Laptop review (Octane 17.3) | PCSPECIALIST

Laptop review (Octane 17.3)

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So I ordered my laptop from PCS around 3 months ago, I ordered with next day build and expedited shipping and it took 4 days to arrive (ordered the Friday morning arrived Monday afternoon) which I was extreamly happy with.

The packaging which the laptop came in was what I would call overkill but i would say there was next to no risk of damage and they took every measure they could to insure that. The laptop was in a large box with accessories neatly organized, this box was inside a larger box surrounded by what I can only describe as bubble wrap on steroids. If anyone is concerned about packaging let your mind be at ease even with the notoriously bad package handlers throwing your box around your very safe.

The laptop came with the correct parts but I was disappointed to see that the ram was not put in paired slots. (something which the technical support had already made me aware of and sent me instructions on how to solve).

Once solved I turnt to booting the laptop for the first time, the m.2 ssd makes for a extreamly fast boot and as it stands today with my steam library, autodesk and various other packages it still manages to boot into windows within around 10 seconds including the time it takes to use the fingerprint scanner.

My second disappointment with the laptop so far was that drivers were missing on my first boot and I did buy the laptop with windows so I expected it to be to go out of the box, luckily once your order is shipped you get a handy tab on the support page with the download for different drivers for your computer which made installing these quick and simple.

Once I had everything set up and ready to go I slowly phased out my old gaming laptop (asus rog g750) moving things over slowly and keeping my eyes open for any issues.

Gaming on this laptop with a mouse only is an enjoyable experience but the fan noise is going to irritate you and anyone around you, luckily for me coming from the asus laptop I was more than used to this and when paired with my Astro A50s at a reasonable volume there is no noticeable noise from the fans which is fine for me who actually expects machines like this to be quiet anyway?

Onto the keyboard, this has both surprised and disappointed me.
The backlight is nice and has 3 discreet color zones allowing you to have a few different colors across the keyboard which is a step up from the white only backlight I had before but the key feel is rather lacking, my previous asus laptop had a much stiffer key stroke and a keyboard that is raised out of the frame. The new laptop from PCS is the exact opposite the keys are mushy and recessed into the laptop body in true laptop fashion, for most people I do not think this would be an issue its not the worst keyboard iv ever used and it feels sturdy and well made but I wouldn’t recommend using it for too much gaming. With the software that I downloaded from the PCS driver page for the light controls you also get what they are calling “flexikey” which allows you to remap any key to any action or macro something that has came in useful for mapping cad shortcuts this can also easily be turnt on and off using fn + backspace which has allowed me to make use of shortcuts I otherwise wouldn’t even both thinking of.

Onto the screen, I don’t have much to compare to on this front as my only other 4K device is a tv but from comparison to a 1080p ips display that I have the colors do not seem too muted and the brightness is moderately bright, i do not think this laptop will be usable in direct sunlight as the fluorescent lights in my office are bright enough to cause glare on the screen and make detail in dark sections of films and games hard to see. When in dark rooms or away from overhead lights tho the screen is truly wonderful to use, content consumption such as Netflix looks sharp and tidy and games feel smooth and rich, even spent some time trying out battlefield 5 with rtx on which looked truly amazing but ended up opting to leave it off for the improved performance.

I haven’t used the trackpad much but after I got the drivers installed it feels accurate and responsive, the fingerprint sensor is also inlaid in the top left corner which makes it easy to access, the fingerprint sensor works fast and so far iv had about 90% success rate using it.

The overall build quality of the laptop is good the chassis has a bit of flex in a couple of locations but nothing that PCS is to blame for and nothing that has me concerned, I have been getting a slight squeak from my space key when I press it in at a certain angle but I think this is due to the different style of keyboard and me still getting used to it. The IO is good with plenty of options for connectivity I would’ve liked the inclusion of a analog video output instead of only digital but this is only because of compatibility with the monitors in my office and I do not think anyone will be disappointed with the options they are given.
I am concerned by the connections on the back of the laptop as it does pump out a lot of head and having all 3 video outputs and power input in the back leads to situations where you cannot avoid your wires going across the path of your fans in certain scenarios but 3 months in and no sign of wear on any connections yet so only time will tell.

The last thing that I feel should be mentioned is that the battery life is basically non existent and this is not a laptop worth considering if you do not always have access to a plug socket so far the longest I’ve seen not gaming is around 50minutes and I haven’t even attempted to play a game without the charger connected but I suspect I would get around 20mins of play time, this will change depending on the spec of the individual laptop I would assume that this is the absolute worst it could be as lower specs should result in less power needed.

Overall I am more than happy with my laptop and the things I have picked up on are me being very picky and are all issues that can easily be overcome. I would definitely recommend this product to others and would recommend the PCS service.
Last thing I will leave you all with then is the spec:

Chassis & DisplayOctane Series: 17.3" Matte 4K LED 60Hz 72% NTSC Widescreen (3840x2160) (No G-Sync)
Processor (CPU)Intel® Core™ i9 Eight Core Processor i9-9900K (3.6GHz) 16MB Cache
Memory (RAM)32GB Corsair 2133MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 16GB)
Graphics CardNVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2080 - 8.0GB GDDR6 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1
1st Storage Drive1TB SEAGATE 7mm SERIAL ATA III 2.5" HARD DRIVE WITH 128MB CACHE (7,200rpm)
2nd Storage Drive1TB SEAGATE 7mm SERIAL ATA III 2.5" HARD DRIVE WITH 128MB CACHE (7,200rpm)
1st M.2 SSD Drive512GB INTEL® 660p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (upto 1500MB/sR | 1000MB/sW)
 

ubuysa

Moderator
Moderator
Many thanks for the very detailed and balanced review! I'm sure that will help others.

I would be tempted to contact PCS about the 50 mins non-gaming battery life you're getting. I've no idea how power hungry that laptop is but that makes me wonder whether you have a bad battery.

I would also be asking why the drivers were not installed too. One wonders how they can test it properly without?

PCS can only ensure problems like yours are not repeated if they know about them.
 

debiruman665

Gold Level Poster
You can get the battery life up to 2.5 hours if you downclock the CPU when off the battery, which is what I do.

A super easy way is to set the maximum processor state to 40-50% in the power plan setting when on battery
 

StevenB

Member
Thanks for posting this review.

In reading through it has raised one or two concerns for me. They are as per your two disappointments ie " I was disappointed to see that the ram was not put in paired slots". Does this mean that you had to dismantle the laptop and insert components?

Secondly, "drivers were missing on my first boot". Through reading other comments I suspect that you had to visit the PCS website (or possibly manufacturers) for drivers. Was this the case?

I am not overly confident at having to complete a laptop build (if that is what I need to do) and would much prefer to open the box. press a button, and it fires up like the brand new machine that I have just paid for. If the standard build takes 6 -8nr days shouldn't it be ready to go?

Have I got this all wrong, or am I just being a little too churlish?

PS Sorry for hijacking your review!
 

ubuysa

Moderator
Moderator
Thanks for posting this review.

In reading through it has raised one or two concerns for me. They are as per your two disappointments ie " I was disappointed to see that the ram was not put in paired slots". Does this mean that you had to dismantle the laptop and insert components?

Secondly, "drivers were missing on my first boot". Through reading other comments I suspect that you had to visit the PCS website (or possibly manufacturers) for drivers. Was this the case?

I am not overly confident at having to complete a laptop build (if that is what I need to do) and would much prefer to open the box. press a button, and it fires up like the brand new machine that I have just paid for. If the standard build takes 6 -8nr days shouldn't it be ready to go?

Have I got this all wrong, or am I just being a little too churlish?

PS Sorry for hijacking your review!
In my experience these two issues (RAM and drivers) are not normal practice in a PCS build. That's why I've encouraged the OP to follow them up. People make mistakes but PCS can only rectify them if they're made aware of them.
 

debiruman665

Gold Level Poster
For the record, my octane was also missing all drivers when out of the box.

Its a fresh install of windows when you first turn it on, Maybe they're not able to have it setup like that?
 
Many thanks for the very detailed and balanced review! I'm sure that will help others.

I would be tempted to contact PCS about the 50 mins non-gaming battery life you're getting. I've no idea how power hungry that laptop is but that makes me wonder whether you have a bad battery.

I would also be asking why the drivers were not installed too. One wonders how they can test it properly without?

PCS can only ensure problems like yours are not repeated if they know about them.
I will get in contact with PCS about the battery and check but I was putting it down to the spec, I will run a idle battery test when I get some time and get a proper number for them, it seems like on this model missing drivers is common I was not missing anything major like gpu drivers it was keyboard lighting control and mouse drivers along with a couple other minor things.
 
Thanks for posting this review.

In reading through it has raised one or two concerns for me. They are as per your two disappointments ie " I was disappointed to see that the ram was not put in paired slots". Does this mean that you had to dismantle the laptop and insert components?

Secondly, "drivers were missing on my first boot". Through reading other comments I suspect that you had to visit the PCS website (or possibly manufacturers) for drivers. Was this the case?

I am not overly confident at having to complete a laptop build (if that is what I need to do) and would much prefer to open the box. press a button, and it fires up like the brand new machine that I have just paid for. If the standard build takes 6 -8nr days shouldn't it be ready to go?

Have I got this all wrong, or am I just being a little too churlish?

PS Sorry for hijacking your review!
You are correct in assuming that I had to dismantle the laptop but this was not difficult the issue was raised by PCS themselves when I enquired as to what slots the ram was in before receiving the laptop asking that they be placed in the harder to reach slots, they replied saying that they had not been paired and gave me semi detailed instructions on how to amend this.

Regarding the drivers nothing critical was missing but small stuff like mouse shortcuts (scrolling, zooming etc) which comes with the mouse drivers and keyboard backlight controls which comes with a software package.
 
For the record, my octane was also missing all drivers when out of the box.

Its a fresh install of windows when you first turn it on, Maybe they're not able to have it setup like that?
That is strange as mine was only missing a select few drivers not all of them, any system critical drivers had been installed, I would like to remind you if we ignore the weekend then I had the laptop in my hands less than 48hours after ordering so this limited time could of been what left aspects overlooked, none the less I’m sure PCS will look into it and solve the issues to the best of there ability.
 

debiruman665

Gold Level Poster
You are correct in assuming that I had to dismantle the laptop but this was not difficult the issue was raised by PCS themselves when I enquired as to what slots the ram was in before receiving the laptop asking that they be placed in the harder to reach slots, they replied saying that they had not been paired and gave me semi detailed instructions on how to amend this.

Regarding the drivers nothing critical was missing but small stuff like mouse shortcuts (scrolling, zooming etc) which comes with the mouse drivers and keyboard backlight controls which comes with a software package.
could you share the info on which RAM slots are paired? I'm going to be opening up mine to install another m.2 later this week so I'll take a peek
 
could you share the info on which RAM slots are paired? I'm going to be opening up mine to install another m.2 later this week so I'll take a peek
“Thank you for the message. The first channel of RAM is located below the keyboard, and the second channel of RAM is located below the laptop itself. So your system has been running in single channel RAM configurations. There is a very minor performance difference compared to running in dual channel (which is what was supposed to be done by the builders). My apologies for their error. If you are looking to install another 2x 16GB modules, I would move the stick currently in the bottom, to the slot below the keyboard, and the use the two below slots for your new kit. “

This is what I received from the PCS support regarding the issue, it’s safe to assume as the slots are separate and paired up that they are in fact in the pairs.
 
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