Ionico 17 review

Macco26

Expert
I made a video review of the new PCS Ionico 17, equipped with RTX 3070.

It's a very good machine, overall, couldn't ask better, but as you will see from the video, it's has only one major flaw that puts me in consideration whether to keep it or returning it. Probably is a thing 95% of people don't care (infact it's absent from any other Clevo offering of PCS) but I do, as I intend a gaming machine to express the best, and if it comes with the proper hardware I paid, I want it to work as intended.
Being only a firmware issue, introduced with the 2nd released BIOS build (the first customers are fine) which I did have installed at my testing phase, I do hope PCS can fix it by issuing another BIOS version or giving me the chance to revert it back.
I've been in contact with them from day 1 of deliver, but time ticks in and I won't wait more than the max 14 days returning window to let them fix this.
Finger crossed I'll be part of this community after this timeframe ends.

Open to comments here or in the comments section of the YT video.

Cheers,
TheMacco26.

EDIT: as of 19th March, PCS submitted a new BIOS 1.09 made by Tongfang, addressing the MUX problem. Now dGPU is selectable. I'll make a video comparing Optimus vs MUX-enabled on this machine in due course.
 
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TheMash

Bronze Level Poster
I was waiting for your review mate about the new Ionico.
Great job and lot of details in your analysis. I really liked it.
And I didn't knew you had such good YT channel! You've got a new subscriber! ahah

The new control center is totally another story compared to the old one, as the latter is very limited in terms of functions and customisation.
Also, the PL are totally wrong in the old one as Performance mode and Gaming mode has the same TDP, 100W and there's no way to adjust them and use different fan profiles with them.
I had to rely on ThrottleStop to create something more granular for my needs.

Hopefully PCS will fix the issue with BIOS, it's a shame it's missing the dedicated GPU MUX switch option!
For somebody it's a deal breaker, I totally understand your point! It would the same for me.

I saw they implemented the (in)famous (you know why :)) battery charge manager, which is a good feature to have! Wondering if it's available on the 17" model only, having a bigger battery. Maybe on the 15" make less sense as it has a smaller battery.

One question: is it chassis painted black as the previous model or they changed it to a dark grey? It's hard to judge as it depends on lighting conditions.

Here is my opinion about BIOS/UEFI: PCS should hire a BIOS/UEFI developer and implement custom features on their line up, to differentiate from the competition which has already been doing it on the past generation products.
 

StaLeg

Member
Man this is exactly the kind of video test that everyone want here, thank you very much :) Can't wait to see the next ones with benchmarks.
As i am waiting for my Ionico 15", to look at his big brother is cool and i can have a global idea of the quality of the laptop.

Once again, thanks !
 

Macco26

Expert
I saw they implemented the (in)famous (you know why :)) battery charge manager, which is a good feature to have! Wondering if it's available on the 17" model only, having a bigger battery. Maybe on the 15" make less sense as it has a smaller battery.

One question: is it chassis painted black as the previous model or they changed it to a dark grey? It's hard to judge as it depends on lighting conditions.

Here is my opinion about BIOS/UEFI: PCS should hire a BIOS/UEFI developer and implement custom features on their line up, to differentiate from the competition which has already been doing it on the past generation products.
1) Control Center is equal for any Tonfgang 2021. It has literally also in the registry an AMD-CPU switch to present different sliders. The Battery meter is identical to every one. You'll find the same control center with Elimina Pro with 10750H + 3060, for instance.
2) It's a very dark grey. Like some TV come. Metal chassis (Magnesium) of course. Nice and professional. And for once with the webcome + IR on the upper hand.
3) I think Tongfang is the only capable of doing BIOS. PCS at maximum can ask them: please, disable this thing, as I'll incur in less broken laptops the less thing there are.
4) Control Center appears to be very good. But in reality has a lot to be desired. Temperature controls works, GPU part works very well. Fans should. But for PL1 PL2 etc. it's not working very well. To the point I'm using Thottlestop for those thing. My idea is that they focused primarily on the AMD variants, and rushed for the Intel 10th gen, because we all know the next big thing is either AMD or Tigerlake 45H. So don't expect much effort in Tongfang on those old 10th gen.
That's why I'm a bit skeptical if I'll be able to catch another BIOS. But as I said, they have 10 days to present me a solution. Else RMA FTW.
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
@Macco26 That's a great review mate.

A couple of things stand out for me which is surprising:

1. As you discussed the laptop does have a MUX but it is disabled in the BIOS. This is surely a mistake, I find it utterly bizzare that it would be disabled deliberately. Have you spoken to other Ionico owners and confirmed theirs is also disabled?

2. No Thunderbolt? I find this surprising because the Vyper did have it and I personally would expect such a premium laptop to have Thunderbolt.

The screen looks decent. What is the screen bleed like?
 

Macco26

Expert
@barlew Yeah, a guy ( @Romain337 ) who received the Ionico 2 days before mine had the same Feb 26th BIOS and utterly disabled MUX. Exactly as mine. I was prepared to this thing and launched BIOS as soon as I unpacked the laptop to only confirm the bad thing happening to me as well. (n)
Any 21th January BIOS equipped laptop is perfect though. Be a 17 or 15 sized Ionico.

About the Thunderbolt it's a known decision for every Tongfang this early 2021. Their plan (but also from MSI, etc.) is to offer Tigerlake as soon as it's being released by Intel. TGL has embedded TB4.0 controller into the CPU, no need for wiring an external controller on the motherboard.
Probably our motherboard is already made for TGL in mind. So 10th gen can't output TB, while next gen in a couple months will be able to.
Plus, TB requires to pay a licence fee for every model. Tongfang cheaped out on these early 2021 ones, they know they won't last more than 4-5 months at most. This is a recurring thing for almost every OEM with Intel (MSI, etc.). Only Clevo is offering TB in 2021 so far.
TB wasnt' a problem for me. MUX is. Especially because it was offered in the first incarnation of this PCS Ionico. So no excuses here. I'll contact again PCS today to know if they have news about that. Returning window time is ticking.
 

Macco26

Expert
I've called back PCS just now. On thursday they asked Tongang to re-enable the MUX in the next BIOS version. Yet don't have an exact acknowledged answer from Tongfang on that.
Yet It's amazing the same model, shipped to Others, shall have to keep the MUX, as they clearly advertise from day 1 this feature on their website. I don't see much of a hard work from Tongfang just swapping the logos from to PCS in the splash screen and that's all. How hard it can be?
I'm holding 7 more days and then phone PCS back. Unless I receive by them a forwarded email that Tongfang acknowledged the problem and is going to provide the requested third BIOS build in the very NEAR future, I'm gonna repack the entire laptop and send it back.
 
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TheMash

Bronze Level Poster
Keep us updated Macco, finger crossed about any update on MUX feature.
I understand it's a deal breaker not having the option in the BIOS and also having it disabled on some laptops and not on others.
Not very good strategy on the TongFang side to be honest.

Did you check what option do you have in the Nvidia Control Panel?
I suppose it'll show you the same option in the BIOS, but who knows!
 

Macco26

Expert
NVidia Control panel does not show any monitor attached (unless you connect an external one). It's like a coprocessor to the iGPU. Intel app (and Windows) is the only one aware of the LCD.
Control Center would theroetically have this switch option but it's hidden (in the video I show where it should have been). It does exist also a registry key to bring it back in the Control Center. But since it requires a reboot, the locked BIOS probably inhibits upon reboot. At next Windows restart it's iGPU driven as nothing happened, and the CC registry key is back to default, aka hiding the switch.
 

TheMash

Bronze Level Poster
NVidia Control panel does not show any monitor attached (unless you connect an external one). It's like a coprocessor to the iGPU. Intel app (and Windows) is the only one aware of the LCD.
Control Center would theroetically have this switch option but it's hidden (in the video I show where it should have been). It does exist also a registry key to bring it back in the Control Center. But since it requires a reboot, the locked BIOS probably inhibits upon reboot. At next Windows restart it's iGPU driven as nothing happened, and the CC registry key is back to default, aka hiding the switch.
I didn't explain myself correctly. My bad!

I was referring to Advanced Optimus which I think Ionico has this feature.


Should be linked to BIOS support so probably you won't have this option showing at this time or won't work at all.
 

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TheMash

Bronze Level Poster
sorry but...
can't you very simply bypass this "problem" by using an hdmi cable to an external monitor?
That should work as HDMI and USB-C are managed and hardwired to the Nvidia GPU.
On my Vyper when you connect an external monitor it automatically switch to dedicated GPU option only.

But I suppose Macco was lookng for that to use the dGPU even when on the internal display, which in this moment it isn't possible to enable.
 

Macco26

Expert
Ionico does not offer Advanced Optimus (no on-the-fly switch). Not even with January BIOS. It's reboot or nothing.
Hence my GPU driver totally lacks that 4th row on the left. Just 3 present.

And yeah, I am planning to play with the internal 2560x1440x165Hz screen. Else the MUX wouldn't have been a problem at all.
 

cedrixman

Active member
Hi,
For your information, I ordered and received my Ionico 17". I can confirm you that the mux switch exists through BIOS.
I have those options :
  • iGPU
  • dGPU
  • Optimus
I have to send it back because of a huge backlight bleed (+ a wrong delivery adress, thank you FedEx) but the overall impression is WAHOU, this laptop is clearly a beast for less than 2.3kg and almost the same size of my old Defiance 15".

An exemple of Time Spy score with dGPU :
Time Spy.jpg
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Hi,
For your information, I ordered and received my Ionico 17". I can confirm you that the mux switch exists through BIOS.
I have those options :
  • iGPU
  • dGPU
  • Optimus
I have to send it back because of a huge backlight bleed (+ a wrong delivery adress, thank you FedEx) but the overall impression is WAHOU, this laptop is clearly a beast for less than 2.3kg and almost the same size of my old Defiance 15".

An exemple of Time Spy score with dGPU : View attachment 23702
Thanks for sharing.

Hopefully the backlight bleed is jut an issue with your unit, however it was a problem which last years models suffered with badly which is why I asked about it in my post.
 

cedrixman

Active member
Here is a picture of my old defiance 15" (left side) and the new Ionico 17" (right side) :
IMG_0206.JPG
 
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