Digital Storm x17 Notebook Review: Radeon HD 7970M And Enduro, Again

Does A Fixed Radeon HD 7970M Help Digital Storm?

Digital Storm surprised us by taking on its competition's expensive CPU and SSD with lower-cost parts in an attempt to improve value.

The cheaper CPU offsets the difference in system price, while the conventional hard drive gives Digital Storm an extra $80 to spend on a chassis with a larger screen. The company ends up with a 6% overall value lead before we even begin to consider how much more its 17.3” display is worth (actually a little comparison shopping on Digital Storm's site tells us that the display is worth $54).

A few more configuration changes allow us to create the same system on Digital Storm's page that we received from Xotic PC, and we end up with roughly the same price, within a few dollars. Digital Storm isn’t what we'd consider a low-cost builder, but the company knew how to pick the parts that'd make its setup appear as price-optimized as possible. Bravo!

Getting back to the primary purpose of these notebooks, we wanted to see how each one compared in terms of gaming performance-per-dollar.

Most of our games are not CPU-bound (particularly when they're backed by a 3 GHz+ Core i7). So, processor performance isn't a major factor in the frame rates observed for our gaming value chart. Digital Storm's original x17 configuration comes within 1% of Xotic PC’s average performance at 1920x1080, and the processor’s lower price boosts the system's overall value significantly. When you arm it with a Core i7-3610QM, the x17 has 13% more gaming value than Xotic PC's smaller notebook with the faster CPU.

The big number is where AMD's Radeon HD 7970M rides in on a white horse. Performance enhancements to a somewhat-better driver (remember, we're still seeing problems in F1 2012, even with Catalyst 12.11 Beta 8) combine with Digital Storm's good processor choice to give it a commanding 29% lead. We can only hope that a final version of AMD’s Enduro-patched driver is released soon, and that a Clevo-specific version is able to fix the issues that remain.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
16 comments
    Your comment
  • joytech22
    FAR OUT. I JUST.. JUST got my M17X and I see this review posted on a laptop with almost the same specs and half the price.

    The only differences were that mine has a Blu-Ray drive, 1TB Hard drive, HDMI In, all USB ports were USB 3.0 and the CPU was a 3630QM..
    My M17X set me back $2500 ON SALE from $3000 AUSD. I don't even know why since the Australian dollar is a lot bloody stronger than the U.S dollar.
    7
  • dudewitbow
    joytech22FAR OUT. I JUST.. JUST got my M17X and I see this review posted on a laptop with almost the same specs.The only differences were that mine has a Blu-Ray drive, 1TB Hard drive, HDMI In, all USB ports were USB 3.0 and the CPU was a 3630QM..My M17X set me back $2500 ON SALE from $3000 AUSD. I don't even know why since the Australian dollar is a lot bloody stronger than the U.S dollar.

    probably the difference between laws, importing cost. market size and such. as a smaller non relevant analogy, its similar to the situation between the U.S and Canada when it comes to oil. Canada has more oil(and i believe has a stronger form of currency) but oil none the less is cheaper in the U.S due to it having the processing and purification plants that Canada does not have as much of, so canada's oil goes across the border, and back again causing a higher price.
    7
  • shikamaru31789
    Nice to see some laptop benchmarks here on Tom's. I've been considering getting a gaming laptop and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the 7970m's performance. I wonder how it compares to the newer 675mx?
    2
  • amuffin
    shikamaru31789Nice to see some laptop benchmarks here on Tom's. I've been considering getting a gaming laptop and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the 7970m's performance. I wonder how it compares to the newer 675mx?

    Here ya go.
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-675MX.82580.0.html
    3
  • army_ant7
    I'm wondering if that port to the left of the ethernet port is a small 1394 port. I don't think it was noted in the article, but the specs listed said there wasn't a 1394. Just wondering though... :)

    This might sound funny, but is there still thermal paste between the CPU and GPU and their heatsinks? I'm just wondering if they're lapped to a point that they don't need it (and maybe because they're copper heatsinks). I know that the Atom CPU of this netbook I use didn't have any, though that might just be because it's such a low power CPU.

    Pretty neat that 2 drives are allowed. For a moment, I thought that you'd have to get rid of the ODD to add an additional HDD or SSD, but it was just "under" it. Is the mo-bo RAID capable with these two ports? :)
    1
  • army_ant7
    Also, Thomas, I hope you reply personally to this one.

    Do you use geometric means (instead of plain arithmetic averages) with your performance and efficiency charts, just like how Adam Overa does the Web Browser Grand Prix? I have approached Chris about this and also posted it in the feedback forums. In the feedback forums, the moderator told me that he/she would relay it to you editors.

    Also, what are the base (100%) numbers for your charts on the last page? That 100% performance number that comes up for the Xotic laptop? :)
    1
  • Marcus52
    Very nice...

    but why do I have to buy an Apple to get a decent display? Enough with TN panels! If Apple can put an IPS Retina Display in a 15" and sell it for $2200, surely someone like Digital Storm could at least offer the option.
    3
  • alterecho
    joytech22FAR OUT. I JUST.. JUST got my M17X and I see this review posted on a laptop with almost the same specs and half the price.The only differences were that mine has a Blu-Ray drive, 1TB Hard drive, HDMI In, all USB ports were USB 3.0 and the CPU was a 3630QM..My M17X set me back $2500 ON SALE from $3000 AUSD. I don't even know why since the Australian dollar is a lot bloody stronger than the U.S dollar.


    Well, you can comfort yourself with the fact that the m17x looks meaner and premium.
    4
  • cats_Paw
    Things that should be in this review: There are no temperature readings, no information on if done in clean install of OS, version of OS, no ambient temps, no mention about if the CPU/GPU can handle a 100% load without throttle.
    Also, contrast, black levels, garmut color cover, viewing angle... Just check a review at notebookcheck.net and try to do them like that :D.
    4
  • Crashman
    army_ant7This might sound funny, but is there still thermal paste between the CPU and GPU and their heatsinks?
    Yes. As for additional options, Digital Storm has quite a few that you can check through. Or, for that matter, any other vender of the P170EM
    2
  • Pyree
    Anonymous said:
    FAR OUT. I JUST.. JUST got my M17X and I see this review posted on a laptop with almost the same specs and half the price.

    The only differences were that mine has a Blu-Ray drive, 1TB Hard drive, HDMI In, all USB ports were USB 3.0 and the CPU was a 3630QM..
    My M17X set me back $2500 ON SALE from $3000 AUSD. I don't even know why since the Australian dollar is a lot bloody stronger than the U.S dollar.

    dudewitbowprobably the difference between laws, importing cost. market size and such. as a smaller non relevant analogy, its similar to the situation between the U.S and Canada when it comes to oil. Canada has more oil(and i believe has a stronger form of currency) but oil none the less is cheaper in the U.S due to it having the processing and purification plants that Canada does not have as much of, so canada's oil goes across the border, and back again causing a higher price.
    No, it's just Dell Australia overcharging people (like Dell Alienware everywhere). The Clevo in AUS is not a lot more expensive than in US, in machine price. In fact it is cheaper to buy in AUS in total if you are in AUS. Same config P150EM (i7-3630qm, W8, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, 7970m) in US is $1580, in AU is $1700. If you include shipping, GST and custom duty, buying from US is going to be more expensive.
    1
  • Yuka
    I got my Sager that's better and for less... USD$1458+tax. Funny thing, they use almost the same body/chassis.

    Core i7 3630QM, GTX675M, 2x500GB 7200RPM HDD. I got it with just 8GB DDR3 1600 instead of 16, but that's not worth a USD$300 difference =/

    Cheers!
    0
  • cjnlstntxs
    hmm got a MSI GT70 with the 670mx and i7 3630qm (was on sale for 1500). kinda wishing I went 7970M route... ahh well.
    5
  • alexthager
    Marcus52Very nice...but why do I have to buy an Apple to get a decent display? Enough with TN panels! If Apple can put an IPS Retina Display in a 15" and sell it for $2200, surely someone like Digital Storm could at least offer the option.


    They probably can't to be honest. A resolution that high is unheard of in the laptop industry, and most displays are TFT/TN. Digital Storm doesn't have enough money to invest.
    0
  • dweezled
    If you want a high-end laptop with the 7970M better off with the MSI GX60 @$1200

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152372&Tpk=msi%20gx60
    0
  • whhussain
    Nice to see some laptop benchmarks here on Tom's. I've been considering getting a gaming laptop and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the 7970m's performance. I wonder how it compares to the newer 675mx? to chk more laptop technology....

    http://mobileshunt.com/
    0