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Aftershock Nova 16X review: Proper powerhouse

Aftershock Nova 16X review: Proper powerhouse

Aftershock Nova 16X

The Aftershock Nova 16X is the latest flagship gaming notebook from the Singapore-based brand. As you'd expect, it can be configured with high-end gaming components, including Intel's 13th-gen processors, and Nvidia's RTX 40 Series graphics. But to fully realise its potential, you can get the optional external water-cooling unit, which ekes out even more performance, and improves the thermals and noise.

Quick specs

  • 16-inch 2,560 x 1,600-pixel display (240Hz)
  • Intel Core i7-13700HX chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop graphics
  • 3x USB Type-A, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jacks
  • 93 watt-hour battery

With a 16-inch 2,560 x 1,600-pixel display boasting a 240Hz refresh rate, the Nova 16X definitely has one of the better screens on a gaming notebook. Viewing angles, screen brightness, and colours all look fine. There's even a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port for those with a high-end router. But this laptop isn't just built for gaming. The display's 16:10 aspect ratio, which offers more vertical screen real estate, is also great for productivity. There's a 1080p infrared webcam that can sign you into Windows using facial recognition. And while the Nova 16X is chunky compared with mainstream laptops and ultrabooks, it's relatively svelte at around 2.5kg for a gaming notebook that supports a high-end graphics chip.

Aftershock Nova 16X
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

But the Nova 16X will ultimately be judged as a gaming machine. And it passes with flying colours, thanks to its high-end hardware. My review set comes with an Intel Core i7-13700HX CPU and a GeForce RTX 4090 laptop graphics chip. Note that Aftershock is now offering the more powerful Intel Core i9-13900HX instead. Unsurprisingly, the Nova 16X breezed past older RTX 3080 Ti notebooks like the MSI Titan GT77 in Metro Exodus. The Aftershock produced 107fps at 1080p resolution using the RTX preset in the Metro Exodus benchmark compared with 89fps for the Titan. It's a similar story in Watch Dogs: Legion. The Nova 16X scored an average of 109fps at Ultra setting compared with the Titan's 84fps. Note that frame rates take a slight dip (around 11%) when switching from 1080p to the laptop's native 2,560 x 1,600-pixel resolution.

Aftershock Nova 16X
The tubes for the coolant now attach magnetically to the laptop, and the water-cooling module. Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

I tested the Nova 16X using the Turbo Mode setting found in the comprehensive Control Center app. This app lets you monitor the laptop's temperatures, adjust the keyboard LEDs, and even manage the liquid-cooling system. The latter requires the optional Glacier Core (S$230) external water-cooling module that attaches to the back of the Nova 16X. I had previously written about the Glacier Core in my Aftershock Apex 15X EVO review. Aftershock, though, has updated the design. For starters, magnets now make it a breeze to attach the tubing between the module and the laptop. Internal LEDs also make it easier to see the current water level in the module.

While you can eke out a bit more performance using the Glacier Core, the main benefits are thermals and noise level. Expect a significant dip in temperatures, which declined from over 80 degrees Celsius to the 70s degree range, and more importantly, lower fan noise than the laptop's default cooling fans. As a testament to the improved cooling, the Nova 16X with the Glacier Core completed the gruelling 3DMark Time Spy Extreme stress test, a feat that the laptop (without Glacier Core) had failed to finish. In short, the Aftershock Nova 16X produces the goods when it comes to gaming performance and design. But you can make it even better with the optional Glacier Core. It's a combo that will be hard to beat. Get the Nova 16X (S$3,775 for the Core i9 and RTX 4080 version) from Aftershock PC.

See Also
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Note: Review unit provided by Aftershock PC.

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Powerful laptop that gets even better with optional water-cooling unit

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