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  • Ben.' - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    In your tests, you are saying you use a 5850 but in specs it says 5870? Reply
  • Ben.' - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    never mind

    "For games that support DirectX 11, we also tested it on the 5850 and will highlight those results (or 4xAA) in gold."
    Reply
  • tipoo - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    I really wish you guys included Windows laptop graphs in the Macbook Pro reviews, and Macbook Pro graphcs in Windows laptop reviews. Reply
  • Flunk - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    There really wouldn't be much point in this particular case because Apple doesn't make a laptop designed for gaming. The best GPU you can get in a Macbook Pro is the Geforce 330M which is not even close to being competitive with the GPUs included in these benchmarks. Reply
  • tipoo - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    True, but at least for the battery life comparisons for the Macbook Pro review. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    The battery life tests that Anand runs on the MacBook aren't quite the same as the tests I run on Windows. I run Idle (best-case), Internet only (just browsing web with Flash, but no music playing), and x264 720p playback. Anand does a light Internet surfing test while looping MP3s in iTunes, a Flash Internet test (but using different web pages than my Windows test), Xvid playback (720p? I don't know), and a torture test with Xvid + iTunes + Internet.

    Since they're not using the same testing scenarios, I'm hesitant to compare the two directly. In general, MacBooks seem to have better battery life than similarly specced Windows laptops under similar loads. So CULV on Windows can last 10 hours on a 63Wh battery... and Mac does the same thing with a regular Core 2 Duo processor on a 63Wh battery. Or looked at another way, the ASUS U30Jc manages similar battery life to a typical 13" MacBook, but it does it with an 84Wh battery.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, December 16, 2010 - link

    Bootcamp? Reply
  • rwei - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    This laptop reminds me pretty heavily one of the HP Envy series - you mentioned the 15 but there are now also 17 and (soon) 14 models.

    Having just ordered a 17 for ~$1200 after coupon, I'm surprised that one week after they began shipping (and days after people started receiving them), there still isn't a single review for it anywhere.

    It might make for an interesting comparison. How much does $300 (base price) net you in build quality, screen, speakers, keyboard, etc?
    Reply
  • NecessaryEvil-BC - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    You need to update your review to correct your mistake.

    Incidentally, MSI's GE-600 comes in at $200 less, drops the 5850 for a 5730, drops the aluminum for glossy plastic, drops the 15.4" 1680x1050 for a 16" 1366x768, but does gain switchable video. It's too bad this feature was omitted here.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    Odd... I tried to put a USB connector in there, and the specs do not indicate it's a combo port, as they only list "2 x USB": http://www.msimobile.com/level3_productpage.aspx?c...

    However, I tried again after your comment, and it turns out the eSATA port is just a *very* tight fit with USB devices. So the review is updated.

    Note that the GE600 GPU is a substantial step down; the 5730 is only slightly faster than the 5650 in the 5740G (about a 20% increase in core clock -- 650 vs. 550 -- but with the same memory bandwidth). I didn't test the two laptops at the same resolution, since the 5740G is a 1366x768 panel, but it looks like half the performance at the same resolution is going to be pretty accurate. It has half the SPs (at about the same clock speed), and about one fourth the memory bandwidth.

    As regarding switchable graphics, I glossed over the topic in the review, but there's plenty more to say. While it's good for battery life, there are a lot of complications on high-end laptops. First, if you have a laptop that you want to support quad-core i7, you can't do switchable unless you build in support for doing discrete *and* switchable in the same chassis. No one does that yet, as it's a big cost, so I understand the lack of switching graphics on the GX640. Optimus doesn't get around the requirement either because it has to transfer data over the bus to the IGP, so if there's no IGP present you're out of luck. I suppose what we need is quad-core mobile CPUs with an IGP, or else you have to decide to limit a laptop to only dual-core Arrandale CPUs.
    Reply
  • NecessaryEvil-BC - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    Agreed, the 5730 is a substantial downgrade, as is the plastic, the lower resolution LCD, etc. It's still a rather potent gaming system for the $900 mark.

    While I realize that a current Quad won't have integrated graphics capability, if it used the HM55 instead of the PM55, is there anything the system would really lose? Switchable could be disabled for Quad i7s, and enabled for i3, i5, Arrandale i7's. I haven't found anything saying specifically that HM55's don't support i7 Quads..
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    The GX640 supports quad-core i7 chips, so what that means is the discrete GPU is required. That being the case, you have to have traces going from the GPU to the LVDS, VGA, and HDMI outputs. If you do old-style switchable graphics, you put a mux on each of those (actually two per video I think), so you add probably $10 to the cost of the mobo just in hardware, and there's a ton of validation stuff that you need to do. Then there's the other drawback: switchable graphics in this manner requires two drivers (one IGP and one discrete) with knowledge of each other, so you can't just update one driver very easily. The old Alienware M11x and ASUS ULx0Vt laptops use a single driver package from NVIDIA that has both NVIDIA and Intel drivers combined, and NVIDIA has to get permission to include the Intel drivers each time. The same holds for AMD/ATI with switchable graphics, so there's often few if any driver updates.

    Optimus uses just the IGP connected to the video ports, which means no hardware muxes and no extra validation. You just have to keep the GPU cool -- "easy". But then you need an IGP connected to the video or you can't use an Optimus GPU. So it's sort of no-win unless you decide to stick with IGP processors like Arrandale, or go the more expensive route of muxes and switches with the driver limitations. Sort of a Catch 22, until we get 32nm quad-core.
    Reply
  • anactoraaron - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    My understanding is that HM-55 only supports the integrated graphics in an arrandale chip. PM55 allows discrete graphics and RAID. That's how it was with PM45. So if you were to use a quad in the HM55 I'm quessing discrete graphics would be lost. Which would also a mean pre-Arrandale i7 on a HM55 laptop would be sold without an lcd... Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    The text at the start says a 5850, the table immediately below lists a 5870. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    Fixed... the 5870 runs at 750/4000MHz core/RAM compared to 625 core on the 5850. So I had the right clocks but missed updating the GPU name on that table. Sorry. Reply
  • Hrel - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    If someone could do a review on the laptop that I currently suspect is the best "bang for your buck" out there. It's made by compal, and available on Cyberpower.com who's machines you've reviewed before. If you'd like it configured like I did, which I think is the best bang for buck, do this: Go to the website. mouse over 15.6" Laptops and click on the $999 Xplorer X6-8500. It has a 1080p screen. (I'm not sure why the people who run this site do this, but even though the other configurations use the same chassis when personalized they come out to cost more than this one; annoying since it makes me configure all 3 or 4 machines built on the same base chassis to figure out which one is cheapest/best for me.) Then I configured it with the Core i7-620M CPU. (to get it over 1K so I can take advantage of the 5% off.) 4GB 0DDR3-1333, hopefully 7-7-7-21, probably not, but hopefully. ATI MR HD5650 1GB GDDR3 320GB 7200rpm HDD (I did this cause I'm gonna take that HDD out and use the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB, thanks for that review!!) Everything else on that page I left untouched. The only thing I did on page 2 was switch to Intel wifi with bluetooth; Though I'm curious if the MSI option is equal/better; 17 bucks isn't nothing. It has HDMI out and a fingerprint reader. This page says 3 USB ports, the specs sheet says 4USB ports; not sure which is true. (I do wish they were USB 3.0 ports, but I was hoping you guys would test some stuff and tell me if that even matters for use with an external hard drive, mechanical disk 7200rpm. Transferring large files like movies and games mostly.) On page 3 I select "none, format only" for the OS. And select "LCD perfect assurance" cause even 1 dead pixel is unacceptable to me. This brings the total to $1008.90 after 5% off, or $992.75 if you get the MSI network card. So yeah, I really hope you guys can get a hold of one of these for review; as a loner or given as a review unit or maybe someone will just buy one and review it cause it's really tempting me right now... like a lot! If you're review is good I'm gonna start saving up and hopefully be able to buy it around Christmas. Thanks guys! A loyal reader. - Brian Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    I'll see if we can get one, though I think you need to put the comparison in perspective. Removing the OS to reduce the cost is not something most people would do, and unless you really need the extra CPU performance, as a gaming setup you'd be far better off with HD 5850 in this GX640. The 5650 is the same as the Acer 5740G in GPU performance, but the 1080p LCD means native resolution gaming is going to be rough -- like you'd need to run medium or low detail at 1080p to get acceptable performance. Anyway, I can't imagine the Compal keyboard could be *worse* than the GX640 keyboard, and the display resolution is a nice extra. Hopefully we can get one sent our way.... Reply
  • Hrel - Sunday, June 13, 2010 - link

    I keep reading reviews, I love the reviews on this site SO much, you guys all really do a good job breaking things down in detail. I really really really really really really want a review on that Compal unit from cyberpower.com. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE review it! Reply
  • bennyg - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    I don't think I saw anything about temperatures in this review. In all high-performance laptops temperatures is a huge issue - espeically ones with subpar cooling systems like this G51J.

    I'm partcularly interested to see whether the G51J has been knocked off it's perch as king of the fireballs - one review suggested the GPU in this MSI lappy topped 100C.
    Reply
  • numberoneoppa - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    I don't think it has enough stickers. Reply
  • SpeedyVV - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    As an owner of a GX640, I would say that this review is completely fair and bang on.

    Starting with the keyboard. Man it is really bad. it feels like those fake computer keyboards. It works, but really.

    Performance, is awsome for the price. Gaming is very enjoyable on this lappy.

    Really like the screen for both gaming and web and office work. Yes this is a work laptop for me too :)

    VBIOS and BIOS is a bigger problem than the article gives mention to.

    Is there a location that owners can get those updates?

    Even with these problems, I am happy with this laptop. I am not a touch typist so I can live with the keyboard, and hopefully those VBIOS and BIOS Anandtech got will be released.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    AFAIK, the BIOS/VBIOS/EC firmware MSI sent me is currently available on their site -- the 1656 release. Send me an email if you want the bootable CD ISO that MSI sent me, though, and you can try that. It flashes VBIOS and BIOS "automatically" (after booting from the CD, of course). jarred.walton AT anandtech.com Reply
  • sh_kamalh - Sunday, June 20, 2010 - link

    I am facing the same problem with a brand new gx640 that I just purchased yesterday. I wonder if you can send me the CD ISO to flash the BIOS. Reply
  • jim1447 - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Could you email me a CD ISO. I have this laptop coming today.
    Thanks a lot, BTW great review.
    Jim Campbell
    Reply
  • DaveGirard - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    that thing looks like the 386 that I took to Taiwan and left there because I didn't want it anymore. The keyboard is just plain nasty. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    Too bad the keyboard feel is so bad, layout looks pretty nice, they have the fn/ctrl keys the way I like and aren't missing a column off the number pad like some Reply
  • kapute - Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - link

    Do these 5850 laptop graphic cards support three display's like the desktop versions do (eyefinity or whatever they call it)? ie, can you plug a monitor into the vga, hdmi, and have all three going at once? Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, June 24, 2010 - link

    If someone could do a review on the laptop that I currently suspect is the best "bang for your buck" out there. It's made by compal, and available on Cyberpower.com who's machines you've reviewed before. If you'd like it configured like I did, which I think is the best bang for buck, do this: Go to the website. mouse over 15.6" Laptops and click on the $999 Xplorer X6-8500. It has a 1080p screen. (I'm not sure why the people who run this site do this, but even though the other configurations use the same chassis when personalized they come out to cost more than this one; annoying since it makes me configure all 3 or 4 machines built on the same base chassis to figure out which one is cheapest/best for me.) Then I configured it with the Core i7-620M CPU. (to get it over 1K so I can take advantage of the 5% off.) 4GB 0DDR3-1333, hopefully 7-7-7-21, probably not, but hopefully. ATI MR HD5650 1GB GDDR3 320GB 7200rpm HDD (I did this cause I'm gonna take that HDD out and use the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB, thanks for that review!!) Everything else on that page I left untouched. The only thing I did on page 2 was switch to Intel wifi with bluetooth; Though I'm curious if the MSI option is equal/better; 17 bucks isn't nothing. It has HDMI out and a fingerprint reader. This page says 3 USB ports, the specs sheet says 4USB ports; not sure which is true. (I do wish they were USB 3.0 ports, but I was hoping you guys would test some stuff and tell me if that even matters for use with an external hard drive, mechanical disk 7200rpm. Transferring large files like movies and games mostly.) On page 3 I select "none, format only" for the OS. And select "LCD perfect assurance" cause even 1 dead pixel is unacceptable to me. This brings the total to $1008.90 after 5% off, or $992.75 if you get the MSI network card. So yeah, I really hope you guys can get a hold of one of these for review; as a loner or given as a review unit or maybe someone will just buy one and review it cause it's really tempting me right now... like a lot! If you're review is good I'm gonna start saving up and hopefully be able to buy it around Christmas. Thanks guys! A loyal reader. - Brian Reply

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