The Eluktronics RP-15 is the best Ryzen based gaming laptop I’ve tested so far, but it’s not without its faults, in this review I’ll show you everything this machine has to offer and help you decide if it’s worth it.
The RP-15 comes with 8 core Ryzen 7 4800H processor, Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics which can boost up to 110 watts with Eluktroboost, and 144Hz screen. My review unit came with 32gb of memory in dual channel and 2TB of SSD storage, but you can configure these things and more when ordering.
If you buy without Windows or dbrand skin, it starts from $1140 USD, which sounds quite reasonable for this hardware, let’s find out if that’s the case.
The lid is normally a clean matte black metal, but mine has the optional dbrand skin skin applied, and the interior is a matte black metal. The overall build quality felt ok, there were no sharp corners or edges anywhere. It wasn't a premium feeling or anything like the more expensive Mech-15 G3, but it doesn’t come off as cheap feeling like other plastic machines.
The weight is listed at 4.3lb, or just under 2kg, and mine was a little under this. With the 180w power brick and cables for charging included, the total rises to 5.9lb or 2.7kg. The RP-15 isn’t too big for a 15 inch gaming laptop, especially with the level of power available, and this smaller footprint results in 9mm screen bezels on the sides. The 15.6” 1080p 144Hz screen has a matte finish, unfortunately there’s no FreeSync, and the integrated graphics cannot be disabled. I recorded average grey-to-grey response time at 4.8ms. Here’s how the response time stacks up to others I’ve tested so one of the best results overall, and the best out of the Ryzen options. I’ve tested the screen with the Spyder 5, and got 98% of sRGB, 68% of NTSC, 73% of AdobeRGB and 73% of DCI-P3. At 100% brightness I measured the panel at 305 nits in the center with an 850:1 contrast ratio, so some decent results there for a gaming laptop. Backlight bleed was good too, but this will vary between laptops and panels. There was some screen flex when intentionally pushing it, but it wasn’t excessive and it felt fine during regular use.
The hinges are out towards the corners and it felt sturdy enough, there was no screen wobble while typing. There was some keyboard flex when intentionally pushing down hard, but I never noticed any stability issues during normal use.
It was just possible to open with one finger, but this may not be the case in the production model as it’s got a larger battery down the front. As a result of the thinner bezels, the 720p camera is found below the screen. It’s got infrared for Windows hello support, but you have to tilt the screen back for it to actually see you. The camera and microphone aren’t great, and as it’s a nose cam your fingers do kind of get in the way, and to get yourself in the frame you’ve got to put the screen pretty far back.
The keyboard has RGB backlighting which is customized as one single zone, there are limited effects available in the software or you can set the whole thing to a colour of choice. Key brightness can be adjusted between 4 levels or turned off, and all keys and secondary key functions are illuminated. Some might not like the smaller right shift key, but overall I really liked typing on it, the keys felt a bit clicky.
The power button is above the keyboard on the right. There’s also a button to quickly swap between different performance modes, more on these soon.
The precision touchpad clicks down anywhere, feels smooth, and works fine. You can double tap the top left corner to lock it, and the size was reasonable, using most of the available space.
Fingerprints show up fairly easily on the matte black interior, but as a smooth surface they’re easy enough to clean with a microfiber cloth. The stock lid is probably the same, but with the dbrand skin I didn’t notice any.
On the left from the back there’s a kensington lock, air exhaust vent, gigabit ethernet, USB 2.0 Type-A port, and 3.5mm mic and headphone jacks. On the right from the front there’s a UHS-I SD card slot, two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, and another air exhaust vent. The back has two more exhausts towards the corners, then from left to right two mini DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0 outputs, Type-C port, no Thunderbolt or type-c charging here, and power input.
I confirmed that both the HDMI and mini DisplayPort outputs were connected directly to the Nvidia graphics, the Type-C port does not have display output. Underneath there are plenty of air ventilation holes towards the back half of the machine, a stark contrast when compared to the TUF A15. Getting inside involves taking out 10 phillips head screws of the same size, and the panel was very easy to remove. Inside we’ve got two M.2 slots on the left, two memory slots in the middle, WiFi card to the right and battery down the bottom. My review unit shipped with a smaller 47Wh battery, however Eluktronics will be selling the RP-15 with a larger 4-Cell 62Wh battery.
I happen to have the MAX-15 here which has the same 62Wh battery that the RP-15 will ship with, so I’ve used that to do my battery testing.
I’ve tested with the screen brightness at 50%, background apps disabled and keyboard lighting off. The battery life was pretty standard while playing a game, then in my YouTube playback test it was looking decent.
The speakers are found towards the front to the left and right. I’d say they sounded a little above average, there was some bass, but a little vibration in the palm rest at max volume. I thought they sounded loud enough maxed out, and the latencymon results were looking decent.
Let’s check out thermals next, this will be more of a summary as I’ve got a full detailed review covering Eluktronics RP-15 thermal performance.
The gaming center software lets you select between different performance modes, which from lowest to highest are office mode, game mode and turbo mode. In office mode you can also toggle standard or ECO which lowers the CPU power limit, while game and turbo modes have a fan boost button to set the fans to max speed. Turbo mode also enables Eluktroboost, which should get the RTX 2060 boosting up to 110 watts, but none of the modes applied any GPU core or memory overclocks.
Software doesn’t report the boost from 90 to 110 watts on the GPU when you enable turbo mode, but by monitoring the power draw from the wall it was possible to see the difference, plus the GPU gets hotter too and clock speed rises as a result of the increased power. Thermals were tested with a 21 degree Celsius ambient room temperature. Idle results down the bottom were a bit warm, but no issues there. Worst case stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress test with CPU only checked and the Heaven benchmark at the same time, while gaming was done with Watch Dogs 2. Office mode with ECO enabled was the coolest, changing from ECO to standard increases the temperatures as fan noise stays the same but power limits increase, so better performance at the expense of more heat, but still not really hot yet.
In game mode the CPU gets hotter due to further increase to the power limit, but the GPU gets a bit cooler as a result of the increased fan speed. In turbo mode the GPU was actually thermal throttling at 86 degrees Celsius, at least in these particular workloads, so whether under stress test or with this game, and as a reminder this is the eluktroboost mode.
It was possible to lower the temperatures by around 15 degrees on the CPU by limiting the processor to base clock speed, or we could instead use a cooling pad, which helped nicely too thanks to the large vents underneath.
These are the average clock speeds while running the same tests. The GPU clock speed only really changes once we enable turbo mode, as this boosts the max power limit of the 2060 up to 110 watts, and it was a little lower prior to capping the processor to base clock or using a cooling pad, presumably due to that GPU thermal throttle in turbo. The CPU was otherwise hitting 4.0 to 4.1GHz on all 8 cores at stock in game or turbo modes, a good result when you consider the ASUS TUF A15 with same CPU and GPU was 3.5 to 3.7GHz. Of course capping to base clock limits this to 2.9GHz, which was only a little below using ECO mode.
Honestly the GPU in the RP-15 still appears to be hitting good speeds and performing well, personally I’d prefer what we’re seeing here compared to 95 to 100 degrees on the processor, which was the case in the TUF A15 and Dell G5 SE, not to mention the A15’s 2060 was only 1 degree behind the RP-15, while the G5 was far hotter as the 5600M seems to have a higher limit.
When we look at how an actual game performs in these modes the cooling pad only boosted us by 1 frame with the GPU thermal throttle removed, so it really does seem to just be a borderline GPU thermal throttle. Otherwise the quieter office mode still performed quite well comparatively.
Here’s how the different modes perform in Cinebench limiting to base clock isn’t as useful compared to using office mode, as that doesn’t cap single core speed. We can see how much better the RP-15 is doing against others, it’s scoring around 10% higher in multicore than the next best Ryzen 7 4800H laptop that I’ve tested, and is only beaten by much thicker and more expensive machines.
As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle it was a bit warmer than others. With the stress tests going it’s warm in the center but never hot to the touch, and you can see how this changes with the different modes in use. It sounded silent at idle. The fan was audible when browsing in Chrome. S
tress tests in standard mode were the same regardless of whether ECO or standard modes were selected, then game and turbo modes were the same and maxed out in these particular tests, so no difference if I enabled fan boost.
Let’s also take a look at how the RP-15 compares with other laptops in games. I’ve tested with turbo mode, so eluktroboost enabled with max fans for best results.
In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the RP-15 highlighted in red. I found it interesting that the ASUS TUF A15 with the same CPU but lower wattage GPU was a few frames ahead, but I suppose the A15 does have a small overclock by default. I mean it’s not enough to make a difference you’d actually be able to notice while playing, but the RP-15 should technically be able to pull more power to the GPU.
The average frame rates in Far Cry 5, which was tested with the games benchmark tool, were ahead of the A15 this time, though the 115 watt 2060 in the MSI GL65 was ahead, however there is also a processor difference there. The 1% low from the RP-15 was above most of the other machines, as the CPU performance in this machine is excellent, as we saw earlier.
These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings. The TUF A15 with the same CPU and GPU was just 1 FPS ahead now, again not a difference you’d care about or notice in a practical sense.
If you’re after more gaming benchmarks check out Eluktronics RP-15 Gaming Performance where I'v tested 20 games in total on this machine.
As the display ports connected directly to the Nvidia graphics, I’ve also tested with an external monitor to see what sort of performance improvement is possible, and in Shadow of the tombraider there was more of a boost at the lower setting levels. Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy and Port Royal from 3DMark.
I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export video at 4K, and the RP-15 was a little behind some of the A15’s with lower specced GPUs, but same CPU. I’ve also tested Premiere but with the Puget systems benchmark which also accounts for things like live playback rather than just export times this time the RP-15 was further ahead and close to much more powerful and expensive systems. Similar results in Adobe Photoshop, I believe this is more of a CPU heavy test, and as we’ve seen the RP-15 does very well in this area. Davinci Resolve was still stacking up quite nicely, as a more GPU bound test it would appear that the higher wattage GPU is able to stretch its legs.
I’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests out various professional 3D workloads. I’ve used the OpenVR benchmark to test the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite and although the RP-15 is on the lower side out of what I’ve tested so far, the 1% low was decent, and still no issues playing half life alyx, only the Alpha 15 and below struggled there.
I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage despite the two 1TB drives in my unit being the exact same model, the write speed on one was much better than the other, not sure what the deal was there. You also have the option of enabling RAID through BIOS. The SD card slot was on the slower side, but I still prefer having one at all compared to not and the SD card sticks out a fair bit when inserted.
Alright with all of that in mind, let’s conclude by summarising the good and bad parts of the Eluktronics RP-15 gaming laptop to help you decide if it’s worthwhile. Overall the RP-15 is a good option for the money, and is the best Ryzen based gaming laptop that I’ve tested so far. It’s not perfect and there are some issues, but compared to the TUF A15, Zephyrus G14, or Dell G5 SE, the compromises that have been made may be preferable.
The screen has better colour gamut and response time compared to those other Ryzen machines, and there was basically no bleed in my unit. It’s unfortunate that there’s no FreeSync like most other AMD based laptops, but apparently this was one such compromise in order to get a panel with decent brightness, colours and response time, I think the tradeoff is worth it.
The performance in games was good, but lower than what I expected from a 110 watt 2060. In most games I tested, the RP-15 was similar to other 2060 laptops, which means it’s still quite good and able to take on any game with good settings.
Outside of gaming in CPU heavy tasks, the RP-15 is on another level, performing significantly better compared to other Ryzen laptops due to high processor power limits. Despite these higher limits, the CPU doesn’t get too hot either. Under combined CPU plus GPU load, it was often cooler than those other machines. The GPU did thermal throttle a bit in turbo mode in the heavy workloads I tested, but it wasn’t by much, and given it was only 1 degree warmer than the TUF A15 with lower 90 watt 2060, I still see this as a better option as the processor is much cooler.
It’s super easy to improve cooling too due to the large vents on the bottom, so a stand or cooling pad will help out far more compared to the A15 with minimal ventilation. It’s nice to have this as an option without having to resort to removing the panel. The only thing I didn’t personally like was the nose cam, with Windows Hello it’s a bit awkward to move the screen into the right spot to log you in, but really that’s a minor detail.
The build quality was fine, not anything impressive and there’s some flex to it if you go out of your way to push, but for a $1140 USD entry level price, you’re getting some serious power, and in particular due to the better screen, a better gaming experience compared to other competing Ryzen machines I’ve tested while also being cheaper. Let me know what you thought about the RP-15 gaming laptop from Eluktronics down in the comments, is it something you’d consider?