A Gaming Laptop That Even A Baby Can Carry ! MAG-15 Review

October 8, 2019 0 By Peter Engel

Are you after a laptop that is lightweight,
with solid build quality, and doesn’t scream gamer ?
The Eluktronics MAG 15 may well be for you. Let’s find out ! Hi, this is Stephen from Ownordisown. Eluktronics kindly sent me their new MAG 15
to review. As the name implies it is made out of a magnesium
alloy allowing it to be strong yet light weight at only 4 lbs 2 oz. This is about the same weight as the MSI GS65
that uses very thin gauge aluminium. In terms of build quality it is reminiscent
of the Razer Blade 15 and shares qualities from both the advanced model such as per key
RGB lighting and at 20mm thick it is similar to the base model allowing it to house an
ethernet jack making it perfect for streamers. The addition of a thunderbolt 3 port is also
welcome. It can be used to connect directly with the
dedicated GPU , in my case outputting to a 3840 x 1600 monitor at 30 hz. Unfortunately it said that Gsync could not
be activated, possibly because I need a display port adapter. One benefit, aside from more screen real estate,
is that the temperatures are also less. You can also connect an external GPU such
as my Razer Core but due to bandwidth issues my desktop RTX 2080 only performed on par
with a 1660Ti. In addition it has an SD card reader which
the Razer 15 does not, making it a good laptop for photographers and videographers. It’s not a high speed UHS reader like you
get on the Aero 15 but it’s nice to have. In total there are 3 USB type A ports. I like that you have separate mic and headphone
jacks. Like the Aero 15, the MAG 15 has a really
large 94wh battery- larger than what is offered by Razer. Streaming YouTube at 25% brightness with no
keylighting and power saver on I ran for 7 hours, with brightness at 50 to 60%, keylighting
on and balanced mode expect 5 to to 5.5 hours of regular use. The MAG 15 is cheaper than the competition,
starting at $1500 for an i7 9750h, GTX 1660Ti , 512 GB PCIe SSD and 16 GB running dual channel. They informed me last night that prices will
go up by $100 to help fund extra support staff. My unit is maxed out with a 2070 Max Q, 64
GB RAM and 2 TB of PCIe storage. Neither the Aero or Razer can be configured
with 64GB of RAM. The cost of my system is $2450 and that includes
a liquid metal repaste on the CPU and coolermaster Gel on the GPU. One other distinct feature is it uses a mechanical
keyboard with brown switches making them a bit quieter. With a microphone over it I measured 46db. Whilst the Y540 keyboard was 44db so not a
huge difference. Sure, you can hear it but I think the tactile
feedback is much better and worth it. The windows precision trackpad is large and
made of glass. If you double tap the top left corner you
can deactivate it. You also have integrated mouse buttons and
I had no issues using it. The keyboard deck looks to have a black anodized
layer to it that gives it a clean look and shows little to no fingerprints. The keyboard deck is very rigid, more so than
most laptops and it’s a pleasure to use. The keys themselves do bend when you press
the edges but they always register. At the top you have the power button and a
button that controls the various power profiles. The RGB lighting is very nice as is the RGB
light bar at the front. All this can be configured using their software. The lid also has the same black finish , the
only marking being the Eluktronics logo in the center. If you are after a professional looking laptop
to take on trips this MAG 15 certainly looks the part. I do wish the 230w power brick was a bit smaller,
perhaps even the same size as the one used on the Omen 15t powering an i9 and 2080 max
Q. Despite this the total travel weight is only
5 lbs 15 oz. For those wondering, the laptop cannot be
charged via USB C. The total power pull from the wall under load
was 183w so a 230w brick is ideal. The 1080p 144 hz panel is made by BOE and
here are the specs as listed by Panelook.com. Eluktronics tells me that the response time
is 3 to 5ms. And indeed ghosting performance was even better
than the 144 hz panel on the Triton 500. At 330 nits at max brightness, NTSC colour
gamut of 72% and a contrast of 810:1 the screen looks nice and sharp. You can see how much smaller it looks compared
to the Triton 500. This is in part due to the very small bottom
chin. The magnesium alloy panel is just as rigid
as the thicker aluminum one on the Triton. Despite the very narrow top bezel Eluktonics
still has space for a webcam. Alongside the webcam is an infra red camera
allowing for quick log ins via Windows Hello. Under bright light the panel is clearly visible,
perhaps one of the best I have seen on an IPS. There is a bit of backlight bleed but not
noticeable when I was gaming. underside also has a nice clean look with
ample air intakes. You have the speaker grills firing down at
the front and some plastic cut outside for the wifi antenna. This panel is also very rigid, reminds me
of the Alienware m15 bottom panel actually. Here is a metal plate with a thermal pad to
help cool the two available m.2 NVME drives. Eluktronics use the Intel 660p which is a
budget PCIE SSD but is still plenty fast as long as you dont fill it up
The wifi card is the Intel AX200 wifi 6 which gave great download speeds. You have the two fans , the GPU here and the
CPU here with 3 shared heatpipes and one separate one for the GPU. There are a total of four heatsinks so the
cooling looks upto task. The command center I received was different
to the one that it was shipped with and there is another one in the works so yours could
very well look and work much differently to mine. I basically have 4 performance modes and 3
fan modes. Today they have sent me a new command center
and BIOS so yours will probably look and act differently to what I have so I will do a
follow up video on the changes. Using my thermal camera with it under full
load, you can clearly see cool air being brought in through the keyboard and you can feel this
on your fingers as you play. In the center and towards the hinge it hits
47 degrees celcius which is quite hot but it doesnt impeed usage as the palmrest is
also cool. From the back you will notice how well the
fans push out hot air. Its underneath where most of the heat is. I would not recommend playing on your lap. Not only would it be uncomfortable but you
will starve the system of air. The fan noise under load, either with max
fan or gaming mode, was 52db , so not the quietest but I would rather they move hot
air out of the system. If you want a quiet system for office tasks
then the MAG 15 is it, under quiet mode the fans don’t spin up at idle at all. The speakers were a bit of a let down. Most systems with these specs are around 72
to 75db but the MAG 15 was only at 66 db. I recommend using headphones. Eluktronics tells me that due to windows build
1903 there is a soundblaster compatibility issue they are working on so you may see some
improvement later on. The BIOS allows you to disable Hyperthreading
and turbo boost as well as specify how many cores you want active. The 9750h performs very well once it is undervolted. I capped mine at 3900 mhz and got best in
class results. In the Puget systems photoshop benchmark it
scored the same as my 8 core , 2080 max Q Omen 15t. In Adobe Premiere Pro it beat the Mech 17
with the same CPU and only a bit behind the 8 core laptop. Using GPU acceleration would shorten the time
to about 3 minutes. In Cinebench R20 , even at stock it would
get nearly 3000 points and with a bit of tweaking get 3070 points. But that is a short test. A handbrake encode is a better judge of performance. At stock, even though temperatures were great
the CPU will power throttle to 3500 Mhz which is quite normal. Undervolt you will see the CPU settle at 3800
mhz and still show great temperatures. And as you can see doing this tweak shaves
off 3 minutes and made it the fastest 9750h I have tested. For those that do real time audio you will
be happy to know that it passed my latencymon test. There were two hurdles that Eluktronics faced. The first was balanced mode capped the GPU
at 645 Mhz. I have been told that the updates I received
today will rectify this. The second was the fact that Intel wrote the
BIOS so that the GPU would throttle at 75 degrees Celcius. To work around that I ran my tests using both
max performance and Eluktroboost mode measuring the average GPU clock rate. I then used Throttlestop to set the CPU clock
to 3700 mhz and undervolt to help cool the CPU and with the shared heat pipes help cool
the GPU. I then used the MSI afterburner curve editor
to have the boost clock go between 1450 mhz and about 1620 Mhz which is higher than what
I was seeing at stock. My second option was to leave the GPU boost
alone and just lower the CPU to 3400 mhz with an undervolt with the aim to lower the GPU
temperature. In my game testing I also overclocked the
GPU by 123 mhz. Here is battlefield V , DC X 11 ultra settings. During a 64 player Rotterdam map. Stock Max performance on the left, with stock
Eluktroboost on the right. There is not alot between them as the GPU
throttles down. Now I set the CPU at 3700 mhz and use the
custom GPU curve . Both do a decent job of holding a higher GPU
boost clock but in my testing I felt that just setting the CPU at 3400 mhz gave better
frame rates and was easier to do. Bob of all trades found that using the Asus
Tweak 2 you were able to manually over ride this thermal limitation and set the cap to
the Nvidia spec of 87 degrees. Now with the the GPU capped at 87 degrees
using max performance and fan on the left and on the right, the same with it overclocked. You see a slight performance increase when
overclocking but not much. So stock performance we saw 95 fps, which
is slightly behind the same GPU in the Y740, but this is because of the GPU hitting 75
degrees and throttling down. Just undervolting and underclocking the CPU
gave an 11% increase whilst setting the GPU at 87 degrees saw similar at 103 fps. This is a nice improvement over the Y740. Here is Overwatch , again playing multiplayer. Max performance on the left and Eluktroboost
mode on the right. Not much difference between them, both have
the CPU pulling 45 to 50w and the temperatures are similar. Now we have the GPU set to 87 degrees on the
left and on the right the default 75 degree cap on the GPU but the CPU undervolted and
set at 3400 mhz. There is not alot of difference between the
GPU clock at all, nor is there that much difference in frame rate. But there is a big difference in CPU temperature. Making the GPU run hotter will make the CPU
hotter too so it would probably make sense to do similar tweaks on that to cool it down
some. Compared to the Y740 the MAG 15 falls behind
at stock until we remove the thermal limitation which sees it jump ahead. All in all the MAG 15 does well here considering
how much smaller it is. The other games I benchmarked using their
respective benchmark utilities. The big drawback is that it takes a bit of
time for the GPU to hit 75 degrees before it throttles, so the stock benchmarks are
not a true representation of what you see in game. Here is Shadow of the Tomb raider , highest
settings. Stock max performance on the left, the CPU
undervolted in the center and on the right the GPU set to 97 degrees. The two tweaked options again show a nice
improvement over stock so hopefully Eluktronics can give us this 87 degree option via a new
BIOS. At minimum we see a 14% boost doing this and
perhaps more importantly an 8% improvement over the Y740. So how would I sum up the MAG 15? I really like it. I had the Razer Blade 15 and the build and
design of this are on par with the added benefits of being lighter, having an SD card reader,
ethernet port , available with more RAM and storage and a larger battery whist being cheaper. Compared to the Aero 15 it is much cheaper. Sure, you dont have a 240hz or OLED panel
options so hopefully these will come in the future. Intel wanted to try and keep the chassis temperature
down by lowering the GPU temperature but in reality that has little effect , but it does
negatively effect performance so I am grateful for all the hard work Eluktronics is putting
into this to get a solution. I can testify that their responsiveness has
been second to none and they tell me that they do now have overseas shipping options
on their website. Thanks for watching, remember to like, subscribe
and I will see you next time!