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Xotic PC NP9150: Striking Back At Kepler With Radeon HD 7970M

Can Xotic PC Provide More Value?

The gaming notebook market is divided between tier-one manufacturers, customer-direct distributors, and boutique builders. The biggest reason to buy from one of the first two options is a warranty on hardware that comes straight from the hands that built your machine. Most of them last from one to three years, and many can be extended right at the point of sale.

Custom notebook builders generally offer a larger range of component and software options, add-on peripherals, chassis customization, and enhanced technical support. Often, that comes at a price premium that enthusiasts are reluctant to pay. Yet, not every builder charges the same rate for its bespoke services.

Xotic PC is out to offer its customers the best of the custom-built market at the smallest markup possible, going so far as to add lifetime labor to the phone support offered by most of its competitors. Power users still get the manufacturer’s full range of warranty options, too.

Today we see if Xotic PC can really deliver on its value promises.

Xotic PC / Sager NP9150 Custom Component List
PlatformIntel FCPGA988, HM77 Express, MXM-3 Discrete Graphics
CPUCore i7-3820QM (Ivy Bridge) 2.7 GHz-3.7 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 45 W Max TDP
RAMSamsung 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11, 1.35 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7970M: 850 MHz, 2 GB GDDR5-4800
Display15.6" FHD 16:9 Glossy Sager Screen (1920x1080)
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Storage
Hard DriveIntel SSD 520 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s
Optical DriveTSST SN-208AB 8x DVD Burner
Media Drive9-in-1 Flash Media Interface
Networking
Wireless LANBigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1103 (3x3)
Wireless PANNone: Combo-card sacrificed for Wi-Fi upgrade
Gigabit NetworkRealtek RTL8411 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Integrated IEEE-1394 Controller
TelephonyNot Available
Peripheral Interfaces
USB1 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0
Expansion CardNot Available
HDD1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
AudioHeadphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks
Video1 x Single-Link DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort
Power & Weight
AC Adapter180 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19 V DC
Battery14.8 V, 5200 mAh (76.96 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 7.1 lbs, AC Adapter 1.8 lbs, Total 8.9 lbs
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM
Service
WarrantyLifetime Labor, One-year parts
Price$2119
  • Did the test show any sign of 7970M utilization issue? It is a well known problem reported by many members from Notebookreview forum.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    QKVenGenDid the test show any sign of 7970M utilization issue? It is a well known problem reported by many members from Notebookreview forum.Care to elaborate?
    Reply
  • sherlockwing
    CrashmanCare to elaborate?
    If I recall it is a Enduro related bug causing 7970M to be under utilized in games like BF3, it was quite a big deal in June/July on NotebookReview's Forum, not sure if it is fixed by new drivers.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    BF3 results look fine to me :)
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    I find it hard to believe that the 7970M performs a bit too well in Battlefield 3. Even the 7870 and 660ti gets lower fps with the same settings at 1080p.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-660-geforce-gtx-650-benchmark,3297-7.html
    Reply
  • No games on 7970m doesant play fine. Most of them are affected by enduro underutilizaiotn which basicly causes the card to notutilize fully when lowering settings in games. For example , in bf 3 multiplayer( as there is no problem in singleplayer) when you enter a lrger map with 64p on it, youl get around 35 fps maxed but with dips down to 25 fps which is not enought for a fast paced shotter. So when setting are lowered you expect to get better fps right?? thats not the case with 7970m- the fps remains the same but utilization of the card drops down. This also happens in many other games that are sometimes even unplayable. You just cant achieve stable 60 fps no matter what settings- the lower the settings go, the lower the card utilization is. There is a logging thread, and many other threads regarding this issue on notebookreview. Amd adressed that there is a driver coming soon, but for users that have this card form half a year now its taking pretty long..
    Reply
  • I concur what Mahalsk said. A 7970M in a EM-series Clevo laptop IS NOT A GOOD DEAL for the price they are asking, since the card doesn't work properly. This is the case with all EM-series laptops and all 7970Ms out there. Even the 6900M series of AMD cards are beating 7970M at the moment with the Enduro issue unsolved.

    Check this thread (and the "Sager and Clevo forums") for more details:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo/682097-7970m-logging-thread-games-utilization-issues-only-post-logs-no-questions-please.html

    , and AVOID 7970M for now. Its been months and no fix from either AMD or Clevo. You do not get what you pay for when bying this configuration.
    Reply
  • Reynod
    Crash I like the new metrics.

    Makes good sense to me.



    Reply
  • montage
    CrashmanBF3 results look fine to me
    You didn't test BF3 multiplayer wwith 64 players? The single player works fine, but the multiplayer suffers from enduro issues. Here are some screenshots taken by me:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/716/bf320120727225130242.jpg/

    18 fps is not fine in my opinion. Also got 8 fps at times in Civ 5. I have a P170EM Clevo with 3610Qm and 7970M. Anandtech also posted an article concerning Enduro, and they weren't aware of Enduro issues either, but when the people from Notebook review informed them about it, they were able to reproduce the issues. They also edited their article to include a mention about the issue.

    The issue is real, and affect all AMD 7000M seriers card that are in laptops which have no MUX-cable. This cable allows a user to use only the dedicated GPU instead of the iGPU. When there is no MUX, the image is always forced through the iGPU, and the Enduro technology that is supposed to make this happen is broken. With Alienware's laptops that have MUX, you can force Enduro off and the issue goes away. If you enable Enduro in AW, the issue comes back.

    What you get is sudden FPS drops, stuttering, low GPU utilization. It does not affect every game, but I'd still say its present in most games, e.g. witcher 1 & 2, crysis 2, BF3 multiplayer (more evident on certain maps), GTA 4, etc. etc. (the list goes on).

    When you try to reduce the graphics level to get better fps, you only get lower GPU utilization and the same fps. Now this is a serious issue to people playing online shooting games and other competitive games.

    Notebook review forums have numerous threads about the issue, and we have been following how the situation develops for months now. So far, AMD has been very silent regarding fixes to these Enduro related issues.
    Reply
  • columbosoftserve
    Link to the Anandtech article:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6243/amds-enduro-switchable-graphics-levels-up/5

    Check the comments and the last 'update' part of the article. This card has been out for almost half a year now with broken switching software.
    Reply