Introducing the CyberPower Xplorer X6-9100

As a matter of course we tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the gaming potential of the hardware we review. Boutique desktops get a lot of love, and it's always interesting to see just how much power you can pack in a portable solution. Yet many users simply don't game, but they still need a powerful machine for other tasks like video or photo editing. In the world of Intel's first-generation Core i7 line, that meant getting a notebook with a battery eating graphics card you just didn't need. Sandy Bridge changes all that with integrated graphics suitable enough for most tasks, and today, CyberPower has offered us a notebook targeted to a slightly different segment than usual: the IGP-powered, 1080p and quad-core-wielding Xplorer X6-9100.

CyberPower is gearing the Xplorer X6-9100 specifically at content creators, people who need processing power and are primarily concerned with business applications, but they still want an inexpensive option. While I personally lament the lack of NVIDIA graphics hardware for accelerating the Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere CS5 (and now 5.5), I recognize that I'm in the minority. For many users, especially budding photographers, an inexpensive quad-core notebook with a 1080p screen is going to be a great find. This is how our review unit is specced:

CyberPower Xplorer X6-9100 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-2630QM
(4x2GHz + HTT, 2.9GHz Turbo, 32nm, 6MB L3, 45W)
Chipset Intel HM65
Memory 2x4GB DDR3-1333 (Max 2x4GB)
Graphics Intel HD 3000 Graphics (Sandy Bridge)
12 EUs, 650-1100MHz Core
Display 15.6" LED Glossy 16:9 1920x1080
(AU Optronics B156HW01 V5 Panel)
Hard Drive(s) Intel 510 120GB SATA 6Gbps SSD
Optical Drive DVD+/-RW Combo Drive
Networking Atheros AR8151 Gigabit Ethernet
Atheros AR9002WB-1NG 802.11n Wireless
Bluetooth 3.0+EDR
Audio Conexant Cx20585 HD audio
Stereo speakers
Headphone and microphone jacks
Battery 6-Cell, 10.8V, 48Wh battery
Front Side Indicator lights
SD/MS/MMC reader
Left Side AC adapter jack
Ethernet jack
VGA
Exhaust vent
HDMI
2x USB 3.0
Right Side Headphone jack
Microphone jack
Optical drive
Kensington lock
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 14.96" x 10.31" x 1.07"-1.34" (WxDxH)
Weight ~6 lbs
Extras Webcam
Flash reader (MMC, SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo)
USB 3.0
Bluetooth
Warranty 1-year limited warranty
Pricing Starting at $719
As configured $1,069

CyberPower is aiming the Xplorer X6-9100 at users who need high performance without gaming horsepower, and our review unit was configured to prove a point: that you can get a lot of power and even a good SSD in a notebook in the neighborhood of $1000.

The configuration starts with Intel's Core i7-2630QM; it's the bottom rung quad-core in the mobile Sandy Bridge lineup but still a formidable contender. Boasting a 2GHz stock speed (in line with last generation's extreme i7-920XM), the i7-2630QM sweetens the deal by offering Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.9GHz on a single core and a still respectable 2.6GHz on all four. That's not as high in pure clock speed as what the i7-940XM could manage, but there are many other benefits, chief among them being power requirements at moderate loads. The only feature cuts made to the 2630QM as opposed to the higher-end 2720QM and its kin are a reduced GPU clock (maxing out at 1100MHz) and no hardware support for virtualization or AES-NI. This notebook is also running off of that integrated GPU, so you do get access to Intel's Quick Sync encoding technology.

Our other major talking point is the recently launched Intel 510 series SSD at 120GB. It's admittedly an expensive upgrade and the capacity isn't ideal for all users, but if you're only doing photo or sound work it should be adequate. The 510 also comes equipped with SATA 6Gbps support that the Xplorer X6-9100 makes full use of.

Everything else is reasonably uneventful. The standard webcam, stereo speakers, gigabit ethernet, and wireless-n networking are all accounted for, but at least CyberPower generously provided 8GB of DDR3 for this review. Given how inexpensive memory is, it becomes awfully difficult to justify going with 4GB anymore. If you don't need that much memory that may be one thing, but photography buffs are going to want the extra real estate.

The Inevitable Return of Too Much Gloss
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  • TrackSmart - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I would also enjoy a "back to school" version of the buyer's guide, though I appreciate how much work must go into such articles.

    Regarding your future laptop, are you set on another tablet? That would certainly narrow the field dramatically... Plus you never stated a budget, which leaves things wide open. Nor did you state what you'd want to use the system for, generally. If you need a good quality display then you have also narrowed the field dramatically (sadly).
    Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, May 05, 2011 - link

    Agreed... a nice list of choices based on their market type.

    Mobile Workstations MUST have supergraphics. That is the point. As in this review of the CyberPower, the CPU / system performance is stellar at $1000. But its in a cheap glossy case with crappy keyboard and screen. No Professional will ever touch such a computer.

    Workstations are for those who need power GPU to handle CAD, Photoshop, 3D output, etc. Such computers typically go for $2000~4000.

    - - - - - - -
    Minecraft is a simple game... works on anything.

    Are you looking for another tablet/hybrid? Personally, I never liked them - still don't. My iPad is for more usable and easier to work with. There is a modern ThinkPad X-Tablet with a 12" screen and i3 CPU for about $1300.

    But for $1200 or so, I'd go for a normal notebook with an i5-dual core CPU and a 14" screen, 4lbs~5lbs. I hate glossy screens - so I'm a thinkpad fan ;)

    But if you want something modern and light weight:
    ThinkPad X120e = $550 / AMD E350 @ 1.6Ghz / 4GB RAM /320HD - 2.9lbs / 7hr battery. 11.6" screen Its faster than what you have, but its more of a high-end netbook.

    But I think the X220 would be more of what you want. i3~i7 CPUs... but i7 isn;t worth the extra $250 IMHO. Maybe the 2.5Ghz CPU... any i3~i5 CPU would be about 10x faster than what you have now.

    Its .75~1.3" thick - 12.5" screen and is about $1000 with 4GB RAM... still at 3lbs and an 8~9hour battery (Sweet!).

    * I don't work for Lenovo. But I do recommend and sell them to my clients and friends. (I'm not selling to you)

    This is the best list of performance chart for mobile GPUs: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards... I use it as my reference, pretty hardcore. ;)
    Reply
  • QChronoD - Thursday, May 05, 2011 - link

    I'm hoping to keep it under $1000 is possible. I'm mostly concerned about it having a good screen, and being light (since I'll be carrying it around all day at school) Battery life isn't as big of a factor since I can usually find a place to plug in between classes, but 5hr + would be nice.

    I've read about the new X220s and they sound great, but are pushing the upper end of my budget. And of course I've fallen in love with the Samsung series 9, but its just ridiculously expensive.

    I've been eyeing the Toshiba R835, since it sounds like its got everything i need, and starts under $900. Also I'd expect Asus to come out with some new SNB models soon since everything that I've found is still using the old core chips. I still have some time till I need to pull the trigger.
    Reply
  • Belard - Monday, May 09, 2011 - link

    I just got a DELL business catalog (flyer thingy) They have some upper end notebooks starting at $1000. ;)

    Compared to whats in the review, it has less memory and a dual core CPU... but it has a FULL keyboard with a proper numeric keypad. :)

    Check on the screen, if glossy screens are not an issue... I'm not a fan of Toshiba, but they have made vast improvements compared to 4 years ago or so... like sticking the Windows key on the top row... ? ugh.

    I'm very much not a fan of island keyboards, yeah the flat keys do look nice, but I like my keys curvy.

    Check out the gallery and feature list at Lenovo
    ThinkPad Edge E420s = $750 with i5 / 4gb / 250gb HD 14" display 4lbs.
    It has semi-island modern type keyboard.

    But I'd go at least with a ThinkPad L420 $700~800. i5 / 4gb / 250gb HD 14" display 5lbs. It has the world-class Thinkpad keyboard, but a more non-Thinkpad like layout - still nice.

    I've worked on many notebooks, seen Thinkpad tech support work on warranty repairs. Many ThinkPad owners still like the T-Series because they are so much more rugged. Than an Edge or L, which are more typical of todays notebooks. A T-Series T420, configured like the L420 is $980 ($900 with 2GB RAM), but last week, they had a 2GB free sale :)

    Personally, I'd take a 2GB T420 over a 4GB L420 :P

    A cool thing, is that none of these are loaded up with crap-ware. Other than ThinkPad tools. (I remove the automated software update manager) so unlike many other brands, you don't have to rip out a bunch of junk.

    ;)

    Get at least an i5-25xx CPU type computer. The performance is very nice.
    Reply
  • epons - Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - link

    like Stanwood, I appreciate Anandtech's strong technical content.

    The only things I ask for a laptop isn't realy the exterior beauty. ( but if it's ok, why not...) . My job ask me to have workstation power for development, so have always a good desktop with good screens.
    Data, and programacion and a little aplications are what I always working on, except, i'm photographer too. So at home I have all for a good job.

    This little x6-9100 is perhaps better for me than a Dell: it will not be my first computer. only a " rescue pc" when I have to go out, or when I'm going to a photo trip. Therefore I must have a lot of power, a descent screen to program and previewing my photos.
    In the place I live, i compared the prices: Dell xps 15 vs x6-9100 in the min config I want: 1100$ with x6-9100 and 2200$ for the Dell. For a "rescue pc" it's very tempting to take the x6-9100, no?
    my specs min: 2820QM+8GB ram + ssd.+ 1080p screen. For a rescue pc, i don't ask for the best looking, best screen, but yes with power and capacity. Don't require any graphics power. So, at first page, you said that the construction is good. At home , i always using a mouse/keyboard and external monitor.
    In this case, ins't it the best value/price on the market?
    So , for readers like me, and like Stanwood, games aren't the goal. The goal are the capacity to do a good job, witch is the first goal of a computer, isn't it?
    Reply

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