AT A GLANCE
Looking for a very good entry-level gaming rig with the power to run today's AAA games at moderate-quality levels? I bet the Lenovo X315 is exactly what you need to have at the top of your list
The Lenovo X315 is a great choice for budding hardcore gamers looking for an affordable entry-level desktop gaming PC. It has the performance to play strenuous gaming titles today, with features that are usually lacking in even midrange gaming rigs, like a gaming–oriented power supply, extra memory, and a discrete graphics card. The system’s mix of features, performance, future-proofing, and a nice price earns the Erazer 315 a nod in our Editor’s Choice for budget gaming desktop PCs.
The Erazer’s design and features send a clear signal to seasoned gamers that the beast is ready for a win. The design features a black-colored, angled front panel with a matching mouse that instantly communicate that this isn’t a utilitarian midtower for the masses. On the top is an angled door that covers a DVD burner, while the second pops open to give you access to a headphone jack, a microphone jack, an SD card reader, and two USB 3.0 ports (one with sleep-and-charge capability). The back panel holds surround-sound audio connectors, a DisplayPort, a DVI port, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, two more USB 3.0 ports, a VGA port, and the system’s external Wi-Fi antenna. The faceted and blue-backlit Power button is shaped like the start button on a sports car.
The Lenovo X315 comes with a 3.7GHz AMD A10-7850K quad-core processor and a sure AMD Radeon R9 260 graphics card. Any hardcore gamer will tell you that this combination, the system must excel at playing 3D games. I tried it on Heaven, and I received a rock-steady 60 frames per second (fps) while my Valley test yielded an adequate 38fps, both at medium quality. That’s smoother than the Maingear Spark (42fps on Heaven; 31fps on Valley), and splits the wins with theAlienware X51-R2 (40fps Heaven; 50fps Valley). Compared wit the competition, the specs guarantee that the system will do well on mid-range games, and the 3D performance can be awesome on some games for the price.
Packed inside the chassis is a single 2TB+8GB solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD) (the 8GB SSD cache speeds operations like wake-from-sleep and reboots), along with an empty drive bay with a tool-less drive sled for another. It is not always that you find three free SATA ports to use in servicing a drive, but the X315 has exactly that, along with a single DIMM slot to supplement the included 12GB of system memory. There’s one PCIe x1 slot free, but since the system already comes with Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, we’re not sure what you’d need it for. This is still a much more expandable chassis than the one on the Alienware X51-R2, the Maingear Spark, or the former Editors’ Choice entry-level gaming desktop, the iBuypower Revolt A960 (AMD A10-6800K).
The system has a 450-watt power supply with two 6-pin power connectors. The included 2GB AMD Radeon R9 260 graphics card only uses one of the power connectors, which begs the question: Can you put a more powerful GPU in later down the line? The answer is yes, with caveats. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980, for instance, requires two 6-pin power connectors, and a 500-watt power supply. I have a feeling that the Nvidia GTX 980 card will boot fine, but may run into power problems and clock itself down if you tax it.
The chassis is vented on both sides, but you’d hardly be able to hear the fan noise from the system, particularly after you’ve booted it up. The fans are much quieter than the banshee-like Maingear Spark, for example.
The SSHD has plenty of free space out of the box, but there are a few pre-loaded apps, including Daily Motion, Evernote, Google Play Music, High Tail, McAfee Security Center, Power DVD, TripAdvisor, The Weather Channel, and Zinio. Thanks to AMD, the system comes with a download code for three AAA titles like Just Cause 2, Sleeping Dogs, and Tomb Raider. Though these are aging titles, it still means you’re all set to start playing pretty serious games, as long as you have an Internet connection. The system comes with a one-year warranty.
Looking for a very good entry-level gaming rig with the power to run today’s AAA games at moderate-quality levels? I bet the Lenovo X315 is exactly what you need to have at the top of your list. It’s powerful enough to get you started and allows you to gauge your interest in hardcore gaming. The things that put it ahead of the competition are its nice price, extra features, and expansion room. It is slightly highly priced than the Maingear Spark, but it is justifiable as it soundly trumps that rig on gaming performance and expandibility. Similarly, it is slightly less expensive than the iBuypower Revolt A960 (AMD A10-6800K), has a newer, more efficient A10 processor, twice the hard drive space, 50 percent more memory, and ultimately more space for future upgrades. With all those in its favor, the Lenovo Erazer X315 deserves a nod in our Editors’ Choice for budget gaming desktop PCs.
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