Gaming performance is one of the Y40’s key selling points. Although not nearly as potent as a larger Alienware or Sager notebook from a performance perspective, or even Lenovo’s own IdeaPad Y50 for that matter, the Y40 comes in at a far lower price point and provides an overall excellent price to performance ratio.
So how does the Y40 perform with the latest games? The low-voltage Intel CPU will be taxed in more demanding games like Battlefield 4, which recommend a quad-core CPU. It’s not a powerhouse in other words but gets the job done for most modern games. On the graphics side of the equation, AMD’s Radeon R9 275 provides dependable if not exciting 3D performance; it’s capable of playing the latest games at a 1600×900 resolution and medium settings in most cases. The R9 275 isn’t as fast as higher-end graphics cards like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M, but notebooks with those cards are considerably more expensive.
We put the Y40 through its paces in Battlefield 4; we ended up running the game at a 1920×1080 resolution with a mix of medium and high settings with no anti-aliasing and minimal post processing. These settings produced an average frames per second (FPS) between 35 and 40 across a variety of different multiplayer maps.
Our Y40 review unit is in our view the best value of all the available Y40 configurations. The extra $150 on top of the base Y40’s $679 starting point nets a CPU upgrade from a Core i5-4200U to an i7-4500U (which is 10-20% faster, depending on the application) and takes the storage drive from a slow 500 GB hard drive to a 256 GB SSD.
Our review unit of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y40 features the following technical specs:
- 14-inch display (1920×1080 resolution, TN panel, anti-glare surface)
- Windows 8.1 64-bit
- Intel Core i7-4500U dual-core processor (1.8GHz, up to 3.0GHz Turbo Boost, 4MB cache, 15W TDP)
- AMD Radeon R9 275 w/ 2GB memory
- 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM (1x 8GB; 16GB max. supported – 2x 8GB)
- 256GB SSD (Lite-On LCS-256M6S)
- No internal optical drive
- Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 wireless network adapter
- Integrated Bluetooth 4.0
- Integrated 720p webcam
- 1-year limited warranty
- Dimensions: 13.7” x 9.8” x 0.9”
- Weight: 4.85 lbs.
- Starting Price: $679
- Price as Configured: $829
wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark 7 measures overall system performance in Windows 7 (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
Our Powermark battery life test simulates a variety of different tasks including web surfing, word processing, video playback, and 3D gaming. The battery life numbers from this test are lower than those from a typical battery run-down test.
Powermark “Balanced” battery life test results (listed in minutes – higher scores mean better battery life):
The Y40 managed a very good four hours, 30 minutes in this test; this is better than almost every gaming notebook we’ve tested recently, most notably the more expensive 13.3” Eurocom M4 and it even beats pricey business Ultrabooks such as the HP ZBook 14. Under a regular usage scenario, we think it’s not out of the question to expect six or more hours of battery life from the Y40’s internal battery.
Heat and Noise
The Y40’s cooling system sends warm air out the rear of the chassis toward the display hinge. There’s a sizable gap between the exhaust vent and the display hinge leaving sufficient room for air to escape. The fan is nearly inaudible while performing everyday tasks such as web browsing. The fan noise is subdued even while gaming for extended periods; it has no whine and it’s easy to ignore. The Y40’s chassis remains impressively cool all over including the areas around the cooling exhaust. The primary air intakes are located on the bottom of the chassis; it’s therefore a good idea to use the Y40 on a solid surface while gaming.
The included 90W AC adapter is normally sized. It weighs 0.95 lbs. including the cables. The power adapter itself measures 5” x 2” x 1.25”; with both cables fully extended, it spans just over nine feet. The power brick gets warmer while gaming or charging the notebook’s battery, both of which are to be expected.