Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review

JT JT 11 November
Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review

This is the best performing gaming laptop with  RTX 2060 graphics that I’ve tested so far,   it’s known as the MAX-17  from Eluktronics in the US,   and sold here in Australia as  the Vapor 17X from Aftershock. You can customize it when ordering.

The build quality feels nice, it’s  got a black magnesium alloy finish   on both the lid and interior,  and no sharp corners or edges. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe weight is listed at 2kg but  mine was closer to 2.3kg or 5lb,   then under 3.2kg or 7lb with  the 230 watt power brick.

Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review It’s on the thinner side for a 17” gaming  laptop with these specs, coming in at 2cm thick.

It’s got a 17.3” 1080p 240Hz display, no  G-Sync or FreeSync though. There’s an option   in the BIOS to enable or disable optimus, and  this will give a performance boost in games.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review I’ve measured the average  grey-to-grey response time at 7ms.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review It’s not too bad compared to others,   but definitely below the 4.16ms  needed for a 240Hz panel. I’ve tested the screen with the Spyder  5, and got 96% of sRGB, 74% of NTSC, 78%   of AdobeRGB and 78% of DCI-P3,  decent results for a gaming laptop. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewMy panel was 332 nits at 100% brightness with  a 980:1 contrast ratio, so again pretty decent,   and better than the 15” model I recently  reviewed in all areas except response time. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewBacklight bleed wasn’t too bad, I never  noticed it when viewing darker content,   but this will vary between panels.

Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThere’s a 720p camera below the display in  the middle, and it’s got IR for Windows Hello,   but you have to tilt the screen  back so it can see you to unlock. As the camera is down the bottom your fingers  do kind of get in the way while typing,   you’ve got to put the screen a fair bit back  to actually get yourself properly in frame,   it’s not doing a great job of  isolating my voice over the fans.

The keyboard has 4 zones of RGB backlighting  which lights up all keys and secondary functions. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review  There’s 4 levels of key brightness which can  be controlled using the keyboard shortcuts   or software. I liked typing with the  keyboard, it felt nice and tactile.

The glass precision touchpad is smooth and  worked well, you can double tap the top left   corner to disable it. It’s on the larger side and  was noticeably better compared to the 15” model. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewFingerprints and dirt aren’t too  obvious on the matte black finish,   a bit more noticeable on the touchpad, but  as it’s a smooth surface it’s easy to clean.

The weight distribution felt good,  allowing for one finger opening.   Keyboard flex was only minor when  pushing down hard, it feels quite solid,   there was some flex to the lid  but it is on the thinner side,   and due to it being the larger 17 inch size I did  notice it would wobble around a bit when typing. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review  On the left we’ve got a Kensington lock  slot up the back, air exhaust vent,   USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port and separate  3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe right has a MicroSD card slot, two USB  3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports and an air exhaust vent. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe rest is on the back, from left  to right there’s a USB Type-C port   with DisplayPort output and Thunderbolt 3  support, HDMI 2.0 output, gigabit ethernet,   and the power input.

Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe front has a little  groove in the middle to aid opening the lid,   as well as an RGB light bar which can be  customized through software with the keyboard. Both display outputs connect  directly to the Nvidia graphics,   but Type-C cannot be used to charge the laptop.

Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewUnderneath has plenty of air vents  towards the back half of the machine,   and the rubber feet do a good job of preventing  sliding on my desk. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewIt’s easy to get inside,   just take out 11 Phillips head screws  and the panel basically comes right off. Inside we’ve got the battery down the  front, two M.2 slots above it on the left,   two memory slots in the middle, and WiFi 6 card  to the right of that. There’s some empty unused   space to the left of the battery, might have been  nicer if it could be filled with more battery.

The two speakers are on the left and right sides  towards the front. They sound about average,   not too clear at max volume,  there was a little bass,   but also some vibration or distortion at max,  and the latencymon results weren’t too bad.

It’s powered by a 6-Cell 91Wh battery.  I’ve tested it with RGB lighting off,   background apps disabled and screen at 50%  brightness.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review The battery life was alright,   lasting for over 6 hours in the YouTube playback  test and an hour and 44 minutes while gaming. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewOf course if we instead use the discrete  graphics only, the battery life is worse.

Let’s check out thermals next. The control center software lets you change  between three different performance modes,   which from lowest to highest are office  mode, game mode and turbo mode. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewOffice   mode lets you pick different fan profiles or set  a custom fan curve, and also toggle ECO mode.   Game and turbo modes also give you the option  to enable fan boost to max out the fans. None of these modes applied any  GPU overclocking.

By default   undervolting is allowed through the BIOS,  and you can also undervolt through BIOS. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe idle temperatures were warmer compared  to the same specs in the 15 inch model,   which I found interesting given the 17x is larger.  Stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress   test with stress CPU only checked and the  Heaven GPU benchmark run at the same time,   while gaming was tested playing Watch Dogs 2. Office mode seems to set the thermal throttle  cap of the processor to 80 degrees Celsius,   game mode raises this to 85 degrees, while  the highest turbo mode further raises this   to 90.

This means it’s not possible for  the CPU to rise above 90 degrees Celsius,   which I think is good even if it means some  thermal throttling, personally I’d prefer it to   not get hotter but that’s me. The GPU wasn’t  hitting thermal throttling in any of these tests,   but interestingly the cooling pad didn’t  really help in terms of temperatures.

These are the clock speeds for the same tests  just shown. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe cooling pad does improve the   clock speeds a bit, particularly in terms  of CPU performance. Despite the 90 degree   cap still being hit, it lets us throttle a bit  less. GPU speeds were a bit lower in office mode,   and for some reason ECO seemed to perform a bit  better in CPU speeds, I expected the opposite but   here we are.

Game mode hits better CPU speeds  due to the higher thermal throttle limit, then   turbo mode increases for the same reason, though  undervolting allows us to get some nice gains.

Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe 2060 had no problems running up to its 115  watt limit regardless of the performance mode in   use. I found it interesting that the smaller  15” model was able to run up to 55 watts on   the same CPU best case, so it seems like the  cooling in the 17” model isn’t quite as good,   though some of it could also  be silicon lottery differences.

Here’s how CPU only performance looks  in Cinebench with the GPU now idle.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review   ECO mode is actually making a difference now, as  we saw earlier in CPU plus GPU workloads ECO on   seemed to do better. I found game mode and turbo  mode similar in terms of CPU performance, so it   looks like the only difference may be the thermal  throttle limits of the processor as noted earlier.

Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewWhen we compare the best result against  others, it’s very similar to the smaller   15x model with same specs, so doing very  well for a 10875H laptop, better than the   Ryzen options in single core, though not  quite able to match the 4800H in multicore.

The middle of the keyboard was warmer when  idling compared to most laptops I’ve tested,   but it was hardly warm to the touch.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review With  stress tests going it’s warm in the center,   but much cooler on the sides as the fans  pull air in through the keyboard.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review Game mode   was perhaps just a little cooler worst caseAftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review  then the highest turbo mode was about the same,   low 50s in the center, but higher  fan noise now.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review

The fans were still audible at idle, then when  under load I found no difference to fan volume   whether in game mode, turbo mode, or enabling fan  boost, so it was always at max regardless during   these tests, and this is why I didn’t bother  testing with and without fan boost earlier.

Now let’s check out how well the Vapor 17x   performs in games and see how  it compares with other laptops.

I’ve tested Battlefield 5 in campaign mode at  ultra settings, and the 17x is highlighted in   red. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewIt’s only just a little ahead of the  15x below it, which has the same specs but   in a slightly smaller area. This is the best  result I’ve had from RTX 2060 graphics so far.

These are the results from Far Cry 5 with  ultra settings in the built in benchmark. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review  Again it’s just ahead of  the 15x with the same specs,   making it the best result I’ve had from  an RTX 2060 laptop. It’s even beating   the 2070 with the same wattage in the G7  as this is more of a CPU intensive test.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also  tested with the games benchmark tool   with the highest setting preset. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewJust 1 FPS  ahead of the smaller 15x here, but again   the best RTX 2060 score so far, and just a  couple FPS behind the 2070 in the Dell G7.

Now for the benchmarking tools. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewI’ve used Adobe Premiere to export one of  my laptop review videos at 4K. Lower times   are better here, and like the games it’s just  a little ahead of the 15x with the same specs,   though slightly behind the  MSI creator 15 with lower GPU.Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review I’ve also tested Premiere but with  the Puget systems benchmark which   also accounts for things like live  playback, and the 17x is doing well,   a few spots above the 15x now but still  being beaten by cheaper Ryzen alternatives. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewThe results were similar in Adobe Photoshop, this  tends to be more of a CPU focussed test, and for   some reason the score was much better compared  to the 15x now, more than 100 points higher. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewDaVinci Resolve is more GPU heavy,   however it’s still being beaten by lower  wattage GPUs paired with Ryzen processors. Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewI’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests  out various professional 3D workloads.  

Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen ReviewI’ve used Crystal disk mark  to test the 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD,   and both reads and writes were great, though this  will vary based on drive selection when ordering.  Aftershock Vapor 17X / Eluktronics MAX-17 10th Gen Review The microSD card slot was also doing ok, and  the card sticks out a little when inserted.

As for prices, the Vapor   17X starts from $2590 AUD. This config just has one   stick of memory, I definitely recommend upgrading  to dual channel for the performance boost. In the US they don’t seem to  offer the 115 watt 2060 option,   instead opting for 2070, 2070  Super, or 2080 Super Max-Q.

So to conclude, the Vapor 17x offers great  gaming performance with some of the best   results I’ve seen from the RTX 2060.  This is thanks to it being the higher   wattage 115 watt variant, and there’s also  an extra speed boost by disabling optimus. Although it was ahead of the smaller 15x  in games and content creator workloads,   in the thermal testing and Cinebench it was  actually slightly behind. I’m not too sure   why this is the case given the cooling  solution looks similar and you’d think   more space in the 17” equals more cooling,  but that doesn’t seem to be a major factor.

Regardless, the CPU performance was  still quite good for an i7-10875H laptop,   and although single core was better  than Ryzen, Intel’s 10th gen mobile   chips can’t currently match the 4800H in  these sort of multicore rendering tasks. The screen was alright for gaming,  17” is more immersive compared to 15”,   but personally I prefer 15” for portability,  personal preference of course, though at 1080p   I feel like the pixels are easier to notice  at 17 inches, we need some 1440p options. I didn’t like the bottom camera and  the screen was more prone to wobbling   compared to the smaller 15”, but apart from  that there’s not much to complain about.

Battery life is alright given the specs and  much better than what I got from the 15”.   It’s this and screen size that are the main  differences between the 15” Model and 17” model,   so when picking between them you’ll  need to decide what your priorities are.

Anyway let me know what you thought about this  laptop down in the comments

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