Sager NP8156 Gaming Laptop Review

Game Benchmarks

Alien: Isolation

The Sager NP8156 goes head to head against the MSI Phantom Pro in Alien Isolation. This game isn’t very demanding, so the i7-7700HQ and GTX 1060 configuration is capable of superb frame rates. Alternatively, the Sager NP6852 delivers 94.35 FPS, or about 37% less performance. This is still a respectable frame rate, so you can invest in a cheaper configuration and save a few hundred dollars if this game is your jam.

Ashes of the Singularity

On the other hand, Ashes of the Singularity is much more taxing. The Sager NP8165 delivers a playable 37.7 FPS, whereas Sager’s low end offering isn’t quite capable of 30 FPS. The Acer Predator 17 performs much better because of its more powerful GTX 1070, but even then a smooth 60 FPS is still about 15 FPS out of reach. Whether you choose the NP8165 or go the GTX 1070 route, you’ll still need to dial back your settings if you want to enjoy 60 FPS.

Bioshock Infinite

Like with Alien: Isolation, getting good framerates isn’t out of the realm of possibility with a GTX 1060 in Bioshock Infinite. Our NP8165 easily surpasses 100 FPS, so feel free to keep your settings maximized. A GTX 1050 Ti can still deliver more than 60 FPS.

DiRT Rally

The Sager NP8165 comes so close to 60 FPS in DiRT Rally at maximum settings, so just a little tweak to the game settings will push this system over the 60 FPS threshold. On the low end, the NP6852 manages to deliver playable frame rates, but you'll need to make more severe compromises to bring it anywhere near a more robust GTX 1060 configuration.

Grand Theft Auto V


Grand Theft Auto V’s varied benchmark scenes stress our gaming laptops to different degrees. Some scenes are manageable and others downright demolish your framerate. Thus, the NP8165’s performance is a mixed bag, netting decent performance in most scenes at this price tag. The killer scene is Vinewood Sign, which drops the NP8165 to less than 30 FPS. You’ll need at least a GTX 1070-based laptop to exceed 30 FPS here; in fact Acer’s configuration comes close to 60 FPS in several scenes and surpasses it in Del Perro Pier. Note how tight the two 1060-based laptops are, performance-wise.

GRID Autosport

We’ve found that GPUs with high base clocks receive a considerable boost in GRID Autosport. The GTX 1060 is clocked higher than the GTX 1070 (1670MHz vs. 1645MHz), so the performance difference between the two is slimmer than you'd expect. Investing in the higher priced system only delivers 2% more performance, so you can safely choose the NP8165 if GRID Autosport is your game of choice and price is a major factor.

Hitman

Hitman is heavily impacted by GPU performance. The NP8165 delivers with a handful of frames to spare, but the stronger Predator 17 grants gamers that extra ounce of confidence. The NP6852 doesn’t fare as well because of its under-powered GTX 1050 Ti; it's almost 50% slower.

Metro: Last Light Redux

Metro: Last Light Redux is a heavier hitter than Hitman, so the NP8156’s performance falls below 60 FPS. The Acer Predator 17 offers about 37% additional performance, pulling the frame rate comfortably above 60 FPS. Still, this isn’t as bad as the underpowered GTX 1050 Ti, which cannot even deliver 30 FPS. Potential buyers will either have to live with the GTX 1060’s limitations and turn back the settings, or consider a more powerful, but higher priced system.

Rise of the Tomb Raider


If you thought Metro: Last Light Redux was tough on these laptops, think again. Rise of the Tomb Raider inflicts a heavier performance drop, landing our NP8156 down to about 39 FPS. Even the Acer laptop cannot handle RoTR’s demanding benchmark, so upgrading to a GTX 1070-equipped system won’t pull your frame rate above 60 FPS unless you dial back a couple settings. If you don't want to compromise here, you have to be willing to buy a GTX 1080-based system such as the MSI GT73VR Titan Pro.

The Division

The Division’s benchmark is a sigh of relief for the Sager NP8165, which is capable of 53 FPS; that'll easily translate to 60+ when you turns a few of the settings down. But of course, the Predator will offer just as much performance without a decrease in visual fidelity.

Thief


The Sager NP8165 delivers excellent frame rates in Thief, which is relatively easy-to-run title. Comparatively, the lower-end Sager performs 33% slower, or well below 60 FPS.


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21 comments
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  • jaber2
    If I was looking for a gaming laptop your test has convinced me this isn't it, and that I should look at acer
  • JQB45
    I was interested till I saw "Inefficient CPU cooling", that's when I decided this wasn't for me. The lack of a standard hard drive to go with the SSD wasn't a deal breaker for me as a 1TB HDD is a fairly cheap and relatively easy upgrade. But I've had a laptop with poor cooling - Never Again will I allow myself to have a laptop with poor CPU OR GPU cooling.
  • Giroro
    I'm looking at Sager's configuration tool.

    The M.2 SSD defaults to a 250GB Western Digital blue SATA drive. A SanDisk X400 isn't even a selectable option.
  • deadsmiley
    Good review. I have dealt with Sager and cooling issues before with my NP8278. SHOULDN'T have to deal with it.
  • Clamyboy74
    You forgot to mention another deal-breaker, it can switch between G-sync and optimus if you want to save battery life. I don't know how you guys could possibly miss this, its mentioned in the manual too (C-2 in the back of the manual)
  • Clamyboy74
    Also, many resellers (Xoticpc, HID, Gentech) sell this exact laptop for a lower price (WITH 1TB HDD around $50 less) than the sager store, and you get a much better warranty along with it through the reseller. There is also a 120hz option (although it costs extra) which is nice and might be a good investment for fps gamers. Lastly, xotic and HID both support prema bios, which allows you to tweak many settings that are locked by default without voiding warranty, so you could undervolt the cpu and get an even better battery life. Best thing about sager/clevo to me is the huge amount customization that they allow, unlike every other manufacturer
  • HERETIC-1
    Hi Alex,
    Need to move the decimal point in the specs-even the evil crapple can't
    make a lappy that thin.(.098" 2.5mm)
    In your internal description-" two 2.5" SATA slots and one M.2 slot for storage"
    I believe there's 2 x M2 slots-I think if you go NVME you can only use one-
    but if SATA you can use both...............................................
  • cats_Paw
    +35 dollars for a thermal compound.
    Btw, check the difference in price between a 1060 and a 1070....
    Then check the price difference between a laptop with a 1060 and a 1070 (everything else the same).

    Its a rip off.
  • JQB45
    151198 said:
    +35 dollars for a thermal compound. Btw, check the difference in price between a 1060 and a 1070.... Then check the price difference between a laptop with a 1060 and a 1070 (everything else the same). Its a rip off.


    Just for reference, what is the difference? I felt the same way when comparing the 960m or 965m to the 970m.
  • drajitsh
    Unless you live deep inside a cave, in Siberia (cold & dark) why would you want a laptop with such a horrible display and poor cooling.
    If you are not gaming, or the laptop is overheating, you can always switch off the DGPU and use the iGPU, but I can't think of any case where you can switch off the CPU
  • inmyrav
    Is it loud?
  • Brandon_29
    Sager has a ton of model selection. Personally the choice to review here is in question. Plus they often offer several screen options. I have a Sager I purchased from XoticPC and it has a very nice IPS (1080p) display. I have owned several Sager's. So far the only issue I have had with any of them is heat (on some, but not all) and I had one cracked bezel around the bottom side of the screen. When I purchased my last one it was 600 cheaper than the exact same specs from anyone else. It still runs like a champ and I have never had any issue gaming with it. It came with a free cooler stand, but I never needed to use it.
  • hst101rox
    So that cooling solution is basically an MSI GS63VR or GS73VR .. and they are planning on releasing a 7700HQ with a 1070 GPU option within a month or so.
  • hst101rox
    No bottom pics of the fans you took off to get the manufacturer of the fans, model numbers, voltage and amperage?
  • hst101rox
    You didn't mention if the CPU throttled when it reached that high temperature. It probably did..
  • nibb0r
    Thanks, Clamyboy74 for mentioning that this model can switch between G-sync enabled and Optimus enabled. That was my first question after reading this review, because it sounds like that ability (very useful, I think) is exclusive to only some Clevo/Sager laptops.

    But I also would like to know if this laptop supports charging via USB-PD? Alexander says "the DC power input" as if the power connector is the only way to charge, but given that this laptop has two USB Type-C ports (very good to see!) I hope that they support the gamut of options this port could provide. I want to plug in only one cable to my laptop to connect USB peripherals, ethernet, displayport monitors, and to begin charging. On that note, do these USB Type-C ports support full 40 Gbs Thunderbolt 3, or are they limited in bandwidth as we see in the XPS 15?
  • nibb0r
    Thanks, Clamyboy74 for mentioning that this model can switch between G-sync enabled and Optimus enabled. That was my first question after reading this review, because it sounds like that ability (very useful, I think) is exclusive to only some Clevo/Sager laptops.

    But I also would like to know if this laptop supports charging via USB-PD? Alexander says "the DC power input" as if the power connector is the only way to charge, but given that this laptop has two USB Type-C ports (very good to see!) I hope that they support the gamut of options this port could provide. I want to plug in only one cable to my laptop to connect USB peripherals, ethernet, displayport monitors, and to begin charging. On that note, do these USB Type-C ports support full 40 Gbs Thunderbolt 3, or are they limited in bandwidth as we see in the XPS 15?
  • hst101rox
    How much CPU load is incurred by Furmark? Thought it was light on the CPU but extremely heavy on the GPU.
  • Clamyboy74
    2444676 said:
    Thanks, Clamyboy74 for mentioning that this model can switch between G-sync enabled and Optimus enabled. That was my first question after reading this review, because it sounds like that ability (very useful, I think) is exclusive to only some Clevo/Sager laptops. But I also would like to know if this laptop supports charging via USB-PD? Alexander says "the DC power input" as if the power connector is the only way to charge, but given that this laptop has two USB Type-C ports (very good to see!) I hope that they support the gamut of options this port could provide. I want to plug in only one cable to my laptop to connect USB peripherals, ethernet, displayport monitors, and to begin charging. On that note, do these USB Type-C ports support full 40 Gbs Thunderbolt 3, or are they limited in bandwidth as we see in the XPS 15?


    No. Usb c cannot supply enough power to this laptop since it is rated around 180 watts under full load, and usb c only supports ~60 watts max. As for thunderbolt 3, there is no mention of it, although I dont know why you would use a dGPU when you have a 1060 already.
  • nibb0r
    Unfortunately, just looking at the laptop's load can't fully answer if it supports USB-PD. Yes, most chargers only support 60W or 65W but the specification does allow for up to 100W. And there exist gaming laptops that do lose charge when plugged in and under load, anyway, with the AC adapters they came with.

    I know that with a laptop using more than 100W there is no chance to indefinitely power the machine over USB-PD but idle usage is generally well under 30W on even high performance laptops, and so I would find the feature still very convenient.
  • StormFalcon
    Just wanted to point out, this laptop is actually $1400 as configured not $1600. Never buy things directly from the manufacturer. Get it from Xotic.