EVOC 16L-G-1080 (based on MSI 16L13) from HIDevolution - Brief Review

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  1. neohopper

    neohopper Notebook Consultant

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    EVOC 16L-G-1080 (based on MSI 16L13) from HIDevolution - Brief Review

    INTRO:
    As many of you may already know, this unit is rare in that it is a 15 inch laptop, yet offers a socketed LGA CPU and socketed MXM GPU. This allows potential upgrade of both the CPU and GPU in the future and easier replacement of these components in the event of hardware failure. The MSI 16L13 barebones, which the EVOC 16L-G-1080 is based on, is one of the very few 15 inch laptops which offers a socketed CPU and GPU (laptops based on Clevo P750 series being the other) and presently is the only 15 inch laptop which is able to offer the GTX 1080; as such, it one of the most powerful 15 inch laptops available at the present time.

    I had been reading a lot about this unique laptop on notebookreview forums (http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...f5-evoc-16l-g-1080-15-6-owners-lounge.797128/), carefully reading through the (mostly quite positive) impressions from owners of the near identical Tornado F5 from Eurocom; and based on this info, I decided to order the EVOC version of this laptop. I definitely appreciated all of the great NBR members for all this info. In particular, I definitely appreciated @Diversion for finding out about and making everyone aware of this laptop; @Mr. Fox for his review and extensive videos; and, in general, all who posted their thoughts and recommendations on the thread.

    Also, in the above regard, I decided that I did not want a laptop where I would need to immediately take apart and delid, repaste with liquid metal, etc, in order to keep it under 100C (this laptop with a full desktop CPU and GPU will very run very hot if these modifications are not done). Though I will probably be doing this sometime in the future (for upgrading, etc.), I just wanted to have a nicely working (i.e. relatively cool running) machine from the start. This is why I ordered from HIDevolution who offered delidding and liquid metal for the CPU and IC Diamond for the GPU and also are all around experts at putting together these types of custom laptops (http://www.hidevolution.com/evoc-16l-g-1080-custom-built-gaming-desktop-replacement-laptop.html).

    Well, I finally got my hands on this laptop about a week ago. There have been multiple reviews for the Eurocom Tornado F5 but not much hands on info about the EVOC 16L-G-1080 (this is because I'm the first to actually receive one from HIDevolution). I have only had it for less than a week and have not gamed extensively or performed heavy productivity tasks on it yet, but I wanted to at least get something out to NBR for those who may have some interest in this particular (EVOC) version of this laptop.

    Please note that my perspective is that of someone who is not a super tweaker/OC type; but I do feel that I’m an enthusiast who really enjoys cutting edge technology. Also I’ve only had it less than a week. As such, this is a relatively basic review and not overly thorough or technical. It does not have meticulous documentation of data, nor charts or graphs as you my find on other reviews.

    SPECS:
    * Screen: Samsung 15.6 inch 3840x2160 PLS (pentile) @ 60 MHz with G-Sync
    * CPU: i7-7700K
    * GPU: GTX 1080
    * RAM: 32 GB G. Skill 2800 MHz (16 GB x 2) [please note that at present, without a bios upgrade, the unit does not run on more than 2400 MHz speeds]
    * Storage: Samsung 960 Pro 512 gb (NVME PCIe) and 2 tb HDD; overall, can accept two m.2 pcie ssd’s.
    * Network: Intel 8265 wireless and BT; also, of note, it has Killer E2500 LAN (not E2400 as listed on the HID website specs)
    * Power Supply: 330W
    * OS/software: Windows 10 Pro; driver disk also contains Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3, Magix music and movie editing software and Norton (Sound Blaster is full version, but not sure about the others as I did not install them)
    * Other: Has USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 (have not used yet); has a subwoofer (rare for 15 inch laptop)

    AESTHETICS/BUILD QUALITY:
    It is not thin or small by any means, but it certainly is relatively portable and much more so than the 17 inch beasts which offer the same CPU and GPU options. It’s not overly dense/heavy with regard to size and weight ratio. As far as materials, it’s mostly solid, durable plastic with brushed metal/aluminum on the top lid and over the keyboard area. Keyboard is good but I’m not that picky with keyboards to be honest; it’s basically the same as the MSI steel series keyboards in other MSI laptops. The trackpad and associated buttons are good to me as well, but I use a mouse 99% of the time.

    Overall, it just looks like an all black, solidly built, non-descript badass laptop (particularly considering the high end hardware inside) that won’t call attention to itself in public.

    MAINTENANCE:
    The back cover is able to be taken off after removal of 6 small screws. It has several tabs and has to be "snapped off", but is not hard to remove overall. Putting it back, there are multiple areas where you have to snap it back in place before putting the screws back in, but again, not difficult.

    Image of internals:
    http://imgur.com/a/lpO5b

    SCREEN:
    I calibrated with the Spyder 5 Pro and results showed NTSC in the high 70’s, sRGB in the low 80’s and Adobe RGB in the low 70’s (sorry, I don’t remember the exact results at this time). Although it is a pentile display, it looks very sharp and I can’t see any pixels in text or icons from a normal viewing distance. G-Sync is working.

    SPEAKERS:
    Sound very good for laptop speakers and can achieve good volume. It has a subwoofer which allows for improved bass.

    CPU AND RAM SETTINGS:
    [Please note that the bios as of now is not unlocked and you cannot adjust CPU clock speed or voltages through the bios, though this can be done with software. Also, the maximum RAM speed as of now is 2400 MHz. However, from the HID website and from speaking with Donald, a Prema custom bios is expected and should give the ability for these adjustments in the future.]

    I installed XTU and, at stock, the multipliers were set at 45, 44, 44, 44 and with a -100 mV undervolt (adaptive). So it appears that HID has provided a slight overclock and modest undervolt to the CPU for the out of box experience (at least for this chip; please note, I did not personally request any adjustments to the CPU). I was able to adjust the clocks and voltages of the CPU through XTU; I was able to increase the multipliers (I have tried up to 47 but have not had time to try further). There does appear to be a bug in XTU where the Turbo Boost Power Max setting keeps being set to 1W instead of the stock 91W whenever I change profiles, even though I did not make any adjustments to this on my own and the profile was clearly saved with the stock 91W setting. I have to keep changing that setting back to 91W after profile changes, but XTU seems to work fine otherwise. But, again, please note that I’m not that experienced with overclocking and thus have not experimented much or thoroughly tested. Also, I’m not able to adjust RAM settings via bios or XTU.

    GPU SETTINGS:
    Appears to be standard for laptop GTX 1080.
    From GPU-Z: GPU Clock is 1557 MHz, Memory is 1251 MHz and Boost is 1734 MHz.

    BENCHMARKS:
    [All with no changes to CPU or GPU from the above stock settings (slight CPU OC and -100 mV undervolt, no GPU changes); fan settings were using a more aggressive custom curve that I made using the included Silent Option program, and it did appear to reach max fan speeds; ambient temp 21C; nvidia driver version 378.66.]
    * Geekbench 3: Single-Core 4738, Multi-Core 18417
    * XTU Benchmark: 1381 Marks; max processor frequency 4.47 GHz; highest CPU temp 81C
    * PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated: 8171
    * Cinebench R15: OpenGL 146.73 fps; CPU 952 cb
    * Fire Strike: 17071 (20901 gfx, 14071 phx, 8309 combined); max CPU package temp 78C, max GPU temp 72C
    * Fire Strike Ultra: 9169 (9897 gfx, 13987 phx, 4434 combined); max CPU package temp 77C, max GPU temp 71C
    * Time Spy: 6472 (6685 gfx, 5483 CPU); max CPU package temp 85C, max GPU temp 76C
    * Heaven (1920x1200, quality high, tessalation off): FPS 196.7, score 4955, min FPS 37.6, max FPS 382.1; max CPU package temp 75C, max GPU temp 82C

    STRESS TESTS:
    [Stock CPU and GPU settings and custom fan settings as above.]
    * Time Spy Stress Test (Time Spy run 20x consecutively, with passing criteria being frame rate stability at least 97% with completion of all loops): Passed 98.4%; max CPU package temp 76C, max GPU temp 85C
    * OCCT: 30 minutes with no errors, max CPU temp 93C but average around 78 (sorry, from memory)

    FAN NOISE:
    This is somewhat subjective, and I’m not the type to be disturbed too much by fan noise unless excessive, but overall, these are not excessively loud fans. The laptop is quiet with low load. Even at full blast, fans are not that obtrusive or distracting.

    BATTERY LIFE:
    Have not tested yet; has been plugged in. Seems to charge only to 95%, not sure if there is some extra bios function that limits charging to preserve battery life (like Clevo’s FlexiCharger function); I don’t know but just speculating.

    SOFTWARE:
    Unfortunately, there was a software/Windows minor bug that I ran into initially that I could not fix and I had to “reset” Windows 10, so I no longer have the “out of the box” software experience for this laptop. However, from memory, the baseline install software included: KLM keyboard light software, Silent Option fan speed software, Shortcut Manager (can customize shortcut keys on the keyboard), Sizing Options (to adjust text size) and Magix music and movie editing software. I did not reinstall Shortcut Manager or the Magix software after the reset. There was no software installed to allow adjustment of the CPU or GPU. There was a disk included that contained all of the drivers.

    MISC:
    Thanks to @Donald@HIDevolution for his assistance. I ordered in January 29 and received it February 25. There was a delay in waiting for the screen and also a delay after the build when the RAM I ordered was not running at maximum potential speed. Ultimately, at the time of this writing, the unit only will work with, at highest, 2400 MHz speed RAM until the Premamod bios is available. I was disappointed, but I’m glad that the crew at HIDevolution thoroughly tested this before shipping it out. Donald was able to work with me on getting me the laptop within a requested time frame. There were no firm demands (though I did order rush shipping and upgraded shipping) but when the delivery window was in jeopardy, he did upgrade the shipping further at no cost to me to ensure that the unit got here in time.

    OVERALL:
    At the time of this writing, this is the “smallest” laptop that is able to offer the most powerful GPU available to laptops and also is one of the very few 15 inch laptops to offer a desktop CPU! This thing is a beast and I’m satisfied with this purchase thus far. HIDevolution is great and I highly recommend them. Sorry I don’t have much real world gaming or application (video editing) experience as of yet. But when I do, will update this review.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
    mizerab1e, Diversion, Mr. Fox and 7 others like this.
  2. Spartan

    Spartan Notebook Nobel Laureate

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  3. neohopper

    neohopper Notebook Consultant

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    I did try this latest version; however, the setting still changes after profile change. However not a big deal, it sticks otherwise after I manually adjust it.
     
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  4. Spartan

    Spartan Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    no worries, once the Prema BIOS is out, you can install XTU and just use the BIOS to control these things.
     
    neohopper likes this.
  5. Spartan

    Spartan Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    @neohopper

    I will PM now for something you will love. Keep it as a secret
     
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  6. neohopper

    neohopper Notebook Consultant

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    Definitely looking forward to getting it once available. Thanks again!
     
  7. Spartan

    Spartan Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    you will love what I am about to show j00 since you're an EVOC Gaming Team member ;)
     
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  8. Spartan

    Spartan Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Turbo Power Max issue not sticking issue is now fixed for neohopper, now he can hop happily :eek:

    Be smart...be like Phoenix :eek:

    @TomJGX @Papusan @Mr. Fox
     
    Huniken, Papusan, Mr. Fox and 2 others like this.
  9. neohopper

    neohopper Notebook Consultant

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    Yup, @Phoenix just helped me out, and all is well with the XTU issues :cool:
     
    steberg and Spartan like this.
  10. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    That's great news. What was causing it?

    Glad you like this little beast. I really do like mine a lot. I think this is the best sub-15 inch notebook available anywhere, and the great price just makes it all that much sweeter.
     
    UsmanKhan and neohopper like this.
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