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[INFORMATION THREAD] --- Gaming Laptops --- Things To Know --- {Read Before Posting!!! Can Help Decide For You!!!}

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>>INFORMATION THREAD<<


-Things To Know And Understand-
-Gaming Laptops-

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Welcome all and thanks for taking the time to read this! I put a lot of hard work getting this up and I hope this will help everyone who cares to look and see how the other half live. In this reading, you'll be told the things that are related to what a gaming laptop is and why people decide to go for these expensive contraptions along with what to look for and the like. The index is below this to help you on your way. Happy reading and thanks again!
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I. Introduction - What is a Gaming Laptop?
II. Reasoning - Why pay the Premium?
III. Understanding - What about Sizes 14", 15", 17", & 18"? What's considered a DTR?
IV. Examples - What do I look for? How do I know?
V. Examples (Cont.) - Things to avoid and why.
VI. Components - What's the best for XXXX budget and why? Who can I buy from?
VII. GPU Breakdown - What's important and what's not?
VIII. Conclusion - Now You Know And Understand
IX. [Reputable Resellers List]
X. Other Useful Articles - Overclocking the GTX 660M & GT 650M Kepler series GPUs
XI. Top Customization Choices - I.E. Best Bang For Buck
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(As a minor note to those of you who are reading this, If you see a lot of bolded/underlined/italicized portions, it's because there's no real way to emphasize what points you're trying to make. It's the closest thing I can get to creating a tone on the nets. thumb.gif)


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I. Introduction - What is a "Gaming Laptop"?
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Seems like a bit of an odd term for those who are more desktop oriented, however they do exist. It's not an oxymoron.

The definition for a Gaming Laptop is "a laptop that you can game on for an extended and repeated daily basis without worry of the components overheating or failing on you within any short period of time."

Most machines out there feature a good GPU and CPU combination, but most of the time those setups aren't quiiite the same thing. This is due to their construction methods and/or component choices mixed with the heatsink setups that are attached. I'll go into a bit more detail later on about this.

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II. Reasoning - Why pay the Premium?
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This is the biggest conflict of interest when it comes to a laptop purchase, especially if one prefers to game a lot. Here's a list of the more common questions and answers associated with the decisions made when you buy a gaming laptop:

"Why pay fifteen hundred dollars for a machine you could buy make into a SFF computer you could build for five hundred and have equal performance?"

The reason is simple. People like me, and so many more on NotebookReview.com, enjoy the ability to game on the move without having to deal with the tower, monitor, keyboard, speakers, etc, etc.

"But there's such a drastic performance hit when you go to buy a laptop priced like that."

The answer again is the mobility factor. I know there are several people here who would rather have a powerful SFF desktop over any laptop configuration. Most of the time, people don't know where to look and end up thinking that there are only two or three distinct brands out there to pick from and get discouraged. The average 17.3" laptops, and even the 18.4" machines like my Qosmio X505 or the old Clevo P180HM or even the Alienware M18x, all come with a powerful CPU and GPU combination for their respective sizes and adequate cooling for both. On top of that, most of the machines out there in these lines come with a native 1080p screen.

I can say with complete conviction that even an 18.4" 1080p screen looks ten times more beautiful than a 22" 1080p screen. It's the little features that stand out the most with a purchase like this.


"If you can get past all that they what about the ultra portable 15.6" laptops? Those only have one hard drive slot unless you want to sacrifice your optical drive, but then you have to buy an external USB drive that uses one of your USB slots!"

This has posed a significant issue with the laptop lines, yes. Most who want a gaming laptop generally will get a machine that has a solid state boot drive paired with a high capacity, 500GB or higher, mechanical data drive for their games and applications. However, most of the 15.4/15.6" laptops don't have this option and you are stuck with the one single drive, unless you swap out the CD drive, which no one wants to do.

There are a few rather ingenious designers, from the makers of the FORCE 16F3, who have solved this problem though. The FORCE 16F3 is a 15.6" laptop that features twin internal and native hard drive bays along with a standard optical drive. The way they've managed to counteract this is by creating a more ingenious cooling solution powered by one fan to cool off two separate, yet closely positioned heatsinks. This is the design that MSI uses for their current laptop designs.

In most cases, yes, there aren't many other designs out there that feature more than one native hard drive bay. Some sacrifices must be made if you want a smaller sized laptop to game on.


"What about the cooling in a laptop? I've seen laptop CPUs get up to 90*C under full load! My desktop would die if it ever reached that level and you would prefer to have this on you lap?"

Yes, depending on the laptop's design, it may or may not be capable of cooling off the components effectively enough to manage reasonable temperatures. I'll explain why this is later on. However for the time being, most laptop components are created specifically for dealing with these temperatures. Example below:

The ASUS G60XV is a 16" gaming laptop series that featured up to a mobile Core 2 Quad and came with a dedicated 1GB GTX 260M. This graphics card ran around ninety to ninety-five degrees Centigrade in games. 90% of these machines are still going strong after four or more years of that level of stress.

Mobile CPUs and mobile GPUs are binned the same way that the desktop GPUs are. The thermal threshold for most of these components is set at 105 degrees centigrade. To answer the second question: No, most of the time we don't prefer to have this on our lap. We didn't say that we gamed exclusively on our lap. We pay primarily for the mobility factor and ease of access, not the ability to play in our lap.


"Well what about battery life? You get maybe two hours on a battery charge and then you can't game unless plugged in."

Ahh yes, battery life, this is a subject that faces a rather interesting problem that continues today. As technology grows more advanced, so do the mobile components. Power saving techniques are very important with a laptop just as they are with efficient power supplies with a desktop and its idle wattage from the GPUs and CPUs. Coping with a low battery life is just one of those things that one must sacrifice to have a good experience.

Nvidia's Optimus and AMD's Enduro graphics switching abilities are nice examples of this "battery saving" technique; offering the person the best of both worlds when it comes to a laptop. The good news with this is that most of the machines currently out to the public are starting to feature this. This used to be the primary negative associated with a gaming laptop compared to a normal laptop. But again, most of the laptops coming out now are starting to feature better power management features.

This is a tough thing to overlook, but since you're plugged in most of the time, you wonder why you bought a machine that requires you to be plugged in to fully utilize your system? Then you remember you have to go and help someone fix their computer and have a gaming session just afterwards at a friend's house. Closing your mobile powerhouse, you wrap up the cords and mouse, insert those into the bag, grab your backpack, and off you go; walking off carrying 15 pounds or less in two arms with one trip. Again mobility factor.



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III. Understanding - What about Sizes 15", 17", & 18"? What's considered a DTR?
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Since those are answered, I'll move onto the difference sizes. That very last sentence can be changed all too easily and the mobility factor becomes a bit more... stretched... depending on the choice made.

The every day machines generally range from the 14" Lenovo Thinkpads to the 17.3" HP Pavilion dv7t series that offer decent performance for the dollar. Yet, for the machines designed to game, each size category strictly sets what each machine can do in terms of performance. Also, depending on the size of the screen, you might be dealing with the machines that are referred to as a "Desktop Replacement" or DTR laptop. I'll talk about these in just a bit.
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11.6" Gaming Laptops are the tiniest machines you can acquire with the hopes of gaming in mind. The two out at the moment are the Alienware M11x R4 (yet to be seen) and the brand new Clevo W110ER. The latter of the two looks extremely promising for it's stock pricing and performance options. The 11.6" machines offer the best battery life among the entire line of laptops just in general, though only feature a single drive slot and limited features otherwise. Also, these tend to get HOT by comparison but generally feature more than sufficient cooling for what they offer. The heat issue is nothing to be terribly concerned about.

14" Gaming Laptops are rare with the Alienware M14x R2 having been the only "Gaming Laptop" of this size up to this point. It offers modest performance for the dollar but is very restricted in terms of what it can handle in games. This can be considered the realm where the computers of choice are more mobile-oriented with gaming added on. Battery life is exceptional with this line. For all intents and purposes, the M14x still remains a Gaming Laptop though. However... Asus has released their own competitor with a fully fledged GTX 660M and an i7. Pricing has yet to be seen.

15.6" Gaming Laptops are what the mainstream go for. These being smaller than the majority of the laptops out there but still feature a considerable performance advantage over the everyday crowds and offer sizable upgrades for each respective models. These tend to feature good battery life since these feature the Graphics Switching technology for preserving battery power. As a quick note to this, most 15.6" machines feature a lower cooling yield than the larger notebooks out there. Most machines of this size can handle the same 100w TDP GPUs out there, however they tend to run rather hot by comparison. For all intents and purposes, the 15.6" machines are best used with a 75w GPU instead.

17.3" Gaming Laptops are the best in terms of power and expandability. These are regarded as the best of both the portable/power efficient machines and the powerful/power craving lines. The majority of these laptops come with much more powerful GPUs and generally feature either the ability to expand the GPUs within on your own or via upgrades before purchase. All 17.3" machines also feature at least two native hard drive bays with the extreme models featuring three native bays plus an optical drive bay for all. This is the start of the DTR line.

This line also extends one step further as well in the shape of the massive Clevo designs described below in a bit more detail. These are the definition of the "Desktop Replacement" Laptops due to their sheer size and weight along with the heat they output. Performance is unrivaled by any other mobile platform.

18.4" Gaming Laptops are disappearing unfortunately, but these were the pinnacle of design and expandability. The only two designs that are featured under this size are produced from Clevo and Alienware in the form of the Clevo P180HM and the Alienware M18x R2. The 18.4" P180HM offered the best mobile CPUs and always offered dual GPU upgrades paired with three native hard drive bays, an optical drive, and featured Raid 0/1/5 setups. Alienware offered similar setups but only with two native drives. This is the ending of the DTR line. These being the largest machines that are still produced.*

* The Clevo P180HM is no longer produced, however the M18x is.

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IV. Examples - What do I look for? How do I know?
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The things to look for aren't terribly hard to find when it comes to a Gaming Laptop. If you want a certain size though, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a machine that will be used primarily for games or work that stresses it equally so. I'll go ahead and mark down what the price should be around for the size of the laptop with the given specs along with what you should look for with a more "high end" machine. I will update these references as time goes on.



The best price-to-performance ratio happens at around $875 to $1100. This encompasses most of the 15.6" and 17.3" machines on XoticPC/PowerNotebooks that feature the newest Ivy Bridge Core i5 CPUs, or the Ivy Bridge Core i7-3610QM, with 4GB DDR3 RAM, a GTX 650M, GTX 660M and a 1600x900 screen resolution. Standard 500GB 7200RPM drives are generally set with these machines as well. These being the absolute best deals you can acquire for under, or just over, a thousand dollars. Certain models might even feature the GTX 670M so keep your eyes OPEN.
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After this, the following area encompasses the area where you add that new graphics card or a solid state drive and is priced around $1,300 to $2,100. Most of these machines will feature a minimum of a GTX 670M or GTX 660M with the potential to upgrade to something bigger like a single GTX 680M or Radeon 7970M and higher CPU upgrade choices such as upgrading from that stock i5 or i7, mentioned above, to an i7-3720QM or i7-3820QM. Most, if not all, of these machines will generally feature

The Clevo resellers, Sager, Malibal, Mythlogic, Eurocom, etc, along with Alienware and MSI branded machines all feature these upgrade paths with the respective models. They also allow for the higher end wifi cards for extended ranges, Raid0 setups, BluRay drives, and usually request for extended coverage of said items through extended warranties. It's wise to do so.
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The last spot goes for the machines priced from ~$2,100 and up. These machines being the biggest and baddest you can get. All feature either a single super high end GPU and a monster CPU, or a dual GPU setup, and allow for up to three native hard drives with a BluRay Burner as an upgrade option. All of these machines feature a minimum of a 1080p full HD screen as well. Raid 0 setups generally come with laptops of this level as a default choice. This is the realm of the Desktop Replacements. These should feature at least a single high end GPU like a GTX 680 or Radeon 7970M. However all of these feature upgrades to dual GPUs like SLI GTX 680Ms/Crossfire 7970Ms paired with a high end quad core CPU like the i7-3720QM or higher.

The Clevo X7200*** and P270WM are the foremost powerful of this line of machines, featuring desktop CPUs, going up to the extremely high-end hexcores, paired with twin GPUs on a 17.3" platform. These run anywhere from $2,300 at stock configurations to well over $5,000. These are the most powerful of any laptop currently produced and are challenged only by the desktops with similar setups.
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The easiest way to know if it's a good deal is through comparison. If one machine features a significantly better CPU and GPU for a similar price or just a little more, compared to the previous four machines then you've narrowed it down and found another machine to keep your eyes on. Or if a Single high end GPU system happens to rise to the price of the relative dual GPU bearing laptop, then you know what the best option would be. Most games will utilize at least two GPUs in CrossfireX or SLI.

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MAJOR NOTE - There is a lot of speculation about the performance differences between the new MX branded laptop GPUs. I'll get into that later down this thread.
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*** - The Clevo X7200 does not feature anything higher than SLI GTX 580Ms and features first generation desktop Core i7 CPUs only. However, it DOES support all current GPUs out there today. The desktop i7s are more than fast enough to keep up as well.
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V. Examples (Cont.) - Things to avoid and reasons why...
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As with any purchase, you want to be sure you're not getting robbed of your money or fooled to think that one laptop is better than another. The majority of these take place in lesser forms of scams. Mostly placed in the specifications of the laptop to fool you into buying something that's just been "enhanced" in order to make it seem really powerful. Specific examples will be given below.



With most manufacturers that produce these machines, most of you already know that the Vram amount is mostly a marketing scheme. For example:

The GTX 460M won't use more than 850-900MB at stock settings. Only after overclocking the memory clock speed I managed to reach up to around 1.35GB of the full 1.5GB allocation it's got!

Alone, it's pointless to have that amount even for 1080p since the GPU simply isn't powerful enough to manage that resolution on its own. For SLI purposes, it matters more since the large Vram buffer allows for both GPUs to render everything seamlessly. Part of the reason why the GTX 460M and 560M are given 1.5GB of Vram is because it's in line with the bus width and because 768MB doesn't look very impressive on paper, even to people who aren't gamers.

A prime example of this marketing scheme is when you see a GTX 570M/670M with 3GB of Vram. Heck, I've seen it on the GTX 560Ms on the higher priced ASUS models. This is completely unnecessary in every way! The desktop used GTX 560 Ti couldn't use 3GB of Vram even in SLI. Don't be drawn into those deals. You will gain no performance over the standard 1.5GB models and the card couldn't even use that allocation in CAD or other rendering programs because, again, the GPU simply doesn't offer enough power to back it up.
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Another important thing to note on is the specs of certain GPUs in laptops. The three primary ones that are modified more than any of them are the GTX 460M, GTX 560M, and the GT 555M. The 460M and 560M are known to be "gimped" in the Best Buy versions of the selected ASUS laptops. By "gimped" I mean the GPUs have their memory allocation and bus width reduced by 50%, from 1.5GB to 1GB and 192-bit to 128-bit respectively.

This wouldn't be a problem if the memory clock speed went up, however it's stayed the same and unfortunately this means that the GPU suffers an even greater performance loss due to the lack of any bandwidth that would normally power the card. There is a significant performance difference even comparing the regular 460M compared to the “gimped” 560M… to the point where the 460M is better in every way, especially in situations where anti-aliasing is turned on. Just to give you an idea, the gimped 560M is only as fast as the GT 555M. So you're dropping from a ~5770 to a 9800GT. Something worth thinking about.

There are no known performance hinders at this time, for the Best Buy models, as far as physical detriments go. However, this doesn't mean that there won't be. I've personally inspected the G75 laptops in the Best Buy here in town and it did feature the full 2GB Vram allocation, 1080p screen, 8GB RAM, i7-3610QM, etc, etc, that most of the other retailers provide. So as far as it seems...the HDD would be the only real thing left to slow down.
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The other GPU to look out for is the GT 555m that many laptops employ. The M14x, Lenovo Y series, certain Clevo models and a few other manufacturers use varying models. There are four versions of this card to look out for. The original card has all 144 shaders, 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory, and the 192-bit bus width, which isn't used by anyone as far as I know. The M14x version uses a card that has -144 shaders and uses the original 1.5GB allocation but with GDDR3 memory on the 192-bit bus-. The Clevo re-sellers sell a -144 shader card with 1GB of GDDR3 on a 128-bit bus- and the Lenovo Y series employs the card that features -96 shaders, and only 1GB of GDDR5 driven on a 128-bit bus-.
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The most important things to note on, for all of these cards, will be addressed down in the later section: GPU Breakdown.
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Moving away from just the GPUs, there are other manufacturers that raise prices based on demand, rather than lower prices. It has been said in the past, “If someone wants something badly enough, they'll pay for it regardless of the price.” This is usually the case with Alienware and a few other Clevo resellers such as Origin and Eurocom. Origin claims to have superior service and quality in mind compared to XoticPC or Malibal, but there's no difference when one is sitting next to another when they use the same chassis.

Dell/Alienware is more than likely the rotten egg in this regard. The Alienware design you see today for the M17x R4 is their own. If you look at the first XPS models released way back when, you'll see a significant resemblance between the Alienware today and the XPS back then. The price you end up paying is rather inflated but supposedly it's due to the superior cooling the machines possess. I can't lie when I say that the Alienware line is rather overpriced when compared to an equally matched machine. Just keep that in mind if you do care to purchase from them.
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I'd like to point out that I own an older, previously used, Alienware Laptop at the moment. The M17x R2 currently in my signature, to be precise, and it's extremely potent even up against today's "gaming" standards. So don't feel hesitant to go for an older, used, machine if the specifications are within your own acceptable ranges. There's nothing wrong with buying a used machine if the price is right. For $1,200 shipped, there was no way I could have said 'no'.
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Just keep in mind that several companies will charge you prices, which are falsely inflated, just because they make it seem like quality is in mind. Origin is actually worse on prices if you look. The bottom line is that you should look before you buy and do your research. Making a snap decision on a deal is likely to end with disappointment if no knowledge regarding the machine is made. Simply asking what everyone else thinks of a certain machine generally is not enough information to know what a machine is capable of. Reviews and ratings on several different sites are the best manners in which to go for a Gaming Laptop.


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VI. Components - What's the best for XXXX budget and why? Who can I buy from?
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This portion of the thread points out what's the best for a certain area. Above it gave examples of what to look for and what are some good ideas for what to get for a price. This will point out what's the best for a certain price point, in a more specific fashion. Should help you narrow down your choices and might pick for you. These are all currently on the market and are "as-is”.



(NOTE: Some of these might be unknown to you. Nonetheless I will give a little description of each to help you better understand the brand and components used, along with why these are the best for the prices given.)



For the $1,000-$1,300 region, the best performing machines go to the 15.6" FORCE 16F2-012/PowerPro R 11:36 and the 17.3" FORCE 1762/PowerPro R 12:17

The reasons I chose these machines were simple. (They're the same models from different brands.) I chose these because the stock specifications were enough to ensure that you would be able to breeze through games while maintaining quality and reassurance through two fantastic resellers; their warranties are unparallelled. XoticPC and PowerNotebooks are the two biggest resellers, primarily for their reputation of being phenomenal for their services and are very tech savvy and tech friendly if you're not as well educated as others. Most of the sales reps from both sites are over at NotebookReview.com if you care to talk to any of them.

Let's pick the 17.3" PowerPro R 12:17 from PowerNotebooks.com and peel it apart in terms of stock specifications to see what you get, shall we?

It comes with a 17.3" 1080p "Matte"-Type 72% Color Gamut Screen, an i5-2430M clocked at 2.4GHz, a 1.5GB GTX 570M, a 500GB 7200RPM Sata II HDD, no OS, basic wifi card, CD/DVD combo drive, and a year warranty. This machines supports Sata III drives if it matters to those who care to upgrade the drives. This machine has gotten the best overall rating for a bang for buck Gaming Laptop. The keyboard can be upgraded to a backlit version. It's costly for the upgrade ($90) but the SteelSeries Keyboards are the best you can get for a laptop. (They tend to out-last the entire machine!)
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The next line starts off somewhere along the lines of being just "upgrades" to the machines shown above, in the $1,300 to ~$2,100 region. However there are some legitimate designs, that offer a different setup while maintaining the same level of quality. Clevo is one such line and spans across the net and world as the mainmost competitor to the other gaming lines.

Size - Chassis Name - Reseller - PC Name
15.6" - Clevo P150EM - Mythlogic - Pollux 1612
17.3" - Clevo P170EM - Mythlogic - Nyx 1712

Both of these machines come stock with the GTX 670M and a rather high end i7 dual core clocked @ 2.8GHz (boosts to 3.5GHz). The Clevo 1XXEM lines feature backlit keyboards built-in, native Sata III connections, and USB 3.0 connections. These are solid purchases for the stock specs and prices. The native backlit keyboards are the primary bonus for the Clevo P1x0EM series.
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The last line mentioned here happens to be that fabled area that will generally make the standard person's jaw fall off and generally make computer geeks like us have a "nerdgasm". These machines are in the region of $2,100 and greater. There are only two machines that currently are sold in this category. One is considerably more powerful than the other.

The Clevo P270WM and the infamous Dell Alienware M18x. Before this point, one might bash Alienware for being stupidly overpriced, but if you're going for either of these machines, you aren't going for the stock model config nor do you care about the price. The Clevo P270WM is sold under several different names compared to the M18x, which just has one obviously. These prices may vary compared to whom you buy them from and their ending prices might differentiate a bit depending on what you get. Again, inflation might come into effect here. I'll list them in no order below to show you the different resellers.

I'd like to make a note that the P270WM is supremely more powerful and has vastly higher expansion options when compared to the M18x. This is due to the Clevo utilizing a 130w desktop CPU within it's confines, the third native HDD slot, Quad-Channel Memory Support, etc. The current CPUs used are from the Sandy Bridge-E line; The 3820, 3930K, and the 3960K. Just keep this in mind before you buy. Both are extremely large as well and it should be noted that the M18x is surprisingly larger than the P270WM; Both are within ~.2" thick of one another with the Clevo being a tiiiny bit thicker, but the M18x boasts an 18.4" screen vs the P270WM's 17.3" screen. Also, both are within ~.3 pounds of one another with the batteries installed.

It should also be noted that the P270WM is mostly seen as a mobile workstation that doubles as a Gaming Laptop. It has support for the same generation Xeon CPUs, all the way up to the the unreal 8-core models even, and the incredibly powerful Quadro Cards.

For all intents and purposes, in the end, the P270WM is more versatile and more powerful. You have to understand though that the P270WM is brand new too, making the M18x rather outdated by comparison. The M18x will draw less power too and features better warranty options, including accidental damage, while offering comparable performance. The warranty choices tend to affect how often a Gaming Laptop.

Lastly, the easiest way to compare the two would be to compare a Socket 1155 setup to a Socket 2011 setup. You decide what you would want there. thumb.gif

As an addition to this, Clevo has produced a new machine under the alias of the P370EM. It's a rather large, 17.3", laptop capable of handling dual 100w GPUs along with a 55w CPU. Currently it's priced at a level where the M18x cannot begin to fathom and has more than enough firepower to dust the Alienware counterpart in every regard at stock AND maxed configurations.

Dell Alienware
Alienware M18x

Clevo
Origin EON17-X(*)
Sager NP9270(*)
Malibal Nine P270WM(*)
Mythlogic Nyx 7212(*)
Eurocom Panther 4.0(*)(**)

(*) --- Up for pre-order but not shipped until later in April
(**) --- The Panther 4.0 is not on the main website for pre-order yet


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VII. GPU Breakdown - What's important and what isn't?
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When it comes to any GPU, there are two very important things to look for above all others. The Video Memory Information and the GPU Core. Knowing both of these will save you a lot of stress when choosing and a great deal of frustration when you go to game. This cannot be stressed enough due to the nature of a Gaming Laptop. While most of the models out there do allow you to replace/swap out the GPU, they're far more costly and more risky to work with, so choosing wisely is a must here.~
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--Video Memory Information--
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When searching for a GPU for your Gaming Laptop, there are a couple things to look out for. The foremost is the Video Memory Info. This includes the Video RAM, commonly referred to as the Framebuffer or Vram, the Memory Type and Bus Width, and the Bandwidth.

The Vram size/allocation is very important if your machine is a Gaming Laptop. Most of the time you generally see laptops with a standardized resolution of 1600x900 going up to 1920x1080 and it can mean the difference between playing games smoothly or stuttering with less than impressive performance and faltering terribly.

The optimum Vram amount for a GPU is relative to the screen it's paired with. 1GB is plenty for 1600x900 and even 1080p if the GPU is only capable of DX10 titles. However, if the GPU is DX11 capable, the standard 1.5GB allocation for most GPUs these days is recommended for 1600x900 and 2GB is recommended for the 1080p screens and up. Again, don't be fooled by the marketing scams that talk about having a 3GB GTX 560M. The framebuffer is linked directly to another very important aspect of your GPU.
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The Memory Type, Bus Width, and Memory Bandwidth are THE most important parts of your laptop's GPU, even more-so than the Shader count! The ending bandwidth is what matters the most in this case.

The standard types of memory used these days, in these laptops, are GDDR5 and GDDR3. If you know anything about GPUs, desktop or otherwise, things haven't changed much here. However, for you people who aren't familiar, GDDR5 doubles the bandwidth that GDDR3 provides which in turn doubled the bandwidth that the older DDR2 provided. To better explain myself, here's an example of this reference:

800MHz GDDR5 = 3200MHz DDR
800MHz GDDR3 = 1600MHz DDR
800MHz DDR2 = 800MHz DDR

(For those of you wondering, DDR2 is a more voltage friendly and efficient version of the even older DDR.)

The memory bandwidth denotes exactly how well your GPU can tap into and utilize your Vram supply. The optimum bandwidth goes something like this:

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[28.8GB/s] to [64.0GB/s] ~ 512MB Vram
[64.0GB/s] to [128.0GB/s] ~ 1GB Vram
[76.8GB/s] to [144.0GB/s] ~ 1.5GB Vram
[96.0GB/s] to [192.0GB/s] ~ 2GB Vram
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A lot of you are probably wondering, "What does that even translate to? Does that mean that anything within that range is good?"

The answer to this is simple really. The first answer is that it shows the minimum amount of bandwidth needed to fully access all of the Vram allocated to the GPU and the maximum amount of bandwidth that the Vram can make use of. Performance will improve as the bandwidth increases up to this maximum value.

As for the second question, it's actually a 'Yes' and 'No'. Anything beyond the second value is useless and is wasted, however if the bandwidth doesn't match the minimum value the GPU won't be capable of accessing the full amount and hindering performance greatly. As you can see, it gets a little crazy when dealing with more than 1GB of Vram.

I'll give an example of how exactly that this is important after the third and final portion to this little segment.
~~~
The third part of this is about the Bus Width used on the GPU. The standard width sizes are 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit. The Bus Width only comes in as an important part if the Memory Type is less than adequate. The Bus Width denotes how wide the data transfer lanes within the GPU are for it's memory. Larger the better here. However, if you see a GPU with 2GB Vram with only a 128-bit bus width and GDDR3 memory, rest assured that the GPU mentioned will not be able to use more than a quarter of that allocation. Math can be used to calculate how much faster or slower the memory clock speeds need to be to keep up with a certain memory type. Example below:

1000MHz GDDR5 on a 128-Bit bus width produces 64.0GB/s. However, it only takes 750MHz GDDR5 on a 192-Bit bus width to produce that bandwidth and only 500MHz GDDR5 on a 256-Bit bus width to do the same. Most of the GPUs today will use a combination of a 128-bit bus along with GDDR5 memory or a 192-bit bus with either GDDR3 or GDDR5 memory . The highest end GPUs will use a 256-bit bus width paired with GDDR5 memory.

The greatest example of the Bus Width coming into play would be the difference between the 5770 and the 4890, Both have the same Stream Processor count, ROP count, TMU count, same Memory Type and Vram amount, but had different clock speeds and a bus width difference. Heck, the 5770 has faster memory speeds, but was hindered by it's lesser memory bus.

All in all, the 5770 lost the fight because it had a lower bandwidth value.
~~~
~~~
--GPU Core--
~~~
~~~
The GPU Core used explains the maximum level of performance you will most likely achieve with a given GPU. This encompasses the Transistor amount, CUDA/GCN Cores (Shaders/Stream Processor), Raster Operators (ROPs), Texture Mapping Units (TMUs), and the Engine Clock (Core Clock) and Shader Clock (Nvidia 8 Series to GTX 400 series only). Wattage can be determined here too. Usually the laptop counterpart that uses the same GPU Core as the desktop GPU will draw anywhere from 40% to 66% of the rated TDP that the desktop GPU has, however it will not exceed 100w under any circumstances.

To aide my explanation, here's a GPU-z 0.6.0 screenshot of my laptop's GPU to help you follow along a bit better and see what I'm talking about.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
GPU-z060stock.png


The image above is a stock, unaltered, Nvidia GTX 460M. It's based off the same GPU Core that powers the GTS 450... and yet, there are a few key differences. The most prominent difference is that with the GTX 460M you're looking at is the fully fledged GF106 Core! 192 CUDA cores, 24 ROPs, 32 TMUs (not shown), 192-bit bus width, and 1.5GB GDDR5 Memory. Technically, if this were run at the same clock rates as the desktop counterpart, the 460M would easily surpass it.

The GTX 460M is rated for a 50w TDP vs the GTS 450 which is rated for a 106w TDP. (47% of the original TDP)
~~~
~~~
The Shader/Stream Processor count shows it's processing power. The higher the better here. You can't directly compare one Nvidia Shader to one AMD Shader when comparing the competitive lines within that generation. However as far as it was stated, before the GCN update with the 7000 series, 5 AMD shaders were equal to one Nvidia shader. So that should give you an idea of how powerful Nvidia was by comparison with their architecture. On that note, since the update with Kepler, this does not apply any longer due to Kepler's removal of the hotclock that the shaders had; I.E. The shaders usually ran at x2 the Engine clock. As far as these are concerned, more is better. Regardless.
~~~
~~~
The Raster Operators (ROPs) and Texture Mapping Units (TMUs), also called Texture Address Units, are what control the pixel and texture "fill-rate" respectively. Essentially it means that the higher the value of both is better, regardless of generation or line. The ROPs and TMUs are both run by the GPU's Engine clock and the standard measurement of the fill-rate values are calculated in GPixels or GTexels a second. A GPixel is the short version of saying a giga-pixel a second or a billion pixels a second.

This might seem like a lot and you might wonder why a GPU would need to fill more than 1 billion pixels a second since a 1080p monitor only features 2,073,600 pixels. Well, that's only on a 2D surface, if you add a third dimension that number is multiplied by yet another factor that most can't begin to comprehend. The GPU has to constantly refill every pixel that moves on the screen. This refers to when the color of a pixel changes to match the picture that the GPU is rendering. The scene in Crysis where you walk up to the overlook and see the little camp with the first jamming array is a good example of this. You've got ten or so moving people on the ground, swaying vegetation, the water moving about, the reflections on the water, the boats moving through the water, etc, etc. You see the point here.

However, that's just the first part of this little pairing. The Texture fill-rate is always going to be at least equal if not double or even quadruple what the pixel fill-rate happens to be. The reason behind this is due to the number of textures in game. One texel is like a pixel of a texture segment. So you can imagine since EVERYTHING In a game is covered with a texture of some kind, that they need to be rendered out over and over again and fast. A good example of your GPU really working is when you see the game load, and for a split second, you see the game without the textures rendered, again Crysis is the example here, and you watch as the GPU runs through it's paces as the textures just appear and then become for defined and toned. Like a radar scanning over the area, you watch as the color returns to the landscape and becomes more focused and detailed within seconds.

It's more impressive to see once you know more of the intricacies in the GPU at hand\and what it's capable of. Object Line of Sight tends to effect performance greatly as well for the obvious reasons; Since you can see farther in game, the GPU needs to render more, more often, too keep up with the demand.
~~~
~~~
Lastly on this list I'll talk about the clock rates. This refers to the Engine, Shader (If applicable), and Memory clocks. This is the largest thing that one can get confused with. Clock speeds will determine how fast or slow your GPU is.

The image above shows that the 460M is the fully fledged GF106 Core, however it's operating at ~110MHz & ~220MHz slower on the engine and shader clocks respectively, by comparison to a stock GTS 450, and is using a slower memory clock, though that's compensated for by the larger bus. Due to this, the GPU only operates around the level of an HD4770/9800GTX. This can usually be compensated for with overclocking the GPU a bit. Many people will state that laptops already get very hot and it's "unsafe" to overclock. In reality, it's no more "unsafe" to overclock your Gaming Laptop's GPU than it is to overclock your desktop GPU. Gaming Laptops have far superior cooling than compared to most standard laptops, as is stated above.

Keep this in mind when buying a Gaming Laptop. This was a problem with the Mobility Radeon 5870 in that it featured the same GPU Core of the 5770, however was knocked around pretty hard and dropped 150mhz on the core and 200mhz on it's memory. This put it right above the GTX 460M in performance, but barely. So the 5870M was actually slower than the 5750!
~~~
~~~
~~~
~~~
I cannot state this enough. Research is your best friend here. I can't do everything for you but I can help you with the essentials. The most I can say that will help you figure out how powerful a GPU is would be to observe, recall, relate, and check. Observe the GPU that's in the laptop you're looking at. Recall back to the GPU Core that it's based on. Relate the similarities between the GPU on hand and the GPU Core itself. Check to ensure your data is correct.

Following-up this step-by-step procedure with benchmarks and reviews is recommended so you're well aware of what to expect with a certain GPU.

Hopefully this helps the majority of you choose what's best for you! thumb.gif


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
VIII. Conclusion - Now You Know and Understand
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In the end, the choice is up to you for what you think would suit your needs as a gamer. We've gone over several important points during this reading. The most important ones are thus:

1.) Just because a laptop can be given a dedicated GPU does not make it a 'Gaming Laptop'. A laptop that can game and a Gaming Laptop are very different.
2.) You're paying for the Mobility Factor, Reduced Size, and Ease of Access, not the ability to play on your lap. Also, all Gaming Laptops are safe to overclock.
3.) High temperatures are normal; Laptops will usually rise in excess of 70-80*C under load for the CPU and GPU. The thermal threshold for both are 105*C and are safe up to that point.
4.) Laptops are more forgiving when customized heavily than compared to desktop counterparts; $3,500 Gaming Laptops are better choices than similarly priced Desktop machines.
5.) Advertisements; Be aware of the marketing schemes that draw you in. More Vram does not immediately guarantee higher performance.
6.) Find the budget that works for you. Remember also that most high end Gaming Laptops can come from the same lines; The FORCE 16F2-012 can be bought at <$1,000 or customized to >$2,000.
7.) Know your GPU; Research what you're told. There's nothing worse than the sudden realization that your GPU isn't what you believed it to be; Observe, Recall, Relate, and Check.

Aside from these specific points, most of the smaller questions I will more than happily answer for you. Feel free to post questions of "which is better?" here as well if you wish. I'll answer those as well. smile.gif


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
IX. Reputable Resellers List - Currently sold machines are below the site
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


XoticPC.com
-Sager (Clevo models)
-MSI
-Asus
-XoticPC Series (FORCE models)

PowerNotebooks.com
-Alienware
-Asus
-Sager (Clevo models)
-MSI
-PowerPro R Series (FORCE models)

Malibal - Sager - Mythlogic - Eurocom
-Clevo

Dell
-Alienware

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
X. Other Useful Articles - Overclocking the GTX 660M & GT 650M Kepler series GPUs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is a thread over on the Notebookreview.com forums that outlines what you should be able to expect from the 600M series Kepler line. It's fairly impressive and personally...it makes the 660M all that much more appealing.

Apparently the 650M can potentially overclock to match a GTX 580M. blinksmiley.gif

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
XI. Top Customization Choices - I.E. Best Bang For Buck
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is the newest section I decided to create for the benefit of those who care for an easier "copy and paste" method. In other words, these are the best machines for the price that you should go for with this price in mind. In this section, these will be for those people who want a rather high end machine of $1,800 or greater. Each choice will be significantly more powerful than the previous model and each one will be significantly more expensive. They are in no way the penultimate machines, but the best performance for the dollar you will receive.

Website used for this entire lineup is XoticPC.com

Piece of Cake - $1,850 Clevo-based machine (Sager NP9170) ---- Hint: Overclocking the GPU is recommended. :3 Sanity level @ 71% of normal (Click to show)
- FREE!! Continental (U.S. Lower 48 - UPS Ground Only) Ground Shipping on ALL Sager Laptops (Enter Coupon Code: "SAGERFREESHIP" during order process)
- SAGER Autumn Sale!!! - $100 OFF When you spend $1350* or more! (*excludes non-sager parts, accessories, shipping, & taxes) - [NP9150, NP9170, & NP9370 Only]
- 17.3" FHD 16:9 "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Anti-Glare Screen w/ 72% NTSC Color Gamut (1920x1080)
(Will add 4-7 business days to build time) (SKU - X1R552)
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- NO Professional Monitor Color Calibration
- Sager - 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3630QM (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache, 45W Max TDP) (SKU – S2R174)
- -Stock OEM Thermal Compound
- nVidia GeForce GTX 670MX 3,072MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 with Optimus™ Technology [User Upgradeable] (SKU – S5R519)
- No Copper Cooling Upgrade
- No Video Adapter
- No External Mobile Display
- 12GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (3 SODIMMS) (SKU - S4S433P)
- Sager Branding
- Standard Laptop Finish
- 128GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD - Preconfigured as an OS Drive ( Operating System – Drive C: )
- 500GB 7200RPM [Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache] - Default (SKU - S5R207)
- None Standard
- HDD Raid Settings - OFF
- 6x Blu-Ray Read/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive - Special! (SKU - S7P557)
- No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- NO External USB Optical Drive
- Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)
- No Back Up Software
- Bluetooth Included *With select wireless cards only* (See “Wireless Network” Section Below)
- Sager - Intel® Advanced-N 6235 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module + Bluetooth™ 4.0 (SKU - S8R111)
- No Network Accessory
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- No Carrying Case
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- No Car Adapter
- No Spare AC Adapter
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- No Headset
- No External Keyboard
- Standard Sager/Clevo Non Chiclet Backlit Keyboard
- No External Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- No Thanks, Please do not Overclock my system (Overclocking will add 3-6 business days to build time)
- No Operating System Redline Boost
- ~Windows 7 Professional Premium 64-Bit (64&32-Bit CD Included) + MS Office Starter 2010 -[ Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (Directly through Microsoft) ]
- No Thanks, I will not be upgrading to Windows 8 Professional [Directly through Microsoft]
- No Antivirus Essentials Software Bundle
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- LIFETIME Ltd Labor* 1 Year Parts Warranty Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll Free Telephone Support (Labor through XPC)
Includes FREE Shipping Both Ways for Parts Warranty Repairs
(SKU - X9R009)
- No thanks, standard double boxed packaging is okay with my order
- No Outside of US Shipping Coverage
- Standard Production Time
- No Xotic PC Gear

Let's Rock - $2,400 FORCE-based Machine (MSI ) Sanity level @ 46% of normal (Click to show)
- FREE!! UPS GROUND SHIPPING (Use Coupon Code "FREESHIP" in Checkout - U.S. Only, Not Available to Alaska and Hawaii)
- 17.3" FHD 16:9 "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Anti-Glare Screen w/ 72% NTSC Color Gamut (1920x1080) (SKU - X1R551)
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- NO Professional Monitor Color Calibration
- 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3630QM (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache, 45W Max TDP) (SKU – X2X317)
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU (Cools better than all Compounds) (XPC Service)
- nVidia GeForce GTX 675MX 4,096MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 with Optimus™ Technology (SKU – X5R524)
- No Copper Cooling Upgrade
- No Video Adapter
- No External Mobile Display
- 16GB DDR3 1600MHz [SKU-444P] (Dual Channel Memory (4x4GB SODIMMS)) – Default
- Standard Laptop Finish
- Standard White Logo Backlight
- 64GB Solid State Drive (Super RAID) mSATA - [ In Primary Hard Drive Bay ]
- 64GB Solid State Drive (Super RAID) mSATA - [ In Primary Hard Drive Bay ]
- 750GB 7200RPM 16MB Cache Buffer (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s) (SKU - X5R303)
- Raid 0 Stripe Enabled (Requires 2 or 3 Hard Drives. Combines Hard Drives for performance)
- 6X Blu-Ray Writer/Reader + 8X DVDRW/CDRW Super Multi Combo Drive (SKU - X7R551)
- No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- NO External USB Optical Drive
- Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
- No Back Up Software
- Bluetooth Included *With select wireless cards only* (See “Wireless Network” Section Below)
- Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 Wireless Card + Bluetooth 4.0 (Single Band) (SKU – X8R010)
- No Network Accessory
- Integrated Digital Video Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- No Carrying Case
- Smart Li-ion Battery (9-Cell)
- No Car Adapter
- No Spare AC Adapter
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- No Fingerprint Reader
- No Headset
- No External Keyboard
- Stock MSI SteelSeries™ Chiclet Backlit Keyboard
- No External Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- No Thanks, Please do not Overclock my system
- No Operating System Redline Boost
- Windows 7 Professional - 64-Bit - [ Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (Directly through Microsoft) ]
- Keep factory installed operating system
- No thanks, do not create backup recovery DVD's
- No Antivirus Essentials Software Bundle
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- 2 Year MSI US/Canada Parts & Labor 1 Year Global Warranty w/ Lifetime Tech Support
+ 1 Year Accidental Damage Warranty (Requires Registration within 30 Days from Ship Date)
(SKU - M9R301)
- No thanks, standard double boxed packaging is okay with my order
- No Outside of US Shipping Coverage
- Standard Production Time
- No Xotic PC Gear

Come Get Some - $3,000 Clevo-based Machine (Sager NP9370) ---- Personal favorite!!! Sanity level @ 29% of normal (Click to show)
- FREE!! Continental (U.S. Lower 48 - UPS Ground Only) Ground Shipping on ALL Sager Laptops (Enter Coupon Code: "SAGERFREESHIP" during order process)
- SAGER Autumn Sale!!! - $100 OFF When you spend $1350* or more! (*excludes non-sager parts, accessories, shipping, & taxes) - [NP9150, NP9170, & NP9370 Only]
- 17.3" FHD 16:9 "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Anti-Glare Screen w/ 72% NTSC Color Gamut (1920x1080)
(Will add 4-7 business days to build time) (SKU - X1R552)
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- NO Professional Monitor Color Calibration
- Sager - 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3740QM (2.7GHz - 3.7GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache, 45W Max TDP) (SKU - S2R202)
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
- SLi ENABLED DUAL (2) 3072MB PCI-Express nVIDIA GTX 670MX's (6144MB Total) w/ GDDR5 DX11 Video Cards [User Upgradeable] (SKU – S5X523)
- No Copper Cooling Upgrade
- No Video Adapter
- No External Mobile Display
- 16GB - DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (4 SODIMMS) (SKU - S4S444M)
- Remove All Branding
- Standard Laptop Finish
- 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD - Preconfigured as an OS Drive ( Operating System – Drive C: ) - [ETA: Nov.13th]
- 750GB 7200RPM [Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache] (SKU - S5R306)
- 750GB 7200RPM [Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache] (SKU - S5R305)
- Raid 0 Stripe Enabled (Requires 2 or 3 Hard Drives. Combines Hard Drives for performance) (Sager)
- 6x Blu-Ray Burner/Reader / 8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive (SKU - S7R556)
- No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- NO External USB Optical Drive
- Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)
- No Back Up Software
- Bluetooth Included *With select wireless cards only* (See “Wireless Network” Section Below)
- Sager - Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1202 + Bluetooth 4.0 (Dual Band) (SKU – S8R008)
- No Network Accessory
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Basic Black Business Case - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- No Car Adapter
- No Spare AC Adapter
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- No Headset
- No External Keyboard
- Standard Sager/Clevo Non Chiclet Backlit Keyboard
- No External Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- No Thanks, Please do not Overclock my system (Overclocking will add 3-6 business days to build time)
- No Operating System Redline Boost
- Windows 7 Ultimate Premium 64-Bit (64&32-Bit CD Included) + MS Office Starter 2010 -[ Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (Directly through Microsoft)
- No Thanks, I will not be upgrading to Windows 8 Professional [Directly through Microsoft]
- 2013 PC Security Essentials Software (Not Installed) (Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus + Security (2 Year Subscription) & Zemana AntiLogger)
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- Sager 2 Year Parts & LIFETIME Ltd Labor Warranty w/ Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll Free Customer Support (SKU - S9R219)
- Yes, I would like XOTIC PC’s White Glove Premium Packaging (XPC Service - requires shipment to XOTIC PC: will add to build time)
- No Outside of US Shipping Coverage
- Standard Production Time
- No Xotic PC Gear

Damn I'm Good - $4,800 (Sager) ---- Best Legitimate Value Sanity level @ 2% of normal (Click to show)
- FREE!! Continental (U.S. Lower 48 - UPS Ground Only) Ground Shipping on ALL Sager Laptops (Enter Coupon Code: "SAGERFREESHIP" during order process)
- SAGER Autumn Sale!!! - $100 OFF When you spend $1350* or more! (*excludes non-sager parts, accessories, shipping, & taxes) - [NP9150, NP9170, & NP9370 Only]
- 17.3" FHD 16:9 "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Anti-Glare Screen w/ 72% NTSC Color Gamut (1920x1080)
(Will add 4-7 business days to build time) (SKU - X1R552)
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- NO Professional Monitor Color Calibration
- Sager - 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3840QM (2.8GHz - 3.8GHz, 8MB Intel® Smart Cache, 45W Max TDP) (SKU - S2R203)
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
- SLi ENABLED DUAL (2) 4096MB PCI-Express nVIDIA GTX 680M's (8192MB Total) w/ GDDR5 DX11 Video Cards [User Upgradeable] (SKU - S3R708)
- No Copper Cooling Upgrade
- No Video Adapter
- No External Mobile Display
- 32GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (4 SODIMMS) (Windows 7 Pro OS Required) (SKU - S4T844P)
- Sager Branding
- Standard Laptop Finish
- 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD - Preconfigured as an OS Drive ( Operating System – Drive C: ) - [ETA: Nov.13th]
- 512gb Crucial M4 Series Solid State Drive [SSD2 Serial-ATA III] - [ETA: Nov.13th] (SKU – S5R063)
- 512GB Crucial M4 Series Solid State Drive [SSD2 Serial-ATA III] - [ETA: Nov.13th] (SKU - S6R064)
- Raid 0 Stripe Enabled (Requires 2 or 3 Hard Drives. Combines Hard Drives for performance) (Sager)
- 6x Blu-Ray Burner/Reader / 8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive (SKU - S7R556)
- No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- NO External USB Optical Drive
- Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)
- No Back Up Software
- Bluetooth Included *With select wireless cards only* (See “Wireless Network” Section Below)
- Sager - Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1202 + Bluetooth 4.0 (Dual Band) (SKU – S8R008)
- No Network Accessory
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Basic Black Business Case - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- No Car Adapter
- No Spare AC Adapter
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- No Headset
- No External Keyboard
- Standard Sager/Clevo Non Chiclet Backlit Keyboard
- No External Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- No Thanks, Please do not Overclock my system (Overclocking will add 3-6 business days to build time)
- No Operating System Redline Boost
- ~Windows 7 Ultimate Premium 64-Bit (64&32-Bit CD Included) + MS Office Starter 2010 -[ Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (Directly through Microsoft)
- No Thanks, I will not be upgrading to Windows 8 Professional [Directly through Microsoft]
- 2013 PC Security Essentials Software (Not Installed) (Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus + Security (2 Year Subscription) & Zemana AntiLogger)
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- Sager 2 Year Parts & LIFETIME Ltd Labor Warranty w/ Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll Free Customer Support (SKU - S9R219)
- Yes, I would like XOTIC PC’s White Glove Premium Packaging (XPC Service - requires shipment to XOTIC PC: will add to build time)
- No Outside of US Shipping Coverage
- Standard Production Time
- No Xotic PC Gear

ALL OF MY WATS - $14,000ish (Alienware) ---- For those who want a 3 second boot time...and bathe in money... tongue.gifWHY!? (Click to show)
- * Tons of Upgrades & Customization Options
* 3% Cash Discounts
* Military & Student Discounts
* We only collect Sales Tax when shipping to Nebraska
- FREE - UPS GROUND SHIPPING (Use Coupon Code "ALIENFREESHIP" in Checkout - U.S. Only, Not Available to Alaska and Hawaii)
- 18.4" (60Hz) WideFHD WLED (1920x1080) Super Clear Glare-Type Screen (SKU - A1R601)
- 1 Year "No Dead Pixel" Guarantee (XPC Service)
- XOTIC PC Professional Monitor Color Calibration w/ Spyder 3 Elite (Will add to Production Time) (Operating System is required) (XPC Service)
- 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3940XM Extreme Edition (OVERCLOCKED to 4.2GHz, 8MB Intel® Smart Cache, 55W Max TDP) (SKU - A2R304)
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - GPU & CPU
- SLi ENABLED DUAL (2) 2048MB PCI-Express nVIDIA GTX 680M's (4096MB Total) w/ GDDR5 DX11 Video Cards (SKU - A3R707)
- No Video Adapter
- No External Mobile Display
- 32GB DDR3 1600MHz [SKU-A844P] (Dual Channel Memory (4x8GB SODIMMS))
- Default Color
- Alienware SPACE BLACK Anodized Aluminum (Stock Finish)
- CUSTOM ETCHING - Up to 21 Characters - (Etched Plate on Bottom of Laptop) - Enter in Comments Box During Checkout
- Customize your Alienware system with your favorite Avatar and Wallpaper! (Contact Sales for more info or can be completed upon arrival)
- 256GB Crucial Solid State mSATA III (Primary Drive w/ O.S. Installed)
- 1TB OCZ Octane Indilinx Everest Solid State Drive (Serial-ATA III) (SKU - A5R307)
- 1TB OCZ Octane Indilinx Everest Solid State Drive (Serial-ATA III) (SKU - A5R307)
- 1TB OCZ Octane Indilinx Everest Solid State Drive (Serial-ATA III) (SKU - A5R307)
- Raid 0 Stripe Enabled (Requires 2 or 3 Hard Drives. Combines Hard Drives for performance)
- Slot Load - 6X Blu-Ray Writer/Reader + 8X DVDRW/CDRW Super Multi Combo Drive
- No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- NO External USB Optical Drive
- Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)
- No Back Up Software
- Bluetooth Included *With select wireless cards only* (See “Wireless Network” Section Below)
- Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1202 + Bluetooth 4.0 (Dual Band) (SKU – X8R008)
- No Network Accessory
- Integrated Digital Video Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- No Carrying Case
- Smart Li-ion Battery (12 Cell)
- No Car Adapter
- No Spare AC Adapter
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- No Fingerprint Reader
- No Headset
- No External Keyboard
- No External Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- YES - Redline Boost™ Overclock My System (Operating System Required) (XPC Service)
- Yes, Redline Boost My Operating System (Operating System Required) (XPC Service)
- Windows 7 Ultimate - 64-Bit - [ Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (Directly through Microsoft) ]
- Clean Windows Installation (Install drivers only - no bloatwares) (For factory installed OS only, not required if OS upgrade is selected) (XPC Service)
- No thanks, do not create backup recovery DVD's
- 2013 PC Security Essentials Software (Not Installed) (Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus + Security (2 Year Subscription) & Zemana AntiLogger)
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- 4 Year GLOBAL Alienware Advanced Service Plan Warranty (Includes: In-Home Service After Remote Diagnosis + Accidental Damage Protection) (SKU - A9R997)
- Yes, I would like XOTIC PC’s White Glove Premium Packaging (XPC Service)
- No Outside of US Shipping Coverage
- Standard Production Time
- No Xotic PC Gear

And there you have it! Aside from the last machine that I added just for S&Gs I think those should suffice. The $3,000 choice is my personal preference when it comes to the best bang for buck. biggrin.gif Mostly due to the ONLY difference between the 670MX and 675MX is the memory bandwidth. >.> Overclocking that should yield nicely. biggrin.gif
Edited by Imglidinhere - 11/13/12 at 6:04am
     
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post #2 of 152
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B006GTCXG8/ref=mp_s_a_11?qid=1334102821&sr=8-11
OR
http://mobile.buy.com/ibuy/Product.aspx?sku=224172204&listingId=-1
Its between these 2. Which would you take and why? Thanx
post #3 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzyrapper View Post

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B006GTCXG8/ref=mp_s_a_11?qid=1334102821&sr=8-11
OR
http://mobile.buy.com/ibuy/Product.aspx?sku=224172204&listingId=-1
Its between these 2. Which would you take and why? Thanx

Between those two, the Toshiba without a doubt.

Much faster GPU and the same CPU.


I've got the Qosmio X505, previous generation machine, and I can vouch for quality. There's a little flex in the case/screen but it's plenty durable. I accidentally dropped it off the side of a desk and it fell a solid four feet, landing on the bottom. Not one problem. That was three months ago. thumb.gif
     
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post #4 of 152
Thread Starter 
I'd like to make a note that if there's anything that I should add into this, please let me know! I will be adding a spot for the Screen Choices and the like as well. redface.gif

Please Tell me how this looks! It's bugged me to no end for the longest time when people don't know what to look for...
     
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post #5 of 152
I'm not sure if you noticed but my thread in the "stickies" covers much the same material though in a more general and less in depth on the gaming topic. Perhaps a mod could combine them or we could link to each other?
     
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post #6 of 152
Add what attributes are best for what games. Roll playimg shooters etc. Hdd, screens, processors, etc looks good other than that.
Edited by dizzyrapper - 4/13/12 at 10:35am
post #7 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzyrapper View Post

Add what attributes are best for what games. Roll playimg shooters etc. Hdd, screens, processors, etc looks good other than that.

Yeah that's in the works too. Gotta find more spare time to do it. thumb.gif
     
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post #8 of 152
So are gtx 670m and 675m being shipped already? Do we know for sure they are rebadged 570m and 580m? Are there any benchmarks yet?
post #9 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbies View Post

So are gtx 670m and 675m being shipped already? Do we know for sure they are rebadged 570m and 580m? Are there any benchmarks yet?

I want to say yes, they are. The Clevo P1x0EM lines are shipping as we speak and the stock GPUs are in fact the 670M and the 675M.

You would be correct in saying that the 670M is a 570M with a 25mhz boost to it's engine clock and the 675M is a 580M entirely. No change to the latter of the two. No clock raises, nothing.

However, if I'm not mistaken, the 670M might have had the voltage raised a little so you can potentially overclock better. Don't quote me on that since I'm still checking into it myself. But I'll keep you guys posted. thumb.gif


Updated the OP with the GPU Breakdown!
     
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post #10 of 152
Alright...this is definitely going more in depth than I did. You should hit a mod with a request for sticking as this might help cover the people who aren't willing to read notebookcheck.net for general technical information.

PS: Good job. thumb.gif
     
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