I’ve tested the HP Pavilion 15 gaming laptop in 21 different games at all setting levels and compared it with other laptops to see how it stacks up. Unfortunately this isn’t the Ryzen model everyone wants to see as that was out of stock, but as you’ll see this one still does quite well for the specs in games.
Although my Pavilion 15 just has a quad-core processor, I’m still expecting it to handle games well compared to higher options. In my previous quad-core i5 versus 6 core i7 comparison, on average over 15 games the i7 was less than 5% faster, so in most titles the core count doesn’t seem to matter too much - at least today.
Software settings / drivers
The Pavilion 15 doesn’t have any different performance modes available through software, so I’ve just done all testing at stock. No overclocking to the GPU is done by default, and undervolting is disabled, as is the case with most 10th gen laptops. We’ll start out by testing the Pavilion 15 in 21 games, then afterwards I’ll compare it with other laptops and check out screen response time.
Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested in the Sydney landing challenge. Even the lowest setting preset wasn’t able to deliver 60 FPS in this one, but that’s not required here to play the game fine, but that said I’d stay away from ultra and maybe even high settings myself. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark tool. This test is fairly resource heavy too, so you’re probably not going to be playing at ultra settings, which is fine. Medium and below was needed to pass 60 FPS here. Watch Dogs Legion has a big dip with the ultra setting preset due to VRAM limitations, the 6 gig the 1660 Ti has just isn’t enough. At the same time though, the game doesn’t need a high frame rate to play, so very high settings shouldn’t be too bad, while low was just under 60 FPS in this test. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was near 60 FPS with medium settings, but again this game doesn’t need super high frame rates to play fine. Death Stranding was doing better, even the 1% low with the highest setting preset was above 60 FPS, and not that big of a change using lower levels. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, and again still playing alright with above 60 FPS at the highest setting preset, and although 1% lows don’t change much at lower levels, low settings boosted the average frame rate up to 120 FPS. Control was tested without ray tracing as we’ve just got GTX hardware here. It didn’t run too poorly at high settings as it doesn’t need a high frame rate to enjoy, but medium with 60 FPS did feel a bit nicer. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, still able to pass 60 FPS at the highest setting preset, while lowest could push this above 100 FPS. I’ll use this game to compare results with some other laptops soon. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum or minimum as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. Even maxed out it was able to run at above 100 FPS, while minimum pushed even the 1% low above this which would be a better match for the 144Hz panel. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode with either max or min settings for the same reason. It was just at 60 FPS in my test maxed out, with a 27% boost to average FPS possible at minimum settings. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature, this one doesn’t need powerful specs to run well and was playing fine even with the highest epic setting preset. Meanwhile low settings could achieve even a 1% low higher than the screen’s refresh rate.CS:GO was tested with the ulletical FPS benchmark, and the results were extremely close together regardless of settings in use, just a couple FPS difference in both average and 1% low, so may as well max it out I guess. Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane with bots. High settings was needed to push the average frame rate above the screens refresh rate, but of course there’s still no problem at all running with ultra settings, 130 FPS is still nice. Overwatch was tested running through the practice range, ultra settings and below scored average FPS above the screens refresh rate, while medium and below was able to achieve this for the 1% low result too. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the games benchmark using Vulkan. In most cases the top three setting presets seem to perform very closely, even the highest ultra preset was offering average FPS above the screens refresh rate. Metro Exodus was tested using the built in benchmark, most parts of the game perform a fair bit better than this, so don’t take these results as a good indication of what to expect throughout the entire game, it’s more of a worst case that can be compared against my other data. Borderlands 3 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark, this is a resource heavy test too which is why we’re not even at 60 FPS with the high preset, however going down just one level further to medium offers bigger improvements. The Witcher 3 was playable with ultra settings, but high settings still looks good while offering 1% lows that were higher than the average FPS at ultra. The average FPS at high was 46% ahead of ultra too. F1 2020 was tested with the games benchmark tool. Like the last couple of games, lowering just one setting preset from max can make a fairly big difference, granted it would still run fine even with the highest setting levels. Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the games benchmark, not quite 100 FPS at the lowest setting level, but still reasonable results and above the 60 FPS sweet spot even with ultra settings. Monster hunter world was tested running through the main town. The highest setting preset was just shy of 60 FPS, though it’s fairly stable as the 1% lows aren’t too far behind the averages, while low settings could get us to 100 FPS.
Compared to other laptops
Now let’s take a look at how the HP Pavilion 15 compares against other laptops, use these results as a rough guide only, as they were tested at different times with different drivers.
I’ve tested Battlefield 5 in campaign mode at ultra settings, and the Pavilion 15 is highlighted in red. It’s doing well for 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics, ahead of the other Max-Q laptops I’ve tested like the Dell G3 or ASUS GA502. It’s even beating the higher wattage 2060 Max-Q in the ASUS G15 just below it, but as we saw in my recent video, the Zephyrus is subject to thermal throttling in games.
These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. The results are still good relative to other options, something I wasn’t expecting as this test typically depends more on CPU power, but the quad-core i5 seems to be handling it well enough. That said, the Pavilion 15 is now behind the 2060 Max-Q in the G15 and G14 now, so those 8 core Ryzen chips are likely what’s changed that.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool with the highest setting preset. The position of the Pavilion 15 doesn’t change here relative to the same other laptops, and again it’s the best result I’ve had from a 1660 Ti Max-Q based gaming laptop. The throttling G15 with higher tier GPU is now behind again, and interestingly the Pavilion is beating the full 80 watt 1660 Ti in the older ASUS FX505DU, which I think goes to show the limits of the older Ryzen 3000 series, as all the other 1660 Ti non max-q laptops are doing much better.
Screen response time
My Pavilion 15 has a 15.6” 1080p 144Hz panel, and I’ve measured the average grey-to-grey response time at 7.9ms. When comparing against other gaming laptops, it’s pretty similar to many other 144Hz panels that I’ve tested but a little below the 6.9ms needed for transitions to occur within the refresh window, but regardless a fair result relative to some of the others.
So all things considered, despite the Max-Q graphics the Pavilion 15 is still doing quite well in games, better than other machines I’ve tested with same tier graphics in any case. This is all while having a quad core processor, as mentioned near the start of the video, I just haven’t found extra cores to help in a lot of today’s games, but this could of course change with newer upcoming titles. I’ll test the Pavilion 15 in many more workloads in the upcoming full review video, so make sure you’re subscribed with the bell checked to find out more about this machine as soon as it’s ready.
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