Lenovo Legion C530 Cube Review

A dense box of graphical power

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4.5

Lenovo Legion C530 Cube

Lenovo Legion C530 Cube

Lifewire / Emily Ramirez 

What We Like
  • Good price/performance ratio

  • Case is easy to open

  • Good audio

  • Customizable CPU, GPU, and storage

  • Case has a handle

What We Don't Like
  • Weighs 25 pounds

  • Too big to fit in a suitcase

Bottom Line

The Lenovo Legion C530 Cube is a capable, beautiful machine for gamers that will look good on your desk. While it isn’t small enough to travel with on a plane, it is compact enough to toss in the backseat of a car.

4.5

Lenovo Legion C530 Cube

Lenovo Legion C530 Cube

Lifewire / Emily Ramirez 

If you’ve ever wanted a GameCube that could handle 2019 games, the Lenovo Legion C530 Cube is worth a look. This little gaming PC comes packed with the latest CPU and GPU of your choosing, it’s easy to upgrade and modify, and it has a handle. It’s also fairly priced, as building a similar machine yourself would cost roughly the same. We do wish it were a little smaller and lighter for something claiming to nestle into the Small Form Factor PC market, but it’s still reasonably portable and sits nicely on a desk.

Lenovo Legion C530 Cube
 Lifewire / Emily Ramirez

Design: Solidly built and beautifully made

The Lenovo Legion Cube is fairly small for a desktop PC, measuring 9.37" x 14.1" x 12", but that doesn't mean it's easy to carry around. It weighs over 23 pounds and there’s no way to fit it in a backpack (but you may be able to fit it in a large suitcase). However, Lenovo did give the Cube a carrying handle, so you can bring your machine to LAN parties if you have a car. 

With more internal volume comes the freedom to choose larger, more powerful components, and the C530 can come with up to an Intel Core i7-9700K CPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. Unfortunately, the cube does rely on a B360 chip series motherboard, which we feel is a bit underwhelming compared to the other PC parts. We would have loved to see a Z370 in this cube.

On the outside, the C530 is a good-looking machine, with a matte black aluminum chassis and a glass top that lets you peek at the glowing components. The front of the machine has a really large LEGION logo next to vent holes, and the O glows white when the machine is on.

Lenovo Legion C530 Cube
 Lifewire / Emily Ramirez

The C530 also ships with a mouse and a keyboard, both of which are quite lovely. The mouse is a “gaming” mouse, with a light-up RGB scroll wheel and RGB logo on the bottom. On the left side, there are two programmable buttons, and below the scroll wheel are two labeled buttons to adjust the CPI (sensitivity). It’s a bit chunky, which should suit palm grip mouse users perfectly, but may prove a bit uncomfortable for claw grip folks. 

The included keyboard is awesome. It’s a mechanical keyboard, which is a rarity in free/cheap/included peripherals, and the switches are pleasantly clicky. It’s not as great to type with as a keyboard with Cherry MX switches, but I still very much enjoyed using it. For gaming, the switches have a fast action, so it should be easy to dance around the keyboard as needed. 

The keyboard’s biggest weakness is its aesthetic, as it’s made out of a matte black plastic that looks a bit cheap. The font on the keycaps can also be hard to read at a glance. When we pulled a couple keycaps off to inspect the switches, we also noticed that the bottom edges were quite rough. 

Setup and Upgrades: A case that’s made to mod

Everything comes ready out of the box. After you’ve connected your PC peripherals, all you have to do is turn on the PC. You’ll see the default Windows 10 setup guide. One important thing to note about the C530 is that it doesn’t have internal speakers, so make sure you connect it to an external audio device. 

If you want to upgrade or replace the components, the C530’s chassis is very simple to open up and requires no tools. All you have to do is remove the two screws on the left side of the rear, and this will let you take off the left side panel. Here, you can access the hard drive slots and power supply unit. There are bays to add up to two additional hard drives. 

Lenovo Legion C530 Cube
Lifewire / Emily Ramirez 

On the right side of the machine, you can access the GPU and RAM (the right panel just slides off), as well as the SSD. Because the motherboard’s in the middle, it’s incredibly easy to plug any new components into it. We’re really impressed with how easy it is to mess with the internals in this small PC; small form factor PCs are notorious for being difficult to upgrade.

Performance: Perfectly powerful for work and play

With a Core i7-9700K and an RTX 2060, our Cube C530 could handle basically anything we threw at it. We included a table of benchmarks below if you’re interested. For more subjective testing, we loaded up Photoshop, Premiere, and some graphically demanding games. The C530 had no lag in the Adobe products thanks to its powerful CPU cores, but the RTX 2060 did struggle to get 4K resolution at 60fps from more intense games. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider averaged about 40fps at 4K ultra settings, the Witcher 3 averaged 40fps, and Fortnite averaged 32fps. If you plan on using your PC with a 1080p or even an QHD monitor, the RTX 2060 should be able to deliver at least 60fps in the majority of games.

Category Test Name Score Interpretation
CPU Load Cinebench 2438 pts Excellent
General PCMark (general) 5896 pts Excellent
GPU Load GFXBench - Car Chase 2.0

59.96 FPS at 4K 

276.8 FPS at 1080p

Excellent
GPU Load GFXBench - T-Rex 59.76 FPS at 4K Excellent
VR Load / GPU Load VRMark - Orange Room 217.66 FPS on a Vive/Rift Excellent
VR Load / GPU Load VRMark - Blue Room 48 FPS on a 5120 x 2880 display Good

If you’ve ever wanted a GameCube that could handle 2019 games, the Lenovo Legion C530 Cube is worth a look.

PCMark 10 5896
   
Essentials 8974
Apps Start-up Score 10580
Video Conferencing Score 7744
Web Browsing Score 8822
   
Productivity 7594
Spreadsheets Score 9476
Writing Score 6086
   
Digital Content Creation 8164
Photo Editing Score 9824
Rendering and Visualization Score 9982
Video Editing Score 5549
Courtesy of PCMark

Audio: Clean and delightful

The C530 does not come with internal speakers, but it has a front and back 3.5mm audio output jack. Both ports deliver a clean, pleasant signal. We listened to sound with the Oppo PM4 headphones to determine if there was any distortion or flaws and we didn’t catch anything problematic. Our biggest complaint about the port is that it’s 3.5mm, meaning that the audio drops some details compared to, say, a 6.4mm jack, but that's nitpicky.

Price: Competitive for its performance

We specced out a similar rig on PCPartPicker, and we’re pleased with how honest Lenovo’s pricing is. Building a machine with similar parts would save you at most $100, so if you want to avoid some labor (and frayed nerves), the Legion Cube C530 is reasonably priced. A base build costs $910 on Lenovo’s website and comes with an Intel Core i5-9400 processor, 8GB RAM, a GTX1660 Ti, a 1TB hard drive, and a 128GB SSD.

We tested their $1,329 build, which comes with an Intel Core i7-9700K processor, an RTX 2060 GPU, 16GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and a 512GB SSD.

If you want to avoid some labor (and frayed nerves), the Legion Cube C530 is reasonably priced.

Competition: You’ll have to pay a premium for a smaller PC

If you’re looking for the cheapest prebuilt PC possible, iBuyPower makes some of the most competitively priced builds on the market. This build costs about the same as the Cube C530, but it has a Z390 motherboard. The tradeoff is that it’s a much bigger tower than the C530.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for the smallest build possible, you'll have to spend more than you would on a C530, but you can get impressively small builds. This custom build using the DAN Case A4-SFX is only 7.5 liters of space, but it also costs about $1,700 and is fairly difficult to build due to the size constraints. The Legion C530 cube occupies a comfortable sweet spot for price and size.

Interested in looking at other options? Check out our roundup of the best mini PCs.

Final Verdict

The Lenovo Legion C530 Cube is a powerful, small, well-priced machine that will proudly perch on any gamer’s desk. Our i7-9700K and RTX 2060 build was a great build for 1440p gaming and a powerhouse for productivity. If you’re looking for a 4K gaming machine, you may want to get an RTX 2070 or better, but otherwise, this is a phenomenal machine for play and work.

Specs

  • Product Name Legion C530 Cube
  • Product Brand Lenovo
  • MPN C530
  • Price $1,329
  • Weight 24.3 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 9.37 x 14.1 x 12 in.
  • Operating System Windows 10 Home
  • Motherboard B360 Series Chipset
  • Processor Choose Intel Core i5-9400, i7-8700, i7-9700
  • Graphics Choose NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB; AMD Radeon™ RX 570 4GB; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB; NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB
  • RAM Choose 8GB or 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage Choose 1TB 7200 RPM+128GB PCIe SSD; 1TB 7200 RPM+256GB PCIe SSD; 1TB 7200 RPM+512GB PCIe SSD
  • Speakers No
  • Audio Dolby Atmos® Audio and Sound Radar
  • Connectivity 802.11 AC (2 x 2) + Bluetooth® 4.2
  • Front Ports 2 x USB 3.0**; 1 x Headset port; 1 x Microphone-in
  • Rear Ports 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2**; 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1**; 2 x USB 2.0; 1 x HDMI; 1 x RJ45; 1 x Audio-out
  • Warranty 1 year limited
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