Schenker XMG P505
XMG is the gaming sub-brand of German laptop maker Schenker. And within the XMG range lies a choice of three levels – Advanced, Core and Pro – which correspond to the entrylevel, midrange and flagship series.
So the XMG P505 is a gaming laptop from the top tier that Schenker says can deliver – unless you want to step up to the Ultimate Series. This takes a desktop-class CPU and all the trimmings, making it more of a fire-breathing desktopreplacement PC; less of a notebook you’d want to place upon your lap.
This 15in gaming laptop serves as a platform to host nVidia’s newest 900 Series mobile graphics processors, namely the GeForce GTX 965M, 970M and 980M. We tested a configuration with the top 980M, allied with the laptop motherboard’s single choice of CPU, an Intel Core i7-4720HQ running at 2.6GHz. This chip packs 6MB cache and can Turbo up to 3.6GHz.
Configurations and options
The starting price for the XMG P505 is £891, although at this price you don’t get any internal storage, let alone an operating system to install it on, nor any wireless connectivity. Visit the laptop’s product page and you’ll find that Schenker UK has a base model with a 500GB hard disk and budget 11ac Wi-Fi card for a price of £939, although you’ll still need to pay £65 for Windows.
Memory is fully configurable, from a single 4GB RAM card of Crucial Ballistix Sport, up to 32GB Kingston HyperX Impact. The given options are for 1866MHz clock memory, higher than Intel’s official specification for this processor of 1600MHz. Schenker UK tells us that even higher-clocked RAM can be used, up to 2133MHz, although this isn’t stable.
We specified 16GB of Crucial memory. There’s a total of four slots for SO-DIMM memory modules, with the preinstalled RAM positioned on the reverse side of the motherboard. There’s a way in through the keyboard, to swap this out without a lengthy teardown of the entire machine. You can also add two more memory cards easily to slots on the top side of the motherboard when the bottom plate is removed.
The standard 15.6in screen is 1920x1080 resolution, IPS technology, and finished with a matt anti-glare coating. You can also trade up to a 4K UHD panel of 3840x2160, although since even the world’s finest GPUs for laptops struggle at four-times the full-HD resolution, we suggested a 2880x1620-pixel panel as the best compromise, driven by the top GTX 980M graphics processor with 4GB of GDDR5 video memory.
Storage options get very interesting, as the P505 can accept up to two traditional SATA drives, either 2.5in hard disk or SSD up to 9.5mm thick each, plus two M.2 form-factor drives. One of the latter can be a PCIe-attached flash drive, using four lanes of PCIe 2.0, while the other is fixed to a SATA bus only. But this SATA-only M.2 card slot can also potentially take a cellular data modem, which is why chassis manufacturer Clevo includes a SIM-card slot on the laptop’s side. Our sample was configured with a single drive, a Samsung XP941 PCI3 2.0 x4 card with 512GB capacity.
For wireless communications, we added the option for Qualcomm Killer dual-stream 802.11ac. Despite the size of the laptop, there’s no third antenna in the chassis to allow a full 3x3 MIMO Wi-Fi card.
Build and design
Like most customisable laptop designs, Schenker relies on prebuilt and semi-stuffed chassis from Taiwan maker Clevo, and here the XMG P505 is using a Clevo P651G case and display assembly.
This case is a heavy-duty chunky construction, satin finish black comprising an aluminium lid back and top deck area, and a black plastic bottom on the model we tested. Ironically, if you choose the cheapest nVidia GTX 965M graphics, you should get a metal bottom plate, too. The plastic bottom is reserved for models with GTX 970M and 980M, which require a more powerful cooling system. Cooling is undertaken by three fans, two on the GPU and one for CPU.
There’s no built-in optical drive, and like many modern laptops the battery is not designed to be changeable by the user. Inside is a lithium-ion battery pack with 60Wh energy capacity. In our standard video-rundown test, this let the P505 survive off the mains for three hours 11 minutes.
The laptop weighs a not ungainly 2.59kg in this configuration, but you’ll need to factor in another 1.05kg for the 180W mains power supply should you need to travel far.
The keyboard, trackpad and display are all of a very high quality, with special mention for the unusually precise trackpad with its two real buttons, and the first-class IPS display on the model we tested.
Ports and components
With such a capable graphics processor under the bonnet you may be inclined to connect additional display, made easy by the choice of two Mini DisplayPort v1.2, which can channel up to 3840x2160 pixels at 60Hz; and an HDMI 1.4 port good for 2560x1600 (or higher to 4K UHD but with slow refresh rate).