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Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Review: Trying To Keep Up

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Performance - Gaming

Performance – Gaming

We start are gaming benchmarks with the 3DMark 11 synthetic benchmark, the industry standard for gauging GPU performance. Let’s see what it has to say about the U410 and its NVIDIA GT 610M discrete GPU.

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This benchmark doesn’t show much of a difference between the Intel HD 4000 and the NVIDIA GT 610M. It’s a tad bit faster, sure, but the difference is so small that it’s not meaningful. Hell, the gap between the two Intel HD 4000 is larger. Does this mean the discrete GPU is a bit pointless in real-world gaming? Let’s find out.

Dawn Of War 2: Retribution

Dawn of War 2: Retribution is a game that places a lot of demand on a laptop’s processor as well as some demand on the GPU. Despite its age, it can be still be difficult for modern laptop to handle. Let’s see how our competitors stack up.

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The performance here is remarkably similar. All offer about the same average and minimum framerate. The U410 and its NVIDIA GPU is actually behind in maximum framerates. The reason for the similarity in performance may be the graphics processor, but the game might also be CPU bound. Let’s move on.

Civilization V

Sid Meier’s Civilization V is among the most beautiful strategy games on the market. Its beauty comes at the price of performance – this game is demanding at medium to high detail. It becomes more demanding as the game progresses and more units, cities and improvements are displayed. Let’s see how our competitors handle the game.

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Once again there’s not a lot of variance between the laptops. All of them have about the same performance and all of them struggle to play the game smoothly. The advantage of the GT 610M has still yet to manifest itself.

Diablo 3

Blizzard’s latest installment in the Diablo franchise is a beautiful game. Polygon counts are anything but high, yet the art direction and use of effects creates an immersive game world. This is the least demanding game in our benchmark suite overall, but it can still be troublesome when the detail settings are cranked up to high.

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In this game we see the GT 610M finally justify its existence. The U410’s average of 34 FPS is a meaningful improvement over the 25-26 FPS achieved by the Intel HD 4000 systems. The maximum framerate was also much higher.  Personally, I still think you’d want to run the game at medium. Diablo 3 requires split-second reactions and there were some framerate dips during gameplay. But the U410 does provide a playable experience at high detail.

Skyrim

Skyrim can be a very difficult game for a low-end laptop system to run. It requires a decent CPU and a mid-range GPU at the least, and even then it may be difficult to play at anything beyond Medium. In our tests we’ve generally found that low-end discrete GPUs struggle. Is the GT 610M any different?

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Nope, though it does once again show that it has a reason to exist relative to Intel HD 4000. Yes, I know - a difference of 4 or 5 FPS doesn’t seem like a lot. But it’s actually meaningful when you’re dealing with extremely low framerates. Playing Skyrim at medium is noticeably more enjoyable on the U410, though I still wouldn’t recommend it.

Battlefield 3

Last, but certainly not least, we test Battlefield 3. This relatively new shooter remains one of the most graphically demanding and visually stunning titles on the PC. It’s a game that usually does not run well on modest laptop hardware, as well. Let’s see if the GT 610M can address that.

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Once again the GT 610M fails to impress. It provides a much higher maximum framerate than the Intel HD 4000 models, but the average is about the same. Real-world gameplay is quite choppy, so the game is not playable at medium detail.

September 19, 2012 | 01:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How about Running the Joe Blow benchmark on this laptop!
the Joe Blow is an easy benchmark, just:

1) do a Windows system image backup, and list the total time it takes using the fastest USB port on the computer attatched to both a usb 3.0(if computer has one) and then a USB 2.0 external hard drive (this will test the computer and the computers ability(time it takes) to perform a complete backup! This will also test how well the computers USB 3.0 port, If it has one, performs when attatched to the previous generation external hard drive (You would be suprised how poorly some USB 3.0 ports perform when attatched to a USB 2.0 external hard drive, mostly beacause of The computer's OEM's poor job writing drivers)

2) Once the image backup is complete, turn around and copy the system Image backup to the computers C drive from the external drive, while it is copying under windows, note the best average copy speed that windows says the file is being copied at, but also keep tabs on the total time it takes to perform the copy! do this test for USB 3.0 and 2.0 External drives (if the computer has USB 3.0)

3) take the system Image backup and copy it, once again, to a 64 gig thumb drive (do this for a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 thumb drive, if the computer has USB 3.0). be sure to get the thumb drives that are on sale for the least price, but make sure they are at least 64 Gigabites. Record average transfer speeds, and total time it takes for each transfer.
64 gigs is usually big enough for most system images on a new laptop including bloatware!

4)Publish The results in a neat table of your own design!

September 25, 2012 | 07:37 PM - Posted by gregzeng (not verified)

On the 'Joe Blow' benchmark, I'd be interested in the performance in Ununtu 12.04, in both NTFS-WIN7 & Linux's EXT file systems.

Probably the only CPU-compatible benchtest might be 7Z compression & decompression. This varies for the compressiblity of the files, so we perhaps might standardize on the Windows folder on C-drive?

I found the USB-port speeds vary on which of the ports are chosen; one of mine has ESATA available on it as well.
Retired Chief Information Officer (1984), Australian Capital Territory

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October 13, 2012 | 01:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

does this model have any Wifi problems like the U310?

March 25, 2013 | 01:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

ya it does

November 4, 2012 | 05:03 AM - Posted by Nickel City (not verified)

I just purchased the i-7, 1 TB (no SSD), version for 699 USD directly from Lenovo's website using a 'weekly deal'. So, maybe they have a surplus of the higher end model. At that price, this seems like a steal to me. BTW, they report a 4+ weeks ship time on the website and talking to customer service, but once purchased the ship time is two days.

August 11, 2013 | 04:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi,

the i7 version of the U410 with 4GB ram and 500gb hdd, 24gb ssd is available hear cheaper as a factory seconds refurbrished. I want to buy it as a cheap light weight alternative to hauling my work laptop around town. Are there any issues in the basic system I should be looking out for?

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