Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!

JT JT 07 September
Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!

This crazy laptop can use the 16 core Ryzen 9 3950X processor! It’s a Clevo chassis known as the THICC-15 from Eluktronics in the US, Apex 15 from XMG in Europe, or the Prime-AI here in Australia from Metabox, and the performance on offer is on another level.

I’ve got two configurations for testing, both came with the 8 core Ryzen 7 3700X processor, but you can select different ones when ordering, and I’ll be swapping this out with the Ryzen 9 3950X and Ryzen 5 3600 to see the differences. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!My two units also have different GPUs and screens so we’ll be able to get some data on the different options. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!It’s got a brushed metal lid, while the interior and bottom panel seem to be a dark plastic. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The build quality is a solid average, nothing amazing but it gets the job done, as is typically the case with many offerings from Clevo. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!As you’d expect, a machine with this level of hardware inside is on the thicker side, but at the same time it’s not too huge for a 15 inch laptop and is still somewhat portable. My unit weighed in at 2.6kg or 5.8lb, and with the 230w power brick and cables for charging this increases to under 3.5kg or 7.6lb.

The control center software lets you swap between different performance modes, which from lowest to highest are quiet, entertainment, and performance. We’ve also got the option of customizing the fan curve, or setting it to full speed.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! Inside we’ve got those two fans and plenty of heat pipes. For Processor upgrades, Metabox advised that this isn’t supported under their warranty and is performed at your own risk, but they’re able to handle it for you. In order to swap out the CPU, you’ve got to undo the 6 screws in the middle above the CPU and GPU dies, then there are two phillips head screws on the left fan, and 3 on the right fan, and the right fan should be taken out first. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The left fan is attached to the cooler, but both fans need to be unplugged from the motherboard before removing the cooler. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The cooler also has thermal pads covering VRM and GPU memory. All testing was done with my own application of Noctua NT-H2 thermal paste for comparable results.

Inside there’s just a standard AM4 socket, so we’ll look at results with 3 different processors to show you what’s possible.

Here’s how Cinebench performs with the three different processors that I’ve tested with, unfortunately I don’t have the 12 core 3900X on hand for testing. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The 3950X is really dominating when it comes to multicore workloads, but what I found interesting was that the 8 core 3700X wasn’t that far ahead of the Ryzen 7 4800H in the Eluktronics RP-15. Meanwhile the 6 core 3600 was doing better when compared to other good 6 core laptop chips.

Just for a bit of fun, I’ve also compared the difference between these processors running in the laptop and in a desktop PC to give us some idea of how much performance is lost in the laptop form factor. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The 3600 multi core score wasn’t too different, but the gap widens up the higher the core count. While the 3950X is a fair bit behind using the same processor in the gaming PC, don’t forget as we just saw, this level of multicore performance still destroys other laptops.

Here’s what temperatures look like with a CPU only workload running, the Blender benchmark.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! Interestingly, things cool down the more cores we have, though the 3950X was a fair bit cooler, presumably as it’s binned better. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!Although the 3950X has more cores, they also run at lower clock speeds which would explain the difference in temperatures, as more power is split over more cores. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!My 3950X didn’t seem to be running in the 60 watt ECO mode in this test either, and when we look at the total power draw from the wall it’s only using 5 watts extra than the same laptop but with the 3700X. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!To put that into context, here’s how fast the blender render was actually completing. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The 3950X is much faster than the 3700X in this heavy multicore workload, despite only drawing 5 watts more from the wall. Yeah the cores are clocked around 500MHz lower as we just saw, but there’s twice as many cores, so in rendering tasks like this the extra cores are still greatly beneficial. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!If we instead look at a combined CPU plus GPU stress test, the processor temperatures are of course hotter now, and the GPU temperature seems to rise with higher tier processors.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! Clock speeds were similar on the RTX 2070, while CPU speeds were similar to what we saw in the CPU only test.

Here’s the package power reported for eachRyzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! so no issue hitting the 115 watt limit of the 2070 even with the 3950X. Don’t forget that this machine just has one 230 watt power brick too, which is quite impressive when you remember that others like the larger Alienware 51m has two 330 watt ones or whatever, yeah it does have a higher wattage GPU and will do better in games, but I think it’s still impressive.

When we look at how a game performs with the different performance modes in useRyzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! I wasn’t seeing a difference between performance and entertainment in this game, while quiet mode was a fair bit lower comparatively but still usable if you want a quieter system. My BIOS doesn’t actually have all that many options, but XMG did tell me there was an update by Clevo that unlocks a lot more settings, expect more control and customization.

In terms of future upgradeability, it hasn’t yet been confirmed if this machine will get Zen3 support via a BIOS update. It uses the B450 chipset, so it would depend on if Clevo does this, technically it’s possible, but yeah at the same time not confirmed so I wouldn’t plan around that.

As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle it was in the low 30s, pretty standard and cool. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!With the stress tests it’s low 40s in the middle of the keyboard. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!Stepping up to entertainment mode is similar, just a bit warm in the center. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!Performance mode is a little cooler now due to the faster fans, given the specs inside and how hard they’re being hit this is quite impressive. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!

The fans are audible at idle in quiet mode, but only just. It’s still relatively quiet with the stress tests running, especially as we can still run games well enough in this mode, as shown earlier. Things are much louder comparatively in entertainment mode, similar to a lot of other laptops, then performance mode and max fan were the same in this workload, it was now very loud.

Now let’s take a look at how this machine performs in some different games. I’ve tested the 2070 model with all three processors, but only did the 2060 unit with the 3700X that it shipped with.

In Battlefield 5 I’ve got all instances of this laptop highlighted in red. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The three bundled together are the same machine with the 2070, differences in average FPS are basically within margin of error, though the Ryzen 5 3600 had a lower 1% low result compared to the others with more cores. The 2060 system was getting about the same average FPS as the MSI GL65 which also has the new 115 watt 2060, but the 1% low from the 3700X was a fair bit higher than the 10750H.

These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!As more of a CPU heavy test the four results are closer together here. The average FPS between the 2070 with 3950X and 2060 with 3700X is very close. The 3950X actually came out worse in 1% low, which is something I’ve seen with this game before, it doesn’t seem to know how to handle so many threads.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!This test is more GPU heavy, so the 2060 system is below the others, and again just a little ahead of the GL65 with the same 115 watt 2060, presumably due to the desktop based processor. Again the 3950X was performing a little lower than the others, though 1 FPS is margin of error stuff, even if I am taking averages of three runs.

I’ve compared both of these laptops in about 15 different games if you want to see more testing.

I’ve tested Adobe Premiere with the Puget Systems benchmark, and as expected the higher tier processors are producing better scores, but even the lower options are still producing great results relative to other laptops. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The processor seems to matter more here, as the 3600 paired with 2070 is a fair bit below the 3700X with 2060, but again either way the 3600 is still ahead of the other 6 core options.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! I’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests out various professional 3D workloads. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!I’ve also got some results from 3DMark to further compare the 2060 and 2070 options.

You can either get the 15.6” screen in 1080p 144Hz for gaming, or a 4K 60Hz option with better colours which would probably be the way to go for content creators. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!I did measure the 4K panel with better colour gamut, but it wasn’t too far ahead, it was a bit brighter and had better contrast ratio though. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!Neither screen had the option of G-Sync.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! Response time of the 1080p 144Hz gaming panel was just under 8ms, so similar to a number of others I’ve recently testedRyzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! and not amazing but definitely not as bad as others either. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!Backlight bleed was on the low side with either panel, but this will vary between laptops.

There was some screen flex when intentionally moving it despite the metal lid, the hinges are out towards the far corners and felt sturdy. There’s some chassis flex when pushing down hard, but this is a worst case and I never had any problems during normal use. That said, this is the only laptop in recent memory where I could feel the vibration of the fans with my hands resting on the keyboard, granted this was only noticeable at higher fan speed.

Due to the heavier weight, there were no problems opening it up with one finger, and it felt evenly distributed when sitting on my lap, if a bit weighty. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!There’s a 720p camera above the screen in the center, no Windows Hello support though.

The keyboard seems the same as many others from Clevo, just one zone of RGB lighting with minimal adjustments, though all keys and secondary key functions are illuminated, and you can control brightness between 4 levels or turn it off through software or the shortcuts on the numpad keys.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! I liked typing with the keyboard, but the small right shift may annoy some.

The precision touchpad doesn’t click down as it’s instead got dedicated left and right click buttons.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! It’s smooth to the touch and works fine without issue. Fingerprints show up easily, but as a smooth surface they’re easy to clean with a microfiber cloth. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!On the left from the back there’s a kensington lock, gigabit ethernet, two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports, and a micro SD card slot, bit strange it’s not full size given the larger machine. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!On the right from the front we’ve got 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks, followed by a single USB 2.0 Type-A port for some reason, and an air exhaust vent on this side. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!There are a couple more air exhaust vents on the back at the corners, then from left to right there’s a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 support, no Thunderbolt here, HDMI 2.0 and mini DisplayPort 1.4 outputs, and the power input. As there’s no integrated graphics, all display outputs are connected directly to the Nvidia GPU, and the Type-C port cannot be used to charge the laptop.

The front just has some status LEDs towards the left.Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement! There’s some lighting on the sides of the lid, these holes are illuminated from the screens backlight so cannot be controlled, but this will vary between regions as different companies seem to have selected to sell theirs with different lids. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!Underneath is clean, just some air vents towards the back, and a removable battery down the front. You just need to take out two phillips head screws to take out the battery, otherwise there are only 5 phillips head screws to remove in order to get inside. The bottom panel just slides back after unscrewing, it’s very easy. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!There are two M.2 slots on the left in the center, the WiFi card sits underneath one of the SSDs, two memory slots towards the middle, and 2.5 inch drive bay on the right. The speakers are under here too and sound ok, not bad, but not great, there’s some bass. They didn’t get too loud maxed out, but I prefer quality over volume, and the latencymon results weren’t looking great in either of my two units.

As Ryzen desktop processors don’t have integrated graphics, there’s no optimus equivalent here, so we’re always using the power hungry Nvidia graphics. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!When combined with the desktop tier processor, the battery life isn’t great, no surprise there, though as it is replaceable technically you could have spares available. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, the 256gb SSD in my unit wasn’t amazing, but this will of course vary based on the drive selection when ordering. Ryzen 9 3950X Laptop!? ULTIMATE Desktop Replacement!The MicroSD card slot wasn’t too bad, and the card sits most of the way into the machine.

In Australia we’re looking at a $2400 AUD starting price for the 2060 model, which is around $1600 USD for my international viewers, but this will of course vary based on the specific specs you select. In the US, for the Eluktronics THICC-15, great name, we’re looking at around $2000 USD, though they do offer it with more CPU options, less screen choice and no 2060 option though, then from XMG in Europe there’s also decent CPU selection and you can pick either 2060 or 2070 like I’ve tested here. It’s worth noting that exterior panels may differ slightly between regions, but the internals should all be the same.

Alright with everything tested let’s conclude by summarising the good and bad aspects of this beast of a machine. The processor performance is next level here, as we’ve got the option of sticking a desktop grade processor inside. As a result, temperatures do get up there even with the beastly cooling, but that’s pretty much always going to be the case with these sorts of desktop replacements, it’s a trade off for the next level performance, and realistically when you compare it to some others like say the Lenovo 7i the difference in thermals isn’t that much while the performance difference is large. This also results in it being on the heavier and thicker side, but honestly all things considered I don’t think it’s that ridiculous, and it’s not as big as some of the 17” 9900K laptops I’ve used like the MSI GT76 or Alienware 51m. Seriously I could easily see myself putting this thing in my camera bag and taking it on a trip, you know assuming we’re ever able to travel again.

As you’d expect, high end specs result in poor battery life, look at it as more of a built in UPS. The option of it being a removable battery is a unique aspect when compared to most alternatives though. In gaming the difference isn’t that big with the different processors I’ve tested, as the Ryzen 5 3600 is already very capable, especially when compared to other laptop processors. You could definitely start off with that and then you’ve at least got the option of upgrading in future to more cores if you want, something most laptops don’t offer, and arguably what makes this machine special and worth considering if you need processing power above all else. A BIOS update for Zen3 support would be super impressive and I hope we see them do this in future.

Let me know what you thought about this crazy laptop/desktop replacement down in the comments.

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