Lenovo’s getting into the gaming desktop business, making a bold statement with the Lenovo Erazer X700, an entry-level gaming desktop. The Erazer X700 is Lenovo’s answer to the numerous off-the-shelf gaming PCs offered by PC manufacturers of late. Like the HP Envy Phoenix h9-1320t or the Acer Predator AG3-605-UR20, the Erazer X700 features generic yet powerful components and a funky design that aims to both attract gamers with it’ edgy looks and stand out against the mainstream desktop designs it will be shelved next to in your local Best Buy.
Design and Features
According to Lenovo, the Erazer X700 design is meant to evoke the visor-equipped helmet of a medieval knight, and you can see it, provided you squint a bit. That old-Europe imagery sort of gets lost in the glossy black plastic and blue LEDs—it’s more Optimus Prime than Lancelot. Regardless, the angular tower face is distinct, if not universally appealing. It’s also pretty big, measuring 20.9 by 10.6 by 24.0 inches (HWD) and weighing roughly 60 pounds.
The top half of the front panel is actually a door, behind which is situated the optical drive (DVD±RW DL on our review unit, but also available with Blu-ray), a 29-in-1 card reader array, and two hot-swappable hard drive bays. Below those, if you remove the snap in covers, you’ll also find two additional 5.25-inch drive bays, for further expansion. On the top of the tower you’ll find two USB ports (one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0) and jacks for headphone and mic. A recessed cradle for setting an external hard drive is concealed with a drop-down panel that drops to expose another USB 3.0 port with a USB-B connection to plug directly into a drive. The concealed tray feels a bit superfluous, but it’s there all the same. There’s also a large power button, oddly labeled “Engine Start”, and another labeled “Overclock”–more on that in a bit.
On the back of the tower you’ll find six more USB ports (two USB 3.0, four USB 2.0), a LAN port, and several audio outputs, including coaxial and optical S/PDIF outputs for digital surround sound. Coming off of the graphics card, you’ll find outputs for HDMI, DisplayPort, and two DVI ports. There’s also an antenna connection for 802.11n Wi-Fi.
The Erazer X700 also comes bundled with some Lenovo branded peripherals, which have the unique distinction of actually offering some of the gaming features you might expect. The included keyboard uses the expected silicone dome switches, but it’s backlit, with three selectable lighting colors and a built in knob to manually adjust the brightness. The accompanying mouse is a right-handed gaming mouse, with a molded design, a rubber panel on the thumb grip for additional comfort, and nine removable weights, letting you adjust the weight of the mouse between 3.5 and 4.3 ounces. On-the-fly DPI adjustment lets you jump from high sensitivity to high accuracy with the press of a button. Given that most off-the-shelf gaming rigs come with generic mediocre peripherals, the above average keyboard and mouse are a refreshing inclusion.
Unscrew two thumb screws and you can open the side of the tower, though the angular additions that form the front “visor” of the helmet-themed tower add some complexity to what should be a very simple process. Once you’ve coaxed off the side panel, you’ll find that the Erazer X700 is hiding something special–liquid cooling, a feature rarely seen on an off-the-shelf system from a major OEM. The closed-system liquid cooling is much better at keeping the CPU components cool than air along, and it should be relatively maintenance free.
Inside you’ll find an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 GPU with 1.5GB of dedicated memory, along with an Intel Core i7-3820 processor and 12GB of memory. You’ll also find some room to grow, with an empty DIMM slot for more RAM (up to 16GB total), and a PCI-e slot for a second GPU should you want to upgrade to SLI. If all you want to do is add some storage space, you’ll also find two empty hard drive bays, along with a 1TB 7200 rpm hard drive for storage and a 128GB solid-state (SSD) boot drive.
As mentioned above, the Erazer X700 also features Lenovo’s OneKey Overclocking, which lets you boost processor performance (bumping the clock speed from 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz) through the Erazer Control Center instead of extensive BIOS tweaking. It’s really more like “Overclocking-Lite,” but if this is your first foray into hardware and performance tweaking, it’s a good place to start.
Unlike custom builds from boutique PC vendors, Lenovo (like most major manufacturers) does add a lot of bloatware to the system. Right out of the box, the Erazer X700 comes with a 30-day trial of McAfee Internet Security, a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365, and apps for Amazon Kindle Reader, Encyclopedia Britannica, Evernote, Skype, and Rara Music. Lenovo covers the Erazer X700 with a one-year warranty.
With a 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-3820 processor (with overclocking up to 3.8GHz), and the accompanying 12GB of RAM, the Erazer X700 offers better performance than many similarly priced gaming rigs. With a PCMark 7 score of 5,433 points and a Cinebench score of 7.94 points, putting it ahead of the Editors’ Choice HP h9-1320t (4,033 points PCMark 7, 7.49 points Cinebench), and neck in neck with the Acer AG3-605-UR20 (4,088 points PCMark 7, 8.04 points Cinebench). When stacked against slightly more expensive mid-level systems, however, it falls a bit behind. The mid-range Digital Storm Virtue, for example, was well ahead in both tests (7,042 points PCMark 7, 9.59 points Cinebench), due to a newer fourth-generation Haswell processor. In multimedia tests, the Erazer X700 completed Handbrake in 30 seconds, and Photoshop in 3 minutes even, again, beating out several entry-level systems, but falling behind more expensive mid-level gaming rigs. Regardless, the Lenovo Erazer X700 still offers solid performance, and will easily handle productivity and gaming alike.
The Erazer X700 is also outfitted with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics processor—the same GPU found in the Acer Predator AG3-605-UR20 and the Dell XPS 8700 Special Edition. In the Alien vs. Predator and Heaven gaming tests, the Erazer X700 pumped out 123 frames per second (AVP) and 98 fps (Heaven) at low resolution and detail settings, and produced strong playable scores at 1920-by-1080 resolution and full detail, with 41 fps (AVP) and 47 fps (Heaven). Compared to other entry-level systems, the Erazer X700 sits right between the Editors’ Choice HP Envy Phoenix h9-1320t and the Acer Predator AG3-605-UR20. It offers decent gaming performance for an off-the-shelf system, but elite systems easily blow past it with faster (and often multiple) graphics cards.
For an entry-level system, the Lenovo Erazer X700 offers a decent gaming rig that’s ready to go right away, in a package that can be found at your local Best Buy. While hardware snobs might prefer a custom system, the Erazer X700 will still get you playing even demanding games. It also offers a few more options for the new gearhead than other off-the-shelf systems, with lots of room for storage upgrades, built-in water cooling, and options to upgrade to SLI graphics in the future. It’s not the pinnacle of entry-level gaming, due to a slower third-generation processor and middling graphics card, but it’s a great jumping off point for the PC gamer who wants a machine that’s ready to use now, and offers the chance to start learning about upgrading, building, and even overclocking systems. If you just want to get on the gaming grid, the Editors’ Choice iBuypower Revolt A960 (AMD A10-6800K) offers similar gaming performance for much less money, but it doesn’t offer the chance to learn and grow that the Lenovo Erazer X700 does.
|Primary Optical Drive||DVD+/-RW (Plus Minus)|
|Processor Family||Intel Core i7|
|Storage Type||HDD, SSD|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8 Professional|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1128 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc