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Shootouts
Budget gaming notebook shootout: No need to break the piggy bank
By Koh Wanzi - 2 Sep 2017,12:39pm

Introduction

Gaming doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby

HP Omen 15

How much gaming performance do you really need? A lot of that depends on the sort of gaming experience you expect. Do you want to run all the latest AAA titles at max settings and over 60fps? Or perhaps you’re okay with just dialing back the settings and settling for a playable, but not necessarily ultra-smooth, experience.

Gaming systems are frequently associated with stiff price tags, but not the notebooks we’re reviewing here today. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8GHz, 6MB L3 cache) and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, they all offer decent gaming performance at relatively affordable prices.

For instance, one of our review units, the Aftershock MX-15 Elite, starts at just S$1,674, which is an easy-to-stomach price for performance that will run most games at 1080p and Medium settings.

But lest you think that this is just a euphemism for generally terrible gaming performance, we should point out that the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is equivalent to, or in fact slightly better than, the previous generation’s GeForce GTX 970M. The latter was considered one of the top mobile GPUs in its time, so you’re really getting more for less money.

And if you’ve got your feelers out for a so-called budget gaming notebook, there’s a good chance that you’re looking less for a dedicated gaming machine and more for a capable all-rounder that can also handle some games.

As it turns out, it’s not that easy being a jack of all trades, although a few do come tantalizingly close. To find out, we've pit the following notebooks in this shootout:

  • Acer Aspire VX 15
  • Aftershock MX-15 Elite
  • Gigabyte Sabre 15
  • HP Omen 15
  • Lenovo Legion Y520
  • MSI GP62 7REX Leopard Pro

Here then are the specifications of the notebooks at a glance before we look at each offering up close and personal:-

Test notebooks compared
  Acer Aspire VX 15 Aftershock MX-15 Elite Gigabyte Sabre 15 HP Omen 15 (2017) Lenovo Legion Y520 MSI GP62 7REX Leopard Pro
  Acer Aspire VX 15 Aftershock MX-15 Elite Gigabyte Sabre 15 HP Omen 15 (2017) Lenovo Legion Y520 MSI GP62 7REX Leopard Pro
Launch SRP
  • From S$2298
  • From S$1674
  • From S$1799
  • From S$1999
  • From S$1899
  • From S$1999
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
System Memory
  • 16GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 16GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
Video & Display
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Storage
  • 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • 1TB 5,400RPM HDD
  • 128GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
  • 128GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
  • 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
  • 128GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • 1TB 5,400RPM HDD
  • 128GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
Optical Drive
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • DVD Super Multi drive
Connectivity
  • Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A Wireless Network Adapter
  • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 1x1 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
  • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 1x1 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
  • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 2x2 Realtek RTL8822BE
  • Realtek Gaming GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 2x2 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
  • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 1x1 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
  • Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.2
Audio
  • Acer True Harmony
  • Dolby Audio Premium
  • Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3
  • Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3
  • Bang & Olufsen dual speakers
  • 2 x 2W Harman Certified Speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
  • Nahimic Sound 2 Technology
I/O Ports
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x SD card reader
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 2x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x 6-in-1 SD card reader
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 2x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x 6-in-1 SD card reader
  • 3x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x multi-format SD card reader
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x 4-in-1 SD card reader
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x SDXC/SDHC card reader
Battery Type
  • 52Wh
  • 47Wh
  • 47Wh
  • 70Wh
  • 45Wh
  • 41Wh
Dimensions
  • 389 x 265.5 x 28.9mm
  • 378 x 267 x 26.9mm
  • 378 x 267 x 26.9mm
  • 388.5 x 275.5 x 24.8mm
  • 380 x 265 x 25.8mm
  • 383 x 260 x 27-29mm
Weight
  • 2.5kg
  • 2.5kg
  • 2.5kg
  • 2.568 kg
  • 2.4kg
  • 2.4kg

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