Lenovo Y560 Core I7, 1GB HD5730, 0646FMF Laptop Review Now home i opened the laptop and placed in the battery and connected power and hating preinstalled system and i turned on nuked the hard drive and installed my USB installed Windows 7 Ultimate. I then proceeded to the next step of updating but no network detected. Damn, jump on my retiring Toshiba to lenovo.com.au support site and then download the Ethernet driver and placed it on USB and installed it and it detected network and windows was updated, Drivers selected from Windows for all the non-mission critical things, SD Card Drive from Lenovo.com.au and the ACPI Power Management driver also from Lenovo and then everything was working 100% except the inbuilt webcam had no program to view, back to Lenovo and download the program and boom now PC works 100% and i am very impressed. The Configuration Specification of the Laptop are; Intel Core I7 720QM 1.6GHz Quad Core CPU with 2.8GHz Turbo 4GB Samsung DDR3-1333 Ram (1 x 4GB Module) 640GB WD 6400BEVT 5400RPM SATA 2.5" Hard Drive AMD Mobility Radeon 1GB HD5730 DDR3 Video Card Broadcom BCM2070 Bluetooth 2.1+EDR USB Device JMCR SD/MMC Card Reader HL DT ST DVD RAM Device Lenovo Easy (Web) Camera Atheros AR9285 Wireless N Adapter Broadcom NetLink Gigabit Ethernet Built in Microphone JBL Internal Speaker System 2 unused mini PCI-E Ports 1 unused DDR3 memory slot The Chassis Specification of the Laptop is; 3 USB 2.0 Ports 1 E-SATA + USB 2.0 Dual Use Port 1 SDHC, MMC, MS Card Reader 1 HDMI Ports 1 VGA Port 1 Express 34mm Card Slot 1 Microphone + 1 Speaker port First Impressions of Hardware The keyboard is a standard laptop keyboard in that it doesn’t have a dedicated numpad and has the home, delete and page up to the right. The left of the keyboard features a power button and a recover lost data button that opens up a Lenovo data recovery program if installed. The right features sound control buttons. The touch pad has a gritty feel to it to give back some response and also supports multi touch features. The black glossy coating on the keyboard compartment means that finger prints and dust show up very quickly and to keep it clean it is recommended to have a laptop cleaning clothe and liquid nearby. There are the regular Intel Core I7, ATI Mobility Radeon and Windows 7 stickers alongside the Dolby home theater and he Lenovo enhanced experience ones as well as the big feature sticker to the bottom left of the keyboard. Overall the hardware looks very attractive and the patterned lid makes it look a bit classier and also is much cleaner than the usual dodgy HP styling. Software Installation & Configuration The Lenovo Y560 and Windows 7 Combo has been the easiest laptop to set up and get all drivers for without much trouble. Lenovo.com for the LAN driver, then install it, connect it via Ethernet cable and then game.amd.com for the graphics, Windows Update for a few more and the support @ Lenovo for the rest. Took all of 20 minutes and all drivers were detected and installed. Lenovo also has a program called YouCam which is the program that accesses the 1.3MP Webcam. The ATI driver was also configured to allow 100% performance when running on battery as to not reduce graphics performance for extended time. Benchmarking The benchmarks for this system will be split into 3 unique sections; Storage Subsystems, System and CPU Benchmarks and finally Gaming Benchmarks. Storage SubsystemsThe inbuilt SATA Drive WD6400BEVT is a 2.5" SATA hard drive which revolves @ 5400RPM and is considered a Blue Drive which means it is mainstream and not performance orientated and this shows in the benchmark as it averages 70MB/sec whereas the more performance orientated notebook hard drives can sustain about 90MB/sec. A WD10EADS in an ASTONE enclosure was used to test the speed of the E-SATA and USB Interfaces. In SATA it achieved 72MB/sec USB mode the WD10EADS achieved a flat 26MB/sec transfer rate over the whole drive. The results are pretty straight forward and show the E-SATA and SATA graphs match in the transfer which suggests that there is a limitation on the SATA Chipset and the USB as the transfer speeds are slightly below what is normally expected. A 16GB SD Card was then used to test the SD Card Reader and the results are pretty good for a normal everyday SD Card averaging 19MB/sec. Memory Benchmarks The I7 has a dual channel memory controller on board and the first of the Intel notebook processors to do so. This has the benefit of having a lower latency and higher bandwidth as the signals have to travel less. In benchmarking I used the AIDA64 Suite and the configuration is single channel as there is only a single DDR3 Module installed. A second 4GB Module was installed and the tests redone in dual channel mode. The results from the read/write and copy where 10257MB/sec, 10264MB/sec and 9270MB/Sec was very high for a single channel setup and The Memory latency was recorded to be 56.7ns. In Dual Channel Mode the results increased substantially getting 13997MB/Sec read, 11137MB/Sec Write and 12351MB/Sec Copy and the latency was recorded at 59.5ns a little longer than the single channel. Below is the table summarizing the average performance of the memory and data transfer buses. CPU Benchmarks After having finished with the basic synthetic memory benchmarks, I start with some actual CPU benchmarks and our first port of call is the Cinebench suite in two versions, R11.5 and R10. Firstly in R10 the I7 scored 3767 in the single core benchmark and the multi core benchmark score 10210 which is roughly 3x the single core score. This is evidence of the turbo core feature accelerating the single core performance. In R11.5 the CPU scored 2.99 in multi core which is good for a notebook system. We then move on the 3Dmark CPU tests, and we ran the CPU test for 3Dmark Vantage and 06, The results achieved were 10579 and 3162, the Vantage score was done without PHYSX processing which could infect and inflate an nVidia graphics card score. AIDA64 is back up again for testing here we have two sets of benchmarks, CPU tests and FPU tests. The CPU Queen test a scored 19843, Photoworx 23363, Zlib 103.5MB/S, Hash 999. The CPU AES score of 21173 was much lower the i3 and i5s due to their inclusion of the AES instructions on the new CPUs and as a result they have spectacular performance. The FPU testing of AIDA64 had the results of 1463 in VP8, 5749 in Julia, 5749 in the Mandel test and finally a score of 2372 in the SinJulia. Next up is Wprime in which we ran both the standard tests and the amount taken for the calculations where 22.06 and 687.6 seconds for the 32M and the 1024M runs of the test. In SuperPI Mod we ran two sets of tests, one was on the 1M level and the other was 32M. The difficulty was in the multicore test we wanted to load up each core with a single test and this had to be done manually through the task manager and once this was done the multi core test was done at both levels. In the 1M, 1Core test the calculations were completed in 15.3 seconds whereas the multi core test completed in 24.2 seconds. This is roughly similar to the percentage improvement due to the turbo boost and here we that affect in speeding up the benchmark. At 32M the test also is forced to use memory and therefore is overall more taxing test resulting in slightly less efficiency then the 1M test and so the time taken to complete the calculations where 822.0 seconds for single core and 1285.3 seconds for all four cores loaded up. WinRAR and 7zip have inbuilt benchmarking routines and these are good for analyzing compression performance of the CPU. In Winrar the CPU score 870 in single core and 2016 in multi core once again showing the turbo core influence. In 7zip the benchmark rated the CPU @ 9884 MIPS. In TMPGEnc a 180 second 1920P home video was converted to a DivX 720P @ Medium setting and that took 299seconds. Here are all the CPU and system test results summarised in the tables below. System Wide Benchmarks For the system wide benchmarks the PCMARK Vantage suite was used and served us well the scores achieved in the testing where a total of 5838marks. This was made up by the following scores; Gaming and Graphical Benchmarks This section is for gathering data on the system’s ability to play games and perform graphical tasks on the GPU. Our suite of test include Cinebench, 3Dmark, Unigine, Starcraft 2, Furmark, FarCry 2 and Crysis The Cinebench Suite was the first to be run for its integrated OpenGL test and the test scored 6637 in R10 and 34.02 Frames per second in the newer version 11.5. Next up Furmark was run in two modes 800 x 600 and 1366 x 768 and the frame rate noted, in this case the average frame rates where 34 and 26. The Graphics card temp was also monitored and it reached a temp of 92OC after 20 minutes of running at an ambient room temperature of 25 OC thanks to the hot Australian summer. I also then placed the laptop on its side while running the test and the temp fell 20OC in a matter of 50seconds suggesting slightly better airflow could improve cooling performance. Next we start getting to wards the more realistic gaming situation and first off is 3DMark11 and the setup scored 1173 in the performance preset and 1922 in the entry preset. Next up is 3Dmark Vantage and the performance preset needed an external monitor to be connected and the Performance Preset Score was 3931 with a GPU score of 3250. Next was 06 and that score 8102 with 2902 in SM2 and 3608 in SM3 tests. Now to the games testing, The results are shown in the table below. In our Game Testing we found that Games that use the Direct X 11 Engine where most likely unplayable unless the quality and the resolution where turned down all the way to something around 1024 x 768 or less. Direct X 10 Games can be run @ 1366 x 768 if the quality is turned down to something that is equivalent to medium and is playable in High @ slightly lower resolutions. Direct X 9 Games or earlier can be ran at high at the native resolution as well but @ close to the limit (30fps). Overall the HD5730 is a slight disappointment as its Desktop sibling the HD5750 seems to perform much better than this and it lets down its consumers. However as a Home theatre / Entertainment / Slight gamer card it is perfect and a much better overall card then an Intel Integrated Solution. Battery Life The battery life from this laptop running intensive graphics applications is roughly 40 - 45 mins, as the four cores and graphics processor consume heaps of power and this is typical of all mid range graphics, high end cpu laptops based on the I7 architecture. During normal internet / word processing use it lasts around 2.5 hours depending on how much Flash, Video etc intensive the session is. Conclusion In Conclusion, The Lenovo Y560 with the Core I7 720QM Quad Core Processor, 4GB DDR3-1333 Ram and its 1GB HD5730 card is exceptional value and very end user upgradable. It is easily accessible memory, Mini PCI-E slots, and CPU slots and easy access to the hard drive. This rare feature adds value to the laptop and makes for its slight ‘cheap’ build and its tendency to attract fingerprints and smudges although nothing that cannot be fixed with a quick spray of LCD/Laptop Cleaner and wiped away. The performance of the CPU is Spectacular for what it is when compared to similar clocked desktop CPUs, but it is let down by its less than desktop performance HD5730 in gaming. The LCD also seems a bit washed when compared to my DELL 2407. The inclusion of a single stick of RAM instead of two is a benefit and not a curse as it means upgrading meant not needing to sell or keep the unused module. Finally if I was to rate the Lenovo and its first week of use I would rate it a 8 out of 10, which includes the deduction for the lack of expected video card performance, washed out LED Monitor Colouring (when compared to a professional unit) and the potential for a slightly better build quality.