Lenovo IdeaPad Y400/Y500 Gaming Notebooks (with SLI!)by Jarred Walton on January 9, 2013 2:59 AM EST
While Lenovo is normally thought of as a business brand, their IdeaPad (and IdeaCentre and IdeaTab) range of products tend to focus more on the consumer market. Case in point is the Y series of IdeaPad gaming notebooks, which have traditionally been relatively price competitive with other options. Lenovo usually keeps the specs a bit down from the top-end mobile GPUs, but they’re looking to at least up the ante this next round with the option for SLI graphics. That’s not all that amazing, but what is cool is the way that Lenovo gets there.
The IdeaPad Y400/Y500 gaming notebooks are getting an overhaul with a new industrial design that's reminiscent of ASUS' "stealth" G-series notebooks. But that's not the really interesting part; what was pretty cool is that the UltraBay has a variety of supported devices, including the option to slot in a second GPU (GT 650M) for SLI capability. With two GT 650M cards you should have a decent amount of performance, though I suspect a single GTX 680M would still be faster (and likely more expensive). Other UltraBay options include an optical drive, a 2.5” hard drive caddy, and a secondary cooling fan.
We didn’t have a chance to do any benchmarking, but the option to enable/disable the second dGPU any time you choose by simply removing it from the UltraBay is definitely cool. Actually, what might be even better is to forget about SLI and instead make laptops with UltraBay support for a single dGPU—allowing users to slot in a GPU in this fashion should give more control than other external interfaces that haven’t really caught on, though there are still plenty of things to work out to make that happen. Given the Y400/Y500 features, though, it seems more a question of “when” than “if”.