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Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900

A powerful, VR-ready gaming desktop that looks the part

By Seth G. Macy | Feb 16, 2017, 10.10 PM IST

Verdict

A great pre-built gaming rig for anyone interested in raw power, with easy expansion and an attractive case.

PROS:

  • Available GTX 1080 GPU,Looks awesome,SLI enabled

CONS:

  • Included mouse and keyboard stink,Limited store upgrade options
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The Lenovo Y900 is a top-end gaming desktop, aimed squarely at consumers looking to dive directly into the glorious world of PC gaming without needing to build their own rig. If you like to have your cake and eat it, too, the Y900 can be easily expanded, with a tool-less design, an SLI-enabled PCIe slot, and support for up to 64GB. Hard drives and SSDs are also a snap to swap in and out.

We first reviewed the Lenovo Ideacentre Y900 last July and really liked what it had to offer, but the top-end version weighed heavy on the wallet. Lenovo no longer offers the 32GB of RAM (you'll need to provide the extra RAM on your own,) but it did manage to toss a GTX 1080 inside, keep the same great CPU, and lower the price. The high-grade Y900 of today dominates the version we previously reviewed, while shaving $450 off the price tag.

Pricing and availability

The $2,049 (£1,929, AU$3,999) price tag is still startling at first blush. There are cheaper configurations available in the US and UK. Australia only has access to the top-end model, but the top end model really delivers. 

Building your own computer with the same specs will save you about $300 (we checked), but the biggest difference is you won’t have to hold your breath when the Lenovo boots for the first time. And the clean cable management inside the attractive chassis is worth a few bucks on its own. 

Spec-wise, the Y900 is nearly identical to the high-powered $2,099 (£1,649, AU$2999)   Alienware Aurora . It lacks the liquid-cooling of the Alienware, but it's also nearly $500 less expensive.

If you don't want to drop two-grand, and you live in the states, there are two lower-end Y900 models. The $1,299 SKU is nearly the same one we reviewed back in July, with the same Skylake i7 CPU and a 4GB GTX 970, but with half the RAM and a much reduced price. 

The $1,499 model drops the CPU down from an i7 to an i5, but bumps the graphics card up from the base model to a GTX 1070 with 8GB RAM.  All three are fantastic options, and are designed in such a way to allow expansion. Sorry Australia and UK… but at least you both get the really nice version, right? 

Design

The Lenovo Ideacentre Y900 looks everything the part of a gaming PC without seeming ostentatious. A futuristic red glowing logo on the front of the machine pumps out a warm, almost lava-colored red, and is flanked on either side of the case by two similarly colored accents. 

The plastic front sports an eye-catching faux carbon-fiber design. The front ports sit in a neat row on top of the Y900, nearly out of site, and a shiny, brushed-metal power button also hides in plain view on the top, rather than the front, of the computer.

Air circulation is helped along by sharp, angled intakes along the top and front, punctuated with red accents. The logo makes a second appearance on the top, but doesn't light up. That's not to say the LED-fun is over with just the front logo.

There are plenty more glowing red lights to excite your gamer-senses on the CPU cooler and case fan. The logo on the GTX 1080 itself glows green, and it can all be observed safely through a window on the side of the case itself.

Accessing the precious innards of the machine is accomplished via a sliding lock and mechanical switch on the top-rear of the case. Depressing the mechanical switch pops the windowed side of the case off almost effortlessly, much to our surprise and delight. 

Once inside, everything is neat and tidy, with easily accessible parts and pieces for future upgrades or replacement. And the tool-free design of the earlier model carries over to the newer version, so upgrades are a snap. It's a prebuilt that appeals to the tinkerer.

It's not nearly as compact as the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition or Alienware Aurora, which both use a folding design to pack as much as possible into a small form factor. But to us the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 is so good looking who cares if it's bigger?

Performance

The Y900 is an absolute beast, beating the Alienware in 3DMark tests and utterly destroying the XPS Tower. To say the Y900 is VR-ready is almost an understatement. It's not just VR-ready, it's practically begging to run immersive experience. It would be awesome to see what kind of numbers the Y900 could put up with double the RAM and another 1080 inside. 

The 256GB SSD helps the Y900 jump to life when powered on, but unfortunately it's too small to store much in the way of games. Luckily, the 7,200 rpm 2TB hard drive has plenty of space, and the inclusion of a drive that spins faster than the traditional 5,400 rpm platter is a nice touch to help shorten load times. 

The cooling system in the Y900, coupled with the vented case, does an excellent job keeping heat under control. While not silent, the fans are reasonably quiet, although the fans on the GPU really start to whine when under heavy loads. It's nothing a simple crank of the volume doesn't take care of. In fact, it's kind of incredible how a computer with this much power can remain so quiet.

Final verdict

Power is the name of the game, and the attractive design and ease of access makes the Y900 perfect for anyone looking to start big and go bigger. With expandable RAM up to 64GB and an SLI-supporting PCIe slot for a second GPU, the Y900 can go from muscle car to super car.

The lack of customization on the Lenovo website is a bummer. Any expansion you want to do has to be done on your own. The Y gaming mouse and keyboard included with the model from last year are no longer a pack-in. Instead the Y900 comes with standard peripherals including a tiny, lackluster mouse and absolutely uninspiring keyboard. Do yourself a favor and pick up a good gaming keyboard and gaming mouse , or just add the Y-series accessories from the Y900 website.

The Y900 is a beast at a great price. You will save a few bucks building your own PC (something everyone should do at least once), but the trade-off is so razor-thin, and the possibilities for future expansion so robust and easy, it's worth it. There's a certain reckless pleasure in opening up your games and cranking everything to Ultra, and the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 is perfect in that regard.

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