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Lifewire / Todd Braylor Pleasants
Ideal for business / IT
Customizable orders from Lenovo
8th generation Intel hardware
No HDMI connections
No built-in Wi-Fi
No DVD drive
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M720 Tower is a solid entry-level performance-oriented PC. Its newer generation components and security features make it ideal for business or IT use, but gamers and content creators will want to pick something else.
The entry-level ThinkCentre M720 Tower is a solid but no fills PC from Lenovo. As an affordable but productivity-minded desktop machine, the M720 has carved out a space for itself in Lenovo's ThinkCentre line, which offers a majority of professional workstation laptops and mini-towers.
Read on to see what the base model for the M720 Tower has to offer for around the $400-$450 price point.
The M720 is a compact and vertically oriented tower with four rubber feet to help you prop it up. It has a rectangular design with minimal matte plastic and brushed metal aesthetics.
The tower is lightweight, weighing around 15.5 pounds and measuring about 14.25 inches tall, 11.25 inches deep, 5.75 inches wide. On its front panel, the Lenovo has one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, plus one headphones/mic combo jack and microphone jack. The base model for the M720 does not include a media card reader nor a DVD drive, but these features can be affordably added as a custom order if you buy through Lenovo’s website.
On its rear panel, the M720 has two DisplayPort connections, but no HDMI connections. This is a bit of a downside considering that many budget-oriented LCD monitors have only HDMI and VGA connectors. Fortunately, there is one rear VGA connection. Also on the back, the M720 has two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one serial port, one RJ-45 ethernet connection, plus one 1/8th-inch audio line out.
Setting up the Lenovo M720 was simple and straightforward. Activating the pre-installed Windows 10 Home went smoothly; onscreen instructions guide you through the process once you boot up the M720. After activating Windows 10 and choosing our preferred security and privacy settings, the PC was ready to use.
Windows Home edition comes standard on the M720, but you can upgrade to Windows 10 Professional when custom ordering, which is advisable for business use. Windows 10 Pro includes two key features not found on Windows Home that business users should take advantage of; Bitlocker and Windows Defender Device Guard. These features enable the data on your hard drive to be encrypted and malware protection, respectively.
PCMark 10 scores are relative to a PC's hardware but an expensive high-end 4K gaming PC will score 5,000 points or higher. This entry-level M720 received a PCMark 10 performance score of 2,615, which is an average score for a basic, general use PC. It's not terrible, but not that great either for productivity. PCMark 10 had some trouble identifying the low-end integrated Intel UHD graphics 610 on the M720, but the graphics performance benchmarks were still acceptable for basic tasks.
In GFX Bench, the integrated Intel UHD 610 GPU scores well below an average gaming PC's performance, rendering 60.9 frames per second (fps) on the T-Rex Chase and 15.6 fps on Car Chase. Again, these are not terrible results but not suitable for gaming. Despite low-level graphics performance, the PC is capable of 4K video playback, but creators who are looking to edit 4K video will need a more powerful processor.
The entry model for the M720 may leave you wanting more networking capabilities for home or home office use. The base model M720 does not come with a Wi-Fi card or Bluetooth connectivity. A standard 802.11ac Wi-Fi capable card can be added as an upgrade to a custom order on Lenovo’s site, but an integrated Intel Gigabit Ethernet is all that comes standard on this Lenovo tower.
The Lenovo M720 carries an MSRP that starts at $419 and goes up from there with added upgrades. For the basic model, $419 is rather steep for the amount of functionality and processing power you receive compared to other competitors. The absence of Wi-Fi, no DVD drive, and only 4GB of RAM on a $400-$450 PC is disappointing. In addition to minimal features, the lower-end Pentium Gold processor is not as performance-oriented as your money could get elsewhere in this price range.
The two significant things in favor of the M720 are the well-reviewed customer service from Lenovo, plus good upgradability options. Lenovo is known to have a solid reputation in the IT business for technical support of their products. And as we have outlined above, placing a custom order online can quickly turn the M720 into a robust and capable workstation machine. Adding features is going to raise your price tag by double or more than the basic M720. But if a professional-grade workstation desktop is what you are after, entering the $1,000 price range for a higher-end M720 is a much better value.
Since the basic model of the Lenovo M720 is a rather bare-bones PC for the $400 price range, this raises the question of what other PC manufacturers are offering. Let's compare the entry M720 to another desktop we have tested, the Acer-TCC-885 with Intel Core i3-81000 processor.
The Acer-TC-885-ACCFLi3O desktop has an MSRP of $450, but is currently retailing on Amazon for just under $400. The TC-885 comes with 8th gen Intel components and features the same Intel B360 motherboard as the M720. In contrast, the Acer TC-885's Intel Core i3-8100 processor is a good bit faster than the Intel Pentium Gold G5400. The i3-8100 is a quad-core processor with a base speed of 3.6GHz. In our testing, it performed better on the PCMark 10 benchmarks. The Acer-TC-885's score was in the 3,000 point range, compared to the 2,600 score we received with the M720.
The Acer TC-885-ACCFLi3O desktop also comes standard with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 16GB of Intel Optane Memory, and a 1TB HDD. We found this version of the Acer TC-885 to be a better deal for home and office use, even if the entry model costs you a little bit more.
A basic business desktop for a company on a budget.
The Lenovo M720 is a well-built PC from a trusted brand name in IT. The basic M720 model provides reliable and moderate processing in a PC that is most ideal for monitoring and administration in a business or IT setting. Nonetheless, it is hard to overlook the fact that your money can easily buy more processing power, speed, and convenience from other competitors. If you are looking to maximize your productivity, you’ll want to pick another option even if it costs a bit more.
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