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  • Hrel - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I can just see Dustin. Gets a new laptop in to review, starts getting excited. Grabs a knife, opens the box, pulls off the packaging, pauses... *swears, throws things, swears some more. Shakes fists at the sky "Damn you glossy plastic". Lol, that's the impression I get.

    Anyway, I saw this a while ago and was hoping to see review for it; nice work. It really is a great option for people who don't need GPU power. You can get the price down around 600-700 bucks and it's still a much better than anything else I've ever seen. Largely due to the 1080p screen.

    Cyberpowerpc has an MSI laptop on their website with a 1080p screen and the GTX460M in it. That's the laptop I'd really like to see a review on. I'm going to buy a laptop this summer and frankly the only thing that stopped me from impulse buying that MSI laptop the moment I saw it was the 48Whr battery. Made me think "hm, I better wait till I've read the anandtech review".

    I'm not sure if it's the same model MSI you gave away or not, but it has 2hdd bays so those who were so inclined could have an SSD and mechanical disk without sacrificing an optical drive.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I was hoping that screen would be at least a little better than that. Oh well, it's at least one step in the right direction. At least we got 1080p, maybe 2012 will bring 500:1 minimum contrast ratio? I do wish. Still, best laptop for people who don't about gaming I've found. Nicely configured for 650, very fair.

    Personally, I've had too many bad experiences with Dell to ever buy a laptop from them again. Also, my next laptop will have a GTX460 in it. My main issue with Dell is the restrictions they put on their upgrades. If I upgrade the GPU, I shouldn't be forced to upgrade any other component. And their website sure as hell shouldn't be lieing to me, telling me it causes a compatibility issue. (they claimed I couldn't put a dual core i5 with their gpu upgrade, I think at the time it was up to the 425 or 435M.)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    If you're talking about this one (http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Xplorer_X6-9500... I'm pretty sure that's the same chassis as the MSI GT680R that we gave away. I previewed performance around the time of the Cougar Point bug, and we have a fixed version in for review that I'll be posting shortly.

    Long story short: same performance as other GTX 460M laptops, not the greatest build quality in the world, and the 1080p LCD is about the same as the Pegatron laptop in this review. Also, the battery is NOT 48Wh (hint: no 9-cell battery is that small; the unit I have has an 87Wh battery). So it's a fair amount of power for the price, but I'd go with a Clevo P151HM (or P150HM), or perhaps an ASUS G53SW. You lose the dual HDD bays on both of those, I think, but for sure the Clevo models have much better LCDs.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I was very suspicious about that battery size. It's really good to hear these reviews are coming. I am surprised to hear you'd prefer the Clevo... you guys all seem to REALLY hate that keyboard. On that point, is it just the 10 key or is the whole thing bad?

    I was looking at that Asus too. Last time Asus had a good 15.6" laptop though the 1080p screen was below/at average. Where compal/clevo/dell units had nice 1080p screens.

    Have you heard/seen anything from Compal with Sandy bridge and GTX460 in 15.6" 1080p flavors? They seem oddly absent from the laptop market all of a sudden.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 05, 2011 - link

    Nothing from Compal yet, at least not that I've heard about. They do seem to be a bit behind with most launches, though Pegatron isn't exactly a brand known for being cutting edge (i.e. witness the aesthetics in this review).

    As far as best gaming laptop in a 15.6" form factor, it's a question of compromise. MSI and ASUS seem to have lesser 1080p LCDs, and none of them get the keyboard *right* (MSI is probably closest with the layout, though), so you have to decide what's most important. The MSI touchpad is really bad, with a 2008 aesthetic on the build quality. ASUS looks good overall, but without testing the LCD I can't make a final call. Clevo has a poor keyboard layout, with a pointless 10-key, but I can still type on the rest of the keyboard "okay" and they have one of the best LCDs right now in my opinion. Pricing on the Clevo is also quite good, which is probably a deciding factor.
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I'm sure that glossy palmrest is gonna like turn off at least 50% of potential buyers away regardless of specs.

    Anyway, 1080p is squeezing too many pixels for a 15.4" screen IMO. But then nobody does 1600 x 900 on laptops anymore...
    Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Uh... Lenovo ThinkPads have optional 1600x900 screens for their 15.6" models.

    ThinkPad L series: L520 2620M CPU / 4GB RAM / HD / 1600x900 non-glare screen is about $1070, give or take on your options. But the T-series T520 is a much better notebook, same config but with an i5 = $970 (But $1160 with Q2620)

    One of my clients has a slightly older T-510 with the 1600x900 screen and it looks very nice!
    Reply
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I actually like the pixel density on my 15.6" display. I wish it was 16x10, but other than that I like it. Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, May 05, 2011 - link

    Personally - with my eye-sight... I'd go for the 1920x1080 15.6" screen... But since I find 15.6" screen 16:9 notebooks so wide and add more than another 1lb of weight, I'd most likely go with a 14" screen @ 1600x900. Reply
  • JMS3072 - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately, the target audience (photographers/videographers) are going to want a decent LCD, making this a no-go. Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Yeah its like a Sports car manufacturer building a half decent sports car chassis and then sticking a standard 4 cylinder 2000cc engine in it.

    I think something got missed in the design spec memo to the suppliers.

    Another $20 on the panel choice could have worked wonders.
    Reply
  • GullLars - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    This is more like a sports car company taking a VolksWagen Beatle chassis and replacing everything with Bugatti Veyron parts. Sure it may go 0-60 in 3 seconds and have ~1000hp, but you can outrun it in an original Mazda R7 due to handling and aerodynamics, and it will just look ridiculous.

    I'd say $50 more on the panel rather than $20. Screen and battery are not things you cheap out on if you want a good laptop, and at >$700 saving $20-50 on a panel for the types of workloads this is meant for is pointless.
    Reply
  • GullLars - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    DOH! I meant Mazda RX-8... Reply
  • Iketh - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    that comment would apply to the rx-7 too, figured that's what you were going for Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    ..."shortcomings aren't CyberPower's fault any more than the Clevo notebooks we've reviewed are the fault of AVADirect or Eurocom."

    Actually, *IT* is CyberPowers, AVADirect, etc fault. The problems with that product in this review and other low-end garbage is that the "boutiques" / "Mom & Pop" stores CHOOSE to sell sub-standard garbage.

    Then its up to the customer to either buy a quality, but perhaps somewhat slower $800 notebook that will last 3~5 years or $800 for one that is faster, but may last 6~12 months, have a crappy finish and other issues as noted in the review.

    Back in the 90s - there used to be THOUSANDS of PC shops all over the USA, there was a point when Dell and Gateway were no different than any other hole-inthe-wall PC shop. But Dell decided to act like a bigger company and do bigger company things. When you buy better quality parts, you get a better computer, happier customers, less tech support calls, etc.

    Back in the mid-90s, I managed a PC shop with 2~4 techs. As I gained experienced, I started to moved the company into using standards. Quality cases with decent PSUs (which costs like $5 more), better motherboards (we stopped selling PCCHips / ECS crap) - rather than typical small shops which buy whatever cheap junk is available - RIGHT NOW!

    I work as a consultant today. Doing networks, building and maintain some systems for a few business. I don't build or sell my client anything *I* wouldn't want for myself, PERIOD.
    I have desktops that have lived 5~8 years, still. I sell my clients Custom Ordered Thinkpads - which don't come preloaded with crapware (HPaq / Acer / Gateway).

    I would never sell such crap to my customer, and it is within CyberPower's ability to say "nope, we are not going to sell this to our customer, this is why and do you have anything else?" Companies like Clevo make about 50 different notebook chassis at any given time. Just as much as you rejected the X6-9100, so can CyberPower.

    A similar spec ThinkPad T520 (15.6”) is $1980… but you’d get a top end keyboard, no gloss anywhere on the notebook – not even the screen itself. But I can’t spend $2000 on a notebook. I wouldn’t blink to buy a slower T520 with the i5 CPU, 1080 LED anti-glare screen, 4GB RAM and 500GB HD for $1170. I don’t see how they can sell that for under $1100 with that SSD.

    But here’s the thing… Lenovo (makers of ThinkPad) sells an ideaPad with a 14” screen, 750GB HD (no SSD), same CPU for $850… easy enough to add your own $250 SSD.

    There are choices… thank God.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I think part of the problem, though, is that Clevo, MSI, Compal, and Pegatron just...don't have very compelling ODM notebooks for the boutiques to sell. So it's either this stuff or nothing at all. They do the best they can with what they have, but oftentimes it's just not compelling compared to the kinds of stuff the Dells and HPs of the world can do. Reply
  • Belard - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    BTW - Your review of the product was fair and your opinions on the product are valid, to me.

    But sorry, I don't agree with you on the point of what "boutiques" stores can buy. Clevo offers 32 different 14/15" notebooks alone. Of course they may only be using 4 different mother boards for all those body types. Its still up to Clevo to choose to offer good or bad keyboards and sell the computer based on its costs. Flipping through their website, they do have a few different keyboard styles.

    Now, I know I'm using Clevo as an example, even thou THEY DID NOT build the reviewed notebook. (I don't have time to get into this anymore than I already am) and when it comes to NO-NAME brand notebooks, Clevo is better than many others out there.

    Lets compare Clevo's W243HVQ - A typical modern i5 notebook. Going to the website, they have a basic list of drivers and a rather generic manual - perhaps swapping out 8~10 pages per model. Looking at the construction shows me a typical mid-low range notebook.

    A customer buying an XYZ "brand" notebook - that is built from Clevo is dependent on XYZ for support and proper setup. Clevo/etc may just send a basic NO-OS unit or without drives & RAM. When XYZ goes out of business, most customers don't know who Clevo is and will have a hard time getting the unit supported, if still under "warranty". They are full dependent on Clevo to have up-to-date and working drivers for their products.

    Head over to lenovo. Check out their ThinkPad support - they have drivers and detailed manuals on ALL ThinkPads - even those which should be long dead. There is excellent detailed information on drivers for XP~Windows7 available to my R61 ThinkPad (about 4 years old). There are service manuals online - showing me exploded views of my unit, naming every single part used and how they fit together.

    When someone spends $1000+ on a notebook, it better be well supported - they are not quite "throw-aways" like the typical $300~400 junk from Walmart.

    So why would someone spend $1000+ on a no-name notebook, with a horrible screen and keyboard? In many markets, especially 3rd world - Clevo and the others do much better.

    A person on a budget, should get the best quality they can afford. A $600~700 quality Dell or Thinkpad would make more sense than a $1100+ fast cheap computer. And as we know, a $600 with a $200 SSD will feel a lot faster than a $1000 notebook with a HD. So its best to spend money for the parts that matter.

    A PRO who needs the performance, wouldn't stand for the sub-standard X6-9100. They make enough money for a Mac, ThinkPad, Dell, etc. For typical users, a Core2 class CPU from intel or AMD is more than enough to handle everyday tasks. Fusion is even more so because of how it GPU works - the previews from this site makes me drool and I hope they put such AMDs into a ThinkPad T series. So for today, most people will do fine with $500~600 basic notebook. Mine is a bottom end Core2 tech at 1.6Ghz. But it runs Windows7 with 2GB pretty good. Not as snappy as the T510 Core-i5 in one of my offices (drool).

    When I was looking to buy a notebook 4 years ago, I was about to drop $700 for an IdeaPad with a 2.2Ghz Core2, GF8600GT, 4GB RAM, Vista, Cam. And I was going to spend $120 for XP to replace Vista (lenovo has XP drivers - which is why I was going for IdeaPads)
    Then I spotted the ThinkPad R61. $500, with a much slower CPU, 1GB RAM, non-gaming intel GPU, no cam. But it had XP, killer keyboard and matte screen - so it was worth it and saved me money.

    People on a budget should stick with $500-600 and get something good and well supported, simple as that. Do a search on no-name notebooks and there are lots of people having support problems.
    Reply
  • GullLars - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Just because it hasn't been said yet, i feel compelled to state that the product number indicate this computer's power level is... OVER 9000!
    They should have reserved it for gamers, more of them would find it amusing.
    BTW, why X6? Sixth generation Xplorer? It's not a hexacore system.
    Reply
  • stanwood - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    I always appreciate Anandtech's strong technical content. But I don't play games. There are other demanding applications for computers: photo editing in RAW, video editing, video ripping/transcoding/playback. If you could paint a clear picture of where to spend my money optimizing for one or more of those (rather than video games) that would be great. This review is a good step in that direction. Please keep it up! Reply
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, May 04, 2011 - link

    Anand et al,
    Are you guys planning on doing a general buyers guide for notebook this summer? I remember that you did one back before Christmas, but lots of people (kids/parents) usually buy one in the later summer in time for going back to school. I realize that you can't compare every model available, but it'd be nice to see a few options listed for the different markets.
    - ultraportable
    - bargin basic
    - portable but gamable
    - mobile workstation (w/o super graphics)
    - kitchen sink (and cement block)

    I'm looking to replace my 4 yr old Fujitsu tablet with something faster & lighter if possible. I don't need anything super powerful, but a dual core 1.2GHz P-M just isn't cutting it these days. Only game I'll probably play on it is Minecraft, can the SNB IGP handle the game well? How about with HD textures?

    Keep up the awesome reviews.
    QCD
    Reply
  • 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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