by Rob Williams on December 29, 2016 in Systems
Achieving excellent 1080p gaming on a modestly-sized notebook for relatively cheap has long been a difficult proposition, but Eurocom’s Sky M5 R2 is up for the challenge. This $1,399 notebook comes packed with NVIDIA’s GTX 1060 and Intel’s i7-6700HQ – not just enough for 1080p, but good for 1440p to boot. Let’s dive in!
With real-world gaming performance having been taken care of on the previous couple of pages, I’ll take care of overall system performance (with the help of Futuremark) on this one. Then, I’ll wrap up with some final thoughts.
While it’s easy in our regular desktop GPU content to compare one card to another, notebooks are far more difficult to compare given the sheer number of configurations out there. Fortunately, the three notebooks I do have to compare are in a similar league, at least with regards to them being gaming notebooks in general.
Here’s one thing to bear in mind: the Sky M5 R2’s GeForce GTX 1060 is actually faster than last-gen’s top-dog, GTX 980M, by about 700 GFLOPs. That means that if you drooled over a last-gen notebook with 980M but couldn’t afford it, you can get better performance right now, and for less money. You gotta love progress!
|Futuremark PCMark & 3DMark|
|Eurocom (1060)||Eurocom (970M)||ASUS (980M)|
|PCMark 8 – Home||4746||3689||4776|
|PCMark 8 – Work||5169||4818||5245|
|PCMark 8 – Creative||6972||4586||5378|
|3DMark – Fire Strike||9435||6732||8528|
Overall, the GTX 1060 helped the Sky M5 R2 to trump the rest, with massive gains seen in PCMark’s Creative test and of course, 3DMark. So what does all of this GPU power mean for the battery-life?
|ASUS G751JY – Futuremark Powermark|
|Eurocom Sky M5 R2||Eurocom Monster 4||ASUS G751|
|Balanced||2 hours 20 minutes||3 hours 16 minutes||2 hours 46 minutes|
|Productivity||3 hours 35 minutes||3 hours 57 minutes||3 hours 11 minutes|
|Entertainment||2 hours 27 minutes||2 hours 19 minutes||2 hours 5 minutes|
What the GTX 1060 means for battery-life is that a gaming notebook is still a gaming notebook, and since people don’t like lugging around 10lbs notebooks too much, the best we can get is a few hours at best. That’s the price you pay for having such a powerful machine when plugged-in.
Before wrapping-up, I wanted to quickly show off two pieces of software included with Eurocom’s Sky M5 R2 (or, it can at least be downloaded at its website), for both overclocking and keyboard configuration.
Up first is the “CPU Memory Overclock”. This app has a bit of a strange name, because it makes it sound like the CPU can be overclocked. What it actually means is that the memory can be overclocked. Ahem, and even that is misleading, since the frequency can’t be increased. Instead, the timings can be adjusted. I didn’t spend much time with this, and wouldn’t even recommend touching the memory overclocking since a timing adjustment isn’t going to matter much in the grand scheme. The tool overall is nice for monitoring basic CPU and memory stats, though.
The companion GPU Overclock tool is actually aptly named, as it does allow you to overclock the GPU. Again, I didn’t fiddle with this, as I found the notebook got warm enough on its own, and the fan speed was already bad enough. The option is there if you want it.
The most useful tool I found was Flexikey, which lets you configure your keyboard. This tool allows you to create macros, peak at statistics (which are monitored in the background), and adjust the RGB LED backlit keys. You are able to turn the entire keyboard one color, or split it into three sections and choose those accordingly (useful for certain flag imitations, perhaps).
With hardware, performance, and software all taken care of, I guess it’s time to answer the big question: is Eurocom’s Sky M5 R2 worth your hard-earned cash?
That’s not too difficult to answer.
If you’re in the market for a mid-sized gaming laptop that won’t break the bank too badly (based on the $1,400 USD stock configuration) that performs like a good gaming desktop, then you can’t go wrong here.
Overall, this $1,400 laptop delivers fantastic 1080p gaming performance, and great 1440p performance. The GTX 1060 is a beast of a GPU, and the Core i7-6700HQ is a beast of a CPU. Together, this notebook is essentially a solid gaming desktop condensed into a notebook form-factor. Bear in mind that “fantastic 1080p” and “great 1440p” are tags that also belong to the desktop GTX 1060 (and Radeon RX 480).
I am not kidding when I say I have a hard time finding a real fault with this notebook, but it’s also not hard to mention its standout issue: its noise.
When gaming, the Sky M5 R2 ramps up the fan on the GPU to such a degree that it could never be ignored if gaming without headphones. I believe that this makes this a gaming notebook best used with headphones, or at least loud speakers. There’s no whine to the fans, but they’re very obviously pushing a lot more air than normal when the going gets gaming. A laptop cooler might assist with this, but I can’t confirm that. If you’re really sensitive to noise, you’ll want to get a beefier Sky model, with even larger exhausts.
Aside from that, I enjoyed the heck out of testing this notebook. As I mentioned at some other point in the review, the GTX 1060 is faster than last-gen’s GTX 980M, which I drooled over last year. The Sky M5 R2 is a well-designed, well-built notebook that packs a serious punch for its price tag.
Eurocom M5 R2 Gaming Notebook