Lenovo ThinkCentre Tower i5 4th Gen


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The first computer I saved up for was a tower home built (386DX40), and as I'm not much of a PC gamer (FPS motion sickness and board game fascination), I have been content with laptops for the last 20 years.

When a friend was all but giving away this Lenovo Tower with a decent amount of RAM (16G DDR3) I was intrigued and bought it.

I was amused by the "Assembled in USA" sticker as I was disappointed that the great IBM PC's were sold to Lenovo--I always admired ThinkPads though too cheap to buy one, like Macs.
I will use this thread to post my journey and most importantly, questions! First question: Why can't I seem to get into the BIOS while I mash F1 on the USB keyboard during boot??
Surprised to see the ThinCentre WikiPedia page very out of date: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinkCentre I was hoping to report where it fits in the line of these. Half my interest was picking up a "last of it's line" model. Later I'll find a more thorough list of these towers. The serial number warranty lookup showed it was bought in late 2014.

I usually run Ubuntu Linux on hobby PC's, but on this one I was considering Ubuntu MATE or Mint. I have a spare SATA SSD I'm planning on for this.
I am curious how much slower it actually is that a modern 8th-11th (I can't keep track of the chipset codenames..) . My current laptop is an 11th gen i5 with 15GB DDR4, and I just moved to it from an 8th gen i7, both Inspiron 2in1, lower end processors.
The onboard video card is VGA or DisplayPort, and I opted for the latter so I could keep that desktop displays HDMI cord handy for the laptop. I ran a USB extension cable from the tower to a usb hub on the desk top for more KVM switcher*roo *cheep .

Looking forward to hearing your similar experiences and thoughts.


The factory I work for uses all these Lenovo Think Centre machines for everything- though theirs are all pretty much the "all-in-one" style to save space. Gotta hand it to them, the machines don't look half bad, and are generally pretty capable. I imagine they'd run great with something like Mint on them, depending on what you want them to do.

As for the BIOS shortcut, if memory serves Lenovo uses a different key (might be F8 or F11, I don't recall which). I believe ASUS uses something different too. Good luck on the project, looking forward to hearing more!


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I finally got into the BIOS, but needed intstall a plain USB keyboard to get the F keys to be recognized. My Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 wasn't having it, even when I tried to toggle the F-Lock.

I was disappointed that although I set USB higher in priority tothe disk drive, I still needed to F12 (or was it F8) to select the drive to boot to.

I've reset Windows on the included disk drive, and booted Linux from USB. RAM test from the ubuntu startup was a welcome option, and it passed. Next steps will be to install the SATA SSD and install ubuntu directly. I've never been good with GRUB, so I may only duel boot via BIOS/F-Key.Last tiem I attempted the EUFI factors made it worse.


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Finally dug in the basement for a PCI wireless card I knew I had, and a SATA cable I didn't really need, and got the this beast ready for Ubuntu.
I didn't get adventurous with distros, going with the Ubuntu I've liked since they would send you free CD install media. I also came across my stash of those and OS/2 Warp box...any 486/Pentium folks with consistent RAM want to give that a try?

I installed it of a USB 3.0 thumb drive, and surprised how speedy it went. I also didn't get fancy with dual boot. opting to just unhook the disk drive with Windows and plug in the SSD. Glad to see the cheaper NewEgg wifi card from 5+ years ago just worked,even if 1 of the 3 antennas were missing and the second was dangling by it's wire. :}

The older boys were reminiscinging about the "WHOHOO" GCompris sound so I installed GCompris and Tux Chess (pretty sure they learned to play on that...at least initial strategy) and sent this silly picture.

Finally I installed Anaconda and update this journal.