The Bottom Line
Sep 15 2011 - The Lenovo Essential H330 is essentially an internal update of the past H320 model that uses the new second generation Intel Core i processors. Their entry level system offers a greater amount of space thanks to a large and fast hard drive which is better than most of the competition. Unfortunately, that is really all the separates this from other slim desktops. And if that still isn't enough storage space, the lack of a USB 3.0 or eSATA and no internal space for drives makes it less functional to upgrade. At least they have brought it more inline with the competition by using wireless networking which past models did not have.
- Large, Fast Hard Drive
- Includes Wireless Networking
- Only Supports Two Memory Slots For 8GB Maximum RAM
- No USB 3.0 or eSATA Ports
- Intel Core i3-2100 Dual Core Desktop Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 1.5TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 16x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- Intel HD Graphics 2000 Integrated Graphics
- Intel HDA 5.1 Audio Support
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.111b/g/n Wireless
- Six USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 11.5" x 3.9" x 15.8"
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, WinDVD
Review - Lenovo Essential H330
Sep 15 2011 - Lenovo's Essential H330 is essentially a reworking of the previous H320 with the newer Intel second generation Core i processors. In the case of the entry model I am looking at, it uses a Core i3-2100 dual core processor. This is the lowest of the new Core series of desktop processor. The thing is, for many people, this processor will do just fine unless they are doing some very demanding tasks such as desktop video or heavily multitasking. Of course, with just 4GB of DDR3 memory, neither of these tasks will be something that will perform extremely well but it should be smooth enough for the average internet, multimedia playback or productivity software.
What the Lenovo Essential H330 does extremely well is storage. This model comes equipped with an above average one and a half terabyte hard drive that provides roughly fifty percent more space for applications, data and media files compared to the typical slim desktop. While many companies have decided to start using green drives that use slower 5400rpm spin rates, Lenovo is using a standard desktop 7200rpm drive that provides it with a solid level of performance. A typical dual-layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of CD or DVD media. One big downside on the storage features though is expansion. There is no internal space for upgrades and the external options are limited. There are six USB 2.0 ports, but the system does not feature the newer, high speed USB 3.0 or eSATA ports for near internal performance with external storage.
Just like the majority of smaller desktops, the Lenovo Essential H330 relies on integrated graphics. With the newer Intel Core i3-2100 processor, it at least uses the new Intel HD Graphics that reside on the CPU. This gives it improved performance over the past GMA options but it still lacks sufficient 3D features and performance for anything beyond casual PC gaming with older games at lower resolutions and detail levels. One thing it does provide though is QuickSync that provides a boost to certain video encoding and media features when used to compatible software. There is a slot for a PCI-Express graphics card for those looking to upgrade. The downside is that the low wattage of the power supply will prevent many of the higher performance dedicated cards from being installed.
One item that was typically missing from the previous H320 models was wireless networking. With the wireless network becoming a ubiquitous feature of the connected home, it is nice to see that Lenovo is now including 802.11b/g/n wireless networking into more of the H330 models. This makes it much easier to connect it up to the broadband connection without having to lay down Ethernet cabling.
Priced around $600, this is one of the least expensive of the Lenovo Essential H330 models. This pricing is pretty much in line with other similarly equipped slim desktops on the market. If this model lacks the performance or features, Lenovo does offer much more powerful options that come with Core i5 or i7 processors, Blu-ray drives and even the missing USB 3.0 ports. Of course, the prices do climb quickly the more features that are added.