Origin EON17-SLX (2013) review: 2-GPU gaming laptop that's powerful, not pretty

Speaking of the new next-gen game consoles, a high-end gaming PC such as this is a pointed counterargument to the very idea of "next-gen" consoles, as the EON17-SLX is already far more powerful than the PS4 or Xbox One in terms of being able to push high-detail, high-resolution images at high frame rates. Some games, such as Battlefield 4, simply look their best on a powerful gaming PC. Others, such as Skyrim or XCOM: Enemy Unknown, either offer a more in-depth experience or better controls on the PC platform. With a half-decade or more between console hardware upgrades, investing in top-of-the-line CPU/GPU hardware feels more future-proof in some ways.

But, we should also be realistic. I'm comparing $400-$500 living room consoles with a $4,000-plus gaming laptop. For sheer value, the next-gen consoles represent a great opportunity for game fans.

Still, it's hard to resist the combination of two GeForce 780M graphics cards in an SLI configuration, along with the high-end Intel Core i7-4930MX processor, a step up from the Core i7-4900MQ in our Alienware 18 review unit. It won't surprise you that this beat recent Alienware and Toshiba gaming laptops in most (but not all) of our benchmark tests, even if the margin was small. At this level of performance, mainstream applications, even heavily multitasked, are no problem.

It's the gaming performance that we're really interested in. The EON17-SLX 17, as configured, ran our BioShock Infinite test (high settings, 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution) at 117 frames per second. The Alienware 18, with dual GPUs, ran the same test at 141 frames per second (and a single-GPU Alienware 17 got 71fps in this test). The very challenging Metro: Last Light test flipped the results, giving the EON17-SLX the top score of 41.7fps, with 35.3 for the SLI Alienware 18 and 18.7fps for the single-GPU Alienware 17. Anecdotally, Battlefield 4 ran at Ultra settings at full 1080p resolution with no problem.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The larger takeaway is, configure two of Nvidia's current top-end graphics card into any big, bulky gaming laptop and you're going to get amazing performance.

There is a price to pay for all that power, and it's shorter battery life. No one expects these monster laptops to run for very long away from an outlet, and true to form, the Origin ran for just 2 hours and 18 minutes, about evenly matched with the Alienware 18 and shorter, by a matter of hours, than several single-GPU gaming laptops we've tested.

Conclusion
With the excellent current high-end parts available from Intel and Nvidia, and something of a PC gaming renaissance going on right now, it's great time to be a PC gamer. Systems such as the Origin PC EON17-SLX, with powerful processors and battery-draining dual video cards, are a major investment, but they offer an experience beyond the game console. Keep in mind that there's a major living-room thrust coming from Steam, the PC game distributor, and systems such as this may become much more common in powering big-screen 10-foot experiences next year.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Origin EON17-SLX
176 
Alienware 17
194 
Alienware 18
200 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Origin EON17-SLX
80 

Multimedia multitasking, iTunes and HandBrake (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Origin EON17-SLX
164 
Alienware 17
170 
Alienware 18
181 

BioShock Infinite (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Alienware 18
141 
Origin EON17-SLX
117 

Metro: Last Light (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Origin EON17-SLX
41.67 
Alienware 18
35.33 
Alienware 17
18.67 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Alienware 17
220 
Alienware 18
145 
Origin EON17-SLX
138 

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System configurations

Alienware 17
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-4800MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GTX 780M; HDD No. 1 256GB LiteOn-IT SSD, HDD No. 2 750GB, 7,200rpm Western Digital

Toshiba Qosmio X75-A7298
Windows 8 (64-bit); Intel Core i7-4700MQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 770; 256GB SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm HD

Alienware 18
Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-4900MQ; 32GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; (2) 4GB Nvidia GTX 780M; HDD No. 1 512GB Samsung SSD, HDD No. 2 750GB, 7,200rpm Western Digital

Origin EON17-SLX
Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 3GHz Intel Core i7-4930MX; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz;(2) 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M; (2) 120GB SSD RAID 0 750GB 7,200rpm WD hard drive

What you'll pay

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    Origin EON17-SLX (2013)

    Part Number: CNEToriginEon17SLX2013
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    Quick Specifications See All

    • Regional specs shown for US. UK specs are unavailable.

    • Installed Size 16 GB
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