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Origin PC Eon15-X (2015) review: A gaming laptop that's part desktop

Review Sections

Ports and connections

Video DisplayPort (x2); HDMI
Audio Headphone, microphone, S/PDIF output, line-in
Data 4 USB 3.0; SD card reader; eSATA
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0

Connections, performance and battery

One nice thing about a big, bulky gaming laptop is that you're usually not going to run short of ports and connections. In this case, there are three separate video outputs, two full-size DisplayPort ones and a single HDMI, plus three USB 3.0 ports, and even an eSATA connection. That's a data port most commonly used in some external hard drives a few years ago, which shows that this isn't exactly the newest laptop design on the block.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With a desktop CPU, in this case an Intel Core i7-4790K, paired with a mobile graphics chip, the excellent Nvidia 980M, it makes sense to compare this system to both desktops and laptops. Our biggest, baddest desktops of the moment, from Origin PC and Maingear, have Haswell-E desktop CPUs from Intel, and each has three of the latest desktop GPUs, the new Titan-X. These desktops cost two to three times as much as the Eon15-X, and they perform much faster (we used the Maingear scores in our charts below), although the difference is less pronounced in nongaming applications, where the the desktop CPU in the Eon15-X really shines.

As we expected going in, the game frame-rates in this laptop closely match a couple of other systems with the same GeForce GTX 980M GPU, so trading up to this model over a laptop with a mobile CPU only really gives you an edge in nongaming performance, as in the case of our multitasking test.

In games, the Eon15-X, an earlier Eon17-S from Origin PC and the Asus G751J , all with the Nvidia 980M, scored within a few frames of each other in our Bioshock Infinite and Metro: Last Light tests at 1,920x1,080 resolution. The more-expensive desktops with the Titan-X cards blew all these laptops away in those tests, which is to be expected. Meanwhile, a laptop with the much more mainstream Nvidia 860M GPU gave us about half the frame rate in both of those tests.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Anecdotally, we hooked the Eon15-X up to a 4K display and loaded up the just-released PC version of Grand Theft Auto V. There, we were able to crank the resolution up to 4K, while turning nearly all the in-game graphics settings up to high or very high, while maintaining a solid frame rate and a very smooth, playable experience. When we did hit hiccups, dialing back things like draw distance and shadow complexity helped a lot.

Of course, playing a high-end game at either 1080p or 4K resolution is going to be something you do with the laptop plugged in to AC power. Gaming laptops aren't known for great performance when unplugged -- or for long battery life. Even though the large body on the Eon15-X gives it plenty of room for a big battery, this system has the shortest battery life of any of the gaming laptops we compared it to, running for only 2:30 on our video-playback battery-drain test. That's understandable because, unlike a laptop with a mobile processor, the included desktop CPU here simply isn't designed to run as efficiently or with the same eye towards battery life.

Conclusion

There are slimmer, lighter, more upscale-looking gaming laptops out there. But the audience for this unique laptop/desktop hybrid isn't looking for something that's as slim as a MacBook Pro, and that can play some games causally on weekends. This is for someone who is a serious gamer, but still just enough on the mobile side that the idea of going all-in on a standalone gaming desktop just doesn't make sense yet.

Adding a desktop CPU to a mobile GPU doesn't actually do all that much for gaming performance. But, it only adds a bit to the size and weight, compared to other high-end, 4K-ready gaming laptops, and the price isn't much more than a decent comparable configuration with a mobile processor. What you do get is a nice bump in non-gaming performance in some of our tests, which can make this system more useful for all the hours when you're not gaming, when you just need a powerful desktop replacement computer.

Handbrake Multimedia Multitasking test

Maingear Shift (Titan X)
76
Origin PC Eon15-X
129
Origin PC Eon17-S (980M)
154
Asus G751J-DH71
165
HP Omen
167

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test

Maingear Shift (Titan X)
141
HP Omen
164
Origin PC Eon15-X
169
Origin PC Eon17-S (980M)
181
Asus G751J-DH71
192

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds)

Apple iTunes encoding test

Maingear Shift (Titan X)
67
Origin PC Eon15-X
69
Origin PC Eon17-S (980M)
77
HP Omen
88
Asus G751J-DH71
89

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds)

Video-playback battery-drain test

Origin PC Eon17-S (980M)
252
Asus G751J-DH71
194
HP Omen
191
Origin PC Eon15-X
150

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

Bioshock Infinite gaming test

Maingear Shift (Titan X)
304
Asus G751J-DH71
115
Origin PC Eon17-S (980M)
111
Origin PC Eon15-X
110
HP Omen
51

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Metro: Last Light gaming test

Maingear Shift (Titan X)
110
Asus G751J-DH71
46
Origin PC Eon15-X
44
Origin PC Eon17-S (980M)
44
HP Omen
19

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

System configurations

Origin PC Eon15-X Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 4GHz Intel Core i7 4790K ; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD 5,400rpm
HP Omen Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 4710HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M; 512GB SSD
Asus G751J-DH71 Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ; 24GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M; 256GB SSD, 1TB 7,200rpm HDD
Origin PC Eon17-S (980M) Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 3.1GHz Intel Core i7-4940MX; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 8192MB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M; RAID 0 (2) 120GB SSD, 1TB 5,400rpm HDD
Maingear Shift (Titan X) Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 4.5GHz Intel Core i7-5960X; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 12GB (x3) Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X; RAID 0 (2) 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD

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