tech with more warranty better power consumptions. People here care about electricity consumed by even electric brushes ☺

  • I have a spare SSD lying around. Does anyone know whether I would be able to chuck it into this (without removing HDD ofcoarse)? I don't see any appropriate mounting points/brackets from the picture. Though it seems that the motherboard has a spare SATA port.

    • +1

      Blue tack works
      Or Velcro straps

      Also there's usually at least 3 SATA ports on these. One meant for the optical disk drive

    • my m93p that looks exactly the same as this PC there is a SSD bracket and a different HDD one.
      However after looking inside https://www.google.com.au/search?biw=1851&bih=916&tbm=isch&s... this one looks like a different layout.

  • Official specs indicates GPU upgradability up to 40watts.
    Unfortunately there are no GPUs in this power bracket with HDMI 2.0 so you'll either have to make do with 1.4 or try a higher TDP card like a 1050 and see how it goes (240 watts really should be enough for a system this size with a gpu that modest, but it depends on how the power is distributed to the system so there's no guarantees.)
    Still if you intend to use it as an HTPC you'll need to pick up a discrete gpu of some kind for HDMI, and 40 watts is quite forgiving.

  • Thanks, I just purchased one to use at my small business as a simple file server. Excellent price for Lenovo hardware.

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