It is seldom that I test a PC and no, that is not a “real” test in the sense of a good German PC test. That means that I will not benchmark every single chip or draw any heat-load diagrams. But don’t worry, it will be technical enough. Why am I even testing this PC? Because he’s just so cuddly! And because it suits my own PC gaming needs pretty ideally.

I should probably add that the cuddly quadruped is called the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube and what these requirements are. My ideal PC:

Enough performance, but no overkill: Any current game should not be a problem for at least the next two years, VR at least feasible as an option. I don’t want to have to wait for image editing either.

Small, but not at any price: Point two excludes the tiniest boxes, but please no bulky giant towers, monster cubes or similar stuff.

Quiet, but not silent: Really silent means water cooling, large, insulated housing or less power. A little fan is allowed, but please no Carpathian winds.

Unpack, switch on, work: I know, I know that the smart PC user builds it himself, and for good reason. A few years ago I would certainly have done that too. But now I’m older, free time is limited and I don’t feel like buying everything individually and putting them together. It is a luxury, I am fully aware of it and it is demanded that way.

Something different is subtle, but you have to stage the Y710 so dramatically to make it stand out in the living room.

There is a solid selection of computers on the market to which this applies at first glance, although many of them cut back a bit in terms of power and still prefer to pack a GTX 1070 as the maximum in their PS4-sized case, just for the heat balance to have somehow under control. I admittedly came across the Y710 thanks to the PR from Lenovo, who wanted to cheer me on it as portable gaming. Which is also true. There is a handle at the top, the seven kilos are out of the question and on his feet he looks anyway as if he would like to stamp off on his own. With a depth of almost 40 centimeters and a width and height of around 25 by 30 centimeters – sounds like more than it looks in real life – it fits in most places that a large case would not dare to go. Even if the look with its somewhat beefy edges is striking, thanks to the knobbly shape on four feet it has a wife acceptance factor that is not to be despised. The grim red light on the front can be switched off via software and it can be moved into the background somewhere inconspicuously next to the television. And should it ever have to go: Simply unplug it, grab it and carry it away, whether it’s in the next room or to a gaming party.

What’s in it:

Basically, the Y710 is of course a barebone case in which Lenovo has installed various commercially available components. Which, of course, now needs a closer look, if only because it lets us determine afterwards whether the price tag of 2,000 euros is a bit too heavy when compared with the purchase of components, or whether everything, including the price, fits.

CPU: Intel i7-6700, 3.4 GHz – The somewhat “older” Skylake does not have the boost of the new Kaby Lake generation, but is anything but a weak candidate. Good thing, because the mighty “K” behind the number is missing, which means that the clock multiplier is not open and the options for overclocking are limited. Performance test 9.0 produces a value of 10,100. With a 6700K (4GHz) you would get about 10 percent more – no wonder – what is more exciting is that the retail price of the two CPUs hardly differs (no 20 euros, about 310 euros for the 6700, about 330 for the K- Variant). So it’s a shame that a bit of savings were made here, although one factor, of course, was the simpler cooling. The non-K variant draws a maximum of 65W. Still, a very strong CPU,

GPU : Yes, it is on-board, with DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs for all emergency situations. The graphics card is of course more exciting and in this model it is an Nvidia GTX 1080 (not TI) Founders Edition with 8GB RAM. It is the model from Nvidia itself in the reference design without extras like secondary fans or exotic things like integrated water cooling options. All details and benchmarks for the GTX 1080 can be found here in the test from last summer.

The 1080 in all its reference glory. The card is amazingly quiet, even under load, you have to give them that.

Mainboard : A Lenovo-branded OEM board in mini-ITX format. The chipset is an Intel H170, the CPU socket 1151. As cute as Mini-ITX is, the configuration is clear. You have a PCIe x16 slot, which is of course intended for the graphics card – unless you want to take the on-board chip – and no other PCI slots of any kind. Sound or other cards are left out. Literally, you need external hardware. There are two memory slots, up to 32GB DDR4 with 2133 MHz is supported. You have three SATA-6G connections, more than three disks then only work externally. Most people, including gamers, should probably get there with three records.

Memory : 24GB are built in here in the form of a 16-slot and an 8-slot Samsung bar. They are DDR4-2133 modules with a latency of 15CL (15-15-15-36 4-51-16-5 to be precise). No top modules, but solid memory for all gaming situations that do not aim for absolute peak benchmarks. What I don’t really understand is the configuration: Would it no longer make sense to use the 32GB and install two identical modules? The rule that two or four of the same perform best still applies. Well, what’s inside is inside, and that’s 24GB.

Hard drives : The combination of SSD and SATA is normal, here it is a Samsung SSD with 237 GB, SATA600, format of course 2.5 “. Your space monster next to it is a 3.5” Seagate 2TB 7200rpm SATA600. So there is enough space for now. In the case you have space for a further 2.5 “and a 3.5” disk, but only one more SATA port on the mainboard.

The generic power supply ensures a little more cable chaos than one is actually used to from such systems.

Network : LAN and WLAN are included, both chips come from Killer and Rivet Networks. The LAN connection is a gigabit connection, the WLAN chip is a Killer AC 1535, which supports the ac standard with a maximum of 867Mbps. Very decent on-board chip that usually ends up in better gaming laptops.

Sound : On-board you have a Realtek ALC892 chip, a standard 7.1 on-board chip with no major characteristics or defects.

Power supply : An AcBel 435 watt power supply is installed here, any OEM power supply, which is very quiet, even when the housing is open and half a meter away. It’s a standard design, so you can swap it for something else at any time if you want.

At the top there are two more USB 3.0 and headset jacks and no other surprises with the connections.

Connections : Everything you need. At the top front you have two USB 3.0 ports, plus a 3.5 mm jack for headset input and output. In the back there is a 5.1 audio jack connection set, an optical SPDIF output, four USB 2.0 ports and two more USB 3.0 ports. As already said, there are DVI, HDMI and VGA on board, the 1080 has one HDMI, three display ports and also one for DVI. Finally, there is a real classic, a PS / 2 port for those who want a little NKRO. You have Bluetooth 4.0 directly on the mainboard.

Mouse and keyboard : are enclosed. The less talked about it, the better. If it works, it has to be swapped for something else quickly. Almost no matter what, it can only get better.

Software : Windows 10. And (almost) only Windows 10. In contrast to other devices – including earlier Lenovo devices – the Y710 is almost free of additional programs and it only seems to know the bloatware from hearsay. You have the companion app, which offers you the drivers and installs them without grumbling and has a few diagnostic tools ready. The trendy Nerve Center software controls the front lighting and the bandwidth prioritization of the network cards.

Performance in numbers:

Here are a few benchmarks, because you can’t do without them:

PerformanceTest 9.0: 4933,4 Punkte
CPU-Mark: 10100
2D-Mark: 856
3D-Mark: 12985
Memory-Mark: 2651
Disk-Mark: 4205

This means that the Lenovo is “better” than 92 percent of all computers on which the program was otherwise run. So not a computer for someone who wants the fastest PC in the world, but that wasn’t to be expected either.

3DMark’s latest story: What about time travel and ice monsters.

Of course, the ultimate gaming benchmark, 3DMark, shouldn’t be missing:

3D-Mark Timespy 1.0 – 6541 Punkte
Graphics Score 7124 Punkte (46 / 41 FPS)
CPU Score 4470 Punkte (15,0 FPS)

The value is almost the same as that which Futuremark currently still has in it as a 4K gaming reference, a GTX 980 SLI system with a somewhat older i7K processor. This then comes to 6733 points with two cards.

Fire Strike Ultra 1.1 – 5018 Punkte
Graphics Score – 5041 Punkte (28 / 18 FPS)
Physics Score – 11588 Punkte (37 FPS)
Combined Score – 2664 Punkte (12 FPS)

Again, the 4K reference number is 5552 points with more hardware, the Lenovo is only slightly below.

4K Witcher out of the Box?

Off to real life. The PC is small enough; by and large, it is well equipped. Windows was up and running in ten minutes without being bothered with weird junk software. In the past, setting up computers was really harder. But that’s also what the surcharge for the finished PC is paid for compared to self-made ones, so it’s nice that the convenience fits here.

The Cube is also quiet. If I can blame him for something, it is that he is not completely quiet in idle mode. On the other hand, it hardly turns up even under load and can no longer be heard from three meters if the game sound is even quiet. Only in an otherwise quiet room will you notice that something is rustling softly. If you also use it as a media PC, this could be a bit of a problem with quiet music or film passages, and there are small PCs that are quieter. But rarely with such hardware power in such a small space. The countless cooling openings on the case seem to have the desired effect. Even under heavy load, the CPU temperature does not rise above 60 degrees, the GPU does not rise above 80. These are the values ​​that you would like to have with you. The hard drives even seem to be in a cold zone and never rose above 30 degrees.

As for 4K gaming now … 1080p first! Witcher 3 is currently the measure of all things I want such a box for. If everything works, then pretty much everything else should work too. So everything on Ultra, the Nvidia hair on 8x and let’s go. I wasn’t disappointed, the Lenovo gives me the 60 frames. Always. Almost always. It happens that the performance drops here and there to 55 as the lowest value. If you set the hair back to 4x, then the fixed 60fps on Ultra are a fact. If you screw down the settings, you can of course achieve significantly higher frame rates.

But now 4K. Well, I didn’t expect the 60fps, but unrealistically hoped for it when I left all ultra settings on, and it wasn’t meant to be. But gosh, 4K look nice on a big TV. Even if they are running at 35 to 40fps. The game keeps this value fairly consistently, but you should urgently set the frame rate to 30. This is kept flawless and a steady frame rate just looks better than a few more fluctuating frames. 4K30 and 1080p60, that’s the reality of such a box, you want to adjust all the details. Well not all of them. There are still manual tweaks for all of you happy SLI-TI owners. But I’m out of there, especially since the price of 2000 euros for the system is not without it.

What does DIY cost, what about upgrades?

But it’s worth it. Or? I have my small form factor, mostly calm and enough power to play for two or three years and enjoy the ultra-details for a while. That’s what I wanted, but what would a comparable PC cost if I bought the parts together like this?

Mainboard: 100 – 120 euros; CPU: 300-320 euros; GTX 1080 Founder: 650 – 680 euros; 24GB RAM: 220-240 euros; Power supply: 40-50; SSD: 120-130 euros; 2TB HD: 80-100 euros; Housing: 70-80 euros. That should be all. Let’s add 100 euros for small items that I have now forgotten, and that makes: 1680 – 1820 euros for the individual parts. That makes roughly 200 to 300 euros for the convenience of “unpacking, switching on, goes”, and the overall concept of the cute little computer with great power, which is quite coherent in itself. That’s a lot of money, I don’t want to deny that for a second, because you can strike quite well in the Steam sale. Therefore: I think that the convenience is worth it to ME to pay the extra price, to open a box, put the cute PC down and get started right away.

There is not much space, but a few upgrades can be planned for the future.

As for the upgrade options: They are not that bad after all. The new processors can be attached, although you should consider a better power supply for a power-hungry K model. As it stands here, the Lenovo always stays below 200 watts when gaming, but can go up to just under 300 watts under extreme load. The graphics card can of course be exchanged for a TI and also for what may come next year. There is space for an additional hard drive, only the memory looks poor. At 24GB, the 32GB limit is already close, you have to throw out the 8GB bar and look for an exactly matching 16. Well, for now, the 24 should be enough for a while. My own hobby-horse literally has to stay outside In the absence of a second PCI slot, a better sound card can only be added externally in some form. Overall, there is a little more room for improvement than usual for such a compact system, but if you are planning on upgrading for many years, this concept is probably not for you.

In addition to this top configuration, Lenovo has a number of smaller editions of the Cube: For 680 euros it starts with an i5-6400 and an RX 460, then in tens of increments up to the sample described here. So if you especially like the shape and you don’t need so much power under the little hood, then it can also be cheaper.

Wachhund.

Real 4K in handbag format

So the bottom line is that I love the little Lenovo bulldog called the Y710 Cube. It’s the right shape, the subtle amount of gamer bling, the good and complete equipment and the fact that I can play Witcher 3 in 4K either incredibly good-looking at 30fps or still pretty enough at 60fps. Everything goes with the box in 1080p. What I don’t think is great are a few little things: The Y710 is quiet when it has to work properly, but it doesn’t go silent when it’s not busy. I have no idea whether it is the somewhat cheap power supply, but there is still room for optimization. I also don’t know where another PCIe slot would have fit, but I miss it. There is consolation, for example, that I have never had a PC, that I could just grab with one hand and carry it somewhere else like a very expensive handbag. Be it to someone else through town or just one room further. Anyone who appreciates this type of “mobility” will find a real friend with a handle here. Hey, in an extreme case you could try whether the sockets in the German railways provide enough to connect a distributor so that you can plug in your monitor and Y710. Gaming on the go, then really without compromise.

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