With scalpers targeting the latest desktop graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, it has become a nightmare to acquire one for your dream DIY PC. But before you give up, consider a gaming laptop instead. They are pretty capable nowadays with the latest models sporting Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics. Prices are also fairly reasonable. Take the Forge 15X (2021 Edition) from local PC builder Aftershock PC — an Intel Core i7-10870H model with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 costs around S$2,000.
- 15.6-inch Full-HD display (144Hz)
- 10th-gen Intel Core i5/i7 chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics
- Single-zone backlit keyboard (15 colours, 2mm key depth)
This S$2,000 notebook can run the latest games decently without any issues (well, except for the still-buggy Cyberpunk 2077). In Watch Dog Legions, it produced an average frame rate of 52fps at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The Forge 15X also managed a similarly smooth 52fps in Metro Exodus with ray tracing enabled and at Ultra quality. I tested with the laptop's Performance power mode, which has the cooling fans working overtime (just under 5,000rpm). While the fans are noisy, they are at least consistent. No high-pitch whining or varying noise levels that can be distracting. In fact, the constant drone of the fans is akin to white noise.
I liked how the exhaust vent on the right side of the laptop where the mouse is located (for right-handers) is shorter than the one on the left. This means the warm air from the right vent just about misses my right hand. Left-handers, though, will probably feel some heat. The keyboard is slightly warm but tolerable during gaming. You can adjust the backlight using the preloaded Control Center app. However, there's no per-key RGB lighting, which is unsurprising given the Forge 15X's price point. More importantly, the keys are bouncy and tactile with good depth.
The Forge 15X comes with a 15.6-inch Full-HD display that offers good viewing angles and decently vibrant colours. The screen has a 144Hz refresh rate, which means games that can run at 144fps or higher (e.g. Overwatch and CS: Go) will look and feel smoother. There's no support for Nvidia G-Sync, which is probably due to the laptop's pricing. Heavy multi-taskers can attach up to three additional monitors via the notebook's HDMI, Mini DisplayPort and USB-C ports. There are also three USB Type-A ports and an Ethernet port.
With a silver aluminium lid and slim screen bezels, the Aftershock Forge 15X cuts a more dashing figure than some of Aftershock's older notebooks. The chassis is still mostly plastic, but it is not too chunky, and weighs around 2.2kg. In short, there are prettier, slimmer and fancier gaming notebooks out there. Personally, I don't mind because I would probably attach my own gaming keyboard, mice and monitor anyway, so the laptop will sit lid closed on my desk. What the Forge 15X offers is competitive gaming performance at an attractive price — without the non-essential extras. Pick your preferred configuration at Aftershock PC.
Note: Review unit provided by Aftershock PC.
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