The AIO conundrum is full steam ahead. For the business space it makes perfect sense. You can save a lot of room and generally get well thought machines that can do anything, even creative tasks. But for gaming it’s a strange toss up. Having an AIO gracing your desk, though freeing up other areas of your workspace from the tyranny of beige boxes is great, games need something they can inevitably play with. And modify. So along comes something such as the Lenovo ThinkCenter AIO Y910, a machine that lets you slowly grow into the enthusiast role as you become more knowledgeable, while providing a good base for your gaming needs. As a basic package, you can pack a lot of variety and customization into a unified package, but whether this all-one idea jives with your goals, is always a personal decision. It’s another option, certainly. And the Lenovo ThinkCenter Y910 AIO has the potential to be a good starting point on your journey into becoming a PC enthusiast.
Cool, quiet with performance to spare
Today we’re looking at Lenovo’s gaming-centric AIO, the AIO Y910. As befits their gaming line-up, this too has all the trappings that make it distinct from anything else they sell. The color-scheme, the artistic Y on the rear that also doubles as a release mechanism to the treats inside, are dead giveaways that this designed for gamers or those of the gaming ilk. There’s no mistaking that, and it may be out of place in a typical office setting. Even though its styled, the AIO is still somewhat attractive in its own way, with sharp lines and red highlights. Style is subjective and you may not even think about based on that alone. But the insides might be worth a gander, too.
The issue with an AIO is nearly the same as with any mini-ITX system you may build (which some options are just actual mini-ITX cases anyway), heat and literal space. That and you’re limited to the amount of power you can conceivably put into such a small space. With the design that Lenovo has gone with, they’ve stuffed a server power supply into the base, but even then space is limited. Because of that, they’ve used a slightly lower clocked, and not unlocked or traditionally overclockable, 65W i7-6700, which is clocked at 3.4GHz with a 4GHz boost speed. It is socketed, and is upgradable, though you’d have a hard time doing that despite that fact. And you’re limited by the power supply, rated a 380W, anyway. This should be plenty for most situations and is more than capable of driving a number of even high-end GPUs. Which it does come with.
AIO Y910 Review Unit Specifications
There are two main configurations, one with an i5-6500, a GTX 1070, 12GB of RAM and a 1TB storage drive coupled with a 128 PCIe m.2 SSD. The other is what we have here, comes with the i7-6700, a GTX 1080, 16GB of RAM with 2TB of storage and 256GB of PCIe storage for the OS. Not terrible specs, considering. All of that is packed inside a not terribly huge monitor/case. Though yeah, it does protrude a bit out the back, but less so than you’d expect. The AIO Y910 isn’t exactly going to win any aesthetic awards, but as a means to hide the fact that there’s some decently powerful hardware inside, it’s alright. It definitely stands out.
Getting into the machine is a bit of a hassle. If you can easily identify the button to press to release the back panels, it’s not easy to take them off to get inside. Even worse, once they’re off it’s very difficult to put them back on. The whole mechanism seems poorly overly complex and not at all up to the same standards of other Lenovo designs. The panel that hides the GPU in particular is frustrating, and is dependent on nearly precise positioning of the GPU bracket, otherwise the tight tolerances, which are understandable, seem to prevent it from being flush.
Despite the smaller power supply that’s quite limiting, there’s enough room for slightly larger GPU’s letting you change it out if you so choose The blower design actually works wonders here, and as you’ll see later, isn’t a nuisance in the noise department either.
Though it’s using SODIM’s, because of the wealth of higher memory speed options now available for laptops, there are plenty of choices should you decide to upgrade later-on. Getting into the 3.5-inch drive is fairly intuitive, and of course you can upgrade that very easily to something larger should you fill up the original. The m.2 dive is protected, it seems, by a metal bracket that can be removed, though it does require quite a bit of force to take off. Once off, you’ll be graced with the presence of a Samsung-based drive, capable of good speeds and also having some great endurance. Samsung is very popular with OEM’s and their latest NVMe drives are good choices for a variety of reasons.
Frustrating design decisions aside, the whole thing is fairly attractive. That is, it’s well made though rather bluntly designed in a ‘gaming’ motif. Loudly, even. The carbon fiber is a great accent, though I’m starting to think that maybe the ostentatious design elements some manufacturers use are just way too loud. The AIO Y910 doesn’t quite reach that point, though it teeters on the balance. You may love it, you may hate it. Such is how our visual senses are.
Connectivity is fairly well rounded, though Thunderbolt 3 and even USB 3.1 Type-C is missing. There are four USB 2.0, three USB 3.0, RJ45, a 6-in-1 card reader and an HDMI port that can also be an input to make use of the gorgeous monitor with other devices. Wireless is handled by the Killer DoubleShot, the E2200 with 2×2 802.11ac capability. There are a good number of ports, and if you really wanted to lessen the amount of cables in and around your desk, you could theoretically go full-on Bluetooth for peripherals, too. Though where’s the fun in that? Especially if you plan on having low latency while romping through whatever triple-A game is catching your eye.
On top via a pop-up mechanism they’ve included an Intel RealSense camera system so you can easily remove backgrounds for streaming or videos and do much more. It’s also ready for Windows Hello should you want to login with just your camera. It ended up working quite well, in fact. We were very impressed with it and hope to see RealSense cameras become more prolific.
27-inches at a 1440P resolution is a good size. It lets most people use 150% DPI scaling or below to help with those few legacy applications that don’t like Windows-scaling. It’s also rather very quick and colorful.The IPS screen is capable if displaying 119-percent of the sRGB color gamut and netted a Delta-E of 2.53 without calibration. It was also startlingly bright, too, at 316 nits of brightness. It’s a very nice screen that exhibits very little backlight bleed and is quite crisp at this size.
Thankfully there isn’t much in the way of preloaded software from Lenovo. There are a few things, but it hardly qualifies as bloatware like we may have seen in the past. The Nerve Center is necessary for control of the machine, though a few others could be omitted. Going forward
Enough of that, let’s move on to the performance benchmarks to see how well it performs. This’ll be down and dirty.