Lenovo Legion C730 mini game dice
"The C730 is a powerful gaming system that is ultimately limited by its own graphics card."
1080p gaming is smooth sailing
Minimalist aesthetics with a solid construction
Abundance of ports
Internal components are easily accessible and can be updated
Portable design with top handle
Limited storage capacity
Large space requirement for compact desktop
No USB-C or Thunderbolt 3
Here's a question you probably never asked yourself: What if your gaming PC looked less like a conventional computer than a beer cooler? Lenovo's latest compact gaming PC, the Legion C730 Cube, is as close as we will ever see it.
The C730 Cube not only looks good, but also ensures that the internal ships are cooled with their own six-pack in the form of the hexa-core processor from Intel. In addition to this powerful processor, you get the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 for graphics and a unique handle for easy transport.
Starting at $ 1,300, the C730 Cube represents Lenovo's unique approach to balance performance, price and portability. But is this Coleman-inspired gaming PC the right tool for your next gaming fight?
Not your father's cooler
Unlike its competitors, Lenovo took a more cautious approach to developing the Legion C730, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you don't live, breathe, and play PC games around the clock, the C730 will fit wherever you set it up at home. The minimalist matte black finish, which Lenovo calls iron gray, makes it easier to transition between a workhorse in your home office, a home theater PC in your living room, and a powerful VR-capable gaming rig.
Competitors in this category, such as the ASUS ROG Huracan and the MSI Trident 3, offer more aggressive, angular designs and red accents that barely hide their game roots. Although these desktops immediately catch the eye, they no longer feel right in an adult home office area.
However, the more mature mood of the C730 has its own costs – the system is not the most compact. While competing systems take up as little space on the desk as possible – the ROG Huracan G21 from ASUS has a smaller footprint at 5.11 x 14.66 x 14.41 – Lenovo designed the C730 for portability. At 9.09 x 13.07 x 9.53, the C730 takes up more space on the desk, but the handle makes it easy to move.
To make the most of the available space, the C730 is tightly packed and contributes to the weight of the device. Weighing just under 20 pounds, the C730 is within range of other compact gaming desktops.
As with other gaming desktops, you won't find a lack of ports.
With this weight, you don't want to take it everywhere, but if you need to move it, the top handle helps. If you're concerned that long gaming sessions can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, just take a break, lift the C730, and carry it between rooms for immediate strength training.
The outer surfaces are mostly made of a durable plastic, but there is an inner metal cage to reinforce things. The two removable plastic side walls are also lined with sheet metal.
At the top you will find a handle and a clear plastic window that allows you to quickly recognize the gaming legacy of the C730. When the device is turned on, full RGB lighting illuminates the top of the device and the see-through window gives you a top rating. The graphics card – our test device is powered by the Nvidia GPU and shows the GeForce GTX branding. RGB lighting, CPU overclocking and warranty support are handled by the included Lenovo Vantage app.
The missing link
As with other compact gaming desktops, there is no shortage of ports between the front and back, and there is a removable rubber strip on the back for cable management. You will find a total of eight USB ports (two USB 3.0, four USB 3.1 and two USB 2.0 ports), an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, a microphone input, an audio output, a DVI port, three DisplayPort ports and one single HDMI connector. Dolby Atmos is also supported to provide an impressive audio experience.
Chuong Nguyen / Digital Trends
Although there are enough USB ports, the C730 does not offer USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 support. Including these ports would have made the rig more future-proof and enabled users to connect an external GPU. Both MSI and ASUS have installed a USB-C port on their compact gaming desktops that gamers can use to connect newer drives or monitors to their systems.
The wireless connection is supported by 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2 × 2 MIMO and Bluetooth 4.2.
The only thing that connects the C730 to your electrical outlet is a medium-length power cord.
All configurations of the C730 also come with a wired keyboard and optical mouse, although as a dedicated gamer you may want to upgrade to a mechanical keyboard. The USB keyboard responds, but has no backlight effects. The keys are responsible, have good travel, and the keycaps have a lower curve that is similar to that of laptop keyboards from Lenovo's IdeaPad and ThinkPad lines.
Our biggest complaint with the keyboard is that Lenovo has made it a bit more compact by dividing the traditional two-line, three-column area where the Insert, Page Up, Page Down, Start, End, End, and Delete keys are located squeezed -line, two-column layout. This rearrangement also resulted in the arrow keys being moved to the left, with the left arrow now just below the right shift key. The configuration does not adversely affect typing or gaming, but it took us some time to adapt to the compressed layout.
Divided for cooling
The centrally placed and vertically mounted motherboard inside helps to divide the C730 into two compartments, both of which are easily accessible via removable side doors. A control panel can be quickly removed using a latch on the back, which provides access to the most heat-generating components such as RAM, processor and graphics card. Fortunately, neither RAM nor GPU are soldered, so both can be updated in the future. All C730 configurations come with a single 16 GB RAM module. However, users can add up to three additional modules for a total of 64 GB.
Chuong Nguyen / Digital Trends
In this compartment there are also three fans that are used for active cooling. A fan is on the GPU, a second on the motherboard, and a third on the back to draw air from the front of the device through vents with circular bullet holes. In general, we have found no problem with heat even during long gaming sessions. The fan noise was very subtle and the deep whirl of the fan blades didn't distract.
On the opposite side there is a second plate that is secured with two Phillips screws. Here you will find the drive bay for the hard disk and the internally mounted power supply. Fortunately, unlike the Huracan G21, you are not saddled with external power modules. The only thing that connects the C730 to your electrical outlet is a medium-length power cord.
Updating the hard drive or adding an additional drive is easy. Lenovo has helpful videos to help you navigate the internals of the C730. All components are well organized and the cables are connected to each other to ensure a neat appearance.
Overclockable for performance
There are only two configuration options for the C730. The C730 isn't designed for high-end gamers who need adjustments every step of the way, and Lenovo is aimed at gamers who need a quick start into discrete graphics or VR features without having to worry about building their own rigs .
All configurations are equipped with an 8th generation Intel processor with six cores and discrete graphics. The entry-level option for $ 1,300 comes with AMD RX570 graphics and a standard Intel Core i7-8700 CPU, while our updated test device comes with an overclockable Intel Core i7-8700K silicon and Nvidia GeForce RTX 1060 graphics with 6 GB Video RAM is delivered for $ 1,519. Although the 9th generation processors from Intel come in, this 8th generation CPU is still a powerful piece of silicon that offers sufficient performance.
The overclockable processor has a base speed of 3.70 GHz, which can reach up to 4.70 GHz with Turbo Boost. Although the C730 is equipped with the same overclockable processor as this year's Falcon Northwest Tiki, the out-of-the-box processing power is more similar to the basic Core i7-7800 processor. In our Geekbench test, the C730 achieved a single core score of 5,331 – compared to 6,228 for the Falcon – and its multi-score of 21,830 was below the Falcon's 28,413 mark. Although the C730 couldn't quite keep up with the Falcon, its single-core and multi-core results were better than the Velocity Micro M60, which runs on AMD's Ryzen 1800X processor.
Given the high-end processors, the differences between the benchmarks of the C730, Falcon and Velocity Micro may not even be noticeable in real use. If you plan to buy the C730 primarily as a general productivity calculator, these differences may be more relevant. Even if you work in multiple browsers with multiple tabs open or edit photos, the C730 held up well and we didn't notice any delays.
And to prove that benchmarks may not provide a complete picture of a PC's performance, the C730 was able to complete our 4K video coding test with Handbrake in two minutes and three seconds. This is almost a full minute faster than the time the hawk took to complete the same task. In our tests, the video file was stored and encoded on the main SSD, the faster system of the two pre-installed drives.
To keep costs down, the C730 comes with two drives. There's a faster SK Hynbix M.2 solid-state drive with limited 128 GB of storage and a slower 7200 RPM Seagate hard drive with a capacity of 1 TB. Users want to install applications on the SSD and save larger files on the hard drive. Serious gamers will likely want to upgrade the hard drive to a secondary SSD.
In our CrystalDisk Mark test, the speeds of both drives were slower than those of competing systems. Comparing the C730's 128GB SSD with the Falcon's 2TB SSD, the latter system achieved faster read and write speeds. The C730 achieved an average of 1,607 MB / s (megabytes per second) in the sequential read tests and a slow 363 MB / s in the sequential write tests, compared to the Falcon values of 2,687 and 1,504.
And as expected with hard drives, even those with faster 7200 rpm, the sequential read and write speeds are much slower. The C730's secondary drive achieved average sequential read and write values of around 200 MB / s.
Gaming ready, VR ready
Our test device comes with the GeForce GTX 1060 from Nvidia. Unlike other systems, there is no option to choose an updated configuration with better graphics. The Asus Huracan G21 is equipped with a GTX 1080 GPU, while the Falcon Northwest Tiki goes even further with 1080 Ti graphics. The base C730 comes with a discrete AMD RX 570 graphics card.
In general, the GTX 1060 chipset does a good job if you don't run intense games with high graphics settings. Since Oculus needs at least GTX 960 graphics or better for Rift virtual reality experiences, the performance of the C730 is generally great.
We compared the C730 using the VRMark test suite and the results of the device are between the required Oculus minimum and a premium high-end PC. The C730 value of 6,628 in the Orange Room test is cheap compared to the Oculus minimum of 3,716, but is still below the 10,390 value of premium high-end systems. Similarly, the C730's cyan room value of 3,566 is between 2,152 at the baseline and 8,548 at the top.
Given the VR benchmark results, the game results were similar, and although the GTX performed well, its performance lagged behind the more powerful units like the Falcon with its GTX 1080 Ti graphics, and the results were in our series of game tests consistent.
At 4K resolution, Civilization VI played at medium settings at 59 frames per second, but performance quickly dropped to 38 FPS when the Ultra settings were enabled. In comparison, the falcon saw a less dramatic decline, scoring 106 and 81, respectively. With Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the results achieved by the C730 were less than half what the Falcon can do. The C730's benchmark performance with these games matched the Inspiron 5680 from Dell, an entry-level gaming desktop with similar GTX 1060 graphics.
The situation for the C730 improves when playing the somewhat older Battlefield 1. In older games, the inequality between the 1060 GPU of the C730 and the 1080 Ti GPU of the Falcon is not so pronounced at lower 1080p resolutions. At medium settings, for example, the C730 has 114 FPS (frames per second) compared to the Falcon's 198. The disparity quickly increases again if you play the game with extremely high details or increase the resolution. For example, the C730 achieved 61 FPS at a resolution of 1440p and extremely high settings, while the Falcon achieved 143 FPS.
Compared to high-end gaming PCs like the Falcon with its GTX 1080 Ti graphics, the GPU of the C730 shows its weakness when you push for higher game settings and increase the resolution. As we saw in our Deus Ex and Civilization VI tests, the C730 could reach almost 60 FPS at lower settings at 1080p, but the frame rates quickly dropped beyond that. When the settings were raised to ultra-high at 1440p, the C730 reached about 30 FPS. Players who want to play at resolutions above 1080p and at faster frame rates will likely want to find a system with a better graphics card.
The limitations in the performance of the GTX 1060 were also evident at Fortnite. Although the game went well on the C730 with no noticeable delays or stuttering, frame rates dropped quickly as the settings shifted to the game's ultra-high "epic" mode. The average frame rate on our 4K display was just under 30 FPS. In 1080p under the same settings, the game ran much smoother with an average of 112 FPS. At 1440p, the average performance was 49 FPS. While the game was more than playable with 4K resolution and rich detail, those with demanding eyes who want faster frame rates at high resolutions want to find a better graphics option than what comes with the C730.
Although the device contains relatively little bloatware, one possible explanation for the C730's poorer processing rating is that a trial version of McAfee is preinstalled that consumes some system resources while running in the background. Even if you don't mind the slightly reduced CPU performance, the software quickly becomes annoying when asked to subscribe.
The Legion C730 may be sold as a gaming PC first, but it has the look and performance to secure it when you need a rounded general-purpose desktop during the day. The overclockable 8th generation high-end CPU with six cores offers a lot of performance for productivity and general computer tasks. The GTX 1060 makes it a suitable gaming rig if you do not exceed the limits with ultra-high resolutions with detailed games.
Are there alternatives?
In the compact gaming desktop space, there are a number of options from ASUS, MSI, Falcon, Alienware and others, but none offer the convenience of a carry handle that gives the C730 a unique view of desktop portability. High-end players will probably want to build their own custom-made rigs, but if you're more of a casual fan, you can get away with one of these powerful rigs.
For example, the ASUS Huracan G21 offers more gaming performance with its GTX 1080 graphics card, but you currently pay almost $ 1,000 more on Amazon. One of our digital trends favorites, the Falcon Northwest Tiki, also offers a nearly $ 1,000 reward for its improved performance. Higher configurations will cost you even more.
The C730 offers a good balance between performance and price for casual gamers who may need high-end processing power for computing tasks, but do not require top specifications in the graphics department.
How long it will take?
Lenovo grants a one year standard warranty on the C730. This is pretty common, but it also means that this Legion desktop doesn't have the durability the Falcon offers with its three-year warranty in case something goes wrong. The part that is most likely to fail on many computers is the hard drive. Thankfully, the C730 can be serviced and replaced by the user.
What really holds the C730 back is the lack of more modern ports like USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, which would make the system more future-proof. For example, by adding a Thunderbolt 3 port, gamers can connect a newer Nvidia RTX series graphics card to an eGPU rig. This would allow the system to be upgraded instantly and grow if your gaming requirements change in a year or two. Although RTX cards are new and ray tracing is not yet a proven technology in gaming, the absence of the Thunderbolt 3 means that you will likely have to buy a new system if you want to venture into Nvidia's vision for the future of gaming.
Should you buy it
The C730 is a powerful gaming system that is ultimately limited by its own graphics card. While the GTX 1060 does an adorable job, it falls short when you push the limits, and that's a compromise that high-end gamers aren't ready for. Beginners looking for a good starter system that may not consider the portability factor of the C730 will find similar performance in the Inspiron 5680 from Dell for almost half the cost.