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XMG A505 Review

XMG A505 Review

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XMG A505 Review – Packaging and Bundle

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XMG A505 Review – Components

Inside the A505, for the CPU we have an Intel Core i7-4720HQ. It is a 47w quad core processor with HyperThreading which gives us 8 threads running at 2.6GHz with turbo up to 3.6GHz. Memory wise, our sample used 1x8GB of Kingston DDR3-1600 (Cas 9) and it is just one module with the 2nd slot free for future upgrades. Our GPU comes in the form of the integrated Intel HD4600 for desktop/productivity tasks and for more advanced operations such as gaming the machine switches automatically to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. This is a 2GB GPU using 128bit memory bus and features 640 cores along with 32 ROPS and 53 TMUs. XMG go with a core speed of 1097MHz, boosting to 1176MHz and the Samsung GDDR5 is 1253MHz. DirectX12 is of course supported as are 4k displays (and multiple displays).

As far as drives go, XMG offer plenty of options such as M.2 models in addition to two 2.5″ drives (one using the optical bay if needed). Our sample uses a 128GB M.2 SSD from Samsung. Wireless-ac is an option, as is Bluetooth 4.0 and our battery is a 6-Cell Li-Ion model with 62Wh rating.

XMG A505 Review – Software

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XMG provide Windows 8.1 64bit on the A505 and install the key drivers/software with no extras. Just the way it should be. No updates are installed at the factory, those are the responsibility of the consumer.

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There are three key control panels installed on the A505 at the factory. One to manage the keyboard such as Macro commands, another for the Sound Blaster Cinema 2 audio features and a third to give quick access to performance/power saving modes.

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XMGs bios is a standard APTIO layout with all the basic options we would expect from a system of this type.

XMG A505 Review – Performance

Selected tests vs MSI GS70 Stealth (i7-4710HQ/GTX970M), MSI GT80 Titan SLI (4980Q/2x980M), MSI GE62 Apache (4720HQ/960M) and XMG P505 (i7-4710HQ/GTX980M).

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XMG A505 Review – Conclusion

Starting with the build quality of the A505 we have a system which lacks the brushed metal effect of some competitors however we rather like the matt finish used here. It appears to be durable and the branding is discrete which is nice. The plastic base is an area which could be improved by applying the same matt finish used on the lid and hand rests. Elsewhere the components used are good quality. The keyboard feels solid and the touchpad responsive. Our mouse buttons have a decent click to them and quality branded parts from the likes of Samsung and Kingston are used inside.

The port layout of the A505 is good, offering easy access to the most used ports and we are always fans of the display outputs being on the back of a system rather than the side.It keeps the areas around the USB ports free for larger connectors.

Performance wise the A505 in its i7-4720HQ and GTX 960M configuration performs exactly where we would expect, including impressive performance in the latest games. XMG could really help themselves in the review stakes by installing 2 memory modules in review samples to show the true memory bandwidth performance and we absolutely recommend a storage drive to go with the M.2 SSD. That too is worthy of note as the Samsung model in our review sample was offered class leading performance.

So that brings us to value where the configuration reviewed here retails for around £150 less than some competitor models at £1029. Configurations are available from £869 and we can add items such as Killer-NIC wireless and Blu-Ray to enhance the build. Overall a great mix of price, performance and configuration options.

Gold Award

 

Available from XMG.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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