Questions and Clarifications before Purchasing Y570

Discussion in 'Lenovo' started by steelroots7xe, Dec 30, 2011.

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  1. steelroots7xe

    steelroots7xe Notebook Evangelist

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    Hey guys.

    Just to let you know where I'm coming from, let me summarize the prospective notebook process I have gone through. I'm currently in the market for a new notebook and actually finalized on either the HP Envy 15 refresh or the Samsung Series 7. However, a friend of mine suggested trying Lenovo, and I searched and found the Ideapad Y series. I was quite hesitant to try this since I had owned an Asus before I wasn't too satisfied with it's performance and series of hardware problems. I have been using a Dell (XPS series) for the past 5 years and was more than happy with my experience, but feel the need to upgrade at this point.

    However, I am not particularly interested in any of the Dell models now which have weak specs compared to many of the Asian-made brands (Asus, MSI, Lenovo, Samsung, etc.) It's amazing how these relatively new players in the notebook arena are able to provide better specs at a cheaper cost.

    I religiously followed threads on the HP and Samsung before finally forgetting about them. I initially liked the new Envy series, but found HP overcharging for the specs they offered, and was later-on disgusted with the Macbook-cloned aesthetic. On the other hand, I was really set on pulling the trigger on a Series 7, but then realized some major flaws. First, a lot of people on the forums complained about the unreliability of the AMD Radeon graphic-switching, and its gaming-performance proved to be less-than-satisfactory (which is something I simply cannot sacrifice). While its svelte form factor and impressive specs tempted me, another major flaw came with its screen which others commented was dismal, given its high price-point. Also, who actually still crams the headphone and mic inputs into one combination port? Well, Samsung apparently does with the Series 7. This is very disappointing since there are still many uses for having those in separate inputs (for double output headsets, real-time audio input for guitar, etc.)

    So, given all this, I have finalized on one last contender: the Y570.

    I am planning to make my purchase in the next few days, but just have some questions for those who already own, or have experience with this notebook.

    Here are my questions:

    1. The Y570 comes with RapidDrive technology. If I'm not wrong, this is exactly what Samsung has done with the Series 7, but just with their miserly 8GB ExpressCache SSD technology (compared to Lenovo's 64GB SSD). I do not plan to reinstall Windows since I've heard that Lenovo packs less bloatware than the likes of HP, and most Lenovo software is actually very useful.

    I would like to know whether I can use the 64GB SSD properly out of the box? Does the RapidDrive automatically activate and transfer frequently used software files upon their use (similar to Samsung's ExpressCache technology)? Or do I have to selectively and manually install certain programs on the SSD, and other programs on the regular HD?

    2. Related to the first question, is the 64GB SSD a visible and accessible drive (out-of-the-box)? Or do I need to modify some BIOS settings, repartition, etc. to actually see this drive? Also, are there indicators as to which drive I am using? How do I know the SSD is actually functioning (besides the obvious speed difference)? For the Samsung Series 7, the 8GB ExpressCache is not visible/accessible and only works to perform in the background (according to Series 7 owners on their thread).

    3. Do I need to overclock my machine to run the latest games (BF3, Skyrim) smoothly on mid-to-high settings? Or can I run them fine right out-of-the-box? I have never explored the world of overclocking and would prefer not to (so as to not damage the hardware of my system in the long run).

    4. How is the average battery life of the system (with i7 and the 64GB RapidDrive)? By average, I mean casual web browsing on-the-go with some office work (word processing, excel, etc.)

    5. Does anyone have any complaints about the keyboard? I noticed that the "Enter" and "Backspace" keys are unusually smaller on this notebook and wondered if anyone else had any problems with it.

    6. How effective/useful is the physical switch for GPU modes? If Nvidia has this technology which automatically detects graphics-intensive tasks/programs, why is there a need for a manual switch?

    7. Does anyone have any problems with the audio inputs (headphones/mic inputs)? I've read in some reviews that the reviewers had static and faint buzzing problems with the headphone out.

    Sorry for the many questions and the long introduction. I just wanted to express my sentiments and joy in finding the Y570. Hope you guys can help so I can finalize my purchase soon! I'm planning to get the top-of-the-line Y570 with Blu-Ray, RapidDrive, GT555M 2GB, and i7.

    Thanks!
     
  2. wildcard36qs

    wildcard36qs Notebook Consultant

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    To answer a couple of your Q's. From what I understand, the rapid drive works out of the box with the HDD as 1 virtual drive. In order to use the SSD and HDD separately, you would have to do a whole new install/partition. I believe this is what I have read from on here, but don't quote me on that.

    As for gaming, out of the box, it handles games great! BF3 will play easily on Med settings with some High. Overclocking is simple to do, but yea, not needed. I posted a video in the owner's thread (pg 222) and the overclocking thread of me playing BF3 with Ultra settings mostly.

    Battery life even with the i7 should be well over 5 hours. I get 6 hours easy with browsing (i5 model) and medium screen brightness.

    The keyboard only annoys me with the backspace. I hit num lock often. Enter my wife would hit 4, but I have no problems with the enter and I am getting used to the backspace.

    Technically I guess you wouldnt need the switch because NVIDIA does a great job at switching, but maybe if you want to make sure it doesnt use the GPU for anything when trying to save battery...I dunno. It also has a physical switch that turns off the wifi/bluetooh. The keyboard hotkey allows you to disable each one individually or both. I just like having manual switches that make sure nothing will power on when I don't want it to.

    I have hooked up speakers and even headphones and cranked up the volume to max. I hear no static or noise. Sounds great. Also, the JBL speakers can get pretty loud and are not too tinny either. Yea they don't have low end, but they are very very good for a laptop.

    Any other questions?
     
  3. Fletchman1313

    Fletchman1313 Notebook Consultant

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    RapidDrive is proprietary and unlike anything else out there (at least that's what I think. It's not the same as Intel's SRT or a hybrid drive). It's basically a system which automatically moves files/programs off and on the SSD for better performance.

    For me, RapidDrive was active right out of the box, which meant that I never had the choice of using the SSD itself. However, jnorman5 and I did some light comparisons and the conclusion was that although the SSD itself is faster, RapidDrive is actually a fairly good implementation.


    For me, RapidDrive was active and I do not have the SSD visible as an accessible drive. The drive is visible in the Device Manager.

    There is nothing that I could find that indicates which drive is being used or whether or not the SSD is actually functioning.


    I've been playing Skyrim at High settings with no problems. I'm pretty much running out of the box.

    I'm guessing about 4-5 hours with "casual" use. Recently I've been doing battery tests with Skyrim and got about 90 minutes with "Super energy saver" settings and the GPU switch off. Jnorman5 says he can get about 9 hours, although he did break apart RapidDrive (not sure if that makes a big difference or not. I'm going to have to try comparing that someday).

    No complaints here. Although I do tend to hit the "4" key and "Num Lock" keys occasionally.

    With the GPU switch turned off, I can get about 30 minutes more of Skyrim when running on the battery. That's about the only use I've had for it.

    I haven't used the mic inputs, but there is a bit of what I call "oscillating white noise" when you use certain type of headphones. It seems to be a hardware issue of some sort. I don't find it to be that much of a problem personally, but others seem to want to return their units because of it. It could be that some problems are worse than others.

    In general, I am happy with the Y570. There are a lot of people who have had problems with the units, but I don't think there's an inherent problem with the line (just bad individual units). The other "weak" point of a Y570 might be the relatively low resolution of the screen. I don't think it's that bad, but a lot of people seem to complain about it, and it all depends on your preference.
     
  4. steelroots7xe

    steelroots7xe Notebook Evangelist

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    Thanks for the replies guys! Appreciate your informative responses. My notebook just arrived today and I'm looking forward to using this beast.
     
  5. wildcard36qs

    wildcard36qs Notebook Consultant

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    Awesome! Hope you enjoy it. I just plugged in some headphones and did hear electrical interference. These were some Bose Quietcomfort 15s. Bose is garbage to me anyways. I plugged in my Sennheiser HD 595 and my PMX 100, and neither produced the noise, so it all depends on the quality of components you use.
     
  6. Dragnoak

    Dragnoak Notebook Evangelist

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    WildCard,
    I second that. I have no noise from my headphone jack. I use Koss PRO3AA Titanium StereoPhones. I also plug the jack, using a splitter, into RCA cables, and run it to my Sony audio/video home theater, without any loss in the quality of the sound. I still can't believe that I get Dolby 5.1 sound out of the jack -> home theater connection. :smile:

    Cheap headphones, or most ear-buds, don't really cut it.

    DragonRider
     
  7. Fletchman1313

    Fletchman1313 Notebook Consultant

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    Yep, I confirm that too. I can only hear the "static" when using earbuds. When using other headphones I don't hear it.

    It's somewhat a hardware issue where the jack isn't grounded.
     
  8. wildcard36qs

    wildcard36qs Notebook Consultant

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    Yep, and if anyone wanted to really get rid of it, if you removed your ground prong or got 3 pin to 2 pin plug adapter, it would go away.
     
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