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Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (Gen 6) review: Mid-range desktop gaming PC with solid performance, lots of cut corners – Windows Central

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Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
It’s been a rough couple of years for PC gamers, with stock shortages and rampant scalping taking a big bite out of the joy of building a PC. There’s not really an end in sight to the major GPU drought, and many who never before thought about a pre-built PC are now considering it thanks to the availability of crucial hardware. Plenty of manufacturers are ready to oblige, but the pre-built market can be tough to navigate due to proprietary parts, misleading product descriptions, and shoddy craftsmanship.
Lenovo’s Legion sector has been steadily improving over the years, with numerous generational updates to its gaming-focused laptop and desktop PCs. One of the best gaming laptops of the year (and one of my favorites) is the Legion 5 Pro (Gen 6), so I was excited to test out the Legion Tower 5i, also now in its sixth generation. I’ve been using this mid-range pre-built gaming PC for about a week to see where it excels, where it falls short, and, ultimately, whether or not it’s worth your money.
Bottom line: The Legion Tower 5i (Gen 6) is a pre-built gaming PC that should suit casual gamers. It cuts a bunch of corners — namely with the motherboard, RAM, and CPU cooling — but it performs well at 1080p and runs quietly under full load. As long as you’re not an enthusiast who wants something closer to a personal build, this should be considered when shopping for a mid-range pre-built PC.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewLenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
Lenovo supplied Windows Central with a review unit of the Legion Tower 5i (Gen 6). The 26L case, which was overhauled for this latest generation to offer better airflow and to take up less space, nevertheless has ample room inside for cooling solutions and performance hardware.
My review unit includes an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11400 processor (CPU), 8GB of single-channel DDR4 RAM, a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) coupled with a 1TB SATA 3.5-inch hard-disk drive (HDD), and an NVIDIA GTX 1660 SUPER GPU, which is one of our picks for best graphics card.
Legion stock is currently listed as “temporarily unavailable” at Lenovo’s official site, at least for the Intel version. These PCs are still available at third-party retailers, though you won’t get the same granular configuration options as you would at Lenovo’s site. Best Buy has the same config as my review unit listed at $1,000, while at Walmart it costs $1,300.
Lenovo has the Tower 5 with AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, NVIDIA GTX 1660 SUPER GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB HDD with 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD for about $1,330.
Following are the exact specs as found in my review unit.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewLenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
The Legion Tower 5i (Gen 6) uses a 26L case that can fit up to an mATX motherboard. The case has been trimmed down a bit from previous versions for a cleaner look, and some extra ventilation has been added. There is some plastic on the front panel, but Lenovo has gone mostly with metal for this build. The “Raven Black” powder coating seems like a quality job, and I haven’t noticed any scratches or scuffs following an afternoon of disassembly.
The Legion Tower 5i’s case is designed to offer excellent airflow, keeping your system cool under load.
The side panels (which have captive screws) are both easily removed to allow for internal access. You have tempered glass on one side and metal on the other side. No more acrylic for the viewing window. The top of the PC has a large cutout with mounts for fans or an AIO radiator; if you have neither installed, it acts simply as some extra ventilation.
Lenovo lists a bunch of optional cooling in some documentation, and it seems like it differs slightly depending on the performance hardware you choose. My review unit came with two 120mm ARGB fans at the front for air intake and one 120mm ARGB fan at the back for exhaust. They link up to an RGB controller mounted behind the motherboard, which has a printed diagram next to it for easier tinkering. If you swap out the CPU cooler or add extra fans, there are openings on the controller ready to plug into.
All lighting is controlled via Lenovo’s Vantage app that comes pre-installed. You can choose a bunch of different presets, and there’s even some ambient lighting to tinker with. Unfortunately, it seems like your lighting customization resets itself to the default configuration every time the PC is restarted.
Source: Windows Central
The front panel covering the fans is almost entirely open for airflow. It’s grated, and there are several larger openings in a down-facing channel just below the mesh. This is a big step up in terms of keeping the PC cool under load, but the lack of a fine dust filter could have the case filling up with detritus after a few weeks. The same goes for the top vent and the bottom PSU vent. The grille looks good, but it’s likely going to let in quite a bit of dust.
Ports at the front of the PC include two USB-A and two 3.5mm audio jacks for headphones and microphone. The back of the PC doesn’t offer a whole lot either, with USB-C, two USB-A 3.2, two USB-A 2.0, Ethernet, and three 3.5mm audio-out hookups for 5.1 sound. Depending on the GPU your model comes with, video out ports will differ. My unit with GTX 1660 SUPER has DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI. Altogether, port selection isn’t particularly generous, but I was able to connect my main gaming accessories. There are four PCI expansion slots on the back of the PC, with two taken up by the GPU.
Cable management inside the Legion Tower 5i is a bit of a mixed bag. Behind the motherboard is clean with everything traveling where it should. There’s not a whole lot of room between the metal side panel, so some extra cabling is pushed to the other side where it’s visible through the tempered glass. It’s not as clean as I’d like, and you might want to spruce it up if you’re keeping the PC on your desk to be viewed.
There’s room for two 3.5-inch HDDs below the PSU shroud, with a pull-out tray that makes for easy installation. It also looks like there’s a brace for a 2.5-inch SSD behind the motherboard, next to the RGB controller. And on the front side, you can fit two M.2 SSDs for faster storage. Lenovo lists PCIe 4.0 support for those who want the absolute fastest storage.
The PSU made by FSP is 80 Plus Gold with 400W of power. It’s non-modular, but it’s not some proprietary thing like some pre-builts use. You should be able to swap it out for something offering more power if you decide to upgrade the GPU or CPU in the future.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewLenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
The mATX motherboard is a custom Lenovo job, but again it’s not something entirely proprietary that makes it impossible to swap out. It’s just an mATX board with B560 chipset using regular mounts. Lenovo did cut some corners here, and enthusiasts will immediately notice the lack of chipset and VRM heatsinks. The locked Core i5-10400 model isn’t going to be overclocked anyway, but it’s still a noticeable omission.
The PC’s BIOS is limited (no XMP, no NVMe, etc.), but for most people that’s not going to be a huge deal. Enthusiasts who want complete control over their system aren’t likely going to be buying this PC anyway, and those who just want to sit down and game usually just want something that works as intended when it’s turned on.
The CPU cooler that comes with the Core i5-10400 is very underwhelming. Some of the higher-end models have a finstack cooler, but this flat one is about as barebones as you can get. You should be able to swap it out for something a lot more attractive and effective if you upgrade the CPU.
Source: Windows Central
Lenovo includes just one 8GB stick of RAM with this model, meaning you’re getting inferior single-channel performance. The motherboard doesn’t support XMP, so the advertised 3200MHz RAM is actually going to run at 2933MHz with CL22 timing. The RAM really isn’t great, and it’s one of the first things I would upgrade if I purchased this PC.
Most boutique pre-builts (and Newegg’s ABS brand) come with more popular versions of GPUs, while the likes of Dell, HP, and Lenovo usually use some sort of OEM stock. In this particular case it’s made by MSI. It’s up to the usual GTX 1660 SUPER specs and will perform as such, but it’s nothing special.
Altogether, the Legion Tower 5i’s design and features are a mix of disappointment and surprise. Corners were definitely cut on the CPU cooling, RAM, and motherboard heatsinks, but the case has excellent (if a bit dusty) airflow, decent cable management, and a lack of proprietary hardware that inhibits future upgrades. Casual PC gamers — which this PC is aimed at — are likely going to care more about whether or not they can play their favorite games. And as we’ll see in the next section, it’s up to the task.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewLenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
Before I took the system apart to check its build quality, I ran a series of benchmarks and stress tests. I wanted to see how well the system keeps its cool under load, especially with the upgraded ventilation and fairly substantial case cooling.
I began with a full-system stress test that ran for just more than 30 minutes. I used Lenovo’s “Performance” thermal mode for the majority of these tests. At the end of the test, CPU cores hovered around the 80 C to 85 C mark, pulling about 65W power. The CPU’s clock remained stable at 3.2GHz. The GPU was at 64 C at the end of the test, pulling in about 88W and running at a 1.89GHz clock. Those CPU temperatures are certainly at the higher end of what you want to see, but it’s expected with the awful cooler that’s used.
The CPU fan maxed out at about 1550 RPM with occasional bursts but generally sat at the 1150 RPM mark. Case fans never went above 1250 RPM and mostly sat below 1000 RPM. I must stress how quiet this system is, even when it’s maxed out. You can hardly hear it running when idling, and it never topped 40 decibels during the stress test. And there’s evidently plenty of airflow, with temperatures at the motherboard remaining steady at 21 C. Considering how closed up previous models used to be, this is a big improvement.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewLenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
I switched Lenovo’s power plan to “Balanced” to see how it affected performance. Running the same stress test — without letting the system cool down — kicked the CPU fan up to about 1600 RPM and brought CPU temperatures down to between 70 C and 75 C. Noise went up only about three decibels. The CPU clock dropped to 3.09GHz while the GPU remained at 1.89GHz. It seems as though Balanced mode simply runs fans faster to lower temps without really affecting performance. This was evident in benchmarks as well, with results coming in essentially the same when running on Lenovo’s Performance and Balanced modes.
There was absolutely no thermal throttling during any of these stress tests, and the PC quiets back down to imperceptible noise levels as soon as it’s allowed to idle. It’s clear that the added ventilation on the case is doing its job. This PC ran much quieter and cooler than I was expecting. Before getting into real-world gaming performance, take a look at how the Legion Tower 5i fared in a bunch of benchmark tests.
Source: Windows Central
The M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD provided by Lenovo isn’t particularly fast on the write side of things, but at least the read performance is strong. There is room for a second M.2 SSD if you’d like to add more modern storage, and the system should support PCIe 4.0 if you’d like to go that route. The 1TB SATA HDD that Lenovo tosses in for bulk storage is at least 7200 RPM, but it is extremely slow. If you don’t spec a larger M.2 SSD from the factory, I’d recommend investing in one of the best SSDs as soon as your budget allows. Having only a couple hundred gigabytes of fast storage will likely feel cramped after a short time.
After running the synthetic benchmarks, I sat down and tested a few demanding games at both 1440p and 1080p. Starting with Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1440p with Balanced in-game preset, the Legion Tower 5i averaged 48.8 frames per second (FPS). Dropping down to 1080p with the same Balanced preset, the system averaged 64.3 FPS. This is one of the most demanding PC games out there, so this is an excellent result.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewLenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
Far Cry 5 at 1440p with a High in-game preset averaged 67 FPS. Dropping down to 1080p, it averaged 93 FPS. And finally, Shadow of the Tomb Raider averaged 63 FPS at 1440p and 91 FPS at 1080p, both with a High in-game preset. For the mid-range performance hardware inside, all of these results are perfectly acceptable. I wouldn’t recommend making the step up to 1440p full time with the GTX 1660 SUPER; it will fare much better at 1080p.
Having to wade through bloatware and spend your time uninstalling useless apps is never fun, especially on a brand-new PC. Lenovo’s Legion Tower 5i comes with McAfee Antivirus installed, as well as some other popups that occur when you first open the Vantage management app. The situation isn’t nearly as bad as with some other manufacturers, but you will have to spend a bit of time removing the unnecessary junk from the PC.
Hp Omen 30lHp Omen 30l HP OMEN 30L.Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central
Newegg’s ABS brand of gaming PCs is known for using real parts from real manufacturers in its configurations, meaning there’s a lot less of a chance that you’re going to get stuck with some shoddy proprietary hardware. For something in the same price range, the ABS Master ALI587 should be considered. It has a GIGABYTE B560 motherboard, Intel Core i5-11400F CPU, 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, EVGA RTX 2060 GPU, DeepCool Gammaxx PSU, DeepCool finstack CPU cooler, and DeepCool Macube case. It costs about $1,000 and is superior in almost every way save possibly airflow and customer support.
If you have a bit more money to spend and are leaning toward an AMD system, the ABS Master ALA270 is another great choice. It uses an ASUS Prime B550 motherboard, Ryzen 5 5600X CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, all built into an ASUS TUF Gaming GT301 case. It costs about $1,400.
Our top pick for best gaming desktop PCs is the HP OMEN 30L. AMD Ryzen models start at about $920, while Intel models start at about $1,400. There are a ton of configuration options you can sort through, and for the most part — like the Legion Tower 5i — the parts remain non-proprietary so that you can upgrade in the future.
Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewLenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen6 ReviewSource: Windows Central
Lenovo’s sixth-gen Legion Tower 5i has some smart new design choices, including more ventilation for better airflow and for better cooling support. It’s altogether an attractive case, and its size isn’t overbearing. It should fit above or below a desk. Lenovo didn’t go with any proprietary parts that I can see, meaning you won’t struggle much if you want to upgrade in the future with parts you buy separately. However, it’s also using a ton of OEM hardware. You’re not really getting name-brand parts here, which will likely turn off most enthusiasts. If you’re more on the casual side — someone who just wants a PC that can play games without much fuss — it should be a much better fit.

The system runs fairly cool. There’s a lot of ventilation, and though the dust filters are a bit too macro to catch everything, the case has excellent airflow. When idling, it’s hard to tell whether the PC is actually on because it’s so quiet. You’re going to see CPU temperatures near the top of what’s considered within acceptable range due to the awful CPU cooler, but the system doesn’t scream trying to keep it there.
If you’re looking for a decently priced pre-built gaming PC that can handle a smooth 1080p gaming experience, the Legion Tower 5i (Gen 5) will get the job done. But there are plenty of alternatives out there if you can’t find Legion stock or if you’re looking for something with fewer cut corners.
Bottom line: The Legion Tower 5i (Gen 6) is a mid-range desktop gaming PC that should appeal to casual PC gamers. It runs quiet, it delivers an impressive 1080p experience, and it’s priced competitively.
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"Will Sony buy Ubisoft?" and other questions after Xbox's shock acquisition of Activision Blizzard – VG247

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On January 18, 2022, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. This is a platform holder buying one of the biggest games publishers and one of the world’s biggest games. Call of Duty, Activision’s flagship product, has suffered some declines in recent years, but it remains a massive series. And more significantly, it is one of the most popular games on PlayStation.
Activision Blizzard is also a company embroiled in lawsuits and ongoing conflict with its employees, and has had its reputation seriously harmed due to a sexual misconduct scandal.
I am a business journalist, and there’s a lot to discuss here in terms of industry consolidation, workplace practices and business models. But if my Twitter feed is anything to go by, there are a lot of buring questions from gamers, too – particularly around what this means for the future of Call of Duty, and how PlayStation might react to this industry-changing announcement.
It’s a bit too early to know the answers to these. But we can make some educated guesses based on what each company is saying. So let’s get to it.
Whenever you talk to Microsoft, you’ll hear execs and marketing types talk about the ‘billions’ of gamers that it wants to reach. Considering its consoles have never even cracked 100 million sales – and indeed, only a few consoles have ever reach that level – the company has to think beyond the console to do this.
That involves being big in PC, big in mobile, and big in countries outside of the US and Western Europe. It involves making console games more accessible and more affordable.
That’s why it’s building up Game Pass, and it’s why it is trying to make games streaming work, and it’s why it’s buying all these games and studios, and investing heavily in technology and cloud gaming.
Lots of people will focus on Call of Duty, for obvious reasons. It’s one of the biggest games brands in the world. But in Blizzard, Microsoft has a major PC games studio, and in King, it would own one of the most successful mobile gaming developers out there. Activision – even more than Bethesda – gives Microsoft the creative talent and content that it needs to make what it’s doing with subscriptions, streaming, and technology reach those ‘billions’ of players.
That’s its goal.
Big consolidation of games companies can lead to concerns over creativity and opportunities. But there are also potential positives. Activision Blizzard will likely have a bit more freedom to spend longer on their games, and will no longer feel the pressure to have to release big sequels to their franchises regularly. For those gamers concerned about Blizzard’s recent output, being part of the Microsoft family might just give them the space they need to get back to its best.
There will inevitably be some questions that Microsoft will need to face around this deal. Antitrust and monopoly laws are designed to stop one company becoming too dominant, and putting them in a situation where they basically control the market. Xbox is now certainly a massive gaming powerhouse in this regard, owning some of the biggest and most profitable titles in games. It has the power to really transition the business towards a subscription-based future.
However, the games industry is huge, and there are lots of big players out there. Xbox may have a number of big IP and developers, and operates across most major platforms. But it isn’t the biggest console games company out there – that’s Nintendo and Sony. On PC, it’s a long way from challenging Valve. And on mobile, King may be a major player, but there are other significant names out there, such as Zynga.
But those are just the traditional games companies. Facebook’s investment in the Metaverse, Epic Games has Fortnite, there’s Roblox, Google with Stadia, Apple on mobile, and even Netflix and its games expansion. There is a lot of games competition out there right now. It’s never as simple as all that, but there’s a lot of reasons to suggest that Xbox isn’t a monopoly in games. Not yet, anyway.
No. Call of Duty will definitely remain on Xbox, PC and smartphones. The real question is: will Microsoft stop Call of Duty coming out on PS5?
Possibly, but not definitely. Call of Duty is a global, mass-market games brand that extends well beyond one platform. In many ways, it’s not too dissimilar to Minecraft, which is a true multi-format video game that Microsoft also operates. Taking Call of Duty off PlayStation will boost Xbox console sales, but will likely hurt Call of Duty in the process – that series has a lot of fans on Sony’s console. Xbox may well decide that there’s a lot of value in having a major game on a competitor’s console.
Yet, you could argue the same thing is true with Elder Scrolls, and Microsoft has made it clear that the next game in the series will be an Xbox exclusive.
This has an active and engaged audience on PlayStation already, and as a free-to-play title, the whole point is making it as accessible as possible. So in this case, I would be very surprised if Warzone disappeared from PS5. Just as I would be surprised if Elder Scrolls Online suddenly went Xbox exclusive.
It’s possible, but then it always was. Microsoft’s acquisitions are not purely about Xbox consoles. In fact, they’re mostly about driving the Game Pass subscription service, which is on PC. Microsoft has some popular PC titles like Age of Empires and Flight Simulator, but Blizzard takes that up another level.
The real thing for Microsoft here would be to incorporate an IP like Warcraft into its existing PC Game Pass subscription service.
You have to hope so. Microsoft isn’t perfect, but it has been vocal in its efforts to be a more inclusive, welcoming and diverse business. It’s not saying much, but the Xbox management team is one of the most diverse in the games industry, and it’s rightly proud of that.
It’s worth noting, however, that Microsoft has a ‘limited integration strategy’, which basically means it buys companies, offers them help, but ultimately leaves them to operate how they want. The thinking is that if they go in and meddle too much, it risks damaging what made it successful in the first place (and Xbox has certainly made those mistakes before). This strategy started with the acquisition of Mojang, and it’s worked very well for it so far.
It’ll be on Activision to ask for help from Microsoft. And I suspect it will.
Workplace culture doesn’t change overnight. New processes take time to bed in. Bad apples need to be moved on and replaced by the right people. Microsoft could certainly help, but it’ll take time.
This depends on what PlayStation wants to achieve. The reason Xbox needs these studios and these games isn’t purely to sell more consoles, but to grow its subscriber base in Game Pass and reach new markets.
Sony already has a successful console platform, a strong base of studios making great games, and it’s currently popular in far more markets than Xbox.
But it is facing competition, not just from within games but outside, too. And if it wants to fend off these rivals, or even compete better with new concepts like Game Pass, it may need to keep acquiring.
And PlayStation has been acquiring companies. These acquisitions may not be on the same industry-shaking level as Activision or Bethesda, but this is the games industry we’re talking about… who can say where the next smash hit will come from? It could be a big studio like Infinity Ward, or an entirely new start-up. Sony has been investing a lot in new teams over the past 12 months. Last year it signed the first game from Deviation Games (ex-Call of Duty veterans), Firewalk Studios (ex-Destiny folks) and Haven Studios (former Assassin’s Creed devs). Maybe this generation’s big hit video game will come from one of them, rather than an established player.
But watch this space. We are in a world of rapid consolidation. Maybe next week we’ll hear that Sony is buying Ubisoft. Or Facebook is buying Sony. Or Netflix. The games industry is changing quickly.
Potentially anybody. We can all see how attractive a company like Sega might be to Xbox, or Square Enix to Sony. There are plenty of people looking to buy, the question is who might want to sell?
Take-Two, Ubisoft and Nintendo have all previously stated that they are not for sale. But things change. Ubisoft is currently struggling to keep staff following a number of workplace scandals, and its games and business practices are coming under criticism. It may have famously fought off a hostile takeover before, but might it be more open to an amicable takeover now?
What I can say, is that we’re less than three weeks into 2022 and we’ve already had two of the biggest games acquisition in history (the other being Take-Two/Zynga). There will be more.
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