Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
XPG has held a remarkably close relationship with Intel, delivering, for several generations, PCs built on the latest generation processor. Earlier in the year, we had the distinct opportunity to look at the Xenia Xe, a machine built on the Intel NUC M15 platform, customized by XPG aesthetically and with value-added software. Following that, we had the Xenia 14 in house, a remarkably light notebook built on the same Tiger Lake platform.
NUC X15 is Intel's latest laptop "kit". This allows potential vendors to offer a legit base platform that can be customized before being sold to consumers. The X15 is offered in three models, LAPKC51E, which is a Core i5 11400H with six cores 12 threads paired with an RTX 3060, and up to 64GB of memory. LAPKC71E bumps this up to the Core i7 11800H, 8-core 16 thread with the RTX 3060, and the same 64GB limit on memory.
The Xenia 15 is built on the top-end SKU, LAPKC71F, which gives us the Core i7 11800H, 8/16 core thread design paired with the RTX 3070 8GB GPU with the same 64GB memory limit; our prototype sample had 32GB installed.
This notebook, Xenia 15, is designed to go up against the likes of the Alienware X15 and Razer Blade 15. I've gathered two identical SKUs of each above, building them to match our Xenia 15. Full specs include the Core i7 11800H for each system, RTX 3070, 32GB of DDR4 3200MHz memory, and 1TB NVMe SSD. The Razer Blade and Xenia 15 both include Gen4 SSDs, and the Alienware does not, as far as I'm aware.
This being said, you can see for both the Alienware and Razer these systems are upwards of $2700 while it's expected the Xenia 15 should have an MSRP somewhere between $2300 and $2500 depending on SKU.
Xenia 15 Overview
The Xenia 15 uses a similar design aesthetic that we first saw with Xe; a metal triangle logo placed on the center of the notebook. Xenia 15 uses a molded plastic enclosure to house the QHD display and underlying hardware. The finish is a bit more resilient to scratching and fingerprints than your typical aluminum enclosure while being lighter in weight.
As noted in the intro, the Xenia 15 is built on the Intel NUC X15 platform; seen above, we have an engineering sample of the notebook for this preview article. Cooling is pulled through the bottom of the notebook with a large vented area.
After testing on its default installation of Windows 10, we did a quick install of Windows 11 to check for compatibility. Also noteworthy in the image above, the trackpad is offset to the left with a full backlit keyboard sitting above. The display is QHD with a 165Hz refresh rate.
We had to pop the bottom open to get a look at the hardware. This is a very well laid out machine with NVMe accessible on the left, two SO-DIMM slots in the center, and WiFi6 to the right. In this early sample, the Xenia 15 will have an 8000mAh battery with 91.2Wh capacity and a rather interesting fan design to go along with it.
On the flip side of the cover, the NVMe area is covered by an aluminum heat sink to pull heat away from the SSD controller. It's also worth noting this cover has every screw captive - a fantastic design because I, like many of you, lose these screws.
HWinfo gives us the lay of the land for the Xenia 15, the design of the 11800H gives us 20 PCIe Gen4 lanes to work with, and it does appear sixteen of those are going to the RTX 3070. The other four go to the first NVMe slot, where the Gammix S70 is installed. Outside of this, we have a base clock of 2.3GHz and a boost of 4.6GHz across the eight-core CPU. 32GB of memory is installed, ADATA branded with timings of 22-22-22-52.
I haven't been able to get my hands on the Alienware X15 as of this write-up, but we did just have the Blade 15 Advanced in house, so for the fun of it, we ran a few preliminary benchmarks at Xenia 15 to see where it compared.
Our first go-to scenario is, of course, R23. Single thread sees both notebooks matching up quite well, the edge to the Xenia by a few points. Multi-thread, we see a similar setup with a 72 point difference between the notebooks.
CrossMark has quickly become a go-to bench for me as one of the cross-platform scenarios available. We find a bit more of a gap between the notebooks with this test, overall score showing 116 points between the models.
3DMark CPU Profile sheds some light on the performance of the Blade 15 Adv, with what appears an issue with hyper-threading. Performance is nearly matched through 8 threads, the edge going to the Xenia 15, but the 16T shows a score of 7051 for Xenia while Blade 15 only moves a couple of hundred points.
Timespy gives us a look at gaming performance, again the edge going to the Xenia 15 by 1300 points overall, most of that coming in CPU where we have a near 3000 point difference.
Tiger Lake H notebooks are starting to see Gen4 NVMe come pre-installed. Razer takes advantage of the Samsung PM981 for their SSD, while XPG uses the Innogrit-powered Gammix S70. The Innogrit solution is a bit faster overall, at 7096 MB/s read and 5350 MB/s write.
4KQ1 has these drives nearly identical in performance.
In our preliminary look at the Xenia 15, things are looking quite good for XPG, at least for performance compared to market competition from the likes of the Razer Blade 15 Adv. and Alienware X15.
Build quality, including the finish on the Xenia 15, is much improved. The overall design is fantastic, and the hardware is on point, for the most part. I would probably opt for XPG to include the new S70 Blade NVMe over the Innogrit platform, but there are places where things could be further improved before the official launch, one area being software and the other integration.
A big part of both Razer and Alienware platforms is software integration. This allows you to control everything from CPU, GPU, and fan profiles along with RGB functionality and even keyboard macros and power profiles on Razer platforms that use Synapse 3. XPG doesn't have this right now. The final version should have support from NUC Software Studio, giving some control over RGB and fan profiles and maybe even power profiles.
That being said, it's worthwhile to note, this is a "gaming" platform built by Intel as the NUC X15 has no integration from Intel's Killer brand, surely by now, over a year later, we could get some integration and a swap from the AX201 to the AX1650 or better yet AX1675. XPG, in my eyes, should push for this from Intel, as it offers increased value to consumers and gives XPG a better overall software package combining Killer Control Center and all its technologies like Doubleshot Pro and xTend with NUC Studio. This package would work out great on the Xenia 15 with its 2.5Gbe and WiFi6 setup, IMO.