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Schenker XMG A305 (Clevo W230SD) Notebook Review

Florian Glaser, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 04/07/2015

GPU Update. Schenker Technologies presents the XMG A305: the successor to the gaming dwarf, the XMG P304. Instead of a GTX 860M, the successor employs a GTX 960M, which promises more performance. In our review, we will check whether the cooling of the 13-inch gaming laptop can handle its new hardware.

For the original German review, see here.

Unlike the XMG P505, which employs various high-end GPUs (from the GTX 965M to the GTX 980M - MXM build), the XMG A305 uses only the GeForce GTX 960M. From our review of the XMG A505 we know that the performance of this GPU, in comparison to its predecessor, the GeForce GTX 860M, is merely slightly better.

The CPU has not changed. Similar to the XMG P304, the laptop uses a removable dual-core or quad-core model from the Intel Haswell generation (Core i5-4210M to Core i7-4910MQ). The cooling system has its hands full with the Core i7-4710MQ, which is why we do not recommend the top three CPUs for this model. In fact, considering the GPU performance, we believe a dual-core would be sufficient, as most games requiring more performance will already be limited by the GPU.

Back to the configuration: thanks to two DDR3 RAM slots, the XMG A305 can offer up to 16 GB RAM. Furthermore, two mSATA slots and a 2.5-inch slot for SSDs, HDDs or SSHDs are included. Fans of the UMTS or LTE technology will be happy as Schenker provides a slot compatible with these modules. High-resolution displays are a possibility with this laptop: if you are not satisfied with an FHD panel, you can upgrade to a WQHD model with a resolution of 2,560x1,440 pixels (also IPS).

Various wireless modules are offered. For example, either an Intel or a Qualcomm Atheros module will serve as the WLAN device. Sadly, a DVD or Blu-ray drive does not fit in this compact build, but they are offered separately. An operating system is not included in the base configuration but can be added for a premium.

The price range of the XMG A305 starts at 1,049 Euros (~$1139). If you are not happy with a dual-core CPU, 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD, and wish for something similar to our test configuration, then the price will easily hit 1,500 Euros (~$1628) or more.

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Control Center - System program
Control Center - System program
Control Center - Devices
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Control Center - Gaming
Control Center - Gaming
Flexikey
Flexikey
Schenker XMG A305
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M - 2048 MB, Core: 1097 MHz, Memory: 2500 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 345.05, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, 2x 4 GB SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-14900 (1866 MHz), 2 of 2 slots occupied, max. 16 GB
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, CMN N133HSE-EA1 (CMN1343), IPS, Full HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
Storage
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB, 500 GB 
, Slots: 2x mSATA & 1x 2.5 inch
Soundcard
VIA VT1802P @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Headphones, Microphone, Card Reader: MMC, RSMMC, SD, Mini SD, SDHC, SDXC
Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 32 x 330 x 227 ( = 1.26 x 12.99 x 8.94 in)
Battery
62 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5600 mAh, 11.1V, W230BAT-6, 6 cell, 324 grams
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 2.0 MP
Additional features
Speakers: 2.0 Onkyo (Sound Blaster Cinema 2), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Power adapter: 120 W, TPM 2.0, Keychain, XMG sticker, Drivers DVD, Quick Start Guide, MS Office 365 Trial, 24-48 Months Warranty
Weight
2.05 kg ( = 72.31 oz / 4.52 pounds), Power Supply: 460 g ( = 16.23 oz / 1.01 pounds)
Price
1555 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Aside from the manufacturer logo, which is now inscribed on the model instead of being a sticker, our test model is identical to the XMG P304, which is why we will skip certain sections of this review: chassis, connectivity and input devices. These sections are covered in-depth in the review of the predecessor. Furthermore, the pictures below originate from the previous review as well (aside from the component photos). If you are wondering about the glossy panel: our last test model was equipped with a glossy QHD+ panel with a resolution of 3,200x1,800 pixels which is no longer available.

Display

In our opinion a resolution of 2,560x1,440 pixels is going overboard for a 13-inch panel. Thus, we recommend the matte FHD panel as the CMN N133HSE-EA1 definitely offers good values. The IPS technology guarantees broad viewing angles and good colors. Aside from the poor gray levels, the display offers great values right out-of-the-box.

315
cd/m²
327
cd/m²
320
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
281
cd/m²
301
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
CMN N133HSE-EA1 (CMN1343)
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 327 cd/m² Average: 309.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 315 cd/m²
Contrast: 900:1 (Black: 0.35 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.63 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 6.71 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
57% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.53

The CMN N133HSE-EA1 is a good panel, which offers an average brightness of 310 cd/m² and a contrast of 900:1. The black value (0.35 cd/m²) may not be ideal but few IPS panels can offer better. The illumination of 86% is decent and the test model only displays the "Bleeding" effect at its borders, which is not disturbing.

Schenker XMG A305
Schenker XMG P304
Alienware 13
Schenker XMG C405
Screen
5%
-1%
2%
Brightness middle
315
370
17%
319
1%
280
-11%
Brightness
310
339
9%
295
-5%
267
-14%
Brightness Distribution
86
87
1%
83
-3%
85
-1%
Black Level *
0.35
0.54
-54%
0.32
9%
0.32
9%
Contrast
900
685
-24%
997
11%
875
-3%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.63
3.38
40%
5.83
-4%
4.75
16%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.71
1.64
76%
7.63
-14%
5.91
12%
Gamma
2.53 87%
2.33 94%
2.57 86%
2.52 87%
CCT
5920 110%
6720 97%
7195 90%
5742 113%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
57
42
-26%
57
0%
59
4%

* ... smaller is better

Overall, the results of our test show that our test model has values similar to those of the Alienware 13. The sRGB coverage of 78% and AdobeRGB coverage of 57% is almost identical. As indicated by the table above, the 14-inch sibling of the XMG C405 has a similar picture quality.

CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN: Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (calibrated)
Schenker XMG A305 vs. sRGB (Grid)
Schenker XMG A305 vs. sRGB (Grid)
Schenker XMG A305 vs. AdobeRGB (Grid)
Schenker XMG A305 vs. AdobeRGB (Grid)

The matte panel of the XMG A305 offers great brightness for outdoor use. In direct sunlight, the display may not be legible, but otherwise the viewing angles are great. In fact, to create distortions, one would have to twist the panel to very steep angles.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

With 8 GB DDR3 RAM, a quad-core processor and a 500 GB SSD, the test model belongs to the high-end devices and can perform as a desktop replacement laptop. Few 13-inch notebooks can offer similar performance.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ Memory
Systeminfo CPUZ SPD
Systeminfo HWiNFO
Systeminfo GPUZ (HD 4600)
Systeminfo GPUZ (GTX 960M)
Systeminfo AS SSD Benchmark
Systeminfo CrystalDiskMark
Systeminfo Software
Systeminfo Latenzen
System information - Schenker A305

Processor

As mentioned at the start, the XMG A305 uses a dual- or quad-core processor. While the M-chips have a 3-4 MB L3 cache and a TDP value of 37 W, the MQ models are equipped with a 6-8 MB cache and a TDP value of 47 W. The only exception is the Core i7-4712MQ (2.3-3.3 GHz), which has a TDP value similar to that of its dual-core siblings. The manufacturing process is identical for all CPUs: the Haswell generation uses the 22 nm technology. One of the most important features of the generation is Hyperthreading. Thanks to the (virtual) doubling of cores, the processor can work on 4 to 8 threads simultaneously (depending on the CPU).

Single-Core Rendering
Single-Core Rendering
Multi-Core Rendering
Multi-Core Rendering
CPU- & GPU load
CPU- & GPU load

The Turbo Boost technology is very important as it can accelerate the hardware significantly. Depending on the cooling and power of the laptop, Turbo Boost either offers full or limited performance. The XMG A305 offers full performance. In the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark, the Boost shuts off after a while, but the benchmark results do not hint to a reduced performance. In fact, we measured 2.8 to 3.5 GHz in the Cinebench R11.5. The Turbo of the Core i7-4710MQ suffers from a few fluctuations (due to lacking cooling), which is why we do not recommend the more expensive and powerful processors.

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.54 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.17 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
63.1 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
136 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
645 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
95.71 fps
Help

We want to take a look at the multi-core rendering test of Cinebench R15 for a performance comparison. The i7-4710MQ scores 645 points, which places it on the level of the soldered Core i7-4720HQ (610 points @Schenker XMG C405). The main competitor of the 13-inch class, the Alienware 13, lags nearly 60% behind with its Core i5-4210U (239 points). The Core i7-4810MQ of the XMG P304 cannot surpass our model due to Turbo issues.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
Core i7-4710MQ
136 Points ∼62%
Schenker XMG P304
Core i7-4810MQ
151 Points ∼69% +11%
Alienware 13
Core i5-4210U
103 Points ∼47% -24%
Schenker XMG C405
Core i7-4720HQ
135 Points ∼62% -1%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
Core i7-4710MQ
645 Points ∼15%
Schenker XMG P304
Core i7-4810MQ
647 Points ∼15% 0%
Alienware 13
Core i5-4210U
239 Points ∼5% -63%
Schenker XMG C405
Core i7-4720HQ
610 Points ∼14% -5%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
Core i7-4710MQ
1.54 Points ∼63%
Schenker XMG P304
Core i7-4810MQ
1.68 Points ∼69% +9%
Alienware 13
Core i5-4210U
1.14 Points ∼47% -26%
Schenker XMG C405
Core i7-4720HQ
1.51 Points ∼62% -2%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
Core i7-4710MQ
7.17 Points ∼16%
Schenker XMG P304
Core i7-4810MQ
7.02 Points ∼16% -2%
Alienware 13
Core i5-4210U
2.6 Points ∼6% -64%
Schenker XMG C405
Core i7-4720HQ
6.47 Points ∼15% -10%

System Performance

The XMG A305 runs at peak speeds thanks to its SSD: 5,989 points in PCMark 7. This score is normally expected of 15 or 17-inch gaming laptops. For example, the MSI GS70 2QE with a Core i7-4720HQ, a GeForce GTX 970M and a dual SSD or the MSI GT72 2QE with a Core i7-4710HQ, a GeForce GTX 980M and quad SSD.

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710MQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
5989 Points ∼65%
Schenker XMG P304
GeForce GTX 860M, 4810MQ, Crucial M500 240 GB CT240M500SSD3 mSATA
5958 Points ∼65% -1%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M, 4210U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
4877 Points ∼53% -19%
PCMark 7 Score
5989 points
Help

Storage Devices

The storage device of the model is a 500 GB Samsung 850 EVO. The 2.5-inch drive has a great price-to-performance ratio and performance. It offers around 500 MB/s in sequential read. Smaller and/or weaker SSDs offer around 100-400 MB/s. The 850 EVO deals well with compact files (4K etc.) and has very good access times. If you are looking for a fast OS and lots of storage space, then we recommend picking an mSATA SSD and a traditional HDD.

Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
Sequential Read: 514.4 MB/s
Sequential Write: 468.7 MB/s
512K Read: 405.7 MB/s
512K Write: 370.9 MB/s
4K Read: 47.27 MB/s
4K Write: 113.2 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 359.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 346.3 MB/s

Graphics Card

The GeForce GTX 960M is only slightly more powerful than its predecessor, the GTX 860M. Nvidia limits the fine-tuning of the Maxwell architecture and simply gives the GM107 chip a little more clock speed (1,097-1,202 vs. 1,029-1,097 MHz). The memory interface and processing cores have stayed the same: both GPUs have a 128-bit interface and 640 CUDA cores. In comparison, the GTX 965M (also 128-bit) uses 1,024 shaders. The GTX 970M (192-bit) and GTX 980M (256-bit) possess 1,280 and 1,536 cores respectively.

The VRAM of the notebook is a 2,048 MB GDDR5 installment. Theoretically, the GTX 960M is also available with a 4 GB VRAM, which promises more future security. Simply put, a few games require at least 3 GB VRAM at maximum settings, like Wolfenstein: The New Order.

3DMark 11 Performance
5701 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
84930 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
16960 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
4113 points
Help

The new model delivers strong benchmark figures: 4,428 points in the Fire Strike test of the latest 3DMark (GPU score) are a lead of 12% over the GTX 860M of the XMG P304 (3,940 points, older driver). The Alienware 13 was slightly slower due to the weaker processor (3,822 points). The GTX 965M performs even faster: +25% (5,536 points @Schenker XMG C405).

3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
4428 Points ∼11%
Schenker XMG P304
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
3940 Points ∼10% -11%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84)
3822 Points ∼9% -14%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77)
5536 Points ∼14% +25%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
4113 Points ∼15%
Schenker XMG P304
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
3695 Points ∼14% -10%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84)
3309 Points ∼12% -20%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77)
4851 Points ∼18% +18%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
5428 Points ∼11%
Schenker XMG P304
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
4905 Points ∼10% -10%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84)
4453 Points ∼9% -18%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77)
7322 Points ∼14% +35%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
5701 Points ∼16%
Schenker XMG P304
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
5210 Points ∼15% -9%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84)
4111 Points ∼12% -28%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77)
7291 Points ∼21% +28%
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - 1920x1080 DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05)
56 fps ∼21%
Schenker XMG P304
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
49.6 fps ∼18% -11%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84)
44.4 fps ∼17% -21%

Gaming Performance

If you do not need to run all games at maximum settings, then the GTX 960M can perform quite well. Demanding games, such as Assassin's Creed Unity and Watch Dogs, run at the native resolution with medium settings. Less demanding games can run at high details and with all additional features turned on (FXAA, SMAA, 2x MSAA …). Of the 13 games we tested, 5 could run at the Ultra preset at above 35 fps (GRID: AutosportSims 4FIFA 15Alien: Isolation and Civilization: Beyond Earth).

If you take all the benchmarks into account, the GTX 960M is about 10% faster than the GTX 860M (the gap between the Alienware 13 and our model is even larger due to the weaker CPU) but about 20% slower than the GTX 965M.

Battlefield Hardline
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics Quality (DX11) AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
30.8 fps ∼17%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77) | Core i7-4720HQ
38.7 fps ∼22% +26%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality (DX11) (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
49.6 fps ∼25%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77) | Core i7-4720HQ
61.9 fps ∼32% +25%
Evolve
1920x1080 Very High Graphics Quality AA:1TX SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
31.2 fps ∼18%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77) | Core i7-4720HQ
37.9 fps ∼21% +21%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality AA:FX (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
36.7 fps ∼18%
Schenker XMG C405
GeForce GTX 965M (344.77) | Core i7-4720HQ
44.6 fps ∼22% +22%
The Crew
1920x1080 Ultra Video Preset (modified) AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
33.6 fps ∼56%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
27.3 fps ∼46% -19%
1920x1080 High Video Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
53.9 fps ∼90%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
36.9 fps ∼62% -32%
Far Cry 4
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics Quality AA:SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
30.9 fps ∼27%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
22.7 fps ∼20% -27%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality AA:SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
38.2 fps ∼31%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
28.4 fps ∼23% -26%
Assassin's Creed Unity
1920x1080 Ultra High Graphics Quality AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
11.3 fps ∼20%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
7.4 fps ∼13% -35%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality AA:2x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
26.1 fps ∼31%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
21.2 fps ∼25% -19%
Civilization: Beyond Earth
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
39.3 fps ∼28%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
31.4 fps ∼22% -20%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
44.6 fps ∼29%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
35.2 fps ∼23% -21%
The Evil Within - 1920x1080 High / Enabled AA:SM (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
39.5 fps ∼45%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
28 fps ∼32% -29%
Alien: Isolation
1920x1080 Ultra, On, Shadow Map 2048, HDAO AA:2x SM AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
46.4 fps ∼20%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
40.4 fps ∼17% -13%
1920x1080 High, On, Shadow Map 1536, Standard SSAO AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
66.1 fps ∼22%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
55.3 fps ∼19% -16%
Fifa 15 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
126.6 fps ∼43%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
84.4 fps ∼28% -33%
Sims 4
1920x1080 Ultra Preset (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
60.1 fps ∼38%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
40 fps ∼25% -33%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
68.9 fps ∼40%
Alienware 13
GeForce GTX 860M (340.84) | Core i5-4210U
41.4 fps ∼24% -40%
GRID: Autosport
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
49.2 fps ∼33%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
87.1 fps ∼43%
Watch Dogs
1920x1080 Ultra Overall Quality, Ultra Textures AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
13.9 fps ∼19%
1920x1080 High Overall Quality, High Textures AA:2x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
29.2 fps ∼34%
Wolfenstein: The New Order - 1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A305
GeForce GTX 960M (345.05) | Core i7-4710MQ
43.8 fps ∼73%
low med. high ultra
Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) 606043.8fps
Watch Dogs (2014) 68.458.329.213.9fps
GRID: Autosport (2014) 224.5117.287.149.2fps
Sims 4 (2014) 178.710668.960.1fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 200.3179.9126.6fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 167.5128.966.146.4fps
The Evil Within (2014) 95.167.139.5fps
Civilization: Beyond Earth (2014) 108.36744.639.3fps
Assassin's Creed Unity (2014) 50.839.226.111.3fps
Far Cry 4 (2014) 88.679.238.230.9fps
The Crew (2014) 59.959.953.933.6fps
Evolve (2015) 90.468.136.731.2fps
Battlefield Hardline (2015) 147.6107.749.630.8fps

Emissions

System Noise

Despite the reasonable measurements of the laptop (3.2 cm thick), the XMG A305 can get quite loud at load. The laptop emits 49 dB(A) in 3DMark 06 and up to 54 dB(A) in the stress test, which is a little too loud. The Alienware 13 was noticeably quieter: 38-51 dB(A). On the other hand, the XMG C405 hits 54 dB(A) in the 3DMark 06.

If the 13-inch model is idling or at low load, then the cooling stays quiet. While idling, the XMG A305 emits around 30-31 dB(A). In optimum conditions, the fan turns off entirely. As expected of Clevo barebones, the fan of the XMG A305 gets quite loud at times for no reason (for example, during installations or updates, which should only cause a medium load). An updated BIOS could help.

Schenker XMG A305
Schenker XMG P304
Alienware 13
Schenker XMG C405
Noise
-4%
7%
-10%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
29.4
29.5
-0%
29.2
1%
29.2
1%
Idle Average *
30.1
33
-10%
29.4
2%
34.6
-15%
Idle Maximum *
30.8
34
-10%
29.8
3%
38.8
-26%
Load Average *
49.2
49.1
-0%
37.6
24%
54
-10%
Load Maximum *
53.8
54.3
-1%
50.8
6%
54.4
-1%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
29.4 / 30.1 / 30.8 dB(A)
Load
49.2 / 53.8 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
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 temperatures are neither too high nor too low. After two hours of idling our devices measure 33 °C (91.4 °F) in the base unit, which is acceptable considering the hardware of the laptop. This places the XMG A305 between the Alienware 13 and the Schenker XMG C405. At load, the back end of the laptop heats up quite a lot: 48 °C (118.4 °F) is uncomfortable on the lap. On the other hand, the competition heats up easily to 60 °C (140 °F).

We do not like the temperatures the hardware hits. Although the CPU drops its clock speed at full load (see screenshot), the Core i7-4710MQ heats above 90 °C (194 °F) in the FurMark and Prime95 tests. A GPU temperature of 87 °C (188.6 °F) is not perfect either. The temperatures should be better with a 37 W CPU.

Schenker XMG A305
Schenker XMG P304
Alienware 13
Schenker XMG C405
Heat
-3%
4%
-14%
Maximum Upper Side *
46.2
53.8
-16%
44.5
4%
47.8
-3%
Maximum Bottom *
47.7
52.9
-11%
60.2
-26%
60.4
-27%
Idle Upper Side *
35
34.1
3%
29.4
16%
37.7
-8%
Idle Bottom *
38.2
33.7
12%
29.6
23%
44.8
-17%

* ... smaller is better

Max. Load
 45.1 °C
113 F
46.2 °C
115 F
41.7 °C
107 F
 
 44.9 °C
113 F
45.4 °C
114 F
42 °C
108 F
 
 39.5 °C
103 F
39 °C
102 F
37.4 °C
99 F
 
Maximum: 46.2 °C = 115 F
Average: 42.4 °C = 108 F
34.8 °C
95 F
42.4 °C
108 F
42.3 °C
108 F
38.5 °C
101 F
43.7 °C
111 F
47.7 °C
118 F
37.5 °C
100 F
36.7 °C
98 F
33.3 °C
92 F
Maximum: 47.7 °C = 118 F
Average: 39.7 °C = 103 F
Power Supply (max.)  58.6 °C = 137 F | Room Temperature 21 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 42.4 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 46.2 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 39.6 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 47.7 °C / 118 F, compared to the average of 42.2 °C / 108 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 32 °C / 90 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 39.5 °C / 103.1 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (-10.7 °C / -19.3 F).

Speakers

The biggest weakness of the XMG A305 would be the sound of the two Onkyo speakers, which are integrated in the front of the laptop. Even with the Sound Blaster Cinema 2 technology turned on (the XMG P304 used version 1), the audio output sounds tinny and artificial. The absence of a subwoofer is also noticeable. Due to the lack of bass, the sound is very unbalanced. In short: without headphones or external speakers, the atmospheric sound of games, movies and songs cannot be fully enjoyed.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The increased performance of the GeForce GTX 960M is accompanied by increased power consumption. Instead of 10.3 to 21.0 W, the successor of the XMG P304 consumes 11.4 to 22.6 W when idle. At load, the consumption barely deviates, as the XMG A305 was tested with a weaker CPU (90.5-135.4 vs. 92.4-136.0 W). In comparison to the XMG C405 (GTX 965M), our 13-inch model is about 30% more conservative. Of course, the ULV processor of the Alienware 13 (15 W TDP @Core i5-4210U) is a much bigger hurdle for our Core i7-4710MQ. Values like 5.1-11.2 W while idling and 51.5-92.9 W at load are about 50% lower than the values of our XMG A305.

Schenker XMG A305
Schenker XMG P304
Alienware 13
Schenker XMG C405
Power Consumption
7%
47%
-26%
Idle Minimum *
11.4
10.3
10%
5.1
55%
15.8
-39%
Idle Average *
16.3
13.6
17%
7.3
55%
22.8
-40%
Idle Maximum *
22.6
21
7%
11.2
50%
27.3
-21%
Load Average *
92.4
90.5
2%
51.5
44%
106.8
-16%
Load Maximum *
136
135.4
-0%
92.9
32%
152
-12%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 11.4 / 16.3 / 22.6 Watt
Load midlight 92.4 / 136 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The battery life is reasonable for a high-end model. The laptop can play HD videos for around 4.5 hours (medium brightness) and lasts up to 7 hours when idle (minimal brightness). At a glance such run times would not indicate a gaming laptop. The battery capacity (62 Wh) and the Optimus technology are responsible for the great run times. While running easy tasks, the system can use the HD Graphics 4600 IGP, which is integrated in the CPU. While running demanding 3D programs, the laptop switches to the GeForce GTX 960M, which drops the run time to around 2 hours, which is reasonable for a gaming laptop. Of course, the laptop cannot compete with the great run time of the Alienware 13 (up to 12 hours).

Schenker XMG A305
Schenker XMG P304
Alienware 13
Schenker XMG C405
Battery Runtime
3%
38%
Reader / Idle
420
389
-7%
723
72%
H.264
266
284
7%
324
22%
Load
111
120
8%
134
21%
WiFi
292
WiFi v1.3
236
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 00min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
4h 26min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 51min

Pros

+ Bright IPS panel with strong contrast
+ Great maintenance options
+ Up to three storage devices
+ High program performance
+ Individual configuration
+ Good battery life
+ Processor can be swapped out
+ Transportable chassis
+ Keyboard lighting
+ No Bloatware

Cons

- Pressure on the hand-rest regions somtimes causes a left click (early model?)
- Hardware can get quite hot
- Poor placement of ports
- CPU throttling at full load
- Very loud in 3D mode
- A mere 2 GB of VRAM
- Poor sound
- Small touchpad

Verdict

Schenker XMG A305
Schenker XMG A305

If you compare the XMG A305 to its predecessor, you will notice differences: on the inside and the outside. The W230SD barebone from Clevo is primarily intended for portable gaming and is thus presented in a light and compact case.

Although the XMG A305 cannot score above 90% in any category, the list of cons is quite short: poor speakers, inconvenient ports placement and high noise emissions. Aside from these flaws, the laptop offers a good package. We like the backlit keyboard and IPS display which offers strong contrast and great viewing angles. The battery life and maintenance options are also quite good. There are few other laptops in the 13 and 14-inch categories that offer such high performance. As such, we recommend taking a look at the XMG A305.

Overall, the notebook scores 81%, which is similar to the score of the Alienware 13. Due to some serious issues, we had to cut 1% from the rating. The author has never encountered a device that would recognize a left click if the user places too much pressure on the hand-rest regions. According to Schenker, this is a unique defect.

Schenker XMG A305 - 03/27/2015 v4(old)
Florian Glaser

Chassis
74 / 98 → 76%
Keyboard
77%
Pointing Device
75%
Connectivity
67 / 81 → 83%
Weight
63 / 10-66 → 95%
Battery
84%
Display
86%
Games Performance
92%
Application Performance
96%
Temperature
74 / 95 → 78%
Noise
65 / 90 → 72%
Audio
45%
Add Points
-1%
Average
69%
80%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Schenker XMG A305 (Clevo W230SD) Notebook Review
Florian Glaser, 2015-04- 7 (Update: 2015-04- 7)