The PC gaming market has been pretty strong market over the last couple of years, and recent developments have pushed the boundaries again. With the impending launches of virtual reality headsets, we’ve seen even notebook manufacturers getting prepared to drive these new devices, but it takes a lot of compute to do it. Manufacturers going after sales of gaming notebooks are going to be able to eke out better margins too, so it’s an area many of them focus on. But the typical gaming notebook is going to be quite expensive. A powerful mobile GPU, nice display, and good processor, are all going to add to the bill of materials. For those that want to get into the market for a gaming notebook, sometimes you don’t want to break the bank.

When you try to define what makes up a gaming notebook, it’s not always cut and dry. You are certainly going to expect a discrete graphics card in the mix, along with enough processing power and storage to keep some of the latest games, which are now often times 50 GB or more. Proper gaming notebooks are going to have sufficient cooling to keep everything working at peak capacity for extended sessions of high use.

Lenovo markets their gaming lineup under the Y branding, and they offer both notebooks and desktops targeted towards this market. To round out the collection, they also offer gaming keyboards, 7.1 headphones, and even a backpack to haul the equipment around in. Today we are going to take a look at the IdeaPad Y700 gaming notebook, which was launched with Skylake processors at IFA 2015. Lenovo offers a very impressive entry level price on the Y700, with it starting at just $899 for the 15.6-inch model. This is not the only Y700 they have on offer, and Ian was able to test out a pre-production model with AMD’s Carrizo APU and R9 M380 graphics. The model Lenovo sent for review though is the Intel Core i7-6700HQ version with NVIDA GTX 960M graphics and touch display. The touch version starts at $1099 with 8 GB of memory, and the model we have is the $1149 version with 16 GB of memory.

Lenovo Ideapad Y700
As Tested: Core i7-6700HQ, 16GB RAM, 128GB+1TB, 1920x1080 Touch
  Non Touch 15 Touch 15
CPU Intel Core i5-6300HQ (45W)
2.3-3.2 GHz Quad-Core 6MB Cache

Intel Core i7-6700HQ (45W)
2.6-3.5 GHz Quad-Core with Hyperthreading 6MB Cache
Intel Core i7-6700HQ (45W)
2.6-3.5 GHz Quad-Core with Hyperthreading 6MB Cache
GPU Integrated: Intel HD 530
Discrete: NVIDIA GTX 960M
(640 CUDA Cores, 2 or 4 GB GDDR5 depending on model)
Optimus Enabled
Memory 8GB or 16GB DDR4 RAM (SODIMMs)
Display 15.6" IPS 1920x1080 resolution
non-touch with matte finish
15.6" IPS 1920x1080 resolution
touch with gloss finish


Optional: 3840x2160 IPS panel
Storage HDD: 500GB or 1TB HDD
Optional SSD: 128 GB or 512 GB SATA SSD
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
802.11ac 1x1:1

Optional: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
802.11ac 2x2:2


Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek)
I/O USB 3.0 x 2
USB 2.0 always on x 1
SD Card reader
HDMI 1.4
Headset Jack
Ethernet
Dimensions (mm) : 387 x 277 x 25.95
(inches) : 15.23 x 10.90 x 1.02
Weight 2.6 kg / 5.7 lbs
Camera Windows Hello (Front) optional
720p standard
720p
Price $899+ $1099+ (As tested: $1149)

There is quite a bit of value here with the internals. The Core i7-6700HQ is a 45-Watt quad-core processor with hyperthreading, 16 GB of DDR4 memory should be plenty for any gaming scenario, and you even get a SSD for the boot drive. The PM871 Samsung drive is a SATA SSD based on TLC V-NAND, so write performance likely won’t be great, but regardless it’s going to be a lot nicer than using the 1 TB hard disk drive for the OS drive. The 15.-6-inch display is an IPS panel as well, and it’s great to even see low cost gaming notebooks ditching the TN option.

We also get our first sighting of the latest Intel wireless card, which is the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260. The baseline option appears to be just the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3265 which is a single stream solution, so the 8260 with 2x2:2 is the way to go. We’ll see later in the review how it fares.

Component wise, Lenovo has crafted a strong looking laptop for this price range. The GTX 960M is a decent pairing for 1080p gaming, and with options of either an i5 or i7 quad-core chip, there should be enough CPU power to keep everything running at maximum.

Design
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  • watzupken - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    I am not sure if aluminium is a good material to have at the base of the laptop since its a good conductor of heat and can get quite hot at the bottom. Although its not likely anyone will put it on their lap when gaming, but still not a wise choice of material from my opinion.
    Also, I think it will be good to know if we can open the base of the laptop to service and to know what components can be upgraded.
    Reply
  • willis936 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    Someone better alert Apple and Dell that they're using the wrong material for the chassis of their top selling laptops. Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    yeah as long as the heat is going into the chassis and not staying in the GPU, I'm fine with that.

    As intended...
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, February 12, 2016 - link

    Yep, it's one more way to get a modest bump in cooling. That's good in my book. Reply
  • milkod2001 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    Yeah, aluminium is bad!They should have gone with plastic instead to keep laptop cool. What they were thinking! LOL Reply
  • ATC9001 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    If a laptop has aluminum on the bottom, it would likely be cooler. This is because the heat would be dissipated quickly across the entire bottom of the laptop (huge surface area). Whereas plastic would insulate the heat and any localized hot spot would heat up at the specific point and be difficult to dissipate that heat. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    Exactly, plastic is an insulator, creating hot spots. Which are bad for everybody and everything involved.

    The only debatably superior material for the bottom chassis would be magnesium, which has similar cooling performance to aluminum while being slightly lighter and stronger...and more expensive. This is, after all, a $900 machine with a fairly high end graphics card. Sure there are laptops in this price range with magnesium construction but they also lack a $200 dedicated graphics card.

    I'm surprised Lenovo used aluminum at this price. The previous Y series were mostly plastic, with questionable long term GPU reliability.
    Reply
  • Solandri - Monday, February 15, 2016 - link

    Plastic or aluminum for the bottom is mostly irrelevant. The internal components aren't connected directly to the bottom. There's a thick layer of air in between, and air is a much better insulator than, well, just about anything except vacuum. Consequently, the vast majority of cooling comes from the fans venting the interior air outside. For any heat to dissipate through the bottom case material, it has to first transfer through the air, which is an almost negligible amount.

    All the base needs is sufficient ventilation holes so this airflow from the fans is unimpeded. That's actually why the Macbook Pro 15 has heating problems despite using a 37W TDP CPU (the lowest power quad core Intel makes). Apple refuses to put ventilation holes in the bottom.

    If you *did* attach internal components directly to the bottom, then you would want it to be plastic. Aluminum or magnesium would conduct heat so readily it'd act like a big heatsink and become too hot to actually place on your lap. Plastic would insulate your lap from the heat, thus assuring most of the heat is dissipated out via the fans.
    Reply
  • Souka - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    Maybe you should read the article? Thermals were good.

    "The results are excellent. The Y700 had no issues keeping up with the demand of the CPU and GPU, and GPU temperatures never even got over 65°C. The laptop itself was barely warm after this too, so Lenovo has packed in plenty of cooling to ensure that the system can maintain peak performance for as long as necessary."
    Reply
  • The_AC - Friday, February 12, 2016 - link

    Yeah, insulators keep computers cold. This is why I put Styrofoam blocks on my CPUs, rather than crappy copper. Reply

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