A new crop of low-cost but reasonably fast gaming systems has been made possible by Nvidia’s recent GTX 1050 Ti graphics processor, including the Lenovo Legion Y520,, and . Origin PC joins the fray with its Eon15-S, breaking new price ground for the custom-build company which traditionally sticks to pricier territory. And based on the latest model of the Eon15-S, I’d say Origin does budget with class, though a little more expensively than some.
The 1050 GTX Ti-equipped notebook buyer likes an afternoon of demon face-punching, but doesn’t don’t care about setting any frame-rate records and can’t tell the difference between 4x and 8x supersampling while running through a swamp. Or does care and can tell, but by necessity is okay trading some speed and quality for price.
Several qualities elevate the Eon15-S above the rest of the crowd. Like the VX 15 and Y520, the Origin incorporates a matte IPS display panel, but the Origin’s looks better — a lot better in the case of the VX 15. (Dell recently introduced a matte IPS option for its Inspiron 15 7000 that’s probably comparable, but I haven’t seen it).
It also has two — two!! — Mini DisplayPort connectors, one on the GPU bus and therefore capable of driving a G-Sync-compatible monitor. That means it can support a total of 3 external displays, with the third on HDMI.
Plus, it has a removable battery, not only a rarity these days but especially for its price class. Of course, given the measly 4.3-hour battery life on our streaming video test, you may want to stock up on them.
Our $1,200 test configuration, with a quad-core Core i5-7300HQ and 8GB memory, performed reasonably well — about the same as similarly equipped systems. As you’d expect, Origin offers a myriad of configuration options starting at $1,000 and which can take you well past the $4,000 mark.
For speed-intensive gamers, I think it’s worth spending a little more if you can, bumping up to 16GB of the 2.4GHz memory and a faster — or at least more consistently fast — Samsung 960 Evo SSD for your primary drive rather than the Intel model in our evaluation unit. It only adds about $100 (£78, AU$135) to the price, but I suspect will improve performance. (I think it’s responsible for the relatively not-terrific Multitasking Multimedia benchmark result.)
Origin PC Eon15-S (2017)
|Price as reviewed||$1,199|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display|
|PC CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ|
|PC Memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti|
|Storage||256GB SSD+1TB HDD; SD card slot|
|Ports||1 x Ethernet; 2 x Mini DisplayPort (1 x G-Sync); 1 x HDMI; 1 x USB-C; 3 x USB 3 (1 charging); mic; headphone/audio|
|Networking||802.11ac Bluetooth 4.2|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
You can configure the Eon15-S on Origin PC’s Australia site, where it starts at AU$1,550, but that least-expensive setup is pretty limited. According to the US representative, the price of our test configuration should be roughly AU$1,650, but there didn’t seem to be a way to build one that cheap at review time (Mine came out closer to AU$2,300). The company doesn’t have a UK-specific site, but it will ship worldwide; at current exchange rates, our configuration would cost in the neighborhood of £931, and for an extra $41 (AU$53, directly converted £32), it will pack the laptop in a padded wooden crate for safer shipping and that that your cat will love after the unboxing.
After the hairpin turns, it’s all straightaway
The 1,920×1,080-pixel display is comparatively good, and with a 141 pixel-per-inch pixel density it’s pretty sharp. But it’s still got some issues for fast-moving games, which tend to vary by title. Like many laptop displays, the vertical refresh rate tops out at 60Hz, which presents issues if you’ve got a game that hits inconsistent frame rates. For instance, in Doom, it stuttered a bit at 90fps and beyond, and the intro sequence in Metro: Last Light had a case of the wobblies (though the game didn’t).
Plus, it doesn’t have a big dynamic range. In order to be able to see while Artyom stuck to the shadows in MLL I had to bump the gamma way up, which blew some scenes out unpleasantly. Other games, such as Doom, Bioshock Infinite and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looked better with tweaked but more reasonable gamma settings, but in those games you don’t run around frantically turning off lights or hunkering in high-contrast, decrepit subway tunnels.
Connecting to a G-Sync external display solved most of the refresh and visibility issues, though. Through the G-Sync-enabled Mini DisplayPort, the laptop drove a 2,850×1,440as high as 144Hz without issues and a 1,920×1,080 Acer Predator XB272 at up to 240Hz (as well as in Dynamic Super Resolution mode at a lower refresh).