Ryzen Gaming Laptops go BEAST MODE!
Table of contents
Remember Eluktronics – no not electronics, Eluktronics – one of the small companies that are trying to bridge the gap between high-end boutique laptop manufacturers and the bigger guys like Dell, HP, ASUS, and MSI. In fact, if you remember, I checked out their RP-15 about 6 months ago, and it was one of the fastest Ryzen laptops we have ever tested. Was it perfect? No, not really, I mean there were some concerns about the chassis and some other things, and if you want to check out my thoughts on that laptop you can read the review right here. But anyways, today we are here with an other laptop from Eluktronics and it’s called the Prometheus XVII Ultra. Now that name is an interesting fusion of Greek mythology, where Prometheus means God of Fire and a modern marketing term like Ultra, where you’re getting the best of the best.
In a way that’s true because you are getting a Ryzen 5000H series CPU and an RTX 3080 that can be pushed to a higher wattage in Beast Mode, which results in amazing gaming performance. The cooling solution on this laptop is pretty robust to keep up with that. But that doesn’t convey the whole picture, you see there’s a whole lot more when it comes to evaluating a laptop, especially when it has the term Ultra attached to it.
Price & Specs
All right, before I get into the specs of this laptop, I do want to talk about availability because with the current state of the market finding components – let alone Ryzen-based laptops with higher-end GPU’s – can be a bit challenging. Now Eluktronics is fulfilling back orders to the best of their abilities and due to popular demand expect some production delays. With that out of the way, let’s start off with the price. It starts at $1700 USD, and for that you get a Ryzen 7 4800H CPU with 16GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and an RTX 3060. The next tier is $400 more, and interestingly, that gets you an Intel 10th Gen Core i7-10875H CPU with an RTX 3070.
Add an extra $500 and you get AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 5800H CPU with an RTX 3080 featuring 16GB of VRAM. Our sample comes with a few upgrades like twice the memory and storage, which brings the total to about $2,800 USD. That is a very expensive investment, but at the same time when you look at the competing models that offer high wattage RTX 3080 GPUs I would say that this is a bargain, but hold onto your wallet because I will circle back to that value aspect at the end of the review.
I should also mention that if you spend $2,500 or more at Eluktronics you instantly qualify for a gaming bundle that includes a thick gaming mouse pad, a lightweight gaming mouse, and a gaming headset along with a 10 foot HDMI cable, which is a nice touch.
Design & Build
Now from the outside there is nothing really interesting going on with the Prometheus, the chassis is pretty clean and minimal and it’s made of a mix of plastic and aluminium components. If you’re interested in giving it a unique look you can opt for this black matrix skin from dbrand. It’s an extra $10 and I think it looks pretty cool. Now right around the edges you will find these subtle RGB light bars, and you can customize the colours through the included software. Keep in mind that this is a 17-inch laptop, which means portability ultimately depends on how big your backpack is. Given that it’s just under 1-inch thick, you should be okay lugging this thing around, but you also have to keep in that this things weighs around 6lbs so it is a big boy.
The hinge is not the strongest given that it’s placed at the center, you will experience a bit of flexing when you open the laptop with one hand, especially from the corners. I noticed some wobbling when using this thing on my lap. Keep in mind that this is a generic chassis that is being used by other manufacturers, so there’s nothing really unique from the Eluktronics with the design on the Prometheus.
Moving on to the interior space, and once again you are greeted with a clean keyboard layout and a gigantic trackpad, which I will get too shortly. They did manage to fit a numpad, but that shouldn’t be surprising considering the 17-inch form factor. The arrow keys are positioned awkwardly, they are the same size as the rest of the keys, and I find myself accidentally hitting the 1 key instead of Up and then 0 instead of Right. I should also mention that the secondary enter key is missing with the numpad, so that might be an issue for people who log a lot of data in programs like Excel or some other applications.
On the other hand, the keys are excellent, there is very little wobble so you end up with a rigid surface and the travel distance is perfect for a laptop keyboard. You get a very satisfying feel you bottom out. I would say this lines up right along with the Zephyrus G15 Uh, so if you’re a hardcore typist or gamer this won’t disappoint you. The keys are also LED backlit and they feature RGB lighting. It is a single zone setup and there is very little customization when it comes to lighting effects. The brightness levels are pretty good, it will get the job done for your night gaming sessions.
Okay, now let’s address the trackpad. It’s really massive, it’s actually bigger than my XPS 17, which I already thought was really big. It’s made out of glass surface, which means the surface is really smooth for navigating Windows. But my main concern is with palm rejection because if I place my right hand over the primary left and right buttons, and if I try to move a Window, it just wouldn’t work. Now there is an option to disable the right zone of the trackpad, which basically cuts the usability in half, but honestly that just makes things even worse. I was really uncomfortable using that setting and I feel like there is a lot more fine tuning that still needs to be done to this trackpad because it’s just not perfect, especially when compared to something like the Blade 15 or even the XPS 17 series. Another thing I want to mention is the palm rest area, because if you have small hands you might experience some level of discomfort trying to reach out for the keys because they are placed a little bit far from the edges, so that’s something to keep note of. Now I have began, so I didn’t have any issues and I was pretty comfortable typing.
Webcam & Speakers
This is the webcam test on the Prometheus XVII Ultra. Now the quality is not the greatest in my opinion, but I will say the audio sounds pretty good, especially compared to the Razer Blade 15 Advanced model, so that’s a good thing. I will say that because of how weak this hinge is when you’re typing or just doing other stuff it might just start to wobbble as you are talking to somebody in a video call. The speakers are located at the bottom, so honestly don’t expect too much because there was very little bass response and the treble sound too harsh. In fact, it’s just not a pleasing experience when you are listening to music or just watching YouTube videos, I would highly recommend a pair of headphones to get that job done.
I like the port setup on this laptop, it’s spread across the left, right, and back edges, and it has everything you need. Starting at the left, you get a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port and separate audio jacks. Switching over to the right there are two more USB Type-A ports, but do note that their Gen1 instead of Gen2. Next to that is a full-size UHS-I SD card reader, it’s not the fastest out there, but I appreciate this inclusion. At the back there is power-in, gigabit ethernet, HDMI 2.1, and a USB Type-C port with DisplayPort passthrough. I really like the layout of the back because it just makes cable management a lot easier, especially if you want to connect an external display or you just don’t have plugs around your mouse hand.
Moving on to the display, the Prometheus comes in just one option a matte finish IPS-type panel with Quad HD resolution and running at 165Hz. I had no issue scaling this thing to 100% to take advantage of the extra screen real estate, and personally I think Quad HD is an awesome option for a 17-inch laptop. It looks really sharp and the colours are pretty nice. As you can see from my display analysis test it covers 99% sRGB, 76% Adobe RGB, and 79% DCI-P3, so it will get the job done for photo and video editing, gaming, and all the other things that you would do on a laptop. But honestly, if I were to compare this to the competition within the same price range, I would have expected a better quality display, specifically something that covers a better colour gamut. Also the screen doesn’t get that bright, it’s pretty dim, I think the peak levels are around 350 nits so outdoor visibility is going to be a bit challenging.
MUX & Upgradeability
There is also a MUX switch integrated into the Prometheus, so that allows the user to switch between Optimus or just run off the discrete GPU full time, which I think is a nice inclusion. In terms of upgradability, you have instant access to two RAM slots, which are already occupied. The primary NVMe SSD has drive speeds that are good, but not the fastest compared to the competition, especially when you look at the write performance. There is also an extra M.2 slot for storage expansion.
Back when I looked at the Eluktronics RP-15 last year, I mentioned that their software in terms of modifying power plants was actually pretty good. Actually, it was one of the best I have ever seen, but on this new one it’s not really that good. You see there are three power plants which include Office Mode, Balanced Mode, and Beast Mode. Select any of those and you can click on either fan tuning to modify fan curves or overclock settings to modify the CPU and the GPU behavior even more in Balanced in Beast mode. For example, you can increase the CPU power level to 80W, overclock the GPU and give it a target temperature and even disable/enable Dynamic Boost. The cool thing is that if you disable Dynamic Boost the GPU can be increased all the way up to 150W, which I think is insane. However, the whole interface, just feels a little bit clunky, especially when it comes to saving profiles, but I guess you just have to get the hang of it. I just don’t feel like it is their best, I think they kind of made things worse compared to their previous version on the RP-15, which was great.
Now let’s jump into battery your life, and since this is a 17-inch laptop with a powerful CPU and GPU and a pretty small 62Wh battery that means some of the worst battery life that I have ever seen, even when you set this thing to Balanced Mode. Meanwhile, Beast Mode doesn’t change all that much at light loads since both are operating at the lowest possible frequency while loading webpages. And if you are wondering no Office Mode doesn’t make a difference here either. But then again, you can’t forget that this really isn’t meant to be a portable device, it’s meant to be more of a desktop replacement than anything else. Of course, things get worse when laptops operating at a higher load level, but I have got to say it isn’t as bad as I thought when compared to some of the other laptops.
CPU Power / Temps / Frequencies
So while the power modes don’t make that much of a difference when it comes to battery life, they do play a huge part in terms of performance, especially in the Beast Mode with maxed settings where things get really insane. To show that I will be marking the charts where you can read Beast Mode Maxed so just keep track of that. First up Office Mode, which converts the Prometheus into a power sipping laptop, but that also means a lot of performance sacrifices. Meanwhile, Balanced Mode and standard Beast Mode are pretty close to one another with just 10W separating them. The maxed out Beast Mode really turns everything to a whole new level. There is something else to mention here as well, while the power sliders were pegged at 80W it seems like that burst of power only came at the start with the laptop eventually settling down to a constant 73W.
Now that all leads to the frequencies of the Office/Balanced/Beast/Beast Maxed modes all being within 350MHz of one another. Meanwhile Office Mode just completely cuts speeds off at its knees, so don’t even think about using that when you need to chew through any heavy compute tasks. The amazing thing here is the additional 20W in Beast Mode Maxed out setting leads to a massive increase in temperatures. Now in order to keep things at that level the CPU ends up reducing clock speeds, and I have to say that’s a bit disappointing for a pretty thick 17-inch laptop. Meanwhile, the other modes are a lot better behaved.
Now that leads me into real-world performance with the CPU set to 60W and 80W. As we go through these tests, it’s interesting to see where the 5800H in the Prometheus ends up. In most cases, it trades blows with these Zephyrus G15, which is a bit less expensive and it even manages to lose to the older RP-15 in a few situations. Then again, don’t forget the G15 has a more powerful Ryzen 9 CPU to start off with. Overall though this is one of the fastest laptops I have ever tested, just not as convincingly dominating as you might have thought.
GPU Power / Temps / Frequencies
Now if you thought the Beast Mode sliders were interesting for the CPU, the GPU can get an additional boost of 15W bringing it from an already high 135W all the way up to 150W. And let’s see how that affects the power temperatures and frequencies over time. Once again, the GPU doesn’t really hit its power limits in any of the settings, even with all the sliders maxed out, but in Office Mode it actually behaves more like a slim-and-light laptop while Balanced and standard Beast Mode presets are basically the same thing as they top out around 125W. It’s really odd to see none of the modes hit their wattage targets, especially Beast Mode with Dynamic Boost disabled and the power slider maxed out to 150W.
Normally I would point fingers at temperatures, but not one of the settings even came close to the 87°C maximum and all had really well managed heat regulation. That is a good thing, but at the same time it doesn’t really explain the power behavior of the RTX 3080 GPU. There might still be some limits in place that can’t be disabled through the software, but that is just my guess. The one good thing is that pushing the GPU power slider to the max does end up giving you a pretty good boost in frequencies over Balanced Mode and regular Beast Mode preset. Office Mode on the other hand well that’s just all over the place.
As for in-game performance, well yeah this thing is an absolute beast. In most tests it’s right up there with the fastest laptops around, but max out those power sliders and it turns into the Hulk and smashes pretty much everything. But then again, the RTX 3080 is also sucking down a lot more power than any other laptop GPU we have seen so far. At the screen’s native 1440P resolution it remains ahead too, but you also need to be a little bit impressed with how well the Blade 15 Advanced handles itself. That thing has a much lower wattage GPU, but it manages to hang in there. At the 150W setting the Prometheus powers ahead, but this also goes to highlight how throwing tons of power at a GPU doesn’t give a linear increase in performance. I mean the RTX 3080 here is sucking back about 50% more power than the Blade 15’s RTX 3070, but it only gets about 15% higher frame rates.
Noise & Temperatures
As for fan noise, all 3 modes behaved exactly how they should with Office Mode being the quietest all the way to Beast Mode being the loudest. I think our best bet is sticking to Balanced Mode to give you the best acoustic performance. Switching over to surface temperatures, and they are pretty good, but I will say that the sides do get quite warm so that might be an issue if you game a lot with an external mouse.
Overall the Prometheus brings a lot of interesting things to the table. The first thing is it’s amazing performance in both gaming and real-world applications. I love the ability that Eluktronics gives the user to modify the behavior of the CPU and GPU rather than just having a bunch of presets like Battery Saver, Balanced, Performance, etc that you see with other laptops.
The I/O is pretty loaded and I’m impressed with the layout. The keyboard is great, I love the feedback that provides, except for the awkward arrow key placement. And the display is good, but I expect better, especially for this price point. Frankly my main issue with this laptop is the generic design. Of course, I understand that they are using a generic chassis that other manufacturers use, but that leads to things like a trackpad is just not the most comfortable thing to use and some people might find it too big. The hinge is not necessarily the strongest and the webcam quality is just not that great either. To conclude, if you’re purely looking for raw gaming performance, I would wholeheartedly recommend the Prometheus XVII Ultra, but personally if I were to spend close to $3,000 on a machine I wouldn’t pick this.