The Metabox Alpha-X NH58ED is a well priced laptop for the specs that you get, and was one of the best performing Clevo machines I’ve ever tested, let’s find out why and what’s on offer in this detailed review.
Starting with the specs my unit has an Intel i7-8750H CPU, Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics, 16GB of memory running in dual channel, a 15.6” 1080p 144Hz screen, and a 500GB M.2 SSD. It’s also got gigabit ethernet, 802.
11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 5, however hardware can be customized while ordering, you can check the options as well as updated pricing using the link in the description. The laptop has a silver body, with a metallic lid while the interior seems to be plastic.
The edges are smooth, but I found the front corners a bit rough if you push up against then, otherwise overall it feels quite well built. The weight of the laptop is listed at 2.2kg barebones, so expect differences based on hardware selection, though mine was under this.
With the 180 watt power brick and cable for charging included the total weight rises to 2.7kg. The dimensions of the laptop are 36.1cm in width, 25.8cm in depth, and just under 2.8cm in height, so not exactly thin but not quite thick either.
The smaller overall footprint gives us thin bezels around the screen, which are about 8mm based on my own measurements. The 15.6” 144Hz 1080p IPS screen looks pretty good, all viewing angles were fine though was no G-Sync available here.
I’ve measured the current colour gamut of the screen using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 95% of sRGB, 66% of NTSC and 71% of AdobeRGB. At 100% brightness I measured the panel at 352 nits in the center, and with a 500:1 contrast ratio, so overall pretty good for a laptop for either gaming or other tasks like photo or video editing, decent colour gamut and above average brightness, though a little lower on the contrast, but this is for the 144Hz panel, expect different results with the 60Hz option.
Backlight bleed wasn’t looking great in this photo, though while actually viewing darker content I’d say it was pretty minor in my unit, better compared to other Metabox units I’ve covered recently anyway, however results will vary between laptop and panel.
There was a bit of screen flex, however it seemed quite sturdy with the hinges being out towards the far corners. It couldn’t quite be opened with one finger, as there’s more weight towards the back, including the cooling and battery, but it still felt stable on my lap.
Despite the thin screen bezels the camera is found above the display in the center. The camera is pretty average, not great, while the microphone sounds alright. The keyboard in my unit has RGB backlighting, however you can only customize the entire thing in one zone with the included control center software.
It’s got 4 levels of brightness or can be turned off, and even the secondary functions on all keys get lit up. Overall I liked typing on the keyboard, the small shift on the right may annoy some but I don’t personally use it so didn’t notice, here’s how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.
There was a little keyboard flex while pushing down hard, which I think should be expected given the keyboard is removable, no issues during normal use though. The touchpad has precision drivers and worked well, it was smooth to the touch but doesn’t actually press down, it’s got separate left and right click buttons though.
Fingerprints and dirt are harder to see on the silver finish, and as a smooth surface it’s easy to clean. On the left there’s a Kensington lock, air exhaust vent, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, USB 2.0 Type-A port, and 3.
5mm microphone and headphone jacks. On the right there’s a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, mini DisplayPort 1.2 output, SD card slot and air exhaust vent. On the back there’s one air exhaust vent on the left corner, the right isn’t actually a vent, then from left to right we’ve got a USB 3.
1 Gen 2 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.3 support, no Thunderbolt though, HDMI output, the version isn’t specified but I could run an external 4K monitor at 60Hz which seems to indicate 2.0, gigabit ethernet port and the power input.
I like that they’ve got the bulky I/O such as HDMI, ethernet and power on the back and out of the way. Meanwhile the front just has some status LEDs towards the right hand side. On the lid there’s the Metabox logo in the center, and the bits on the side light up white from the screen’s backlight.
Underneath it looks like there’s heaps of ventilation holes, however not that many of these cut out areas actually allow air through, but we’ll see how well the cooling does soon. The speakers are found towards the front left and right corners, they sounded ok for laptop speakers, perhaps a little above average.
Here’s what we’re looking at in terms of maximum volume with music playing, and the Latencymon results seemed to indicate that it was alright. The bottom panel can be removed by taking out 12 screws with a Phillips head screwdriver, and the two screws in the back corners are slightly longer.
The battery is also easily removable, so if you have a spare you can quickly swap in a fully charged one, a nice and uncommon feature these days. Underneath the battery there are three more phillips head screws to take out before the bottom panel can be removed.
I had a look underneath the keyboard, and while it looks like there are screw holes here none of mine had screws in them, so when taking the panel off just be careful, if it’s stuck there might be screws under here that need to be taken out first.
Once inside, from left to right we’ve got access to the WiFi card, single 2.5 inch drive bay, two memory slots, and two M.2 slots. I believe one M.2 slot accepts either SATA or PCIe, but to use the second PCIe only slot the first slot must also be populated with a PCIe drive, at least according to the specs.
Powering the laptop is a removable 4 cell 49 Watt hour battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 3 hours and 58 minutes.
The Intel integrated graphics were in use during this test, thanks to Nvidia Optimus. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the or battery lasted for 1 hour and 11 minutes, and the frame rate didn’t drop at any point.
The result while gaming was about average. I’ll also note that I never saw the battery drain with the 180 watt power brick plugged in throughout any of my testing. Thermal testing was completed with an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, so expect different temperatures in different environments.
Also keep in mind there are heatpipes shared between processor and graphics, so a change in one of these will affect the other. All testing was completed with the performance profile enabled for best performance, and better performance generally equals more heat.
At the bottom of the graph, at idle the temperatures were pretty good. The rest of the results are combined CPU and GPU workloads. The gaming tests in the upper half were done with Watch Dogs 2, as I find it to use a good combination of CPU and GPU.
The stress tests represent a worst case scenario, and were done by running the Aida64 stress test and the Heaven benchmark at the same time in order to attempt to fully load both the processor and graphics.
I’ve got all tests listed with the fan at maximum speed, that’s because under all of these workloads it was running at full speed, so there’s no need for me to test both default and maximum. Starting with the stress test with everything default, the CPU was on the hotter side at 93 degrees celsius and was power limit throttling, though to be fair it was running with a 58 watt TDP average here.
Many laptops cap this to 45 watts under combined CPU and GPU load, so we should be getting some good performance here despite the higher temperature, more on that in the next graph. By applying a -0.15v undervolt to the CPU the temperature in this workload lowered by 8 degrees, and the graphics went back a couple too as there’s less heat in those shared heatpipes.
With the Thermaltake Massive 20 cooling pad in use the CPU dropped back a further 7 degrees while the graphics lowered by 4. There was a similar pattern noted in the gaming tests, overall the temperatures were cooler when compared with the stress tests, and we could get some nice improvements from undervolting the CPU, and a little further with the cooling pad in use.
These are the average clock speeds for the same tests just shown. Out of the box the CPU performance is actually quite good, averaging 3.6GHz over all 6 cores even with the combined GPU load at the same time.
The -0.15v undervolt allows this to reach the full 3.9GHz all core turbo boost speed of the 8750H CPU which is excellent, and as we saw earlier this also lowered temperatures. It was a similar deal in the gaming results, though less of a CPU boost with the undervolt, and the clock speeds on the GPU rise further here despite me not actually overclocking it, I’m thinking some of this is due to the cooler temperatures allowing GPU boost to work better.
These are the clock speeds I got while just running CPU only stress tests without any GPU load, so even out of the box we’re hitting the 3.9GHz all core turbo boost speed no problem, so no change here with the undervolt.
With the temperatures though we can see that the undervolt is lowering the temperature by 13 degrees, so while not needed to improve performance under this workload it does help it run cooler. Here’s what we’re looking at for the average TDP under these same tests, so again a pretty big drop off in power usage with the undervolt applied.
To demonstrate how this translates into practical performance I’ve got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks here. The results here were great, I don’t think I’ve ever got multicore scores this high on the 8750H before, and these are averaged over 5 runs to account for possible throttling.
In Cinebench R20 we do see a difference between stock and the undervolt though, which I think goes to show why the new R20 version is a better test, it’s a more intense workload so triggers power limit throttling at stock where R15 was not.
As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle it was in the low 30s, fairly average. While gaming the wrist rest area is still perfectly cool, while the keyboard rises to the low 40s, warm to the touch but not hot.
With the stress tests running it was a bit warmer in the mid 40s right in the middle. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests. At idle it was close to silent, just slightly audible.
While gaming or under stress test with the fans at default speed we can see, and hear, that they’re the same as if I manually set the fan speed to maximum, there’s no difference under these workloads.
That said though the fan noise was by no means loud, I’d consider these results average compared to other laptops I’ve tested in the same tests, which is good considering the temperatures seen earlier.
Overall I was quite impressed with the results from the thermal testing. At stock yes it will run a bit hot, though the higher clock speeds are there thanks to the higher CPU TDP, which had no trouble going above the 45 watt Intel spec and up to 60, even under combined CPU and GPU tests for extended periods of time.
When you consider this, the temperatures are actually not too bad at all. With a simple CPU undervolt we can easily get full clock speeds on the CPU even under these worst case combined CPU and GPU stress tests, while lowering the temperatures to what I consider acceptable at the same time.
The fans were about average even when at maximum, and the keyboard area only got warm with the wrist rest staying cool. Finally let’s take a look at some gaming benchmarks, I’ve tested these games with these Nvidia drivers and Windows fully updated with performance mode in the control center software enabled.
Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings at the lowest possible values. It played well even with max settings, the 1% low was still above 60, though minimum settings would boost average FPS almost 39%.
Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark, and the results here were pretty good, actually beating out the Razer Blade 15 with 2080 Max-Q slightly in average FPS at all setting levels. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark, and it was performing pretty well, not quite as good as the ASUS Scar II with the same specs, but ahead of the throttling Dell G5 with same specs.
The Witcher 3 was tested with hairworks disabled, and once again the performance was alright, considering it still played fine with ultra settings. For context the Dell G5 was slightly better at ultra in this test, while the ASUS Scar II was slightly behind.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and the results here were similar to other laptops of the same specs, but we’ll compare this game with some other laptops soon. CS:GO was tested with the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and like always high frame rates were possible from this test, even maximum settings are giving us average FPS above the refresh rate of the 144Hz display.
Dota 2 was tested in the middle lane with an average amount of action going on, and the results were very good, with ultra settings still giving good average FPS to utilize our 144Hz display. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark and tends to favour Nvidia’s new turing architecture compared to other games.
I’ve only recently started using a 100% render scale, but the results seem close to other 2060 laptops tested. Fortnite was tested using the replay feature, and generally it runs quite well on modern hardware, with over 100 FPS in my test even at epic settings, and almost double possible at low settings.
Overwatch is another game that is well optimized and runs on pretty much anything. Even with epic settings in use 140 FPS was possible, so it can still run very smoothly even while looking great, with much higher possible at lower settings if you prefer.
Watch Dogs 2 is a resource intensive game, although I can play it as long as long as I’ve got a constant 30 FPS, so ultra settings did play fine, though it was a little behind some other 2060 laptops like the G5 and Scar II.
Ghost Recon is another demanding game, with ultra settings always killing performance in all but the highest specced laptops, however 60 FPS was still achievable in this test with very high settings. PUBG was tested using the replay feature, and the results were a bit below what I was expecting.
I used this exact same replay on the Dell G5 with same specs, and it was getting around 20 FPS higher at ultra settings, so not too sure why this game wasn’t performing as well here. DOOM was tested using Vulkan, and this game generally runs quite well on modern hardware, and there was no exception here, with 130 FPS averages possible even maxed out at ultra, with 100 for the 1% low.
To get some context let’s see how it compares with some other gaming laptops, use this information as a rough guide only, as tests were done at different times with different drivers. Here are the results from Far Cry 5 using the built in benchmark at ultra settings, with the NH58ED shown up the top in red.
In this test the average FPS is close to the Dell G5 with same specs, and just a touch below the ASUS Scar II with same specs, though the 1% low was the best with the NH58ED, which I suspect is due to its excellent CPU performance covered earlier.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings the NH58ED is a little behind the other 2060 laptops I’ve tested, though not too far off, 1 FPS higher with the G5 and 2 more with the Scar II, while my Aorus 15 got an even higher result here.
In Battlefield 5 with ultra settings we’re seeing the NH58ED doing pretty well, average FPS is ahead of the G5 below it, and only just slightly behind the Scar II with same specs, though the 1% low from the Metabox is a fair bit higher, actually coming out second out of all laptops tested, again most likely a side effect of the good CPU performance.
Overall the gaming performance was good pretty good, at higher settings it was about average compared to other 2060 laptops I’ve tested, perhaps a little lower. Medium to low settings were mostly ahead here though, which would most likely be due to the nice CPU performance covered earlier, as lower settings tend to be less GPU bound.
Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, Port Royal and VRMark from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results.
As we saw earlier we’ve got the option of overclocking the graphics and undervolting the CPU to increase performance, so let’s see how this actually helps in gaming. Far Cry 5 was retested using the built in benchmark at 1080p, with the manual tweaks shown by the red bars.
At low settings there was basically no change, then some nice improvements to 1% low at the other levels, with a smaller boost to average FPS. At ultra settings there was just a 2.7% improvement to average frame rate, so we can get some extra performance with some simple tweaks.
I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, and my 500GB M.2 SATA SSD was performing alright, however this will of course vary based on the storage you select. The SD card slot was tested with a V90 card, and the results were ok, decent reads but a bit lower on the writes.
For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording in Australia the base model goes for about $1,650 AUD, though a hundred more to get dual channel memory like I have here, exact price will depend on what you select, the exact configuration I’ve got here is just over $1,900 AUD.
For my international viewers that’s around $1050 USD once you convert the currency and remove our taxes, which seems quite good for an i7-8750H and RTX 2060 laptop. So what do you guys think about the Metabox Alpha-X NH58ED laptop? Let’s summarise the good and the bad.
While having powerful specs to play basically any modern game with good settings, the laptop has a clean and professional design without the typical “gamer” aesthetic. The performance is honestly quite impressive once you consider the thermals and fan noise, I was seeing some very nice results with regards to the thermal testing when compared to other machines with the same specs that cost more money.
I liked that the bulky I/O including HDMI, ethernet and power are found on the back of the machine and out of the way. The I/O is otherwise pretty decent, with SD card slot and Type-C port, though USB 2.
0 in 2019 is a bit odd, and as is usually the case with these Clevo units no Thunderbolt 3 support. The removable battery is also nice to have, you could buy spares and very quickly swap in a fully charged one if you want.
Game performance was a bit of a mixed bag, in general it performed closely to other laptops with the same specs that I’ve tested, though with a trend of being a little behind at higher settings. Will you actually notice these small differences in most cases while actually playing? No probably not.
There were some imperfections when testing screen bleed, though this was barely noticeable when viewing darker content, and the results were better when compared to other Metabox units I’ve recently tested.
There’s not really much else to say, overall I found it quite good, if I had to pick some more negatives it would be that the 144Hz screen had a lower contrast ratio than what I’d consider average, and the keyboard lighting can only be set to one colour, though I don’t consider these deal breakers, I just can’t find much else to fault.
This is easily one of the best Clevo units from Metabox I’ve tested so far, based on the specs, overall performance, and price I think they’ve got a real winner here, I can see why so many people have been asking me to test it out.
Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel get subscribed for future tech videos like this one.