The Bottom Line
Aug 24 2012 - Lenovo's Essential H415 is a decent computer as long as you aren't looking at upgrading the system in the future. It trades better than average general performance compared to other budget AMD desktops by not including things like extra memory slots, USB 3.0 ports or a power supply that can handle many dedicated graphics cards. At least it uses a higher end AMD Fusion processor where it doesn't really require a dedicated graphics card and the quad core processor with 8GB of memory won't likely need upgrading any time soon. Still, if you need these other features, there are a couple better options available.
- 8GB Memory
- Improved Integrated Graphics
- Processor Still Falls Behind Intel Dual Core i3 In Many Cases
- Lacks USB 3.0
- Limited Graphics And Memory Upgrade Possibilities
- AMD A8-3850 Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 16x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- AMD Radeon HD 6550D Integrated Graphics
- 5.1 Audio Support
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Six USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 6-in-1 Card Reader
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Lenovo Essential H415
Aug 24 2012 - The Lenovo Essential H415 is essentially a low cost AMD based desktop system. Rather than using an Intel platform like the H420 I previously reviewed, it uses a quad core A8-3850 processors. Combined with 8GB of DDR3 memory, the system offers a smoother experience for those that are heavily multitasking or using demanding programs that can use extra physical cores. In the day to day of most users that primarily view the web, watch media or use productivity software, the Intel Core i3 still offers as good or better experience. While it does offer more memory there are only two memory slots which are filled which makes upgrading the memory a bit more challenging.
Storage options on the Lenovo Essential H415 are pretty typical of most budget desktops. A one terabyte hard drive provides a good deal of storage for applications, data and media files. The drive spins at the traditional 7200rpm spin rate which provides it with some decent performance especially compared to other budget systems that might use green class drives with their variable or slower spin rates. The one downside here is that unlike most AMD based systems, the H415 lacks any of the new USB 3.0 super speed ports for use with high speed external drives. This means that those wanting to add more storage would be best served by installing an internal hard drive. A dual layer DVD burner is included for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
One advantage that the AMD Fusion processors have over the Intel models is the integrated graphics. The A8-3850 processor features a Radeon HD 6550D graphics engine built onto it which offers improved 3D performance over the Intel HD Graphics 4000 even has. This means that the system can be used for casual PC gaming at lower detail levels and resolutions which Intel systems still struggle at. The graphics engine also has the benefit of helping to accelerate non-3D applications like Photoshop but Intel still dominates when it comes to video transcoding. Now, if you want additional performance, there is a PCI-Express graphics card slot. The problem here is the system uses a very low 280 watt power supply which will limit it to the most basic of graphics cards that don't really require additional power.
In terms of competition, the Essential H415 is most closely compared to the ASUS CM1740 and the Acer Aspire M3450. The ASUS uses a similar but slightly slower A8-3820 processor but provides a dedicated Radeon HD 7470 graphics card. The Acer system uses an eight core FX-8100 processor for extra performance along with a Radeon HD 6450 dedicated graphics cards. Both of these systems also include wireless networking and USB 3.0 ports making either a slightly better choice.