Lenovo might be better known for its office and productivity PCs, but it’s being making a go of the gaming market in recent times. Their latest shot at gaming greatness is the Y710 Cube, an almost-mini-PC that packs some decent hardware into a very small box. It’s not quite small enough to tuck away behind your TV, but it’s a far-cry from the tall towers most gamers are used to.
As you can see, it’s certainly a stylish creation, with the angular lines and accented LED lighting systems that set gaming rigs apart from boring black towers. Yet it’s not over the top in our humble opinion – you won’t mistake your gaming room for a nightclub when all of the LEDs are illuminated. The actual dimensions are 393mm by 315mm by 252mm, but that also includes the 625W PSU; there’s no need for a separate power brick. At the top of the case is a handle that makes lugging it around to LAN events a breeze.
A couple of high-speed USB ports and mic-in/headphone out adorn the top of the front, while the rear has many more connection options. These consist of four USB 3.0, twin USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, Ethernet and a single PS/2 connection. There’s also Killer Wireless AC 1535 802.11ac Wi-Fi built in, using a 2×2 antennae configuration. In addition to this are the video outputs offered by the graphics card, which consist of a single HDMI 2.0b, DVI-I and triple DisplayPort 1.3/4 ready.
Removing the side panel reveals an extremely cramped interior – there’s very little room to move if you want to do any major customisation. The motherboard appears to be a Mini-ITX board, and it’s based on Intel’s H170 chipset. As expected, the machine is available in a huge variety of configurations, and the model we reviewed came in at a price of $2,999. For this you get Intel’s 6th Gen Core i7-6700 CPU, and that’s the only option for the CPU. Given the recent release of the 7th Gen CPU we’d expect to see an updated model in the near future; currently this machine is limited to the 4GHz Turbo of this quad-cored, Hyper-threaded chip, which is more than enough for today’s games. Alongside this is 16GB of 2133MHz DDR4 memory.
The main horsepower, however, is delivered via Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080, which appears to be a basic Nvidia-branded model. As we all know, this delivers oodles of performance, and makes up a good third of the price of the review unit. If that’s overkill, you can opt for a Radeon R9-370X or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 instead, which will shave a big chunk of change off the price. Our machine game with a single 2TB mechanical hard drive for your long-term storage needs, yet there wasn’t any sign of an SSD, which is an optional extra. At this price even a small 256GB SSD should be a given, and we really noticed the performance difference when it came to desktop operation and game loading times.
Given the fact that the case sides are all basically giant grills, we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of fan noise, which came in at 44dB. However, there is a slightly high whine emitted by one of the cooling fans. Given the level of hardware within, the performance was top-notch, even delivering playable 4K performance in Shadow of Mordor.
There’s no denying that there are slightly better value systems on the market, but they’re substantially bigger and louder than the Y710. If you value a smaller gaming system that is easy to lug around, and doesn’t sound like a hair-dryer, Lenovo has delivered the goods, although the lack of an SSD is a bummer.