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Lenovo Legion Y720-15IKB Andrei Girbea Rating: 4 out of 5

Lenovo Legion Y720 review (i7-7700HQ, GTX 1060) – solid mid-range gaming laptop

30 Comments

  1. Daniel

    July 4, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Relating to the heating issue, Can you please post information based on another unit if you say yours is flawed.

    I am stuck between the Lenovo Y720 , the MSI GS63 VR Stealth pro and the Acer Predator Helios 300.

    I just want a reliable laptop to have good build quality and not be uncomfortable while gaming. Can I have your opinion on this matter ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 4, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      I've linked reviews from notebookcheck.net and laptopmedia.com in the article, their units did not overheat as mine did. From what I can tell my unit was flawed, but I can't be 100% sure on that and I don't have another unit to review.

      • Daniel

        July 5, 2017 at 2:24 am

        Alright , you did what you have to .

        Can I get your opinion on those 3 laptops ?

        • Andrei Girbea

          July 5, 2017 at 11:39 am

          The Predator Helios 300 is the most affordable (you're in the US, right?), but I'm not a fan of the cooling solution and I'm seeing some quality control issue in the reviews on amazon.

          This Lenovo is well built and gets a decent battery, but it's also bulky and personally I don't like the non-glare coating on the screen. If you plan to keep it mostly indoors that's a non-issue though. This also seems to be quite expensive.

          The GS63 is thin and light, and the best option if portability matters. Being so thin it also runs hot under load, and it's quite expensive.

          You should also consider the Aspire Nitro V15 Black Edition, it's my favorite pick in the niche right now. You'll find reviews for all of these here on the site, use the search at the top.

  2. Catalin78

    December 14, 2017 at 9:20 am

    I don't think it's a flawed sample. I own one of these and I found out something interesting. At first, I had the same issue, very high temps during load both for cpu and for gpu (up to 90 degree celsius for both or even higher), then I did something, I lifted the unit using an improvised frame (the foam frame in which it was delivered but customizing it a bit so the air outtakes have room) and everything changed, temp during load doesn't exceed 80 and stay even lower for gpu. Bottom line, I think the air holes from underneath the unit needs proper space for both of its coolers to suck enough air. If we put it on the couch (my case), less air room available for the coolers to be able to suck and so they can't cool much. That means, you need to lift the unit a bit when you play (not too much, 2 fingers height is enough – check it's frame from the package). Maybe if u play on a desk you don't need to lift it.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 15, 2017 at 5:12 am

      Well, on a couch you're going to completely block the intake, which is definitely not recommended with any gaming laptop, let alone one with this kind of hardware.

  3. Catalin78

    December 15, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Yes, you're right, plus the room temp is pretty high (24-28 degrees Celsius) so that's why I got so high temps. Curiously, the laptop worked flawllesly even on those conditions, I had no blue screens or any other issues, only the keyboard was ouch, too much, like inside the oven, that hot. With it lifted, I have good temps and the keyboard altough hot, no more oven feeling. Hot but tolerable. I guess if I put it on the desk, no need for frame lifter but hey, I want to play in bed/couch with xbox360 controller. By the way and sorry for the offtopic, the specs on the net say it has an xbox one wireless dongle built-in but I can't see it in device manager. Where could it be?Maybe I should pick and install the driver from lenovo website?Another issue is with screen, people say it's dim but I think it's pretty ok, I have very bright screens. This one is just ok. The same with the directional keys, I like them as lenovo put them, it's a gaming laptop so gaming priority.

  4. Catalin78

    December 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Edit: no more than 81 degrees for cpu and 71 for gpu. But it seems to be ok. Throttling hope doesn't occur.

  5. Catalin78

    January 10, 2018 at 9:51 am

    update: after intensive testing (gaming) I see that indeed the temp go high during load sessions: up to 92'Celsius for CPU and around 78-80'Celsius for the GPU. During idle I have around 30-45'Celsius for CPU but in load, no matter what I do, it goes up to 92'C. At first, when I improvised that frame, I thought temps had dropped alot but I was mistaken, some game are not demanding and the temp go not that high. I haven't had issues but I think throttling does occur because I ran in continuously loop 3d mark and I used HWiNFO64 for checking the temps and the sensor table indicated throttling for two CPU cores. I repet, no major issues, NO hickups or Windows 10 freezing or something but yes, definatelly, temp go that high so I guess the fps drop a bit during gameplay since throttling occurs. I guess this problem is no specific to Lenovo y720, from what I read all brands have temps problems with their gaming models. After all, all such demanding power in a laptop…

    I guess I can replace the thermal paste for cpu and gpu myself but I wait for the warranty period to end. The temps problem is also for the ssd (my case – 512gb samsung m2 pcie) and I guess adding a thermopad (thermo plate) would be appropiate.

  6. Catalin78

    January 11, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Update: i now have the whole picture. I said i was gonna replace the thermal compound and i did it tonight. The results are impressive. Maximum temp for cpu dropped from 92'C (and subsequent throttling of the cpu as stated by the HWiNFO64) to maximum 83'C in Quantum Break (45 min running) and 84'C in 3dmark TimeSpy benchmark (i ran it looped so i didnt't check if there is a change in the result but i will) and from 80-82 for nvidia gpu to max 75 now using mx-4 thermal paste. I used an excelent tutorial from youtube (youtu.be/akEvEn6UhOo)

    And an Arctic mx-4 thermal compound paste. The result as i said are fantastic, awesome,i gained almost 10'C which is fantastic. Replacing the compound is very easy if you do exactly as shown in the tutorial (don't worry if u happen to apply some paste on the pins (they are not actually pins) on the gpu core, it's ok because i did that too and i read on the internet it's safe.

    I can't believe it. Sadly, i didn't have a radiator for the ssd because it gets very hot during load.

    Opening the case (void its warranty??? Hope not) lead me finding another surprise and that is that indeed the xbox adapter is no present, so it's not there.But i bought an xbox one controller with adapter and it's ok. For me, using controller on Bluetooth i feel that the analogue sticks don't have the same sensitivity.

  7. Catalin78

    January 18, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I want to share my thoughts because i have update:i've replaced the Akasa heatsink (doesn't fit) with an Alphacool HDX M01 which fits barely (it slightly touches the keyboard connector below but doesn't push hard on it so it's ok) but what a huge difference afterwards. I installed it using its both heatsinks (aluminium heatsinks on both sides on top of one 0.5mm thermopad above and one 1 mm thermopad on empy side below).

    Down to 64-66'C from 85-90'C in load. It's simply amazing what difference makes this heatsink on ssd m2 pcie!

    So, to answer 3 questions:

    1) (what models fit?) this model Alphacool HDX M01 fits so check one! From what i realize, slim models fit, without any aluminiums high pins, tall pins. Look for flat aluminium heatsinks with thermal pads.

    2) (should i use heatsink?) definatelly, it's not a "must" , it's a "have to" if you want the ssd ms2 pcie to perform and to last. The results with heatsink are simply amazing, similar with what i experienced when i replaced thermal on cpu&gpu with Arctic mx-4

    3) (why lenovo didn't put a heatsink on???) lenovo should think twice about not incorporating a heatsink for ssd in their models. After all, samsung deliver oem parts, lenovo should apply any add-ons. After all, the cost of a heatsink is not material (10-15$)so why not put it inside???

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Cool, that's really helpful, thanks for your feedback.

      Nobody (or almost nobody) actually puts a heat-sink on the M.2 SSD. At the same time though, most laptops are able to keep the SSD cool enough so it doesn't throttle, like on this unit. so Lenovo definitely should have considered it here.

  8. Catalin78

    January 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Yep, it's been hard a bit but it was worth it. It needs a little tweaking before use(see below), other than that it is a very powerful laptop. And you were right on the review, because i've come past the underlined issues too.

    Bottom line:

    -xbox adapter missing so it's not built-in (not on all models missing, even the ones sold in Romania, some have it and some don't)
    -cpu and gpu need urgent thermal replacement
    -ssd need urgent cooling cover (thermal pad&heatsink)
    – wifi is good though and fast (they seem to replace to old card with the faster intel 8265 from what i see in device manager)
    – screen really not bad at all (i like darker tone, some people say gaming on high contrast and brightness leads in time to epilepsy or brain seizures so better stay on the safe side, some of my friends gave up playing on tv's whose screen exceeded 42" just because inception of seizures)

    PS:i'm a huge fan of acer too but the price for a 2tb hdd&512gb ssd was too high comparing to y720 (i actually found only 1tb&256ssd version and was still pricier than y720) . True is also that i bought the legion on black friday and i could't find Acer Aspire V Nitro discounted but now i don't feel bad, i stii enjoy my former Acer V15  V5-591G-71GS (i7, 1tb hdd, 8gb,gtx950m).

  9. Catalin78

    February 6, 2018 at 9:41 am

    update: bad news.it seems again throttling occurs. Having tried newer games and spending alot of time in extensive gaming sessions, lead (again) to thermal throttling to my i7-770hq cpu reaching 91'C. Something is different here, it doesn't have to do with thermal paste or better intake cooling, it has to do with the nature of the cpu (i7-7700hq) itself. I guess what people say about undervolting or running Intel XTU or other means, may solve the issue.
    Bottom line, replacing thermal paste didn't solve the issue.
    Anyway, although thermal throttling occurs, i didn't see any problems in games (frame drops, stutters, etc) or at least I didn't run too many or haven't got into them yet.

  10. Catalin78

    February 7, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Update:i guess now i have (again) the big picture considering the input data's changed. It seems that i7-7700hq does indeed go into throttling as soon as it hits around 90'C, just as i suspected and repasting does help but does not solve the problem because the cpu is power hungry and gets very hot in extensive gaming sessions and hot room environments. After checking all the forums, internet info and testing myself (from what i read all major brands have throttling problems so the issue is not limited to Legion y720) the following medicines are required in my humble opinion:
    (i don't take responsability for failures or bad actions, everyone should be mature enough to think and to act accordingly to their own judgements)

    1.repaste the cpu and gpu with a very good thermal paste(and put a heatsink/pad on ssd too) – i explained earlier, if you are not good at this, better skip this step and leave default paste

    2.assess for yourself if you can live with cpu throttling, after all if there are no huge fps drops or/and heavy stuttering, throttling is only a problem of cpu long time efficiency, although cpus for mobile have better tolerance to heat than their desktop counterparts. If you can live with throttling, good for you, stop reading at this step. If not, read on,from what i read and tested on my y720, two methods are prefferable in my humble opinion: disable intel Turbo Boost or/and undervolting your i7-7700hq (apply both to reduce even further the hot temps)

    3.method A: disable intel turbo boost (no more native oc for your cpu and be prepared to live with default freq, 2.8ghz).you can do it in different ways (bios, windows power options, 3rd party apps) but for us, y720, bios option is not an option (very limited options there) and i don't like 3rd party apps aswell. This leave us with windows power options(change plan settings on Balanced plan and look for advanced settings and then Processor power management). There we find 3 options: minimum processor state, system cooling policy and maximum processor state and if we know how to tweak it, another field named Processor performance boost mode which we reffer to later). All we need to do is to leave the minimum field alone (5% at both checks) and modify only the maximum field (change to 99% both checks at battery and on power, from the default 100%).this moment you should be set and have better temps but maybe you loose some fps in games where throttling doesn't occur since there is no more native oc. This option is ok but from what i read it doesn't allow cpu usage to go up to 100% so try searching the internet for "How to Disable Intel Turbo Boost Technology" to learn how to modify win registry and have the field "Processor performance boost mode" listed in the advanced settings of the power plan. This allows a few options for the turbo boost and may give you the possibility to optimize it or shut it down completely- enabled, disabled, efficient enabled, efficient aggresive, etc. This allows tweaking the turbo boost in order to maintain your cpu in a better temp state if you set it right (i need better testing of all those options). This metjod has the advantage that is always enabled at win logon so no need to run a program to aplly a custom profile.Turning turbo off means you stick with default clock (2.8ghz) so think twice if you want to go with this method.For me, i would go with it since lower and safe temps and no throttling in gaming sessions is way wider advantage over a potential 3.4ghz or more which i don't reach anyway in load (due to throttling).
    (haven't tested this method fully yet, will come back with conclusions but people say this method is efficient too in lowering the load temps of this cpu)

    4.method B: undervolting the i7-7700hq. This method i tested and i can say wow, it works very good. But pay attention where you stop with undervolting levels. I find it (and read on net) safe to use a – 0.100mv offset for the core voltage. This stopped throttling for me, and my cpu never went higher than 86'C (the same conditions with default voltage: 91-92'C) which is a very big gain. I can't believe what difference does make this. Problem is, how stable the system is with this setting on? For me, gaming 70% and surfing the net 30% for a half a day lead to no issues, i didn't have any stability issues. Maybe i chose a safe value, i read people go beyond – 0.160mv and are stil safe. So yes, no more throting and safe temps. This can be done through various programs, but i used Intel Extreme Tuning Utility and i guess you need to create a profile so that the settings are applied everytime you do a restart (program should start at logon aswell)

  11. Catalin78

    February 7, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I've just tested method A and the results are amazing aswell as testing method B. I can't believe that turning intel turbo boost off or at least limiting it to an efficient/guaranteed level led to cpu load temps drop up to 80-84'C even lower and testing in the same conditions having 91-92'C and throttling (i tested with efficient aggresive and aggresive at guaranteed from the "Processor performance boost mod" field – the geeks (i don't name the website but this is a hint for it along with the search for keywords above) are amazing for coming up with this registry tweak so we can see this field in balance plan's advanced settings).

    So i guess very high temps (above 90) are imho somehow related to extra power (and therefore extra heat) the cpu requires for turbo boosting. Strange, i didn't notice a material difference in fps in games, but again, i didn't tested the fps with a dedicated program just to compare them. But from what i see, the performance is identical, only this way there are no hot temps and is no throttling which is great. Maybe because in extensive gaming, the cpu didn't get above 2.8 ghz due to throlling. Who knows? Bottom line, stopping turbo boost(both options led to 2.8 ghz and no more ghz, i used aggresive option alone to get back to throttling, i mean turbo boost normal mode – aggresive was the default there) led to great and no throttling temps.

    I wonder what happens if i use both methods in the same time, stop turbo boost from the power plan new registry tweaked field and also undervolting with – 0.100mv using Intel XTU. I can hit maybe even lower temps in extra load. Maybe tomorrow i try and come back with a short answer. Even if i get then temps like 80'C,i don't like the idea to use undervolting since i need to have intel XTU with a custom profile and run it at every logon.

  12. Catalin78

    February 10, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Update:there is no need to apply voltage offset too since applying the registry option to set the turbo boost to Efficient Aggresive will suffice, in order to not have thermal throttling anymoreand keep temps below 90'C in heavy load gaming. By setting to Eff Aggresive in the new field named "Processor performance boost mod"(this new field shows up in advanced settings of the Balanced windows power plan after you run the registry key) you don't turn off intel turbo completely(it's not like setting the Disable option) but limiting the native oc so the temps stay ok and avoid this way the thermal throttling because the cpu doesn't go aggresively to ask more power and try to stay close to base clock. This medicine is better than undervolting since it is embedded in windows logon and there is no need ro run intel xtu or TS at bootup with a custom profile.
    I hope this is it and no more tweaks, i'm tired of making this laptop efficient and throttle free. Other than that, it is a very powerful mobile gaming console because that it is, alongside with my other consoles( ps2 slim, ps3, ps4pro and wiiu).

  13. jon

    May 30, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Catalin78 – your input and research is invaluable. Thanks for this!

  14. Catalin78

    May 31, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Tx Jon. I just want everybody to enjoy this "powerful console" and have no problems with it. It's very powerful and a very good companion when traveling.
    I've upgraded Win10 to 1803 spring update and I lost the tweaked registry key and I didn't feel to adding it again but I've found out that setting the cpu to max 99% in power management helps alot by stopping the oveclocking. What can I say, I don't have a laptop cooler, but as i said in above posts, I improvised a small stand for it made from the grey foam from original package, it's like a frame but it works like a charm, it keeps the laptop lifted a few inches. I don't undervolt it although i could use intel xtu. I did changed the thermal paste though with an Arctix Mx-4 paste, i explained this above. From what I read on hwinfo64, temps are pretty ok after gaming for 1-2 hours, gpu stay around 75'C, cpu don't go higher than 87-89'C. Although close to thermal throttling, this never occurs, maybe because it is not allowed by the OS to go beyond 2.8 ghz since it is set on max 99%.
    Yes, it does feel very hot on face of the keyboard, but I can live with it.
    I tested it on Quantum Break, Forza Horizon 3, Rise of the tomb raider (native stereo 3d on uwp – FHD high settings no AA).

    I guess lifting the laptop higher or at least buying a laptop cooler would lead to more thermal efficiency but I'm happy for the moment.I found out about a great cooler (Trust GXT 278), it is my choice, I guess I'll order it soon, it's not needed per se, but it's better to have extra cooling, it's not expensive, around 30$.

    PS: i'm pissed on lenovo for not incorporating the wifi xbox controller, I now have to use a free usb port just for this adapter (I love xbox one controller, i can't play using keyb anymore since I own also ps2, ps3, ps4, ps4 pro, wii u, etc and I got used more with controllers than with keyb). I don't have a single usb spare port anymore(i don't like usb hubs so I won't buy one) because one is for xbox, one external hdd and one for mouse. It leaves to me only one left, the high-super-speed usb 3.1 "round", I'll try to find a proper cable and "move" the external drive on this port.I'll order soon a USB-C to micro USB-B 3.0.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 31, 2018 at 11:39 am

      BTW, I ended up getting one of these myself. I was wandering if any of you guys have issues with the keyboard? The space key double presses quite often, haven't had the chance to look into it yet.

      OH, and Catalin, why don't you undervolt the CPU? Should help with the temperatures and it's safe

  15. Catalin78

    May 31, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Yes Andrei, I have some strange issues with the keyb, it's about when I press the keys, I find the impression they have 2 courses, it's just like pressing a key and then pressing it to the bottom. A double pressing or something, I can't find the right words, it seems they have an intermediary stop until we hit the bottom (when pressed). It's a bit annoying but I can live with as long as they don't break or malfunction or something. I don't know if my issues is related or not to your space key problem.
    I guess no undervolting so far (although i used intel xtu and it was safe – 0.100mv) because there was no thermal throttling anymore (after repasted it and applying registry key or max 99% cpu) but you're right, I guess I'll do also -0.100mv, it's better. I ordered also a cooller so it should be ok.
    Bottom line, gaming laptops have thermal issues, clearly. That's no doubt about it. All have, and it's understandable, so much power squeezed in such a tiny space. But as long it is manageable…

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 31, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Yeah, i get the same, but only with Space, not with any of the other keys. Having a hard time getting used to this, will have to check for potential solutions.

  16. Catalin78

    June 1, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    i want to share hwinfo64 readings after today gaming session of 2 hours (11 am to 1 pm) of rise of tomb raider uwp version in stereo 3d. From what you see,there is no thermal throttling and temp both for cpu,bridge and gpu stay at moderate levels (around 70-86'C).Room temp is 25-26'C, outside 29-31'C.
    Cpu – max 81'C (79-81'C all cores), strange i get max freq between 2795-3593 mhz,weird cause i put max cpu 99% in power settings so they are not supposed to go beyond 2.8 ghz
    Bridge (pch)- max 86.5'C
    Ssd samsung – max 70'C
    Hdd seagate – max 51'C (games installed on ssd)
    Gpu – max 77'C

    I can't attach the picture here but these are the numbers,they are prettt good and test was without laptop cooler (still on delivery), only repaste and set max cpu 99%

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 4, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Looks good. I'll compare to mine, which is stock, but underclocked at -120mv

  17. Catalin78

    June 4, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I tested again, this time with cooler on (it arrived).
    Well,it seems that real gaming really put to the test the system because it is very demanding, in quantum break (playing more than 1 h) the difference with cooler is not so material.Quantum Break is more power hungry than ROTTR it seems. Before, also playing QB without cooler, cpu recorded temps close to 86-89'C, gpu 79-80'C.
    Max temps recorded (again, cooler on all 4 fans to the max speed, repaste, 99% max cpu, no undervolting, room temp 26-28'C):
    – cpu: 80'C, 82'C, 83'C, 86'C (every core)
    – bridge:87,5'C (the lack of heatsink is observable)
    – gpu:78'C
    – ssd (where game is installed): 67'C.

    But the again,i was expected huge difference with cooler on. It seems it's not the case,my improvised frame was close to cooler's efficiency. How come?maybe it had to do with cpu and gpu normal workload temps. What if their normal operated temp is around 80-85 for cpu and 75-80 fpr gpu?we all know the are pasively cooled within the unit, the heatsink does the job. Just don't know,but i have the impression that no matter what i do to lower the temps, i just keep the cpu/gpu from going beyond 86 (cpu) and 80 (gpu), i just can't lower the interval. Anyway,the cooler is fun and it seems the left powered usb 3.0 has enough juice to keep all 4 fans of the cooler running while maintaining system power stability.
    From what I see, the big difference is when you have the laptop lifted a few cm from the desk. Then temps are ok. If you don't lift the unit, temps go crazy. A cooler is ok but it doesn't cool so much, you gain 2-3'C though.

  18. Gustavo Bezerra Neto

    July 18, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Hi, i'm actually thinking about buying one Lenovo Y720 but i'm in doubt about the Acer Predator 300 to.
    Can you please give me a tip about which one of this two should i buy?.
    Both have the same price in my country and the same specs.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 20, 2018 at 9:20 am

      I'd go with the Lenovo. Chunkier, but better built, better screen and bigger battery. The thermal issues can be fixed, you'll find details in the comments, although undervolting alone should address them to a goo extent.

      • Gustavo Bezerra Neto

        July 26, 2018 at 6:23 am

        But what about the performance?

  19. Catalin78

    August 1, 2018 at 10:13 am

    If I may, I would like to say that the performance of this notebook is outstanding, very good balance between price and quality you get by buying such a powerful beast, at least for FullHD gaming. My only complaint is that I don't see it like a laptop, I mean I don't see it like a portable machine because I have alot of accesories attached by it: xbox adapter&controller, two WD external hdd, cooling pad&external power adapter (the one from my Huawei P10 lite phone, works great because I don't wanna use usb and drain power from laptop power source), mouse, hdmi cable, high impedance phones.
    It is very powerful, and it's great for 3d gaming (Ms I guess's fixed the 3d uwp I guess since now Rise of the tomb raider works great in stereo 3d, no bad frames anymore), FHD gaming, movies, even music (output is outstanding, both in clarity and some bass, even phones output is clear and very very loud, my ears hurt when I listen to my Sony MDRV55). All in all, very powerful and all I can hope is that it never breaks. I will pay attention to cleaning its fans from dust.
    I have version with 6gb vram geforce 1060, 16 gb ram and 512 ssd samsung&2 tb hdd seagate. It's kinda expensive but it is worth it, I paid on black friday around 1300 euros from 1650 euros standard price.

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