With the updated Eon17-SLX, Origin PC didn't just throw caution to the wind -- it mulched and pulverized it first. Thanks to Nvidia's new Pascal GPUs, the company is refreshing its already awesome line of notebooks with the 10 Series branch. The $2,650 base model in this series starts with an overclocked Intel Core i7 processor, a 4K display and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU.
But I didn't review the base model. I had a rip-roaring time with a $4,708 laptop outfitted with an overclocked 4.5-GHz Core i7, desktop CPU; a stunning 4K Nvidia G-Sync display; a crazy-fast pair of PCI-e solid-state drives; and two VR-ready, extremely powerful GTX 1080 GPUs. My resulting time with the souped-up behemoth was full of speedy game launches, inordinately high frame rates and smooth VR experiences. The only slight downside was the incredibly short battery life. Overall, using the Eon17-SLX was a blast, and you should experience this machine if you can spend the money.
The Eon17-SLX 10 Series lorded over my desk with its sleek yet imposing frame. The black plastic lid is free of adornment, save for the white Origin PC logo in the center and the pair of lights accentuating the notebook's otherwise subtle lines.
When lit, they pulse enticingly with the promise of unfettered power. The rear vents feature a stylish honeycomb pattern that, when paired with the laptop's overall size, evokes visions of a futuristic tank.
As always, Origin PC offers myriad ways to customize a laptop from top to bottom, including a choice between a $225 metallic lid (seven color choices), a $299 paint job (eight pattern options) or a $200 custom paint job.
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Other than the backlit keyboard glowing with anticipation, the interior is rather plain. The power button sits at the top of the smooth, black deck, nestled between status lights. The palm rest is spacious and home to a rather large touchpad.
Along the right side of the laptop, you'll find a single USB 3.0 port with a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, two mini DisplayPorts, an SD card reader and a secure lock slot. Three USB 3.0 ports sit on the left, along with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and jacks for headphones, microphone, S/PDIF and an amp.
Because it weighs a hernia-inducing 12.8 pounds, you'll want to lift the 17 x 12 x 1.9-inch Eon17-SLX with your knees. It almost made fellow giants like the MSI GT83VR Titan SLI (11.6 pounds, 18 x 13.3 x 1.7~2.7 inches), Acer Predator 17 X (10 pounds, 16.7 x 12.7 x 1.8 inches) and Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition (8.9 pounds, 16.4 x 12.7 x 0.8~1.5 inches) seem light by comparison.
Similar to the Titan SLI, the Eon17-SLX also relies on a power-adapter dongle to connect its two 2.6-pound power bricks, bringing the Eon17-SLX's weight to a whopping 18 pounds.
The Eon17-SLX's 3840 x 2160 (4K) display is a font of color and detail. When watching the Fences trailer on the 17.3-inch matte screen, I marveled at how the ruddy red-brick wall behind actress Viola Davis enhanced the richness of her mahogany skin and the deep green of the errant plants in the background. Details were crisp enough that I could see the various fissures and pockmarks in the old cement holding the bricks in place.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looked absolutely resplendent. The detail in the 4K panel was so sharp that I could see the stitching in the pair of scabbards strung across Geralt's back. As I rode into town, I saw a lake and stopped long enough to admire the cerulean liquid and the wispy fog floating above as the sky slowly transformed from a deep blush pink to a piercing crystal blue.
The colors, man -- the colors! The Eon17-SLX's panel can reproduce a ridiculous 177 percent of the sRGB color gamut (100 percent is considered excellent), destroying the 128 percent desktop-replacement average. The G752VS (114 percent), Predator 17 X (112 percent) and Titan SLI (111 percent) paled by comparison.
When we measured the color accuracy, the Eon17-SLX's display hit 1 (0 is ideal), beating the 1.3 average as well as the Titan SLI (1.3) and the Predator 17 X (1.1). However, it couldn't overcome the G752VS' score of 0.88.
The Eon17-SLX's panel served up a dazzling 335 nits on our brightness test, casting a shadow over the 296-nit category average. The G752VS wasn't too far behind, at 326 nits, while the Predator 17 X and Titan SLI produced 288 and 275 nits, respectively.
G-Sync: Now in 4K
The Eon17-SLX is one of the first gaming laptops Laptop Mag has tested that has a 4K panel that supports Nvidia's G-Sync technology. In a nutshell, the technology syncs up the laptop's display rate with the graphics card, essentially placing a frame cap that matches the panel limit. That makes for near-instant rendering in both full-screen and windowed modes, thus eliminating any tears, and leaving smooth images and happy gamers.
The combination of Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 software and the Eon17-SLX's speakers and subwoofer is like having a symphony in a box as I traversed the land of The Witcher 3. Haunting, melancholy strings were my near-constant companions as I explored the game, at times giving way to birds chirping or the ominous screeching of a nearby monster.
Jill Scott's sultry alto on "Fools Gold" was buoyed by a harp and pulsing bass line from speakers that filled our lab with loud, clear and spacious audio. Out of the eight audio profiles (Voice, Music, Adventure, Action, Driving Simulation, Real Time Strategy, First Person Shooter and Movie), I found that Adventure gave me the best performance for gaming and multimedia purposes.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Fingerprint Reader
Unlike most gaming laptops, the Eon17-SLX has a traditional keyboard where the keys touch, but the raised key caps give the illusion of space. Despite the keys' excellent 2 millimeters of travel, the 50 grams of actuation force required made for a less-responsive typing experience than I would have liked. Still, I hit my 65-word-per-minute average with little fuss on the 10fastfingers.com typing test.
It wouldn't be a gaming laptop without some customizable backlighting. Origin PC's GameFeet software allows you to assign colors to the four designated zones on the laptop, but it's a bit rudimentary. You simply pick a zone, a color and one of the eight effects, and you're good to go. GameFeet also can be used to record macros and keystrokes. Razer's Synapse software lets you customize every single key on the keyboard with a macro. As far as lighting, Razer allows you to paint with all the colors of the wind and then some, offering a whopping 16.8 million hues and several spellbinding effects.
The 4.2 x 2.4-inch touchpad responded fluidly to all of my taps, swipes and scrolls, while the pair of discrete mouse keys delivered bouncy feedback. Instead of banishing the fingerprint reader to some far-flung corner of the laptop, Origin PC integrated it into the upper-left corner of the touchpad. Although my fingers kept hitting the scanner, it never launched its accompanying software unless I deliberately performed a downward swipe over it.
Graphics, Gaming and VR
Origin PC crams not one, but two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI configuration -- each packing a massive 8GB of VRAM -- into this machine. That extra power translates into some smoking frame rates on traditional games, with the added fun of being VR-ready.
Speaking of virtual reality, when we ran the Steam VR performance test, the Eon17-SLX went full-on Spinal Tap, notching an 11. That beats the Predator 17 X and the gaming laptop average (8.1). The G752VS pulled down 10.5, while the Titan SLI delivered 10.1. That places the Eon17-SLX in the Very High quadrant of the test, which means this beast can take whatever your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive throws at it.
While exploring the ruins of what I thought was an abandoned settlement in The Witcher 3, I encountered a group of bandits. Unsheathing my steel sword, I quickly went to work, whittling down the crowd. I rushed the archer, dispatching him with a few quick strikes. Geralt's Nvidia HairWorks-treated locks whipped realistically around his face, at a stutter-free 81 fps on Ultra at 3840 x 2160.
When we ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Very High at 1080p), the Eon17-SLX hit 81 fps, blowing past the 57-fps category average. Equipped with its own pair of Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs, the Titan SLI netted 72 fps, while the G752VS and its single Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU notched 52 fps.
On the Grand Theft Auto V test, the Eon17-SLX hit a monstrous 121 fps, shattering the 91-fps average. The Titan SLI hit 111 fps, and the G752VS trailed at 69 fps. During the Hitman benchmark, the Eon17-SLX notched 103 fps, beating the 81-fps average as well as the G752VS (89 fps) and the Titan SLI (82 fps).
What better way to go full-on ridiculous with a gaming laptop than by adding a desktop processor? Similar to its predecessor, the updated Eon17-SLX is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU with 16GB of RAM. Oh, and don't bother overclocking it, because Origin PC already did it for you, boosting the clock speed to a crazy 4.5 GHz. Spreadsheets, videos, documents and images should beware. I watched an episode of Black Butler while running a full system scan with 20 open Google Chrome tabs with nary a stutter.
The Eon17-SLX notched 17,994 on the synthetic performance test, Geekbench 3, just barely beating the 17,861 desktop-replacement average. Keep in mind that we've tested several notebooks with desktop processors, which have raised the average way above normal. The Intel Core i7-6820HK CPU-equipped G752VS Titan SLI and Predator 17 X scored 15,563, 14,765 and 13,763, respectively.
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On the File Transfer test, the Eon17-SLX's dual 256GB NVMe PCI-e M.2 SSDs duplicated 4.97GB of mixed media files in 12 seconds, for a rate of 424.1 megabytes per second, missing the 552.6-MBps category average. Equipped with a 512GB PCI-e SSD and dual 256GB SSDs, the Titan SLI and Predator 17 X were in a dead heat at 727 MBps. The G752VS' lone 256GB PCI-e M.2 SSD was the clear winner, at 848.2 MBps.
However, the Eon17-SLX netted itself a small measure of revenge on the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test. It paired 20,000 names and addresses in 3 minutes and 9 seconds, beating the 3:28 category average. The Predator 17 X, Titan SLI and G752VS were slower, at 3:35, 3:26 and 3:23, respectively.
An overclocked CPU, a pair of powerful GPUs and a G-Sync display are the ingredients for laughably poor battery life. The Eon17-SLX lasted only 1 hour and 25 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi).
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That's far below the 4:27 desktop-replacement average. The Titan SLI, with its similar setup, didn't do much better, at 1:54. The Predator 17 X lasted 3:13, while the G752VS finished at 3:42.
The speakers on the Eon17-SLX are loud, but its fans might give them a run for their money. When I started playing The Witcher 3, the fans roared into life almost immediately. It's not so bad when you've got the speakers cranked up, but drop the audio down to about 50 percent, and it becomes a distraction.
The fans do keep the system relatively cool, though. After 15 minutes of gameplay, the touchpad measured 84 degrees Fahrenheit, while the touchpad hit 93 degrees. The bottom vents, however, blew a hot 130 degrees, which is above our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Strangely, certain areas on the Eon17-SLX were hotter during nongaming activities, like streaming a 1080p YouTube video. The touchpad and space between the G and H keys measured 91 and 95 degrees, respectively, while the bottom reached 103 degrees.
The 1920 x 1080 integrated webcam on the Eon17-SLX is pretty darned color accurate, capturing the exact shade of my rust-red shirt and charcoal-gray jacket. The details, while somewhat fuzzy, were good enough to see the folds in my jacket and some stray hairs sticking out of my locks.
Software and Warranty
Like any good gaming laptop, the Eon17-SLX is joyfully light on bloatware. Outside of your usual Windows 10 apps, most of the third-party apps are focused on refining your gaming experience.
Nvidia GeForce Experience, for example, is a cache of apps that can optimize your system settings to get the best frame rate while you're gaming, boost your battery or broadcast your gaming prowess to the world at large. Killer Network allows you to quickly assess your networking speeds and activity, while DataColor's Spyder4Elite software color-calibrates your display.
Netflix and Twitter are also preloaded onto the system.
The Origin PC Eon17-SLX comes with a one-year part-replacement warranty with 24/7 U.S.-based support and lifetime free labor.
My version of the Eon17-SLX costs $4,708 and comes loaded up with an overclocked 4.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6700K processor with 16GB of RAM; dual 256GB NVMe PCI-e M.2 SSDs with a 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive; a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs with 8GB of VRAM each; and a 4K Nvidia G-Sync display.
The $2,650 base model features a 3.2-GHz Intel Core i5-6500 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 120GB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU and a 4K Nvidia G-Sync panel.
Any way you slice it, the Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series is a hell of a gaming laptop. For $4,708, you get an absolute beast of a machine that will tear through any activity you throw at it -- even virtual reality. While the performance quotient is impressive, the 4K Nvidia G-Sync display is an experience in and of itself -- one that, unfortunately, many PC gamers will miss due to the price.
Although it lacks dual GPUs and a gorgeous 4K display, the $2,499 Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition can give you a small taste of paradise. The $2,650 base model of the Eon17-SLX is also an option; it also features a desktop CPU and the 4K panel. You'll just have to settle for a single GTX 1070 GPU. Overall, the Eon17-SLX 10 Series is one of the VR-ready gaming laptops to beat.