System Performance

The Intel Core i7-3610QM inside the Lenovo IdeaCentre A7 may be entry level Ivy Bridge, but you'll see that it still has teeth. By opting for a mobile processor, Lenovo is able to offer a substantial amount of performance without sacrificing thermal headroom (and thus noise) in the process. I've frequently felt that even the low-voltage desktop CPUs used in all-in-ones have been excessive, and the A7's test results seem to back me up.

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

The A7 is hurt by the lack of an SSD; the slow hard drive keeps it from really breaking away from the last generation's all-in-ones in PCMark and for once I do agree. The 1TB Western Digital Scorpio Blue may offer a healthy amount of capacity, but a lot of performance is sacrificed to get it.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

Shift the focus to CPU-centric tasks and the A7's prospects look a lot brighter. It doesn't need to be the fastest, it just needs to be competitive, and being able to nip at the heels of last generation's high end in the HP TouchSmart 610 while consuming 50W less is respectable.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

The 3DMarks are kinder to the A7, but I don't think they tell the whole story. The improvement over the last generation of all-in-ones is incremental, and the Kepler-and-GDDR5 combo in the Dell XPS One 2710 is really where the A7 needs to be. Dedicated all-in-one graphics need to justify their inclusion, and a mediocre GPU attached to 2GB of DDR3 just isn't enough to feed a 1080p display as you'll see.

Gaming Performance

It's when you look at the Dell XPS One 2710's performance that it becomes apparent just how much Lenovo left on the table by cheaping out with a GeForce GT 630M and then dumping an unnecessary amount of video memory on it. Even at 1366x768, the A7 struggles.

All-in-One Gaming, 768p

The A7 is able to produce mostly playable performance, but it doesn't look great doing it, and Dell's all-in-one is worlds ahead of it. Pay attention to the numbers in the 1080p chart below.

All-in-One Gaming, 1080p

The A7 offers slightly worse gaming performance at 1366x768 than the Dell XPS One 2710 does at 1920x1080. The bottom line is that a Kepler chip with GDDR5 is pretty much the minimum for gaming on an all-in-one, and while I'd concede that the GT 630M is better than nothing, I can see it becoming a problem in short order. It doesn't have much performance to spare from the get go, and that's only going to get worse with time. More than that, the 630M's memory is basically running out of bandwidth when you start pushing the resolution, making it even less ideal for a 1080p all-in-one like the A7.

Introducing the Lenovo IdeaCentre A7 Screen Quality
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  • adriantrances - Friday, September 28, 2012 - link

    Lenovo so mediocre nowadays. Thinkpads with 900p TN screens, or 768p IPS screens, switch from good keyboard to mediocre keyboard. It's like getting worse to worse every year. Imagine an X330 with 13.3" 1200p IPS, old keyboard, ivy bridge, hmmm.

    Nice design on this AIO, but should be 1440p IPS, SSD ( so cheap ), Intel WiFi, somewhat poor GPU, proper USB placements, and some more smaller quirks.
  • Juddog - Friday, September 28, 2012 - link

    A 1440p IPS panel would shoot the price way up.
  • royalcrown - Saturday, September 29, 2012 - link

    Yeah, When IBM owned them, the A seiesThinkpad was awesome. When Lenovo bought them, I decided I wasn't going to buy a laptop ever as those were the only ones I liked.

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