Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gaming Desktop review: An incredible gaming PC that costs less than a grand

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gaming Desktop Review

bottom line

Editor's Choice GeekSpinThe Lenovo Legion Tower 5i gaming desktop packs a lot of power and punch for a sub-$1000 machine. It’s designed to be near perfect for most gamers and power users alike. It’s beautiful inside and out with its clean trim, personalized lighting, whisper-quiet design, and near-clean Windows 11 install. Spend a few minutes and dollars upgrading the RAM and you could have a PC powerhouse.

advantages

  • great value
  • Runs quietly
  • Great job
  • The case has a transparent pane of strong glass
  • The lighting is exquisite and customizable
  • The included keyboard is surprisingly high quality
  • Almost bloatware free
  • Powerful enough for almost all PC games
  • Capable of handling resolutions up to 7680 × 4320 at 120Hz

Disadvantages

  • No display cables included
  • Mouse feels cheap
  • No carrying handle on the case for transporting
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • Doesn’t play all games in 4K

Lenovo’s Legion Tower 5i Gaming Desktop is a $999 Windows 11 computer that offers a lot of bang and beauty for your money. This model features an Nvidia GeForce GTX Super graphics card and the latest 11th Gen Core i5 6-core processor. While capable of 4K gaming, it’s a great machine for just about any non-professional use case. Lenovo’s Legion Tower 5i is a desktop tower computer, but it might be the coolest you’ve seen, with its incredibly customizable lighting and clear glass panel. There are a few features in particular that convinced us to buy a pre-built machine rather than build our own.

design and housing

The Legion Tower stock photos don’t do it justice. The photos online make it look like a black box, but in person it’s a spectacle – especially when you get the LEDs exactly how you like them. The left side panel is a solid glass view of the PC components in all their glory. The wiring and LEDs are very well executed – the internals are a sight to behold if you’re even a bit of a techie. The multiple LEDs are insanely customizable. There are two LED fans on the front, one on the inside/back, internal ambient lighting, and a luminous front logo. You can configure these to your heart’s content. The LED lights can cycle through millions of colors and can even be used to display CPU temperature. It’s amazing and one of our favorite features.

The Tower is taller than you expect in 2022. It’s a standard “mid-size” tower, but if you haven’t seen a gaming PC in a while, it might remind you of PCs in the 2000s. It’s not sleek, slim, or mini. Luckily it looks good because it’s not easy to hide in a small space. Our only criticism of the case is that it doesn’t have a handle or an easy way to move it around. Chances are, you won’t be doing this that often.

ports

Out of the box we expected to see more ports, although it’s not missing much. There are 4 full-size USB ports on the back (two of which are USB 3.2) and another two USB 3.2 ports on the front. That’s a total of 6 standard-sized USB ports, but a few more on the back might be nice for us peripheral folks. There’s a USB-C 3.2 port on the back, but no USB-C on the front! Then there’s Ethernet, audio/mic jacks, and power. Depending on the graphics card, you will get some video out ports. Our Nvidia 1660 Super has a DVI connection, a DisplayPort 1.4 and an HDMI 2.0b connection. There are additional PCI slots so you can safely add more ports on the back if that doesn’t cover you. With wireless Bluetooth 5 and WiFi 6, you might not even need to connect anything other than power and video.

It’s worth noting that no hard drive is included or there is a bay for one. You would have to buy an external one which is available for less than $25.

Included accessories

Aside from the Legion Tower, Lenovo has packed a full-size wired keyboard, wired mouse, and power cord. No video cable such as HDMI or DisplayPort is included. That’s no surprise, but a bit of a disappointment. We’re impressed with the low-profile keyboard. It’s a good weight, comfortable to use and feels premium. The keys have about twice the travel of a laptop keyboard, so transitioning is easy. The mouse, on the other hand, is light and feels cheap – definitely worth upgrading.

specifications and prices

This model of the Legion Tower 5i (90RS0016US) retails for $999 and is easily worth it in just components. Graphics cards are a real wild card these days when it comes to pricing. Chip shortages and other factors have also pushed up PC component prices.

  • Intel Core i5 11400 (11th gen) 6 cores 2.6 GHz up to 4.4 GHz — ~$180
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6GB GDDR6 — ~$500
  • Lenovo 8GB DDR4-3200MHz RAM (1 x 8GB) — ~$40
  • Seagate 1TB HDD Barracuda 7200rpm SATA 6Gbps — ~$40
  • Samsung 256GB SSD M.2 PCIe — $40
  • Lenovo 100-240VAC 400W 90% PSU Power Supply – ~$50
  • Intel Rocket Lake B560 motherboard — ~$120

*Note that these are not replacement or resale prices, but the price of a comparable alternative

Those components alone cost about $970, and it doesn’t even include the case, fan, lights, wireless chip, cable management, heatsink, peripherals, or Windows 11. It would easily exceed $1000 to build a comparable machine on your own. The biggest cost factor is the graphics card and that is unknown in terms of future pricing and availability.

The specs on this machine are respectable, and by 2022 standards it’s very mid-range in a good way. While none of the key components are here top of the line, it is an excellent machine that can be upgraded for years to come. 8GB of RAM is its most notable weak point, but that can be doubled for $40 with just a few minutes of work. There are 4 slots for DDR4 RAM and it supports up to 128GB, giving enough space to turn this machine into a powerhouse.

Lenovo equipped Legion with two storage drives: the fast/small SSD and the slow/large HDD. This is common, but a trend we’d like to stop. Instead of a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, Lenovo should only pack a 1TB SSD. They only cost around $100 and are much more convenient for the user who doesn’t have to think about which drive to store stuff on. The SSD is a PCIe NVMe chip and is very easy to upgrade. The motherboard even has an extra slot, so you can easily add another SSD. The HDD is 7200rpm 3.5-inch and Lenovo has made it just as easy to add or replace a second one.

The PSU is only 400 watts, which isn’t a ton of power. It’s a lot of power for this machine, but it limits you from future power-hungry upgrades like a new GPU.

setup and software

Setup was a breeze and Lenovo pre-packaged the PC with Windows 11 Home. The setup was just the standard windows setup and it took about 5 minutes setup followed by 20 minutes install/update. Thank you Lenovo for packaging such a clean and usable version of Windows! That was the biggest surprise. There is almost no bloatware. The computer turns on to a beautiful Legion wallpaper with just a desktop icon and only a few processes running in the taskbar. The only piece of software that felt bloated was a McAfee antivirus trial which we promptly uninstalled. That being said, all the included software seemed very native and/or convenient (like Spotify). We use the Lenovo Vantage software to control the internal lighting. It also offers a nice dashboard and configurations for game settings and resource usage.

games and graphics

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gaming Desktop Review Benchmarks
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gaming Desktop Review Benchmarks

Windows 11 comes preinstalled with the Xbox app, which makes setting up games a breeze. Xbox has a marketplace with free and paid games or offers a subscription. Downloading and installing a game is as easy as the app store on your phone. I was able to download the brand new Halo Infinite Multiplayer for free and it was downloaded, installed and ready to go in about 10 minutes with the click of a button. I downloaded a few free games and it was just as easy. Of course, there are many great options for playing on PC, such as: B. Steam, but we really appreciated how seamless it was to play a game out of the box. After plugging in our old USB Xbox 360 controller, we couldn’t believe how quickly Windows began to take the form of a console.

1080p gaming and 1440p gaming work fine. 4k gaming was a bit more hit-or-miss and can take some fumbling with the settings to get right.

1080p gaming and 1440p gaming work fine. 4k gaming was a bit more hit-or-miss and can take some fumbling with the settings to get right. There may be dropouts, tremors or delays. We were able to play the new Halo Infinite in 4K on our 77-inch TV, but had a better experience sticking with 1440p. This 1660 Super GPU and 8GB RAM should work well with most popular games, especially in 1080P.

While gaming in 4K is game dependent, you absolutely can use your computer in 4K. YouTube, videos, surfing, working and any other computer usage looks and works flawless. Windows 11 easily scales your content so text doesn’t shrink. You can even enable HDR and use dual monitors in 4K with this GPU.

The Editor’s Choice

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i gaming desktop