It’s an exciting time for laptop technology. In the past, gaming laptops have always been weaker than their desktop counterparts. But in the past two years, we’ve seen that change. NVIDIA’s RTX 30 Series graphics cards are incredibly powerful, with generational improvements in technology that power not only exponential improvements in shadows and light, but also game-changing features like Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), Reflex (reduced input latency), and more. Here’s our first look at our first Origin Laptop powered by an RTX 3080 graphics card, but if you think that’s all this new generation has to offer, keep reading for more information. Under the hood, the EON17-X 2021 model laptop from Origin Laptop PC has quite a bit going on, so let’s see what else it is capable offer.
The box, the case, and what’s inside will be discussed along with why it makes a difference. Pricing and personalization will also be discussed, though the decision to determine value is entirely up to you. Let’s run down the hardware without further ado.
ccording to its name, the EON17-X is a 17″ laptop – 17.3″ to be exact, giving it more screen than any laptop I’ve seen so far. Since I have used an Origin Laptop PC 17″ laptop for years in the past, I can attest that the extra space it provides over a 15″ laptop is far more valuable than the extra space it takes up in a backpack. Moreover, this panel will be available in three variations, either 144Hz (the default) or 300Hz 1080p G-SYNC (an extra $110 charge) for gaming at high frame rates, or 60Hz UHD (that’s 3840 x 2160, or 4K) for those who want a higher resolution with a 60Hz cap (an extra $317 charge). I personally would never want to go back to playing at less than 200fps, so I recommend the former option over the latter. It has an overall height of 1.7″ and a width of 15.7″ x a depth of 12.5″ and a weight of 8.3 lbs. This is not the lightweight, but neither is it the heaviest. With a bezel thickness of approximately 5mm, the monitor is incredibly sharp and bright. When opened, the device stands roughly 1.7″ tall. Its color depth is 100% accurate in aRGB space, which means whatever you see on the screen will be printed with the same color accuracy. You’ll be able to see it just fine, as the Origin Laptop pushes a strong 300 nits of brightness from the 1080p model, and 400 nits from the 4K version. Even when outside in direct sunlight, the brighter monitor (and its matte finish) reduce glare and reflections. In my testing, I never encountered any side reflections or glare in a well-lit room – mission accomplished!
Moving down the body of the device, we see the entire chassis is made of heat-dissipating aluminum, resulting in a more efficient cooling system. To make your laptop unique, you can opt for UV printing, laser engraving, or custom paint. It is also possible to hydro dip your laptop to give it an automobile-grade set of painted armor, though this will cost you $199. It has held up beautifully without so much as a scratch for over a year since I uploaded my own graphic for my Origin Laptop PC. The prints are crisp and durable, no matter what process the team uses.
With individual RGB lighting stock for each key, the keyboard is thankfully full-sized. Below the keyboard is an ample-sized touchscreen with an integrated fingerprint reader. Biometric locks are a must-have as the world moves away from password vaults instead of reusing “Password123” as their keys to banks, gyms, and everything in between, so it’s great to see them built into pretty much every touchpad we see nowadays.
I was surprised to see a few unexpected upgrades on the device around the side. In place of the single Mini DisplayPort 1.4 port we normally see, there are two mini DisplayPort 1.4 ports nestled right next to an HDMI 2.0 output port, which allows three additional displays to be connected if you don’t want to use a docking station. Another DisplayPort 1.4 (USB 3.2) port is provided via another Thunderbolt 3 Type C port. Need a fourth monitor? We’re getting into Flight Simulator territory now.
We now turn our attention to the USB ports. In addition to two Thunderbolt 3 ports, there is one USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type C port. All three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports deliver 10Gbps throughput. Utilizing two lanes, this USB port can transmit data at a rate of 20Gbps, which is double the rate of other USB ports. While the battle between USB 3.2, USB 4.0, and Thunderbolt 4 is yet to be fully played out, this is a welcome development in that it provides a bit of future proofing. WD_Black P50 portable drives are gaining popularity, and you can enjoy faster throughput now – a nice bonus.
In addition to the headphone/microphone jacks, there is a separate 2-in-1 jack for the microphone /S/PDIF optical output, a gigabit Ethernet port, and something we’ve missed from previous models – a 6-in-1 card reader. Photographers and videographers will enjoy the support for MMC / RSMMC / SD / miniSD / SDHC / SDHX up to UHS-II. Let’s talk about power now that all of that has been said.
A small cage keeps the power supplies off of the ground and is included with the EON17-X’s DC power ports. It’s no surprise that we’ll see a move to something like this, considering how much power the 3080 Max-Q has when it’s running at full speed. Nevertheless, it isn’t very portable – it’s a desktop in a case. You’ll be straining your shoulders by carrying two power supplies.
Now that we have seen the outside, let’s take a closer look inside.
This device is one of the biggest storage monsters on the market. A total of four m.2 slots are available, including a Gen4x4 NVMe slot. You can therefore use the EON17-X for storage purposes of up to 8TB, and yes – you can also run RAID for data protection. You will appreciate having a high-speed workspace when you work with large files like 4K video.
In its default configuration, this device ships with 32GB of RAM, but the EON17-X is capable of running 64GB of DDR4 at 3200Mhz if necessary. Many games don’t use that much RAM. However, Adobe Premiere Pro eats up every byte of RAM it can get its hands on. Compared to other Origin Laptop I’ve reviewed recently, this one is very easy to upgrade.
An Intel processor powers the Origin Laptop PC EON17-X 2021. With the RocketLake i9 8-core 11900K processor, you can get up to 5.3 GHz on the brand new 10th generation i5 10600K processor. Multi-core processing hasn’t been widely adopted by the gaming world, but content creation engines like Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve and the Adobe suite have. When you are rendering video, a powerful GPU along with the most cores you can throw at it will increase the speed of the process. The fact that Origin Laptop PC can be upgraded has made me a loyal customer for years. Interestingly, you can swap out the GPU as well as the processor using a few screws. Although this thing is configured with a 3080, and I don’t think I’ll see anything better on the horizon, if you go with something lower spec you can always add more power later. You are probably watching and reading this article because of the GPU, so I would like to discuss the 30-series chip which resides in this beast of a laptop.
NVidia’s 30-series GPUs have been a great success with the power profile and the ability to share CPU and GPU power. NVIDIA’s “resizable BAR” technology allows users to dynamically switch between the two at a moment’s notice. This beast can push more juice to both of its power supplies because of the second power supply. That is evident when we look at the benchmarks.
There has been a wide gap in performance between Origin Laptop GPUs of this generation and those of 4K. NVIDIA is just so far ahead of the power curve that the 3080 is bottlenecked by any CPU on the market at 1080p, humming along while waiting for the CPU to catch up. With 4K, the 3080 is strained, but the screen size of a 15″ or even 17″ laptop is just not big enough to take advantage of it. So, the plan is to run at 2K, commonly referred to as 1440p. While it isn’t an option on many laptops yet, it is the logical choice when it comes to power consumption, performance, portability, and graphics. In our benchmarks, you’ll see native 1080p measurements on the display, then 1440p on an external monitor, then 4K on a 4K TV.
Another change in nomenclature that can have a big impact is worth noting. The Aerospace industry inspired NVIDIA to designate their mobile GPUs with the “Max-Q” designation a few years ago. Max-Q is essentially a set of concepts aimed at achieving the optimal balance of power, cooling, portability, and noise. Each manufacturer has tried to outdo one another to have the quietest fans while also providing the best performance for several years. We noted that the Origin Laptop PC EVO15-S with RTX 2080 Max-Q was relatively quiet when we reviewed it last year. A Ryzen-powered EON15-X we reviewed at the time had a noise level equivalent to a vacuum cleaner. The Triton 500 from Asus, on the other hand, is barely louder than a church mouse. When you look at this device funny, the fans start spinning, and those are not quiet fans. At 66 decibels, they are approximately the same volume as a normal conversation. The EON17-X pushes a lot of air, but thankfully it does not have the same loud whine as its predecessors, since the team behind it seems to be learning. It is probably an understatement to say “your mileage may vary” on fan noise. Thus, to ask the question: How does Max-P work?
This designation has been unofficially used by manufacturers as “maximum performance”. More cooling is required as power increases, but laptops are getting thinner. In order to make games look amazing, you will need more power to drive the frames and pixels, but laptops are designed to be low-power devices. The problem is, laptops are designed to be low-power devices. RTX 3080 desktop cards won’t deliver the same performance as the RTX 3080 Max-Q embedded in this laptop, as we’ve seen in our reviews. Max-Q design is focused on controlling the ratio between CPU, GPU, and thermal exchange, because there will always be a power tradeoff between these three components. In this case, the P is merely marketing nonsense, as manufacturers like to play games with the language. What’s more important is to understand how your power supply interacts with your chips.
During the launch of the Ampere chipset in May of 2020, NVIDIA also released a technology called Dynamic Boost 2.0. In the past, GPUs and CPUs were essentially static and could only be tweaked by overclocking utilities. Dynamic Boost 2.0 instead allows power to be allocated dynamically, based on demand. AI can push power to the CPU, GPU, and GPU memory on a frame-by-frame basis, supplying up to 20 watts to whatever device requires it most to perform the task at hand. Max-Q design starts to deliver on the promise of balancing fan noise, cooling, and performance with the WhisperMode 2.0 fan control system. After we dissect the RTX 3080 Max-Q GPU, we’ll take some measurements.
A variant of the GA104 processor powers NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 Max-Q – a chip that also powers NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 Ti, 3070, and 3070 Ti desktop cards. With a 256-bit bus width and 6144 cores, 192 TMUs, and 96 ROPS, the chip offers 16GB of GDDR6. The processor operates at 780 MHz with a boost of 1245 MHz and is built on an 8nm process. Using 1500 MHz, 12 Gbps is the effective throughput rate for the memory. When combined, the integrated circuit can draw up to 80W. Compare how this chip compares on paper and see what the results are.
In short, DLSS can take a few frames, analyze them, and then create a “perfect frame” by interpreting the results using AI, assisted by supercomputers back at NVIDIA HQ. The second pass through the process uses the information learned about aliasing in the first pass and then fills in what it thinks are more accurate pixels, creating a more accurate image. As a result, even at lower resolutions, the results can actually be cleaner than the original image, and because there is less to process, more frames can be rendered. It’s a win-win. Want to see it in action? Here’s a quick snippet from Control demonstrating how DLSS 2.0 can improve your game’s visual quality, giving you more frames to put into things like real-time lighting.
In March of 2020, DLSS 2.0 was released, which improved the speed of the software while keeping the DLSS principles. In order to accomplish this, they redesigned the Tensor Core pipeline, effectively doubling the speed while still maintaining the original image quality, or even sharpening it to a point where it looks better than the source! NVIDIA exposed DLSS controls to the user community, providing three options – Performance for maximum framerates, Balanced, and Quality, which aims at delivering the best quality final product. As DLSS 2.0 added universal AI training networks, developers saw the biggest advantage. DLSS 2.0 does not require the developer to train each game and each frame. Instead, it can improve graphics and performance by using a library of non-game-specific parameters. This means that the technology can be used to improve any game if the developer desires.
DLSS is truly the black magic of the graphical world – although you’ll be hard pressed to find any differences between quality and performance.