The IdeaPad Y500 is Lenovo’s SLI-configged GT 650M gaming notebook, whose other chief attraction is its price – just $1250 as configured.
Lenovo haven’t pushed the boat out design-wise – very practical, easily cleaned, quite suave in its simplicity, but ground-breaking it ain’t. It all weighs more than six pounds, but with all that metal around that isn’t surprising. Quality of construction is superb – flush joins, very little flex or teeter, everything in order.
The beating heart of the IdeaPad Y500 is its Core i7-3630QM CPU with 16GB of RAM for holding running apps or programs, plus a pair of SLI NVidia GT 650Ms boasting 2GB DDR5 VRAM each to ratchet it up the polygon-crunching league. The processor hammers away at a 2.4GHz base clock across its eight execution threads, Turbo boosting to 3.2GHz across all four hyperthreaded cores.
Storage space is a swanky hybrid solution – a 16GB SSD hitched to a 5400rpm 1TB spinning disk – slower but with plentiful room for all those media files. Strictly speaking a bigger SSD-component would have helped benchmark scores, since many modern games won’t fit all their bits on a 16GB SSD, even if they had it all to themselves, without OS components and other essential files etc, but we can’t expect everything at this price. 15 second boot from cold takes some beating, though.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 features 15.6-inch screen with a native 1920 x 1080 pixel count, bright, sharp, and glossy.
The numberpad-equipped keyboard delivers a first-rate typing experience, and the dedicated number keyboard will make figure-work less of a drag. The clickpad is set off to the side so that it sits slap-bang under the midpoint of the alphanumeric keys and decently-sized at 4.5 inches diagonally, though the large area devoted to the right click takes a bit of getting used to. The buttons though are a bit too stiff for comfort, and at times unresponsive as well. Hopefully both problems will be rectified quickly.
There are only two video out sockets, so the full 4-screen output of those SLI’d GPUs is reduced to a trio of display, should you choose to make use of both VGA and HDMI connectors, and there’s an outstanding array of USB socketry – triple USB-3 and a pair of USB-2 ports to boot. Card reader, Gigabyte Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetoooth 4 round off the socket selection.
What the Y500 doesn’t have is an optical drive, at least not without sacrifing one of the GPU bays. Well not as standard, anyway. Another brownie point is the fact that the ultrabay allows you to hot-swap a bigger drive or even a DVD writer for one of those GPUs, so users can decide whether they want more storage or more grunt at will.
One of the Y500′s best features is its audio capability; its 1.5W JBL stereo speakers pump full, rich audio out of openings just above the keyboard.
Although the Y500 is generally available in a bewilering number of configurations – 10 different CPUs,right up to an i7-3820M, there’s no option for Windows 7 as its OS – the choice is between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro only.
READ: Windows 8 review!
Let’s down to business – benchmarks. Call of Duty 4 plays at maxed settings in full HD at 1920 x 1080p; whereas middling settings for Black Ops 2 ends up with 50+ fps. Notebookcheck has quite a few benchmark tests for Lenovo IdeaPad Y500. Notice that in most of these tests Y500 is surpassed only by Schenker XMG P502.
Even battery life is darned impressive for such a capable hunk of metal – and at 3kg it’s hefty – 91 minutes of flat-out use is rare amongst such a strong performer. Quite simply for $1250 there’s no more capable machine around. Yes there are high-enders that will beat the Y500 into submission, but nothing for less than $1800. We have just reviewed CyberPower FangBook X7-300 gaming laptop which impressed us in many ways, but again at $1800.
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