Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) Evaluate

Lenovo’s Legion Tower 5i mid-tower gaming desktop received an Editors’ Selection award final 12 months and is a fair higher worth within the $949 Finest Purchase configuration we’re testing in the present day. As a substitute of the quad-core CPU and 4GB graphics card generally present in under-$1,000 towers, it boasts a six-core “Rocket Lake” Intel Core i5 processor and 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous for comfortably clean 1080p gaming, and even consists of each a solid-state drive and a tough drive. Its 8GB of reminiscence is a bit scanty, however that may be simply upgraded later. An aggressive four-zone-lit case tops it off, making the Legion Tower 5i spectacular for the worth. The machine earns one other Editors’ Selection award amongst entry-level gaming towers.

Pulling Out All of the Stops

The Legion Tower 5i seems each inch a gaming tower regardless of shedding the funky carrying deal with of the 2020 model. Its all-black exterior is plastic however sturdy because of the underlying steel body. At 16.5 by 8.1 by 16 inches (HWD), it is throughout the anticipated dimensions of a mid-tower desktop.

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Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) left angle

The see-through aspect is not the same old tempered glass, however it’s massive and gives an excellent inside view, particularly in the event you activate the case lighting. There are not any fewer than 4 lighting zones, all configurable throughout the provided Lenovo Vantage app.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) side view

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) Vantage software

The 2 entrance and one rear 120mm followers help RGB lighting with as much as 16.7 million colours. The opposite two lighting zones—the Legion brand on the entrance panel and the inside gentle bar—are pale blue. You’ll be able to flip the lighting zones off individually.

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Lenovo Legion Tower 5i

Three followers present many of the Legion’s front-to-back airflow. The highest panel, just like the entrance, the highest panel is grated for added airflow. The followers often spin as much as audible ranges however normally keep quiet sufficient to meld into the background, even throughout gaming.

Connectivity alongside the tower’s high edge consists of two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Sort-A ports and headphone and microphone jacks. It might have been good to see a USB Sort-C port right here.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) top ports

Round again are 4 extra USB-A ports (two 3.2 Gen 1 and two legacy 2.0), a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port, Gigabit Ethernet, and three audio jacks (line-in, line-out, and microphone).

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) rear angle

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) rear ports

The GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous graphics card affords one HDMI, one DisplayPort, and, oddly sufficient, a DVI-D port; twin monitor customers might want to combine and match connections or purchase adapters. Wi-fi connectivity comes courtesy of an Intel Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 card. I like that the wi-fi antenna is constructed into the case as an alternative of protruding externally.

Ample Finish-Consumer Upgradeability

Eradicating two thumbscrews will get you contained in the Legion Tower 5i. The blacked-out inside and tied-off black cabling hold issues skilled.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) open view

The low-profile CPU cooler is small, however highly effective sufficient to deal with the warmth from the Core i5-11400 CPU, which has only a 65-watt thermal design energy (TDP) ranking; Legion Tower 5i fashions with larger TDP rankings embody a beefier cooler. Slightly below it’s a 256GB M.2 Sort-2280 solid-state drive coated with a Legion-branded heatsink. To the precise are 4 DDR4-2933 reminiscence slots, with just one lonely 8GB module current and accounted for. Including extra ought to take solely a few minutes given the simple entry.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) interior

The twin-slot GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous card is small, not extending previous the PCI Categorical x16 slot. It takes only one 6-pin energy connector. The system’s second M.2 Sort-2280 SSD slot, empty on this mannequin, is just below it.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) GPU

The tower’s two 3.5-inch bays, certainly one of which holds a 1TB laborious drive, are accessible after eradicating the opposite aspect panel. No instruments are required for drive set up; the empty bay thoughtfully gives SATA and energy cables.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) drive bays

The ability provide provides as much as 400 watts, which is not a lot headroom if you wish to put in a quicker graphics card however is lots for this configuration.

Ship Forth Your Legions: Benchmarking the 2021 Legion Tower 5i

The Legion Tower 5i reviewed right here, mannequin 90RS000DUS, prices $949 at Finest Purchase. That value will get you a six-core, 2.6GHz (4.4GHz turbo) Intel Core i5-11400 processor, a 6GB GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD loaded with Home windows 10 House, and a 1TB laborious drive. The usual guarantee is one 12 months.

Finest Purchase additionally affords an HP Omen 25L mid-tower (mannequin GT12-0024) for a similar cash; it makes do with a previous-generation, six-core Core i5-10400 chip and has a bigger 512GB SSD however no laborious drive. It, too, has simply 8GB of reminiscence, an excellent indication that doing the under-$1,000 gaming desktop limbo requires a bit penny-pinching.

As is, our Legion’s 8GB of RAM brought on the system to battle in some benchmarks; I particularly famous a bent to skip or drop frames in our real-world gaming checks. Neglect about doing any form of multitasking whereas gaming. Thankfully, including one other 8GB DDR4-2933 UDIMM (for a wholesome 16GB complete) will not be solely straightforward to do however ought to value you not more than $50. You may also need to finances for a gaming keyboard and mouse, although the generic USB peripherals bundled with the Tower 5i can tide you over.

Let’s get on with the testing. We pitched the Legion Tower 5i towards two different gaming towers, whose configurations seem within the desk beneath.

Worth-wise, the Lenovo is effectively beneath the duo—the NZXT tower is $1,799 and the Maingear Turbo a whopping $6,438—however we can’t have every other gaming desktops for comparability till we get extra programs via our brand-new benchmarking routine. Not less than this fashion, you will see the complete spectrum of what a bit or some huge cash can get you. (See extra about how we take a look at desktops.)

Productiveness and Content material Creation Checks

Our first take a look at is UL’s PCMark 10, which simulates a wide range of real-world productiveness and content material creation workflows to measure total system efficiency. The Legion Tower 5i scored effectively, particularly towards the pricier NZXT. It additionally did effectively in PCMark 10’s storage subtest regardless of having a small 256GB solid-state drive.

Three different benchmarks give attention to the CPU, utilizing all accessible cores and threads, to charge a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a posh scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Professional simulates fashionable apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher).

Our ultimate productiveness take a look at is Puget Programs’ PugetBench for Photoshop(Opens in a brand new window), which makes use of the Artistic Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to charge a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia functions. It is an automatic extension that executes a wide range of basic and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.

The Legion Tower 5i’s six-core CPU saved it effectively south of its high-powered rivals, however its numbers counsel that it is completely able to dealing with duties that require important processing muscle. Naturally, an eight-core chip would fare higher, however getting a type of in a gaming tower would imply spending significantly extra.

Graphics and Gaming Checks

For Home windows PCs, we run each artificial and real-world gaming checks. Among the many former are two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Evening Raid (extra modest, appropriate for programs with built-in graphics) and Time Spy (extra demanding, appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). Two different gaming simulations come from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which makes a speciality of OpenGL efficiency. Although the Legion’s GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous was hopelessly outclassed by the NZXT’s GeForce RTX 3060, its numbers had been nonetheless stable.

Shifting on, our real-world recreation testing comes from the in-game benchmarks of F1 2021, Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege—simulation, open-world action-adventure, and aggressive/esports shooter video games respectively. On desktops, we run them at their highest high quality presets (F1 2021 at Extremely Excessive, Valhalla and Siege at Extremely) at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions.

The Legion’s numbers counsel that 1080p gaming is its candy spot, no shock given its low value. Murderer’s Creed Valhalla was a battle, averaging beneath the golden 60 frames per second (fps), however that recreation is notoriously tough even for high-end programs. It must be doable to discover 1440p gaming relying on the title, particularly with visible high quality settings dialed again a bit. The GeForce GTX 1660 lacks the ray-tracing capabilities of GeForce RTX playing cards, however you won’t miss them; see our function on ray tracing and PC gaming.

An Entry-Stage Gaming Star

The Lenovo Legion Tower 5i is a compelling low-cost gaming desktop, particularly for first-time purchasers. The $949 Finest Purchase mannequin we examined gives way more steady 1080p gaming efficiency, because of its six-core Core i5 CPU and 6GB GeForce GTX 1660 Tremendous, than cheaper desktops with quad-core CPUs and 4GB graphics playing cards. Its largest draw back is its modest 8GB of reminiscence, however that is easy to repair with a DIY improve. Twin storage drives, a clear design, and customizable lighting clinch the Legion’s Editors’ Selection award as an entry-level gaming tower.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021)


  • Six-core CPU and 6GB GPU for beneath $1,000

  • Fashionable case with customizable lighting

  • Quiet beneath load

The Backside Line

Lenovo’s entry-level Legion Tower 5i gaming desktop delivers improved efficiency and magnificence at a low value.

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