How does Lenovo’s Legion 5i gaming laptop perform in games? I’ve already tested the AMD Ryzen version in the past, so now let’s find out how well the Intel 5i model compares! My 5i has a 6 core Intel i5-11400H processor, though it’s also powered by up to Intel core i7 11th gen processors with 8 cores too, along with Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, 16 gigs of memory in dual channel, and a 17.3” 1080p 144Hz screen. You can customize the specs quite a bit using those links in the description below.
Now the power limit range for the RTX 3060 graphics in this larger 17” model is the same as the smaller 15” version.
So that RTX 3060 graphics can boost up to 130 watts with Nvidia’s dynamic boost, and even with the processor active I still found that the 3060 would run up the full 115 watts specified by Nvidia, so basically the 5i has a full powered 3060 GPU. Lenovo’s Vantage software can be used to change performance modes. All testing here has been done with the highest performance mode enabled for best results, and by default this doesn’t apply any GPU overclocking, though you can optionally turn that on through the BIOS which may give a little extra boost.
The Legion 5i does have a MUX switch, so all testing in this video has been done with optimus disabled for best performance in games.
For some reason, unlike my smaller 15” AMD based Legion 5, this larger 17” 5i does not have Advanced Optimus. I’m not sure if this is just maybe 17” versions don’t have it or if it’s because the Intel configuration. The MUX switch is toggled through the Vantage software, hybrid mode on means optimus enabled while hybrid mode off means optimus and iGPU off. Unfortunately the larger 17” panel also doesn’t have G-Sync like the smaller 15” models, so expect some screen tearing with optimus disabled. The average grey-to-grey screen response time was around 8.
7ms. Unfortunately there’s no option in the Vantage software to enable overdrive mode, something many of the 15” models do have, granted the effectiveness is up for debate. It’s not terribly slow, but there are a number of faster 144Hz panels listed here. This contributes to the total system latency being on the slower side too. This is the total amount of time between a mouse click and when a gunshot fire happens on the screen in CS:GO.
Like many of Lenovo’s other gaming laptops, the Legion 5i ships with slower x16 memory, which I guess is just due to global supply shortages, so I’ll also show you what sort of a performance boost we can get in games by upgrading the RAM to two x8 sticks.
Alright so with all of that in mind let’s get into the gaming comparisons and find out how the 5i compares against other laptops. Cyberpunk 2077 was tested the same on all laptops, and I’ve got the 5i highlighted in red. The results are quite good here for an RTX 3060 gaming laptop, within margin of error behind the 3060 in the AMD version just above it, though the Intel system has a bigger increase to 1% low. Most of the other 3060 laptops tested were otherwise lower, which I suppose is expected as the Legion series are the only ones I’ve tested so far with GPU power limits this high.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the game’s benchmark, and this time the Legion 5i was doing better than the other laptops with RTX 3060 graphics. This wasn’t too surprising, as when I’ve previously compared Intel and AMD gaming laptops, Intel was generally ahead, plus that higher GPU power limit would be helping, granted the Ryzen based Legion 5 with same GPU power limits was still behind. Control was tested running through the same part of the game on all laptops, and the 5i was doing very well here. Again it’s the best result from an RTX 3060 laptop that I’ve recorded so far, and is beating the RTX 3070 in the HP Omen 15 just below it, though that one does have a lower 100 watt power limit. The Ryzen version of the Legion 5 with more CPU cores was just below that, and given both were tested with the same x16 memory I can only assume we’re seeing Intel’s advantage in games here.
Now all of those laptops that we just compared with were tested with their stock memory, because I want to show you the performance that you can actually expect when you go and buy one of these laptops and run it straight out of the box. I have shown in the past the difference x8 and x16 memory can make in a Lenovo gaming laptop, so now let’s see how that helps out the 5i.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider we’re able to boost average FPS by about 10%, quite an impressive gain for such a simple change. The upgraded Legion 5i is now right in line with the higher tier and more expensive Legion 5 Pro with RTX 3070 graphics, though the 5 Pro also has slower x16 memory too, so that could also be further boosted with a memory change. Regardless, it’s quite a decent improvement, and goes to show that Intel laptops benefit from better RAM too, it’s not just AMD machines as a lot of people seem to think.
Now the frame rate differences between x8 and x16 memory will of course depend on things like the specific game, the resolution tested, and the games setting level, but in general basic x8 memory is faster than the x16 stuff that Lenovo ships their laptops with, so if you can get some it might be worth the upgrade. You can find the memory that I’ve tested with linked in the description below. Alright so now that we’ve seen how the 5i actually compares against other laptops in games, let’s test out even more games at all setting levels.
Apex Legends was tested in the world’s edge map. It was running smoothly even with all settings at maximum, with an average frame rate that’s higher than the screen’s 144Hz refresh rate, though we could boost even the 1% low higher than this with all settings instead at minimum.
Call of Duty Warzone was also tested with all settings either at minimum or maximum, and this is because these games don’t have built in setting presets. There was less of a gap in performance between max and min here, so might as well just run with some decent settings so it doesn’t look all potatoey. Fortnite was able to make good use of the 144Hz screen, even at high settings the average frame rate was higher than the screen’s refresh rate, and one step lower to medium settings could also get the 1% low higher than this too, so a very smooth experience.
We compared control earlier, but now let’s see how ray tracing and DLSS go. I’ve got the stock results shown by the purple bars.
With ray tracing enabled in the green bars it’s actually still running above 60 FPS low settings, though personally I think it looks better with ray tracing off at high settings while also performing better. We can use DLSS, shown by the red bars, in combination with RT to boost performance though. Cyberpunk was also compared earlier, but I’ve got the RT plus DLSS enabled modes here at the top now too. They’re quite low, just 30 FPS and below, though you could of course use DLSS without RT to boost performance higher than what I’m showing here if you prefer.
Microsoft Flight Simulator was running above 60 FPS with the high-end setting preset, and close to 100 FPS if you’re fine with prioritizing smoothness over visual quality at low settings.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was tested with the games benchmark, and above 60 FPS at max settings in this one is a decent result from a laptop, though again low settings could get us to around 100 FPS if you don’t mind things looking worse. Watch Dogs Legion was tested in the same manner, but this time there’s a big difference going from ultra to very high settings which I think is due to the 6 gigs of VRAM available to the RTX 3060 graphics, as the game gives a VRAM warning about it the 6 gigs not being enough. CS:GO was doing extremely well here. Basically this test always smashes super high FPS any time there’s a MUX switch, without that we’d probably be seeing 100 FPS or so lower, and that’s because the iGPU just becomes too much of a bottleneck with super high frame rates.
Likewise Rainbow Six Siege was able to hit super high frame rates for the same reason.
Esports titles like this generally see good improvements in changing the RAM from x16 to x8 too, but hey even at max settings here we’re well above the screen’s refresh rate so I’ll let that slide here. Red Dead Redemption 2 was compared earlier, and the high settings I compared with look like a good sweet spot. Max settings wasn’t quite 60 FPS, but medium and low weren’t offering too many extra frames compared to high.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was doing quite well, though as we saw we can boost average FPS at max settings by upgrading to x8 memory. Battlefield V was also running without issue, but these are older games now, I’ll ditch this for the newer 2042 version once it’s out.
Speaking of older titles, The Witcher 3 was also running fine at max settings, though we could get quite a large 45% boost to average FPS by lowering the settings to high. I’ll cover absolutely everything else like thermals, battery life and more in the upcoming full review video, so make if you’re new to the channel then make sure you’re subscribed for that upcoming content. Check this video next to find out if it’s worth paying more money to get the RTX 3070 graphics compared to the 3060 that I’ve tested here, or this one to get a better understanding of the difference the RAM can make in games, and come and join me and the community in Discord and get behind the scenes videos by supporting the channel on Patreon.