The Metabox Alpha-X NH58RC is a well priced laptop for the specs that you get, and it’s using one of the best Clevo models I’ve tested to date with excellent thermals for the performance on offer, so let’s find out just how well it performs in this detailed review.
Starting with the specs my unit has an Intel i7-9750H CPU, Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics, 16GB of memory running in dual channel, a 15.6” 1080p 144Hz screen, and a 512GB M.2 NVMe 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 ok, all viewing angles were fine though there’s no G-Sync available here.
I’ve measured the colour gamut of the screen using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 96% of sRGB, 67% of NTSC and 72% of AdobeRGB. At 100% brightness I measured the panel at 304 nits in the center, and with a 630:1 contrast ratio, so overall about average for a gaming laptop and still decent for other tasks like photo or video editing, though the lower contrast was occasionally noticeable, 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 in the past anyway, however results will vary between laptop and panel.
There was some 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 were looking good. 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, so 15 screws all up.
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 bottom 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 1 minute.
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 battery lasted for 1 hour and 9 minutes, and the frame rate didn’t drop at any point.
The result while gaming was about average in this test, though lower than I’d like to see outside of gaming but at least the battery is easy to swap so you could get spares. 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 22 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. The laptop did come undervolted by just -0.05 volts out of the box, so this should help a little.
At the bottom of the graph, at idle in the quiet mode the temperatures were pretty good considering the fans were completely silent. The rest of the results are combined CPU and GPU workloads and are meant to represent worst case scenarios as I tested them for extended periods of time.
The gaming tests in the upper half were done with Watch Dogs 2, while the stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress test with only stress CPU checked and the Heaven benchmark at maximum settings to fully load the system.
All tests were completed with the fan at maximum speed, as you’ll hear soon under these workloads it ran up to max speed anyway so I didn’t need to test with it manually raised. Starting with the stress test with everything default, the hottest the CPU got was 84 degrees Celsius, which is honestly an impressive result for the i7-9750H these days, under this same workload in most other machines I’ve covered it easily rises above 90 degrees.
Keep in mind all these tests are with the default -0.05v undervolt, so we could probably improve them further by pushing this more, though my particular unit didn’t like going much further so haven’t tested with other levels, it would vary by chip though.
The cooling pad improved thermals by 5 to 6 degrees in the stress tests, and by 7 to 9 degrees while gaming, a bit more than I expected considering the fewer vents underneath. These are the average clock speeds for the same tests just shown.
Not only are we getting excellent thermals, there are no power limits preventing us reaching the full 4GHz all core turbo boost speed under this stress test. During the stress tests the CPU was averaging a 51 watt TDP and peaked at 56 watts, PL1 is set to 60 watts, so quite impressive results and a good configuration.
I guess this is what you’re able to do when the machine isn’t too thin. Just quickly here’s what we’re looking at in Cinebench at stock, so pretty average results for the 9750H based on the few machines I’ve tested so far.
As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle it was in the low 30s, fairly average. While under stress test the results were basically the same as gaming, getting to low to mid 40s in the center, so a little warm but still fine.
As for the fan noise produced by the laptop I’ll let you have a listen to some of these tests. At idle in the quiet mode it was completely silent, I couldn’t hear any fan noise at all. While gaming or under stress test it was at maximum speed already, so there was no difference, at least while testing in performance mode, definitely not quite as loud as many other machines I’ve tested.
Next let’s take a look at some gaming benchmarks, I’ve tested these games with these Nvidia drivers with performance mode in the control center software enabled. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, and it was running well even with ultra settings, still above 70 FPS averages with the 1% low not too far behind, and around 120 FPS possible at low settings.
Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings at the lowest possible values as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. It played alright at maximum settings, but we could get a massive 66% higher average frame rate at minimum.
Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark, and the results here were pretty good due to our good CPU performance, as this is a game that works well with higher CPU power. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark, and is another that relies on the CPU, so we’re seeing quite good results at lower settings with this test in particular.
The Witcher 3 was tested with hairworks disabled, and it was still playing well with ultra settings. Decent average frame rates, though 1% lows were a bit further behind so I’d probably stick with high settings.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and the results are great at lower settings compared to other machines thanks to that CPU performance, while highest settings was still able to get above 60 FPS.
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.
At maximum settings 120 FPS averages were reached with around 100 for the 1% low, with 200 FPS just reached at low. 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, while medium settings was giving 1% lows higher than the refresh rate of the display, so running extremely smoothly.
Overwatch is another game that is well optimized and runs on pretty much anything. Even with epic settings it was playing well with average FPS not too far behind the refresh rate of the screen. Watch Dogs 2 is a resource intensive game, but it was still playing well enough at ultra, though the 1% lows were a bit lower than I’d like.
At very high settings it was running perfectly fine and still able to average above 60 FPS. 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 NH58RC highlighted in red. As a game that prefers CPU power we’re getting good results here, with average frame rates close to the RTX 2060 machines, and fair 1% low results too.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings the NH58RC was behind the Helios 300 with same specs as that machine has a higher out of the box undervolt and also overclocks the graphics, but we’ll compare these more soon.
In Battlefield 5 with ultra settings we’re seeing the NH58RC doing pretty well. The average FPS was still more than the thermally throttling Dell G5 with RTX 2060, but the 1% low result was excellent due to the higher CPU power limit and small default undervolt.
Overall the gaming performance was pretty good, all games ran well even at higher setting levels. I’ve found the 1660 Ti to be a great sweet spot in terms of value for money when it comes to laptops, especially when paired with dual channel memory and the i7-9750H CPU like we’ve got here.
Add in the 144Hz screen upgrade and this laptop is offering a great gaming experience. Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy and VRMark from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results.
I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, and my 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD was performing alright, with read speeds almost doubling the writes. The SD slot was pretty decent too, not amazing, but definitely ahead of most others.
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 $1,550 AUD, though about one hundred and sixty more to get dual channel memory and the 144Hz screen like I’ve got here.
For my international viewers, the same Clevo chassis is being sold on Amazon for around $1200 USD. In the US this is the same price as the Acer Helios 300, which I think I would lean towards personally if they’re the same price, however here in Australia I’m expecting the Helios 300 to be a fair bit more expensive.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Helios 300 is around the $2000 AUD mark, given they’re still selling the last gen model here for that price, so at least here in Australia the NH58RC is probably going to offer better value.
So what do you guys think about the Metabox Alpha-X NH58RC laptop? Let’s summarise the good and the bad. While having decent 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, which would be good as outside of gaming battery life was on the lower side.
As usual with most of these Clevo units I’ve tested screen bleed seems to be more present when compared against other machines, otherwise again I just have to mention how impressed I was with the thermals considering the higher 60 watt CPU power limit, which allowed us to maintain solid turbo speeds under combined CPU and GPU stress test.
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.
Like the other Alpha-X model I’ve covered, the NH58ED, 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 the Alpha-X series is offering great value for money, especially here in Australia where bigger brands cost way more than they do in the US.
Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel consider subscribing for future laptop reviews and tech videos like this one.