The Lenovo Ideapad Y700 Laptop Reviewby Brett Howse on February 11, 2016 8:00 AM EST
Lenovo offers both the 45W Core i5-6300HQ and the similar 45W Core i7-6700HQ as CPU options on the Y700. The i5 is a quad-core part with no hyperthreading and 6MB of L3 cache, operating at 2.3-3.2 GHz, while the i7 gains hyperthreading and sees its clockspeed boosted to 2.6-3.5 GHz. The impact of the clockspeed increase is relatively straightforward, but even with current quad-cores hyperthreading sees a fair bit of use, so that should keep the performance of the two CPUs comfortably separated. Our review unit features the Core i7 model, and this is the first quad-core Skylake mobile part to grace my desk. As such, I’m pretty curious to see how it compares to outgoing gaming laptops with Broadwell or Haswell.
The Y700 has been put through our standard test suite for notebooks. A selection of comparable devices has been added to the graphs to get a feeling for where the Y700 stands as far as performance, but for those wishing to compare it to any other device we’ve tested, please refer to our Notebook Bench. The Razer Blade 14 is a 14-inch gaming notebook with Core i7-4720HQ and GTX 970M. The cost is quite a bit more, but it’s a small gaming notebook so it’s worth looking at. The Surface Book has a GT 940M GPU so it will fit in on the low end. For a mid-range device, the MSI GS60 3K has a Core i7-4710HQ and GTX 870M card. The Dell XPS 15 9530 is the previous generation XPS 15, with Core i7-4702HQ and GT 750M graphics. The MSI GT80 Titan may seem like an unfair comparison, but it’s the only Broadwell quad-core laptop we had a chance to test so it needs to be here.
PCMark is a test which uses all of the components, and everything factors in from GPU speed to the display resolution. The various tests across the different benchmarks within PCMark try to focus on applications which would be applicable to the segment. I had some issues with PCMark 8 when I first got the notebook, and it would bluescreen on any of the tests. Luckily a new graphics driver from Intel allowed some of the tests to be completed, however Creative is still not working, which is something I’ve observed on other Optimus notebooks as well. The Y700 can’t really compete with the high end gaming notebooks here, nor is it expected to.
Cinebench from MAXON does a 3D rendering, and it is all about CPU speed. More cores and more frequency is the name of the game here. In the single threaded results, the i7-6700HQ in the Y700 doesn’t quite match up to some of the previous generation chips which is a bit surprising. Skylake is not a huge jump in performance, but it generally does outperform Haswell and Broadwell.
Much like Cinebench, x264 is purely a CPU test. The video conversion software loves more cores and high frequencies. Much like Cinebench, the Skylake chip doesn’t really jump ahead of Broadwell or Haswell here.
With the launch of Windows 10, we’ve moved our web testing over to use Edge rather than Chrome, since Edge is built in and its performance has come a long way since Internet Explorer.
Although on Cinebench and x264, the Skylake part was neck and neck with the older chips, on the web testing under Edge it does very well. Some of this is due to Intel’s Speed Shift which lets the CPU ramp up to maximum turbo in much less time. This is a new feature of Skylake and requires the latest version of Windows 10 to be installed.
Edge still falls behind to Chrome on some of the tests (namely WebXPRT 2013), but it’s done well to catch up.
All in all, the CPU performance is about what you would expect of a quad-core notebook, but I was hoping for a bit more from the latest Skylake processor.
The 128 GB TLC SSD found inside the Lenovo Y700 is going to be much better than any spinning disk for bootup and random access, but being a TLC drive, and especially a lower capacity model, performance is likely not going to be as high other models.
We generally use PCMark 8 as a storage test, but it has always had a tendency to lump all SSDs pretty closely together. This isn’t far from real life experiences, because for the real application traces in PCMark, you may not notice a huge difference. However, FutureMark has adjusted the PCMark 8 storage test to better reflect the impact of NVMe drives. This is a good thing in the long run, but it does mean that the test scores can no longer be compared.
CrystalDiskMark shows the deficits of the TLC drive with low capacity. Write speeds are not fantastic. Read speeds show the limits of the SATA interface. Still, compared to the hard disk drive (results on the D: drive in the above image) any SSD is going to be a pretty big improvement. Once again, Lenovo was aiming for a price point so the TLC SATA drive is understandable.
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watzupken - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - linkI am not sure if aluminium is a good material to have at the base of the laptop since its a good conductor of heat and can get quite hot at the bottom. Although its not likely anyone will put it on their lap when gaming, but still not a wise choice of material from my opinion.
Also, I think it will be good to know if we can open the base of the laptop to service and to know what components can be upgraded.
willis936 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - linkSomeone better alert Apple and Dell that they're using the wrong material for the chassis of their top selling laptops.
jabber - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - linkyeah as long as the heat is going into the chassis and not staying in the GPU, I'm fine with that.
ImSpartacus - Friday, February 12, 2016 - linkYep, it's one more way to get a modest bump in cooling. That's good in my book.
milkod2001 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - linkYeah, aluminium is bad!They should have gone with plastic instead to keep laptop cool. What they were thinking! LOL
ATC9001 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - linkIf a laptop has aluminum on the bottom, it would likely be cooler. This is because the heat would be dissipated quickly across the entire bottom of the laptop (huge surface area). Whereas plastic would insulate the heat and any localized hot spot would heat up at the specific point and be difficult to dissipate that heat.
Samus - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - linkExactly, plastic is an insulator, creating hot spots. Which are bad for everybody and everything involved.
The only debatably superior material for the bottom chassis would be magnesium, which has similar cooling performance to aluminum while being slightly lighter and stronger...and more expensive. This is, after all, a $900 machine with a fairly high end graphics card. Sure there are laptops in this price range with magnesium construction but they also lack a $200 dedicated graphics card.
I'm surprised Lenovo used aluminum at this price. The previous Y series were mostly plastic, with questionable long term GPU reliability.
Solandri - Monday, February 15, 2016 - linkPlastic or aluminum for the bottom is mostly irrelevant. The internal components aren't connected directly to the bottom. There's a thick layer of air in between, and air is a much better insulator than, well, just about anything except vacuum. Consequently, the vast majority of cooling comes from the fans venting the interior air outside. For any heat to dissipate through the bottom case material, it has to first transfer through the air, which is an almost negligible amount.
All the base needs is sufficient ventilation holes so this airflow from the fans is unimpeded. That's actually why the Macbook Pro 15 has heating problems despite using a 37W TDP CPU (the lowest power quad core Intel makes). Apple refuses to put ventilation holes in the bottom.
If you *did* attach internal components directly to the bottom, then you would want it to be plastic. Aluminum or magnesium would conduct heat so readily it'd act like a big heatsink and become too hot to actually place on your lap. Plastic would insulate your lap from the heat, thus assuring most of the heat is dissipated out via the fans.
Souka - Thursday, February 11, 2016 - linkMaybe you should read the article? Thermals were good.
"The results are excellent. The Y700 had no issues keeping up with the demand of the CPU and GPU, and GPU temperatures never even got over 65°C. The laptop itself was barely warm after this too, so Lenovo has packed in plenty of cooling to ensure that the system can maintain peak performance for as long as necessary."
The_AC - Friday, February 12, 2016 - linkYeah, insulators keep computers cold. This is why I put Styrofoam blocks on my CPUs, rather than crappy copper.