PC Specialist Octane II Pro review

This gaming rockstar is literally heavy metal


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Here it is, the reason you're putting your life's possessions on eBay and working every extra shift to save up enough cash for the Octane II: performance.

Thanks to the might of its desktop-class processor and GPU, the Octane managed to run each of our test games (except GTA V – we'll come to that shortly) at 75 frames per second (fps), using Nvidia's G-Sync to match the refresh rate of the laptop's display. And they look stunning.

The day-to-day experience of using the Octane II is just as fluid on the desktop. I'm using the Octane II as my main work machine between testing games and anything from editing 4K images in GIMP (using a separate 4K monitor) to typing up documents. I can run multiple browsers with 30 or more tabs open in each, as well as stream 4K video, that are silky smooth with no noticeable slowdown.



Here's how the PC Specialist Octane II performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 14,464; Sky Diver: 15,666; Fire Strike: 11,103
  • Cinebench R15 CPU: 878 points; Graphics: 74 fps
  • GeekBench: 4,309 (single-core); 16,900 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4,972 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life (conventional): 2 hours, 18 minutes
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 66 fps; (1080p, low): 299 fps
  • GTA V: (1080p, Ultra): 39 fps; (1080p, Low): 136 fps
  • 1080p video stream: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Despite being around £300 (around $432, or AUS$604) cheaper, the Octane II came within a whisker of the Origin EON17-SLX's benchmark scores:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 14,980; Sky Diver: 15,919; Fire Strike: 12,041
  • Cinebench R15 GPU: 970 points; Graphics: 74 fps
  • Geekbench: 4,704 (single-core): 18,775 (multi-core)
  • PC Mark 8 (Home Test): 4,700 points
  • PC Mark 8 (Battery Life): 2 hours and 18 minutes
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 93 fps; (1080p, Low): 299 fps
  • GTA V: (1080p, Ultra): 41 fps; (1080p, Low): 172 fps;
  • 1080p video store: 2 hours, 29 minutes

When it comes to games, the bottom line is that the Octane II has you covered at 1080p. Its ability to handle games at Full HD is underscored by Cinebench's 74 fps score, and it was also reflected in each of our in-game benchmark tests.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, often a "banana skin" benchmark that can test even the most powerful 980M-equipped laptops with its vast levels and large textures, outraces the display's refresh rate on the 'Ultra' setting, thanks to its massive 8GB of video memory. There is no tearing either, thanks to G-Sync kicking in.

Octane II and TV

Don't be too surprised by the 38.5 fps achieved in our gruelling Grand Theft Auto V benchmark. As techradar's newest benchmark, it's designed to tax GPUs to the limit by setting each of the game's options to maximum, using more than 4.5GB of video memory in the process.

A more realistic gameplay test is conducted by setting GTA V's graphics options to the max with the exception of its graphics sliders: Population Density, Population Variety and Distance Scaling, etc. The 980 then has no problem humming along at 75 fps synced to the Octane II's display's refresh rate, with no stuttering to be seen. It's a subtle change that has a huge impact on performance.

This is the sort of gameplay experience you'll have playing most other games. Rise of the Tomb Raider plays without slowdown with every graphics option set to Ultra. Yes: that includes TressFX, for all of Lara's hair-swishing glory.

Octane II

I also tried a bout of 4K gaming by hooking up the Octane II to an AOC U2477 Ultra HD monitor. Naturally, the first game I loaded up was Star Wars: Battlefront, which to my delight never dips a single frame set to Ultra. The game's solo missions look truly incredible – from the highly detailed terrain to weapons that glint in the sun and explosions that look as if they were ripped right from the film – even without the real life mod installed.

Battlefront and Tomb Raider's gorgeous visuals and fluid frame rates made me feel guilty about briefly considering to put my Dell XPS 15 up for sale. Its GTX 960M chip is unable to max out 1080p, never mind 4K.

A display that just does

The Octane II may not have a 4K display, but its 1080p screen is impressive. It's pleasingly bright on full beam with excellent color saturation, which makes me wonder why PC Specialist ships the machine with a dull, black logo wallpaper. The display's deep blacks are quite inky, so perhaps that's why.


Despite sporting a matte display, the screen is hard to see indoors in direct sunlight on a particularly sunshine-filled day. Expect to have to draw the blinds. Outdoor gaming isn't really recommended – there are too many reflections, and do you really want to risk it getting wet?

Battery half-life

Battery life isn't so impressive, but then this isn't a machine that's designed to go for a long time away from an outlet. I managed to eke out 2 hours and 50 minutes while watching a 1080p looping video in VLC player, so don't expect to get through Return of the King in one sitting without reaching for a charger.

Sound is pleasingly loud when played from the Octane II's 2.2-Watt (W) Onkyo speakers. Bass tones aren't earth shattering, but they're acceptable, thanks to the 2.5W subwoofer located inside the case.


The Octane II's Clevo chassis allows for a full-sized keyboard that features keys with fairly short travel but no gaps in-between. Having become accustomed to chiclet-spaced keyboards in recent years, it takes a little time adjusting to the layout – but it's not uncomfortable to type on once you do.

The Octane II ships with a backlit keyboard standard that provides a decent level of lighting, albeit with heavy bleed around the keys. PC Specialist has since upgraded the Octane II with a backlit, multi-color keyboard, which comes standard.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.