EVGA SC17 review

An OK value for a powerful desktop replacement

For its intended task, the EVGA SC17 delivers. The only real downside to its GTX 1070 is when it’s compared to the GTX 1080 in the Blade Pro and Alienware 17. But, in practical terms, that just means it doesn't hit the same staggering heights. It's just a tick or two below phenomenal, but it's also the least expensive of the three.

Benchmarks

Here’s how the EVGA SC17 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Sky Diver: 28,584; Fire Strike: 12,580; Time Spy: 5,118
Cinebench CPU: 696 points; Graphics: 98 fps
GeekBench: 3,611 (single-core); 13,782 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,487 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 1 hours and 46 minutes
Battery Life (techradar movie test): 1 hours and 49 minutes
Total War: Warhammer (1080p, Ultra): 101 fps; (1080p, Low): 197 fps
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (1080p, Ultra): 8 fps; (1080p, Low): 66 fps

This is a powerful gaming laptop, and it's VR-ready, too. And, the bright, G-Sync enabled display makes everything pop. Playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on the SC17 is a real treat. The large screen and super-high resolution helps you spot distant enemies, although it runs best at 1440p.  

We tested games in our benchmarking tests in 4K, mostly out of curiosity, and the results weren't good. Warhammer was able to put up a decent 39 frames per second (fps) at ultra-high definition, but Deus Ex: Mankind Divided slumped along at just under 5 fps. Even at 1080p with Ultra settings, the SC17 only managed to squeeze out 8 fps in this game.

We liked

Save for that light bleed, the display is just excellent. Everything looks sharp, from games to YouTube videos and even still photographs. It's impressive how far 4K computers have come in such a relatively short amount of time, and the SC17 proves 4K is viable in laptop form. 

The first thing we do when presented with a 4K display option is watch wildlife videos in Ultra HD on YouTube, and it never fails to elicit a ‘wow’ from an onlooker.

We disliked

As well as the SC17 performs, its battery life is just bad. Less than 2 hours of life means you can't really enjoy the benefits of a portable machine, no matter its weight. 

On top of that, at 9 pounds, using it as a laptop and resting it on your lap quickly becomes uncomfortable. This is a desktop replacement that can't venture too far from your desktop.

Final verdict

The SC17 is a fine balance between power and value in a VR-ready gaming laptop. The price is reasonable, and there are lots of retailers listing the SC17 for much less than its $2,799 MSRP. That's an enormous chunk of change – but, up against the $3,800 Blade Pro, it's a bargain.

The 4K G-Sync display really brings things to life, and games look amazing, but that light bleed is tough to ignore for the price. The GTX 1070 doesn't allow the display to reach its fullest potential, but for nearly every game you have in your Steam library, it's more than enough. If the GTX 1070 doesn't appeal to you, there's a version available with a GTX 1080 for $300 more. The biggest negative is battery life but, against its peers, it's par for the course.

The EVGA SC17 is a solid performer with understated looks and a price tag that feels appropriate. It lacks the aesthetic panache of its competitors, but does a fine job doing what it was designed to do – just watch out for build defects in your unit and act accordingly.