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|
|Platform||Intel FCPGA988, HM77 Express, MXM-3 Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Core i7-3820QM (Ivy Bridge) 2.7 GHz-3.7 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 45 W Max TDP|
|RAM||Samsung 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM, CL11, 1.35 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon HD 7970M: 850 MHz, 2 GB GDDR5-4800|
|Display||15.6" FHD 16:9 Glossy Sager Screen (1920x1080)|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Built-in Fingerprint Reader|
|Hard Drive||Intel SSD 520 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s|
|Optical Drive||TSST SN-208AB 8x DVD Burner|
|Media Drive||9-in-1 Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1103 (3x3)|
|Wireless PAN||None: Combo-card sacrificed for Wi-Fi upgrade|
|Gigabit Network||Realtek RTL8411 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Integrated IEEE-1394 Controller|
|USB||1 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||Not Available|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||1 x Single-Link DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||180 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19 V DC|
|Battery||14.8 V, 5200 mAh (76.96 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 7.1 lbs, AC Adapter 1.8 lbs, Total 8.9 lbs|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||Lifetime Labor, One-year parts|
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.
Check this thread (and the "Sager and Clevo forums") for more details:
, 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.
Makes good sense 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:
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.
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.