- Build quality, Case and design and looks
- Keyboard and Trackpad
- Sound and Speakers
- General subjective performance experience
- Gaming Performance
- Test methods and drivers
- Synthetic 3D benchmarks
- Summarized gaming performance
- Shadow Of Mordor
- Metro : Last Light
- The Talos Principle
- Total War : Warhammer
- Bioshock Infinite
- Alien : Isolation
- Deus Ex : Mankind Divided
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Crysis 3
- Battlefield 4
- Battlefield 1
- Doom 2016
- Hitman 2016
- The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim Special Edition
- Dragon Age Inquisition
- Titanfall 2
- World of Tanks
- Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling
- Screen / Screen quality
- Competing gaming laptops / alternatives
++ Main reason to consider:
Excellent performance/price + replaceable desktop CPU with higher clocks than the usual gaming laptop’s CPU + MXM GPU + lots of connection and storage ports. That makes a very good gaming performance.
-- Main reason to avoid:
For current games, gains in performance might not be significant and also apparent in lower graphics settings only (otherwise, the GPU becomes the bottleneck). Cheaper options with same GPU (MXM or not) are available, including OS, SSD and 16GB RAM (like the very similar MSI GT62VR)
+ Socketed CPU that can be upgraded. MXM GPU that can be upgraded
+ Temperatures under gaming laptop are relatively good
+ Relatively good, comfortable keyboard. Colors can be configured
+ MSI software support that allows control over the fans speed
+ Good selection of storage and connection ports (HDMI 2.0, mDP v1.2, Thunderbolt 3, 2xM.2 slots, 4xRAM slots
+ GSync support
+ Reasonable speakers' quality
- The bottom cover could interfere with air flow to the fans
- Two of the memory slots are located on the other side of the motherboard and require full disassembly to be reached
- 230W basic PSU might be a limit in extreme loads. Under Prime95 + Furmark the battery is being used in addition to the PSU
- No 120hz, low response display (for such a high performance gaming laptop)
- Outer lid rigidity should have been better
- Warranty in the US only
- Unclear bios updates future and Kaby Lake support
Hi friends. So, the Eurocom Tornado F5 is Eurocom’s new mid-high range non-Clevo machine. For $1600-$1700 (before 10% off for students), the F5 offers what many other gaming laptops don’t – an I7-6700K CPU and a GTX 1070 MXM GPU, both replaceable. The Tornado F5 bares a chassis that is very similar to the MSI GT62VR and the motherboard looks very similar to the GT62VR motherboard general layout, so I guess that the F5 is based on some kind of MSI’s whitebook. The F5 upgrades the USB-C port to a Thunderbolt 3 port and upgrades the soldered Intel 6th generation CPU to a socketed Intel Desktop CPU.
The usual soldered CPU in use, like the I7-6700HQ, is a limiting factor with a GPU like the GTX 1070 (like in the Asus GL502VS, for example) and models with the unlocked I7-6820HK are much more expensive usually, and in some cases have – surprisingly – a locked I7-6820HK. So, in some cases, even in gaming, gaming laptops with a GTX 1070 (maybe even a GTX 1060), will see lower performance in some games, especially on lower graphics settings, than a laptop with the higher clocked and unlockecd I7-6700K CPU (also has more cache memory per core).
So, the F5 is packed with features (TB3, mDP, HDMI 2.0), replaceable GPU and CPU and comes for a relatively reasonable price, but well does it do in practice, with these high power chips? let’s see.
|Model Names||Eurocom Tornado F5|
|Price||Basic version: $1666 (1TB 7200RPM HDD, 8GB DDR4 2133MHZ RAM, GTX 1070 8GB MXM)|
|CPU||I7-6700K, 4.0-4.2GHZ, 95W Max TDP (unlocked)|
|Motherboard||EUROCOM Tornado 5 / Intel Z170 (Skylake PCH-H)|
4xPCI Express x1, 2xPCI Express x4, 1xPCI Express x16
|GPU||Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5, 2048 shadars core@1443-1645MHZ, GDDR5@2GHZ, 256-bit bus|
|RAM||Basic version: 1 x 8GB 2133MHZ DDR4|
In review: Patriot Memory (PDP Systems) 2 x 8GB DDR4-2666
4 slots total, 2 are on the other side of the motherboard
|Storage||HDD : HGST HTS721010A9E630 7200RPM 1TB HDD|
SSD: free slot
2.5" SATA bays: 1x7mm 2.5" bay + 1x9mm 2.5" bay. one upon the other.
M.2: 2xM.2 SATA + 1xM.2 PCIe NVMe
|LCD Panel||In review: 1080p 15.6", LG 156WF6 [DELL P/N: 3874Y], IPS, 30-pin eDP|
|Weight / Dimensions||~2.92kg / 6.4 lbs, PSU 0.7-0.8kg|
390 x 266 x 39.8 mm
15.35" x 10.47" x 1.57"
(w x d x h)
|Keyboard||multicolor backlit, 4 levels including off|
|Connection Ports||right side: 3xUSB 3.0, card reader|
Left: Kensington Lock, 1x Mic-in 1x Headphone-out (SPDIF) 1x Line-in 1x Line-out
Rear: RJ-45, 1xThunderbolt 3 Type-C (including USB 3.1 gen 2 Type-C), HDMI 2.0 (4K@60HZ), mDP v1.2, power-in
|WiFi / Ethernet||WiFi: Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter|
Ethernet: Qualcomm/Atheros e2400 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller
(Vendor Description: Qualcomm Atheros Ar81xx series PCI-E Ethernet Controller)
|Speakers||2x2W speakers, above the keyboard surface. 1x3.5W subwoofer bottom right center|
|Battery||8 cell, 80Wh|
|Bios / EC version (test unit)||E16L1IE9.10F / 16L1ED61.107|
|Extra features||Embedded TPM 2.0|
Well, the chassis is almost the same as the MSI GT62VR (barring a USB 3.0 on the left side of the chassis), so I’ll just paste from the GT62VR: “The build quality of the GT62VR’s chassis is mostly positive. The base unit is firm and buttons/keyboard do not feel cheap. The hinges feel strong enough. However, the screen’s outer lid is not as firm as I would expect from a $1500 gaming laptop. It is not as good as the previous generation Broadwell MSI GT72, for example.” and I’ll add that like the in GT62VR, two of the RAM slots are located on the “other” side of the motherboard, the one that you can get to by disassembling the laptop whole together, which is not a good design.
Simple, bulky and plasticy, like the GT62VR.
Maintenance and inner parts
Maintenance is rather easy. The backplate is easily removed by removing ~10 screws. Be careful, it seems that the battery is connected only by the battery cable, so make sure it doesn’t fall off.
As said before, the CPU is a socketed Intel I7-6700K and the GPU is an MXM GTX 1070 (with 8GB VRAM). Same fans as in the GT62VR and same GPU cooling system, but the CPU cooling complex has been upgraded to a big block with three dedicated heatpipes. As said before, two of the memory slots are on the other side of the motherboard.
From the GT62VR review:
Keyboard. The keyboard feels good. The keyboard sirface is firm, feedback, resistance and response are all good, travel depth is high enough and space between keys is also big. Overall, I’m very satisfied with the keyboard. Additional feature of the keyboard is its color leds. You can choose which color you want it to use. Purple and green look great!
Touchpad. The touchpad surface texture feels nice, not too smooth. I had no problem playing freely with the touchpad in any direction. There are two dedicated and separated buttons which are as comfortable as it this kind probably can be (though it’s time to move to a different touchpad structure/arrangement)
Again, pasted from the MSI GT62VR review:
“The MSI GT62VR has 2x2W speakers plus a 3.5W subwoofer. The 2 speakers sound is a little boxy, probably a combination of their quality and their positioning inside the bulky chassis. The subwoofer adds considerably to the sound experience, but from what I noticed, you’d need to use the bundled Nahimic software to really make use of it and notice the bass. Except being boxy, the sound is mostly pleasant and even relatively rich with good lows and mids.
I’d probably expect more from a $1500 laptop, but what can I say, it’s hard to be surprised after something like 40-50 laptops. Anyway, overall the sound is enjoying, but probably not for audiophiles.”
Nothing to say really. I installed an SSD and it was pretty fast and responsive
With the Nvidia GPUs, currently Total War : warhammer seems higher performance in DX11 mode
The GPU has three dedicated heatpipes and the CPU two. Two heatpipes are shared, but not strongly with one heatpipe mostly attached to the VRAM and the other is attached to the upper part of the CPU heatpipes, so heat trasnfer isn’t great (should have been better). Cool air sucked from the bottom of the machine (hence, it’s important to keep its bottom above the sitting surface) and is thrown from the rear ventilation hole. The bottom cover interfere with air suction from below.
1. Idle, power saver mode
2. Gaming : Ashes Of Singularity benchmark. “Crazy” settings, “High performance” power mode.
3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.
4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1080p test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.
We can see that the F5 temps can get quite high under maximal load of Furmark + Prime95 torture test. GPU temps are pretty good (as in many other gaming laptops) and I think that also in this case, the cooling system should share the heat a little more. The could have add a small fan in the middle with another small heatpipe.
From what I found, changing the cooling plan of the F5 (via the included MSI Dragon Center) helped a lot. It seems that the auto cooling plan has a preference for low noise over low heat. Combined with undervolting the CPU resulted in a 90C for the CPU for highest load, and I think it good, for an I7-6700K inside a laptop, 100% loaded.
Moreover, under gaming load like Ashes Of Singularity which is relatively taxing, the temps are relatively low at around 70-75C which are much better than other laptops, like the Clevo P650RS-G which has around 10-15C higher temps.
The Tornado F5 has relatively kept low chassis temperatures even under high load. These are the temperatures of the keyboard surface. The keyboard center and the stripe between the screen and the base unit are relatively hotter, but it didn’t feel uncomfortable.
Well, few important points:
- The included I7-6700K could barely hit 4.2GHZ on all cores at once. Running Prime95, the voltages of the I7-6700K went quite high to around 1.2V for 4.1-4.15GHZ, even with -0.17V downvolt. I think it’s probable that this I7-6700K is a low quality one. I’d say that probably, OEM CPUs will be low quality and perhaps it’s better to get another I7-6700K (or the Kaby Lake successor) yourself. Maybe there is an option to purchase this model without a CPU. Good CPUs would be able to run on a considerably lower voltage at 4.0GHZ
- It seems that the machine/CPU are targeted really at 4.0GHZ for all cores
- With HT disabled, the I7-6700K did 4.2GHZ stable on Prime95, -0.15v downvolt.
- I’ve noticed that in some situations, removing the bottom plate will reult in much lower temperatures. I think that the bottom is interefing with the cool air suction.
I’m adding screen captures of many settings I’ve tried.
And the data table (shown above in a graph):
|CPU Clocks (GHZ)||CPU average stable||CPU MAX||GPU|
|4.2||88||95||Prime95 , -150mV|
|3.6||97||99||73||Prime95 + Furmark|
|3.8||97||98||69||Prime95 + Furmark, -100mV, 80W Max|
|4.0||98||98||72||Prime95 + Furmark, -170mV, 80W Max|
|4.0||90||98||72||Prime95 + Furmark, -170mV, advanced cooling plan|
|4.0||70||72||71||Ashes Of Singularity|
|CPU: stable temps [C]||CPU: max temps [C]||CPU: stable clocks||CPU: average utilization||CPU: max utilization||GPU : stable core temps [C[||GPU: utilization|
Like the MSI GT62VR, under low loads the F5 is relatively quiet and fans can even be turned off via the Dragon Center software. It’s a good option for light use or work that doesn’t require much from the CPU or GPU. The F5 still produce some noise, because of its HDD (in this review unit case).
Under high load of gaming, using the default fans speed configuration, the F5 isn’t very loud and temperatures are ok for most games (all games I’ve tested anyway), but it might not be enough in some cases of prolonged use in a hot day.
The F5 1080p panel model is currently 156WF6 [DELL P/N: 3874Y] according to HWInfo, and specifically the LP156WF6-SPB1 according to Eurocom’s site, but I’m not sure that this information is correct. Anyway, the same model is in use in other laptops like the Clevo P650RS-G and the MSI GT62VR (surprise).
The panel itself is an good, but not a great one, IPS display and more or less what you can expect currently in most laptops with an 1080p IPS display. It has relatively good colors, but they are not perfect even after calibration. Horizontal viewing angles are quite good, and vertical viewing angles are pretty ok but there is some distortion in lighting and colors (nothing too bad).
No PWM is detected, so no brightness flickering, which is good.
So, bottom line, this is a nice panel, at least after calibration. The MSI Dragon Center comes with some profiles that could be set manually.
- Laptop gone sleep from time to time. Probably an OS issue, but better mentioning it. Maybe there is some sensitive point on the laptop that causes it, not sure.
- CPU probably not very high quality, meaning it requires very high voltages for 4.0-4.2GHZ clocks, which is pretty high. At 4.2GHZ, the CPU is basically unstable for high loads.
- More of a bad design (MSI GT62VR too), two of the DDR4 slots are on the other side of the motherboard, which require full disassembly to reach.
- Clevo own P750DM2-G 15.6″ (1, 2, 3, 4 and many others), which is Clevos’ big and upgradeable gaming laptop with an MXM GPU and desktop CPU. Costs more for the same specifications. The P750DM2 is a good machine with lots of connection ports and storage options
- MSI GT62VR with a GTX 1070 (link and link). Basically has the same features, only with no Thunderbolt 3 and comes with a soldered I7-6700HQ CPU, with considerably lower clocks (around 3.0-3.1GHZ when all cores are running).
- Asus GL502VS which includes a 250GB PCIe NVMe SSD for $1500-$1700 and is much smaller in frame. soldered CPU and GPU, so no upgrades, thermal system is not as good (but sufficient for the hardware)
- Many other 15.6″ gaming laptops witha GTX 1070, all of them has a non replaceable 45W CPU (I7-6700HQ or I7-6820HK), but they cost considerably more
- Some 17.3″ laptops have as fast CPUs, like the MSI GT72VR Titan.
Well. The Tornado F5 indeed allows for a higher performance in many games that are bottlenecked by the CPU performance of the I7-6700HQ that is usually in use in gaming laptops (like the GL502VS, MSI GT62VR, Clevo P650RS, P55X and more). In some games, even at highest graphics settings @ 1080p, the difference is considerable and in other games, you’ll see big gains when the graphics settings is lower a bit (Ashes Of Singularity, Crazy->extreme, for example). The difference can reach 25-30% in performance in some cases. The Tornado F5, based on the MSI GT62VR, offers a considerably selection of storage and connection ports, including 2xM.2 slots, HDMI 2.0 + mDP v1.2, Thunderbolt 3 and more. Keyboard is good, speakers are sufficient and screen is the usual 1080p LG LP156WF screen – it will be pretty good for most.
The CPU can be upgraded to the next generation Kaby Lake (provided there is a bios support) and so is the MXM GPU. The bios support is a big if in the case of rebrands like this, sold by relatively small resellers. However, the user Svet from the MSI forums sells a custom bios that unlocks the system and might add support for next gen hardware.
Price point is also pretty good. The basic version costs currently $1666 (8GB RAM, GTX 1070, 1TB 7200RPM, no OS), but Eurocom has an ongoing 10% off for students, so for many the price will be $1500 in practice.
The F5 is not perfect, ofcourse. Under 100% load, the CPU can get pretty high with the default fan profile. The included I7-6700K isn’t a high quality CPU, requiring high voltages to maintain 4.0-4.2GHZ. For those who can manage it, I would suggest replacing the CPU, to get lower temperatures. However, increasing the fans speed will result in contained temperatures even in Furmark + Prime95 load level (which is very high). Temperatures while gaming were pretty good, at around 70-80C stable (after the fans start kicking in).
The Tornado F5 comes with a basic 230W PSU. That’s for a a CPU + GPU + motherboard and its components + display = 95W + 125W + >15-25W at least > 235W. I didn’t noticed it at first, but under Prime95 + Furmark, the battery is used by the laptop in addition to the PSU. So, I think it is better to get the 330W PSU upgrade. It’s not cheap, but if you are decided on this machine, it’s better to get it.
Another point is bios/vbios support. As said above, especially in the case of small resellers, bios/vbios updates might not be frequent at all and although Eurocom told me the a bios update will come at some point, I’m not sure it will include support for next generation Intel Kaby Lake CPUs.
For those who want to squeeze all the juice from their GTX 1070, it’s a very good machine, especially for those who can get the 10% off students discount. With the other features and upgradeabilty, the value/price ratio of this machine is very high and is higher than other laptops with a GTX 1070 for $1500-$1700. However, from time to time, GTX 1070 + I7-6700HQ equipped laptops like the Asus GL502VS or the MSI GT62VR are offered for relatively low price of $1400-$1500 including an OS and a 250GB SSD + 16GB RAM and two years of warranty (1yr global). This might be worth for those who it all reinstalled ahead of delivery.
So, bottom line, the Eurocom F5 is a good machine overall. As always, you should consider if the price is worth it for you. If you can get the students discount, it just might be worth it.