I’ve been using an Origin PC laptop for a number of years, but as I find myself lowering the sliders on more games just to get them to run, it became clear that it was time to upgrade. When I purchased the original EON15-X back in 2015 (review) I was looking for a handful of specifics — lighter weight than the MSI it was replacing, reduced heat output, RAID0 options, a 980M, 16GB of memory, and HDMI output to be specific. Fast forward to mid 2020 and I found that I was looking for something entirely different. I wanted the most powerful laptop I could buy, with a blisteringly fast GPU that could drive multiple displays, at least 32GB of high-speed memory, a full sized keyboard, and all in the lightest package possible as I find myself travelling more frequently nowadays. Just as I did then, I found myself eliminating many of the top tier laptop manufacturers very quickly. Mechanical drives, poor cooling, missing features — a great many were close, but not quite hitting all my benchmarks. I went back to Origin PC to see what they were bringing to the table. Let’s take a closer look at the EVO-15S laptop, but stay tuned — we’ll also be checking out the EON15-X 2020 edition as well. Let’s roll!
The spec sheet on the EVO-15S is a checklist of the best possible hardware you can fit in a laptop. After agonizing over what display I wanted I selected the 15.6” 240 Hz 1080p screen (there is a 60Hz 4K OLED version available as well), pushed the memory up to 32GB, and grabbed the most powerful video card I could find — a 2080 Super. Sporting a 10th Gen 8-core Intel Processor (10875H), I knew it could crush some benchmarks. Since frames make games, I was eager to get it unboxed and start seeing what it could do.
One of the primary complaints I had with Razer’s high-end laptop (our review) was that it lacked a secondary hard drive option, and that left me shuffling things in and out of the sad 1TB M.2 drive. Worse, there’s no configuration options, so you are left having to pull and replace it after the fact, wasting the drive it came with. Origin PC’s EVO-15S has two M.2 drive slots, meaning I could put them in a RAID0 configuration for obscene speeds, or use the second drive as storage. I opted for the latter with an aftermarket 2 TB M.2 NVMe drive, as you can see in the video above.
A quick inspection of the cooling system for the EVO-15S reveals a solid block copper jacket tube system connected to two low-profile fans, not unlike what we saw in the Razer device. At 0.77” thick, this fan and tubing would have to work overtime to ensure that the heat from components wouldn’t reach my fingertips, but could it do it without sounding like a jet engine? We’ll check that in a moment.
Also under the hood lies a combo chip sporting Intel’s latest mobile network and Bluetooth adapter — the Intel Dual Band Wireless WiFi 6 AX201 + BT, coming in the pluggable form factor you see below.
In the center of the board lies two DDR 4 slots. I’ve selected Corsair Vengeance RAM (2×16) running at 2666MHz, though the board will support up to 64GB if you have a powerful need for extra memory space.
Naturally this holiday season will bring with it a whole new raft of amazing benchmark opportunities, but these titles represent some of the hardest hitting games, several of them pushing RTX lighting and other bleeding edge tech. Without further ado, let’s get into the numbers.
As the game is a Battle Royale, the team at Respawn and EA get itchy about tools being run during competitive play. As such, I ran my benchmarking during the training sequence just to stay off the “banned” list. Obviously framerate makes a world of difference in competitive games like this, and the EVO-15S has a display capable of delivering 240Hz refresh rates. As the game hits between 150 and 200fps, looking smooth as silk in motion. Take a look for yourself. .
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Ubisoft’s open world game from late 2018 was a graphical powerhouse, delivering some gorgeous vistas, fantastic facial animation, and draw distances to die for. It also pushed every bit of hardware in the machine. As you’ll see below, the 2080 Super Max-Q brings that up to 56fps with adaptive framerate turned off, and surprisingly the same number with it turned on.
Borderlands 3 (DX11)
Gearbox has been tinkering with DirectX 12 for their flagship title, Borderlands 3, since launch. Unfortunately it’s still somewhat unstable, crashing during capture and otherwise making life difficult for benchmarking. On the other hand, the game runs like it’s on fire when run in DirectX 11 mode. The framerate varies a bit, but moves between 65 and 85 FPS, as you’ll see below.
Far Cry 5
With Ultra settings and TAA enabled, the average framerate for Far Cry 5 on the EVO15-S is an eye-watering 92 fps average. With Far Cry 6 on the horizon, we’ll be watching closely to see how that game performs.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV really got the royal treatment on PC, and NVIDIA pumped every trick in the book into the game to deliver an absolutely magnificent looking game. Ansel support, 8K resolution, NVIDIA HFTS (contactless shadows that makes for realistic light as it casts through items like fences), VXAO, crazy detail in the foliage thanks to NVIDIA Turf Effects, and absolutely magnificent hair for the guys courtesy of NVIDIA Hairworks. With this huge list of improvements cranked to Ultra at 1080p, the game delivers roughly 33fps on average. Bumping to High settings pushes that number up above 60fps. Unfortunately, the benchmarking utility focuses on an arbitrary number that you have to cross-check with the Square Enix site. What’s worse is that I’ve seen the same benchmark on the same device delivering 2500, 6500, 8700, and 9600 range scores. For frame of reference, a 2080 Ti on a desktop will deliver just north of 12,000, placing the 2080 Super Max-Q at slightly better than a standard 2080 desktop card. Enjoy it for the pretty graphics, but watch the frame counter overlay for a more grounded look at what’s possible.
The Coalition and Microsoft Game Studios gave us a fantastic and gorgeous update to the Gears formula, and it is more than capable of pushing a graphics card hard. With everything set to Ultra I was surprised to see the game deliver 76fps on average.
This title was one of the first to use RTX technology, and with it Team A4 delivered some of the best looking global lighting effects we’ve seen to date. It was also the first to deliver real time lighting, as well as DLSS to improve image quality. As a result, it makes the solid story that much more compelling as you’ll find yourself saying wow every time you burn up a spider web or step out of the dark metro into the light. It also makes moments when a creepy rat monster crosses in front of a light source and you can see every strand of nasty, mottled fur is that much more disgusting. 50fps on average at the highest RTX setting is no slouch, and dropping to 35.5 when pushed to the Extreme setting. Here are all of the benchmarks together.
Thrown in for fun, Overwatch is a high-framerate competitive multiplayer game where speed matters. On my PC I play on a 144Hz refresh monitor, and simply put, there’s no going back to anything less. Happily, it doesn’t look like I’ll have to.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
This game is another early adopter of RTX, showcasing some beautiful shadows, as the title would suggest. With DLSS disabled and all options pushed to maximum, the game easily maintains a 60+fps level, with frequent pushes well above that.
Star Control Origins
The team at Stardock aren’t happy with conventional benchmarks, and games like Star Control Origins and Ashes of the Singularity are great indicators of that. With a dedicated benchmarking utility that runs on DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and Vulcan, there’s something for everyone here. The benchmark features a ton of procedurally generated landscape and objects, particle effects galore, CPU-driven AI and physics objects, and multi-core support — CEO Brad Wardell and his team like to wring every frame out of every bit of your hardware, not just the GPU. Running all three benchmarks, I was happy to see roughly 65fps on average, with spikes just over 100 for each, as you can see for yourself.
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt Red may be poised to deliver their new benchmark for RPG storytelling, but The Witcher III: Wild Hunt stands as one of the best action RPGs ever made. Five years later it is still a feast for the eyes. The game uses incredible implementations of NVIDIA Hairworks, making each engagement wild and wooly. I could argue that it was the gold standard, only recently replaced by games like Control. All of that beauty comes at a cost, and when the game launched it was unmerciful on the hardware of the time. Benchmarking it I was happy to see that the menu runs at a blistering 350fps (I kid, but it really does), but the game hovers around 85fps Even the swords with fur tassels had their own hairworks — gorgeous.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
Ubisoft’s open world games are pretty densely packed, and nowhere is that more true than Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion shadows, PCSS for soft shadows, HFTS for traced shadows, G-Sync, 4K support, and about a dozen more settings make this game’s ambience look phenomenal, so I was excited to see what sort of performance the 2080 Super was capable of delivering when I turned all of them on at once. A very respectable 67fps average comes out of the other end, with highs hitting near 100 during some sequences.
Mein Leben! There are a whole host of options for Wolfenstein Youngblood, chief of them being RTX, but there’s 28 more settings to tinker with. But we are benchmarking here, so let’s pump them all to the top with the “Mein Leben!” setting and turn it loose. Well, there’s no stopping this laptop as the first test with everything enabled turns in a 106fps average, with the second one handing out 85fps without breaking a sweat. If you’d like to see the pretty in motion, check out the benchmarks below. The first video is running the game at “Balanced” settings, with the second video showcasing maximum power on CPU and GPU.
Red Dead Redemption II
This game will push any system, mobile or otherwise, to its limits, and we see that in the benchmarks. That said, using the Vulcan renderer and Ultra settings, we are seeing 58fps average, which is pretty impressive.
Rainbow Six Siege
A reader request, we’ve run the review on Rainbow Six Siege. At Ultra settings and at 1080p resolution, this laptop absolutely crushes this game, blasting out a 207fps average, with quite a few moments maxing out the monitor’s maximum of 240Hz refresh rate. Rainbow Six Siege isn’t going to make this laptop strain in any way folks.
There are a lot of synthetic benchmarking utilities on the market, but I tend to trust UL’s 3DMark, PCMark, and VRMark most of all as they seem to have a pretty good idea of what is on the horizon for gaming and integrate it directly into their testing suites. A few of these are very similar so I’ve combined them. I’ve made sure to hover over the specific results at the end, so make sure you check out the tail of each demo run if nothing else. These tests tend to be designed to absolutely melt every scrap of hardware in a desktop, so it tends to really put the screws to a laptop. UL has a whole suite of software for benchmarking that fits the bill nicely, including 3DMark, PCMark, and VRMark. As such I’ve ran all of them, focusing hardest on Fire Strike, Port Royal, and Time Spy, as well as the DLSS and VRS tests which emphasize adjustments in shading in favor of framerate without damaging quality (VRS), and DLSS which uses AI-driven supersampling to improve image quality. VRS test #1 provides the baseline, with VRS disabled, and VRS test #2 varies the camera distance without reducing visual image quality in the foreground and background. DLSS does a similar demonstration with the first test with DLSS disabled for a baseline, with the second run rendering the test at a lower resolution and then punching the image quality back up with AI to a higher resolution. With both, if you can notice the image quality difference between them, it’s marginal at best, but the framerate improvement is massive. See all of these in motion for yourself below.
3DMark’s tests are usually multi-part, and Fire Strike is chief of the DirectX 11 tests, pushing modern graphics cards even now. The first test will push heavy tessellation and volumetric illumination, with the second test tackling complex smoke using compute shaders, with dynamic particle illumination. The Physics Test runs 32 parallel simulations of soft and rigid body physics on the CPU, with the combined test tackling all of these simultaneously. The results are less about framerate and more about where a device lands in the grand scheme of things, with this laptop just shy of what you’d see out of a desktop 2080.
There are SO many reflections in this test, so it serves as a great example of what’s possible with real-time ray tracing. Volumetric lighting, particle effects, and post-processing effects being handled in real-time make this look absolutely gorgeous with the EVO-15S again coming in just shy of what a desktop 2080 and an intel i9 9900K can deliver.
While Fire Strike is meant to test DirectX 11, Time Spy is your DirectX 12 benchmark. Supporting newer APIs like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, rendering the results in 1440p. The first test features transparent content, particle shadows, and tessellation, with the second test pulling in ray-marched volumetric illumination with hundreds of light sources and a massive amount of small particles to illuminate. Throw in the CPU test to push physics computations and you’ve got a solid test for any DX12 application.
The EVO-15S is more than capable of handling virtual reality. The three VRMark tests, Cyan, Orange, and Blue are meant to demonstrate what you can expect from a higher end visual experience. Cyan and Orange punch in at the 160fps range, well above the required 90fps needed.
VR Blue is meant to be future aspirational, pushing hardware well past what is currently being deployed in current VR games. This explains the 56 fps, which would be stellar if this were on a conventional screen, but would serve up nausea when projected into both eyes in virtual reality. Still, given that the demo is rendered at a staggering 5120×2880 resolution (5K), with volumetric lighting and an over abundance of detail rivaling what you’d see on a flat screen.
Our first test resulted in the 5K resolution, with the second being run at 3024×1680 — more suitable to what you’d see coming out of an HTC Vive. As you can see below, the lower resolution is capable of delivering this benchmark as a playable and comfortable experience.
DLSS uses the TensorCores of RTX cards to apply deep learning tech to boost image quality, framerate, and push the resolution from native rendering to a notch above. The framerate of the first run of this benchmark versus the second is a clear demonstration of the power of DLSS. The first video is running the game at “Balanced” settings, with the second video showcasing maximum power on CPU and GPU.
VRS or Variable Rate Shading is a rendering technique that adjusts the per-pixel shading from being applied one at a time to one that can be applied to a 16×16 space. This reduces the need to process every single pixel shader, leaving more horsepower to be applied to other things. In these two videos, the first run is with VRS disabled and then ran again enabled. Note the framerate.
PCMark 10’s benchmark is meant to test a wide variety of productivity suites. It tests specific things like starting an app, web browsing, video conferencing, writing, spreadsheets, photo editing, video rendering, and rendering/visualization. It looks at the entire laptop’s capabilities, not just the GPU, quantifying each.
The last test is always an interesting one — the PCMark Battery Test benchmark. It reflects the sort of battery life you can expect while running a full 3D game without the aid of AC power. It’s not really a scenario anyone really ever encounters. Nobody is sitting on a plane playing Doom Eternal without an external power source. Still, it’s a test we run since it’s so frequently requested, so let’s test the 73Wh battery in the EVO-15S. UL’s PCMark10 can test this by running the aforementioned Fire Strike demonstration over and over with the device unplugged until it hits 20% battery life remaining. It turns out that even running this stressful test continuously still yields a full hour and 14 minutes before hitting the 20% mark. If you aren’t running games, I have no doubt that you could easily triple that amount, making the EVO-15S a more than capable general productivity machine.
What’s amazing is that a device capable of these kinds of numbers resides in a laptop that is only 0.77” thick, and 4.4lbs in weight. Better still, it has no moving parts beyond the fans as it doesn’t have a spinning hard drive, nor does it have a mechanical BluRay player.
There are a few bullet points on this laptop that make it compelling as a desktop replacement. The EVO-15S has three connectivity options that make it useful for just about any setup, up to and including a triple-monitor scenario. With a Thunderbolt 3, mini DisplayPort 1.3, and HDMI port on the rear of the device, you can connect up to three devices, even if you don’t have one of these fancy USB-C display devices handy. I’ve tested it myself and yes — there’s enough juice coming off that 2080 Super to handle the three displays without a problem. I’ve also run two displays off of a dock via the Thunderbolt 3 display exclusively and it ran like a top — whatever that means.
Beyond the ports for display, there are three USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A ports, one on the right side and two on the left (sorry lefties!). Two 3.5mm audio jacks, one for a pair of headphones and another for a microphone or S/PDIF optical, and one slim RJ-45 Ethernet port (the kind with a hinged jaw that opens underneath to accommodate the cable). I know I could have used another Thunderbolt 3 port, but this is a pretty generous amount of connectivity in such a small package.
The monitor is crystal clear, and a 240Hz refresh rate makes everything incredibly smooth — even web browsing. I know most of you use Edge as the exclusive browser to download Chrome, but it is the only browser to date that can handle 240Hz currently. It’s easy on the eyes, even if the browser itself is clunky as hell. In terms of brightness, it’s crisp and clear, with blacks and colors hitting the right warmth and depth, though it does not support HDR. If that’s important to you, you are going to struggle to find that tech in current high-refresh mobile platforms.
Moving down to the keyboard, I’m happy to report that this one sports a full-sized set of keys. They are half-height, which I prefer on a laptop, and it even has a small 10-key on the side. If you are thinking “Hey, I’m buying this laptop for gaming, not for math. I don’t need a 10-key” realize that many sims like Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous use that set of keys — you’ll have to remap keys to unnatural positions if you don’t have it. The keys support per-key lighting, and there are a number of profiles available that’ll let you make the keyboard ‘breathe’ and other fun things. You can even emulate the classic “Snake” which causes the lights to “crawl” across each row. I personally like lighting the WASD different colors. It’s mostly for fun, but also allows you to break up your keyboard however you’d like it to look — an added bonus.
The pair of M.2 slots you can see in the unboxing video are NVMe Gen3 X4 in a M.2 2280 form factor. These have a max throughput of roughly 3400 MB/s read, and 3000 MB/s write speeds, with burst IOPS of roughly 600K. Put another way, they are damned fast. At the time of writing, these slots support up to 4TB capacity in each slot, though those higher capacities are still somewhat expensive. 2TB hits a sweet spot, giving you a good balance of speed to capacity, with no moving parts.
I’m typically frustrated by accidental movement from my wrist touching the pad on other laptops, but I can’t say I’ve had that happen more than once in over a month’s worth of constant daily use. I’m not sure what manufacturer Clevo has done to this touchpad, but it’s the best I’ve encountered on any platform, commercial, consumer, or otherwise.
The two fans in the EVO-15S are directly tied to the Control Center software. There are four settings – quiet, power saving, performance, and entertainment. This software also lets you take more fine grained control over the GPU and CPU fans directly, setting them using a handful of defaults as well as using a graph to map the temperature to the fan speed.
Laptops tend to sound like jet engines when they crank up. At idle (fan speeds of roughly 1900 for CPU and 2400 RPM for GPU) and this laptop is eerily silent at just 18dB — roughly the sound of a ticking watch. Setting it to entertainment ratchets up the fan speed to 3000 for CPU and 3150 for GPU, with the decibels moving up to 23db – the equivalent of a whisper. Power Saving pushes the fans to roughly 4200/4400 and the noise level comes up to 24db. The final setting, Performance, pushes the fan speed back to around 5000 with a noise level of 44dB. For a frame of reference, 50dB is a normal conversation sound, with 40 being that of a quiet library. The best part is that these fans move a lot of air, are highly efficient, and do not have the signature whine we’ve heard from previous generations of laptops.
The ambient temperature when you are working on a document, surfing the web, or similar activities (and running on quiet) is around 138 degrees for the GPU and 149 degrees for the CPU, as measured by the internal Control Center tools. This sounds like it’s entirely too hot, but it’s only about 65% of where your CPU and 70% of the max GPU temperatures. You’ll feel some heat coming off of the area below the Q and P keys, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Cranking up something fairly intense like the Marvel’s Avengers Beta also cranks up the fans. Running that beta for 30 minutes had the fans running at max speeds, maintaining a temperature of 149/156 for CPU and GPU. I found myself using the Entertainment setting most of the time as the temps drop to 120 degrees for CPU (44% of max), and 132 degrees for the GPU (54% of max), leaving the keyboard completely cool to the touch — there are no hotspots, and the sound is minimal for normal use.
For those of you who really want to get deep into the weeds, measurements at the rear vent during max load is just 90 degrees, with 98 coming out of the left side vent. Over the P key is 97 degrees, as is the H key dead center on the keyboard. The Q key, where your hand rests during most games, is 90 degrees. The wrist rests during gameplay are just 83 degrees, thanks to the heat dissipation of the cold aluminum chassis, even directly above the M.2 drives where I’d expect the most heat. The screen itself puts off very little heat, running at 80 degrees regardless of anything being displayed.
There are three parts that I feel fall short amidst this incredibly well-designed device. The media card reader has been downsized to a microSDHC size. If I were reading my cell phone memory card frequently that might be useful, but if you are using a full size or a compact body camera of any kind (such as the ultra-popular with Vloggers Canon M50), you’ll want a full size SD Card reader. In my case, I ended up buying a Thunderbolt 3-powered card reader, making me want that second Thunderbolt 3 port that much more.
The second item isn’t as big of a deal — the tiny camera on the laptop is only 1MP. If you are planning on streaming, you’ll want to take a pass on the integrated camera as it’s just not that clear. Fitting it in the ultra-thin bezel must have been a challenge, so perhaps there simply wasn’t enough space to put something bigger into that spot.
The last design misstep in this laptop is frankly inexcusable. The speakers in this $3000 laptop are the worst I’ve heard. Not the worst laptop speakers — no, just speakers in general. My Razer Phone 2 with speakers half the size sounds so much better. Hammerhead earbuds are stellar at 1/8th the size of the speakers in this laptop. Put simply, there is no excuse for why these sound the way they do. There is no subwoofer in the device, so it’s all treble. The badge on the case proudly announces that it was tuned by “Soundblaster Pro Gaming”, but they should have spent the time and energy simply putting something better in the two corners of this device. There is enough room, and it’s what I’d expect from something this expensive, but it’s clear that manufacturer Clevo supposes that anyone using a laptop would be using a pair of headphones. It’s a foolish assumption — sometimes you just want to watch an entertaining video without fiddling around with a headset, but when the speakers sound this bad, you’ll cringe every time if you don’t. This likely comes from an unhealthy obsession with being lighter and thinner than Razer’s device, but they had two ounces to spare — they should have used them. Observe:
The device has two warranty options with two variations within them. You can get a 1 year part replacement with 45 days of free shipping, or you can get 1 year parts replacement with free shipping for the life of the warranty. You can make the same choice for a 2 year warranty as well. The reason why I purchased my first Origin PC laptop was because I literally fell down the stairs holding my MSI gaming laptop, shattering it into many crushed pieces, so I opted out of the warranty and picked up a supplementary SquareTrade warranty. Your situation (and klutziness) may vary, so act accordingly.
There are two signature services that Origin PC can provide, and the first is completely free. Each laptop is assembled by the team in Florida, and they personalize the device to you. The first time you boot it, it’ll welcome you by name. They’ve also put this personalization (as well as any software restoration, including Windows 10) onto a recovery USB thumbdrive. Having used one of these before, they are a snap regardless of how much or little you know. It’s a fantastic inclusion. The second service they can offer is laser etching. It makes the laptop uniquely yours, allowing you to upload an image and have that image laser etched onto the surface of the device. You can see what that looks like right here:
As configured, this device comes in right at $3000. Swapping to the 4K device, or fiddling with M.2 or memory sizes will adjust that price up or down a little, but not enough to bother discussing. It’s very likely that this laptop will last you for 5 years, so that’s equivalent to spending $600 a year on a desktop computer for upgrades. The difference, of course, is that you can bring the power of that desktop PC with you.
Equipped with the most powerful GPU, CPU, memory, and high speed M.2 drives money can buy, and all jammed into a form factor normally reserved for entry-level devices, the EVO-15S is a marvel of engineering that will likely run every game for the next five years at Ultra settings. IIf you travel and want to spend your time gaming during your off hours, there is no better choice. Just bring a pair of headphones, because these speakers are absolute garbage.