You’ll never find a high-end workstation or small gaming PC quite like Intel’s original NUC range, but there are options if you want a small but high-performance desktop computer. One of these is the new Lenovo ThinkStation P360 Ultraa compact desktop PC that packs 12th generation Intel Alder Lake desktop CPUs, Nvidia RTX A2000 and A5000 GPUs with up to 16GB of VRAM, and a surprising amount of expandability in just a small 3.9L container.
The ThinkStation has plenty of ports for a system its size, with a total of seven DisplayPort outputs on the back (three full-size ports attached to an integrated Intel GPU, four mini DisplayPorts attached to a dedicated GPU), one 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, 1 Ethernet port Gigabits per second, and four rear USB-A ports on the back. On the front you’ll find a headphone jack, another USB-A port, and a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports.
The internal expansion is also good. ThinkStations can accommodate a total of two M.2 SSDs, a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD, and up to four DDR5 RAM modules. The 12GB RTX A2000 GPU The option should work somewhere between the RTX 3050 and the RTX 3060, while the portable RTX A5000 option should work like the laptop version of the RTX 3080 GPU. Lenovo offers Alder Lake CPUs from quad-core Core i3 up to Core i9 with a total of 16 cores (eight P cores, eight E cores –Our CPU Reviews They demonstrate the benefits of these smaller cores for workloads that are well distributed across many CPU cores).
The P360 is smaller than the high-performance mini PCs like Intel’s NUC 12 Extreme, which also uses 12th-generation Alder Lake processors with up to 16 cores – the NUC measures 14.1 x 7.4 x 4.7 inches, while the ThinkStation measures just 8.7 x 7.9 x 3.4 inches. But the NUC has the advantage of using a standard PCI Express slot with a GPU that can be upgraded after two years, although its smaller size will generally limit you to smaller GPUs than you can use in a full-size desktop or a more spacious mini-ITX computer. . ThinkStation seems to use removable GPUs, but using a proprietary connector – whether or not upgrades are possible in the future depends on whether Lenovo packs more GPUs this way in the future and whether it makes them available as upgrades rather than simply including them in newer PCs .
Expect to pay a lot of money for the most powerful P360 Ultra configurations. The PC will start at $1,299 later this month, but this configuration will likely include a quad-core Core i3 CPU and integrated graphics. If that’s all the power you need, the P360 Ultra is actually a bit big—System size only becomes impressive once you add dedicated graphics and a better processor.
We also don’t know if (or how much) the P360 Ultra’s CPU or GPU is restricted by power or heat limitations – the system beats a 300W power source, which is less power than a desktop GPU Sophisticated like the RT 3080 or 3090 can consume it all on its own. In other words, a larger system will still be able to let its components run faster for a longer time.
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