The Lenovo Legion Y920T (T as in “Tower”) is the successor of the IdeaCentre Y900 desktop Gaming PC. The name change is a logical re-branding since Legion encompasses all gaming computers, while IdeaCentre will gradually become the Home Computer brand for Lenovo. Naming aside, the Legion Y920T is an excellent upgrade that brings a number of refinements where it matters.
Let’s take a look at the configuration we are testing. The Lenovo Legion Y920T comes in at least two configurations on Lenovo’s website, and possibly more via retail and e-tail partners. We are testing the most powerful one, with the specs below:
- Gen7 Intel Core i7-7700K Processor (4.20GHz 8MB)
- Windows 10 Home 64
- 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 UDIMM 2400MHz, Max. 64GB. 4 Memory Slots.
- 2TB 7200 RPM HDD, DVD Recordable
- 256GB SSD PCIe NVMe m.2
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
- Killer Wireless 1535 802.11 AC (2 x 2) & Bluetooth 4.0
- USB English Backlit Keyboard and Mouse
- Front Ports
- 4x USB-A 3.0
- 1x USB-C
- 1x HDMI
- 1x 3.5mm audio
- Rear Ports
- 4x USB-A 3.0
- 2x USB-A 2.0
- 3x DisplayPort (removing 1 passthrough to front)
- 2x HDMI, 1x DVI-D (Dual-Link)
- PS/2 keyboard / mouse
- Ethernet (Gb?)
- 625W Power Supply (80+ Bronze)
- 18.85 in x 19.82 in x 8.12 in (478.9 mm x 503.5 mm x 206.4 mm), ~31 Lbs (~14.1 Kg)
A more affordable version of the Y920T comes with the NVIDIA GTX 1070, 1TB of HDD and 128GB of SSD. Depending on your budget, it may be something to seek for, although the performance conclusion of this review will not apply, even if the design and general platform remarks will stick.
Since performance is the name of the game for Gaming PCs, let’s dive into it right away. As you may expect, Gaming PCs configured with a similar hardware platform (GPU/CPU/RAM) will tend to have comparable performance, that is unless an OEM does something horribly wrong such as choosing low-performance RAM, but that would be the exception rather than the norm, especially for a big name such as Lenovo.
The SSD would typically house the apps and operating system files, while the HDD would be where the bulk of the games and data would be stored. You can install your most-frequently played games on the SSD, but since games can occupy north of 20GB on disk, 128GB, in particular, might feel tight quickly.
Our Lenovo Y920T unit is equipped with a 256GB SSD drive. It is a PCIe NVMe m.2 module, and the exact reference is Samsung MZVLW256HEHP PM961 256GB. This model came out last year (Feb 2017) and is based on a 48-layer MLC V-NAND construction.
This SSD has excellent random reads and writes capabilities for a consumer-level product. Random reads are typically the defining factor for perceived disk performance. It can also reach very high sequential reads and write speeds (3000 MB/s and 1150 MB/s) which might help for games that come with all the data in a single mega-file.
*Keep in mind that while OEMs try to maintain a consistent experience across a line of product, they may also have multiple suppliers for parts such as the SSD. Since this exact model is not part of the computer specs, there’s no guarantee you will get the exact same one, although it is likely that you would.
First of all, the Lenovo Y920T is VR-Ready. With framerates expected to be at or above 90 FPS, this gives a high-level idea of the speed of this gaming machine. On the chassis, you can see that the computer has been Oculus-certified. This means that Oculus can provide some technical support. The Y920T also works with the HTC VIVE, Windows Mixed Reality, and other well-known PC VR headsets.
The Steam VR test shows that this computer can easily support VR Titles, and was able to consistently run the test at 90 FPS (and above), the prefered refresh-rate for VR applications. (Below 90 FPS, the odds of users getting some motion sickness is higher).
The front HDMI port makes VR setup smoother and cleaner in my opinion. Although the rear HDMI works as well, it is just very convenient to have one in the front, especially if the headset is not going to be permanently out and connected. Lenovo is particularely attentive to VR because the company has pushed hard into this field, with the Lenovo Explorer VR Headset and the Lenovo Mirage VR Camera.
Since the Lenovo Yoga Y920T uses an Intel K-Series CPU, it means that it is easy to overclock. And Lenovo made it even easier: all it takes is one click in the Lenovo control panel to get the overclocking going. It is possible to tweak things manually if you want, but I would not bother. With auto-overclock, you should see a performance lift of 6% – 8% depending on the application. It just cannot get easier than this.
Graphics Card (GPU)
With an NVIDIA GTX 1080 (8GB memory), the Lenovo Yoga Y920 Tower is equipped with one of the most desired consumer-level GPU. With the cryptocurrency madness, prices for these cards has skyrocketed, and Gaming PC OEMs have become a good alternative to get a gaming PC without having to put up (as much) with these crazy GPU prices.
That’s because OEMs have massive deals, and the add-in card business is often less of a priority for GPU makers. In any case, this GPU is extremely popular, and probably no longer needs a lengthy introduction since it has been out for nearly 2 years now. Naturally, you can find more expensive and powerful options with NVIDIA, but the price/performance ratio won’t be as advantageous.
CPU performance: Core i7-7700K processor
Because this desktop gaming rig came out in late 2017, it is equipped with a powerful Core i7-7700K processor. Since then, Intel has launched a Core i7-8700K model, which is estimated to cost ~$100 more.
The i7-7700K (Gen7) has 4 Cores, but can top 4.2 GHz, while the Core i7-8700K (Gen8) has 6 Cores, and caps at 3.7GHz. In the real world, it depends how good your games are at parallel computing.
For example, in Arma III, the Core i7-8700K had nearly ~10% higher FPS. However, in Project Cars II, the experience was nearly identical with a 3-5% difference in favor of the new chip. This is within what you can expect to squeeze out of the 1-click overclocking mentioned above.
We expect Lenovo to switch over to the Core i7-8700K at some point, but in the meantime, the performance lift is not as dramatic as one might think, just looking at the number of cores.
Killer Network 1535
The Y920T is equipped with the Killer Wireless AC 1535 WIFI controller and software. This is a favorite item for gaming PCs because this platform allows for network packet prioritization. It is also optimized to manage the network traffic to the ISP so that it always leaves some room for gaming (small) packets to transit.
Sometimes, Internet providers will start blocking or throttling severely if a bandwidth cap (often in upload) is reached. As a result, even small gaming packets will be queued, thus creating unwanted latency that might cost you dearly in the game.
The same network controller is also designed to have extended range when compared to standard WIFI setups. We haven’t tested this during this review because we don’t have the necessary space in San Francisco to challenge the WIFI range of this computer. However, independent reviewers tend to be impressed with the 1535’s range in general.
Keyboard and Mouse: quality accessories
This computer comes with a Gaming Keyboard+Mouse Combo. I like the design of both as they have that fashionable “aggressive” design that sells today.
For a combo that is in the box, the quality is outstanding and is noticeably well beyond the standard keyboard/mouse combo included with home PCs. However, the quality is of course not as high as if you purchased a $110+ keyboard and a high-end gaming mouse (8200 DPI, 1000 Hz sampling rate). This seems obvious, but I mention it because Lenovo’s design included here makes it look “high-end” in the pictures, much more so than Lenovo’s own Y910 AiO Gaming PC we previously reviewed.
Note that it is possible to put weights inside the mouse if you want it to be a bit heavier, which is a nice touch for those who are a bit picky.
Chassis: external overview
The chassis uses a design language which is similar to the IdeaCentre Y900, and overall I think that it works. It is a relatively compact PC (18.85 in x 19.82 in x 8.12 in) a bit heavier (~31 lbs) than it looks. There are of course much bigger and heavier gaming PCs, but I suspect that most people don’t want to have a “beasty” PC chassis with the specs above. That would be more appropriate for crazy multi-GPU configurations etc.
The Y920T has a definite “Gaming” feel to it, without being a christmas tree, which is something that I appreciate, although others may seek the exact opposite.
Talking about lighting, this computer comes with RGB lighting in many places, which is a difference from its predecessor. Only the previous “Razer Edition” of the previous version had RGB coloring. This is now standard-issue with the Y920T, and probably going forward too.
Chassis: a lot of rooms for add-ons
Inside the chassis, things are very neat and well built. I have been building PCs for years, and I have to admit that I don’t always care for having cables so well organized. There is ample room for future extensions. With four additional tool-less 3.5” bay slots and two 5.25” slots storage should not be a problem.
Some users may want more RGB lighting inside the chassis, and right now, there isn’t much of that. I’m not sure how big of a deal this is on the market place, but since it is a matter of preferences, I wanted to mention it.
Cooling and dust management
The cooling design is simple, efficient, and relatively quiet, even during benchmark testing. There are three 120mm fans: one in the front, one in the back and one for the air-cooled CPU heatsink.
To deal with dust, Lenovo has placed two filters that are easily removable. This is nice because instead of blowing dust everywhere around the PC during cleaning, you can remove the filters and go for a quick rinse, or dust them outside.
It would have been nice if Lenovo had a liquid cooling option, but so far, air-cooling is very much sufficient. Maybe the CPU temperature can reach ~80C under heavy load, but since these chips are typically rated for ~100C, there is quite a large margin left. If you are in a hot place, things may be different.
With a 20C ambient temperature in the office, the fans were not really whiny and noisy as we ran the typical suite of PCMark 8 and 3DMark benchmarks. In fact, we could not rely on the fan noise to know when the test was over. Your experience may vary depending on your environment, but in general larger fans are more silent because they don’t spin as fast.
The chassis’ access is effortless. There is a button at the top that unlocks the side panel. From there, you have access to the main components. The front panel can also be opened, and that is how you access the front dust filter.
Conclusion: a strong performer
The Lenovo Legion Y920T (official page link) is a solid option when it comes to desktop gaming PCs. It is well built, and its design should please those who want a nice gaming PC, without it being a light show. The expansion potential is excellent and more than sufficient for the vast majority of potential buyers.
The performance is outstanding, and if Lenovo updates this model with a Gen 8 processor, it will get a little bit better. This really depends on how much the CPU upgrade would cost, since it does not affect gaming performance *that* much.
Maybe the closest competitor for the Lenovo Y920T is the Alienware Aurora, which has the Gen 8 processor and ends up costing $2493 with a similar configuration (K-processor (gen8), Killer Network, and mandatory liquid cooling for this CPU selection). The Aurora has more options for the SSD storage.
If the Lenovo Y920T is already the high-end of your budget, then we find it to be a strong performer with a great design. If you want to spend more to get 32GB+ RAM ($200+) or up to 1TB SSD (+$520) with Alienware, those are options that are not offered on Lenovo’s website today.