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Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano IoT: A fanless mini PC that can't take the heat

All images via Lenovo
All images via Lenovo
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano IoT is a rugged but silent mini PC suited for IT deployments and enterprise use. Unfortunately, the little desktop's performance suffers under load, primarily because of thermal throttling.

We recently reviewed the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano IoT, a tiny desktop PC with a fanless design. While the computer is completely silent under operation, it falls victim to a fatal flaw: thermal management.

First, the positives: the machine is built like a tank. Its defining aesthetic feature is the fin array adorning the top. These fins are thick and cut from metal, giving the entire device a robust and sturdy feel. Despite its small size, the Nano IoT offers a bevy of ports, including several USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports, two Ethernet ports, and two serial ports. The device is completely silent and does not not draw much power.

Unfortunately, the trade-off for its silent operation is poor thermal management. The device handles short bursts of activity well enough, but workloads longer than a minute or two cause the Core i3-8145U to heavily pull back. As such, longer workloads fall far behind competitors in terms of performance. Thermal throttling is a common occurrence for the Nano IoT, and the entire experience is frustrating as a result.

Overall, the Nano IoT is a device targeted for very specific use cases. IT professionals looking for a silent device that can handle quick workloads may be interested, but the Nano IoT is a poor choice for general consumers.

Be sure to read our full review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano IoT here.

Buy ThinkCentre Nano M90n-1 now on Amazon

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 01 > Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n-1 Nano IoT: A fanless mini PC that can't take the heat
Sam Medley, 2020-01-16 (Update: 2020-01-14)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.