September 10, 2012
- Gaming themed design
- Speedy boot times thanks to SSD
- Great gaming performance
- Included wired mouse feels cheap
In a move to gain some ground in the gaming PC market, the Lenovo IdeaCentre K430 brings some serious power and performance to the table. The K430 has an Intel Core i7 CPU, a whopping 12GB of RAM, a 2TB hard drive and discrete Nvidia Graphics. There's also a unique power mode switch to regulate computing power and an option for a Blu-ray drive.
The design of the Lenovo IdeaCentre K430 definitely looks the part because of its brushed metal finish (but it's really plastic) and lighting. Under the front lip, there is a LED lighting effect that changes color based upon the power control switch (more on that later). The case looks quite stylish and most gamers will be pleased with it. The size of the K430 measures 6.9 x 16.1 x 14.2-inches (wdh) and weighs about 25-pounds.
Lenovo includes a standard set of wired USB mouse and keyboard. We found the keyboard to be quite nice actually but the mouse felt small and cheap. A nice set of wireless peripherals would have been nice, but users can always buy their own if they want them.
As Lenovo touts this desktop PC as being good for "intensive multimedia tasks and gaming", they also decided to include a power control switch to help regulate performance. On the top of the case, there is a mode switch that has three positions: Turbo, Auto and Cool. For when you're gaming or need that extra performance, move the switch to Turbo and the PC will give you full power. The Cool mode slows down the PC and keeps it running steady, which is great for a long file download while you're sleeping. The Auto mode is good enough for most because it will automatically toggle between the other two settings based on your current performance demands. When you change modes, the light under the front lip will change colors and flash briefly to keep with the PC's gaming theme.
The K430 has two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, DVI-out, Ethernet and a 9-in-1 memory card reader. There is also build-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and a DVD Multiburner. There is an option available to upgrade to a Blu-ray/DVD Multiburner disc drive too.
Our configuration included a third-generation Intel Core i7-3770 (3.4GHz) CPU, 12GB of RAM, a 2TB 7200RPM hard drive, a 128GB SSD cache drive and discrete Nvidia GeForce GT545 graphics with 2GB of dedicated video memory. We definitely like this set of specs for the gaming and power user. The cache drive provides speedy boot times and the 12GB of RAM means you'll never run into any slow downs while multitasking.
In a synthetic PCMark 7 benchmark, the K430 earned a score of 3696, which is definitely a good score. Real-world use backed up that result with smooth performance and no problems to report. The SSD cache drive definitely provided a speed boost during boot up. We just left the power control switch in Auto mode for all of our testing, even while gaming.
Gaming performance was also very good thanks to the Intel Core i7 CPU and discrete Nvidia graphics system. We tried out playing Call of Duty 4 and were able to play at 1080p resolution without a hitch. This is definitely a system to consider if you want to play today's (and tomorrow's) video games without having to spend a ton of money.
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