The Metabox Prime-V PB51RF-G is a well priced laptop for the specs that are available, and there are quite a few different configuration options to choose from allowing you to get it just how you like, so let’s find out how well it performs and see if it’s worth considering in this detailed review.
There are a few different options you can select when ordering, the configuration we’re looking at here has an 8 core overclockable Intel i9-9980HK CPU, Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics, 16gb of memory in dual channel, a 500GB NVMe M.
2 SSD, and a 4K OLED screen. You can customize when buying though, you can also get an i7-9750H CPU, RTX 2060 graphics, or 1080p 144Hz or 240Hz screen, just to name a few options, you can see all the options available and check updated pricing using the links in the description.
For network connectivity it’s got gigabit ethernet, WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5, but again there are a few different options when ordering. The design is similar to many other Clevo based laptops, black metal lid and black metallic interior.
There were no sharp edges or corners and the build quality felt solid. The weight is listed at 2.5kg, and I found mind pretty spot on with this without a hard drive installed. The total weight rises to almost 3.
4kg once you include the 230 watt power brick and cables for charging. It’s a little thicker than many other 15 inch laptops at around 3cm, hopefully this helps cool the powerful hardware inside, we’ll test thermals a bit later.
It’s similar to many other 15 inch laptops in terms of width and depth though, allowing it to have 8mm thin screen bezels. The 15.6” 4K 60Hz AMOLED panel looks amazing, as you’d expect. I requested this one as I hadn’t previously had the chance to test such a panel in a Clevo chassis.
There’s also a 4K IPS option, or 1080p high refresh rate with G-Sync, however no G-Sync available with my 4K AMOLED panel. If you’re considering it for gaming then it could make sense to pick a config with G-Sync or discrete graphics mode, as this will improve performance.
I’ve tested the screen with the Spyder 5, and got 100% of sRGB, 95% of NTSC, and 99% of AdobeRGB. At 100% brightness I measured the panel at 586 nits in the center with a crazy contrast ratio, all of which are extremely impressive results and benefits from these 4K AMOLED Panels, making them great options for content creators.
If you’re a gamer and would prefer high refresh rate, then simply pick a 144 or 240Hz panel option, it’s great that there’s so much choice. Like other laptops that use this panel, there could be the potential for burn in over time, it uses PWM to adjust brightness which can be irritating for some people’s eyes, mine were fine, and it’s got a glossy finish screen.
There was only a little screen flex when intentionally trying to move it, it felt pretty sturdy as a metal lid, and this is supported with the hinges being out towards the corners. It was possible to open it up with one finger, demonstrating an even weight distribution, no problems using it on my lap.
Despite the thinner screen bezels, the 720p camera is found above the screen in the center. The camera looks pretty average, and the audio sounds pretty good. Here’s what typing on the keyboard sounds like, and this is what it sounds like when we set the fan to max speed.
It’s not actually that loud, and you can still hear it, but you can also hear me just fine too. The keyboard has per key RGB backlighting which lights up all keys and secondary key functions. There are 7 different effects, and the lighting can be adjusted between 4 levels of turned off if you prefer.
The keyboard is very similar to other Clevo machines that I’ve tested in terms of design and feel, and I liked typing with it, here’s how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. Keyboard flex was on the lower side, overall the body felt quite solid, absolutely no issues during normal use.
The glass precision touchpad felt extremely smooth to the touch, but as it’s glass it was easy to smudge up with a slight touch. It doesn’t actually click down and instead has separate left and right click buttons below it, and the size seemed ok.
There’s a fingerprint scanner built into the touchpad, it worked ok though there was a little delay. Fingerprints and dirt show up on the matte black interior and lid, however it was easy enough to clean with a microfiber cloth.
On the left from the back there’s a Kensington lock, air exhaust vent, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, and 3.5mm mic and headphone jacks. On the right from the front there’s a USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port, USB 3.
1 Gen1 Type-A port, and air exhaust vent. The rest of the I/O is found on the back. From left to right there’s gigabit ethernet, HDMI 2.0 and mini DisplayPort 1.3 outputs, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.
3 support, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port and the power input, along with air exhaust vents towards both corners. Both the DisplayPort and HDMI outputs are wired directly to the Nvidia graphics. The front kind of sticks out a bit further than the lid, and there are status LEDs on the left.
The lid was all clean black with just the metabox text logo in the center. Underneath there are some air intake vents towards the back above the fans, along with a number of other ventilation holes. The bottom panel can be removed by taking out 14 Phillips head screws, and this includes 2 for the battery compartment.
You can just take out two screws if you want to get easy access to the removable battery. After that, to get inside, you’ve got to use a pin to push through the screw holes on the base with the keyboard icon on them, then pull off the keyboard carefully being mindful of the ribbon cables attaching it.
There are two more Phillips head screws under here that hold the bottom panel on. Once inside we’ve got the space for the removable battery down the front on the left here, two M.2 slots for storage next to that, two memory slots just above those, WiFi card to the right of that, and 2.
5” drive bay down the front on the right. The speakers are found on the left and right sides towards the front. They sounded ok, fairly average and a bit tinny, though they got quite loud at maximum volume, however the latencymon results weren’t looking ideal.
It’s powered by a 6 cell 62wh removable battery. I’ve tested it with the screen brightness at 50%, background apps disabled, and keyboard lighting off. While just watching YouTube, it lasted for 3 hours and 35 minutes, a below average result, but remember I’ve got some pretty power demanding hardware in my config.
If you configure the laptop with G-Sync, then expect shorter battery life in this mode, as the Nvidia GPU will be in use rather than the lower powered Intel graphics. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for an hour and 7 minutes, and it was able to run at 30 FPS the whole time without dipping.
Now let’s take a look at thermals and see how hot this thing gets. The control panel software lets us pick between three different performance modes, ranging from quiet, entertainment, and performance.
These modes control fan speed, power limits, and overclocking, as listed here. By default they’re applying a -0.1v undervolt to the CPU, as this is pretty fair I haven’t attempted pushing this further.
Inside there are a couple of heatpipes shared between the processor and graphics. Thermals were tested with a 21 degree Celsius ambient room temperature. Idle results down the bottom were ok. Worst case stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress test with CPU only checked and the Heaven benchmark at max settings at the same time, and gaming was tested with Watch Dogs 2 as I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics.
Temperatures in quiet mode were quite warm on the GPU in particular, because although the fan speeds are low, the GPU is still able to perform quite well, we’ll check out some game benchmarks soon. In both entertainment mode or performance mode, although I had the fan set to auto speed, it was actually running the same as max speed by default, so I haven’t included results from both fan speeds, you’ll hear the differences soon.
The temperatures increase going to performance mode, as this boosts the CPU power limit. In performance mode there was some CPU thermal throttling, and even the GPU was reporting as thermal throttling intermittently at 81 degrees.
Using a cooling pad was able to improve things by a decent amount. These are the clock speeds for the same tests, as expected lowest CPU performance in quiet mode due to the low power limit, GPU performance was affected too.
Clock speeds increase in entertainment mode, and then more in performance mode. The cooling pad is really needed to get full GPU performance in these tests, as the thermal throttling wasn’t otherwise removed whether while playing this game, or under stress test.
When looking at the power limits we can see the RTX 2070 was only able to hit its 115 watt limit with the cooling pad in use, and this was due to thermal limitations. We’re actually seeing slightly lower GPU power being hit going from entertainment to performance mode, as this boosts the CPU power limit which in turn adds more heat into the system, causing the GPU to throttle back more.
Although quiet mode has a 15w limit on the CPU, as we can see the GPU power limit was still fair, so many games will still be playable, more on that soon. Obviously different games will be affected differently, but it wasn’t great seeing the GPU thermal throttling without the use of a cooling pad here.
To be fair, with an i7 CPU there would be less heat in the system so it might do better with that configuration. In CPU only workloads like Cinebench, the i9-9980HK was able to perform quite well with some simple tweaks.
For comparison, a best case i7-9750H can hit 3000 points, so the stock performance results aren’t that impressive comparatively. The control panel software does let us boost power limits and clock speed though, and by doing this I was able to significantly improve performance.
In Cinebench specifically, the CPU was running at 110 watts and 4.3GHz on all 8 cores, no thermal or power limit throttling, but current limit throttling was being hit. Here’s how the 9980HK performance compares with other high end laptops I’ve tested.
Compared to most others with the same CPU, it’s doing quite well, the exception being the ASUS Mothership, but it costs 2-3 times the price, uses liquid metal, and has a custom cooling design. Here’s how it looks in the areas where you’ll actually touch, it was in the low 30s at idle, which is the same as most other laptops I test.
With the stress tests going, quiet mode got up to around 50 degrees. In entertainment mode the fan speed increases so it was cooler while performing better, getting to the low 40s on the keyboard, and was only just a little warmer in performance mode.
Even worst case the keyboard area didn’t feel hot, but was definitely warm. Let’s have a listen to how loud the fans get. It was completely silent at idle. With the stress tests running in quiet mode it wasn’t that much louder, then entertainment and performance modes were the same as manually setting max fan speed, at least in this heavy workload.
Realistically compared to many other gaming laptops with similar specs I’ve tested, it’s not quite as loud, however as we’ve seen thermals were a limiting factor, so it’s a trade off. I’ve tested Shadow of the Tomb Raider to see how the different modes actually affect game performance.
While it was possible to boost performance a little with some overclocking and power limit increases, what I found most interesting was that quiet mode still gave acceptable frame rates, especially when you consider how quiet the fans were in this mode, so you can definitely play some games without a loud machine.
It may be more of an issue for CPU heavier titles though, given the 15 watt CPU limit in quiet mode. Next let’s find out just how well it performs in different games. I’ve tested with performance mode enabled for best out of the box results, though we could push the overclocks further as just discussed.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark tool. High settings was needed to average above the 60Hz refresh rate of the screen in this case. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, and I’ve tested it with RTX on, shown by the green bars, and RTX off, shown by the purple bars.
It was still playable with RTX on at high and ultra settings, but the frame rates are down more than you’d probably want for a first person shooter. RTX off performed way better in comparison. Control was also tested with and without RTX, I used the highest RTX settings and the results weren’t amazing but still quite playable for the most part at lower settings, however again frame rate can be drastically improved with RTX off.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the benchmark tool, and the results were quite good for this game, but we’ll see how these stack up against other laptops soon. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings on the lowest possible values, as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets.
Even at max settings the average frame rate wasn’t too far off the 144 FPS frame cap, which was being hit at minimum. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode, and I’ve also tested it with the settings either maxed out or at minimum.
It was still playing without issue at max settings, given the 1% low was higher than the refresh rate of my 60Hz panel. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature, and as a less demanding game even epic settings would be a pretty good match up if you go for the 144Hz screen option, while medium and below would work pretty well with the 240Hz option, but I’d only really consider that for esports titles.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the game’s benchmark tool, and ultimate settings was still able to average above 60 FPS, however as is usually the case with this test, the 1% low was less than half as much, so lower settings may be needed for stability.
Rainbow Six Siege was also tested with the built in benchmark, and as a less demanding title comparatively, even ultra settings was scoring great, and would be paired nicely with the 144Hz panel option.
Let’s also take a look at how this configuration of the Metabox Prime-V PB51RF-G compares with other laptops, use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers.
In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the PB51RF highlighted in red near similarly specced machines. In this game it’s performing similarly to other RTX 2070 laptops, however it’s being beaten by the GX502 as that has G-Sync which can boost gaming performance by up to 15%, so if you’re getting this purely for gaming it could be worth choosing it with G-Sync, as that is an option.
These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings. The results were pretty good here, though again the GX502 was ahead, likely due to the boost it gains by bypassing Optimus.
These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. As a CPU heavy test, we’re finally seeing an improvement due to the i9-9980HK CPU and default undervolt, giving this one of the best results out of the machines listed in this game.
I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K, and the results weren’t quite as good as I expected. Given we’ve got the i9 CPU and RTX 2070, it was interesting that lower specced machines were a little faster, at least in this specific test which is real world for the way I produce my videos.
Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy and Port Royal 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 500GB M.2 NVMe SSD was performing very well, however speeds will depend entirely on what drive you select when ordering, there are quite a few options.
The SD slot was also performing well too, basically able to max out my V90 card on read speeds, and although writes were half as much this is still much better than most others. The SD card slot is on the front and a little awkward to use, but the card clicks the full way in.
For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time. At the time of recording, the entry level config is $2500 AUD while on sale, which is about $1500 USD minus our taxes for my international friends, which is decent for an RTX 2070 and 144Hz laptop.
Once you spec it up to what I’ve got here, so 8 core i9 CPU, 4K AMOLED screen, 500GB SSD and WiFi 6, we’re looking at $3800 AUD, or around $2300 USD, but it’s important to note stuff in Australia typically costs more than the US too so that isn’t the best conversion.
With all of that in mind let’s conclude by looking at the good and bad aspects of the Metabox Prime-V PB51RF-G laptop. Overall I liked the clean metal build, there are quite a few options when ordering so you can build it to your needs.
Considering the high end hardware I’ve got here, the machine wasn’t that big or heavy. If you’re planning on primarily using this laptop for gaming, you could probably save a fair bit of money just getting the i7-9750H CPU with the default 144Hz screen, however if you do need that sweet sweet multicore performance, then the i9-9980HK was able to offer some good results compared to others that I’ve tested in CPU only workloads.
It wasn’t great that there was thermal throttling while gaming on the GPU, I was only able to get full performance by using a cooling pad. To be fair though, this is with the more demanding i9, I would expect this to be less of an issue with the lower powered i7, but I can’t say for sure without testing, plus this would vary by game anyway.
As we saw, many titles still performed very competitively. Opening it up was a bit of a challenge, however it was nice to see the three storage options, which isn’t too common for 15” machines. The addition of Thunderbolt 3 was nice, most Clevo laptops I’ve tested omit that feature, and although the SD card slot was quite fast, it was a bit awkward to access on the front of the machine, but definitely better than not having it.
The 4K AMOLED panel option is another benefit for content creators, but if that’s not your thing there are 144Hz and 240Hz 1080p options too with and without G-Sync. The removable battery offered below average battery life outside of gaming, granted I’m testing with above average specs here.
Being removable is an uncommon and a nice feature, if you’re able to buy extras it could make replacing them quick and easy, however unlike other Clevo models like the Alpha-X from Metabox I’ve previously reviewed that had a toolless design, the Prime-V requires you to remove two screws.
Overall for the money, I think it’s offering a lot of value compared to the competition. I’d consider the i9 CPU if you do primarily CPU heavy load, but if you’re going to be smashing both the CPU and GPU together, like video exporting or gaming, then performance can suffer.
Regardless, as we saw in the game comparisons, it’s still performing quite well in most titles, and the option of running very quietly while still offering good performance will appeal to many. If you’re looking for a bang for buck gaming machine, then I’d probably check out their Alpha-X series instead, which has excellent cooling and performance for less money.
Let me know what you thought about the Metabox Prime-V PB51RF-G laptop down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech videos like this one.