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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  • milkod2001 - Monday, February 15, 2016 - link

    My comment was meant to be sarcastic, of course aluminium is better than plastic for cooloing Reply
  • milkod2001 - Monday, February 15, 2016 - link

    Cooling

    Still no edit option. sigh

    1990 has called and wants this comment system back :)
    Reply
  • jahu78 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    You can open it by unscrewing I think 11 screws so the whole bottom part disattaches, After you unscrew you need to lift the lid up, and then press down the chassis at the front with your fingers hard. It is painful and tricky for the first time, and feels like you are about to crack something. Anyway there is a servicing guide floating the net I strongly advise to see it first and be patient. After you get the bottom part off you are welcome to add memory (unfortunately 8GB version has 2x4GB so you need to sell it and buy 2x8GB DDR4 for upgrade, add SSD in m.2 2280 format, replace the HDD if you want, etc. I also would point to servicing guide so you buy compatible SSD. BR Reply
  • coolhardware - Friday, February 12, 2016 - link

    PS the Y700 14" model is very similar but packs everything into a smaller package, it is also fairly easy to upgrade:
    http://www.jdhodges.com/blog/lenovo-ideapad-y700-1...
    the capability to utilize a m.2 SSD, 2.5" SSD and DDR4 memory in a sub $700 laptop (before upgrades) is a pretty nice setup IMHO/
    Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    So are you proposing they use plastic instead of aluminum? Seriously... Reply
  • SaolDan - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    How does a GTX 960m compares to a 7970m? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    The following overestimates the AMD GPU by about 10% or so, but otherwise it's the closest estimate I can give you: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/1130?vs=103... Reply
  • frodesky - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    Do Lenovo still enforce a whitelist on their gaming laptops? Because that's what's keeping me from even considering them as an option. Reply
  • neo_1221 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    I'd like to know this too. I was very annoyed to discover that my Y410P was locked to the included WiFi card by a whitelist - that was two years ago, I'm curious to see if they've stopped doing that. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - link

    I believe they don't enforce a whitelist on ideapads, just thinkpads. I had no trouble upgrading a Y460's wireless card while a similar era T420 needed a Lenovo FRU.

    The later bioses seem to be trending toward removing white lists though. I hope HP starts to do the same its fuxking ridiculous to lock down a machine where it can't be upgraded (because generally they don't whitelist upgrade components...I ran into this on my old elitebook 2560 that had no compatibility with even HP sku LTE modems, it was never given anything better than a 3G HSPA Qualcomm card.
    Reply

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