Performance and Benchmarks
The performance of the IdeaPad Y460 is nothing short of amazing. The Intel Core i5 processor combined with the ATI Radeon 5650 was able to handle whatever we threw at it and still maintain great framerates in games. Considering its size and weight puts it up against notebooks like the 13.3-inch Apple MacBook Pro, it blows most of the competition out of the water.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures video and gaming performance (higher scores mean better performance):
While running in integrated graphics mode the system relies on the Intel GMA HD chipset which can handle everything except games. For the day to day grind we recommend the system stays in this mode since it keeps case temperatures down and still handles HD video decoding and other multimedia tasks with ease. HD movie decoding was not a problem, decoding 720P and 1080P trailers without breaking a sweat. HD Flash playback was another area which was no trouble at all for the IdeaPad Y460.
Switching on dedicated graphics turned this IdeaPad into a mobile gaming platform backed by the ATI Radeon 5650. To test its gaming performance we used Left 4 Dead 2 running at the notebooks native 1366×768 resolution with AA disabled and vertical sync off. The results speak for themselves:
Average framerates were well into what we consider to be smooth gameplay and into the territory where you can start ramping Anti-Aliasing many problems. With AA maxed out (and film grain turned off) the system still maintained framerates in the 60FPS range. The only thing missing from this notebook is a 7200RPM hard drive or SSD, which would make it perfect and complete. Lenovo includes a 5400RPM drive which is fine for normal duty but the system would get a huge boost in speed with a faster drive. Given the current $999 street price Lenovo still leaves a lot of room for end-user upgrades.
Heat and Noise
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 has two main thermal profiles: well mannered and scorching hot. With the switchable graphics set to the Intel integrated graphics setting the system stays relatively cool and gets about as warm as most smaller notebooks with standard-voltage Intel Core processors. Once switched into dedicated graphics mode things start to heat up, especially if you are gaming. While playing Left 4 Dead 2 we noticed a significant increase in temperature output on the left side of the keyboard and on the bottom of the chassis near the heatsink. The shots below were taken immediately after 15 to 20 minutes of gameplay:
A large section of the bottom was above 110F and not localized to small pin-point patches. With it on your lap you definitely feel the heat through your legs and hands. Given the thermal demands of the Core i5 processor and ATI Radeon 5650 graphics in such a small machine I am not sure the outcome could have been any different on another 14-inch system. With the amount of power on tap I think most people interested in a 14-inch gaming notebook would put up with a small amount of heat for awesome framerates.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 has the advantage of switchable graphics when it comes to battery life. For all those occasions where system performance isn’t a concern, the user can switch the notebook into its integrated graphics setting and save power. We tested the Y460 in both modes to see just how much the user gains by keeping it locked in integrated graphics mode. With the screen brightness reduced to 70%, wireless active and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, and Windows 7 set to the balanced profile the Y460 stayed on for 4 hours and 52 minutes. That same test with the notebook locked in dedicated graphics mode only stayed on for 2 hours and 59 minutes.
For mobile gaming enthusiasts the market is starting to become loaded with different options. Right now one of the most popular systems is the Alienware M11x which holds its own for most games, but is still underpowered in the CPU department even with its latest assortment of low-voltage Intel Core processors. The Lenovo IdeaPad U460 gives you the power of a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor and an ATI Radeon 5650 dedicated graphics card in a system weighing less than 5lbs (about a half a pound heavier than the M11x).
Gaming performance was outstanding with the Radeon 5650 graphics, handling Left 4 Dead 2 with the settings maxed, and still getting framerates above 60FPS. Synthetic performance was also quite high, well above other similarly sized systems. When not gaming the system gets about five hours of battery life when switched into integrated graphics mode, which is pretty good for a 14-inch notebook with a six-cell battery. Overall for the current $999 street price we couldn’t be happier with the Lenovo IdeaPad Y460.
- Great gaming performance
- Good battery life
- Huge improvement in the looks department
- System gets too hot while gaming
- Limited screen resolution options