Notebookcheck

Schenker XMG A505 (Clevo N150SD) Notebook Review

Florian Glaser (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 03/12/2015

Fresh wind. A completely revised chassis and a new GPU: Schenker aims to achieve a lot with the successor of the XMG A504. Read on to find out how the GTX 960M performs compared to the GTX 860M and whether the 15-inch notebook is a good choice for gamers.

For the original German review, see here.

Two weeks ahead of its official launch, our editorial office has the XMG A505, the first notebook with the brand-new GeForce GTX 960M. However, the term "brand-new" might be slightly exaggerated. Instead of providing the GTX 860M with more shaders and a wider memory interface, Nvidia has restricted its update to just slightly raising the clocks. However, the XMG A505 is an ambitious gaming notebook and the design is very different compared to the previous generation.

The changes are not that big under the hood. The soldered Core i7-4720HQ is not much faster in practice than the Core i7-4700MQ, which powered the review configuration of the XMG A504. If you exclude the change from mSATA to M.2, the storage solution is the same. Potential buyers will have to live with a compromise with regard to the DDR3 memory. Instead of three slots for up to 24 GB, you get "only" two slots for up to 16 GB. The display has also been revised. While the XMG A504 used a panel based on the TN technology, you now get an IPS product with wide viewing angles and accurate colors. We will have a closer look at the other features over the course of this review.

Probably the greatest issue of the XMG A505 is its high price. Theoretically, it is possible to get the device for 1249 Euros (~$1325), but you quickly exceed 1500 Euros (~$1590) with an operating system, SSD, large HDD and 8 to 16 GB of RAM, taking it into the price range of more powerful devices. With an identical configuration, the 15-inch sibling XMG P505 would only cost around 200 Euros (~$212; GTX 965M) and 300 Euros (~$318; GTX 970M) more respectively.

Laptops with the GTX 860M GPU are usually much less expensive. If you do not expect generous equipment (hard drive, RAM...) you can find rivals starting at 1000 to 1200 Euros (~$1060 to ~$1273; Lenovo Y50-70Acer V15 Nitro). We hope that the price will drop in the next couple of months; we think the notebook is currently too expensive.

Note: Our review unit is a pre-production sample, which does not necessarily represent the final product in all categories (BIOS, fan control etc.).

Case

Soft-touch finish
Soft-touch finish

Schenker Technologies is using the N150SD Barebone from Clevo for the XMG A505, and there are not many similarities with the W355SS chassis of the predecessor. While the W355SS was silver-gray, the N150SD is now completely dark.

Another change concerns the surfaces. Both the lid and the palm rest are now rubberized. This means they are nice to touch, but they also quickly attract dirt. At least, Clevo has waived the glossy display frame. The matte finish of the N150SD frame is much more dirt-resistant.

The design has also changed significantly. The boring and boxy shape of the XMG A504 is replaced by a more playful design that looks much more modern and reminds us of the 15-inch siblings P651SG/SE and P751ZM, respectively. This is certainly a big step in the right direction, even though some parts still leave a cheap impression (speaker grills).

We were not that happy with the stability of the display cover. Unlike the base unit, it is possible to twist and deflect the lid significantly, which affects the quality impression. The hinges lack stability, and vibrations will result in a wobbly display. We cannot fully judge the build quality because of the pre-production status, but our review unit was decent in this respect.

If you like metal surfaces, the XMG A505 is not a good choice; Clevo uses plastic exclusively. There is hardly any criticism for the dimensions. With a height of 2.9 centimeters (~1.1 in), the N150SD is just slightly higher than the Acer V15 Nitro and the Lenovo Y50-70 (each 2.4 cm; ~0.9 in). The same applies for the weight: at 2.5 kilograms (~5.5 lb), it is beaten by the rivals (2.2 to 2.4 kg; ~4.8 to ~5.3 lb) by a slight margin. Overall, it is still easy to carry the XMG A505 around.

Connectivity

Ports

The Barebone experts from Clevo deserve respect for the port layout. As with the W355SS, all ports are located at the rear half of the device. This does not only increase the space for movements, but it also reduces the risk of possible collisions with an external mouse. Clevo has now integrated a SIM card slot and a Mini-DisplayPort to compensate for the omitted eSATA port. It is also possible to attach external displays via VGA and HDMI. 

The manufacturer has not compromised on the other ports. Three stereo jacks and four USB 3.0 ports should be sufficient for most users. A card reader (6 standards), one RJ45 port and a slot for a Kensington Lock round off the package. Speaking of security: A fingerprint reader is integrated between the two mouse buttons to protect the device against unwanted accesses, as well as a TPM 2.0 chip.

Wireless Communication

Wireless communications are handled by a module from Intel. The Wireless-AC 3160 and the Wireless-AC 7265 are very similar in terms of specification, which explains the small price difference. Only the maximum transfer rates (867 vs. 433 Mbps) put the AC 7265 clearly ahead – at least on paper.

In practice, neither of the wireless modules should make much difference, since they both support WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac in 2.4 and 5 GHz networks as well as Bluetooth 4.0. The range of our review unit was good, we still had a stable connection at a distance of 10 to 15 meters (~33 to ~49 ft) to the router and through several walls (2 to 4 out of 5 bars). Optionally, it is possible to equip the XMG A505 with UMTS or LTE modules.

Left side: Kensington Lock, 2x USB 3.0, 3x sound, optical drive
Left side: Kensington Lock, 2x USB 3.0, 3x sound, optical drive
Rear: USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, AC power
Rear: USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, AC power
Right side: SIM card slot, card reader, USB 3.0, VGA, RJ45-LAN
Right side: SIM card slot, card reader, USB 3.0, VGA, RJ45-LAN

Maintenance

Tinkering is actually possible with the N150SD chassis. After you have loosened 10 screws at the bottom, you can lift the whole cover. You do not only get access to the M.2 slots, the 2.5-inch bay and the optical drive, but also the memory slots and the cooling solution including the fans. Thanks to the dual cooling solution, the CPU and the GPU are cooled seperately, improving the noise development. Overall, the maintainability reminds us of the MSI GE62, even though the battery of the latter was only accessible from the inside. It is more comfortable to replace the battery of the XMG A505.

Preloaded software
Preloaded software

Software

You do not have to worry about a Windows installation full of bloatware if you decide to buy a device from Schenker. The screenshot on the right shows that you only get the necessary drivers. If you do not like key combinations, you can use numerous comfort and special functions with the Control Center tool. You can configure, among others, the touchpad and the keyboard (illumination, macros etc.), change the fan behavior or adjust the sound as well as the display brightness. The four operating modes "Silent", "Energy-Saving", "Performance" and "Entertainment" also allow a global adjustment.

Control Center - System application
Control Center - System application
Control Center - Device
Control Center - Device
Control Center - Gaming
Control Center - Gaming
Flexikey
Flexikey

Accessories

In addition to a keychain and a XMG sticker, the box of our review unit contained only a driver DVD. The final packaging will probably include a manual or a quick-start guide as well as a Windows DVD if you have ordered an operating system. The power adaptor of the XMG A505 is 14.5 x 7.5 x 2.5 centimeters (~5.7 x 2.9 x 1 in), and weighs 466 grams (~1 lb) with a nominal output of 120 Watts. The 6-cell battery, which has one support foot for the chassis, weighs just 322 grams (~11.4 oz).

Warranty

It is possible to extend the standard 24-month warranty to 36 or 48 months (+105/210 Euros; +~$110/$220). Schenker promises a pick-up & return service as well as a temporary  emergency repair.

Input Devices

Keyboard

We would characterize the chiclet keyboard input as classic. The manufacturer has not experimented with the layout or lettering. Compared to the MSI GE62 (single-row Return, shifted Windows key...) you get used to the keyboard very quickly. The quality impression of the input is decent; the typing experience is neither too firm nor too soft, even though some keys are a little clattery. 

On the other hand, you get a four-column numeric keypad as well as a white illumination that can be adjusted in two steps. The key size – except for the F-keys – is convenient. Almost 15 x 15 millimeters (~0.6 x 0.6 in) are typical for a notebook. Whether you appreciate the red marked WASD area is basically a matter of taste. Overall, the keyboard gets a "good" rating. A higher rating would have required quieter typing mechanics and a slightly brighter illumination. The author would also prefer rounded keys.

Chiclet keyboard ...
Chiclet keyboard ...
... with white illumination
... with white illumination

Touchpad

Great: While the Acer V15 Nitro and the Lenovo Y50-70 use the somewhat tricky ClickPad technology, Clevo has decided to equip the N150SD Barebone with a conventional touchpad. Thanks to the two buttons, it is easy to reliably trigger left and right clicks, which is not always the case with ClickPads. Another advantage over the structured surface of the MSI GE62 is the smooth finish. The size does not give cause for any criticism: 10.7 x 6.2 centimeters (~4.2 x 2.4 in) allow large cursor movements.

The touchpad also supports all the latest features, including multi-touch as well as gestures (turn, zoom, scroll). Except for the scrolling area at the side, which is rather imprecise, it is easy to execute the actions. The only thing we would like to see for the successor is slightly firmer mouse buttons because the stroke feels a little spongy.

Display

One of the main selling points is the anti-reflective Full HD panel. Although, more and more notebooks are equipped with IPS displays nowadays, hardly any rival is as good as the AU Optronics B156HAN01.2. Therefore, it is not surprising that Clevo uses this panel in multiple Barebones, including the P751ZM or the P651SG/SE.

276
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
265
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
284
cd/m²
265
cd/m²
285
cd/m²
260
cd/m²
273
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 299 cd/m² Average: 275.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 284 cd/m²
Contrast: 1235:1 (Black: 0.23 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.46 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.3 | - Ø
92% sRGB (Argyll) 60% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.32

Apart from the brightness, which is just average at 275 cd/m², the AU Optronics panel does not reveal any drawbacks. One particularly positive aspect would be the contrast: Average laptops are not even close to 1200:1, no matter if you look at TN or IPS products. Both the Acer V15 Nitro and the MSI GE62 manage only around 700:1 (~800:1 @HP Omen). The last place is occupied by the Lenovo Y50-70, which does not even reach 400:1 because of the mediocre black value. Dark scenes also look very nice on the XMG A505; a black value of 0.23 cd/m² is very good for a notebook.

Schenker XMG A505
Lenovo Y50-70
HP Omen
Acer V15 Nitro
MSI GE62
Screen
-143%
-44%
-56%
-51%
Brightness
275
221
-20%
301
9%
319
16%
202
-27%
Brightness Distribution
87
85
-2%
85
-2%
87
0%
63
-28%
Black Level *
0.23
0.722
-214%
0.38
-65%
0.46
-100%
0.34
-48%
Contrast
1235
315
-74%
829
-33%
689
-44%
676
-45%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.46
10.13
-312%
4.37
-78%
5.79
-135%
4.59
-87%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.3
10.04
-337%
5.46
-137%
5.01
-118%
4.62
-101%
Gamma
2.32 103%
2.15 112%
2.48 97%
2.35 102%
2.48 97%
CCT
6393 102%
10438 62%
7915 82%
7347 88%
6389 102%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60
34.26
-43%
60
0%
55
-8%
48
-20%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
92

* ... smaller is better

We were particularly impressed by the results of the CalMAN tests, which, among others, evaluate the color accuracy, the grayscale performance and the saturation levels. The screenshots show that the panel is already very accurate without any calibration. Some professional users pay attention to the available color space, but the panel will not meet all the expectations with 92% sRGB (Correction 20.5.2015 due to a wrong sRGB-reference-profile) and 60% AdobeRGB. However, from a “normal” user’s perspective, the picture is flawless.

CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Color Management
CalMAN: Color Management
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
Schenker XMG A505 vs. sRGB (Correction 20.5.2015)
Schenker XMG A505 vs. sRGB (Correction 20.5.2015)
Schenker XMG A505 vs. AdobeRGB
Schenker XMG A505 vs. AdobeRGB

It is rather unfortunate that you can notice the average luminance outdoors. The visibility is reduced significantly under direct or indirect sunlight. Good outdoor capabilities require at least 300 cd/m². We want to praise the viewing angle stability. The vertical stability easily beats every TN panel and we can see only some distortions from an angle above.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoor use
Outdoor use

Performance

Haswell
Haswell

Processor

According to Clevo's website, the N150SD Barebone can be equipped with three different CPUs. While the Core i5-4210H (2.9 to 3.5 GHz) has only two cores, both the Core i7-4720HQ (2.6 to 3.6 GHz) and the Core i7-4870HQ (2.5 to 3.7 GHz) have four cores each. Thanks to Hyperthreading, the i7 models are even shown as octa-core models in the Task Manager. 

The main difference between the two top versions is the graphics chip; the Core i7-4720HQ is equipped with the HD Graphics 4600 instead of the Iris Pro 5200. However, considering the Nvidia GPU, the i7-4870HQ would hardly pay off. Schenker currently offers only the i7-4720HQ, so you do not have to decide anyway. All the CPUs share the same manufacturing process (22 nm), the TDP (47 Watts) as well as the architecture (Haswell).

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ Memory
System info CPUZ SPD
System info HWiNFO
System info GPUZ (HD 4600)
System info GPUZ (GTX 960M)
System info CrystalDiskMark (SSD)
System info CrystalDiskMark (HDD)
System info HDTune (HDD)
System info Latency
System information Schenker XMG A505

Turbo Boost

The Turbo Boost of the processor would have almost ruined the results. A test with Cinebench R11.5 showed that the clock in multithread scenarios dropped to the nominal frequency of 2.6 GHz after a few seconds. Other notebooks with the Core i7-4720HQ reach up to 3.4 GHz in this scenario.

According to the manufacturer, Clevo is already working on a new BIOS that is supposed to solve the problem ahead of the release. However, we still reviewed the notebook to publish the article in time and translate it into other languages. Another reason was that the majority of (gaming) benchmarks did not reveal any anomalies. The Turbo Boost was always utilized when we stressed one core.

Single-core rendering
Single-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
Multi-core rendering
CPU & GPU load
CPU & GPU load

CPU Performance

Cinebench R15 highlights the Turbo Boost issue very well. With 142 points, the XMG A505 can easily keep up with the competition in the Single-CPU test. The MSI GE62, also using the same Core i7-4720HQ, falls behind by a few points (137 points). However, the situation changes in the Multi-CPU test. 538 points are roughly 20% behind laptops with an active Turbo Boost (see chart). The XMG A505 beats the Lenovo, which suffers from a limited Turbo Boost.

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.57 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
5.87 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
61.52 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
142 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
538 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
95.34 fps
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
Core i7-4720HQ
142 Points ∼73%
Lenovo Y50-70
Core i7-4700HQ
125 Points ∼64% -12%
HP Omen
Core i7-4710HQ
129 Points ∼66% -9%
Acer V15 Nitro
Core i7-4710HQ
137 Points ∼71% -4%
MSI GE62
Core i7-4720HQ
137 Points ∼71% -4%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
Core i7-4720HQ
538 Points ∼29%
Lenovo Y50-70
Core i7-4700HQ
490 Points ∼26% -9%
HP Omen
Core i7-4710HQ
650 Points ∼35% +21%
Acer V15 Nitro
Core i7-4710HQ
657 Points ∼35% +22%
MSI GE62
Core i7-4720HQ
664 Points ∼36% +23%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
Core i7-4720HQ
1.57 Points ∼71%
Lenovo Y50-70
Core i7-4700HQ
1.46 Points ∼66% -7%
Acer V15 Nitro
Core i7-4710HQ
1.53 Points ∼70% -3%
MSI GE62
Core i7-4720HQ
1.57 Points ∼71% 0%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
Core i7-4720HQ
5.87 Points ∼29%
Lenovo Y50-70
Core i7-4700HQ
5.29 Points ∼26% -10%
HP Omen
Core i7-4710HQ
7.13 Points ∼36% +21%
Acer V15 Nitro
Core i7-4710HQ
7.22 Points ∼36% +23%
MSI GE62
Core i7-4720HQ
7.22 Points ∼36% +23%

Graphics Card

Maxwell
Maxwell

Unfortunately, we have to disappoint you if you expected a major performance gain from the GTX 960M. The specifications of the new gaming chip are completely identical to the GTX 860M with 640 Unified Shaders and 2048 MB GDDR5 video memory (128-bit interface).

Some details show small improvements (GPU-Z shows 53 instead of 40 TMUs, a pixel fill rate of 35.1 instead of 32.6 GPixel/s and a texture fill rate of 58.1 instead of 40.8 GTexel/s), but the tuning is not impressive. The fact that Nvidia has increased the core clock by 7% (1097 vs. 1029 MHz) does not significantly improve the performance.

If GPU-Z is correct, the GTX 960M can reach up to 1202 MHz via Turbo Boost, while the GTX 860M had a maximum clock of 1097 MHz. Otherwise, there are no obvious technical differences. Both chips are based on the Maxwell architecture (GM107) that is produced in a 28 nm process.

According to our information, Nvidia will not offer an MXM version. The Kepler version of the GTX 860M did have more shaders (1152 CUDA cores) and twice as much GDDR5 VRAM, but was about 10% slower because of the older architecture. By the way, the notebook supports Optimus, which means you can switch between the integrated and the dedicated GPU.

GPU Performance

That the predecessor chip was hardly reworked is confirmed by the GPU benchmarks. With a GPU score of 4418 points, the GTX 960M is just 16% faster in the current 3DMark Fire Strike test than the GTX 860M in the Lenovo Y50-70 (3810 points).

The advantage drops to 14% (56.3 vs. 49.5 fps @Schenker XMG A504) in Unigine Heaven, which is tested with 1920x1080 pixels and normal tessellation. Since the GTX 860M was tested with older drivers, the difference might be even smaller in practice. The GTX 960M can never compete with real "high-end" chips; both the GTX 965M (+20 to 30%) as well as the GTX 970M (+50 to 70%) are noticeably faster.

3DMark 11 Performance
5639 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
84779 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
15511 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
4071 points
Help
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
4418 Points ∼11%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
3174 Points ∼8% -28%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (332.50)
3810 Points ∼10% -14%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
5394 Points ∼14% +22%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
7440 Points ∼19% +68%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
4071 Points ∼17%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
2880 Points ∼12% -29%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (332.50)
3517 Points ∼15% -14%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
4810 Points ∼21% +18%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
6508 Points ∼28% +60%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
5446 Points ∼11%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
5165 Points ∼10% -5%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (332.50)
4904 Points ∼10% -10%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
7136 Points ∼14% +31%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
9439 Points ∼19% +73%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
5639 Points ∼20%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
5349 Points ∼19% -5%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (332.50)
5061 Points ∼18% -10%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
7249 Points ∼25% +29%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
8636 Points ∼30% +53%
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - 1920x1080 DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
56.3 fps ∼21%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
45.2 fps ∼17% -20%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
66.3 fps ∼25% +18%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
91.6 fps ∼34% +63%

Storage Solution

AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark

The N150SD has a classic 2.5-inch bay as well as an M.2 slot for SSDs (type 2280). Schenker has equipped the latter with a 256 GB version of the Micron M600  MTFDDAV256MBF.

With sequential transfer rates of 525 MB/s (read) and 461 MB/s (write), the solid-state drive is one of the fastest SATA III models on the market. Smaller files (4K) are handled quickly. In combination with the low access time (0.057 ms @read, 0.048 ms @write) it is easy to recommend the Micron M600 without any restrictions. The AS SSD benchmark determined an overall score of 1105 points, which is a very good result for a solid-state drive.

If you want the highest possible performance, you should configure a PCIe-model. As well as the Plextor M6e (1173 points @XMG U505), we can also see better sequential results from the Samsung XP941 (1184 points @XMG P505). However, since the performance with small files is more important for the Windows experience, you can hardly notice the advantages of a PCIe-SSD.

Schenker has also equipped the review unit with a hard drive to ensure that there is sufficient storage capacity. Thanks to the generous capacity (1.75 TB), the Samsung Spinpoint M9T ST1750LM000 is perfectly suitable for large files. CrystalDiskMark determines quite a good performance for the 5400 rpm drive (sequential: 120 MB/s).

Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
Sequential Read: 506.8 MB/s
Sequential Write: 469.4 MB/s
512K Read: 459.5 MB/s
512K Write: 457.5 MB/s
4K Read: 33.46 MB/s
4K Write: 104.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 339.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 314.5 MB/s

System Performance

Despite the issues with the Turbo Boost, the XMG A505 can compete with more powerful high-end notebooks in the system benchmarks. 6042 points in PCMark 7 is on par with the XMG P505 (Core i7-4710HQ, GeForce GTX 980, single-SSD). The overall score of the Gigabyte P35X v3 (Core i7-4710HQ, GeForce GTX 980M, dual-SSD) is also comparable.

PCMark 7 Score
6042 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3746 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4465 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4871 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
6042 Points ∼75%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
3006 Points ∼37% -50%
HP Omen
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, SanDisk A110 SD6PP4M-256G-1006
5919 Points ∼74% -2%
Acer V15 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
5879 Points ∼73% -3%
MSI GE62
GeForce GTX 965M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1
5682 Points ∼71% -6%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
4871 Points ∼75%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
4202 Points ∼64% -14%
Acer V15 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
4318 Points ∼66% -11%
MSI GE62
GeForce GTX 965M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1 (1.920 x 1.080 Bildpunkte)
4607 Points ∼71% -5%
MSI GE62
GeForce GTX 965M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1
3763 Points ∼58% -23%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
4465 Points ∼48%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
3384 Points ∼36% -24%
HP Omen
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, SanDisk A110 SD6PP4M-256G-1006
4285 Points ∼46% -4%
Acer V15 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
4305 Points ∼46% -4%
MSI GE62
GeForce GTX 965M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1 (1.920 x 1.080 Bildpunkte)
4577 Points ∼49% +3%
MSI GE62
GeForce GTX 965M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1
4312 Points ∼46% -3%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
3746 Points ∼63%
Lenovo Y50-70
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
3112 Points ∼52% -17%
HP Omen
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, SanDisk A110 SD6PP4M-256G-1006
3618 Points ∼61% -3%
Acer V15 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
3603 Points ∼60% -4%
MSI GE62
GeForce GTX 965M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1
3701 Points ∼62% -1%
MSI GE62
GeForce GTX 965M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1
3075 Points ∼51% -18%

Gaming Performance

The GTX 960 represents the transition from a mainstream to a starting high-end GPU. Complex games like “Shadow of Mordor”, “Crysis 3”, “Hitman: Absolution”, “Thief” or “Dragon Age: Inquisition” will drop below 30 fps when you use the highest details. In extreme cases, you will also have to reduce the resolution as well as the details to get a smooth gaming experience (e. g. “Assassin's Creed Unity”, “Ryse: Son of Rome” and “Watch Dogs”).

Less demanding games can also be played with anti-aliasing in 1920x1080. If you only look at the Ultra-preset, you can see that the GTX 960M is pretty much in the middle between the GTX 965M (+15%) and the GTX 860M (-10%), while the Kepler version of the GTX 860M falls behind by around 15%. Passionate gamers will be better off with the top models; on average, a GTX 970M is around 60% faster.

Note: Even though the installed ForceWare 345.05 was not an outdated driver, we still encountered problems in a few games. We could not use the fullscreen mode in “Dragon Age: Inquisition”, “GRID Autosport” and “Wolfenstein: The New Order” (games only run in a window). “Shadow of Mordor” (incorrect display recognition at the first start) and “The Evil Within” (Full HD does not scale properly) had issues as well, and “Evolve” just refused to run with more than 40 fps.

Evolve - 1920x1080 Very High Graphics Quality AA:1TX SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
31.8 fps ∼18%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
27.6 (min: 24) fps ∼16% -13%
The Crew - 1920x1080 Ultra Video Preset (modified) AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
33.2 fps ∼55%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
25 (min: 19) fps ∼42% -25%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
27.3 fps ∼46% -18%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
34.2 fps ∼57% +3%
Dragon Age: Inquisition - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics Quality AA:2x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
22.5 fps ∼13%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
18.3 (min: 14) fps ∼11% -19%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
18.6 fps ∼11% -17%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
27.1 fps ∼16% +20%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
35.9 fps ∼21% +60%
Far Cry 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics Quality AA:SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
30.8 fps ∼27%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
23 (min: 20) fps ∼20% -25%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
22.7 fps ∼20% -26%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
32.4 fps ∼29% +5%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
48.1 fps ∼42% +56%
Assassin's Creed Unity - 1920x1080 Ultra High Graphics Quality AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
11.9 fps ∼22%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
13.1 (min: 11) fps ∼24% +10%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
7.4 fps ∼13% -38%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
13.7 fps ∼25% +15%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
22.9 fps ∼41% +92%
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - 1920x1080 Extra / On (Cache Shadow Maps Off), 2x Supersampling AA:2x SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
30.4 fps ∼39%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
24.4 (min: 20) fps ∼32% -20%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
22.9 fps ∼30% -25%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
35.8 fps ∼46% +18%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
46.4 fps ∼60% +53%
Civilization: Beyond Earth - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
39.8 fps ∼28%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
34.2 (min: 15) fps ∼24% -14%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
31.4 fps ∼22% -21%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
49.9 fps ∼35% +25%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
67.5 fps ∼48% +70%
F1 2014 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
79 fps ∼66%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
83 (min: 69) fps ∼69% +5%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
99 fps ∼83% +25%
The Evil Within - 1920x1080 High / Enabled AA:SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
41.3 fps ∼47%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
29 (min: 23) fps ∼33% -30%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
28 fps ∼32% -32%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
51 fps ∼58% +23%
Ryse: Son of Rome - 1920x1080 Very High Texture Res. + High Graphics Quality (Motion Blur & Temporal AA On, Rest Off/Disabled) AF:8x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
27.4 fps ∼27%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
21.4 (min: 16) fps ∼21% -22%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
33.4 fps ∼32% +22%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
45.1 fps ∼44% +65%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
41.3 (min: 33) fps ∼40% +51%
Alien: Isolation - 1920x1080 Ultra, On, Shadow Map 2048, HDAO AA:2x SM AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
46.6 fps ∼20%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
39.8 fps ∼17% -15%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
40.4 fps ∼17% -13%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
54.8 fps ∼23% +18%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
75.7 fps ∼32% +62%
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset (HD Package) (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
27.9 fps ∼17%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
26.4 (min: 12) fps ∼16% -5%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
9.7 fps ∼6% -65%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
28.8 fps ∼18% +3%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
51.2 fps ∼32% +84%
Fifa 15 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
136 fps ∼46%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
119.5 (min: 47) fps ∼40% -12%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
84.4 fps ∼28% -38%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
155.2 fps ∼52% +14%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
217.8 fps ∼73% +60%
Sims 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
64.6 fps ∼40%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
54.9 (min: 38) fps ∼34% -15%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (340.84)
40 fps ∼25% -38%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
70 fps ∼44% +8%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
77.2 fps ∼48% +20%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
93.8 fps ∼59% +45%
GRID: Autosport - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
51.9 fps ∼35%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
42.6 (min: 35) fps ∼28% -18%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
42.49 fps ∼28% -18%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
58.2 fps ∼39% +12%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
69 fps ∼46% +33%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
82.3 fps ∼55% +59%
Watch Dogs - 1920x1080 Ultra Overall Quality, Ultra Textures AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
15.4 fps ∼21%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
18.9 (min: 14) fps ∼25% +23%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
17.7 fps ∼24% +15%
Alienware 15
GeForce GTX 970M (344.73)
33.4 fps ∼45% +117%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
34.4 fps ∼46% +123%
Wolfenstein: The New Order - 1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
48.6 fps ∼81%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (mixed)
59 (min: 47) fps ∼98% +21%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
50.5 fps ∼84% +4%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
59 fps ∼98% +21%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
60 fps ∼100% +23%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
28 fps ∼22%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
22.6 fps ∼18% -19%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
24.3 fps ∼19% -13%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
34.2 fps ∼27% +22%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
47.9 fps ∼38% +71%
Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
33 fps ∼17%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
26.2 fps ∼13% -21%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
29 fps ∼15% -12%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
39.1 fps ∼20% +18%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
54.8 fps ∼27% +66%
Saints Row IV - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:8x MS AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
36.3 fps ∼39%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
31.1 fps ∼33% -14%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
40.7 fps ∼43% +12%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
58.8 fps ∼63% +62%
Dota 2 - 1920x1080 High / On, Render Quality: 100 % (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
83.1 fps ∼69%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
58.3 fps ∼49% -30%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
97.7 fps ∼81% +18%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
31.9 fps ∼21%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
23.7 fps ∼16% -26%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
38.7 fps ∼26% +21%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
53.3 fps ∼36% +67%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
46.8 fps ∼22%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
35.9 fps ∼17% -23%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
40.82 fps ∼19% -13%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
53.3 fps ∼25% +14%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
72.5 fps ∼34% +55%
Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
50.8 fps ∼18%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
43 fps ∼16% -15%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
44.7 fps ∼16% -12%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
57.3 fps ∼21% +13%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
80.3 fps ∼29% +58%
Crysis 3 - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2xSM AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
20.6 fps ∼17%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
18.4 fps ∼15% -11%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
18.7 fps ∼15% -9%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
23.9 fps ∼20% +16%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
33.4 fps ∼27% +62%
Hitman: Absolution - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
26.4 fps ∼27%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 860M Kepler (332.35)
19.6 fps ∼20% -26%
Acer V17 Nitro
GeForce GTX 860M Maxwell (333.17)
23.4 fps ∼24% -11%
Schenker XMG P705
GeForce GTX 965M (344.54)
28.1 fps ∼29% +6%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M (344.00)
41.2 fps ∼42% +56%
low med. high ultra
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 75.371.357.726.4fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 113.281.154.920.6fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 260.7181.9114.750.8fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 162.6128.6118.346.8fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 98.691.459.931.9fps
Dota 2 (2013) 117.5105.183.1fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 88.177.157.636.3fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 141.811481.833fps
Thief (2014) 75.964.955.228fps
Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) 606048.6fps
Watch Dogs (2014) 63.754.629.915.4fps
GRID: Autosport (2014) 194.6106.883.651.9fps
Sims 4 (2014) 191.2112.273.364.6fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 201.7187.3136fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 1318142.727.9fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 155.3122.766.446.6fps
Ryse: Son of Rome (2014) 62.557.629.427.4fps
The Evil Within (2014) 92.368.241.3fps
F1 2014 (2014) 1191089479fps
Civilization: Beyond Earth (2014) 100.667.346.139.8fps
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) 127.781.653.630.4fps
Assassin's Creed Unity (2014) 50.839.726.411.9fps
Far Cry 4 (2014) 84.374.238.130.8fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 70.559.933.522.5fps
The Crew (2014) 59.959.851.733.2fps
Evolve (2015) 37.836.435.131.8fps

Emissions

System Noise

In the last few years, one of the greatest weaknesses of Clevo Barebones has been its noise development, but its reputation as "troublemaker" ends with the current generation. 39-43 dB(A) in 3DMark 06 and 44 dB(A) under maximum load are no revelation, but many high-end notebooks are much louder. We were able to measure up to 52 dB(A) for the MSI GE62 and up to 50 dB(A) for the Lenovo Y50-70. The HP Omen (up to 47 dB(A)) as well as the Acer V15 Nitro (45 dB(A)) were slightly more audible in the stress test with the tools FurMark and Prime95.

We have to criticize the N150SD Barebone for the fan characteristics. The cooling solution sometimes jumped to more than 40 dB(A) while idling without any obvious reason. You can usually only hear a subtle murmur of 31 dB(A). After a period of idling, even the fans and the HDD were completely deactivated, which means the XMG A505 is silent.

Schenker XMG A505
Lenovo Y50-70
HP Omen
Acer V15 Nitro
MSI GE62
Noise
-5%
-5%
3%
-2%
Idle Minimum *
29.2
33.3
-14%
32.2
-10%
29.6
-1%
29.2
-0%
Idle Average *
30.8
35.9
-17%
34.3
-11%
30.6
1%
32.6
-6%
Idle Maximum *
42.6
36.1
15%
36.2
15%
31.4
26%
35
18%
Load Average *
41.6
40.4
3%
46.2
-11%
44.4
-7%
42.6
-2%
Load Maximum *
43.8
49.8
-14%
46.6
-6%
44.6
-2%
52.4
-20%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
29.2 / 30.8 / 42.6 dB(A)
HDD
30.4 dB(A)
DVD
37.2 / dB(A)
Load
41.6 / 43.8 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The fans are often deactivated while idling, so the warming is noticeable even when you do not use the notebook. Almost 33 °C (~91 °F) after two hours of idling is not a very good result. However, the warming is mainly focused on the rear third of the chassis, so it is actually not a problem to work with the device even over prolonged periods.

It gets really hot only under maximum load. Up to 62 °C (~144°F) at the bottom prevents a gaming session on the lap. The top also got hot during the stress test and our measuring device determined up to 56 °C (~133 °F) at the keyboard. At least the palm rest stays cool all the time; we could not measure more than 30 °C (~86 °F).

That the noise development is quite moderate is also a result of the CPU clocks since after a while under maximum load, the Core i7-4720HQ slowed down to only 1.7 to 2.2 GHz. The clock of the GeForce GTX 960M was reduced just slightly.

Schenker XMG A505
Lenovo Y50-70
HP Omen
Acer V15 Nitro
MSI GE62
Heat
14%
16%
21%
12%
Maximum Upper Side *
56.4
60.4
-7%
45.7
19%
48
15%
49.9
12%
Maximum Bottom *
61.8
48.8
21%
53.5
13%
47.6
23%
43.7
29%
Idle Upper Side *
41.3
32.8
21%
34.2
17%
32.3
22%
37.1
10%
Idle Bottom *
40.2
31.6
21%
34.6
14%
30.8
23%
41.5
-3%

* ... smaller is better

Max. Load
 48 °C54.9 °C49.1 °C 
 44.5 °C56.4 °C49.5 °C 
 26 °C30.2 °C29.1 °C 
Maximum: 56.4 °C
Average: 43.1 °C
49.7 °C61.8 °C58 °C
41.9 °C58.9 °C57.4 °C
31.9 °C33.1 °C25.8 °C
Maximum: 61.8 °C
Average: 46.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  60.4 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Voltcraft IR-900

Speakers

Sound Blaster Cinema 2
Sound Blaster Cinema 2

As with the more expensive 15-inch siblings, you get a sound system from Onkyo that is supported by the Sound Blaster Cinema 2 technology. Audio files sound quite hollow and tinny compared to the P651SG/SE and P751ZM, respectively. Voices tend to distort and the bass is mediocre. Thanks to the decent maximum volume and the generous software, it is still just enough for an "average" rating.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The additional power consumption of the GTX 960M roughly corresponds with the additional performance compared to the GTX 860M. Almost 100 Watts in the first scene of 3DMark 06 is 15% higher than the Acer V15 Nitro that consumes only 86 Watts. The results are justifiable while idling, even though the Acer needs only 6 to 21 Watts instead of 11 to 26 Watts.

The maximum consumption is a bigger problem. Despite the CPU throttling, we can measure up to 148 Watts during the stress test. Even if you consider the efficiency (we measure directly at the socket), the 120-Watt power adaptor is working at its limit. A module with 150 Watts would offer more headroom.

Clevo should also improve the values for standby and when the device is turned off. We can see a consumption of 6 Watts for the 15-inch notebook. And yes, we are talking about a fully charged battery. This value is reduced to 0.1 to 0.8 Watts when you remove the 6-cell battery. Other Clevo Barebones have a similar issue.

Schenker XMG A505
Lenovo Y50-70
HP Omen
Acer V15 Nitro
MSI GE62
Power Consumption
-1%
26%
-6%
Idle Minimum *
11.2
15
-34%
6.2
45%
15
-34%
Idle Average *
18.6
19
-2%
10.2
45%
20.8
-12%
Idle Maximum *
26
23.7
9%
21.4
18%
25.4
2%
Load Average *
100.2
87.9
12%
85.5
15%
91.8
8%
Load Maximum *
147.6
129.5
12%
136.9
7%
136
8%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.8 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 11.2 / 18.6 / 26 Watt
Load midlight 100.2 / 147.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Maximum battery runtime (Reader's Test)
Reader's Test
Minimum battery runtime (Classic Test)
Classic Test

The combination of Nvidia's Optimus technology and the usable battery capacity (62 Wh) ensures decent battery runtimes. The Battery Eater Reader's Test, which scrolls through a text document, determines a runtime of almost 6 hours for the XMG A505 with the minimum display brightness. Around 3.5 hours web browsing and HD video playback are also not bad. Even the result under load and with the highest luminance is decent. The Battery Eater Classic Test shows 105 minutes.

Schenker XMG A505
Lenovo Y50-70
HP Omen
Acer V15 Nitro
MSI GE62
Battery Runtime
15%
-20%
21%
-28%
Reader / Idle
352
497
41%
260
-26%
596
69%
267
-24%
Load
105
88
-16%
72
-31%
68
-35%
59
-44%
WiFi
216
261
21%
208
-4%
277
28%
179
-17%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 52min
WiFi Surfing
3h 36min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
3h 28min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 45min

Verdict

The verdict on the XMG A505 is mainly positive. Chassis manufacturer Clevo did not rest on the previous generation and has designed a completely new chassis, which is 300 grams (~10.6 oz) lighter and one centimeter (~0.4 in) slimmer than before. The N150SD Barebone is not quite as cool as its predecessor, but the noise development is reduced (up to 44 instead of 50 dB(A)). Another improvement is the display. The high-contrast and colorful IPS panel easily beats the TN display of the W355SS; all measurements except for the brightness are better.

We are not impressed with the GeForce GTX 960M. Yes, the performance advantage is between 10 and 20% in some benchmarks, but the difference with the GTX 860M is usually not that big. Nvidia is still using just 2 GB VRAM. Some games require at least 3 GB for the highest settings (e. g. “Wolfenstein: The New Order”), which means enthusiastic gamers are better off with the GTX 965M or the GTX 970M. We definitely think that the additional cost is justified. The GTX 960M is a good solution for the occasional gaming session since many games can be played smoothly with high settings.

Regardless of the performance, the XMG A505 does a good. The keyboard and touchpad are just as decent as the battery runtimes and the build quality. The connectivity even gets a "very good" rating. The chassis is also very easy to maintain, and in 2015, it is not uncommon that the CPU and the GPU cannot be replaced. Otherwise, we would suggest that Clevo improves the price, the speakers, the fan control and the stability of the display cover.

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Schenker XMG A505. Test model courtesy of Schenker Technologies.
Schenker XMG A505. Test model courtesy of Schenker Technologies.
good (86%) Schenker XMG A505 Intel Core i7-4720HQNVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M v4 - 03/07/2015
Test device courtesy of Schenker Technologies
(download rating image as PNG or SVG)

Specifications

Schenker XMG A505
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M - 2048 MB, Core: 1097 MHz, Memory: 1250 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 345.05, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-12800 (1600 MHz), 2 of 2 slots occupied, up to 16 GB
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, AU Optronics B156HAN01.2 (AUO12ED), IPS, Full HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
Storage
Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2, 256 GB 
, M.2 SSD (type 2280) + Samsung Spinpoint M9T ST1750LM000, 1750 GB HDD, 5400 rpm, slots: 1x M.2 & 1x 2.5-inch
Soundcard
Realtek ALC269 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Headphones, Microphone, S/PDIF, Card Reader: MMC,RSMMC,SD,Mini SD,SDHC,SDXC, 1 Fingerprint Reader, SIM card slot
Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, LTE
Optical drive
Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8E2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 29 x 385 x 268 ( = 1.14 x 15.16 x 10.55 in)
Battery
62 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1V, N150BAT-6, 6 cells, 322 grams
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 2 Megapixels (FHD)
Additional features
Speakers: 2.0 Onkyo (Sound Blaster Cinema 2), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Power adaptor: 120 Watts, cleaning cloth, driver DVD, keychain, XMG sticker, MS Office 365 Trial, 24-48 Months Warranty
Weight
2.53 kg ( = 89.24 oz / 5.58 pounds), Power Supply: 466 g ( = 16.44 oz / 1.03 pounds)
Price
1777 Euro

 

Lid and palm rest ...
Lid and palm rest ...
... are rubberized.
... are rubberized.
The cover is pretty unstable ..
The cover is pretty unstable ..
... and wobbles during vibrations.
... and wobbles during vibrations.
Otherwise, the chassis leaves a decent impression.
Otherwise, the chassis leaves a decent impression.
The keyboard sits far at the back ...
The keyboard sits far at the back ...
... so there is more than enough room for the hands.
... so there is more than enough room for the hands.
The whole bottom cover can be removed.
The whole bottom cover can be removed.
One fan each takes care of the heat ...
One fan each takes care of the heat ...
... from the processor and graphics card.
... from the processor and graphics card.
Two memory slots should be sufficient for the majority of users.
Two memory slots should be sufficient for the majority of users.
The right M.2 slot is reserved for the wireless adaptor, the left one for the LTE/UMTS module.
The right M.2 slot is reserved for the wireless adaptor, the left one for the LTE/UMTS module.
It is possible to use SSDs, HDDs and SSHDs.
It is possible to use SSDs, HDDs and SSHDs.
An optical drive was integrated as well.
An optical drive was integrated as well.
You can access the battery from the outside.
You can access the battery from the outside.
The webcam has a 2 MP sensor.
The webcam has a 2 MP sensor.
Above the power button is the XMG logo.
Above the power button is the XMG logo.
The speakers are hidden behind large grills.
The speakers are hidden behind large grills.
The keyboard layout does not cause a lot of criticism.
The keyboard layout does not cause a lot of criticism.
You cannot change the color of the keyboard illumination.
You cannot change the color of the keyboard illumination.
Between the mouse buttons is a fingerprint reader.
Between the mouse buttons is a fingerprint reader.
Numerous stickers for the hardware.
Numerous stickers for the hardware.
The status lights are at the front.
The status lights are at the front.
Both fans dissipate the heat towards the back.
Both fans dissipate the heat towards the back.
The port layout is exemplary.
The port layout is exemplary.
You even get a SIM card slot.
You even get a SIM card slot.
Generous is the right term for the connectivity.
Generous is the right term for the connectivity.
The 6-cell battery has 62 Wh.
The 6-cell battery has 62 Wh.
120 Watts are not really generous.
120 Watts are not really generous.

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Links

Pro

+Large palm rest that is always cool
+Sophisticated port layout
+Not annoyingly loud in 3D operation
+Maintenance-friendly chassis
+Almost perfect IPS panel
+Battery directly accessible
+Decent runtimes
+High system performance
+Illuminated keyboard
+Optical drive
+Switchable graphics
+Moderate weight
+Good touchpad
+No bloat ware
+Fast SSD
 

Cons

-Components can get pretty hot
-Soft-touch surfaces very sensitive
-Unnecessary pulsating of the fan in some cases
-Wobbly and unstable lid
-Somewhat disappointing sound
-Power adaptor working at its limit
-Throttling under maximum load
-CPU & GPU soldered
-Only 2 GB VRAM
-High price

Shortcut

What we like

The IPS panel can convince us completely.

What we'd like to see

3-4 GB VRAM would be better for the future.

What surprises us

The price is almost as high as the XMG P505.

The competition

15-inch gaming notebooks with GTX 860M or GTX 965M like the Acer V15 Nitro, HP Omen, Lenovo Y50-70 and MSI GE62.

Rating

Schenker XMG A505 - 03/07/2015 v4(old)
Florian Glaser

Chassis
70 / 98 → 71%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
84 / 81 → 100%
Weight
60 / 66 → 89%
Battery
81%
Display
90%
Games Performance
95%
Application Performance
93%
Temperature
70 / 95 → 74%
Noise
72 / 90 → 80%
Audio
65%
Average
79%
86%
Gaming - Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Schenker XMG A505 (Clevo N150SD) Notebook Review
Florian Glaser, 2015-03-12 (Update: 2015-05-28)