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Schenker XMG U505 Review - Performance, Heat, Noise and Battery Life Review


Schenker XMG U505 – Performance

The desktop-class Core i7 chip in this laptop sounds like it will easily cast aside mobile equivalents, but the reality isn’t so clear-cut.

The i7-4790T in the XMG U505 is from Intel’s ultra-low-power desktop range, so it has a TDP of 45W – less than the 47W required by the i7-4700HQ and i7-4710HQ chips installed in the MSI and Gigabyte laptops.

The XMG’s chip and its rival mobile parts all have Turbo Boost, Hyper-Threading and four cores, and clock speeds aren’t much different either. The U505’s i7 runs at 2.7GHz with a Turbo peak of 3.9GHz, while the mobile chips are between 200MHz and 300MHz slower.

Schenker XMG U505

In PCMark 7, the XMG scored 6,729 – a few hundred points better than the Gigabyte, and just over 1,000 points ahead of the MSI. The XMG actually fell behind in Geekbench, where its result of 12,747 slipped behind its competitors.

Schenker’s commitment to high-end components continues with its graphics core. The GeForce GTX 980M is Nvidia’s top mobile chipset, and it demonstrated its prowess in benchmarks. A score of 8,302 in 3DMark:snuck
 Fire Strike was far better than the MSI could manage and snuck ahead of the Gigabyte, which has the same GPU.

That impressive power translated to real games. We loaded Battlefield 4 at its highest settings and 1080p, and the XMG averaged 64fps – almost 30 frames faster than the MSI, and the same score as the Gigabyte. In Crysis 3, the U505 romped to an average of 58fps, which was one frame behind the Gigabyte and miles beyond the MSI’s 36fps.

Storage is stellar. Samsung’s 512GB M.2-based XP941 drive doesn’t just have room for plenty of games, but it offers top-notch speed too. Its sequential read and write results of 1,093MB/sec and 853MB/sec are far quicker than any SATA-based drive can manage. The U505’s boot time of 25 seconds is unremarkable, but games and applications loaded in a flash.

Related: Top FPS Games

Schenker XMG U505

Schenker XMG U505 – Heat and Noise

There’s an awful lot of hardware inside the U505, but its chunky design and extensive cooling system mean that heat isn’t an issue. When idle, both the processor and graphics core remained below 50 degrees, and the fans were only audible up-close.

Those components topped out at 70 and 73 degrees during a high-end games test – again, this is fine, and it meant the GPU could use its Boost to raise its core clock from 1,038MHz to 1,126MHz. That’s important, since it means games can eke out a little more performance.

The noise increased only a little during this game test, with a consistent tone that’s easily muffled by speakers or a headset, and the added warmth on the keyboard and underside wasn’t anything to worry about either. This is better mid-game performance than both of its slimmer rivals.

The U505’s poorest thermal performance came when we ran stress-tests on both the major components. The processor topped out at 84 degrees, with the graphics core ten degrees cooler – but these are actually good results; it remained cooler than both rivals. The noise is noticeably louder, but a headset will be enough to take care of that, and there’s no annoying modulation to the fan’s tone.

This stress-test did mean clock speeds were affected. The processor’s Turbo Boost could only jump to a middling 3.19GHz, and the graphics core topped out at 810MHz.

Schenker XMG U505

Schenker XMG U505 – Battery Life

The U505’s battery provides 82Wh of power, which means its capacity sits between the 75Wh unit inside the Gigabyte and the MSI’s 89Wh power pack. Battery life is disappointing.

In our standard test – a video and web-browsing simulation with the screen at 40% brightness – the U505 lasted for just over two and a half hours. That’s 45 minutes worse than the Gigabyte, and almost half an hour behind the MSI.

That’s a poor result, and the U505’s performance didn’t improve at full pelt. With the screen at 100% brightness and a games benchmark running, the XMG failed to get close to even an hour. This machine will require a plug socket nearby to play games for any decent length of time.

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