The Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube (starting at $999; $1,699 as tested) is more compact than your typical gaming desktop tower, yet its Cylon-inspired case contains the power you need for smooth full HD and virtual-reality (VR) gameplay. You’ll give up some expandability due to the smaller chassis, but you’ll be able to view butter-smooth animation and graphics at full HD resolution, from virtually any game you load on it. There are larger gaming PCs that have better graphics and expandability for a similar price, but if you need portability, the IdeaCentre Y710 Cube is worth a look.
Keeping It Compact
The overall design of this PC invokes a Cylon Centurion robot from Battlestar Galactica. The black case measures 12.38 by 9.93 by 15.48 inches (HWD), and weighs 18.85 pounds. The IdeaCentre Y710 Cube isn’t quite as slim as the MSI Trident, but it’s certainly smaller than the CyberPower Gamer Master Ultra, our current top pick for midrange gaming desktops. A top-mounted handle lets you carry the system easily between rooms in your home, or to your car for a quick trip to a friend’s house. Flanking the handle are gill-shaped vents with perforated red inserts, adding a splash of color. A Y-shaped, backlit logo and two more LED light panels on the front panel catch your eye, even in a dark room. You can’t change the red color of the LEDs; you can only adjust the brightness or turn the lights off.
Compact desktops typically offer very little expansion room, and the Y710 Cube is no exception. There’s not much free space inside the case, aside from a single, prewired 3.5-inch hard drive bay. Both DIMM slots already house two 8GB DIMMs, for a total of 16GB. The other drive bays are occupied by a single 128GB (2.5-inch) SSD and a 1TB, 7,200rpm (3.5-inch) SATA hard drive. Likewise, the 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 card sits in the single PCIe x16 slot, and a Wi-Fi card is installed in the motherboard’s M.2 slot. The Wi-Fi card is a Killer Double Shot Pro card made to work with your Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections simultaneously to help reduce lag. The desktop is fairly well-equipped, though it’s relatively easy for you to swap out components for more powerful replacements later.
Separate headphone and microphone jacks join a pair of USB 3.0 ports on the top of the desktop, in front of the handle. On the back panel, you’ll find a set of audio jacks (including TOSLink), an Ethernet port, a PS/2 mouse/keyboard port, four USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. The Nvidia GeForce card has a DVI port, three DisplayPorts, and an HDMI jack. Absent are USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, but they aren’t must-have items just yet. For instance, the iBuyPower Snowblind Pro lacks any USB-C ports, while the compact MSI Trident only has one (albeit without Thunderbolt 3 support). In any case, this PC has more than enough ports for a full HD monitor, a VR headset, a mouse, a keyboard, headphones, and a speaker system. The IdeaCentre Y710 Cube has a one-year warranty, which is on par with the competition.
You’ve Got the Power
With its Intel Core i7-6700 processor and 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 discrete graphics card, the IdeaCentre Y710 Cube is ready for any AAA game at full HD resolution. When we pumped the graphics quality to Ultra and set the resolution to 1,920 by 1,080, we were able to achieve smoothly playable frame rates in the Heaven (102 frames per second or fps) and Valley (106fps) gaming tests. Those results were very close to the frame rates of the iBuyPower Snowblind Pro, which packs the same GPU.
When we pushed the resolution to 4K, however, the results were understandably less than playable, at 22fps in Heaven and 26fps in Valley. We consider 30 frames a second or faster to be a playable range. To get smooth frame rates at that strenuous a resolution, you’ll need a more powerful graphics card, like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 in the Acer Predator G1-710-70001 and the Cyberpower Gamer Master Ultra, but that, of course, ups the price tag significantly. VR gaming should be a piece of cake on the system, however, since today’s top-of-the-line VR headsets are designed to work with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or higher.
When you’re not gaming, the IdeaCentre Y710 Cube makes short work of whatever tasks you throw at it, including multimedia tasks and more humdrum jobs. It posted strong results in the Handbrake (55 seconds), CineBench (813 points), and Photoshop (2:51) tests. All three scores were better than the Acer Predator G1 and competitive with the HP Omen X, though a bit behind the Cyberpower Gamer Master Ultra. The IdeaCentre Y710 Cube did beat the CyberPower system in the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test, however.
A Solid Gaming System
The Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube is ready to put you in whatever gaming world you desire, delivering smooth animation at full HD (1080p) resolution, with graphics quality set to maximum. The Cyberpower Gamer Master Ultra, our top pick midrange gaming desktop, offers more internal expandability and the power to game at 4K resolution, but its larger price tag—$700 more—may give you pause. A better comparison would be the similarly priced iBuyPower Snowblind Pro. While it’s housed in a bigger case, the system has similar components, and offers greater expandability, slightly better 3D performance, a larger-capacity SSD, and a showy side-panel LCD. That said, the Y710 Cube is still worth considering if you need a little more portability in a gaming desktop.