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Hardware And Test Setup

Digital Storm x17 Notebook Review: Radeon HD 7970M And Enduro, Again
By
Test System Configurations
 Digital Storm x17XoticPC / Sager NP9150Eurocom Racer 2.0
CPUIntel Core i7-3610QM: 2.3 GHz Base, 3.3 GHz Turbo Core, 4C/8T, 6 MB Shared L3 CacheIntel Core i7-3820QM: 2.7 GHz Base, 3.7 GHz Turbo Core, 4C/8T, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache
ChipsetIntel HM77 Express PCH
RAMSamsung M473B5273DH0-YK0
16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 C11
Samsung M473B5273DH0-YK0
12 GB (3 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 C11
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7970M:
850 MHz, 2 GB GDDR5-4800
Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M:
835 MHz, 2 GB GDDR5-4000
Graphics 2 Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M:
620 MHz, 2 GB GDDR5-3000
Hard DriveSeagate Momentus ST9750420AS
750 GB, SATA 6Gb/s, 7200 RPM
Intel SSD 520 SSDSC2CW120A3
120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerFSP 19 V, 11.57 A AdapterFSP 19 V, 9.47 A Adapter
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium x64Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Graphics1204122214-8.951.6-120329b-136980C-ClevoNvidia GeForce 302.71


Even though the x17 is larger, it relies on the same P150HM battery as the competing mid-sized models in today’s review. Its 220 W power brick is carried over from larger-sized predecessors.

Benchmark Settings
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-Seconds Fraps
Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF)
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
DiRT 3V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF
Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimUpdate 1.5.26, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25 Seconds Fraps
Test Set 1: High Detail Defaults (8x AA, 8x AF)
Test Set 2: Ultra Detail Defaults (8x AA, 16x AF)
StarCraft IIVersion 1.5.3, Tom's Hardware custom map
Test Set 1: High Texture, High Quality
Test Set 2: Ultra Textures, Extreme Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 10.4.1.10 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format 
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.95: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: 2.2.0.5440: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.1 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version 14.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 15.5 Pro: THG-Workload (464 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.01: THG-Workload (464 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.22: THG-Workload (464 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.82: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
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  • 7 Hide
    joytech22 , December 12, 2012 3:22 AM
    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 Hide
    dudewitbow , December 12, 2012 3:29 AM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , December 12, 2012 3:57 AM
    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?
  • 3 Hide
    amuffin , December 12, 2012 5:18 AM
    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
  • 1 Hide
    army_ant7 , December 12, 2012 5:48 AM
    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 Hide
    army_ant7 , December 12, 2012 5:54 AM
    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? :) 
  • 3 Hide
    Marcus52 , December 12, 2012 6:28 AM
    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.
  • 4 Hide
    alterecho , December 12, 2012 6:45 AM
    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 Hide
    cats_Paw , December 12, 2012 7:22 AM
    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 .
  • 2 Hide
    Crashman , December 12, 2012 8:37 AM
    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
  • 1 Hide
    Pyree , December 12, 2012 8:39 AM
    Quote:
    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.
  • 0 Hide
    Yuka , December 12, 2012 10:20 AM
    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!
  • 5 Hide
    cjnlstntxs , December 12, 2012 12:19 PM
    hmm got a MSI GT70 with the 670mx and i7 3630qm (was on sale for 1500). kinda wishing I went 7970M route... ahh well.
  • 0 Hide
    alexthager , December 13, 2012 4:18 AM
    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 Hide
    dweezled , December 13, 2012 5:22 PM
    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 Hide
    whhussain , December 26, 2012 10:06 PM
    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/