Ever since Nvidia announced its new 10-series of GTX graphics cards were coming to laptops without that dreaded M-suffix, I’ve been dying to get my hands on one. This is an important moment for gaming laptops, as historically, they’ve never performed quite as well as their proper desktop counterparts. Now, with the full benefit of Nvidia’s new 16nm FinFET Pascal architecture at their disposal, I was excited to see whether that old belief could be thrown out.
Scan’s mouthful of a gaming laptop, its 3XS LG15 Carbon G-Sync, isn’t exactly a looker. While high-performance laptops have never been particularly impressive in the aesthetics department, what with garish decals and strange LED’s crammed all over the lids, Scan has kept things simple. It’s a chunky beast, weighing a hefty 3.8kg, but given what’s crammed inside, I’d say it’s more than worth the extra bulk.
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Our review sample came with a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700 processor running at 3.4GHz, a generous 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics chip – a configuration that will set you back around £2,000. That’s a lot of money compared to the last generation of gaming laptops we’ve seen, many of which hovered around a grand, but take a look at our benchmark scores and it all starts to look a bit more palatable.
Gaming performance on its 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics chip is near-perfect, with even the notoriously demanding Metro: Last Light running flawlessly. At 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at maximum graphics settings with SSAO turned on, Metro scored a profound 83fps average. Compare that with the Aorus X7 Pro v5, which had two GTX 980M chips in SLI, and you’re looking at around a 25% increase in speed. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s only a 60Hz screen, so you’ll have to hook it up to an external display if you want to feel the silky-smooth benefits.
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Proper 4K gaming is on the cards too, making full use of its optional 3,840 x 2,160 display. With Metro running at just over 40fps with SSAO turned off on Ultra graphics settings, it’s not quite hitting that 60fps sweet spot, but it should still make for a great experience. Older titles such as 2012’s Dirt: Showdown ran effortlessly at 4K resolution, though, with an average of 72fps on its highest settings.
Scan’s Carbon G-Sync also takes the crown as the fastest laptop we’ve run through our demanding 4K multimedia tests, scoring a remarkable 128 overall. It’s ridiculously fast, beating our two previous high scorers, Aorus’ X7 Pro v5 and the Asus ROG G752 by 10 and 11 points respectively.
Its multitasking score of 136 is particularly impressive, and I was able to zip between multiple processor-heavy applications without any hiccups. Image and video editing is a breeze too, and you shouldn’t have any slowdown issues when running intensive software such as Photoshop or Premiere Pro. In short, the Carbon G-Sync isn’t just a gaming laptop, it’s an everyday performance powerhouse too.
Of course, all this beefy laptop performance needs a good-looking screen. The Carbon G-Sync’s 15.6in, 3,840 x 2,160 IPS display with a pixel density of 282ppi isn’t exactly the best given the price, and its matte display is a little on the dull side, but it does the job for the most part.
With a modestly wide sRGB colour gamut coverage of 81%, it’s not exactly up there with the likes of Dell’s XPS 15 or Apple’s MacBook Pro, but it looked perfectly fine for the most part. Its contrast ratio of 406:1 is rather disappointing, with image detail in short supply in darker shadow scenes, but black levels were still reasonably deep. Nevertheless, this isn’t quite the top-flight display you’d expect on a £2,000+ device.
At least its viewing angles are nice and wide, but I’d advise caution when adjusting the angle of the screen. I noticed a worrying amount of flex when tilting it back and forth, which made the screen feel quite fragile compared to the rest of the chassis.
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