Lenovo’s 2024 Gaming Laptops Are Ridiculous And Made From Planes (Not Boeing)

Lenovo’s 2024 Gaming Laptops Are Ridiculous And Made From Planes (Not Boeing)

Recently, Lenovo gave journalists from the APAC region the opportunity to learn more about the company’s latest range of laptops, computers and accessories. For the most part, it was a typical tech showcase. On a long enough timeline, they all become “Look! It’s last year’s products, but with better specs now!” However, there were a few things that stood out on the Lenovo Legion’s 2024 gaming range: there’s new cooling architecture in the laptops you might actually be able to afford. Further, the high-end “money is no object” laptop announced last year is even more wild than you’d expect.

Gaming is an important category for Lenovo. This is not merely because these machines are made “for you, the gamers,” but also because, at a time when hardware sales are sliding due to cost of living, Lenovo is still smashing its sales targets in the category. Gaming laptops are popular with everyone from esports hopefuls and other hardcore players, to graphic designers and uni students who want powerful computers for their work and also maybe to play some games in their down time. The one complaint all these users reliably make? The laptops run too damned hot. So, it makes sense that Lenovo has invested in better cooling, and let that tech take centre stage at an event like this.

So, let’s dig into the cool stuff (pun intended).

Legion Coldfront Hyperchamber is an actual hyperbaric chamber

The Lenovo Legion Coldfront Hyperchamber in all its glory. Image: Alice Clarke

There is an unspoken rule within tech companies: any interesting new tech must be given the stupidest-sounding name imaginable. A ‘Coldfront Hyperchamber’ sounds like a walk-in fridge an ADHD person would hide in to evade a hyperfixation that was getting out of hand. “Sorry honey, I think I’m getting a little too into learning the history and craft of medieval chainmail. I’m going to lock myself in the Coldfront Hyperchamber to see if that can get me to stop adding things to cart.” In a pinch, it could also be the title of one of those RPGs where everyone is cold in a post-apocalyptic dystopia.

Silly as the name may be, putting a hyperbaric chamber in a laptop is cool in both senses of the word. It means the computer needs no vents in the side. The way this type of hyperbaric chamber works is to suck in cold air from the outside, use pressure to take it on a tour of the laptop’s innards, and then expel it once it’s hot. Other laptops have vents on the side in an attempt to draw more air in, but with the hyperchamber design, those vents would stop the air from moving around as effectively.

Hyperbaric chambers are famous for helping divers decompress and avoid getting The Bends. You might have also seen them on several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy where doctors wheeled patients in there so they could manufacture a bit of locked room drama (they’re also a useful therapeutic tool in the real world). Some people might confuse a hyperbaric chamber with an Iron Lung, but Iron Lungs use pressure in a completely different way to hyperbaric chambers (Editor’s note: Idiots like me might also confuse it with the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z, which is both a different thing and does not exist — David). In this sense, the Coldfront Hyperchamber appears to be more ‘inspired by’ hyperbaric chambers than actually being a complete and proper hyperbaric chamber.

Because of the way this miniaturised, laptop-bound hyperbaric chamber functions, it’s able to suck in even more cool air with fewer fans, using thinner blades. Clifford Chong, Category Manager (Gaming), Consumer Business, PCs and Smart Devices, Lenovo Asia Pacific, said that the improvement to cooling was all through the chamber and less through the fans, which makes a nice change. “The biggest change actually does come from the chamber design itself, and the fans are slightly tweaked from last generation,” Chong told me. “The benefit of the fans is not so much to us as to improve cooling but to reduce noise. So, the fan blades were tweaked slightly to improve the acoustics when you’re gaming so it doesn’t come off like an annoying blower sound.”

This has meant that the Lenovo Legion range has been able to run at more powerful wattages for longer. Of course, every computer company claims that their latest product is the best ever, so we look forward to putting the Coldfront Hyperchamber through its paces as soon as we can get our hands on one for a proper test.

OK, but what if I want my computer to be made out of plane fuselage, and money is no object?

Lenovo legion laptop
Image: Lenovo

Good news, wealthy eccentrics, Lenovo has the laptop for you.

The Lenovo Legion 9i is the top of the range Lenovo Legion gaming laptop, announced last year. It’s got the works: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, up to 64GBs RAM, and a 14th gen Intel Core i9 CPU. But that’s what you’d expect from a premium laptop. The surprise features are liquid cooling (the first in a consumer-grade laptop), and a carbon shell.

The carbon cover is derived from recycled aeroplane parts because, according to Chong, being over the top was the point. “The Legion 9i is the result of a particular segment of customers, who are what we call high rollers, saying, ‘Legion, come on, please give me something more powerful than Legion 7i! Please, just take my credit card!’ So that was the request, okay,” Chong said. “Which is why then we went and looked at all the most unique innovations that we can get. That’s why the 9i is extravagant, it’s pure extravagance. Even that carbon fibre cover is a statement piece.”

If you’re wondering which part of the plane the laptop is made out of, you’re not alone. I also wanted to know, so I asked Chong. “I am told that is the fuselage. We try to be a little bit more sustainable, so it’s recycled parts. It’s a statement piece. We have a long history of playing around with carbon fibre. For example, our ThinkPad X 1 Carbon is made from carbon fibre.”

So, yeah. If you want a computer with liquid cooling, made out of a recycled fuselage, and you have no use for one or both of your kidneys, there are options on the market.

Also, there’s AI

Because these are computers launched in 2024, all new Lenovo Legion laptops have AI chips. This will allegedly help the computer determine best settings and whatnot. I’ll confirm when I actually review one.

Other fun facts

Lenovo laptop's replaceable keys
Image: Lenovo

There were a couple of other fun things I learned about Legion laptops while I was there. One is a fun and useful thing to know in case you ever have keycap issues. The other is something you absolutely shouldn’t do unless you want to absolutely ruin your computer. Like, just fully kill it until it dies of death.

The fun and useful thing is that it’s shockingly easy to replace the keycaps on the Lenovo Legion laptops. You hold down the keycap on one corner, and then use a keycap removal tool (or potentially even the edge of a letter opener or thin teaspoon handle) and pop it up. Lenovo sells cheap packs of extra keycaps and switches you can swap them out with, including fun ceramic keycaps.

The thing that you don’t want to do is that Lenovo has left pretty much all of the BIOS settings open for users to play with, including the ones you absolutely should not play with unless you completely know what you’re doing. Or you’re committing insurance fraud or something, I guess. (Editor’s note: Do not commit insurance fraud. – David)

Undervolt protection is there to protect the voltage and ensure you don’t just blast your computer with more electricity than it can handle. Chong, in the briefings, was very clear that it’s a terrible idea, and then also explained how you can do it:

“If you allow people in and they don’t know what they’re doing, they can break the system. You can burn up the chip and the motherboard. That’s why this is blocked for most brands.” Apparently, Lenovo Legion likes to leave the options open for advanced users.

“What you do is; if you go into BIOS, press F2, you’re going to this thing called Legion optimization. Legion CPU optimization is disabled by default, but when you enable it, this undervolt protection comes on. And then if you disable it, this is when you can then use the Intel speed optimizer, the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility.”

Do with that information what you will, I guess. (Editor’s note: Again, do not commit insurance fraud. – David)

When are the new Lenovo Legion laptops available in stores?

Lenovo laptop lineup
Image: Lenovo

The Lenovo Legion 9i is in stores now, starting at $5219 with a 14th Gen Intel Core i9-14900HX CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU (12GB GDDR6), 32 GB DDR5 at 5600MHz (2 x 16 GB), and 1 TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4 TLC. Then its $8,849.00 for Windows 11 Pro, up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090, up to 64GB DDR5-5600 (Overclock), 2x SO-DIMM and up to 2x 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.  

The rest of the range will be in stores just as soon as the cargo ship can get them here. The full new range starts with the Legion LOQ 15IAX9I (12th Gen Intel Core i5-12450HX, Intel Arc A530M 4GB GDDR6, 8 GB DDR5-4800MHz (SODIMM) and 512 GB SSD M.2 2242 PCIe Gen4 QLC) and then works its way up to the aforementioned 9i, so there is something for everyone with at least $1,711.

Alice Clarke travelled to Thailand as a guest of Lenovo.

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