Lenovo Erazer X315 Gaming Desktop PC Review

Lenovo Erazer X315 Gaming Desktop PC Review

We have our first Lenovo gaming machine in the lab in the form of the Erazer X315. Just how well will this budget system perform? Read on to find out.

| Jan 7, 2015 at 9:17 am CST
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction & Specifications, Configurations and Pricing

VIEW GALLERY - 24 IMAGES

We have Lenovo's newest addition to the Erazer family of gaming desktops. This also happens to be the smallest Erazer desktop yet, and features a good punch in a small system. Lenovo isn't a brand that is usually associated with gaming, so it will be interesting to see how this system stacks up.

Built around the AMD platform, this will be the second AMD-powered gaming desktop we've reviewed. It features both an AMD CPU and AMD GPU, and as such should work in harmony.

The Erazer X315 features aggressive styling and a stealth optical drive, but is this enough to woo potential gamers? As we go through the review, we'll aim to answer this question.

Without further ado, let's dive into the meat of this review.

Specifications, Configurations and Pricing

The X315 features AMD's A10-7850K APU, a quad-core chip based on the Kaveri architecture. It features a TDP of 95W and a clock speed of 3.7GHz, which can boost to 4.0GHz under boost.

The 7850K is slotted into a custom Lenovo motherboard that features 802.11AC Wi-Fi, 7.1 Dolby Advanced Audio, and two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports.

Also slotted into the motherboard are three sticks of DDR3 RAM produced by RAMAXEL. Each stick is 4GB in size, clocked at 1,333MHz. Unfortunately, we have three sticks, which causes the channels to be unbalanced. I'd much prefer to see just two sticks of DDR3 as 8GB of RAM should be plenty, based on the other components in the system.

Graphics are provided by an AMD Radeon R9 260 GPU. While lower down on the range of GPUs offered by AMD, it is still a capable card, as we will see in our charts in a few pages. Power is provided by a 450W FSP Group PSU and is enough to power the 260.

Windows 8.1 64-bit is installed upon a 2TB Seagate Hybrid Drive that features an 8GB SSD for caching. Finally, Lenovo offers three free games with purchase of an Erazer X315, priced at a modest $799.99.

PRICING: You can find the Lenovo X315 Gaming Desktop (90AY000AUS) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Lenovo X315 Gaming Desktop (90AY000AUS) retails for $669.99 at Amazon.

Packaging, Bundle & System Pictures

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Above left, you can see the plain brown cardboard box that arrived on my doorstep. Inside, we find the box pictured above right.

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Upon opening that box, we found our system covered in a protective foam back and suspended in the middle of the box with foam endcaps. There was no internal packaging as the video card is quite small and the likelihood of damage during shipping is small.

System Pictures

The following pictures are of the system:

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Here you can see the right side of the system. A vent in the panel allows airflow to the back of the motherboard tray. You can also see the stickers that contain product information.

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This is the left side of the system. As you can see, there is no window on this custom Lenovo case. The benefit of this is the cables can be left messy, and messy they are.

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While not the messiest cables we've ever seen, they would need some tidying if there were a window. There aren't enough cables to the point that they would impede airflow, though we always would like to see super neat cable management.

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Here you can see the front IO. It's hidden behind a flip down cover. We have a card reader, two USB ports, and a headphone and microphone jack.

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Here you can see the back IO panel. We certainly wish it were black to go with the rest of the system. As you can see, we have a top-mounted PSU and a fairly sparse rear IO.

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Included with the system, a wired mouse and keyboard will get you by, but a real gamer will want to upgrade to something better. However, it is a nice touch.

Testing Methodology

We appreciate the support provided by Corsair, GIGABYTE, and ASUS. Without their support, our job would be much more difficult.

- CPU Tests

Cinebench R11.5 starts off our tests. The multi-threaded rendering test is ran and the score reported.

wPrime is ran for both the 32M calculation and 1024M calculation with the number of threads available on the system.

- Storage Tests

CrystalDiskMark is run to put a number on how well the system hard disk drive / SSD runs. It measures five different metrics, of which higher is better for all. The higher the numbers, the snappier the operating system will feel, especially if the "4K" number is high as most operating system files are small files.

HD Tune is run on any storage drives installed in the system. Maximum, minimum and average read and write speeds are reported in the charts.

- System Tests

PCMark 8 - Work is run to get an idea of how the system performs as a whole. It tests all aspects of the PC and puts a score on how well it performs overall. In this test, a low scoring area can affect the overall score, so it's important to read the analysis. A higher score is better.

- Gaming Tests

3DMark Vantage is ran on the Entry preset to get a feel for how the computer would manage gaming. The CPU, GPU and combined scores are reported. A higher overall score is the best and a high GPU or CPU score shows particular prowess with tasks that use that part of the computer.

3DMark 11 is run on the Entry preset and the Physics, GPU and combined scores are reported. This test is only run if the system supports DirectX 11. A higher overall score is the target, though a high individual result shows prowess in a particular area.

3DMark - Cloud Gate Test is run on the system to measure DirectX 11 performance and CPU performance. 3DMark is the latest version of Futuremark's widely used gaming benchmarking software. The combined, GPU, and Physics scores are all reported in the charts.

Battlefield 4 is run at 1280x1024 with the graphics preset set to "Low." FRAPS is used to record 60 seconds worth of FPS data. The game is played in a similar manner each time.

Crysis 3 is run at 1280x1024 resolution with the graphics specifications set to "Low." No anti-aliasing is used. FRAPS is used to record 60 seconds worth of FPS data. The game is played in a similar manner each time.

- Heat, Noise and Power Consumption

The system is fully loaded using Furmark and Prime 95. Component temperatures are recorded using CoreTemp and Furmark. Noise is recorded in front of the system, midway up, six inches from the machine using a decibel reader.

Idle power consumption is system consumption while sitting at the desktop, as recorded by a Kill-a-watt style meter. Loaded consumption is recorded during the load of Prime 95 and Furmark using the same meter.

Benchmarks - CPU Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: R11.5 build CB25720DEMO

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Above, you can see the X315 produced a score of 2.86, just behind, and within the margin of error, the Minion.

wPrime

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.09

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In wPrime, however, the X315 outperforms the Minion, its closest comparison and competitor, in the 1024M test by a good 70 seconds.

Benchmarks - Storage Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

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With the ever decreasing price of SSD's, we'd really like to see a 32 or 64GB SSD thrown in for the operating system. However, Lenovo opted for an SSHD aka Hybrid Drive from Seagate. In our test, it performed about on par with a normal HDD, while actually losing out on sequential read speed.

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Write speeds are similar to the above, however, the 4k tests did best the HDD used in the Minion, but not by an appreciable amount. Again, a 32 or 64GB SSD can be had dirt cheap and would boost the user experience by quite a bit.

Benchmarks - System Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.228

PCMark 8 comes with various benchmarks to assess PC performance in key areas. We make use of the Work test to see how these budget systems would work in the work environment.

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Oddly enough, the X315 comes in behind the Minion by a fair margin. Despite having a better GPU, and theoretically better HDD, it scores just 2,146, around 400 points lower than the Minion. This same anomaly shows up in Battlefield 4 and I can't explain it, and not for lack of trying!

Benchmarks - Gaming Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

3DMark Vantage tests both processor and graphics performance and is a good indication of how systems compare. The results are generally more repeatable and consistent than other forms of benchmarking. Vantage uses DirectX 10 and can handle multi-core CPUs.

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In this benchmark, the X315 pulls ahead to the top of our chart, besting the Minion by about 1,000 points with a score of 23,341. As you can see, the X315 is a bit inconsistent with how it scores across benchmarks in comparison with the other systems.

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.3.0

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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3DMark 11 shows similar results to Vantage. The X315 scores around 1,000 points ahead of the Minion with a score of 6,228.

3DMark - Cloud Gate

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Fire Strike is a new test that is designed for powerful gaming desktops. We have checked the "Extreme" test option to make it that much more torturing on the system. Overall, CPU, and GPU scores are reported.

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In Cloud Gate, the gap decreases, and the X315 scores 8,913, just 700 more than the Minion.

Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

Battlefield 4 is the latest installation in the Battlefield franchise. We benchmark BF4 with a custom 60 second run played in a similar manner each time. Settings are 1280x1024 for the resolution with the "Graphics Quality" set to Low.

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As you can see in the chart above, the Minion produces almost 13 FPS more than the X315, despite the X315 theoretically outperforming it. After all, the X315 came out on top in all of the synthetic benchmarks as well as in Crysis 3 below. Repeated testing didn't seem to change the result, and it was a fight to get Battlefield 4 to run in the first place. I can't explain what was wrong or why this anomaly is here.

Crysis 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

Crysis 3 is run at 1280x1024 resolution with the graphics specifications set to "Low." No anti-aliasing is used. FRAPS is used to record 60 seconds worth of FPS data and recording starts at the start of the campaign and finishes most of the way up the tower. The game is played in a similar manner each time.

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As expected, the X315 outperforms the Minion, but just by a bit. We see an average of 3FPS more on the X315. As you can see, Crysis 3 is playable on the X315 at low detail and a fairly low resolution.

Temperatures and Noise & Power Consumption

The system is fully loaded using Furmark and Prime 95, similar to our laptop testing. The sound recordings are made in front of the machine, about 6 inches from the center of the tower. Temperatures are reported as recorded by CoreTemp and Furmark.

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Thanks to the aftermarket cooler used by Lenovo, the A10 APU reaches a maximum temperature of just 53 degrees Celsius, which is very acceptable. The GPU, on the other hand, sees a maximum temp of 99 degrees Celsius, which is a bit above where we normally like our GPUs to sit.

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The hot GPU brings with it increased noise levels. We recorded a maximum decibel reading of 57, which is a bit on the high side.

Power Consumption

Power consumption is measured while the system is loaded for the temperature test and while sitting idle at the desktop. Measurement is taken at the wall, so it includes everything running in the system, not including the monitor.

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At idle, the Minion and X315 are about equal. Under load, however, the more powerful X315 pulls way ahead to a maximum draw of 251W. The increased power draw seems to not be proportional to the increased performance, so we're not sure what is causing the high power draw.

Final Thoughts

The X315 is really a mixed bag. In some of our tests, it shines brightly; in others, it's rather dull. While we can't explain some of the discrepancies, the performance, even when lackluster, is still enough.

While this isn't a gaming legend, it certainly is capable of playing even the latest games, provided they are played at lower detail settings and sometimes lower resolutions. Experimentation can help figure out the best settings for yourself.

While we'd never expect a system at this price point to blow our minds, the X315 is certainly a decent value. However, there are several changes we would like implemented.

To start with, we'd really like to see an SSD replace the SSHD for the boot drive. It would vastly increase the user experience and add little cost to the build if it were a 32GB or 64GB SSD designed for just the operating system and some programs.

Additionally, we'd much rather the system come with just 8GB of RAM, with one DIMM in each channel. This would save money and could offset the added cost of the above recommended SSD. 12GB of RAM is rather pointless on a system like this.

One of the other downsides of this gaming system compared to, say, the Minion, is its use of a proprietary motherboard. Upgrades down the road will be tough, if not impossible. While the motherboard does appear to be ATX compatible, the system power connector appears to be a proprietary 14-pin connector, meaning you can't upgrade the PSU easily to support a more powerful card. This, in turn, limits the potential card upgrades to a card that requires only two 6-pin connectors and less than 450W.

However, as an entry gaming system, the X315 will meet the casual gamer's needs, with support for even the new titles, albeit at low detail. If you are on a budget and plan to upgrade down the road, you might look elsewhere for the above mentioned reasons. If this is simply for a kid or casual gamer, than the $799.99 asking price is reasonable. Just make sure you don't plan to implement major upgrades down the road.

PRICING: You can find the Lenovo X315 Gaming Desktop (90AY000AUS) for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Lenovo X315 Gaming Desktop (90AY000AUS) retails for $669.99 at Amazon.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:33 pm CDT

Performance83%
Quality including Design and Build89%
General Features85%
Bundle and Packaging93%
Value for Money90%
Overall Rating88%

The Bottom Line: Lenovo's Erazer X315 is a decent entry-level gaming machine, but lacks the ability to easily upgrade components down the road due to use of proprietary components.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Trace is a starving college student studying Computer Science. He has a love of the English language and an addiction for new technology and speculation. When he's not writing, studying, or going to class, he can be found on the soccer pitch, both playing and coaching, or on the mountain snowboarding.

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