Portfolio & Technical Specifications

XMG laptops are divided into different series. All series have in common that they have a dedicated graphics card and a powerful cooling system. Thus, all XMG series are generally suitable for both gaming and long-running professional applications. Nevertheless, there are considerable differences between the series in terms of peak computing power, display characteristics, weight, I/O port distribution and so on.

Technical overview of the range

For a complete overview of the technical features, we offer these comparison tables:

You’ll find a large overview table and further details about specific models of each individual series in additional tabs (found at the top of the screen). This overview focuses on the most important similarities and differences – for further information there are links to support threads and the full spec sheets in the store at the bottom of each table.

Individual consultation

In addition to these resources, we of course also offer individual consulting via email, telephone hotline or in our community forums. For a written request, we ideally need information about the intended use, budget, screen size/portability preferences, and any other special requests (Thunderbolt, maximum SSD/RAM capacity, etc.).

The highest GPU performance is currently available in the form of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 in XMG NEO and XMG ULTRA, closely followed by the RTX 3070 in XMG APEX and (again) XMG NEO.

XMG PRO can also be equipped with RTX 3070 and RTX 3080. However, the graphics cards in XMG PRO are subject to the Max Q design, which makes them more efficient overall, but their peak performance at 105 Watt cannot reach up to the Max P counterparts in XMG APEX, NEO and ULTRA.

Segmentation

VR headsets can be roughly divided into two categories:

  • Wireless headsets, which can be connected to the PC via radio
  • Wired headsets with HDMI or DisplayPort cables
Wireless headsets

A good example for a wireless headset is the Oculus Quest 2, which can be connected to a PC or laptop via Air Link using a WLAN router in the 5GHz spectrum. We can confirm that this connection works with all XMG laptops – regardless of whether they use a hybrid graphics solution or not.

The HTC Vive Wireless Adapter, on the other hand, does not work on laptops because it requires a full-sized PCI Express slot of a desktop PC. An external PCIe connection via Thunderbolt is not possible with this solution (presumably for latency reasons).

Wired headsets

Wired headsets require HDMI or DisplayPort outputs which are directly connected to the dedicated graphics card. This also includes adapter solutions like TPCAST, which take an HDMI or DisplayPort signal and forward it over the air.

Such headsets are compatible with all XMG laptops with three exceptions:

In these three models, the HDMI/DisplayPort outputs are connected to the Intel graphics unit, which in turn is connected to the dedicated graphics via NVIDIA Optimus (MSHybrid). This hybrid graphics technology works smoothly for gaming on external monitors and all sorts of professional applications. But it does not work for VR headsets. Rather than simply identifying themselves as external monitors to the operating system, VR headsets require a tighter, direct connection to the dedicated graphics card.

All other XMG series – i.e. XMG CORE 15 and CORE 17, XMG NEO, FUSION, APEX, PRO, and ULTRA – are not affected by this restriction – they have both HDMI and DisplayPort wires directly to the dedicated GPU.

DisplayPort via USB-C vs. dedicated Mini DisplayPort

Nevertheless, there is also a significant difference between the aforementioned VR-capable series:

  • XMG CORE, NEO and FUSION output DisplayPort only via USB-C and Thunderbolt.
  • XMG APEX, PRO and ULTRA still have a classic Mini DisplayPort output in addition to the USB-C port.

This does not matter for first-generation VR headsets (such as the first HTC Vive), because these headsets still used HDMI to connect to the PC. Newer headsets (such as the HP Reverb G2), on the other hand, use the slightly more powerful DisplayPort standard. There are passive adapters that can losslessly pass the DisplayPort signal from USB-C to the DisplayPort connectors of the VR headset. The most powerful adapter of this kind according to our research is linked here. With this adapter, we and our customers have been able to get almost every single VR headset to work on XMG CORE, NEO and FUSION thus far.

Almost every single VR headset?

One currently known exception is the HP Reverb G1 (predecessor of the G2). This 2019 VR headset does not seem to work with USB-C/DisplayPort adapters because it requires a 3.3V power source via DisplayPort. This rather outdated 3.3V signal (pin 20 on DisplayPort) is not implemented with USB-C. USB-C is designed for 5V, but the G1 wants 3.3V – no more, no less.

Virtually all other wired VR headsets we know of draw their power from their own power supply or from a 5V source via a secondary USB-C or USB-A cable. However, the Reverb G1 went a bit of a special route at the time (2019) and is thus not compatible with XMG CORE, NEO and FUSION according to current knowledge. It is relatively unlikely that future headsets will go this 3.3V special route again – after all, running VR headsets on gaming laptops is becoming more and more common and is therefore also taken into account during the design stage of new headsets. Still, this is a good example that there are still some good reasons to want a dedicated Mini-DisplayPort for a VR laptop – better safe than sorry.

Mini DisplayPort is alive!

Even if your desired VR headset can easily be adapted to USB-C/DP, it is worth taking a look at XMG APEX, PRO and ULTRA. Their Mini DisplayPort port is at least as powerful as the USB-C or Thunderbolt port in the other three series, but you will save yourself another adapter and thus a potential source of interference for future headsets or other borderline situations.

You still need an adapter from Full Size DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort, but it is currently included in almost every VR headset, and this adaptation is also much less complex than USB-C. Mini-DP and Full Size DP are 100% pin-to-pin compatible, while USB-C has to jump through a whole series of hoops before it arrives in the headset.

USB-C is alive, too!

Despite this excursion into benefits of Mini DP, we would like to emphasize once again: modern headsets like Valve Index, HTC Vive Pro 2, HP Reverb G2 and the headsets designed for commercial use from Varjo work flawlessly via USB-C – especially on the XMG NEO, which has the highest GPU computing power of the mentioned three series with USB-C thanks to the RTX 3080 with up to 165 watts of GPU power.

G-SYNC vs. Adaptive Sync

External displays that support G-SYNC or AMD FreeSync via DisplayPort can be roughly divided into two categories:

  • A) Those that use a proprietary G-SYNC module (introduced in 2013).
  • B) Those that adhere to the “Adaptive Sync” standard defined by VESA (introduced in 2014).

The latter group includes all monitors advertised as “FreeSync”, “G-SYNC Compatible” or “Adaptive Sync”. The G-SYNC mode in newer monitors advertised with “G-SYNC ULTIMATE” now also supports the VESA standard (see discussion here).

Another way to look at it, is thus: any monitor that is known to support Adaptive Sync (VRR) on AMD graphic solutions (both laptop and desktop) will have the VESA standard implemented.

Product overview

A well sorted overview can be found here:

Monitors marked with “G-SYNC” (not G-SYNC ULTIMATE, not G-SYNC “Compatible”) in NVIDIA’s list use the older, proprietary G-SYNC module and require a laptop that has the DisplayPort signal directly connected to an NVIDIA graphics card. This would include all XMG laptops except XMG CORE 14, XMG FOCUS 15 and XMG FOCUS 17.

In other words, the following models are fully compatible with any G-SYNC and FreeSync monitors:

Adaptive Sync and FreeSync

Monitors that implement the VESA standard (i.e. that don’t use the proprietary, older G-SYNC module) might prefer a connection via the NVIDIA graphics card, but can also be used via NVIDIA Optimus (MSHybrid) with a DisplayPort signal from the Intel GPU with Adaptive Sync – but only with Intel GPUs from the 11th generation Intel Core. They also work with AMD’s iGPU in AMD Ryzen processors.

Thus, the following statement applies to the DisplayPort signal connected via iGPU in XMG CORE 14, FOCUS 15 and FOCUS 17: Adaptive Sync is supported on those monitors that have implemented the VESA standard (see category B). However, there seem to be a few restrictions regarding the supported game engines with the Intel GPU. We have highlighted more details about this in this article:

In the article, XMG NEO is mentioned because the article uses the internal display of the laptop (which is connected to the Intel GPU by default) as an example. The descriptions and conclusions in this article also fully apply to external monitors on XMG CORE 14 and XMG FOCUS series and any other laptop with their DisplayPort outputs wired to the Intel 11th Gen (or later) iGPU.

Disabling NVIDIA Optimus

NVIDIA Optimus (also known as MSHybrid) can be disabled for the internal screen in XMG CORE (with exceptions) and XMG NEO (without exceptions). Models with desktop CPUs do not have NVIDIA Optimus implemented at all.

Disabling NVIDIA Optimus will require the laptop to consume more energy in idle because the dedicated graphics card can no longer turn itself off. The advantage on the other hand is slightly increased FPS values in gaming, especially at low resolutions (1080p) and reduced quality settings. This review from early 2020 (Jarrod’s Tech on Youtube) gives some good examples of this.

Bypassing NVIDIA Optimus

NVIDIA Optimus can be bypassed with external monitors, since the external ports (HDMI and DisplayPort, including USB-C and Thunderbolt) in XMG laptops are directly connected to the dedicated graphics card. Exceptions here are XMG CORE 14, FOCUS 15 and FOCUS 17 which have both internal displays and external ports connected to the iGPU via NVIDIA Optimus.

USB-C requires support for DisplayPort

Except for XMG FOCUS, all XMG laptops have at least one USB-C port with DisplayPort support. Thus, except for XMG FOCUS, all XMG laptops are generally suitable for docking stations via USB-C. Nevertheless, there are certain differences in the USB-C ports:

  • XMG CORE 14 is the only model with a USB-C port that can also be used to charge the laptop. All other laptops require the laptop’s power supply to be connected directly to the laptop.
  • Some models only offer a single DisplayPort signal via USB-C.
  • Other models offer two simultaneous, parallel DisplayPort signals via USB-C and Thunderbolt, respectively.
1x DisplayPort vs. 2x DisplayPort

The distinction between 1xDP and 2xDP determines how many monitors you can connect to a docking station and whether that docking station requires an MST chipset to split DisplayPort. Rule of thumb:

  • If the dock does not have an MST splitter and the laptop only offers 1xDP over USB-C, then only a single monitor can be operated on the dock
  • However, if the laptop offers 2xDP via USB-C, then two monitors can be used on an MST-free dock.
  • If the dock has an MST splitter, then the number of supported monitors depends on their resolution and refresh rate

Splitting the DisplayPort signal via MST (Multi-Stream Transport) splits the bandwidth of the DisplayPort signal. For example, if a laptop supports a maximum resolution of 4K in 60Hz via DisplayPort 1.2, then a maximum of 2x 4K with 30Hz can be operated behind an MST splitter. Not only the DisplayPort version of the laptop plays a role here, but also which DisplayPort version is supported by the docking station. DisplayPort 1.2 is the fairly common minimum – DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 are rather rare.

You can find out which laptops have 1xDP or 2xDP via USB-C in our product overview and in the respective notebook’s data sheet.

Maximum resolution and refresh rate

Which resolution and refresh rates you could achieve with the respective DisplayPort versions can be found in this table:

Whether a docking station has an MST splitter is not always clear from its data sheet. In principle, you can say: if MST (Multi-Stream Transport) is not explicitly advertised in the docking station’s extended spec sheet, you can assume that the docking station does not have an MST splitter.

Hybrid graphics

Battery runtime is a function of battery capacity and energy consumption. Laptops with hybrid graphics (NVIDIA Optimus or MSHybrid) generally have a lower energy consumption because the dedicated graphics card can turn itself off when not in use. We offer hybrid graphics solutions in all XMG laptops except those that use a desktop CPU, those being XMG APEX 15 MAX (Late 2021, planned) and XMG ULTRA 17.

Battery capacity

We currently offer the largest battery capacity in XMG FUSION 15 and XMG NEO 15 with 93Wh, closely followed by XMG PRO with 73Wh. To extend the battery life, we recommend keeping the dedicated graphics card inactive. A detailed guide on this topic is posted at the bottom of the FAQ category “Troubleshooting”.

Battery mode reduces peak performance

Please note: high-performance laptops are generally not able provide their maximum performance in battery mode during intensive computing use (gaming, rendering). The dedicated GPU in particular is throttled considerably in battery mode to conserve battery health. Gaming in battery mode is theoretically possible, but will play much better when running on the integrated graphics. This is especially true for laptops with AMD Ryzen and Intel Core from 11th Gen, as these generations have comparatively powerful and highly efficient integrated graphics units. To set whether a program is run on the integrated or dedicated graphics card, Windows 10 has provided its own Options menu since around 2019: Windows Graphics Settings. The similar settings in the NVIDIA Control Panel are since obsolete and without effect.

Cross compatibility

PCI Express versions have always been backward compatible by design. PCI Express 3.0 is also referred to as “Gen3”, 4.0 as “Gen4”. A Gen4 SSD can be used in a Gen3 slot and vice versa.

Performance comparison

When using a Gen4 SSD in a Gen3 slot, the maximum read/write rate of the Gen4 SSD will drop to the conditions of the Gen3 slot. Test runs with a 2 TB FireCuda 520 (a Gen4 SSD) inside 2019’s XMG FUSION 15 (laptop with Gen3 slot) resulted in the following, very good values:

CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0Read (MB/s)Write (MB/s)
Seq Q32T13127.52981.3
4KiB Q8T81661.31758.3
4KIB Q32T1397.8324.8
4KiB Q1T143.79114.7

Aside from the difference in bandwidth, there is no reason not to run a Gen4 SSD in a Gen3 slot – especially since you can move the SSD to a newer laptop at some point in the future to make full use of its bandwidth potential.

Where can I find Gen4 slots?

SSD ports with Gen4 are currently found in almost all XMG laptops with Intel Core 11th Gen. The connection of the respective ports can be found in the respective laptop data sheet and in our product overview table.

System Memory (SO-DIMM RAM)

For SO-DIMM memory (i.e. the kind that fits in laptops), there is generally no room for additional heatsinks. Since laptop memory also tends to run at lower voltages than their desktop counterparts, heatsinks aren’t necessary either.

SSD drives

Things look different for SSDs in the M.2 format. Since this format is now used for both laptops and desktops, there are many SSD products in the market that are already equipped with custom heat sinks. In laptops, the space for such SSD heat sinks is limited. Many XMG laptops already have their own SSD heatsinks integrated or they have a thermal pad, which thermally connects the typical SSD height either to the motherboard or to the bottom shell of the laptop.

For a rough overview of which laptop still has room for SSD heatsinks, please check out this thread on our Reddit support forum:

If your laptop doesn’t have room for the heatsink of your preferred, you might still be able to use it. With some of those SSDs, the heat sink can be removed or it is only included as an optional accessory anyway.

Yes.

The laptop power supply plugs we use are standardized. All current XMG laptops (except XMG ULTRA 17) use a barrel plug with 5.5mm outer diameter and 2.5mm inner diameter. This plug complies with the IEC 60130-10 industry standard, but the length of the plug differs depending on the model:

  • XMG CORE 14, FOCUS, APEX and PRO use a connector with 10mm length.
  • XMG CORE 15, CORE 17, FUSION and NEO use a plug with 12.5mm length.

A power adapter with a 12.5mm plug can be used on a laptop with a 10mm port without any problems. The reverse is not the case: a short 10mm plug can connect with a deep 12.5mm port, but it slips out again very quickly on its own. Therefore, caution is advised when buying replacement power adapters.

Overview

A complete overview of the power adapter formats (incl. links to replacement power adapters on bestware) can be found here:

The table contains two tabs with the two different plug lengths.

Power supply capacity and compatibility

XMG laptops require various power supply capacities – depending on how much computing power the laptop offers. XMG FOCUS for example only needs 150 watts, XMG NEO on the other hand doesn’t even start below 230 watts. The more power the power supply has, the bigger/heavier it is going to be.

However, due to the largely identical plug dimensions and output voltages, smaller power supplies are also generally compatible with the “big” laptops.

What happens if I overload an undersized power supply?

The laptop can detect if a power supply is connected, but it cannot detect how much power the power supply can provide. If you run a laptop with an undersized laptop at full load, the following happens:

  • Best Case: The power supply is overloaded and shuts itself down using OCP (over-current protection). The laptop switches to battery mode.
  • Worst case: The power supply overload leads to overheating at the power supply connection, which can damage it permanently (e.g. partially melt the plastic housing).

This worst case has already occurred occasionally in the past. To a lesser extent, overheating at the DC plug can also occur if a power supply connector is not seated correctly, e.g., if a 10mm DC connector is used in a 12.5mm socket.

Recommended action

If you want to use “smaller” power supplies, you will have to be careful: if possible, run the laptop in “power saving” or “balanced” mode and don’t put any load on the dedicated graphics card. A small idle load on the graphics card (e.g. when running an external monitor) is OK, but as soon as you start a 3D application on the dedicated graphics card, things will get dicey. Even supposedly frugal 3D applications (such as older games) can cause an overload depending on the power supply capacity if the 3D engine doesn’t have an upper limit regarding the maximum frame rate (FPS: frames per second). More information about FPS limits can be found in the FAQ category “Tips & Tricks”.

Calculation example

Let’s combine a 230W laptop with an undersized 90W power supply:

  • Assume a little over 50W for charging the battery
  • At least 10W idle consumption of the system
  • → You have less than 30W left for CPU computing load

This example is already a little bit simplified.

You have to divide the TDP of Intel CPUs by 0.8 due to losses of the voltage converters to calculate the actual energy consumption. Thus, with a CPU package power of e.g., 45W, you already have a CPU consumption of almost 57 watts at the DC jack.

If you accidentally keep the dGPU active (e.g., through a monitoring program or an external monitor), the system’s idle consumption is already over 30W. This doesn’t leave much left for battery charging and consumption peaks.

Conclusion

Operation with a small/light power supply is possible, but overloading must be prevented by the user. Extreme undersizing as in the above example should be avoided. Hardware damage (damaged power socket on the laptop) caused by overloading an undersized power supply is not covered by the warranty.

USB-C is limited to 100 watts

Generally, we only offer charging via USB-C Power Delivery (USB-C PD) for laptops with a maximum power requirement of less than 100W. In XMG’s portfolio, this currently only applies to XMG CORE 14. However, there are a number of other Thin & Light models with this feature in SCHENKER’s and TUXEDO’s line-up.

Generally, USB-C power supplies for laptops are required to have an output voltage of 20V. Most phone and tablet power supplies only provide 5V and are thus not compatible. Most laptops also only accept power via USB-C if the USB-C power supply is sufficiently large to power the laptop even under full load. A laptop that is therefore specified for e.g. 90W might not be able to be charged with a 40W charger.

Product overview

A list of which USB-C power supplies have been proven to work with which laptop can be found at this link:

Basically, all XMG laptops are compatible with hardware virtualization.

  • XMG laptops with Intel CPU support VT-x and VT-d
  • XMG laptops with AMD CPU support AMD-V and AMD-Vi

The hardware virtualization functions are already enabled in the BIOS by default and are thus available to the operating system. If required (e.g. for debugging/troubleshooting), they can also be deactivated again in the BIOS.

We offer some XMG laptops that are specially optimized for the needs of professional audio and similar real-time applications. The firmware and drivers of these laptops are designed to provide the most stable and low DPC latency possible. Overall, it is a combination of firmware, drivers, Windows settings and pre-selected hardware components that make our XMG Audio Editions possible.

For a list of currently supported products, please take a look at the audio category of our online store bestware.

We do not offer direct Linux support for XMG. We recommend Linux users take a look at our sister company TUXEDO Computers.

TUXEDO generally uses the same hardware base as XMG, but adds their own drivers, firmware modifications and tools for full Linux support. TUXEDO models therefore usually cost a little bit more – but the price gap is absolutely worth it for Linux users.

XMG laptops cannot be retrofitted with TUXEDO support.

If there is an extremely high difference between two equivalent XMG and TUXEDO models when comparing prices, we recommend contacting the TUXEDO Support Team.

Do you want to know more?