Schenker XMG U506 review

Looking for the very latest 6th-generation Intel Skylake processor in your next PC? Silicon stocks for mobile may be limited but Schenker UK has managed to cram one into a laptop. Here's our XMG U506 review.

Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals

The U506 is powered by a desktop-class Intel Core i5 quad-core CPU, on this model the 6600K variant although options include 6600, 6700 and 6700K. The all-important graphics for gaming are either Nvidia GTX 980M or as here 970M. You can load up to 32GB system memory, and this new generation ushers in DDR4 for the first time. Our sample had 8GB of 2400MHz on two sticks.

Storage options abound. There are four bays available, two each for 2.5in SATA and M.2 2280. And its M.2 spec goes all the way to PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe. Schenker is currently fitting up to Samsung SM951 (AHCI) but 950 PRO (NVMe) will soon follow.

Thanks to the desktop-class CPU and X170 chipset, this machine also packs Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB 3.1 on a combined USB-C port, beating even Apple to market with 40Gb/s Thunderbolt.

Schenker XMG U506 review

Ordinarily, fitting desktop CPUs to notebooks is a complete no-no for reasons of heat and battery demand, yet this chip’s TDP of ‘only’ 91W using latest Skylake power management really works here. The generous 38mm chassis, two fans and plentiful heatpipes assist thermal management. In use, fans were no louder than other gaming laptops; and with its 82Wh removable battery the U506 survived two hours and 23 minutes of streaming video wirelessly through its 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Build quality is outhouse-class, unashamedly chunky and utilitarian, but eminently serviceable with two slide-off underside plates for component access. It's an enthusiast machine through and through. The display is another crowning achievement, a matt IPS panel with superb image quality and little glare. The full-HD panel had up to 630:1 contrast ratio and 90 percent sRGB gamut.

Schenker XMG U506 review: Performance

Nvidia 970M graphics are central to gameplay, allowing maxed-out settings for one display in typical games. With 6GB of memory, two DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 you can also connect bigger external displays.

With G-Sync disengaged, the U506 averaged 113fps in High-detail Tomb Raider, and 58fps set to Ultimate. Batman: Arkham City started at 115fps and was still playing 86fps in top Extreme mode.

Averaging 27fps, Metro: Last Light in Very High with all effects could be upgraded to 88fps by simply reducing effects and setting to High instead.

Beyond gaming, it averaged 12784 points in Geekbench 3 from this non-Hyper Threading 3.5GHz CPU; or a record-beating 4182 points single-core. PCMark 8 Home returned a round 4000 points, very much a superior desktop result.

Schenker XMG U506: Specs

  • 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) 141 ppi IPS matt anti-glare LCD
  • 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-6600K (3.9GHz Turbo) 4C, 4T
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Clevo P751DM-G chassis
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M with 6GB GDDR5 RAM + (unused) Intel HD Graphics 530
  • 8GB (2x 4GB) 2400MHz DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD (Samsung SM951) + 1TB 7200rpm HDD
  • gigabit ethernet (Qualcomm Killer E2400)
  • 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO (Qualcomm Killer Wireless-AC 1525)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • cellular data option in spare M.2 slot
  • 3x USB 3.0, 1x eSATA/USB 3.0
  • 2x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0
  • USB Type C (Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB 3.1)
  • SDXC card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 2Mp webcam
  • dual array mic
  • 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5 mm Toslink S/PDIF, 3.5mm mic in, 3.5mm line in
  • UK tiled with multi-colour backlight, numberpad
  • two-button trackpad with fingerprint sensor, 108 x 62mm
  • 82Wh lithium-ion removable battery
  • 230W mains charger with IEC C13 inlet
  • 387 x 266 x 37.5mm
  • 3.4kg
  • 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) 141 ppi IPS matt anti-glare LCD
  • 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-6600K (3.9GHz Turbo) 4C, 4T
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Clevo P751DM-G chassis
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M with 6GB GDDR5 RAM + (unused) Intel HD Graphics 530
  • 8GB (2x 4GB) 2400MHz DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD (Samsung SM951) + 1TB 7200rpm HDD
  • gigabit ethernet (Qualcomm Killer E2400)
  • 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO (Qualcomm Killer Wireless-AC 1525)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • cellular data option in spare M.2 slot
  • 3x USB 3.0, 1x eSATA/USB 3.0
  • 2x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0
  • USB Type C (Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB 3.1)
  • SDXC card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 2Mp webcam
  • dual array mic
  • 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5 mm Toslink S/PDIF, 3.5mm mic in, 3.5mm line in
  • UK tiled with multi-colour backlight, numberpad
  • two-button trackpad with fingerprint sensor, 108 x 62mm
  • 82Wh lithium-ion removable battery
  • 230W mains charger with IEC C13 inlet
  • 387 x 266 x 37.5mm
  • 3.4kg

OUR VERDICT

Slipping a performance desktop PC processor into a laptop may seem lunacy but Schenker gets away with it, aided by the 14nm Skylake architecture. How much it actually helps gaming is moot, since we’ve seen Nvidia GTX 970M run as fast or faster in laptops with mobile-class chips. Besides benchmark-busing results, Skylake also means state-of-the-art connectivity like Thunderbolt 3. As a workstation – gaming or CAD – the chassis and top components make a powerhouse with real performance to spare.