Eurocom M5 Pro (Clevo P650SG) Review (GTX 980M)

Good machine, but too much for 1080p

Table of Contents (in short):

++ Main reason to consider:

The combination of very high gaming performance / price, running all games on highest settings@1080p and many games even at 1620p and very high settings, with extra features like very good IPS display, lots of ports (eSata, mini DP, usb 3.0), upgrading options (2xSata 9.5mm and 2x.M.2) and good enough keyboard. Add to that Eurocom’s 10% off for students and you get a very competitive and powerful gaming laptop for the price.

-- Main reason to avoid:

For 1080p gaming the GTX 980M GPU is too much really, unless you are FPS thirsty. a GTX 970M equipped laptop, even the very similar P650SE, would be cheaper and provide very close results for almost any game @ 1080p.

Availability
Pro : + Very good gaming performance / price with GTX 980M and I7-4720HQ
+ GTX 980M + I7 pretty much runs all games on highest settings totally smooth with high FPS rates @ 1080p and many games even on 1620p
+ Basic version comes with a very good bright 1080p AHVA display with high contrast, very good viewing angles and colors
+ Case, palm rests and keyboard surfaces do not get hot and bottom is kept cool mostly too
+ Lightweight compared to the others with 980M GPU at ~2.6kg
+ No GPU throttling and no to minor CPU throttling (down to 2.4-2.5GHZ, the least) under gaming
+ Nice slim looks with obvious thought invested into the looks, refining the angles. Looks really nice.
+ Eurocom's 10% off for students makes it the cheaper with IPS display
+ Keyboard is not perfect, but good enough and typing is easy on the fingers with almost perfect tactile feedback
+ Enough storage space - 2xSata and 2xM.2 ports easily accessed
+ Lots of connection port - 2xmini DP, eSata, 3xUSB 3.0, SIM, SPD/IF, HDMI
+ Quiet under light load
+ 3K and 4K display options, though they are relatively expensive. Might be useful for photo and video editors
Con : - Speakers are average
- Body may not be rigid enough for some (I'm ok with its level though)
- Space between touchpad buttons and body can invite dust in
- Spaces between other parts of the body are prawn to dust and stuff
- Two of the memory banks are on the other side of the motherboard
- The two Sata bays are one above the others - might invite issues like too high temps around the HDDs (not a huge deal)
- Speakers max volume isn't very high - found myself cranking it to the max in more than a few instances where recorded volume is low
- Broadwell update is probably few months away and it should be much more power efficient and solve many throttling problems
- [Minor] Throttling under full load of Prime95 + Furmark

Introduction

ComponentDescription
PriceBasic version: $1631 (USD), 10% off for students
Test: $1631
CPUI7-4720HQ (2.6GHZ-3.6GHZ, 47W)
GPUNvidia Geforce GTX 980M 4GB GDDR5, 1536 shadars core@1038MHZ, GDDR5@1253MHZ, 192-bit bus

In my unit - revision FF
Motherboard ChipsetIntel HM87 (Lynx Point)
RAMCrucial 1x8GB DDR3@1600MHZ
4 banks of memory available, two at each side of the motherboard
StorageHDD : WD HGST HTS725050A7E630 (non SSHD), 7200RPM, 32MB cache
2xM.2/PCIe x2/x4, 2xSata 3.0 (9.5mm) slots

LCD PanelIn review: 1620p (2880x1620) 15.6", Panasonic VVX16T020G00, IPS, 40-pin eDP, 85/85/85/85 viewing angles.
Weight / Dimensions~2.6kg / 5.72 lbs
385 x 271 x 28.8 mm
15.4" x 10.84" x 1.34"
(w x d x h)
Keyboardwhite backlit, 3 levels
Connection Portsright side: 2xUSB 3.0, Kensington Lock, microphone/headphones/S/PDIF, ethernet, 6-in-1 card reader, SIM card slot,
Left: 2xmini DP 1.2, 1xUSB 3.0 (powered), 1xHDMI 1.4
Rear: e-Sata/USB 3.0 combo port, power-in
Camera1080p, 30FPS camera
WiFi / EthernetWiFi: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8723BE PCI-E
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Speakers2.0 "Onkyo" speakers above the keyboard surface
Battery4 cell, 60Wh
Bios / EC version (test unit)Prema 1.03.03PM v1
Extra featuresEmbedded TPM 2.0
more details

Well, We’ve already did an M5 Pro with GTX 970M (Clevo P650SE) review and now we’ll see how its bigger brother, the Clevo P650SG / M5 Pro 980M / Sager NP8652, fairs.

The two machines are pretty much the same with some minor differences besides the GPU (970M vs 980M). The P650SG comes with a 1 x 9.5mm + 1x7mm SATA 3.0 slots while the P650SE can do 2x7mm devices or 1×9.5mm. This makes the P650SG a little more “deep” at 28.8mm vs 25mm of the P650SE.

Considering the P650SG comapred to its direct competitors like the 15.6″ GT60, it’s less thick and probably quieter and GPU and CPU are not replaceable, unlike in the MSI GT60 and there are probably some more differences in connection ports, speakers quality and more, but in terms of performance/price ratio, the Clevos currently offer the best performance for price in many cases, although it depends on coupons/discounts. Clevo staffed their P650 series with features – IPS eDP display is a rather cheap option, a lot of connection ports, good keyboard, quiet fans mechanism and enough storage bays. With the 10% for students, you can get the P650SG for less than $1500 with GTX 980M, I7 CPU, 1080p IPS display and some good enough HDD/SSHD.

We’ll see in this review how the P650SG copes with the GTX 980M and I7 and what is the actual performance.

Build quality, Case, design and looks

Mostly as with the P650SE, it’s good enough, so I’ll paste my description from the P650SE review: “The case itself is not totally firm, but it will withstand high enough pressure, more than needed for the usual case. Also, the motherboard is not too close to the case plastic, so even a small flex won’t hurt the inner parts almost definitely. The screen outer lid is not totally sturdy, as in many other laptops, but it’s bent outside and small pressure does not affect the panel inside itself, so some effective protection exists in the M5.

The keyboard and touchpad surfaces won’t easily yield and are good enough for quick typing as far as sturdiness goes.

However, there are some points that might be a problem – the touchpad surface itself is not spaced from the main case body, but the touchpad button are, and that might cause problems with dust and food and other stuff getting in. Same goes for the keyboard keys, but maybe the structure itself prevents dust and liquid entering the space beyond the keys themselves, like in the thinkpads.

The screen hinges do not feel weak.”

It goes the same here.

Looks

Maintenance and inner parts

Same as in the P650SE, 10-15 screws and you are good to go. What will be revealed to you are two ram banks, two sata connection ports, two M.2 connection ports, battery, CPU, GPU and their heatsink, Wifi Card and other stuff. You’ll notice that the GPU has two fans working to suck the heat out of the GPU cooling system and one for the CPU. The CPU and GPU have two separated cooling systems and heatpipe. I’m not sure this is the right way to do things as the CPU will get throttled.

The two 9.5mm Sata bays are placed one above the other and I’m not sure how safe it is, and though I guess that if you can hold it firmly in its place, it should be ok, I’m also guessing that the HDDs might get a little warm in this small room for both of them.

The CPU and GPU are not replaceable and you cannot change the GPU or CPU later on, in a non-Clevo fasion.

 

Keyboard and touchpad

Again, these are the same keyboard and touchpad as in the P650SE, it seems, and feels. So, I’ll quote my previous description:

Keyboard. In short, not great, but good. Keys tactile feedback exists to some good extent, but I feel like it should be much more pronounced as I’m finding myself clicking the keys too hard. The keys also very much held firmly with clear pressure points and I could type rapidly with ease. The keyboard is relatively quiet and generally I’m content with it. The keyboard is backlit with three level – off, low and high and provides enough backlit for typing in the dark( mooahahaha ). The keys surface, maybe, could be more gentle for the finger in such a premium model.

Touchpad. Basic, but works well. The surface itself again could be more gentle for the fingertips. Buttons respond well too, but as I mentioned in the build quality section, the space between the button and the case main body might be too inviting for stuff to get it and make trouble, as time goes on and we’re getting older and drunker.

Sound & Speakers

Same thing as with the other “Onkyo” Clevo speakers – shallow, in-box, almost bassless sound. I’m not sure if it got improved over the generation much, but for gaming it’s enough.

General subjective performance experience

The M5 Pro in its basic form comes with a 500GB 7200RPM HDD. It’s felt that it’s not a 5400RPM basic HDD, but I’d rather have some SSHD or small M.2 drive for the OS and stuff like that, as it is not smooth. However, I don’t think that it is necessary to pay for it ahead if you can manage installing your own OS or cloning the existing one.

Otherwise, I’m pretty ok with the M5 Pro. Here are GPU-Z and CPU-Z screenshots

 

 

Gaming Performance

Test Methods & Drivers

OS is Windows 8.1 fully updated and drivers in use are the Nvidia 350.12. All the games I’ve tested have been tested on 1080p resolution and some on 1620p (2880×1620) resolution, just for future comparison. In the case of the P650SG with current Bios/EC, I’ve used ThrottleStop to set the clocks to 2.6GHZ and that’s the only way I could prevent it from throttling. It does mean that some games that heavily rely on one or two cores will be bottlenecked (like the Borderlands games) and it’s definitely a strange behavior as the P650SG does not get too hot or TDP limited.

GPU barely had any throttle and even if it did – it was to around the base clocks of 1040MHZ. Usually while gaming, you’d see the core clocks set around 1100-1125MHZ.

Summarized gaming performance

Let's start with the benchmarks summary, highest settings@1620p and 1080p GTX 980M Clevo  P650SG 1620p performance GTX 980M Clevo P650SG 1080p performance And an interesting comparison of the P650SE and P650SG, GTX 970M vs GTX 980M, both with an I7. Unfortunately, I don't have 2880x1620 results of the GTX 970M, only 1080p: P650SG GTX 980M vs GTX 970M 1080p performance comparison What do we see here? Well, the advantages of a GTX 980M over a GTX 970M for 1080p gaming are very low compared to the difference in price and given the much higher specs of the GTX 980M. It's probably due to the limiting I7-4720HQ throttled cores in the P650SG up to some significant degree. I guess that for 1620p gaming, the 980M advantages are much more significant, but I'm not sure it's worth it. I also wonder whether the current GPUs are drivers are optimized for higher resolutions. I would guess that in some cases, more vRAM and algorithms that will better handle 3-4K resolution can make things look better for a much less powerful GPUs like the GTX 850M / 860M / 960M.

Borderlands 2

With Physx on, BL2 still poses a problem for the GTX 980M + I7 couple. Like in the Borderlands the Pre-Sequel, the game itself it not very optimized for CPU multi-threading and/or it’s limited by the CPU with a GPU like the GTX 980M. Here is the HWInfo data graphed to show that the CPU gets near its limits but the GPU isn’t, meaning the CPU is probably the limiting factor here:

Borderlands 2 CPU and GPU usage

You can see that the Core/CPU max usage is much higher than the GPU D3D load.

Crysis 3

Crysis 3 runs well on very high settings @ 1080p with SMAAx2TX and it will run good enough on high settings@2880×1620. However, at 1080p, the results are not really much better than the GTX 970M + I7 results.

Skyrim

Skyrim is no problem for the 980M at 1080p nor at 1620p even including AO set on quality (via the Nvidia control center settings).

Thief

I had problem with the Thief benchmark, outputting the same FPS results over and over. I’ve even tried to reinstall the OS and Thief, but for nothing. So, the benchmark is a realtime gameplay. The average FPSs I got are a little higher then benchmarks, maybe something like 15% max on average.

The results are pretty good even for 2880×1620 resolution, but again, for 1080p the results are not a lot better then the GTX 970M results from the P650SE.

Bioshock Infinite

Even on 2880×1620 resolution, Bioshock Infinite will run very well on highest settings, averaging 60FPS which is excellent.

GTX 980M (Clevo P650SG) Bioshock Infinite performance summary fixed

Civilization : Beyond Earth

Civilization : Beyond Earth runs well on average even on 2880×1620, according to the benchmark which is really intensive and probably outlines a more 3D intensive scenario then usual.

 

Total War : Rome II

Results are very good for the GTX 980M + I7 couple in Total War : Rome II even on “extreme” graphics settings preset. Talking about 1080p, again, the GTX 970M + I7 results are too similar, except that the minimal FPSs are considerably higher (compare).

The FPSs for 1620p gaming are good too even under “ultra” settings.

Metro : Last Light

Metro : Last Light comes too with a built-in very taxing benchmark. I’ve tested the NBC graphics settings, but also some of self configured settings, mainly to test the highest possible settings for Metro LL.

The NBC Ultra settings do not the “SSAA” and “Advanced Physx” options enabled. Without them, the 980M is an excellent GPU for this game, but really I feel that an optimization would help Metro LL a lot, maybe even downgrading the graphics a bit.

Still too heavy for 1620p, except on medium graphics settings preset.

Battlefield 4 Campaign

The GTX 980M and I7 handle Battlefield 4 Campaign pretty well even on Ultra@1620p. 1080p is not a problem at all.

Same story as with the other benchmarks for 1080p resolution – nothing to convince you to get a 980M over 970M yet.

League of Legends

The League of Legends results, like the Dota 2 results, are strange and seem too low. However, the CPU and GPU are not fully utilized and you save power and heat that way, while still getting very high FPSs and more than needed for a smooth gameplay, so it’s ok.

I didn’t even include the Dota2 results because they were too strange (like 40-50FPS)

Borderlands The Pre-Sequel

As in the Clevo P650SE review and the Borderlands 2 CPU/GPU usage graphs above, the Borderlands TPS game also very limited by the CPU, mostly [probably] due to its suboptimal 3D engine, not taking advantage of the multi-core / multi-thread power.

Generally, FPSs are very high, except when there are a lot of enemies and splashes and then one CPU logical core will choke. Very annoying, as there is no way really to get the most of GPUs like 970M and 980M like that, maybe except with some Intel CPU clocked at 4GHZ constantly.

Anyway, the Borderlands TPS is light enough so the gameplay is not too harmed by the sometimes lower FPSs.

Alien : Isolation

Not a problem for the GTX 980M + I7. AI FPSs are very high even on highest settings@1620p.

Seems like the 1620p FPSs correspond quite linearly to the difference in pixel count between 1620p and 1080p (x2.25) and I’m not sure what that means – a guess would be that it’s not optimized for such resolutions, but really, there are many factors.

World of Tanks

World of Tanks is very smooth with this combination of GPU and CPU, even on 1620p resolution. Same goes for 1080p, but again, it’s the same for GTX 970M.

Titanfall

It’s obvious that the GTX 980M struggles running Titanfall at highest settings and MSAAx4@1620p. However, disabling MSAA and/or settings the graphics to “Very High” preset instead of “Insane” makes things much better and quality is almost as good, if not as good practically.

Note that for 1080p resolutions, the situation is much better with FPSs quite similar for Insane and Very High presets.

You’ll notice that the FPSs are capped at 60FPS more or less – that’s with VSync off. Seems like some Nvidia or Titanfall game bug.

StarCitizen

Ok, so I did a little testing for the new StarCitizen (v1.1.1, not stable version) and the results are not really something you could rely on for the future nor they are consistent, but they show the current state of things.

The benchmark is an Arena Commander fight scene which can be very taxing is seems. StarCitizen, just you know, is based on the CryEngine 3D Engine.

StarCitizen does not reacts too well to changes in resolution and/or graphics settings (and I’ve tested several times), but it seems that 1080p and High or Medium settings is what you can expect for now, if you want to run it smoothly, even with a GPU like the GTX 980M.

Check the graphs for CPU / GPU usage. The CPU is not the limiting factor in this case. It’s just too heavy for the GPU.

For me, running the game on 1080p and high/medium settings was ok and smooth enough, except it got stuck from time to time.

Elite : Dangerous

Also a new star life game, still buggy and not entirely intuitive, but interesting (see the very positive Arstechnica review). FPSs are good even at 1620p and except bumps in performance, the game is pretty smooth.

The benchmark consisted on a traveling inside and out the Cleve Hub space port which is a taxing graphical environment compared to this game. Game version : 2015.04.08.63181

Elite Dangerous CPU and GPU usage, 980M, 1620p

You can see in the CPU & GPU usage graph that CPU and GPU are not overloaded, which is strange as least one of them should be, unless the GPU command processor is too stuffed.

They are still working on it though and game is smooth if you give it a minute or so to load the scene.

Cities : Skylines

This is a new “sim” game only new and much more fancy (link to steam) with vastly positive reviews from people (10/10 on Steam, for example). I run the Los Angeles premade city (download here) and run with the camera from the airport to the hills with almost maximal zoom.

Though FPSs are not high, the game itself was very smooth. As you can see in the CPU and GPU usage graphs, the GPU usage levels don’t really go over 80% and around the same for the CPU.

The game, though released, is still in early stages and there are bugs to fix and performance to optimize, for sure. It sometimes crashes, but not to a point where you want to die (like BF4 in its early days). My version was 1.0.7c

The performance does not corresponds really to resolution and settings. I’ve tried to restart the game for each settings but nada. It might be the same problem I had with Thief, getting the same results over the over.

Chivalry : Medieval Warfare

Basically, you’d simply run with your Axe, Sword, spear or bow and slash and stub other Medieval warriors.

FPSs are quite good with the GTX 980M and the I7 and it seems that again, some kind of FPS cap is working behind the scenes against my wishes.

The game runs well even on 1620p. Based on the Unreal engine.

Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

Stress tests and throttling behavior

As described before, the GPU and CPU both have two separated cooling systems and heatpipes with the CPU having a single fan and the GPU two fans which only one of the,m spins under light load. Cool air sucked from the bottom of the machine (hence, it’s important to keep its bottom above the sitting surface) and is thrown fromthe left and rear ventilation holes.

Four tests:

1. Idle, power saver mode

2. Gaming : Crysis 3 gameplay. “very high” settings with SMAAx2 For Crysis 3, “High performance” power mode. StarCitizen on highest settings@1080p too.

3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.

4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1280×720 test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.

 P650SG CPU and GPU temperature level

What do we see? While gaming, the temps are relatively very good. Full load in the form of Prime95 + Furmark loads the system much more. The temps would have been even higher without the automatic throttling.

Here are the CPU and GPU usage levels while running Crysis 3:

P650SG GTX 980M Crysis 3 CPU GPU usage

It’s important to note that there is no throttling of the CPU over the base 2.6GHZ clocks while gaming.

 

The throttling part is an interesting part. The P650SG starts throttling pretty quickly if you load the CPU and the GTX 980M GPU all together. It seems some automatic and not very smart algorithm as the CPU does not get hot or over the TDP limits, so I see really no reason to jump between the highest clocks at around 3.2GHZ and a much lower clocks of 1.0-1.1GHZ. It creates a jittery gameplay and that’s all. A smarter move would be to throttle the CPU according to TDP and temperatures as needed, in small steps.

Fortunately, ThrottleStop tool can help fix this problem. Setting a fixed (max) CPU clocks of around 2.6GHZ which is the base clocks rate. That way, though you won’t get maximal CPU clocks, the performance will be consistent. You won’t be CPU blocked in games like Crysis 3 and BF4 on high graphics settings as the GPUs will be the bottleneck. I didn’t find a way to change the algorithm, even with the Prema modded bios. I guess that it requires deeper skills.

Some games will be bottlenecked by the lower 2.6GHZ clocks, like Bioshock Infinite @ 1080p, but in those cases the FPSs will be very high anyway. Borderlands The Pre-Sequel is known to be limited by the main core clock rate being not very optimal for multi-threading, for example.

Just to make sure – the GPU is not throttled.

CPU throttle GPU throttle Idle
No No Prime95
Yes Yes Prime95 2.6GHZ +Furmark
Yes Yes Prime95 + furmark
Base clocks, 2.6GHZ No Crysis 3

Heat

The M5 Pro / P650SG designed well enough so the case upper part itself does not get hot and there’s no problem using the keyboard, touchpad and palm rests even under the highest load. The bottom gets a little more hot, but nothing crucial. That’s one advantage of not-so-thin laptops.

Noise

Under light load / watching movies you won’t hear a thing and the cooling system does a good job being quiet and efficient. Anyway, you can change behavior through the HotKey control center.

Under high load or gaming, the fans will spin faster and will be audible, but not to such extent as to be too annoying, using “quiet” mode. If you’ll use the “performance” mode, you’ll hear the fans changing between medium and high speeds.

Screen & Screen quality

The M5 Pro basic screen option is the AUO B156HAN01.2 which is a pretty good and known 1080p AHVA display and it would definitely suffice. However, with this P650SG I got the Panasonic VVX16T020G00 2880×1620 IPS eDP display – not because I wanted to, but because they offered it for free, maybe due to lack of the 1080p displays.

Now, an 2880×1620 pose some problems with current generations of programs as many of them are not suited for such a high resolution, but for reading/writing it’s very good and the text is clearer compared even to the 1080p displays. However, such resolution has less appeal for the gaming scenario. First of all, some games don’t cope well with such resolutions – Titanfall and BF4 didn’t even start with this resolution, probably some drivers + EA problem or something. Secondly, games that do run well with such a resolution will suffer from performance hit while gaining not much in graphics quality if at all.

Now, one might think that maybe with such high resolution you can disable AA and gain some of the performance back while maintaining the graphics quality. I’ve checked it and though it looks good even without AA – way better than 1080p without AA – the performance gained in Crysis 3 disabling SMAA is really not significant compared to the difference in performance for different resolutions, in my tests (SMAAx2 and x4).

Viewing angles are rather good (stated 85 degrees), with colors and brightness at minimal distort:

Color accuracy post-calibrated is good and color coverage of 69% adobeRGB and 92% sRGB is good too. Here is the icm calibration file for the Panasonic VVX16T020G00. It does seem to me like there is somewhat too much orange/red colors, even though I tried to remove it I had no real success. Would be glad to know if you had the same experience.

Subjectively, brightness is indeed high and contrast is good enough. Colors are nice too. Generally, if you are after a 3K display for gaming, that’s a nice option, but I would stick with an 1080p for now. It’s replaceable anyway.

ContrastBrightnessBlack levels
540 298 0.15
sRGBadobeRGBNTSC
93 69 64

Battery Performance

Under light load of web browsing via WiFi, you’d get around 3.5-4.0 hours of use, which is nice, but it’s mainly due to the high capacity of the 62Wh battery and not the efficiency of the machine (around 15-18W/h). I think that with an efficient SSD the performance would be better.

Under very low work load or idling (no WiFi, low screen brightness, no backlighted keyboard), you could squeeze around 5, maybe 5.5 hours of juice, thanks to the big capacity battery.

P650SG battery performance

 

Issues

Mostly the automatic throttling algorithm that prevents the machine from being perfect for gamers. Unless ThrottleStop (or some other clock manipulation software) is used, the CPU core clocks will dance between 1GHZ and the max 3.3GHZ for no good reason. No TDP limitation or temperatures limitations were met in my tests.

Another issue which is common to many laptops is the electrical conductivity of the laptop’s case itself. You’d electrify your fellow men and women after a while of using this laptop. Connecting earphones will show this too –  there is a noticeable hiss sound which disappears when you touch the palm rests. Very annoying and I hope it’s only annoying. Happened to me with many other laptops too.

Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

  • 1. Frankly, for 1080p gaming, I would consider the GTX 970M gaming machines like these or these or the Eurocom M5 Pro / Clevo P650SE with GTX 970M and a 1080p IPS display. Deals like the GT60 for $1200 with a GTX 970M also sometimes pop up (link)

    2. The GTX 980M alternatives for the same price are the Sager NP8652 (link) which is the same Clevo P650SG. For a higher price, there are machines with a replaceable GPU and CPU like the GT60.

    The Alienware 17 is marketed from time to time with some aggressive coupon and all sorts of discounts (like that), making it cost as low as $1650-$1700 with a GTX 980M, 1080p IPS display and a Windows 8.1 OS. So, compared to the Clevo P650 options it can be competitive including the OS, looks, good keyboard and thermals. However, the AW17 is much heavier – around 1.1kg more, and larger.

    3. The main alternative in my opinion, is waiting for deals on GTX 970M equipped laptops, for 1080p gaming.

Conclusion

Well, the Clevo P650SG is the bigger brother of the P650SE (review here). The specs are almost the same except the GTX 980M GPU. The case is a little bigger and can house 9.5mm + 7.0mm Sata devices vs 2x7mm or 1×9.5mm devices in the P650SE. Looks, weight, dimensions are generally the same. So is the cooling system, keyboard and touchpad quality, connection ports and speakers.

Even the cooling and CPU throttling algorithms look the same with same problems.

The P650SE was a good machine for the price and so is the P650SG which comes for around $1500-$1600 with the basic HDD and 1080p IPS display. Being patient or buying it with 10% off discount for students could make it cost around $1450-$1470, without an OS. Meanwhile, most other gaming laptops go for around $1700-$1800 with a GTX 980M even the aggressively marketed AW17 that can sometime go as low as $1650 with GTX 980M, I7, 1080p IPS display and an OS.

Like the P650SE, the P650SG has more good qualities like a good enough keyboard (better than previous generations), good display for base price, lots of connection ports and storage bays, quiet cooling system and low weight.

BUT, the real question is how necessary the GTX 980M is for 1080p gaming, which is what most will prefer as it’s high resolution for gaming and most won’t want to add to the costs with a 3K or 4K display and also get the performance hit from such resolutions. As we’ve seen in the GTX 970M vs 980M graphs, the 980M advantage exists but not big enough to justify it over the GTX 970M in many cases. Moreover, the 970M is already more than great for 1080p gaming, basically running all stuff on highest settings smoothly, except some games like StarCitizen which is still in development.

Another question is whether to wait for the Broadwell update (or even Skylake) as the Broadwell CPUs are much more power efficient and throttling should be considerably lower.

It’s not only a question of performance / price alone nor of whether the P650SG is good by itself, but more question of what for is it needed.

For a GTX 980M laptop, the P650SG is a very good machine, even with the throttling issues as it can be solved to a high degree with ThrottleStop software. But, it’s hard to see the reason for a GTX 980M unless you are going for a higher resolution than 1080p for gaming. I know some want and do that and maybe then there is a justification for the 980M, from the aspect of performance/price and absolute performance. But it’s also hard to justify the costs just to get the higher resolution which is far from necessary for fun.

Bottom line, for 1080p gaming, GTX 980M machines are too much. Have plans for more than that? then a 980M P650SG / Eurocom M5 Pro (10% for students) is a very good option for you, depending on the use.

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ipwn3r456
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ipwn3r456

Junky, did you added another $60 for the 4720HQ upgrade from the 4710HQ? Or did Eurocom did that upgrade for you for free?

Junky
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didn’t add, they did it – not sure they did it “for me”, but simply they hadn’t have the 4710 no more. I think you can order the 4710 too and you’ll get the 4720..

ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

I see. I guess free 100MHz CPU boost, lol. Btw, do you think the 980M is worth for the price over the 970M? I plan to play games on 1080p, but I will use it for about 4 years during college. What do you think?

Junky
Guest

I wouldn’t spend the extra, but also, don’t you want to wait for the new laptops with Skylake and other stuff like USB 3.1?

ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

I can’t wait anymore. It will probably take several months for new laptops with Skylake to be released, while school starts in about 3 weeks for me. It’s not like I don’t want to wait, time is forcing me not to. Besides, there’s a poland reseller that’s potentially selling the next generation of P650Sx series, if I remember correctly, the P651RE and P651RG.

Here’s the link (website in Polish):

http://www.notebookcheck.pl/Clevo-P651RE-i-P651RG-z-Intel-Skylake-w-XTREEM-pl.148349.0.html

No major changes, only with Skylake CPUs, not even DDR4 RAM… no USB 3.1, etc. It’s just not worth in my opinion.

ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

Actually never mind about not having the DDR4 RAM… looks like they changed the specs from the last time I checked.

Junky
Guest

Well, it does have GSync, maybe they’ve disabled optimus? Skylake + DDR4 is still a nice upgrade.

How much can you wait?

ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

No more than a week or two. I can’t go to college without a laptop.

It will probably be a decent upgrade, but it will probably be too costly for me.

Junky
Guest

Oh, the Skylake version costs a lot more? Well, the Clevo P650SE indeed is a good option. I’d stay with the 970M and not 980M as it’s powerful enough

ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

DDR4 SODIMM RAM is probably expensive at the time it comes out. Even desktop DDR4 is more expensive than DDR3. That will probably add alot of cost to the laptop. I guess I will sacrifice a bit of performance on the 970m to get the best deal.

Junky
Guest

One advantage of Skylake is 4K, I think. Does it matter?

ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

Not really, I am just going to stay with 1080p for now. Current hardwares aren’t really ready for 4k at an affordable price. Maybe my next computer though. Probably 8k is the thing by then, lol.

Junky
Guest

I was talking about playback, not 3D

ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

Oh, ops. I don’t think I have anything to watch in 4k, as they are not even that common yet… So no, it doesn’t matter.

Junky
Guest

OK !!

André
Guest
André

i7 4910MQ + GTX 980M 8GB or GTX 970M 6GB 1620p + i7 4790K ? For gaming purposes ( i want to gaming at ultra settings 60FPS )

Junky
Guest

Andre! wait for the new Skylake CPUs!

André
Guest
André

Skylake is better but i want to know which is better i don’t wait anymore can you tell me which option is better?

Thank you

Junky
Guest

1. Skylake is much better in the thermals aspect => better clocks, lower heat, lower noise
2. About these two laptops – the one with 980M will be much much faster for gaming

André
Guest
André

By the way it’s a Clevo P751ZM forget mention , but for 1620p at ultra settings 60FPS it’s ok an GTX 970M 6GB? I dunno the GTX 980M one have a TN painel 1080p it’s not IPS

Junky
Guest

Are you sure it’s a TN? can you give some links?

Junky
Guest
ipwn3r456
Guest
ipwn3r456

Yeah, I have been waiting for Skylake as well, but there haven’t been any news about SKylake Mobile CPUs…

Alex
Guest
Alex

Thanks for the review. So do you think the Full HD display on the P650SE is better than this one? The 3K has a higher brightness. Did it make a difference when you tested the two laptops?

Quick correction: the P650SG can have a 9.5 mm+ a 7mm HD whereas the P650SE can have two 7 mm HD or one 9.5 mm one.

Junky
Guest

Hi Alex

1. you’re right about the 7mm. I’ll fix – thanks for caring!
2. Brightness didn’t have any impact on my experience in the conditions I used these laptops. Maybe in direct sunlight it will be more pronounced
And yes, I would prefer the 1080p version for gaming, unless the higher resolution has some other advantage for you, like for video editing

Alex
Guest
Alex

Thanks for the reply, it’s really helpful. I’m probably going to get a P650SE but I was not sure which display to get. Full HD should do. I originally wanted a 17″ IPS lightish (~3kg) laptop but the choice is limited.

Junky
Guest

Anyway, you can replace it later with a different display
BTW, note that Eurocom uses the B156HAN01.2 (make sure with them) while the Sager is a worse LG display, in my opinion

Alex
Guest
Alex

I went with MySN which also offers the AUO display.