Lenovo’s latest cheap gaming PC sports a surprising legacy biz tech – from the 1980’s

Lenovo’s latest LOQ gaming PC, the Tower 17IRB8, features a port that was a favorite amongst businesses, the venerable VGA port. Yes, a gaming PC, launched in March 2023, has a connector that was released in 1987 when a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels was considered bleeding edge. 

As a legacy port, Video Graphics Array is still popular with businesses and organizations of all sizes for a number of reasons, mostly to do with the adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. There’s no reliable data available but there are still thousands of working CRT or LCD monitors and business projectors that have a VGA connector (and still a 4:3 aspect ratio), up to a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels.

That said, whether Lenovo is aiming for that particular audience remains to be seen. We don’t believe that is the case; it is likely that it’s just a matter of using what’s available, a motherboard destined for business PC, a belief further reinforced by the fact that the Tower 17IRB8 supports Windows 11 Pro, can house two full size hard disk drives (remember those), has four USB 2.0 ports (yet another technology from the last millennia) and what looks like standard audio capabilities (a single audio connector).

Lenovo also bundled two software applications prosumers and SMB will find helpful: Vantage and Smart Storage; the first one is a driver updater combined with a system utilities and a basic internet security software while the second one is a backup software for your smartphone or tablet, one that mimics cloud storage but uses your PC to save data (you may perhaps use it for hosting a website but we haven’t tried that). 

A boring workstation disguised as a gaming PC 

Looking more closely at Lenovo’s portfolio, one can see that the Tower 17IRB8 is rather similar to the Intel-based SMB-friendly IdeaCentre 5i, albeit bigger and heavier; the IdeaCentre 5i is also known as the 14IRB8 – 14 standing for 14 liters. Both accept 13th generation Core i7 processors but pair them with DDR4 memory (not DDR5), both use HDMI 1.4b (which only supports 4K at 30Hz) alongside VGA.

It absolutely makes sense for Lenovo to buy motherboards with as many features as possible and use them in as many models as possible. That’s what economies of scale is all about and further highlights the cold, harsh reality of a depressed global computing market. Business and consumer audiences are overlapping more than ever before: it’s only after sales support, the warranty and bundled operating system that often separate the two.

Expect even more models to launch with that split personality syndrome. 

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