Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Review When Lenovo Gets Edgy

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Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal Hardware Overview

First off, getting inside this system was not easy. Many systems we review, including the m90n-IoT and M75n-IoT, are very simple to take apart.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Rear View Without Covers 2
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Rear View Without Covers 2

This system required pulling over a dozen screws before we were able to get inside the system. Clearly, this is designed for a long service life on a factory floor rather than easy upgrades and desk-side office service by IT.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Many Screws
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Many Screws

Once the lid was removed, one an see inside the system. On the left we have power delivery, the Intel Core i7 CPU, and then the COM port assembly. On the right, we have a stack of serviceable components.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal Overview With SSD 3
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal Overview With SSD 3

Here one can see the Innodisk 3ME4 SATA SSD. That is just the first functionality on this right side as there are layers of features here.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal View From Side Assembled
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal View From Side Assembled

Removing the SSD and the 2.5″ carrier, held in place by more screws, we have the Intel i350-T4 NIC. You can read about the Intel i350 vs i340 differences but our recommendation for that piece is to get an i350-based card. It is great to see that Lenovo is using the better card here. This provides four 1GbE ports. This NIC also is integrated into a custom faceplate instead of a standard PCIe I/O place. That means that changing or upgrading the NIC in the future would require also sourcing the I/O plate. While it is an easy item to order today, many of these boxes end up in the field for years so that is also a consideration years from now.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal Overview Without SSD And With 4 Port NIC
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal Overview Without SSD And With 4 Port NIC

That NIC is on a riser and removing both the NIC and riser, via more screws, gets us to the motherboard below. Here we can see two M.2 2242 (42mm) slots on the pCB that are not populated but that could be with devices such as wireless radios.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal Overview Without SSD And NIC M.2 Slot View
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Internal Overview Without SSD And NIC M.2 Slot View

The one radio that is populated is the 802.11ac solution. It was a bit surprising to see an 802.11ac solution instead of a WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E card here as those are newer standards.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 WiFi M.2
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 WiFi M.2

A big miss we had with this system is getting a good photo of the under-motherboard slots. There are both M.2 SSD slots and SODIMM slots. So here we have the service manual diagram of the board. We were trying to hit the FedEx truck and it takes so long to get to these components (an important aspect for field service) that we could not re-take the photos.

Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Bottom Of Motherboard Diagram With Memory And M.2
Lenovo ThinkEdge SE50 Bottom Of Motherboard Diagram With Memory And M.2

Overall though, we can see a lot of customization possibilities in this system, but it is clearly not made to be easily serviced in the field.

Next, we are going to take a look at the performance, power consumption, and our final words.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.1
Performance
8.8
Feature Set
9.1
Value
9.0
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

5 COMMENTS

  1. 6 NICS? So is this like a router? My first thought was ‘is it a switch?’, but switches shouldn’t have NICS (unless L3 switches, of course). . I’m a bit confused what this is for, exactly

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