Nova 15.6 Review | PCSPECIALIST

Nova 15.6 Review

demon28

Active member
This as much in-depth as I can do, I tried to go through everything and I will update if I have any new findings.
About 6 weeks ago I received my Nova laptop and so far I have been extremely pleased with it. The performance is fantastic, it offers the cheapest RTX 2070 non max Q configuration I could find anywhere, and the ability to and have a fully upgradable Ryzen desktop CPU. This is a unique and newly released chassis and out of the box there are some noise-heat issues, which I was able to address ( More on the later), but hopefully the manufacturer will address these issues in the future.

Laptop was ordered on 02/06/2020 and was delivered a week later after 6 days in production. It is my second time ordering from PCS and both times the laptops were built and delivered within a week. My Nova arrived in a fairly small but sturdy box and it was packed very well, as you would expect.
Pictures of the laptop attached. Mixing pictures and text gives me a weird error, sorry about that.
Specs below:


Chassis & DisplayNova Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 144Hz 72% NTSC LED Widescreen (1920x1080)
Processor (CPU)AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Six Core CPU (3.6GHz-4.2GHz/36MB CACHE/AM4)
Memory (RAM)16GB Corsair 2666MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 8GB)
Graphics CardNVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2070 - 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)
1st M.2 SSD Drive512GB PCS PCIe M.2 SSD (2000 MB/R, 1100 MB/W)


The good Stuff:
* Incredible performance for the price, with potential for a CPU upgrade down the line
* The built quality is excellent. The laptop feels very sturdy even though it is made out of plastic
*I am not very knowledgeable on screens, but to me the colours look very alive and I am enjoying my first ever 144hz screen very much. I have had no dead pixels and there is no backlight bleeding(must have gotten lucky)
*This is a DTR, which means that this machine is a bit thicker and heavier than your average laptop. The bigger size though allows for a cooling system that is very capable of cooling the 115W GPU & a desktop CPU

The bad stuff:
*Out of the Box the thermals and fan noise are absolutely terrible. This laptop has two massive fans and with stock settings they run very loud and it can get very unpleasant to be close to.
* There is no possibility to stop the GPU fans from revving up to 20% once the GPU reaches 40(or 41?) degrees. It is a small thing but my GPU hovers around 42 degrees during light usage and the GPU fan keeps starting and stopping every minute. I wish we could manually set the GPU fan to start at 50 degrees so the laptop can stay fully quiet during light use.
* I have not had the best experiences talking to the PCS support. The stuff was very polite but I have had a few instances where the information I was given was incorrect. Firstly, when I asked them to provide me with a manual, I was told that they are unable to provide me with one as Clevo instructed them not to release it. More recently, I was told that my warranty would not cover me if the BIOS update( which they provided me with) went wrong. I was also told they do not have a service manual for this machine which I thought was weird. I really want to thank @SpyderTracks who got in touch with the admins and sorted these issues out for me, I really appreciate that. Also, I was able to find the service manual through another resellers website.
*CCC manual and automatic fan curve is atrocious. During manual settings the CPU revs up really slowly. Even when the fan curve is very steep the fans will only increase in increments of 3-4% every 2ish seconds until they reach the desired fan speed which leaves me with really high temp spikes. Also I find that the fans rev down much quicker than they rev up so with default settings you are stuck in this cycle, where once the fans cool the CPU enough they rev down quickly, your CPU spikes again and then they slowly start revving up again which needs to be addressed. You end up with a toasty CPU and annoying fan noise.





How I managed my Issues:

Thermals:
As I said earlier my laptop was extremely loud and hot. First thing I did was to disable PBO by setting my maximum processor state to 99% in the power settings. This prevented temp spikes and unnecessary fan noise. Repasting CPU&GPU with grizzly Kryonaut gave me around 3-4 degrees improvement over the paste applied by PCS
(Before and after pictures attached below.)
A day before attempting to repaste, I opened up the laptop for a quick inspection and realised that 2 of the heatsink screws were not tightened properly. I fixed that but saw no difference in temperatures. To improve the fan noise I set a manual fan Curve in CCC which keeps my CPU fans at the lowest possible speed until the CPU reaches 70 degrees, and then increase to 63% by 76 degrees. This gives me a quiet laptop during normal usage and keeps it cool while gaming. Note that the heatsink is shared between GPU and CPU, so even though I could run my CPU fan a bit quieter during full load. that would slightly increase my GPU temperatures. As I mentioned earlier the fans(especially the CPU fan) are very powerful and loud. Leaving your laptop on a flat surface will suffocates the laptop as the fans won’t be able to suck enough air from the bottom of the chassis to cool it down. This is common for most laptops, but in the case of this one its much worse. I initially used 2 books to lift the back of the laptop by about 5cm, which improved my temperatures by 3-4 degrees. Recently I bought BOYATA aluminium stand for ergonomic reasons, but I was really surprised to find out that it actually significantly improved my CPU temperatures . Idle temps went down by 7-8 degrees and by another 5 during full load( this is in comparison to using the books). This stand lifts the back of my laptop up by around 15cm and made me realise that lifting the back of this laptop slightly is not enough as the CPU fan will still struggle to suck enough air.
Pictures of the laptop on the stand attached.


My CPU temperatures now will be anywhere between 70-79 during full load(running my Manual OC or when running with PBO off), and GPU maxes out at 77, really happy with this.

PBO:
Disabling PBO was only a temporary soluntion until i dealt with my temp issues. After I did everything mentioned above, I went back into fiddling around with it. I can now run PBO at stock settings just fine temp wise(fans still very unpleasant noise wise) but I got the best Cinebench scores/temps/fan noise results using a manual settings through Ryzen Master, setting my CPU at 3.9GHZ-1.0125V. For comparison, PBO will use higher Voltage(around 1.15) and only achieve 3.7-3.8Ghz all core boost. I might be able to go a bit lower with my manual Voltage but I haven’t had the time to test that. With manual settings I lose a little bit of single core performance and I am also left with a stable voltage all core voltage, but I only activate this profile when I need it and since it’s a low/safe voltage I don’t really mind.

Soundblaster:
I was initially unable to install the Sound Blaster Cinema 6 app. I tried running the bat file in the PreInstallKit\Creative_SBC\SBCinema_3.0.11.0_Windows10_PreinstallKit folder located in the DVD provided with the laptop, but still no app showed up on my system. I was able to install it by manually running the 5ef4d443900f4a3896ec348456421715.appxbundle installer located in the same folder as the bat file.

Overall, I am very pleased with my purchased and I can see this laptop handling everything for the next couple of years. I only wish I did not have to spend so much time troubleshooting, and I hope that these issues will be addressed in future BIOS/CCC/chipset updates!
 

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SpyderTracks

Huntsman
Moderator
Stellar review with some incredibly handy information for others.

I know it's been a long road for you, but I'm so pleased you managed to get it under control in the end.... it's such a fantastic chassis when it's working properly.

Not sure if you have already, but it's very worth feeding those fan issues back to PCS as they'll be able to communicate with Clevo about addressing that at a BIOS level. Maybe just an email with your order number rather than phoning.

I'm so so pleased that you're happy though, really deserve it, you dealt with the problems extremely well under the circumstances!

(y) 😍 👏 🙏
 

demon28

Active member
Stellar review with some incredibly handy information for others.

I know it's been a long road for you, but I'm so pleased you managed to get it under control in the end.... it's such a fantastic chassis when it's working properly.

Not sure if you have already, but it's very worth feeding those fan issues back to PCS as they'll be able to communicate with Clevo about addressing that at a BIOS level. Maybe just an email with your order number rather than phoning.

I'm so so pleased that you're happy though, really deserve it, you dealt with the problems extremely well under the circumstances!

(y) 😍 👏 🙏
Thanks for all the help! Hope this review helps other as well, and I will contact PCS about the fan issues. The obsidian fan control tool allows users to choose how quickly the fans to ramp up. Its a shame CCC does not offer that. Also regarding the BIOS update, I managed to fix my issues before I got a reply from PCS ,and I decided to withhold from updating yet as my issues ended up being solved and I didn't want to create any new ones :)
 

SpyderTracks

Huntsman
Moderator
Thanks for all the help! Hope this review helps other as well, and I will contact PCS about the fan issues. The obsidian fan control tool allows users to choose how quickly the fans to ramp up. Its a shame CCC does not offer that. Also regarding the BIOS update, I managed to fix my issues before I got a reply from PCS ,and I decided to withhold from updating yet as my issues ended up being solved and I didn't want to create any new ones :)
Well done on sorting out the thermals yourself, do bear in mind if you face any issues in the future, a BIOS update may be a good thing to look towards.
 
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mrlip

Active member
Good review, thanks for the information! I too have recently purchased the Nova but with the 3700x and 2070 configuration (received just over a week ago) and I’m starting to use it more for gaming now the initial setup work is done. It seems to be an absolute beast! I’m primarily a flight sim user and ive played around on it a bit today and the performance was great. I have downloaded Ryzen master but haven’t made any tweaks to either clock or voltage settings at the minute.

CPU Temps under gaming were between 75-85 with an average closer to the 75 mark than 85. GPU never went above 58. The only thing i found was the automatic fan setting is that when the CPU temp briefly goes over 80 it can spike the fan RPM quite a bit so may need to play about with a custom fan curve and then look into whether it’s worth undervolting slightly just to keep temps in check over longer periods of play
 

demon28

Active member
This laptop compatible with DD4 RAM 3200Mhz?
According to the manual and info from other resellers it is. It is a shame PC's do not offer that option, they might have a reason for this tho. Ill PM you the link to a thread which lists the compatible 3200Mhz ram sticks. All the compatible 3200Mhz sticks seem to be CL22
 

barymuffinz

New member
According to the manual and info from other resellers it is. It is a shame PC's do not offer that option, they might have a reason for this tho. Ill PM you the link to a thread which lists the compatible 3200Mhz ram sticks. All the compatible 3200Mhz sticks seem to be CL22
Thanks mate
 
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