The Lenovo Idea Center, Model: K300-53162FU, desktop is a good basic computer for everyday tasks. We tested the Best Buy version that sells for about $450. It includes Windows 7 64-bit home edition, 640GB hard drive (Western Digital Blue), 4GB of memory, plenty of USB ports and a multicard reader. The power button is conveniently located on the top of the unit. It’s a nicer button than the delicate rectangle on similar priced HP units.

The inside of the computer is nice and neat with space to work. The 280 watt power supply is anemic but quiet and good enough for the intended use. You could still add another hard drive and various cards if need be without taxing it too much. We were presently surprised to find snap-on hard drive rails that would make it really painless to drop in another drive. That’s pretty rare in value based systems that often are very cumbersome to upgrade. Any novice could open up this box and add a hard drive or card.

The case is a little chunky but it works with good airflow. It’s nice and quiet too. We like how Lenovo placed the card reader and power button on the top of the tower. This makes it easier to see what you’re doing especially when the computer is placed underneath a desk or in low light situations. If your parents need a new PC this is worth considering. They won’t have to hunt around the front of the computer for the power button. It also has a nice handle built into the top which makes it easy to move.

Performance wise, the Idea Center, Model: K300-53162FU, is perfect for everyday computer use. It was plenty fast for using Office, Picassa, web browsing, streaming media…etc. It’s not the most attractive box but the functionality is there and it’s friendly enough to work on for some minor upgrades. At $450 you’d be hard pressed to build your own with better performance. This is a good choice for the technically challenged or anyone that that just wants a basic system for under $500.

The keyboard and mouse that come with the unit are very cheap and uncomfortable to use. This decision lowered the BOM but really, why bother? So count on springing for a decent keyboard and mouse. All in all not a bad effort from Lenovo for an entry level PC.

Visit Lenovo for more information.