After going in the general direction of thinner is better, gaming laptops are getting thicker again, thanks to the new desktop part fad. This includes the Nvidia GTX 980-powered Asus ROG GX700 and Origin EON-17SLX, the latter of which utilizes both a desktop processor and GPU.
While some gaming laptops have let themselves go, a few stand-out mobile rigs are sticking to maximizing portability, including Origin's updated EVO15-S. Measuring slightly over half an inch thick, this 15.6-inch gaming laptop utilizes the same new thin and light chassis used to great effect by MSI in the GS60 Ghost Pro.
Despite the thin profile of this svelte machine, the EVO15-S still packs an impressive Intel Skylake Core i7 processor and heady Nvidia graphics with room for an SSD and hard drive. That's a lot of power stuffed into one small package when other systems, like the Acer Predator 15, are twice as thick and weigh almost double the amount.
You might notice that this notebook looks exactly like the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro, and you would be completely correct. Upon closer inspection, the Origin machine dons the same thin aluminum frame down to its brushed metal finish. Beyond sporting an identical exterior, this 15-inch gaming laptop also features a massive intake bar and a fully customizable RGB keyboard.
The Ghost Pro was one suave looking piece of machinery, and the Origin EVO15-S inherits all of its dashing good looks. The notebook is entirely made of metal, save for the fat bezels around the screen, but at least the new aluminum bottom helps to passively cool it while gaming.
Once again, like the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro, this rig looks the part of a premium business laptop more so than a gaming machine. The laptop's exterior is devoid of any red pinstripes or dragon insignias. Instead, it's pretty much a featureless aluminum clamshell with a jet black paint job, save for the Origin branding in the middle of the screen lid.
You'll be able to easily pull out this gaming notebook in a crowded Starbucks without drawing too much attention – that is, until you start playing Fallout 4, like I did.
The only thing I don't appreciate about the laptop's design is the way its aluminum sides simply fall off to a sharp edge. It's not a detail you'll notice unless you turn it upside down, but I've seen other manufacturers create a cleaner transition between the bottom of the laptop and the rest of the chassis.
A series of bright LED's light up the front edge of the EVO15-S to keep users informed of how the laptop is operating. Likewise, the ring of light surrounds the power button flips between blue and red, the latter of which denotes when the laptop kicks it into high-performance mode for gaming.
Welcome to the wind tunnel
One of the returning annoyances with the EVO15-S is that its fans spin fast enough to fill the room with a whirring sound. It's not an exaggeration to say the laptop sounds like a little turbine. Worse yet, there's no escape: the laptop's two main intake fans draw air through the speaker grill-esque perforations strewn across the keyboard deck.
The good news is that the fans are doing their part to keep the laptop nice and cool. The fan noise itself is also a few octaves lower compared to the previous EVO-15S. You can partially drone out the sound by pumping up the volume on the notebook's downward pointed speakers. But you're best bet for good acoustics is to throw on a pair of headphones.