- Build quality, Case and design and looks
- Keyboard and Trackpad
- Sound and Speakers
- General subjective performance experience
- Gaming Performance
- Test methods and drivers
- Synthetic 3D benchmarks
- Summarized gaming performance
- Crysis 3
- Bioshock Infinite
- Civilization : Beyond Earth
- Total War : Warhammer
- Total War : Attila
- Metro : Last Light
- Battlefield 4 Campaign
- World of Tanks
- Shadow Of Mordor
- Dark Souls III
- Ashes Of Singularity
- Star Citizen
- Fallout 4
- The Talos Principle
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling
- Screen / Screen quality
- Competing gaming laptops / alternatives
++ Main reason to consider:
Very good overall gaming laptop in the more important aspects for a gaming laptop – performance, thermals, keyboard, screen, storage options and connection ports (mostly)
-- Main reason to avoid:
Feature set is lacking – Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 (gen 2), HDMI 2, eGPU option and other options are not available.
Current pricing is around $1292 for basic version
+ Minimal throttling under gaming load, very good performance
+ The body doesn't get too hot under high load
+ Quite quiet
+ No/Minimal PWM (considerably less or no flickering)
+ GTX 970M 6GB version (Optional)
+ G-Sync, no tearing and no stuttering (Optional)
+ Simple, good looks
+ Not heavy relatively to others with such hardware and price
+ Very comfortable keyboard with good response, resistance, travel depth and clear pressure point
+ Lots of connection ports - USB 3.0, 2xmDP, HDMI and more
+ 2xM.2 slots,= including 1xPCIe NVM M.2. 2x2.5" sata connection
- Lousy speakers
- Battery performance in this version is not good for light use (no Optimus)
- CPU and GPU are soldered as well as no eGPU solution
- Build quality could be better - hinges and outer lid.
- No international warranty
- Some kind of electrical background noise with earphones (grounding needed)
The Eurocom Sky M5, based on the Clevo P650RE, is the upgrade of the Clevo P650SE which I reviewed ages ago (link). The upgrade/update includes mostly the new Skylake CPU I7-6700HQ, one PCIe NVMe M.2 slot, the optional G-Sync (and no Optimus) and maybe a little lower weight. This is the most important stuff that has been upgraded. Other than that, it seems like the same laptop pretty much. Same good cooling system with two fans just for the GPU (which is hotter than the CPU), good amount of 2.5″ and M.2 connection ports, good amount of external connection ports like mDP, HDMI and USB. This specific version came with the GTX 970M 6GB GPU, the optional G-Sync and Killer WiFi 1535 card.
However, non of the new updates have been included in this version – no USB 3.1 nor Type-C, no Thunderbolt 3, no HDMI 2. CPU and GPU are soldered.
I’m reviewing it a moment before it is phased out probably and replaced by the new models with the new Nvidia GPU and maybe the new Intel CPU. This review could be useful for those who will be able to purchase for good price at their end.
|Price||Basic version: $1292 (USD), 10% off for students|
|CPU||I7-6700HQ (2.6GHZ-3.5GHZ, 45W)|
|Motherboard||EUROCOM Sky GM5 / Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
2xPCI Express x1, 1xPCI Express x16
|GPU||Nvidia Geforce GTX 970M 6GB GDDR5, 1280 shadars core@1037MHZ, GDDR5@1250MHZ, 192-bit bus|
|RAM||G.Skill 2x8GB DDR4@2133MHZ
4 banks of memory available, two at each side of the motherboard
|Storage||HDD : WD HGST HTS725050A7E630 (non SSHD), 500GB, 7200RPM, 32MB cache, 2 slots total
SSD: M.2 Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 120GB (manually installed)
M.2: 2 slots, 2xNVMe PCIe M.2 SSD, 1xSata
|LCD Panel||In review: 1080p 15.6", LG LP156WF6-SPB1, IPS, 30-pin eDP
|Weight / Dimensions||~2.5kg / 5.51 lbs
385 x 271 x 25 mm
15.4" x 10.84" x 1.0"
(w x d x h)
|Keyboard||white backlit, 6 levels including off|
|Connection Ports||right 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: USB 3.0 combo port, power-in
|Camera||1080p, 30FPS camera|
|WiFi / Ethernet||WiFi: Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
|Speakers||2.0 "Onkyo" speakers above the keyboard surface|
|Battery||4 cell, 62Wh|
|Bios / EC version (test unit)||1.05.16 /|
|Extra features||Embedded TPM 2.0|
Build quality is average, nothing special. Base unit and screen outer lid aren’t that firm. Same goes for the hinges. The keyboard and touchpad surfaces are relatively firm and would not easily yield. you can read my description here:
Good enough. 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.
Only two images this time. You can check the previous version – P650SE, which looks pretty much the same – link.
Maintenance and inner parts
Maintenance is rather easy. The backplate is easily removed by removing ~10 screws. However, installing the bottom piece again is a little problematic due to some sponge near the battery – nothing too series, but annoying.
Both CPU and GPU are soldered. The GPU has two dedicated fans and three heatpipes. The CPU has two heatpipes and one fan. It makes sense, because the GPU is hotter with such hardware. I would add one heatpipe between these two in order to share the thermal load.
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.
Speakers are unchanged: “Same thing as with the other “Onkyo” Clevo speakers – shallow, in-box, bassless sound. Don’t expect to enjoy the fullness of your music music with itand don’t be surprised if stuff sounds very different with other speakers. “
With the Samsung 850 Evo M.2 SSD, the laptop feels very fast.
Added CPU-Z and GPU-Z screenshots.
Performance is relatively good. The Sky M5 GPU clocks remain on their highest. The 6GB VRAM helps a bit in some situations probably, though not so much in 1080p.
Thief sees some advantage using Mantle API over the DX11. Heavily Vulkan/DX12 optimized games/game engines should see much higher improvements.
Performance is a little strange. I guess maybe some of the graphics settings of the “high” preset with newer NV drivers result in lower FPSs..
The new Total War stuff. The 3D engine has been vastly improved and performance is much better than in the case of Total War : Attila
The new iteration of Total War : Rome II, Attila is a much more demanding game and FPSs are much lower.
As already we know, Maxwell GPUs see no advantage from DX12, at least not in Ashes Of Singularity
The new Fallout 4 is rather demanding, but the benefits of the high graphics presets are not clear to me.
As described before, the GPU has three dedicated heatpipes and two fans and the CPU has two heatpipes and one fan. Cool air is sucked from below and thrown out of the rear and left (user’s left).
1. Idle, power saver mode
2. Gaming : Ashes Of Singularity benchmark. “Crazy” settings, “High performance” power mode.
3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.
4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1366×768 test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.
The P650RE/Sky M5 is pretty good in terms of thermal handling. Throttling goes only as far as base clocks, even under Prime95 + Furmark load levels.
|Throttle||CPU average stable||CPU MAX||GPU|
|2.6-2.8GHZ||83||86||71||Prime95 + Furmark|
|70||70||70||Ashes Of Singularity|
From the P650SE review:
The M5 Pro / P650SE 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.
The P650RE does very well, in my opinion. It’s a relatively thin and lightweight laptop for such hardware and it handles heat pretty good even under the most stressing load. As said before, clocks go down only to around the base clocks plus a little. That’s relatively good.
GPU was throttling under Furmark + Prime95, but not under games like Ashes of Singularity and Crysis 3 and kept its maximal clocks.
Here is a table that shows the temperatures and the throttling state:
|Throttle||CPU average stable||CPU MAX||GPU|
|2.6-2.8GHZ||83||86||71||Prime95 + Furmark|
|70||70||70||Ashes Of Singularity|
Again, pasted from the P650SE review. In short, relatively quiet.
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.
The Sky M5 uses the LG LP156WF6-SPB1 as the default 1080p option. This panel has been used in many other laptops, you can check the quality here and here. Generally, this IPS screen is good and has high maximal brightness. It is not exceptional in terms of contrast or colors, but it is good.
About PWM – I couldn’t detect any low frequency PWM mechanism symptoms with my camera. In notebookcheck’s PWM tests of the P651RG, no PWM was detected as well.
With Optimus off (probably because of G-Sync thing), the Sky M5 isn’t easy on the battery.
UPDATE: There is a chance I could do better by using Clevo Control Center and maybe enabling Optimus via the bios (though it means no G-Sync)
Currently, many GTX 970M equipped laptops are out there for the same price, sometimes considerably less. The Gigabyte P55Wv5, Asus GL502VT (which I don’t like as much), MSI GE62 and more. All have some advantages and disadvantages, but at this point it would be better to wait for the new stuff and laptops with more eGPU options and/or the more powerful GPUs.
Well, the Eurocom Sky M5 is a good gaming laptop in many of the more important aspects for gaming – gaming performance (no throttling under gaming), good thermals of the CPU and GPU and the laptop’s body, good keyboard, good display, enough slots for two M.2 SSDs and 2.5″ drive, relatively low weight. The P650RE is an updated version of the P650SE, but it’s basically the same and indeed, both of these have been popular.
The P650RE does lack some important features that are related to future upgradability – no eGPU solution, no Thunderbolt 3 port, no MXM GPU (the GPU is soldered). Some other features could also be useful – HDMI 2.0 and others.
But the big issue with all the GTX 970M equipped laptops is that they are about to become obsolete, if the forecasts of the new models with the new Nvidia GPU models are correct and the performance has been, again, vastly improved for the same price level – this hasn’t happened for around 2-2.5 years now. Given that the P650RE has no option for future 3D upgrade like TB3, MXM or other solution, recommending it becomes a problem. It is the same with laptops like the Asus GL502VT, MSI GE62 and others. The Alienware 15 R2 has eGPU solutions – both TB3 and Dell’s proprietary (and slower) solution, though it’s not a sure thing all Thunderbolt 3 laptops will get the appropriate bios update that will allow them to work with an eGPU.
Bottom line, a good laptop, upgradability is not good. Clevo does have other laptops, more expensive, with Thunderbolt 3 port and MXM GPU, though.