Metabox N950TP Review. The N950TP is a well priced gaming laptop from Metabox, featuring Intel’s 8th gen desktop CPUs at some pretty competitive prices, so let’s find out what it’s got and how well it performs in some games. Inside the box we’ve got the laptop itself, manual and warranty information, power brick and power cable. To start let’s look at the specs of the model I’ve got here, as you can configure it a bit while ordering. Best Gaming Laptop and Benchmarks Review?
For the CPU I’ve got an Intel 8th generation Coffee Lake i3 8100 CPU, which has 4 cores and runs at 3.6GHz. I specifically requested this, as the 8th gen i3 gives us 4 cores and I wanted to see how the cheaper option would perform, however you can optionally select a 6 core i5 8400, or even an i7 8700 CPU if you prefer. There’s also 8GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,400MHz, but the two slots can support up to 32GB at 2,666MHz.
For storage there’s a 128GB M.2 SATA3 SSD with the option of adding a second, and a 1TB 5,400 RPM hard drive installed. For the graphics we’ve got Nvidia’s 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 memory in combination with a 15 inch 1080p 60Hz IPS panel, and we’ll see how this performs later in the benchmarks. For the network connectivity there’s a gigabit ethernet port, and Intel 3168AC WiFi which supports up to 802.11ac, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, but this too can be upgraded. The laptop has a black matte look to it on the both the outside of the plastic lid and the plastic interior.
The physical dimensions of the laptop are 37.8cm in width, 26.7cm in depth, and 3cm in height. I thought it seemed a bit on the thicker side, and this is probably because cooling space is required if you get it with the 6 core 8700 CPU. The total weight of the laptop is advertised as starting at 2.7kg with the battery, but this can of course change depending on the selected components. In my own testing I found it to weigh just under 2.8kg, and 3.6kg with the power brick and cable for charging. As mentioned the screen here is a 15 inch 60Hz 1080p IPS matte panel, no G-Sync available here.
The viewing angles are pretty good, the colours are still clear on sharp angles. I’ve also measured the colours produced by the screen using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 65% of sRGB, 46% of NTSC and 49% of AdobeRGB, so in terms of colour reproduction it doesn’t actually seem that good compared to other laptops I’ve tested. I think it looks fine, and for gaming I don’t think it’s a problem, but you might want a better panel for content creation. I’ve performed my usual backlight bleed test on the display, which involves having the laptop show a completely black screen in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding around the edges.
I then take a long exposure photo with my camera to help display any bleed, so basically this is a worst case scenario test. There was a bit of bleed on the left corners, but I didn’t actually notice this while using it under normal lighting conditions, although this will of course vary between laptops. While moving the display there was only a little bit of flex, overall it was pretty sturdy owing to the hinges that were placed on the left and right corners, and you can almost open the laptop with one finger, demonstrating that there seems to be more weight distributed towards the back. Above the display is a Full HD camera capable of 1080p video.
The camera looks alright with some decent lighting, still a bit grainy though, while the microphone actually sounds pretty good, but you’ll be able to judge both for yourself. The keyboard seems the same as other Metabox laptops I’ve tested recently, it’s nice to type with and I had no problems with it. There’s RGB backlighting which can be controlled in three separate zones through the included software. There was only tiny bit of of keyboard flex while pushing down fairly hard, but overall it felt pretty solid and this wasn’t an issue while typing normally.
I also found the touchpad to work pretty well, it’s got a light matte surface and there are physical left and right buttons which weren’t too clicky. Moving onto the available I/O on the left there’s a USB 3.0 Type-A port, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, and 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. Over on the right there’s an SD card reader, a second USB 3.0 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, two Mini Displayport 1.2 outputs, HDMI 1.4 port, ethernet port, power input, and kensington lock. The fronts got some status LEDs and the speakers, and there’s nothing on the back other than the air exhaust vents.
The speakers are found underneath the front, and I found them to sound alright, perhaps a little tinny with a lack of bass, but still fairly clear even at full volume. Up on the lid there’s the Metabox logo, and both the lid and the interior do a good job at hiding fingerprints thanks to that matte finish. Underneath there’s some air intakes to keep everything cool, as well as some rubber feet which both help prevent the laptop from moving around on flat surfaces when in use, and also rise it up slightly to help let cool air in.
Powering the laptop is a 62 Watt hour 6 cell battery, and what’s cool here is that you can easily remove the battery, allowing you to swap in a charged spare. With a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 4 hours and 28 minutes. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 54 minutes.
Overall I thought the battery life was pretty good, I’ve had similar sized laptops with similar specs that ran out in half the time, though this may be less if you go with a 6 core CPU. During normal use with an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees celsius, the CPU idled at 47 degrees celsius while the GPU sat at around 40, and here are the external temperatures of the laptop where you’ll actually be putting your hands, getting to around 32 degrees.
With the CPU and GPU maxed out for half an hour with the default fan profile using the heaven benchmark and Aida64 at the same time with the same room temperature, the CPU reached a maximum of 67 degrees celsius, while the GPU peaked at 77, so overall it actually stayed fairly cool with no thermal throttling observed. The keyboard area got a fair bit warmer, up to 48c in the middle and was noticeable while using it but it wasn’t too bad.
When I manually max out all fans we’re able to drop a few degrees off the temps, although the tradeoff is of course that it gets louder as you’ll hear soon, and the keyboard area drops down to around 38 degrees at the hottest point in the center. The gaming result was from playing PUBG at high settings, and we can see that the GPU is slightly warmer than when running the Heaven benchmark, but it’s quite close and within margin of error territory. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to each of these tests.
Overall I thought the temps were pretty good considering there’s a quad core CPU and 1060 inside, I’m guessing the i3 CPU just doesn’t get too hot, and that the thicker body of the laptop is packing some decent cooling inside. I’d expect it to get a bit warmer if you chose an i5 or i7 CPU, but it does appear that it’s got some thermal headroom in the CPU area in order to support those options. Finally let’s take a look at some benchmarks, we’ll first cover some real world gaming benchmarks followed by tests with various benchmarking tools.
All tests were run at the 1080p resolution with all Windows and Nvidia updates to date installed. I’ve tested Overwatch for 5 minutes at each setting level just playing with the bots, even at max settings we’re getting over 100 FPS on average, and even the 1% lows are above the refresh rate of the panel, so no problems with this game. Dota2 isn’t too demanding but I’m testing with a fairly intensive replay, and we’re not seeing too much of a difference between the different setting levels, it’s definitely very playable.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was tested with the latest 1.0 version using the replay feature. The results at all setting levels are pretty good, with over 70 FPS on average at ultra settings, but this can dip down quite a bit depending on what’s going on in the game, as shown by the 1% lows. Shadow of war with the built in benchmark scores almost a 60 FPS average or higher at all setting levels, the laptop did quite well here. Battlefield 1 ran smooth regardless of the setting level used, even at ultra settings we’re able to average above 60 FPS with the 1% lows not too low either, I didn’t notice any issues even during intense fights.
The Witcher3 also ran quite well, it played great at high or lower settings, although even with ultra settings the averages weren’t too far below 60 FPS, however the 1% lows were a bit lower than the rest of the settings which was noticeable. Watchdogs 2 is a fairly resource intensive game, and I felt like the game was stuttering a bit at all setting levels, despite the frame rates actually showing that it was otherwise running alright. I’ve found this to happen in this game with 8GB of RAM, and that seemed to be the issue, it probably would have been fine with 16GB. Rise of the Tomb raider is running alright with above 60 FPS averages at all setting levels with the built in benchmark.
Ghost recon is another fairly resource intensive game, however it’s actually running quite well at all setting levels other than ultra, I thought it was going to do much worse but the results weren’t too bad. DOOM performs mostly the same regardless of the setting level used, and even with ultra settings the 1% lows are above 60 FPS, and that’s with OpenGL, so this is another game that’s running really well. Despite the i3 CPU most of the gaming results were pretty good as the 8th gen i3’s have 4 cores with decent clock speeds, a nice step up over last generations dual core i3’s.
For the most part it was performing close to or better than other 7700HQ laptops with the 1060 that I’ve tested, I’ll have to compare these in a future video. In most cases there were no issues running most of these games at good frame rates, even at high settings. Now onto the benchmarking tools, while a useful indicator note that these results are less practical compared to the real world gaming results previously shown. We’ll start with the Unigine benchmarks, this is how the laptop performed in Heaven benchmark with the tessellation set to extreme, and anti-aliasing set to x8, here’s how Valley benchmark performed with anti-aliasing on x8 at various graphics settings, and finally these are the results from their newest Superposition benchmark.
For the final graphics benchmarks I ran Fire Strike and Time spy from 3DMark as well as VRMark, and these results are actually better than a 7700HQ and 1060 laptop. In Crystal Disk Mark the 128GB SATA3 M.2 SSD performed around 560MB/s in sequential reads but just 195MB/s in sequential writes, so fairly typical for a SATA3 based SSD, but a little low on the writes.
The 1TB hard drive gets around 140 MB/s in sequential reads and and 100 MB/s in sequential writes, again pretty typical for a 5,400 RPM hard drive, however both drives can be upgraded quite a bit. At minimum specs, so without the 1TB hard drive, the laptop starts at $1,349 AUD, so about $1,040 USD with all taxes included for my international viewers and will of course vary based on your final hardware selection.
For the exact configuration I’ve got here with the extra disk it’s only an additional $55 AUD. This is a pretty good price for a gaming laptop with a 6GB 1060 here in Australia, which is why I asked for this laptop with the cheaper quad core i3 CPU. I could have got it with a 6 core i5 or i7 instead, but those cost more and I was really interested to see what the Coffee Lake i3 CPUs are like, and as we saw in the benchmarks the laptop was still a capable gaming machine for a good price, I’m definitely going to compare it to a 7700HQ laptop in the future so keep an eye out for that.
So what did you guys think of the N950TP gaming laptop from Metabox? I think it’s a pretty well priced gaming laptop here in Australia, in general it seems to be cheaper than lots of other laptops with a 1060 and 7700HQ CPU, and as we’ve seen the quad core i3 CPU is able to perform pretty well, I think it definitely represents good value for money.
Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, or simply leave a share if it useful.