Category Archives: Hardware Reviews

We are constantly getting a wide variety of hardware and software to test and exercise under a range of conditions. As you might expect, some work better than others, some play nicely with others (or not), and a few are genuinely pleasant surprises. Here you’ll find a collection of reviews on a range of products. We’ll be updating this section frequently as we run across new stuff, so come back soon and often!

USB4 Delivers Consistent NVMe Performance

OK, then. I finally laid hands on my second USB4 NVMe SSD enclosure yesterday. I deliberately sought out the cheapest one I could find so I could compare it to a more expensive alternative already on hand. When I say that USB4 delivers consistent NVMe performance here’s what that means:

1. The same SSD, cable, and host PC are used for comparison. Both drives have the “cache tweak” applied (this Oct 14 post has deets). Same tests performed, too (CrystalDiskMark and a Macrium Reflect backup).
2. The only thing that changes is the enclosure itself.

In short, I wanted to see if spending more on hardware returned a noticeable performance advantage (I’ll talk more about this below). Long story short: it doesn’t seem to make much, if any, difference. Let me explain…

Why Say: USB4 Delivers Consistent NVMe Performance?

The lead-in graphic shows the results from the cheap enclosure on the left, and the more expensive one on the right. The average difference in CrystalDiskMark performance shows 2 wins for el cheapo, 5 wins for the higher priced item, and 1 tie. On first blush, that gives the more expensive device an advantage. So the next question is: how much advantage?

This is where a little delta analysis can help. I calculate that the average performance difference between devices varies from a high of 6.2% to a low of 0.03% (not including the tie). That said, the average performance difference across all cells is merely 1.54%. (Calculated by taking absolute value for each delta, then dividing by the number of cells.) That’s not much difference, especially given the prices of the two devices: $128.82 and $140.71. That delta is 8.4% (~5.5 times the average performance delta).

I will also argue that comparing CystalDiskMark results is interesting, but not much of a real-world metric. Thus, I’ll compare completion times for a Macrium Reflect image backup on the same PC, same OS image. The expensive device took 2:25, the cheap one 2:44. That’s an 11.5% difference, greater than the price delta but not amazingly so.

Deciding What’s Worthwhile

I can actually see some differences between the two enclosures I bought. One thing to ponder is that NVMe drives tend to heat up when run full out for any length of time (as when handling large data sets, making backups, and so forth). I’ve seen temps (as reported in CrystalDiskInfo, reading SMART data) go as high as 60° C while M.2 SSDs are busy in these enclosures. At idle, they usually run at around 28° C. The more expensive NVMe enclosures tend to offer more surface area to radiate heat while active, so that’s worth factoring into the analysis.

But here’s the deal: I can buy a decent USB3.1 NVMe enclosure for around US$33 right now. The cheapest USB4 NVMe enclosure I could find cost almost US$96 more. That’s a multiplier of just under 4X in price for a device that delivers less than 2X in improved performance. Let me also observe that there are several such enclosures that cost US$160 and up also on the market. I still have trouble justifying the added expense for everyday use, including backup.

There will be some high-end users — especially those working with huge datasets — who might be able to justify the incremental cost because of their workloads and the incremental value of higher throughput. But for most business users, especially SOHO types like me, the ouch factor exceeds the wow value too much to make it worthwhile. ‘Nuff said.


HDDs Still Have Their Uses

Hmmmm. Just saw a fascinating story at It provides links to some low-cost deals for hard disk drives (HDDs) that range in size from 3 to 14 TB, with prices from US$60 (3TB) to US$210 (14 TB). I’m not endorsing the brand (WD) or the deals (listed from Amazon and — in some instances — Newegg). But I am amazed at just how cheap conventional hard disks can be today. And because HDDs still have their uses — particularly for archiving and spare backups — buying may make sense.

Economics Also Verify That HDDs Still Have Their Uses

I’m struck by the contrast between HDD and NVMe prices, especially for 4 and 8 TB devices. Looking at Amazon, I see that 4TB NVMe drives go for US$460 and up, with most top-end devices just below or over US$600. When you can find them (not easy), 8TB devices cost from just under US$1,200 to around US$1,500 or so.

The comparison to HDD is pretty stark. The Neowin story cites prices of US$70 for 4, and US$130 for 8 TB. Do the math to figure out the ratios. The 4TB NVMes cost between 6.57 and 8.57 times as much as their HDD counterparts. 8TB models run between 9.23 and 11.53 times as much.

Of course, denser solid-state devices are much more expensive to make. Though higher-capacity HDDs have more platters, achieving denser storage doesn’t magnify costs anywhere near as much. In fact, the HDD cost increment for going from 8TB to 10TB is US$30, and from 8TB to 14TB US$80. That clearly shows the incremental cost of storage is much, much cheaper for HDDs than SSDs.

But given the mind-blowing costs for higher capacity NVMe devices, they’re not going to replace HDDs completely any time soon. They simply cost too much to justify wholesale switchovers. Nobody’s going to use HDDs for serious, real-time workloads any more. They have no place as system drives, either. But for other applications where high capacity trumps I/O performance, they still have a vital role to play. And that explains why I still have over 40TB of spinning storage myself, much of it idle as “backups for my backups.”


ThinkPad Universal Thunderbolt4 Dock

It must be because I asked Lenovo for gear to test Thunderbolt4 and USB4. Last week another unexpected and unnanounced device showed up at the door. This time, it was a brand-new ThinkPad Universal Thunderbolt4 Dock. From what I’ve seen so far it has a lot going for it — especially price (relatively speaking, that is).

Why Is TB4/USB4 Gear So Costly?

Before I dig into the details on the mostly excellent ThinkPad Universal Thunderbolt4 dock, I must rant a bit. I’ve got 3 TB4 docks here at the house right now. The Lenovo unit is the cheapest by US$70-plus (that’s a good thing). But all of them cost over US$300, and two of them are at or over the US$400 mark. That stings!

I’ve been looking at a lot of NVMe enclosures that support USB4 lately, too (they work with TB4 controllers, BTW). These puppies cost even more. That means US$80 – 100 more than the cost of decent-to-high quality USB3.1 NVMe enclosures. I’m talking US$30-50 versus US$130-160. That’s a big difference!

One usually pays a premium to climb onto the bleeding edge of technology. And right now, TB4/USB4 is as fast as external devices get. Given a PC that supports these interfaces, I still don’t understand why climbing aboard this latest technology wave incurs such a hefty buy-in. Sigh.

More About ThinkPad Universal Thunderbolt4 Dock

Now that I’ve set the stage for describing and exploring this device, more of what I have to say should make sense. Indeed, this Lenovo dock is a relative bargain among all the TB4 docks I’ve tested so far. That is, with an MSRP of US$322, it costs US$77 less than the Belkin Pro Thunderbolt 4 dock. It enjoys the same price differential when compared to the CalDigit TS4 dock but that device keeps selling out, and is only immediately obtained on eBay for US$500-600!

Thus, the Lenovo Device has a definite price advantage in this very narrow product niche. See this Amazon Search for a fairly good list of the whole product range right now. From what I can tell, Lenovo offers the best price currently available for these kinds of devices.

Here’s a short list of ThinkPad Universal TB4 Dock features and functions (see product page for complete specs):

  • Handles up to 4 external monitors, up to 8K total resolution (1x8K display @ 30Hz or 4x4K display @ 60 Hz via 2xfull-size DP 1.4, 1xfull-size HDMI 2.1, 1xUSB-C)
  • 2 40Gbps Thunderbolt4 ports (one for computer in, one for other uses)
  • 4xUSB-A 3.1 ports and 1xUSB-C (may be used for video, as already indicated)
  • 135W external power brick, up to 100W available for charging
  • RJ-45 GbE (Intel I225-LMvP circuitry)
  • Audio mini-jack for headphones or external audio hookup
  • Universal computer lock port for attaching locked cable
  • Dimensions 220x80x30 mm (8.66×3.15×1.18″)

The Lenovo dock even downloads and handles its own Windows drivers with reasonable aplomb and dispatch. I found it loaded up its own USB Audio driver (under Sound, video and game controllers). It also updated the local Thunderbolt controller driver to a newer version after hook-up.

Stacking Up the Hubs

My testing so far puts all 3 docks — Lenovo, CalDigit, and Belkin — into the same overall performance range for USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 devices. That said, the CalDigit device offers 18 ports including GbE and 2.5 GbE RJ-45 networking hook-ups and SD flash device slots. If you can find one and need that extra functionality, that may make it worth the extra cost. Likewise, the Belkin device also supports a full-size SD slot and dual USB-A 2.0 slots, which may or may not make a different.

By comparison, I’d give the Lenovo device a “Best Buy” rating right now. If you don’t need SD support or lots of (different) USB-A ports, it can handle what you need. I have no difficulty using it as a docking station for a Lenovo X12 hybrid laptop with external mouse, keyboard, and two or three external storage devices. It also works well with HDMI or DP to drive an external Dell U2717 monitor.



P360 Ultra Gets Second NVMe

A couple of days ago, I praised the interior design of the Lenovo P360 Ultra SFF PC (link). I just had to remove the GPU to access the second NVMe slot on an Asrock B500 Extreme4 motherboard last week. Let’s just say it wasn’t incredibly easy (and some expletives were involved). That really made me appreciate an install that required less than two minutes all the way around. But now that the P360 Ultra gets second NVMe, I want to report on the results.

When P360 Ultra Gets Second NVMe, Speed Abounds

What you see as the lead graphic for this story is a pair of CrystalDiskMark results. To the left, the internal C: furnished with the PC (a Samsung 1TB OEM drive: MSVL21T0HCLR). To the right, the internal D: I installed (WD Black SN850).

First, let’s look at those results. The Samsung drive enjoys an 18% edge on the sequential read (queue depth 32, single thread) and a  33% gain on random read (queue depth 1, single thread). The WD Black comes out ahead on all other readings.

That’s not surprising, given that the WD Black SN850 is a newer, more capable drive. But those results also speak to the notion that one should definitely populate open NVMe slots if speedy storage is helpful to the workloads a PC must handle.

P360 Ultra Gets Second NVMe.external

Same WD Black drive in a USB4 external NVMe enclosure: much slower.

Internal vs. External NVMe

The preceding screengrab shows CrystalDiskMark results for the same drive, but housed in an external NVMe enclosure. It happens to be a USB4 enclosure, and represents as much speed as I’ve been able to get from an external NVMe drive. It’s significantly slower across the board, but still not bad.

If I drop the same drive down to a USB 3.1 enclosure, it runs at standard UASP speeds (at or under 1000 in the top 4 cells). Interestingly the bottom four cells don’t change much for either USB4 or USB3.1. Backup speeds don’t change that much, either. That’s why I’m not convinced the USB4 enclosure is worth a $100 premium (it improves backup speeds by 30 seconds, give or take).

One More Thing…

If you’re buying an NVMe drive for an external enclosure, there’s no need to spend big on a fast, capable storage device. It won’t be able to run full out because the USB link (either 3 or 4) can’t keep up with top-end NVMe speeds. As the preceding CrystalDiskMark chart shows, you can’t come near the 6-7 GBps or so performance that top-end NVMes deliver these days.

On the other hand, if you’re going to put that device into an M.2 slot INSIDE the PC or laptop, that’s a whole ‘nother story. Then, you should buy as fast as you can stand to pay for — assuming, that is, that the PC or laptop can make full use of those capabilities.


P360 Ultra Is Beautiful Inside

Holy mackerel! I just popped open the Lenovo P360 Ultra to check out its interior. I’m completely blown away. Starting with a protracted period for Tom’s Hardware in the early 2000s, I built and reviewed several dozen PCs for them. Over the years, I’ve laid hands on the insides of dozens of other PCs, and as many laptops. When I say the P360 Ultra is beautiful inside, I mean it. I’ve never seen a PC — full-sized or SFF — as well engineered for easy interior access as this one.

What P360 Ultra Is Beautiful Inside Means

The only tool I had to use when accessing anything inside the P360 Ultra was a pair of needle-nosed pliers. But a pen would have done just as well. To mount a second NVMe SSD, I had to pop a retaining clip. It required modest, well-directed force, but was easy to do.

The unit opens easily with a single lever release on the back. That release is boxed in red in the lead-in graphic for this story. Pull it down, and use it to pull the interior free of the case. That’s it.

Inside the case, customers have easy and immediate access to two of its four SODIMM memory slots. Getting to the SSD cooler is equally easy. There’s a nice YouTube video that takes a visual tour of the whole interior. Better still, Lenovo has a whole series of maintenance videos that show all the important stuff, item by item.

Where Did I Just Go Inside the P360?

I checked out all the stops along the way. Indeed, it would be dead easy to add two more memory modules to the current configuration (which has a single 32GB SODIMM). I popped up the cooler from the SSD area with a single catch release. I watched the Lenovo video to learn how to release the retaining pin from the second, open SSD slot. Then I inserted the WD Black SN850 I bought last week, returning the retaining pin into its closed position and buttoned the case back up.

The cooler that covers the side-by-side SSD slots comes loose with a single catch (fingertip barely showing at mid right). Pop the clip, drop in the drive, and repeat in reverse. Took me about 30 seconds, all told.

I’m happy to report that new drive came up instantly on the next reboot. The BIOS obligingly beeped to let me know something had changed, but the whole process was dead easy. Tomorrow, I’ll write about the amazing results from using the WD Black drive internally.

A Usability Triumph

As I said earlier, I’ve stuck my hands in a lot of PCs and laptops. That includes numerous SFF PCs, of which I’ve built several for use here at Chez  Tittel. My wife uses a Dell 7080 Micro as her daily beater, in fact. I’ve NEVER seen a PC as well engineered for access and upgrade as this one. It’s amazing. Watch the aforelinked videos; you’ll see exactly what I mean. Astounding!!

My hat’s off to the P360 engineering team. While they marvel at my bald, gleaming head, I’m still marveling at their great work.




Docking Discrete GPU Laptops Trick

Inquiring minds want to understand how to get the best graphics performance when using a multi-purpose, high-bandwidth connection. Yes, I’m talking about a Thunderbolt 4 dock (like the CalDigit TS4 or the Belkin Pro Thunderbolt 4). Turns out there’s BIOS tweak involved: it’s my “docking discrete GPU laptops trick.”

OK, What Is the Docking Discrete GPU Laptops Trick?

By default, most dual-GPU laptops run in dual or hybrid graphics mode. That is, they use the built-in GPU unless a specific application requires or prioritizes the discrete GPU. When running on battery, in fact, they only use the built-in GPU unless forced to use the discrete GPU instead, to extend runtime.

My trick comes in at the BIOS level. Thus, for example, the Lenovo P16 Mobile Workstation, has a BIOS setting under Config →  Graphics Device. It takes possible values of Hybrid Graphics (the default) or Discrete Graphics (the alternate). If you switch from the default to the alternate, the laptop always uses the discrete GPU to drive display outputs.

When using a dock, one is perforce plugged in for power (either separately, or through the dock itself, which has its own heavy-duty external power supply/brick). That means it’s safe to use the more power-hungry (but also, more capable) discrete GPU to drive two or more displays.

For Thunderbolt 4, docks are limited to a single 8K display or dual 4K displays (usually via DisplayPort, aka DP, and/or USB-C). So far, I have found this connection to work indistinguishably from my production desktop. It’s got an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti with dual DP Dell UltraSharp 2717 2K monitors attached. The docks drive the same outputs equally well.

Uh-Oh: Must I Raise My Display Ante?

Right now, I can’t really drive the graphics end of things to the level where it would stress Thunderbolt 4. I’m wondering if that means I need to buy up, and replace my 2017 vintage monitors with something like the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE. At US$600 and up, two of those would sting the bank account a bit (its stunning display serves as the lead-in graphic for this story). But it may be time for a display refresh here at Chez Tittel, so to speak.

Let me check with “The Boss” (wife, Dina) and get back to you on that…


Lenovo P16 Gen1 Gets Unboxed

Just over a month ago, I reached out to my contacts at Lenovo. I’d been wanting to lay hands on some newer PCs so I could dig into Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 to understand its workings. A couple of weeks ago, I received a P360 Ultra SFF PC equipped with 2 each TB4/USB4 ports. Last Friday, unannounced and unexpected, another so-endowed laptop arrived at my door. Here, I’ll report on my initial findings as this Lenovo P16 Gen1 gets unboxed and set up. It’s a doozy!

Details: Lenovo P16 Gen1 Gets Unboxed

I’ll provide a recitation of facts and figures for this powerful portable workstation PC. In fact, it’s the most expensive personal computer I’ve ever worked on. Indeed, its website price, as configured, is a staggering US$9,719! It’s a big heavy sucker, too: 30.23mm x 364mm x 266mm / 1.2″ x 14.3″ x 10.5″, and 6.6 lbs/3.0 kg.

Here’s a selective list of what’s inside this beast of a Widows 11 Pro laptop. (Find all details on its product page under “Tech Specs”):

CPU: i9-12950HX (16 cores, 24 threads)
RAM: 128 GB (4 x 32GB  4800 MHz DDR5)
GPU (built-in): Intel UHD 770
GPU (discrete): Nvidia RTX A5500 (16 GB VRAM)
Display: 16.0″ WQUXGA (3840×2400) OLED touchscreen
SSD: 2 TB Kioxia KXG7APNV2T04 (PCIe 4.0 Gen4 NVMe)
Biometrics: Fingerprint reader and Hello IR Camera

As cool and impressive as all this stuff is — and it is all that for sure — the real reason I’m using this monster appears in the next image, enumerating the unit’s various ports:

My real reason for using this laptop is item 10, boxed in red.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

I’m jazzed, of course, by the panoply of features and stuff on this giant luggable PC. But I’m most interested in working with its two rear USB-C ports, both of which support Thunderbolt4 and USB4. And indeed, I’ve confirmed that both work as claimed. That’s not always the easiest or most obvious thing, as I’ll explain next.

Getting to TB4/USB4

As I’m learning, it takes some diligence to get either or both of these fast bus technologies to work. The PC port has to support these technologies, as does the target device, and the cable between the two. This is not always the easiest thing in the word to ensure or arrange. But as the following screenshot shows, I’ve gotten both working on the ThinkPad P16 Gen1 Mobile Workstation:

Intel TB Control Center: Above, the CalDigit TS4 dock; Below: an NVMe drive inside the Konyead USB4 enclosure.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Both TB4 and USB4 remain cutting edge connection types. Everything about them is expensive right now. The CalDigit TS4 dock goes for over US$350 when you can find one for sale. The Konyead M.2 USB4 enclosure costs US$130, which is about what I paid for the Sabrent 1TB Rocket 4 Plus I put inside.

And then, one MUST use TB4/USB4 cables which aren’t cheap either (I got mine with the CalDigit) but they routinely go for US$20-40 for 1 M. Cables are not always well-labeled. It’s a good idea to go for those explicitly specced out for 40Gpbs data and marked as such. I’ve had lots of interesting issues from using lower-spec cables. Mostly, USB4/TB4 simply doesn’t work as promised and the device drops to UASP/USB 3.1/2 levels of performance.

Tomorrow, I’ll follow up and explain what all that means… Stay tuned!


Backblaze Data Confirms SSD Trumps HDD Reliability

It’s always made sense on an intuitive basis. Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) include spinning platters, moving arms with read/write heads, motors to power things, and gears to control action. SDDs are made entirely of circuitry: no moving parts. Thus, it’s compelling to assert that SDDs should be more reliable, and less prone to failure than HDDS. And indeed, the latest 2022 Drive State report from online backup and storage provider Backblaze weighs in on this topic. As I read it, that Backblaze data confirms SSD trumps HDD reliability.

The lead-in graphic shows 4 years’ worth of SSD data vs. 8 years for HDDs for boot drivers in their thousands of datacenter based servers. Whereas there’s a dramatic upward knee in the curve for HDDS between years 4 and 5 (from 1.83% to 3.55%), failures actually dipped for SDDs during that interval (from 1.05% to 0.95%). Interesting!

How Backblaze Data Confirms SSD Trumps HDD Reliability

The afore-linked report explains that boot drives function in multiple roles on the company’s plethora of storage servers. They store log and temprorary files; they maintain storage holdings based on each day’s storage activities and volume. The disparity in the number of years for which data is available comes from later adoption of SDDs as boot drives at BackBlaze. That practice started in Q4 2018. Today, all new servers boot from SSDs; older servers whose HDD boot drives fail get SSD replacements.

The numbers of SSDs keep going up, too. The end-of-year 2021 SSD report encompassed 2,200 SSDs. By June 30, 2022, that count grew to 2,558. Failure rates for such devices show much lower numbers than for HDD (see the tables labeled Backblaze SSD Quarterly Failure Rates in the latest report for more detail). Models included come from the following vendors: Crucial, Dell, Micron, Seagate and WDC.

Note: the report itself says:

For any given drive model in this cohort of SSDs, we like to see at least 100 drives and 10,000 drive-days in a given quarter as a minimum before we begin to consider the calculated AFR to be “reasonable”.

The real news, of course, is that quarterly, annualized and lifetime failure rates for SSDs are significantly lower than for HDDs, based on Backblaze’s own long-running data collection. Thus their conclusion comes with the weight of evidence “…we can reasonably claim that SSDs are more reliable than HDDs, at least when used as boot drives in our environment.”

Good stuff! As for me, I like SSDs not just because they’re less prone to failure. They’re also FAST, if more expensive per storage unit than spinners.




ARM Windows 11 Ecosystem Should Explode Soon

When I reported last week that only Windows 11 would run x64 emulation on ARM processors, I didn’t realize that this space should indeed open up soon. According to Rich Woods at, (a) Qualcomm currently has  exclusive access to Windows for its SnapDragon chips, and (b) that exclusive arrangement will expire sometime “soon.” When that happens (no firm dates) the ARM Windows 11 ecosystem should explode with activity. At a minimum, it’s likely that ARM chip vendors Samsung and MediaTek will want to get in on this action. With ARM doors wide open, even Apple Mac silicon may be able to run Windows 11 more effectively…

What Does ARM Windows 11 Ecosystem Should Explode Mean?

Competition, in a word. Right now, ARM-based laptops remain pricey when it comes to price-performance comparisons with intel or AMD based hardware. I expect that more vendors entering this market will drive prices down. Hopefully, that means they’ll come down enough to make ARM-based computers an attractive proposition.

I’ve looked at acquiring such a unit for nearly three years now. I saw my first ARM laptop early on at the MVP Summit in 2018. But each time I’ve looked at what an ARM-based system cost, I’ve steered clear because the cost just didn’t work for me. I’m curious but when it comes to spending my own money, curiosity only goes so far. A 14″ Lenovo Flex 5G costs $1,400 at Verizon right now, with 256 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM. For the same money, same vendor, I can get a more powerful CPU, 16 GB RAM and at least 512 GB SSD with Intel i5 or AMD equivalent processor. It’s not a compelling proposition — yet.

What Else Needs to Happen?

Lower prices. Better CPU parity. Stronger Windows support. It will still be a while before ARM can give either intel or AMD a run for Windows mind- and marketshare. But that will be an interesting race to watch. Hopefully, we all wind up winners when it’s been run. Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted.


Exploring Lenovo Yoga7i Loaner

I’ve got a new toy to play with here at Chez Tittel — a Yoga 7 14ITL5. My First Look at this unit appeared a couple of days ago, and includes detailed specs and other initial impressions. Since then, I’ve been exploring Lenovo Yoga7i loaner as my schedule has allowed and have uncovered some surprising and interesting information and capabilities. Let me tell you more…

What I’m Learning from Exploring Lenovo Yoga7i Loaner

I speculated that Windows 11 was applied as an upgrade as part of the “first boot” behavior on this laptop. I was wrong about that. The update history shows no upgrade, and there’s no Windows.old folder on the machine. You can see its disk map, courtesy of WizTree, in the lead-in graphic for the story. It grabbed all of my OneDrive stuff when it established my MSA user account, but it’s all Windows 11, all the way.

Obviously, interesting things are possible by way of Windows 11 OEM deployment. The OOB/first boot experience is different from anything I’ve seen in previous versions of Windows, from 10 back as far as you’d like to go. It looks like everything hinges on the Microsoft Account (MSA) that users supply for the initial login, which seems to conclude with a complete OS install and setup.

The disk footprint is reasonably modest. Discounting OneDrive, there’s about 55 GB worth of files on the Yoga 7’s C: drive. I just ran Disk Cleanup (admin) and was able to bring that down by 2.02 GB. Running DriverStore Explorer found about 32 MB worth of obsolete (probably duplicate) device drivers, too.

But it’s a completely native Windows 11 installation. Examining Apps & Features in settings, I see some stuff I neither want nor need, including Alexa, Disney+, McAfee LiveSafe, and Spotify. But as crapware goes, that’s a pretty light load. Kudos to Lenovo for not loading their image down with all kinds of useless cruft.

My verdict on this US$850-950 PC as configured: pretty good value for the price. I wouldn’t use this PC as a daily driver, but it is a nice casual computing platform. It runs reasonably well, and looks and behaves nicely, too. Good stuff!