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I need a help with upgrading options for Sager NP8170 (Clevo P170HM)!

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  • Laptops
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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February 27, 2012 12:45:14 AM

Hello, I am new newbie here... Trying to learn something about laptop before spending my first thousands dollars on laptop...

I am going to buy a laptop from Gaming Laptops - XOTIC PC - Gaming Notebooks - Custom Laptops - Custom Notebooks.
It took me about a week to make some decisions but there are some options I am not really sure whether it is worth to upgrade or change some parts of laptop.
I will be truly gracious and thankful for sharing your expertise and opinions!
So, here is the specification of the laptop I am going to buy.



Sager NP8170 / Clevo P170HM

1) Display: Undecided

2) Processor: Undecided

Graphics Video Card: ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 6990M 2048MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11

Ram: 8GB - DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS)

HDD: No HDD

3) Wireless Network: Undecided

4) Soundcard: Undecided

5) Optical Drive: Undecided



0) Before asking about upgrades for the laptop, all I am looking for is IS IT WORTH MONEY? I really do not concern whether I have to spend $500 more on my laptop because of more upgrades. However, I will hate to spend extra $300 to upgrade CPU that shows $100 or almost no difference with the original CPU.



1) Display

a. Glare Type Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Glossy Screen (included)
b. Glare Type Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Glossy Screen w/ 90% NTSC Color Gamut (+ $185)
c. Matte Type Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Anti-Glare Screen w/ 72% NTSC Color Gamut (+ $199)


This the option for DISPLAY from Xotic [the cost for upgrades is (+ $XX)] I researched about Glare and Matte, and decided upgrading Matte is UNNECESSARY. However, I am still unsure about the "NTSC." I know it relates with the color vision but not sure whether it is worth hundreds dollars. So I would like to know whether the "NTSC" worth it.



2) Processor

a. 2nd Generation i7-2670QM, 2.2-3.1GHz, (32nm, 6MB L3 cache) (included)
b. 2nd Generation i7-2760QM, 2.4-3.5GHz, (32nm, 6MB L3 cache) (+ $160)
c. 2nd Generation i7-2860QM, 2.5-3.6GHz, (32nm, 8MB L3 cache) (+ $350)
d. 2nd Generation i7-2960XM, 2.7-3.7GHz, (32nm, 8MB L3 cache) (+ $870)


So here are options for CPU... Well I am going to use my laptop for high graphic games (Ex: Oblivion 5, Crisis2, Civilization5, War hammer2, etc) and MULTI-TASKING (using internet explore [with 4~5 taps], running a game, watching a HD movie, and typing on Microsoft word at same time). What I am looking for is what CPU is enough for my uses. If 2670QM is enough for my use, you can say 2670 is enough and I will stick with 2670QM. If 2760QM is necessary for smooth and 2670QM might be little lag, I will consider upgrading CPU to 2760QM. So I really want to know RIGHT CPU for me...



3) Wireless Network

a. Built-in 802.11 Wireless B/G/N - Stock Wireless Card + Bluetooth (included)
b. Sager Intel® Advanced-N 6230 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module + Bluetooth (+ $25)
c. Intel® Ultimate-N 6300 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module (+ $35)
d. Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1103 (3x3) (+ $60)


The Wireless Network is the area I really have no idea what to choose... I never think about upgrading my wireless card in a laptop. Well, through web research, I found out that Bigfoot 1103 and Intel Ultimate 6300 are the best (and I am slightly inclined to Bigfoot 1103 since many reviews show Bigfoot 1103 is better than Intel Ultimate 6300). Well, I am concerned with Wireless a lot since I use wireless more often than ethernet (I move around often ). So if the Bigfoot 1103 or Intel Ultimate 6300, provide better connection [what I mean is internet speed or even online game connection using wireless], I will gladly consider upgrading it.
But I am not sure which one is better... For bigfoot 1103, I learned that it is better if a laptop has 3 antennas, but I do not understand what people mean by 3 antennas (should I buy extra like antenna and attach to the laptop or the router must have 3 antennas for greater connection?).
So, I am curious which product Bigfoot 1103 or Intel Ultimate 6300 is better and the comment about Bigfoot with 3 antennas...)



4) Sound card

a. Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio (Included)
b. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro THX 24-bit External USB Sound Card (+ $99)
c. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Wireless Sound Card System (Broadcast Xtreme Fidelity Audio from PC to other audio devices wirelessly) (+ $129)


Okay... This one I could not even find any comment or comparison between these audio cards. Anyway, I love music and pretty much I turn on a music every time I am on a laptop. But I do not use Bluetooth or wireless connection with other cellphone, mp3, or other computers. I really need any information about the sound cards and what is the difference.



5) Optical Drive

a. 8X Max. DVD±R/RW Writer/Reader / 4X Max. +DL Super-Mulit Drive
b. Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti DVDRW/CDRW Drive w/ Software (When selecting a Hard Drive in the Optical Bay, No Optical Drive is Included)
c. Remove DVDRW Drive and Install Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy Only


This one I just want to know the difference between three options. I want to attach an extra hard drive instead of DVD reader, but I wonder which opition allows me to attach an extra hard drive. Also, what is the difference between DL Super-Mulit Drive and Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy? (I think both are related with an extra hard drive... but why different?)



6) More questions about the laptop

a. I heard a rumor that 17.3 inch laptop with 1920x1080 resolution has a worse display view (more diluted color and less clear) than 15.6 inch laptop with 1920x1080 and exactly same other specification just because the 17.3's monitor is bigger than the 15.6's. Is this true?



b. Lastly, I have questions about these options:

XOTIC PC Redline Boost™ Extreme Performance
No Boost (included)
Redline Boost™ Overclock My System (Operating System Required) ($ +75)

OS Redline Boost More Information
No Boost (included)
Redline Boost My Operating System (Operating System Required) ($ +55)


These two options, according to xoticpc's explanation boosts up the laptop performance and booting speed. But I wander is there such a programming upgrade other than overclock of Processors and Graphic Video Cards, that allows extra higher performance... Had anyone applied or used these opitions. Do they worth money?



Sorry for such a... ridiculously long questions...
But I will be glad if I can share your expertise experience or knowledge... Once again Thank You so much just for reading! If these are too many questions, you do not have to answer every one of them, I just want to hear any opinion or idea in any part... Also I will be very thankful if you just give me any helpful website that I can research through!

More about : upgrading options sager np8170 clevo p170hm

February 27, 2012 6:33:12 AM

1) Included display is fine. The other screens are for graphics artists and photographers, people who need super accurate colors for selling prints or putting their pictures in magazines and movies.

2) The 2670 should be fine. The 2760 can use faster 1600 MHz RAM, the 2860 has more l3 cache, the 2960 is overclockable. A movie, browser, and Word are all going to use minor amounts of processing power; the real test is going to be the games. The boost to the 2760 and 2860 is basically linear: 2.2 GHz to 2.4 GHz is 9% faster, plus maybe another 3% due to faster RAM, but it's only really faster if the computer would have been CPU-limited otherwise, and in games you're more likely to be GPU-limited. It's a large increase in cost for probably no benefit. The exception is the overclockable 2960; depending on cooling you may be able to get a substantial increase in processing power there, large enough to actually make a difference, but the increase in performance will not be anywhere near the increase in price (pay 50% more for 30% higher clock rate and... 30%? 15%? 0%? more fps)

3) Get the Bigfoot 1103. The third antenna goes inside the monitor bezel. It's an option with some laptops (you'd see another option "e. Killer 1103 (with 3rd antenna) + $90)) but apparently not this one. Still, even without the third antenna, the performance should be better than the other options, and if you use wireless a lot I'd say go for it. And you can try calling/e-mailing and asking if they can do the third antenna for you; I've heard they're pretty accomodating for custom requests.

4) Don't get. Those are external sound cards for audiophiles.

5) Hard drive bay caddy is the little housing for a hard drive. If you choose caddy under "Optical Drive Bay" you will get a caddy that you can fill with your own hard drive and NO optical drive. If you choose a hard drive under "Optical Drive Bay" you will get a hard drive in a caddy, pre-installed, with NO optical drive. If you choose an optical drive under "Optical Drive Bay" you will get an optical drive, and THEN if you choose caddy under "Optical Drive Bay Hard Drive Caddy" you will get a caddy as well.

6.a) 17 inch screens aren't inherently worse than 15 inch screens. Maybe a vendor had a bad batch of 17 inch screens or something.

6.b) I'm gonna guess those are a waste. I doubt they have anything you can't do yourself between fiddling with the BIOS, a fresh OS install, and some free/included programs like Disk Cleanup or Defraggler.
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February 27, 2012 3:42:34 PM

Thank you so much for such a detailed answer. Now I know what I want with options!!

I have one last question about Optical Drive Bay. Do you think it is possible to order the stock (DVD) and later I replace DVD with a caddy that I just buy from Amazon? (I think I have no problem with replacing since I done with RAM) Just wonder whether it is possible to take off the DVD
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February 28, 2012 4:22:00 PM

May I ask one more question?

I know Sager NP8170 (Clevo P170HM) can have up to 3 Hard drives: One Optical Drive & Two Hard Drives Coexisting.

But I wonder do all three hard drives are compatible with SSD SATA III. What I mean is I know that some laptops allow 2nd hard drive but does not support SATA III which then turns into SATA II quality... :( 

Moreover, is there difference between two SSD SATA III with raid 0 Vs. one SSD SATA III and regular 7200 rpm HDD SATA III with raid 0?
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February 28, 2012 7:58:34 PM

About the caddies, you can try. I can't guarantee you'll be able to find a caddy that will fit on amazon or ebay, and unless you find a vendor that happens to sell the exact right one, it probably won't match your case.

You need identical drives to raid, so you can't raid a ssd and a hdd. A hdd isn't going to saturate sata ii, so the question of them being sata ii or sata iii is only really relevant if you plan on using multiple solid state drives. You can glean some information from the raid options (Raid 0 Stripe Enabled (Requires 2 or 3 Hard Drives. Combines Hard Drives for performance); I would guess the two regular drive slots are sata iii, and the optical might be sata ii. If you really want to get three solid state drives and raid them, 1) you should call or email them and ask and 2) that is a terrible idea. This is something you should only consider if you have more money than sense. Get a ssd and two hard drives, or, if you really want to spend hundreds of dollars to knock half a second off opening firefox, two ssd's in raid and a storage/backup drive. There is no good reason for a consumer to use three ssd's in raid as his only storage solution.
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