With Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming machines finally hitting the market, the dated console generation has finally skipped forward, catching up to PCs. Any PC enthusiast or multiplatform gamer will tell you though, that current high-end PCs are still quite a bit more powerful. And they still have the most available games to play!
This is where PC manufacturer Lenovo comes in with the Erazer X700 gaming desktop aimed for the person looking for an affordable high-performance PC for gaming and intensive multimedia applications who also wants the ability of upgradable potential. Read on for our review.
With the PS4 and Xbox One on the market the timing to test a ready-for-use, powerful gaming rig was perfect. We borrowed an Erazer X700 for a few weeks and during our time with it we tried PC staples including Minecraft and Battlefield 4 along with a quite a few multiplatform triple-A games that also made their way to the current and next-gen consoles. Before we talk performance, let’s talk about the rig itself, which at first glance looks like a techno knight’s helmet.
For interested gamers looking to upgrade but don’t want to shell out top dollar or deal with building their own, the Erazer might be for you. It comes in a plastic case with a slick, angular modern design (much like its included mouse and keyboard peripherals). It’s not too big but it looks beasty, and just plain cool with its LED lighting. And don’t let the plastic fool you – while lighter weight than its metal brethren (like our other gaming rigs), the Erazer X700 is tough and thankfully very quiet and cool thanks to the unit’s built-in liquid cooling system. And it boots up in just seconds thanks to its solid-state harddrive.
The Erazer comes ready to use from Lenovo’s online store or electronics locations (the model we tested is available in Best Buy) with Windows 8 installed. All the hardware and wires are neatly organized and you can open it up without needing any tools. Like any good gaming PC, the X700 is meant to be modular in that you can switch in newer parts down the road just by opening the side of the Erazer unit. There’s even a pair of hot-swap drives to let users switch in different harddrives without having to reboot. In total, the system can support up to 32GB of RAM and four internal harddrives. They all come with a solid-state drive for the OS and at least a terabyte of standard space on the secondary.
Dimensions & Highlights
- Liquid cooling
- Intel X79 extreme series processors
- OneKey Overclocking via Erazer Control Center
- 2 Hot-swap bays
- Tool-free manageability
- Easy to customize and upgrade depending on users demands
- System Weight: 61.72 lbs (starts at)
- System Dimension: 24.01″ x 10.62″ x 20.86″
The model we tested contains the Nvidia GTX660 video card which in a year or two’s time would need to be upgraded for players looking to continue maxing out graphics. At the time of this writing however, the Erazer has everything a PC gamer needs. It plays Battlefield 4 – which runs on the next-gen Frostbite 3 game engine – with all settings maxed and can maintain near 60 FPS. The same can be said for Call of Duty: Ghosts, Need For Speed, Tomb Raider, etc. We also put it through extensive testing with other online-focused games including MechWarrior Online, Neverwinter and tossed in a little Minecraft for fun.
Video recording and streaming is becoming an increasingly staple part of gaming and the Erazer works for YouTubers to be as well. Using third party video capture software including Bandicam and Fraps, we were able to record gameplay smoothly at 720p since running these programs alongside games does take a lot of computing power. Keeping the rig affordable means the X700 is not top of the line, and its older processor and CPU are the biggest victims of this being an entry-level gaming machine.
We were able to get away recording Neverwinter and MWO at 1080p but you’ll get 30-40FPS and not as silky smooth while running the secondary software. For console gamers looking for a reliable machine to live broadcast or record gameplay video, we tried that too using the latest Elgato HD and Roxio HD Capture cards and it worked flawlessly (recording in full 1080p).
That’s without overclocking though.
On the front top of the tower comes a large triangular stylized power button with a clearly marked “Overlock” button above it. That’s for the OneKey Overclocking function, one of the neater highlights of the Erazer X700. Also up there is the front jacks for audio and mic and a pair of USB slots to go along with the 8 in the back (one in the font and two in the back are USB 3.0). For gamers unsure or not experienced with overclocking a PC for maximum performance, Lenovo makes it real easy and safe thanks to the Erazer control panel which you’ll see on the desktop upon start up. It provides easy-to-read info on everything from system details to internal temperatures and fan speeds.
- Intel Core i7-3820 (4 cores/8 threads, 3.6GHz, 3.8GHz Max, 10MB cache)
- Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 60 Graphics
- 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
- 12GB RAM installed (32GB max), 1600MHz DDR3
- 7 x USB 2.0 & 3 USB 3.0
- HDMI-out, DisplayPort, 2 DVI, 29-in-1 card reader
- Microphone & Headphone Jacks on front and back.
Hitting the Overclock button asks us to restart the PC, which only took seconds, and then we could see the core speed and ratio jump from 36x to 41 where it holds steady (it overclocks from 3.6GHz to a max of 3.8GHz). It made a slightly noticeable improvement in recording gameplay when it comes to frame rates.
As an all-in-one gaming PC, we also used the Erazer X700 as a workstation with two monitors plugged in. We tested it with video editing using the latest version of Sony Vegas and image editing with Photoshop. It’s slick, fast and can handle any amount of applications we had running simultaneously. Lenovo’s Erazer X700 is a wonderful machine that makes every step of the PC gaming process as easy as can be. Coming in at a fair price, customizable and upgradable, this gaming rig is a good choice for interested users who may be lacking in time or tech expertise and want to play everything that’s out there, but don’t demand the absolute best performance.
Lenovo also packages the Erazer X700 with a branded gaming keyboard and mouse which match the style of the Erazer itself, from the edgy design to the blue LED lighting. All you need is a monitor.
The Erazer X700 is available now in a variety of models and are currently on sale for $400-1000 off. Find out more from the official site here. Orders shipped by the 20th may still arrive in time for Christmas!
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.