Desktop performance in a gaming laptop is something we’ve chased forever. Last year, the 15-inch Origin EON15-X was first machines that came closest to reaching that level of performance. Thanks to the best mobile graphics from Nvidia’s Maxwell line and a desktop-grade Skylake processor, it puts up some of the best numbers we’ve ever seen from a gaming notebook.
Now Origin has given its gaming laptops a refresh with Intel’s latest Skylake processors, further blurring the line that separates gaming desktops and laptops.
Of course, Origin isn’t the only one throwing desktop parts into a laptop. The newly announced Asus ROG GX800 packs two Nvidia GTX 980s, meanwhile, the PC Specialist Octane II Pro and Origin EON17-SLX are outfitted with desktop GPU and CPU combos.
However, Origin is still pushing envelop by packing desktop power into relatively compact 15-inch laptop instead of a 17-inch monster. What’s more, Skylake helps the EON15-X deliver more performance and longer battery life to boot.
The Origin EON17-S wowed us with its subtle design and the EON15-X takes the company’s reserved styling one step further. Gone are the flared dimples on the back of the screen lid, leaving a flat and simple rubberized top with a few angular lines and a silver Origin logo printed in the center.
Likewise, the light up equalizer has been replaced with a much more functional set of indicator lights for hard drive activity, the number lock, airplane mode and other settings. Even the rear vents on this laptop are a bit more mature thanks to solid metal fins adding extra protection to the exposed heatsinks.
While the trackpad doesn’t light up as it does on Origin’s EON-S gaming laptops, the front edge of the machine features a small light strip that can be customized to any color. The keyboard backlight is also fully customizable, allowing users to turn it into a dance floor for their fingers as they game.
The entire interior of the notebook is covered with a rubber finish that feels soft against my palms during long hours of use, however it stains like the dickens from even just a bit of sweat.
The EON15-X is also made with an entirely plastic chassis, and while this might sound like a downside, the frame is solid and doesn’t feel chintzy at all. Overall, it’s an attractive machine and with a black lid, this laptop won’t stick out too much until someone notices the aggressive rear ventilation and multi-colored keyboard.
Although the Origin EON15-X comes packing a desktop processor under the hood, amazingly it only measures 1.4 inches thick. Again, that’s with the full-size processor, CPU bracket and thick heatsink all tucked into the laptop chassis.
To make it all possible, Origin worked closely with Clevo, the original design manufacturer of many of Origin’s gaming notebooks, to remove any unnecessary weight.
This included dropping the optical drive and engineering a cooling system with only one heatsink for both the GPU and CPU, which surprisingly helps make this machine run much cooler than most other gaming laptops.
Overall, these weight savings have added up to a much slimmer, but still heavy, machine that measures in at 1.4 inches (35 mm) and tips the scales at 7.5 pounds (3,401 grams).
The Origin EON15-X isn’t exactly something I would call a light, but there’s no denying it’s lighter than the 8.33 pound PC Specialist Octane II Pro. Interestingly, it’s on par with other heavy-duty 15-inch gaming laptops like 7.5 pound Acer Predator 15 but it’s not quite as light as the 7.07 pound Alienware 15.
There isn’t much not to like about the Origin EON15-X. It has a large and serviceable trackpad and an excellent keyboard with good travel on the keys. Once again Origin has teamed up with Onkyo, an audio hardware maker renown for its home theater receivers and sound systems, for a full-bodied audio setup.
Despite all the things I like about the laptop, I have one niggling issue with the screen and it’s extremely narrow viewing angles. Despite being nice and sharp, the underlying panel in the screen is a TN panel with razor-thin viewing angles. They’re so narrow that tilting the screen back even just slightly washes out all colors and detail on the monitor.
For this review Origin sent me a unit with a calibrated display, however even with perfectly tuned colors and decent contrast, the EON15-X’s display requires users to stare directly at it dead on.
Beyond a Skylake processor, the Origin EON15-X features a number of improvements compared to the model we reviewed last year including DDR4 memory, a faster SSD and an added USB-C port.
Despite these upgrades, the $2,507 (about £1,710, AU$3,355) configuration you see below is actually cheaper than the $2,559 (about £1,698, AU$3,367) Haswell model I reviewed last year.
That said, this is still an expensive machine compared to a PC you can build. Although the EON15-X features a desktop-class Skylake processor and top-end mobile parts, you could easily build a desktop with as much power for less than a $1,000 as proved by our affordable VR-ready PC.
The value of the EON15-X comes from the fact that it is a portable system powerful enough to serve video editors, media creators and gamers alike.
Here is the Origin EON15-X configuration given to TechRadar:
With a desktop processor humming inside, the EON15-X had no problem tackling any application, and it multitasked better than any machine I’ve ever tested. Leaving a dozen applications open on the taskbar never introduced a single tick of slowdown.
As processor development is slower, just about any desktop processor you decide to go with on Origin’s machine should be able to churn through games easily for years.
And when it is time for an upgrade, users have the option of sending their laptop back to Origin for a full components swap. The CPU slots into an open socket and the GPU is attached to a modular MXM architecture. After all, this is the age of upgradable notebooks.
Here’s how the Origin EON15-X performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Let’s just remind ourselves how that compares to the 2015 Haswell model’s scores:
It’s not an overstatement to say the EON15-X offers a whole other level of performance compared to most 15-inch machines.
The laptop made quick work of PCMark8 benchmark, absolutely destroying it with 4,820 points – several ticks above last generation’s 4,697 score. Other machines with the same processor, including the PC Specialist Octane II Pro and Origin EON17-SLX, performed similarly with nearly the same score.
Beyond numbers, this better performing CPU allows gamers to play and stream at the same time without issue. This also makes the EON15-X an ideal machine for any users who need to encode video, which for some in this YouTube-and-Twitch generation, is becoming a necessity.
The full-size CPU helps give this laptop a slight edge in more GPU intensive benchmarks. The 15.6-inch rig completed the 3DMark Fire Strike test with 8,700 points, which is about what I’d expect for a Nvidia GTX 980M with 8GB of video RAM.
Though if you’re looking for even more graphics oomph, you might want to look into notebooks with desktop graphics like the MSI GT72S Dominator Pro and Asus ROG GX800. Alternatively, there’s a growing segment of external graphics enclosures.
While playing actual games, I was able to run around the virtual open world of Rise of the Tomb Raider with the frame rate nearly locked to 60fps even with the graphical settings pushed all the way.
The desktop processor also easily lends itself to more AI driven games such as Fallout 4 and SpaceCraft II: Legacy of the Void, the latter of which also ran at a steady 60fps while firing a giant laser at an enemy warship.
Surprisingly, the EON15-X won’t die on you mere minutes after you unplug it. Benchmarking the battery life with PCMark8 yielded a decent 2 hours and 21 minute run time. Meanwhile, in my own anecdotal test consisting of steady web browsing and word processing, the EON15-X lasted for 2 hours and 23 minutes.
The numbers are a bit better than last year, but battery life essentially lasts about 15 minutes longer.
However, considering the extra power requirements of a desktop processor and one of Intel’s faster Core i7 models, this isn’t too shabby. It goes to show just how energy efficient Intel’s 6th generation Skylake chips are.
Origin EON15-X is a real head turner. It packs a desktop processor into a fairly compact 15.6-inch laptop that, while smaller, offers even more performance compared to other, biggerhardcore gaming rigs. What’s more, this extra CPU power is clutch for users who need to edit video and other processor intensive tasks that a regular mobile chip can’t handle.
This isn’t the first time Origin has put a desktop processor into a laptop, but this new rendition refines the model. It’s a much more energy efficient unit that doesn’t need two power bricks as with the older EON15-X. It’s considerably smaller and lighter to boot. Origin and Clevo have pulled off an impressive engineering feat because the underlying heatsink and internal structure of this machine were redesigned to make this notebook more compact.
The larger CPU might lend itself to more processor-intensive applications rather than games. However, the extra kick of performance will come in handy no matter what game you’re running.
Down the road, the desktop processor also makes this machine more flexible than other gaming laptops in that you can send your machine back to Origin for an upgrade. Other machines rocking mobile desktop processors, on the other hand, are stuck with the same CPU until they ultimately change laptops as their CPUs are permanently soldered to the motherboard.
The lackluster display is really the only sour note of this 15.6-inch gaming laptop. The screen’s dreadfully narrow viewing angles makes plugging in an external screen an absolutely necessity for long gaming sessions. That said, the screen doesn’t completely ruin everything for this machine as it has excellent contrast and color rendition, so it’ll be bearable for users taking this machine on the go.
The Origin EON15-X also comes with a surprisingly light amount of flash storage by default. Adding a bigger SSD on Origin’s site can get expensive, so we would suggest looking into beefing up these two specs of the laptop yourself.
With a desktop processor onboard you might think the Origin EON15-X was only meant for users who need an extra processor kick for creating media, but it’s simply a great value proposition.
For $2,507 (about £1,710, AU$3,355) you can’t get a better best processor and GPU combo inside of a gaming laptop without choosing a model that does SLI. While the Alienware 15 and Acer Predator 15 are more affordable and portable options, the EON15-X delivers significantly more performance with its desktop processor, especially in games with AI-controlled characters.
The Origin EON15-X is the only bested by machines running a full desktop chip setup. However, the EON17-SLX and Octane II Pro are more expensive and far heavier options.
The Origin EON15-X on the other hand, packs a ton of power into a much smaller 15.6-inch package that’s great in almost every way. This machine is definitely worth consideration over all others.
Source: Tech Radar