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ASI's IQ17-D2: Is Mobility Radeon HD 3870 X2 Still Fast Enough?

ASI's IQ17-D2: Is Mobility Radeon HD 3870 X2 Still Fast Enough?
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The launch of the Radeon HD 5800-series desktop parts puts the Mobility Radeon HD 3870 X2 three generations behind, yet cancellations of Asus' ill-fated Radeon HD 4870 X2-based W90VP notebook models may have once again put it at the top of AMD’s mobile graphics portfolio. It’s not like the competition has gotten tougher, since Nvidia's GeForce GTX 200M-series offerings are re-branded two generation-old desktop parts. And while we expect AMD to eventually put its newfound 2D energy efficiency to good use in a notebook GPU, we don’t like to hold our breath waiting for product announcements (an editor once popped a blood vessel doing this).

This was the harsh climate buyers faced a few months ago when Nvidia launched an efficiency-enhanced version of its desktop 8800 GTS 512 as a 1GB model named GTX 280M. The article that claimed high praise for its brutal honesty was equally panned for its lack of comparison to Mobility 4870 X2—a solution that, as ATI's mobile product page indicates, no longer technically exists. Several editors continued scouring the industry for anyone willing to pony up with ATI’s most powerful mobile graphics solution, and a multitude of requests were finally answered by an unlikely source when white-box supplier ASI stepped up to the plate.

Available with dual Mobility Radeon HD 3870 graphics cards for around $1,300, the only “catch” to the ASI IQ17 gaming notebook is that buyers must be willing to either install their own Socket P mobile CPU, DDR3 memory, and hard drives or source their system through one of ASI's reseller partners.

That values the hardware of our as-delivered test system to around $2,480, complete with a Core 2 Extreme X9100 CPU, two Toshiba MK3254GSY 320GB hard drives, and two Crucial CT25664BC1067 DDR3-1066 memory modules. If you have someone else order the same parts and add the operating system, expect to pay around $2,800-$3,000, including installation fees.

ASI IQ17-D2 Configuration Options
CPUIntel Core 2 Duo/Quad/Extreme (Socket P Mobile) FSB-800/1066
ChipsetIntel PM45-ICH9M-Enhanced
RAMUp to 4GB DDR3-1066 or DDR3-800
GraphicsATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 X2
Display17" WUXGA (1920x1200)
HDDUp to two 2.5” (9.5mm thick) SATA 3.0 Gb/s HDD, RAID 0/1
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
Wired LANIntegrated Gigabit LAN
Wireless LANIntel WiFi Link 5300 802.11n
TelephonyNone
BluetoothInternal Bluetooth Module
OpticalH-L Data GSA-T50N 8x DVD±R, 6x DVD±RW, 5x DVD-RAM
Media ReaderMulti-format flash card interface
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
ExpansionExpressCard/54
USB 2.0 Three ports (1-rear, 2-right)
IEEE-13941 x FireWire 400 (right-side)
eSATA1 x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s (rear)
Audio I/OHeadphone, Microphone, Digital Optical Out (right-side)
Video Out1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI (rear)
Battery12-cell 14.8V 6600mAh
WeightNotebook 10.0 lbs (filled), Power Adapter 2.8 lbs, Total 12.8 pounds
WarrantyOne-year parts and labor
SupportOne-year online and telephone
Total PriceApproximately $1,300 w/o CPU, RAM, HDD
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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Ehsan w , October 16, 2009 10:46 AM
    I suggest Ati drops whatever they have now, and start working on the mobility 5xxx series
    Since the desktop versions already don't use a lot of power
    but gives really good performance, they could totally rape Nvidia in a year
Other Comments
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 16, 2009 6:45 AM
    i have a 3870 x2 and its still rocking the new games great!
    1920 x 1200 resolutions run smoothly,
    i just have to tone the antialaising to like 2x or off on a few games like re5
  • 0 Hide
    lashabane , October 16, 2009 6:54 AM
    I love ASI's products.
  • 1 Hide
    CoryInJapan , October 16, 2009 6:54 AM
    That not bad for a gaming laptop.Could play COD4 and TF2 on there all day.
  • 9 Hide
    lashabane , October 16, 2009 6:55 AM
    There really needs to be an edit function.
  • 0 Hide
    doomtomb , October 16, 2009 6:56 AM
    Eurocom had some awesome performance but the power consumption is scary. You can't be away from an outlet for more than 45 minutes.
  • 0 Hide
    tacoslave , October 16, 2009 7:05 AM
    i like my desktop for gaming but when i have to go someplace and its a long trip i use this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152126
    its got pretty decent battery life (3 hours) and it doesnt hurt the wallet that much anyway.
  • 1 Hide
    curnel_D , October 16, 2009 7:08 AM
    I'm an ASI partner, and I've been reselling these laptops since 2005. Most of their lineup are Brandless Compal (second largest OEM notebook supplier) notebooks. Not many score real high in the looks department, but the quality and durability is head and shoulders above the competition.
  • 4 Hide
    melvis72 , October 16, 2009 7:53 AM
    I'd like to see a review on an Alienware M17x with Dual 280's or Dual 4870's just to see if all the money wasted is fast or not.
  • 1 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , October 16, 2009 8:16 AM
    Not bad, I wouldnt get a laptop for gaming. Just get a mobile gaming device like a psp or dsi. I would rather play with a regular laptop than spend on a crazy laptop when I can just buy a ps3 or even build another great PC for that insane price. Crysis, COD5, STALKER and Fallout arent meant to be played with Laptops anyway on their max settings. You can play these in low or medium settings which is fine but I would never expect the world with even these mobile beasts.
  • 11 Hide
    Ehsan w , October 16, 2009 10:46 AM
    I suggest Ati drops whatever they have now, and start working on the mobility 5xxx series
    Since the desktop versions already don't use a lot of power
    but gives really good performance, they could totally rape Nvidia in a year
  • -4 Hide
    amdfangirl , October 16, 2009 12:08 PM
    Mmm... chunky
  • 5 Hide
    jonpaul37 , October 16, 2009 12:38 PM
    I agree, if ATI had a mobility soultion for the 5xxx series that could be in a really nice position in the laptop market.
  • 0 Hide
    jonpaul37 , October 16, 2009 12:38 PM
    I agree, if ATI had a mobility soultion for the 5xxx series that could be in a really nice position in the laptop market.
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , October 16, 2009 12:59 PM
    If the battery won't last through a three hour flight from TYS to MSP, it's not a viable option for me.
  • 0 Hide
    LATTEH , October 16, 2009 1:27 PM
    i still have a 3850 it still runs pretty strong (good enough for me to play the games i like) but with the 5xxx series i think it may be time to upgrade
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 16, 2009 1:49 PM
    I care less about performance on notebook drives.
    But the Power efficiency, and battery life page tells me enough that this is not a notebook I'm looking for,or ever buy!
    45 minutes under load???
    I hope you understand after a year the battery will have 80% of it's capacity.
    A year later it's only 66%.
    That means after 2 years you'd only get 25 minutes of battery life out of this machine!
  • 0 Hide
    cookoy , October 16, 2009 2:17 PM
    can't convince myself why i should use my notebook to play games - the real stuffs and not solitaire. i use mine for browsing, watching non-HD videos and work. more concerned about the heat generated by dedicated graphics chips. if i want to play games, i use my desktop.
  • 1 Hide
    fulle , October 16, 2009 4:21 PM
    Articles like this always have people coming on saying stupid shit like:
    "I would never buy a laptop with this poor of battery life"
    or "Why would anyone try to play anything but solitaire on a Laptop? I could build a Desktop for far less".

    Well, congratulations, a DTR style laptop doesn't suit your needs. There's still a market filled with people who relocate often (e.g. Military), or need a powerful machine to take to customer sites (which will have a power outlet btw), or even would buy one because they wipe their ass with 100s and just wanted something to take a friend's houses so they could game together.
  • -1 Hide
    BoxBabaX , October 16, 2009 5:00 PM
    fulleArticles like this always have people coming on saying stupid shit like:"I would never buy a laptop with this poor of battery life"or "Why would anyone try to play anything but solitaire on a Laptop? I could build a Desktop for far less".Well, congratulations, a DTR style laptop doesn't suit your needs. There's still a market filled with people who relocate often (e.g. Military), or need a powerful machine to take to customer sites (which will have a power outlet btw), or even would buy one because they wipe their ass with 100s and just wanted something to take a friend's houses so they could game together.


    hahahaha this is great :) 
  • 2 Hide
    scook9 , October 16, 2009 5:15 PM
    I am pretty sure corssfire was disabled on that laptop....if you go to the CCC and check Catalyst AI it needs to be enabled for Crossfire to be in effect. Pretty much ALL those numbers look like a single 3870 to me....

    This laptop is actually a year old now, ASI is just new to selling it. It is the Alienware M17 (which can be bought for $700 now as a "recertified" (but brand new) system so screw ASI and their pricing...) as well as the now gone OCZ whitebook. Long story short, it is the Arime/Flextronics W840DI which has been out for a while. The best GPU's that will fit this notebook are a pair of 4850's which ONLY Alienware sold and ONLY for a short time (to clear stock of the laptop I think)

    3870x2 Mobility will crush a GTX 280m so that is why I belive you did this test with Crossfire off (I can provide numbers if you need proof - I had an OCZ whitebook for about 6 months and now have an Alienware M17x)

    As was stated by another user, except for very rare cases, the 3870x2 Mobility is easily enough for most modern games at high settings - I can provide sources for this as well.

    Tom's needs to jump over to Notebook Review Forums and do some research themselves to make sure that their results seem right ;) 
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