The Bottom Line
Aug 14 2012 - With Lenovo dropping out of the larger 17-inch laptop market, they have shifted their 15-inch IdeaPad Y580 to be their high performance laptop. The new Ivy Bridge processor with NVIDIA graphics give it superb performance regardless of the type of application you intend to use. Be warned though, heavy use can cause some excessive noise from the cooling fan. Storage is also larger than normal but doesn't suffer badly in terms of speed thanks to a supplemental 32GB solid state drive. About the only real complaint beyond the noise is the fact that the laptop comes in at over six pounds which is heavier than most of the 15-inch laptop competition out there.
- Excellent General and 3D Performance
- Large Hard Drive For Plenty Of Storage Space
- Blu-ray Compatible Drive
- Cooling Fan Was Noisy During Heavy Loads
- Heavier Than Many Competing 15-inch Laptops
- Base Price a Bit Higher Compared To Similar Laptops
- Intel Core i7-3610QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive and 32GB Solid State Drive
- Blu-ray Reader and Dual-Layer DVD Burner
- 15.6" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M Graphics Card With 2GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 15.2" x 10" x 1.4" @ 6.2 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, PowerDVD, McAfee Internet Security
Review - Lenovo IdeaPad Y580
Aug 14 2012 - The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 is the largest and most powerful of their consumer oriented laptops. This starts with the new Intel Core i7-3610QM quad core processor that is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory. The two items combined offer it excellent performance for just about any tasks that one might throw at it including desktop video editing work. In very demanding testing, one issue did crop up regarding the cooling fan. While at idle or low loads, the fan was inaudible but when those loads got high from gaming or video editing, the fan would spin up and produce an distracting hum. This may have been a unique occurrence to the particular unit but is something to note.
The storage for the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 is an interesting mix. The primary drive is a 1TB hard drive that provides a large amount of storage space for applications data and media files. The drive spins at a slower 5400rpm but its performance is mitigated by the inclusion of a 32GB solid state drive that is used for caching. In fact, in boot tests, it was able to get up and running in 28 seconds which is just a bit slower that laptops with dedicated SSD drives. In you need additional storage space, the system does offer two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage drives. This version also includes a Blu-ray compatible optical drive allowing it to be used for watching the high definition movie format. The drive can also playback or record CD and DVD media.
The big feature for the IdeaPad Y580 though are the graphics. The 15.6-inch screen offers a very high 1920x1080 native resolution which means that it can fully display 1080p high definition video. The panel itself has nice wide viewing angles and a coating that does a better job at dealing with glare but still is a bit reflective at times. Driving the graphics is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics processor. This gives it some spectacular 3D performance that allows the system to be used for gaming up to the full native resolution in most modern games with high detail levels. The graphics also do an excellent job at accelerating non-3D applications thanks to the broad support for NVIDIA's CUDA extensions.
Lenovo has always made some outstanding keyboards and this seems to continue with the IdeaPad Y580. It uses teh same isolated keyboard layout that they have been using for some time. It has a very solid feel and offers an overall accurate experience. It does feature a backlight that is off by default but easy to switch on and off. The trackpad uses a new integrated button design. The accuracy was fairly good when it came to single and multitouch gestures but the right and left button clicks still could be improved. The large surface area might also lead to a few accidental coutches but the sensitivity can be adjusted.
Lenovo used a higher 72Whr capacity battery pack for the IdeaPad Y580 compared to their smaller IdeaPad Y480 with its 48Whr which might help explain its weight of just over six pounds. In my digital video playback test, this results in just over hour hours of before going into standby mode. This is roughly an hour longer than the Y480. This is certainly above average for a 15-inch laptop but it falls well short of the nearly nine hour running time of the Apple MacBook Pro 15 With Retina Display and its massive 100WHr battery pack. More typical usage should yield around five and a half to six hours while demanding tasks like gaming will greatly decrease it.