BYO graphics card: The Legion Y740S gaming laptop is made to marry Lenovo's first eGPU
- 06 January, 2020 07:00
Lenovo’s recent revamp of its Legion laptop aesthetic could make it ideal for people who need a single laptop for work and gaming. The sleek, grey look would blend into a boardroom setting, aside from the “Legion” logotype on the lid. One problem? The heavy firepower in the Legion Y740 sent its battery life plummeting. The notebook lasted an abysmal two hours in our testing.
Lenovo’s adopting the Razer Blade Stealth approach to fix the issue. The Legion Y740S, announced Sunday at CES in Las Vegas, sticks to the integrated graphics inside Intel’s 10th-gen Core processors, which should greatly improve battery life. At the same time, gamers can tap into the firepower they need at home via the companion Legion BoostStation external GPU also announced Sunday, which lets you connect powerful desktop graphics cards to the laptop via USB-C.
Stripping out all the gaming bits helps streamline the footprint. The Legion Y740S measures 0.58-inch thick—a third of an inch thinner than its RTX-equipped bigger sibling. Its weight is a trim (for a gaming laptop) 4.18 pounds. Inside, you’ll find unspecified Intel 10th-gen Core processors, up to the series’ beefy H-series gaming flagship, along with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD.
Lenovo also dialed the display speed back from the blazing 144Hz refresh rate in the original Y740, offering 15.6-inch 4K and 1080p panels at a more standard 60Hz. That should also help with endurance (Lenovo claims the 60Wh battery inside the Y740S lasts up to eight hours), but choose wisely, as the 4K panel is also substantially brighter. It blazes at a whopping 600 nits, versus the more conventional 300 nits that the 1080p display pumps out. A bright, dense 4K display should look gorgeous, but illuminating all those pixels will no doubt impact battery life.
Legion Coldfront 2.0 cooling with a vapor chamber and four fans, a redesigned TrueStrike keyboard, and a fingerprint reader add some new, nice touches to Lenovo’s already-impressive Legion design, but the real secret sauce here comes via the Legion BoostStation external graphics card dock.
Lenovo’s debut eGPU matches the sleek, stark grey aesthetic of its laptop counterpart, marrying an aluminum build with plenty of mesh and a transparent side panel. You’ll be able to install graphics cards up to 12.6 inches long in the BoostStation, provided the power connector’s in the typical configuration on the edge of the card, or 11.8 inches long if the connector’s on the rear. The maximum supported thickness tops out at 2.36 inches. Most standard-length, dual-slot GPUs should slip inside easily, in other words, but you may want to check the dimensions on your graphics card of choice before buying it. Some higher-end enthusiast models feature thick, bulky coolers.
So, check: The basics are covered. That’s not the end of it, though. Lenovo may be late to the external graphics game, but it clearly paid attention to what works. The Legion BoostStation boasts a tool-free design and 100W fast-charging capabilities to power up the Y740S quickly, along with extra room for storage slots inside the case. The box can fit a single 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch storage drive, or a pair of slim PCIe SSDs. Extra storage capacity inside an external graphics dock means you can stash your space-sucking games on there, accessible when you need them, rather than filling up the primary drive on the machine.
The BoostStation comes with a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI, ethernet, and of course, the crucial USB Type-C Thunderbolt port that connects to the Legion Y740S laptop itself.
Sounds cool, but this gear’s still a way’s out. The Lenovo Legion Y740S will start at $1,100 when it launches in May, with the BoostStation releasing in the same time frame for $250. If you want to kit out your home setup even more, Lenovo’s also releasing an array of gaming mice, keyboards, and monitors between March and June.