The Lenovo ThinkStation C30 is a high-end, dual-processor workstation for those users who need to work on multi-stage, multi-quarter, multi-million dollar projects for you business. As is, the C30 is a tabula rasa to which you can add components and programs. With drive upgrades, it can work as a video workstation. With a CAD program, it can help your engineers design new cars. With a connection to the world’s financial infodump, it can be a financial wizard’s crystal ball. If you think you need his kind of power, the ThinkStation C30 will deliver it.
Design and Features
The ThinkStation C30 comes in a standard black metal desktop chassis, measuring about 17 by 5 by 17.5 inches (HWD). This is approximately the same size as our Editors’ Choice for single-processor workstations, the HP Z220 CMT. What’s amazing is that Lenovo has stuffed two processors into the C30, along with all the other internal connectors and components you’d expect from a full blown ISV-certified workstation. The front panel is perforated, like its much larger brother, the Lenovo ThinkStation D30. Instead of a handle that extends from the top of the system like on the Lenovo D30, the C30′s grab handle is indented into the top panel. The front panel has a pair of USB 2.0 ports, audio ports, and the tray-loading DVD burner. The system’s serial port, eight more USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports populate the back panel. You have room to add an eSATA with a pass-through card slot cover. If you do, you’ll have to use PCIe to add Thunderbolt to the C30.
Inside, it’s a little more cramped than a full tower, but Lenovo still manages to have two PCI slots (for those older expansion cards), two free PCIe x16 card slots (for graphics cards), a free PCIe x4 slot, and space for two more hard drives. You’ll have to pop off the front panel to access the hard drive sleds, which are tool less. An 800-Watt power supply powers the system. On the whole, the C30 has better internal expansion options than the former Editors’ Choice Dell Precision T1600 workstation. The larger Apple Mac Pro has more room for drives, but until the expected update later this year, the Mac Pro’s older-generation Xeon processors, fewer expansion slots, and lack of Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro configurations lags the C30.
The C30 comes with two Intel Xeon E5-2620 processors, 16GB of ECC DDR3 system memory, Nvidia Quadro 4000 graphics, and a 500GB hard drive. These components make a good base for a DCC (digital content creation), CAD, or number crunching workstation, especially considering that the system can accept a plethora of upgrades. The system’s rack mount option also means that you can put a stack of these powerful dreadnoughts in a sound proofed and climate controlled closet.
The system we tested came with Windows 7 Professional, but you can buy one without an OS in case your IT folk want to use Windows XP, Linux, or even Windows 8. You can set up the system with up to three drives for RAID 0, 1, or 5. The C30 comes with a standard three-year warranty, which can be extended up to five years, with or without on-site service.
The system’s performance and reliability are the primary reasons you get a workstation over a standard business PC, and the ThinkStation C30 has a lot of it. The system’s two six-core Xeon processors make short work of most tasks, surprising considering the processors are “only” clocked at 2GHz standard (2.5GHz with Turbo-Boost). The C30′s Photoshop CS6 (4 hours 17 minutes) and Handbrake video encoder test (1:45) scores are good, though the business-class Apple iMac 27-inch (Late 2012) is faster due in part to its use of Apple’s Fusion drive.
The C30 has a high CineBench score, showing that it has better threaded performance (like 3D rendering) than the iMac and other single-processor systems. The Nvidia Quadro in the C30 is tuned for reliable, repeatable results rather than all-out 3D performance, but it’s nice to know that the C30 still ended up with excellent 3D benchmark scores. You can hook up two 30-inch monitors simultaneously to the Quadro 4000, which will help your engineer’s productivity immensely.
The Lenovo ThinkStation C30 is a very good dual-processor workstation. It is a powerhouse for the space constrained financial, DCC, or engineering user in your organization. The system therefore comes highly recommended, but its roomier, more powerful, and more expensive big brother the Lenovo ThinkStation D30 holds on to the Editors’ Choice for dual-processor workstations for the time being for having a lot more power and being more flexible for future upgrades.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS
Check out the test scores for the Lenovo ThinkStation C30
Compare the Lenovo ThinkStation C30 with several other desktops side by side.
More desktop reviews:
|Primary Optical Drive||Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW|
|Processor Family||Intel Xeon|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia Quadro 5000|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||500 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc