Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Review – No fuss, all fun

The new Lenovo Legion Tower 5i bucks the trend of modern gaming PCs. In the last decade, they’ve dropped the dull beige towers for tempered glass with intricate watercooling and giant RGB fans. Hell, even the RAM sticks light up like disco floors from the ’70s.

Like something out of a Cyberpunk future, these personal neon billboards advertise the contained frame-crunching power within. And that comes at a hefty cost.

The Tower 5i is the antithesis of that trend— it looks like a business server you’d find in the backroom of an accounting firm. But under that dull veneer, this new Lenovo has it where it counts. Tons of power from quality components let it play anything you throw at it on the highest graphical settings. Hell, it’ll manage 4K with some compromises. The Tower 5i isn’t interested in self-important nerdy bling. Rather, it wants you focused on your content and that’s so refreshing.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Review

The Legion Tower 5i is a Micro-ATX desktop with a generous 28-litre case that houses the latest Intel and NVIDIA hardware. It starts from AUD $1,550 and goes up from there depending on your configuration. Our review unit is top of the range and will set you back an eye-watering AUD $4,100 with these specs;

  • Processor: Core i9-10900 10cores/20 threads 2.8Ghz base/ 5.2Ghz Turbo
  • Graphics: MSI GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER
  • Memory: Lenovo 16Gb DDR4 3200 RAM
  • Connection: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 and 2.5Gb Ethernet
  • System drive: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • Storage: 1TB 7200rpm Storage drive
  • AIO: 150W Liquid-Cooler with ARGB light
  • Power: 650W power supply
  • Case: 28 liter, Phantom Black

Design

The wedge hump at the back is a weird choice

As I mentioned, the Legion Tower 5i isn’t anything too special to look at. It pales in comparison to the gorgeous Aftershock Explorer Showcase PC I reviewed a few months ago. The Tower 5i is a traditional rectangular PC tower finished in ‘Phantom Black’ colour with a tempered glass window on the side. A weird-looking wedge emerges at the rear of the case — it’s a carrying handle for the case. An opposing handle rests underneath the mesh air grill on the front of the case. Between these two, you won’t have any trouble lifting the 14+ kilos of the Tower 5i.

A glowing Legion logo on the front is the only other gamer giveaway besides the glass window. The 28-litre case has plenty of space for even the beefiest of graphics cards and CPU Coolers. Getting inside the case is easy. Just unscrew the four large thumbscrews on the glass window — no screwdriver needed.

At the back is a generous helping of I/O ports including audio, USB 3.2, USB Type-C and Gigabit Ethernet. The graphics ports depend on the model you have but ours had DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. The main power button is on the front of the case’s top edge, along with two USB ports and a headphone jack. I had my Tower 5i sitting underneath the desk so having these easy-access ports was such a convenience.

Overall, Tower 5i’s case is simple and understated. That’s might turn off many PC gamers if Reddit/Battlestations is anything to by and I’m happy keeping it out of sight. But, it’s a solid case with great cooling and easy access. What you lose in remote-controlled RGB lights or custom coloured cable sleeves, Lenovo makes up for in great, dependable performance.

Silent performer

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Synthetic benchmarks

Helping the Tower 5i deliver excellent performance is the i9 10-core processor. It’s paired with 16Gb of fast memory and an SSD drive which makes short work of Windows apps. In our benchmarks, you can see how the i9’s cores smashed Geekbench with a phenomenal score of 8000 in the multi-core test. 3DMark11 TimeSpy, Firestrike and UniEngine Superposition also had excellent scores.

So I wasn’t surprised at how well games run on the Tower 5i — the chart below speaks for itself. Every game I tested ran superbly at ultra settings in both 1080p and 1440p. The GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER maxed out my 165 Hz refresh monitor in so many titles for a buttery smooth experience. Even Shadow of the Tomb Raider with RTX On at 1440p ran at 60FPS; something I’ve never seen on even the most powerful gaming laptops.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gaming benchmarks

The best part of the Tower 5i’s performance is its thermal efficiency and silence. Our unit came with a 150W Airflow air cooler which kept the CPU cool as cucumber. Temperatures reached a max of 84C under intense load while the GPU topped out at 67C. Unlike gaming laptops that roar like baby jet fighters, the Tower 5i stays so quiet that you might forget that it’s even there. At worst, I heard a low humming from the Tower 5i when under serious stress testing.

Yeah and what about bloatware?

In the old days, buying a brand named PC meant so much bloat and adware. You’d waste hours and hours trying to uninstall them all. Not here. Lenovo has a grand total of one app preinstalled. The Lenovo Vantage software hub lets you manage your system settings, update drivers, change performance and lighting modes.

It’s rather simple but effective with a bright, clean interface with quick toggles for different functions. If offers some rudimentary overclocking and rather limited lighting management that gives you a choice of three presets. You can also select performance modes that will kick in automatically for games or apps that you select. Overall, it works well for what it is.

Verdict

The Legion Tower 5i is an all-round great value for money machine. Building a PC can be expensive, time-consuming and frankly, unappealing to most people. Lenovo offers options starting at AUD $1,550 which will net you an i5 and a GTX 1660 Super – plenty for excellent 1080p gaming. After using the Tower 5i as my daily driver for the past few weeks, I am very impressed. I love how well it does everyday tasks and runs games without any fuss, fiddling or noise.

Yeah, it’s not going to win you a ton of upvotes on Reddit but it does everything you need it to do without drawing attention to itself. And that’s exactly what you need out of your PC.


Lenovo Australia loaned the Legion Tower 5i to PowerUp for the purpose of this review.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i
PROS
Affordable configuration options
Stays very cool and quiet
AAA gaming is a breeze
Easy access & generous case
Topside I/O ports super handy
CONS
Dull utilitarian design
9
Overall

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Kizito Katawongahttp://www.medium.com/@katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

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