I am a music producer and I’ve been using the XMG Core 15 AMD
(4800H, 2060 RTX, 16 GB RAM, Samsung 970 Evo Plus) for more than 2 months now. Therefore, I have now gained some practical experience with this device and would like to share it with you.
This is my setup
I work with and therefore this review should be seen in this context (but the conclusion can be transferred to other setups): Setup
- Ableton Live as DAW and Traktor 2 to dj
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as external soundcard
- Ableton Push 2 and a Alesis Midi-Keyboard as external devices
- Primewire USB 3.2 Gen.1, 7 Port Hub, active with power adapter
- BoYata Laptop-Stand for better cooling
- All external devices are connected through the hub via usb-c to the laptop
- I am using the Nvidia Studio driver and tweaked the windows power plan for best performance
- WLAN is always activated
- Power cable is always connected
- I am always using the balanced (silent) profile, because that’s already enough performance and results in a quiter laptop
Okay, let’s dive into the experience and my opinion! :-)
(fyi: High DPC-latency spikes can cause dropouts, clicking/popping and disturbing noises, therefore they can worsen the production process. Windows laptops have the potential to struggle at this point, even expensive ones) DPC-Latency
I’ve measured the DPC-Latency while playing a completed (mixed, not mastered) song in a loop in Ableton for 45 minutes, no other applications were opened during the test. As you can see in the picture, the highest DPC-Latency measured was at 700μs. (from 1000μs upwards the dropouts and unwanted noises can occur). This means in theory that this device can handle real-time audio tasks. I can confirm this through my practical experiences. I never had any dropouts etc., never had any problems during the production process from this perspective. Therefore, the DPC-Latency is great for my purposes.
Performance in Ableton
The AMD Ryzen 7 4800h is a productivity-warrior. All music projects I’ve tried and created so far are handled really good by the CPU. As you can see in the screenshot, the CPU usage during this full loaded project (mixed, not mastered) is around 44% @ 128 samples buffersize. The latency while producing at 128 samples buffersize is good enough for me, so I’m always working with this setting. In this example project there are multiple tracks running the plugin “Diva” (which I love, great Snyth!). This plugin is known for its high CPU usage. But with this laptop its working very smoothly. CPU usage in Ableton
To work with a buffersize of 64 samples is also possible, if the project isn’t too crazy extensive. So, recording some things at the start or middle of many projects @ 64 samples is well manageable without problems. In some cases even during the whole project. But if you got for example around 6+ Divas running with complex sound designs and very long effect chains on a huge number of tracks, you can get to a limit @ 64 samples. There you can feel the 700μs DPC-Latency, could work better with a lower DPC-Latency. But @ 128 or @ 256 samples this device runs in all scenarios super well, which is totally satisfactory for my needs.
Performance in Traktor 2
Here I will keep it short, as you can assume the result from the performance mentioned above: It runs without any problems!
This topic could also be relevant for recording near the laptop. If you are using the “Silent” setting in the balanced mode, the laptop is quiet at the start/middle of a project, i measured around 30-32 db at the table. But if you are working on a heavy loaded project, it will get a little bit louder, sometimes the fans ramp up (to around 39-41db) and therefore sometimes noticeable in the recordings. But for a powerful laptop I think it is around average, not too loud, not too quiet under some load. (If you play games and the RTX is used, then it will get loud (42 db+), which is totally normal for a gaming laptop with this power // but unimportant for music production)
A few thoughts and my opinion on other aspects of the laptop besides music production
It has a great, fast, and bright display, which can be used for semi-professional video and photo editing. Keyboard and build quality are good. Trackpad is great in general use, but it does not react so well with fine tasks. The laptop is small, light and portable and got a very clean and serious look. Battery life is okay, not top class but a few hours are in it. So, you can do some work on the road. Gaming is a lot of fun with it. Connectivity is also great, a lot of ports, enough for me. But no thunderbolt, be aware of that. The CPU is a beast! Everything, really everything in my daily use runs very fast and without any problems! Yeah! That was exactly what I was looking for.
I am completely satisfied with this laptop in all aspects. During music production everything runs smoothly without any problems. All my productivity tasks are handled by it like a world champion. I can play all games with good to very good graphic-settings and high fps rates. I enjoy using it as a daily driver, it's a perfect allrounder!
This was my subjective experience and evaluation of the laptop. I hope that I could help someone with the information regarding music production. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!
PS: I'm not paid by XMG or anything like that. I just like this laptop and want to share my experience about it, because it can be a real struggle to find a windows laptop that gets along great with music production and which also has a powerful graphics card.
//Edit: Wording and stuff