The Aftershock Forge 15X (2023) is the value gaming laptop in the local brand's lineup. It has an understated no-frills design that works anywhere, from the classroom to the office. More importantly, my review set sports the latest 13th-gen Intel Core processor and Nvidia's new GeForce RTX 4060 graphics. All that for an affordable S$2,000.
- 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display (144Hz)
- Intel Core i7-13700HX chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop graphics
- 3x USB Type-A, 1x Type-C, mini-Display, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet port, audio jacks
- 53.35 watt-hour battery
Unlike the Forge 15X that I tested a couple of years ago, the 2023 version has a low-key, stealthy appearance. The more discerning user may notice the copper-coloured heatsinks peeking through the vents at the rear and sides. But generally, the latest Forge 15X is inconspicuous enough to blend into the office. At 2.35kg, it's also fairly portable for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop, though it's not the slimmest. You get a good selection of ports, including an Ethernet jack, three USB-A, and a single USB-C.
The Forge 15X has a 1080p, 144Hz display that seems to be the standard for budget gaming notebooks. It's a matte IPS display with good viewing angles, and while it lacks variable refresh rate (Nvidia G-Sync), the 144Hz refresh rate is adequate for esports titles. Bezels are slim, with a 720p webcam (noisy but usable) at the top. Like many gaming notebooks, the Forge 15X doesn't have a fingerprint reader or facial recognition. If you're using it in the office, its membrane keyboard is quiet, but still tactile. However, the RGB backlight offers only 15 colour options, and you can only choose one colour at one time. You can adjust the backlight in the preloaded Control Center app, as well as tweak other settings like disabling the touchpad or Windows logo key.
Despite its mid-range specs, the Forge 15X will run most of your AAA games smoothly enough. For instance, it produced an average of 69fps in Watch Dogs: Legion at Ultra setting at 1080p resolution. In comparison, another budget gaming laptop like MSI Cyborg 15 scored 57fps. Even at the challenging Extreme settings in Metro Exodus, the Forge 15X managed to be somewhat playable at 42fps. The Forge 15X's fans can get pretty loud, but the noise is worth the cooling performance. The graphics chip peaked at around 85 degrees Celsius, which is quite normal. The Forge 15X passed 3DMark's Wildlife Extreme stress test. It also passed our own “touch test” in games — the keyboard and palm rest did not become uncomfortably warm.
My review unit costs around S$2,000, which is competitively priced for what you get. It's about the price of the MSI Cyborg 15, which has an older 12th-gen Intel processor. If your budget allows for it, Aftershock also sells a more capable version with a RTX 4070 graphics chip and 165Hz display for around S$2,700. Alternatively, you could go with a cheaper RTX 4050 version (around S$1,800). Get the Forge 15X from the Aftershock website.
Note: Review unit provided by Aftershock PC.
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