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GeneXiS_X

[REVIEW] Level51 Forge 15 Laptop (i7-9750H, GTX 1050 3GB)

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Posted · Original PosterOP

BEFORE READING: I will update the review when I get to test the i5-9300H / 1650 / 144Hz model. Also, due to time constraint, I don't include gaming performance results yet; however, I will test performance+thermals of a few games in future when I have sufficient time. Let me know what games you would like to see.

 

Welcome to my 10th review in LTT forum. I will be reviewing the Level51 Forge 15 laptop. Main specs of the laptop are as below:

Spoiler

i7-9750H
GTX 1050 3GB (new 1050)

16GB 2666MHz RAM dual channel

256GB NVMe M.2 SSD (Phison E12)

15.6 inch IPS

Intel 9462

W10 Trial

Stock paste - buyers will get free Kryonaut repaste together with free display calibration

 

Based on Clevo NH58RHQ chassis

This is a quick review; thus, not everything will be covered in here.

 

Product page: https://www.level51pc.co/welcome/Productinner/forge-15

 

Read my review of Forge 15 Pro here: https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/1062770-review-level51-forge-15-pro-laptop-i7-9750h-rtx-2060/

 

Part 1: Build quality, input devices

Build quality is quite good. The whole laptop is made of plastic - not surprising considering that it's priced quite low while the old model - N850 is also a full plastic build laptop.

 

The lid has brush finish on top of it. There is flex when the lid is twisted - rigidity could be better. Applying force on the middle of the lid results in some flex, but nothing worrying. The lid has minimal wobbling; however, you can't open the lid with 1 hand (the first 45 degrees tilt is tight). The hinge is a bit loose when opened over ~100 degree and when closed below ~40 degree. There are 2 dim blue LED strips on the lid.

 

The area surrounding the keyboard has brush finish. There is minimal flex when twisting the body - still it feels solid. The keyboard area has little flex when pressed down hard. The bottom chassis also has little flex - the closer to middle the more flex. In fact the flex is noticeably more compared to Forge 15 Pro. I suspect that it's a QC issue since it has similar chassis with Forge 15 Pro and I can feel the flex stopped at a certain point of depth. Anyway, I will check this issue with second test unit in future.

 

The keyboard is a new, upgraded Clevo membrane keyboard. Typing is very pleasing - it has good actuation force (~55g?) and key travel (~2mm?). Keys are very clicky. Probably one of the best keyboard I've ever used in gaming laptops. You can set keyboard lighting via included software: Control Center. Note that it has only 1 zone lighting. The keyboard is easy to be replaced.

 

The touchpad is good enough from my perspective. It uses Precision driver and it's quite big - precision is OK-good but not top level. Due to plastic surface, the surface will become rough to be used if you have wet fingers. In normal usage, the surface is smooth. The touchpad layer feels thin when tapped hard on it. The dedicated L/R clicks have very shallow travel - feels a bit weird but the clicking feel is OK. The touchpad is slightly aligned to the right of spacebar to make it more centered.

 

Part 2: Display, Audio, Battery

The 15.6 inch display is a 60Hz IPS panel from LG – LGD05E5. Since it's a low sRGB panel, colours are less vibrant and display brightness is about 250 nits max. Contrast is good. It has thin bezels. I haven't tested any games yet, therefore I can't tell whether it has noticeable ghosting or not.

 

The 2 down firing speakers has good enough audio if tuned via Sound Blaster software.

 

Audio profile I used: Bass 0, Treble 13; Surround 80, Crystalizer 100, Bass 20, Smart vol 70, Dialog+ 40

 

There is a bit of bass and the volume can be quite loud. Overall, sound quality is quite balanced (mids could be better though)

 

I don’t have time to test the battery life, however you can expect 3-4 hrs of battery life from the 41Wh battery. Note that the battery is removable from outside.

 

Part 3: Cooling performance

The cooling design is slightly different from the one in Forge 15 Pro. Notice that the heatpipes are slightly thinner, the GPU heatsink is less beefy and the CPU heatpipes at the fan exhaust aren't placed at the top and bottom respectively. It consists of 3+2 heatpipes with 1 shared on CPU+GPU (1 is only partially connected to GPU so it doesn't count). There is only 1 exhaust vent for CPU and 2 exhaust vents for GPU. The fans are very powerful - I can feel the heat being push out even from ~50cm distance, especially for the CPU fan. There are intake vents for both fans (N850 has none) - the vents are quite small but sufficient.

Spoiler

IMG_20190510_190012.thumb.jpg.bb23089a312a411e71379514029aa25d.jpg

Notes on all thermal testing:

Spoiler
  • PL1 – 45W, PL2 – 78W (standard)
  • GPU driver tested is 419.45
  • Test is conducted in an A/C room (ambient 24C, feel more like 26C)
  • Entertainment (balanced) profile and auto fan control are used (default)
  • BD PROCHOT for CPU is 87C
  • Max fan noise is ~49dBA
  • Laptop is plugged in
  • The fan speed changes quite fast according to the load
  • You cannot change CPU power limit settings via any software
  • There is undervolt applied out of the box: -50mv

Undervolt profile: CPU core+cache -100mv. GPU 1772MHz@0.95V (you can try less/more clock speed and less voltage). Blue highlighted part is the undervolted result

 

CPU temp - Cinebench R15 multi core

Starting 71-72W, then drop to 45W (PL1). Max 84C, then drop to max 73C. 4GHz, then drop to 3.3GHz. 1150+cb

Starting 64-65W, then drop to 45W (PL1). Max 81C, then drop to max 70C. 4GHz (can sustain longer), then drop to 3.4-3.5GHz. 1200+cb

Starting ~41dBA, then drop to ~38dBA. Same fan speed after undervolted

 

CPU temp - Aida64 FPU 45W

~2.9GHz, 71C

3-3.1GHz, 71C

~39dBA for both

 

GPU temp - Unigine Valley (DX11, medium quality, AA x2, 1080p)

1747+MHz, max 68C

1772MHz, max 64C

~35dBA

Benchmark result: 67.9 FPS, 2839 score

 

FPU+Valley with max fans

CPU stock: Max 85C, 3GHz, 45W

GPU stock: Max 74C, max 1747MHz

CPU undervolt: Max 82C, 3.1-3.2GHz, 45W

GPU undervolt: Max 67C, 1772MHz

No throttling under extreme load! (CPU power throttling due to PL1)

 

Uneven core temp recorded is 3-4C. Yes tripod heatsink is gone - it really helps in uneven core temp issue. CPU silicon quality in this machine is slightly better than the one in Forge 15 Pro.

 

Surface temp while under extreme load is excellent - no area is noticeably warm.

 

There are 4 power profiles to choose from:

Quiet, Performance, Power saving, Entertainment

In short - just stick with entertainment (balanced) profile

 

The included power adapter is a 120W unit from Chicony. Take note that temps will be a little higher when running dual channel memory.

 

Part 4: Miscellaneous

This laptop weights at 2.2kg and has 25mm thickness. Quite light I would say, partly due to the plastic build.

  

Ports (from back to front):

L: USB A 3, USB A 2, mic, headphone

R: Full sized SD card reader, mDP, USB A 3

Rear (L to R viewing from back): USB C, HDMI, LAN, power

 

Other settings in Control Center software besides power modes and led keyboard setting:

- Flexikey for Macros

- Fan speed control (2 points only, can drag anywhere to adjust fan speed and target temperature)

 

Default fan speed:

CPU: 50C 38%, 60C 50%, 80C 80%, 100C 100%

GPU: 50C 29%, 60C 50%, 80C 80%, 100C 100%

Fans will stop running if CPU/GPU is <50C. Still very quiet even they run while idling/in light loads.

 

Conclusion

Being one of the cheapest gaming laptop you can buy, you have to made some sacrifices like all plastic build and single zone keyboard back-lighting. However, the build quality is alright and the cooling is superb. Definitely worth considering.

 

Pros:

Spoiler

Excellent thermals

Excellent keyboard

Plenty of ports

Quite portable

Priced competitively

Cons:

Spoiler

As expected from a budget gaming laptop - it uses plastic body and has a small battery

Audio needs tuning

No high sRGB/144Hz panel option (yet)

Thanks for reading!


Feel free to ask for recommendations if you're looking for a new lappy!

 

My daily driver: Lenovo Legion Y530 [REVIEW]

Spoiler

Intel Core i5-8300H Nvidia GTX1050TI 2GB LP156WFG-SPB2 144Hz IPS 16GB 2666MHZ DDR4 RAM (2x8GB) PM981 256GB+ST1000LM035 1TB

Laptop reviews: Check them out here

 

Who is Clevo, Tongfang, Quanta?

 

My Phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Snapdragon 625, 3GB RAM, 32GB ROM)

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It's hard to believe that for less than RM3000, right now Level 51 is offering the Forge with a 512GB SSD and 8GB of RAM while similarly price inferior competitors from known brands are ripping customers off with 1TB HDD and 4GB of RAM. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 hours ago, n56vz said:

why level51 fb page said forge15 is aluminium? 

I tested it and it feels like plastic, need to confirm with them


Feel free to ask for recommendations if you're looking for a new lappy!

 

My daily driver: Lenovo Legion Y530 [REVIEW]

Spoiler

Intel Core i5-8300H Nvidia GTX1050TI 2GB LP156WFG-SPB2 144Hz IPS 16GB 2666MHZ DDR4 RAM (2x8GB) PM981 256GB+ST1000LM035 1TB

Laptop reviews: Check them out here

 

Who is Clevo, Tongfang, Quanta?

 

My Phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Snapdragon 625, 3GB RAM, 32GB ROM)

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