Introduction and design
Desktop parts have been slowly making their way into gaming laptops for a while now. First, it started with full-sized processors making their way into machines like the Origin EON15-X.
Then, Nvidia put its desktop-grade GTX 980 chip in multiple mobile gaming machines. But, what if you could have all of that desktop power crammed into one “portable” rig?
We finally have that answer with the Origin EON17-SLX. This monstrous 17-inch machine packs an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 980 for the ultimate gaming machine you can – with the help of inertia – sling onto your back.
There isn’t anything small about the Origin EON17-SLX. Although already a sizable 17-inch gaming laptop, it still looks like the device is almost bursting with hardware. The screen lid features a noticeable bump, meanwhile, the sides barely taper off.
Of course, this could have all been done by design, as the first Xbox was made exude the idea that it was exploding with power.
On top of its chunky exterior, the Origin EON17-SLX looks more like a Lamborghini than ever. Almost every corner runs off at a slanted angle to ensure that no part of this machine is shaped like a traditionally rectangular notebook.
Likewise, all of the vents are massive and covered by a metal mesh atypical of Italian supercars. Of course, instead of cooling a high-power engine, the EON17-SLX needs all of this ventilation (including two big front intakes) to keep its immense hearth cool.
Looking at the laptop from behind, the screen lid is illuminated by two Y-shaped strips of light that are eerily similar to the headlights on the Lamborghini Aventador and Veneno.
A unique styling of its own
However, this 17-inch laptop doesn’t look like a knock-off Lamborghini trapped in a laptop. I like the aggressive styling, and there are some unique aesthetics to appreciate.
The center-positioned hinge is an uncommon choice, something I’ve only seen on the Lenovo ideapad Y900 otherwise. From afar, it looks almost like the 17-inch screen is hovering over the base, and it’s one of the laptop’s cooler features.
You might have some concerns over the giant display being held up by a single plastic arm, but the hinge is beefy and seems to be durable enough to last for years.
Just below the hinge, you’ll also find the massive power button, which glows and creates a burst of light that shoots out sideways when you turn the machine on.
Specifications and value
With a nearly completely desktop-grade chipset stuffed into a 17-inch laptop, the Origin EON17-SLX is easily one of the heaviest laptops I’ve ever reviewed – and I’ve carried some absurdly huge laptops around in my day.
Weighing in at 10.5 pounds (4.76kg) and measuring 16.8 x 12 x 1.8 inches (W x D x H; 42.7 x 30.4. x 4.57cm), you’ll definitely need a new bag. Even if this isn’t your first 17-inch laptop, it puts many big rigs to shame with its chunkier dimensions and weight.
This desktop-powered notebook even sticks it to the 9.9-pound (4.49kg) MSI GT80 Titan – though, not the 12.06-pound Alienware 18 – and it has a full-sized mechanical keyboard. That said, the Titan is a bit larger overall, with its 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93-inch (45.6 x 33 x 4.9 cm) dimensions.
Interestingly, the PC Specialist Octane II Pro is a lighter 8.33 pounds (3.78kg) despite packing a nearly identical spec sheet. This high-end PC from across the pond is also slightly more petite at 16.4 x 11.6 x 1.92 inches (41.8 x 29.53 x 4.9cm).
Here is the Origin EON17-SLX configuration sent to techradar for review:
- CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM) desktop GPU w/ G-SYNC
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz, 4 x 4GB)
- Screen: 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS Matte Display with G-SYNC
- Storage: 256GB Samsung 950 Pro SSD (PCIe, m.2 SATA); 1TB Seagate Solid State Hybrid Drive (7,200 rpm)
- Ports: 5 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI, 2 x mini DisplayPort, SD card reader, 2 x Ethernet, headphone jack, microphone jack, Line-in jack,
- Connectivity: Killer Wireless AC 1535 Dual Band +BT (Killer Doubleshot Pro enabled)
- Camera: Built-in 2.0MP video camera
- Weight: 10.5 pounds
- Size: 16.8 x 12 x 1.8 inches (W x D x H)
Even by the most extreme standards, this $3,305 (about £2,341, AU$4,114) loadout for the EON17-SLX you see above is bonkers. It comes equipped with the fastest Skylake desktop processor you can buy today. While the Nvidia GTX 980 isn’t the highest-end GPU anymore, thanks to the GTX 980 Ti and Titan X, it’s still a respectable card – especially with 8GB of video memory onboard.
You also have copious amounts of DDR4 memory on hand for more multitasking capacity than you’ll ever need. The 256GB SSD is fairly standard for a gaming laptop, but I recommend upgrading. (I recommend doing it yourself, since it’s easy to pop off the underside upgrade panel.)
While our rig only came with an “OK” 1080p panel, Origin tells me they will have an optional 4K display panel coming soon.
Of course, all this power isn’t necessary for everyone and, if you’d rather start on the ground floor, the SLX starts at $2,101 (about £1,478, AU$2,834). At that price bracket, the SLX comes outfitted with a quad-core, 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 6500 chip, an Nvidia GTX 970 (6GB of VRAM) and 8GB of RAM.
But, honestly, if you’re aiming the ball so low with mobile parts, you would be better off picking up Origin’s thin-and-light EVO15-S. Alternatively, if you still need a 17-inch screen, the Origin EON17-X comes with a smaller chassis and price tag.
Packing the same power as our review unit, the PC Specialist Octane Pro is a fine alternative, too. It comes priced at £1,899 (about $2,648, or AU$3,669), so it’s not only cheaper, but it comes equipped with double the amount of flash storage. That said, you’re going to have to factor in the cost of importing, as PC Specialist is a UK-only brand.
The MSI GT80 Titan is easier to obtain from almost every corner of the world, and it brings its unique mechanical keyboard to the table. Unlike the Octane or the SLX, the MSI comes running a mobile chipset and, at $4,599 (£3,989, AU$6,499), this includes a 2.9GHz Intel i7-6920HQ with dual Nvidia GTX 980M GPUs in SLI.
For three grand, you can easily build yourself a top notch gaming desktop plus a monitor, keyboard, mouse and many more non-essential bits. However, if you need all of the desktop-grade processing power you can get for video editing on the go, then it makes sense to get the SLX.
The Octane II is a slightly more approachable alternative because of its lighter weight and smaller price tag. I prefer Origin’s styling, but ultimately what part of the world you live in will be the deciding factor of picking between these two systems.
The MSI GT80 Titan is, categorically, the most expensive gaming laptop out of this trio. It reveals an interesting wrinkle in which high-end desktop parts end up making the SLX and Octane more affordable options than a fully decked out mobile system.
Performance and features
You’ll never feel a lack of power with the Origin EON17-SLX – I mean, how could you with this over-the-top setup? It absolutely decimates games at Full HD, allowing you to run them on max settings without having to worry about dipping frame rates.
In fact, I never saw the frame rate dip below 75 frames per second, matching the 75hz refresh rate of the display. That is, until I turned on the taxing SSAA anti-aliasing option in Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Here’s how the Origin EON17-SLX performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 14,980; Sky Diver: 15,919; Fire Strike: 12,041
- Cinebench CPU: 970 points; Graphics: 74.72 fps,
- GeekBench: 4,704 (single-core); 18,775 (multi-core)
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4,700 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 2 hours and 11 minutes
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 100 fps; (1080p, Low): 209 fps
- GTA V: (1080p, Ultra): 41 fps; (1080p, Low): 172 fps
You better believe this machine can bench, lift, curl or just toss away any test you throw at it. The graphical and processing performance you can squeeze out of this 17-inch notebook is almost excessive when you look at PCMark scores of 4,700 points and a 12,041-point 3DMark result.
The desktop Nvidia GTX 980 might be a small part, but it gives the EON7-SLX a noticeable step up over its Nvidia GTX980M-powered relative, the EON17-X. Here’s a quick look at how that laptop performed in the same tests:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 28,335; Sky Diver: 24,992; Fire Strike: 8,811
- Cinebench CPU: 878 points; Graphics: 131 fps,
- GeekBench: 4,319 (single-core); 16,921 (multi-core)
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4,703 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 2 hours and 17 minutes
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 73 fps; (1080p, Low): 163 fps
- Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 39 fps; (1080p, Low): 154 fps
The performance discrepancy between mobile and desktop-grade parts grows even wider when looking at the MSI GT80 Titan‘s results. Even with the system fully loaded with a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor and two Nvidia GTX 980M chips, it could only achieve a PCMark 8 Fire Strike scores of 4,034 and 11,770 points, respectively.
Interestingly, MSI GT80 performed better in the middling to low-end graphics stressing benchmarks. This is likely due to the dual 980M’s giving the Titan double the amount of memory compared to Origin’s system This means the GT80 will be better at certain tasks, such as Photoshop and 3D modeling, but not the most graphically intense games.
The PC Specialist Octane II Pro proves to be a more formidable challenger, but that’s obvious because it’s outfitted with nearly the same configuration. Regardless, the PC Specialist build rendered a lower Fire Strike score of 11,103 points. Surprisingly, it trumped the SLX in the PCMark 8 benchmark test, where it scored 4,972 points.
On the big screen
Though my review sample only came with a 1080p display, leaving me wanting for a higher-res 4K panel, I’m largely pleased with its image quality. Origin has formulated the perfect anti-glare coating that is effective without washing out colors or contrast.
That said, colors don’t exactly pop off the screen, but they’re present and strong. More importantly, the display renders plenty of contrast, which is indispensable for exploring the dark caverns in Rise of the Tomb Raider – or finding campers lurking in the shadows.
I was also impressed by the 2.1 stereo sound setup on the Origin EON17-SLX. There are two large, neatly placed speakers above the keyboard, and with all the given space, the drivers have enough room to vibrate without creating any nasty distortion.
There’s also a subwoofer tucked on the underside of the laptop, and you can feel the notebook hop up slightly when you’re playing bass heavy songs, like the Mortal Kombat Annihilation movie theme – don’t ask why it was playing.
Small on battery
From the 17-inch screen, booming sound to the desktop hardware, this Origin machine would have been big on everything if it weren’t for battery life. From my testing, the run time you can squeeze out of this machine is roughly two and a half hours (techradar’s standard movie test drew out 2 hour and 29 minutes.
Of course, this is a pretty poor showing for a laptop, but it’s hard to call the SLX portable at all when it’s built with two desktop parts.
Still, the Octane II Pro performed better, getting through techradar’s 1080p video loop test at 2 hours and 50 minutes. The MSI GT80 Titan, meanwhile, lasted for 2 hours and 8 minutes on the lightest workload I could give it.
The Origin EON17-SLX is absurd in the best sense of the word. It’s literally a desktop you can fold up and carry around – that is, if you’re up for toting around a 10.5-pound system. All the while, it has barely enough battery life to get through a feature film. But, you can almost forgive those limitations when you sit down and get to work (or play).
Using the Origin EON17-SLX to its fullest potential and barely running into performance hiccups is a liberating experience. Being able to just play games at their maximum settings willy-nilly takes huge a load off your mind and makes every experience easier to enjoy.
Beyond gaming, I used the 17-inch rig as an actual desktop replacement for several weeks and found it to be more powerful in every way, from running Lightroom that much faster to even editing video in a café.
Of course, all that power comes at a cost for the Origin EON17-SLX. Carrying around a 10.5-pound system weighs on you heavily, especially when you’d have to constantly run from outlet to outlet just to keep it on while traveling.
While I love this system for all the power and style it has, I also can’t get past its limited battery life. This is also a prohibitively expensive system, well out of the budgets of most gamers who, at this point, are likely thinking of getting a gaming desktop.
It makes almost no sense for any average user – or even most PC gamers – to pick up this system, as it will be absolute overkill. (Though, there’s something to be said for future-proofing.)
That said, if you’re a hardcore gamer who craves an absolutely baller set up, but barely has enough room for a PC case, this could be an ideal solution. I can also see the Origin EON17-SLX in the hands of professionals who need to create media on the road and might partake in the occasional fragging session.
If anything, the EON17-SLX shows that yes, you can stuff a fully-powered desktop system into a laptop chassis – and surprisingly, it’s cheaper than one loaded with the best mobile parts.