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  • Zodiark1593 - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    Think we can get a comparison of the GTX 680M SLI vs the Radeon 7970M Crossfire?

    Also, do Clevo laptops that come equipped with dual GPUs also rely on a muxless design?
  • sabot00 - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    "That’s a cost increase of 15% for a typical gaming performance increase of around 20% at high quality settings"

    I disagree with this reasoning, as a laptop also does many other things, many of which (CPU, HDD, RAM, internet performance) don't increase with the price.

    This is analogous to saying that one can purchase a 256GB 830 SSD for $160, which is only around a $40 premium over a 1TB laptop HDD. Then claiming that this new laptop has 600% more performance in random 4K reads for only a $40 (2% increase for a $2000 laptop) premium.

    While important to many people, especially buyers of these laptops, it's ultimately up to the buyer to decide, and as such, the premium for a purely graphical upgrade should not be weighed against the total cost of the laptop.

    The 7970M is ~$450, in terms of OEM price, the GTX 680M is $650, truly, it is a 44% percent increase in price of the graphics subsystem for a 20% increase in graphics performance.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    I'm speaking to people shopping for a gaming notebook. Since you generally can't purchase just a GPU upgrade (you can try, and in some cases it might even work -- some older Clevo units at least have managed to run multiple generations of GPU hardware), you have to buy the whole package. Yes, it's 40% more for 20% more performance when just looking at the GPU, but unlike desktops you can't just look at the GPU upgrade cost. Also, anyone buying HDDs without an SSD for the OS/apps just doesn't know what it's like to have a system boot and load apps quickly. Once you go SSD, you'd definitely pay double the price for one fourth the capacity and count yourself lucky. Reply
  • krumme - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Going by your logic, every gamer should buy a faster gfx for their rig. As total cost always will make the faster gfx a better choice. When does it end?

    You can explain all you want, but your reasoning stands as one of they most idiotic this year, and makes this look like a commercial.

    Man even Nvidia nor AMD would ever come up with such an argument.

    Think about applying this logic to rest of your purchases. Damn.
  • cjb110 - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    I think if your looking at laptop gaming then yes the logic of buying the fastest gfx is sound. Laptops still have more of a mismatch between the capability of the cpu and the gpu. i.e. the CPU isn't the bottleneck.

    I don't think any one at AnandTech would apply the same logic to desktop gaming. In desktops its more even, so making sure the two are matched will save you money.
  • krumme - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    No ssd, 768 15 pathetic screen, lousy build quality?

    274 usd brings you a long way of improving your rig.

    Its the first time i hear the argument in 20 years on the www, and for a good reason.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    No, it's not the first time the argument has been made. We frequently discuss the value of upgrading to a faster GPU in our desktop GPU reviews. If you look at an HD 7770 GPU that costs $125 and compare that to a 7870 at $240, is there value in the upgrade? Yes: it's substantially faster (nearly twice as fast), which opens up the possibility for 1080p gaming in most titles. Then we look at the HD 7970 and it's $410 but is only 20-30% faster. It's no longer a stellar upgrade.

    Here, we're looking at the total cost with gaming as the main purpose for buying a gaming laptop. It's okay to think people buying gaming laptops have more dollars than sense, but assuming someone wants a high performance gaming laptop, they're going to be shelling out minimum $1800 for something with HD 7970M or GTX 680M. So, if you have to pay $200 more to swap out AMD for NVIDIA hardware, is there value there?

    The answer is a resounding yes. Sure, the 20% performance increase is nice, but it's about more than the performance. I specifically note the driver situation (twice in the conclusion alone). Given the option between Enduro and Optimus, right now you're shooting your gaming laptop in the foot if you go with Enduro. AMD has to fix this, and I think they will fix things, but that doesn't change the fact that they've been selling 7970M for four or five months with a major lack of driver support. Talk to me in another month, and hopefully I can say that it's no longer a major sticking point, but today? Nope, AMD's solution is hamstrung.
  • krumme - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    The argument about driver and the quality of optimus is completely valid in my world. I have good experience with the optimus gaming laptop i have, and would always favor stability. Enduro is not working yet. Its very simple for my personal preference.

    But when buying a rig, you are always torn between where to put your money.

    Do you prefer a gaming rig with an ssd and better screen to a faster gfx? - its not up to the reviewer to be the judge here. And present it as the truth. The reviewer can present the facts, and then the consumer, can make the right choises based on his own needs. The reviewer should be the guide.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    You're reading a review, which inherently has subjective opinion -- a full page of it earlier, obviously, but the conclusion has a lot of subjective stuff as well. It actually *is* a reviewers job to be a judge; otherwise I should just run the benchmarks and post graphs and I could be done with a review in a day or two rather than spending a couple weeks running and evaluating. It's not a laptop review if all you're doing is showing performance and the price. You need to evaluate how the whole package comes together.

    People can certainly disagree with me and say, "I don't personally need or want to spend the money for an SSD." Or, "I think the 7970M is the better graphics card [because...]" That's fine. But my opinion is that when looking at the cost to buy a well equipped P170EM for gaming purposes, the additional money required to go from 7970M to 680M is definitely the way to go. If the extra $275 at AVADirect for that particular upgrade is "too much", you should NOT be buying a gaming notebook that costs $1500+ in the first place.
  • krumme - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    The recommendation of the more expensive alternative is wrapped in numbers, presenting it as objective fact.

    When what happens is comparing total cost to a single benefit, albeit the most important one. Its inconsistent, and presented the wrong way imho. Its very simple just to say its say 15-20% faster, then the buyers can make up for themselves.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    It's very simple to say, it's 15-20% faster, my overall experience was better, and if I were in the market for a high-end gaming laptop I would be unhappy with the [current] drivers on the AMD platform, plus the inconsistency of performance.

    However, if you love Sniper Elite V2 and hate most other games, I sure hope you won't just read that above sentence and assume it's an absolute fact that GTX 680M is better. That's what the rest of the review is for (all 7000 words of it). You're nitpicking over some remarks in the conclusion and suggesting I presented an "inconsistent" piece of information by discussing FPS and performance, when again the conclusion states:

    "That’s a cost increase of 15% for a typical gaming performance increase of around 20% at high quality settings (e.g. 1080p 4xAA). Add to that the proven track record of NVIDIA's driver updates and for gaming purposes, that extra $200 is money well spent."

    You've got a brain Krumme; use it. If you're in the market for a GPU upgrade to your laptop and you can actually get an MXM 3.0 module with HD 7970M or GTX 680M that will work in your system, obviously you're going to need to look at different pricing that the cost of an entire notebook. My statement comparing total notebook cost with the two GPUs is for 99.9% of people that buy a notebook and don't upgrade it, and I'm not going to try to appease you by dumbing it down. I'm also not going to fall for the marketing gimmick of saying, "NVIDIA is only 20% faster on average but costs 50% more!" That's blatantly false and misleading information for most people shopping for a gaming notebook. Just like I didn't compare a base model Alienware M17x R4 with a GTX 660M, 6GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 1600x900 LCD, etc. to the P170EM reviewed and say, "Wow, Alienware M17x R4 costs $1500 while the P170EM costs $2250!"
  • krumme - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    You are right. I am nitpicking and i am also constantly hysterical critical. Thats why i read Anandtech.

    And i dont expect you to appeace me, thats also why i read Anandtech. I know my words can be very harsh, sorry for that. I will try to improve it in my next life, as it seems i am to old and sour to change.

    And i have the higest regard for the quality of the review, and especially for you beeing involved in the discussion afterwards.

    I think its a strawman when you put up the statement "NVIDIA is only 20% faster on average but costs 50% more". Technically its right, and its methology right by comparing single cost to single benefit, but putting it on words is walking all over the fact that the benefit is one of the most important - ift not the most important - benefit of the rig. Then the review would be skewed. We agree.

    But you argument is still comparing a - single - benefit, to the - total - cost.

    I am not saying you judgement is wrong, probably for most people it is right, but you are not to be the judge. We have plenty of opinion on the net, and thats not why i read Anandtech.

    An example following yours. A gamer looking for a Dell machine. He can choose between the 17r with 650 gfx or the Alienware with 660. A lot of gamer would choose the Alienware, not because of the minor difference in speed, but because of the other qualities. Even if there is a huge difference in total cost. Thats because there is way more to a gaming rig for a gamer than FPS. For what and to what degree is a personal preference. The reviewers job is to broaden the view for the reader and put numbers on the consequences.

    Your conclusion negates that, directly comparing a single benefit to total cost.

    Ofcourse AMD and Nvidia have two different ways they want this presented in the review. Both are wrong.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    So what exactly would you have me say? Just "it's 20% faster than 7970M, which is a decent jump but not earth shattering. Of far more import is the driver situation. Also note that even the fastest mobile GPU right now, the GTX 680M, is basically offering similar performance to a desktop GTX 660. That's a $230 part (albeit with less memory)." That would be true, but I'm not sure it's useful unless you're wondering "should I get a gaming notebook or a gaming desktop?" Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    Well, I own dual 7970Ms, and I think Anandtech has spoken; I would have been better spending on the Nvidia solution, as opposed the AMD offering, and I won't whine about it.

    Not a fan-boi either way, the benchmarks speak for themselves, Nvidia wins.

    Mostly mine work, but on some occasions (Shit 2) they are less than perfect.

    Thanks for the review, and like the first poster said, if at all possible, could you pit Crossfire against SLI for us?
  • krumme - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    You should say exactly nothing in the conclusion, and let your review stand as it is.

    For one gamer the 20% could be decisive for if he could play his games on the notebook at all (at native resolusion at good quality), or really make a huge difference. And you have given him the numbers.

    For another gamer, the extra performance doesnt mean extra user benefits, but he can enjoy all the other qualities of the notebook. And you have given him all the details.

    I know its expected in the conclusion there is some sort of judgement, - like its a boxing fight. But instead i would just point out the strong and weak sides for different users on the notebook and the gfx solution.

    Regarding the enduro I would lean on the side regarding it as beta not working, and therefore something that as a start should be disabled in the bios. Its simply not a working feature yet. There is a lot of users buying notebooks, also in this class, that is not nerds. Having the feature enabled as a standard is an error in my view.

    I dont know if its relevant for the readers to know that they can buy say a 660 on desktop side and get same performance.But i think its a good question. Its about putting the notebook in its context. And againg perhaps some readers dont use all their time comparing between desktop and notebook but buy either notebook or desktop from tradition. They use their time gaming instead of nerding - and they probably as a result use less money on their gear. Unlike us others who try to get as many excuses to create a need, and buy some new expensive gear.
  • krumme - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    I know in the conclusion its expected that there is some final judgement like its a boxing match.

    But I dont expect you to say something, but let the review stand as it is.

    For one gamer, the extra fps can be crusial. And you have given him the numbers.

    For another, its doesnt give any noticiable difference, but he is more interested in the other qualities. And you have given him the details.

    Regarding enduro, its simply not a working feature for other than nerds. And i think it should have been disabled in the bios as a standard, until the drivers are ready.

    I think its a good question if its relevant to compare to desktop solutions. Perhaps, as many of your readers use their time gaming, or being in the off topic thread in the forum, instead of nerding, and therefore probably dont use so much time comparing, but buy more or less by habit.
  • krumme - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    Man !

    Disregard the two above
  • TokamakH3 - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    Only $170 more for the 7970 over the 7870 for a 20-30% speed increase? In a $1700 machine, that's only 10% more! What a huge bargain! 10% more money for a 20-30% performance increase! Why don't you recommend that? Reply
  • Uritziel - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    There is certainly no logical flaw in looking at these two laptop configurations and seeing a ~20% gaming performance increase for a ~15% cost increase. Furthermore, the difficulty (and often infeasibility) of upgrading the gpu in many laptops elevates such reasoning from merely correct to obviously sensible. If this article compared two smartphones with the same numbers, would you make your same trollish complaint?

    Either way, it's perfectly fine to consider the performance/price ratio from both perspectives. What is NOT fine is your uncalled-for insulting of the author. His reasoning is far from 'idiotic,' and, if such reasoning IS the worst you've seen in the last ~9.5 months, I must conclude you have been cut off from society for almost that same amount of time.

    I urge to you to rethink both your position and attitude in the future. Next time you might responding more like this: "Hey Jarred. I notice how you consider the performance/price ratio from a system perspective in the article. I was hoping you might include a line or two appraising it from a component perspective, as I think it would be helpful to let people know that the gpu alone follows the more traditional performance/price curve. Thanks!"
  • Uritziel - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    "Next time you might responding..." should be "Next time you might try responding..." Reply
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Yeah, I agree with everything there. It's...just disgusting to be insulting the author like that, and on top of that it's the commentor's "logic" that's iffy, not the authors. Reply
  • krumme - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    "If this article compared two smartphones with the same numbers, would you make your same trollish complaint?"

    Yes. If a gamers phone was sold for 1150 usd compared to 1000 usd for exactly the same phone except gpu power.

    The total cost should be compared to the total benefit for the consumer. Even for a gamer, not everything is fps. There is a lot more to it when buying a machine. Therefore the argument is stupid.

    Jarred completely missed the total benefits, and only looked at the fps side. Thats okey, but then dont compare to the total cost. There is no consistency.
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    No, his reasoning makes complete sense. It's the same reason you don't buy one of these notebooks and then opt for a GTX 660. The GTX 660 isn't BAD, but if you're already spending that much, and getting this notebook, it makes sense to get the best, particularly since you can't upgrade.

    This is about as cut and dried a choice as there's ever been-not an ad. The GTX 680 is just plain the fastest, AND it remains a reality that Nvidia is a safer choice even if it was slower, because they have more than a decade trackrecord with solid drivers, while AMD has...well, I'm not sure they're at 1 month yet, they keep screwing up, and then promising it'll be different.

    I *am* still very concerned about Optimus/Enduro though, and wish you could get these systems WITHOUT them at least as an option, without having to spend $400 extra on the "3D" screen.

    The M17x-R4 would actually be an easy choice for me *if* it didn't have Optimus. When you tack on the extra $400 for hte "3D" screen I'd be getting solely to get rid of Optimus...well, the price gets harder to stomach.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    You can disable Optimus/Enduro on the M17x R4 in the BIOS I believe -- I know at least Enduro can be turned off, so I assume it's both. They have physical muxes on the motherboard so that all the display outputs can be routed to the dGPU, which is the major thing preventing Clevo from supporting non-Enduro/Optimus. But personally, since I only run Windows, I have no problem with Optimus. It works well for all the stuff I've done; at worst I occasionally have to tweak a game with a custom profile. Reply
  • transphasic - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    I agree with your comments and rationale on this Jarred. Since I am an owner of the 7970m, I can speak to this issue with my own experiences and buyer's remorse at foolishly choosing the 7970m in the first place.
    It's really worth it to pay a little more for better quality, better drivers, and better support in choosing what to do in deciding what GPU to put in a gaming laptop.
    Why quibble over an extra $250 dollars or so, when you are already spending $2000 anyways?
    This strikes me as penny-wise, pound foolishness to try to scrimp and save $250-$300 dollars on choosing a flawed AMD 7970m product, that almost 4 months later, we STILL have not yet gotten proper driver support from AMD.
    (what's worse, is that AMD just laid off about 3,000 of their engineers who were probably working this so-called "hotfix" driver, so we might have to wait for a lot longer time now to get it, if we ever do. AMD is on shaky ground now, and that makes me even more nervous about their present and future).

    As for me, and the testing work that you did, Jarred, I am impressed with all the time and energies that you put into it, so thank you very much for your work on this, and after seeing that the "hotfix" still doesn't close the gap by that much, it leads me to the conclusion that I (and others as well) are better off going to Nvidia from now on. In fact, I am now going to take the next step in this, by swapping out my 7970m, and switching to the 680m, and be done with AMD.
  • bennyg - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    Conclusion mentions cooling is better in Clevo (vs MSI/AW). Where's the results of that test? AT reviews seem to be getting more focused on overanalysis and pennypinching comparisons compared with taking more measures of the actual notebook. Like idle/load/surface temps!

    Real enthusiasts also don't really care much about options other than CPU as we know most of the time you end up better off (especially with Dell/AW) buying the parts yourself and installing.

    Re the actual review, I don't understand why Clevo take a bad nonstandard keyboard, and find a way to make it even more annoyingly 'custom' and worse...
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    The stress testing of the GTX 680M wasn't especially different from the HD 7970M:
  • Freakie - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    If I'm reading those graphs right, GPU utilization is actually higher on the 7970 than the 680 on a number of games that the 680 still beats it at. Seems to me like even if GPU utilization were "fixed" to be even greater on both systems, then the 680 would still beat it out in most games and therefor the Utilization argument is kind of a weak one. The only games that it seems it would help with is a couple of games at Mainstream/Value settings which as you already said in the article, most people wont be bothering with. But of course to test GPU utilization THAT thoroughly would take an incredible about of time xP So it shall remain a mystery I suppose. Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    why are you hating on the look? I love the way clevos look Reply
  • Brojo - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    I pretty much have that Clevo system except 16GB of RAM with the 7970. I knew I should of went with the 680 =p and kicking myself in the ass after seeing more and more comparisons. I will be optimistic and hope for better driver release but...if i want to swap cards It shouldnt be too difficult right? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    It should be possible, but buying a GTX 680M module on its own can cost $900 or something insane. If anyone has a good link to where you can find just a GPU upgrade for the P170EM, please post. Best I can find right now is on eBay:

    Needless to say, waiting for the Hotfix at this point is reasonable. Barring that, I'd suggest selling your existing system and buying one with GTX 680M rather than just paying for the GPU upgrade.
  • Wixman666 - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Don't worry about it.. the difference isn't large enough to upgrade the video or take a bath on selling then buying the other unit. Reply
  • TrantaLocked - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Great review Jarred! Reply
  • Jamahl - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Fact is this is a very Nvidia-friendly gaming suite - that's why this site consistently scores as an outlier for Nvidia. As a rule of thumb you want to subtract 10% from the overall result to find the true position of the Nvidia card - true as in what the majority of the tech press find.

    Even then this particular review is pretty horrible on the 7970, as it has had the best performing games removed (Crysis and Metro). Quite why those are worth removing instead of the complete Nvidia outlier Portal 2 is a mystery (I'm sure we all have our suspicions), but there you go.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    You include Crysis and Metro and then suggest our gaming suite needs updating? Give me a break. We removed Crysis as a test game for laptops about two years ago... when Warhead was "only" two years old already. When we revise the gaming suite next time, I'm pretty sure we'll drop Civ5, TWS2, and some of the other games. DiRT 3 was originally an AMD game, but NVIDIA has long since caught up. Civ5 was also an AMD game. Total War: Shogun 2 is an AMD title as well. You see the problem with your assertion that we're "NVIDIA-friendly" yet? So here's the full rundown of the fifteen tested games:

    Batman: NVIDIA
    Battlefield 3: NVIDIA
    Borderlands 2: NVIDIA
    Civilization V: AMD
    Diablo 3: Agnostic
    DiRT 3: AMD
    DiRT Showdown: AMD
    Elder Scrolls Skyrim: Agnostic
    Guild Wars 2: Agnostic
    Max Payne 3: NVIDIA
    Portal 2: Agnostic
    Sleeping Dogs: AMD
    Sniper Elite V2: AMD
    Total War Shogun 2: AMD
    Witcher 2: NVIDIA

    Final tally:
    AMD Titles: Six
    NVIDIA Titles: Five
    Neutral Titles: Four

    The problem you're having is that NVIDIA has generally spent more time and effort optimizing for games, which means that some of the neutral and AMD-sponsored games are now running better on NVIDIA hardware than on AMD. Or maybe you think it's unfair that when we sort alphabetically, NVIDIA titles happen to occupy the first three slots and AMD has three of the last four? Going back to run games that few people are still playing just to try to make things "fair" is actually being the exact opposite. Crysis and Metro? Please. Why not Crysis 2 at least -- oh wait, it's an NVIDIA title.
  • Brainling - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Crysis and Metro? Seriously? It's almost 2013, we're four full game cycles away from the release of Metro, and much farther from Crysis.

    For that matter, my 670 barely breaks a sweat on Metro at 1200p max everything , why would you test a 680 with it? Is it a yawning test to see how bored the graphics card can seem?
  • silverblue - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    I don't think it's NVIDIA's fault as a whole that they offer better support than AMD. It's also worth showing games like Portal 2 and DiRT Showdown which have very high framerates because it's interesting to find out why one architecture might monster through them (6xx series) where another might not (7xxx series).

    I've never actually played Crysis, but from the benchmarks, it looks amazingly inefficient and not a complete representation of what a graphics card can and cannot do.

    I used to defend AMD's drivers quite vehemently; after all, they'd never caused me any issues. However, when I see issues with Enduro, poor and non-existent Hybrid Crossfire scaling, GPU underutilisation, slack support for driver command lists, poor video encoding quality... need I go on? AMD could make the best hardware around (and, in reality, it probably does), but what would really benefit them is shifting resources to the software development side. If they're going to be powering two of the next consoles, it's in their best interests to get software support up to scratch. Hardware is all well and good but if the software support isn't completely there...
  • BiggieShady - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    On the last page, instead of "I’ve beat that horse enough" there should be "I’ve beaten that horse enough". To Beat is an irregular verb - beat, beat, beaten. You should use past participle here - beaten. Or just stop beating the poor horse :) Reply
  • Tijgert - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    For starters the GPU IS upgradeable (see eBay) and over time, with the release of newer GPU's, it will make financial sense to do so. Right now if you can get a great deal on a system with a 7970m you still get the second best performing card in the world with a future upgradeability guarantee (MXM is a standard, not proprietary tech).

    I think the reasoning of a relative graphics performance increase equal to the total price increase being reasonable or financial sound is something only a teenager or rich madman would swallow.
    Given that all the other bits don't increase equally you end up paying a lot for a little.
    The screen resolution stays the same, the battery lasts just as long, the CPU doesn't tick any faster, the amount of memory doesn't increase and the Gigs on your SSD don't increase either.

    As long as you can get great visuals (even if not at 4xAA and enough detail to see textured zits) at a very playable framerate, you're doing just fine. Just enjoy it and wait for that 690m or 700m or whatever MXM 3.0b card to come out that's better and just upgrade.

    FYI I'm on the fence on getting a completely tricked out 2200 euro (yes, euro) system that's three months old for 1560 with a 7970m... or saving for a 680m... see, I'm actually a graphics whore too even if may sound sensible at times...
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    If a notebook supports the newer GPU with its BIOS/firmware, you can upgrade to a newer GPU. However, just because MXM is a standard doesn't mean all MXM GPUs will work. Take for example the last-generation Clevo notebooks; I'm pretty sure the P150/170HM received the necessary BIOS update to work with 7970M/680M. However, the generation before that AFAIK can't run 7970M/680M. The cards will fit but they don't work properly. As I note below, you can't buy a P1x0EM without a GPU, though, so there's not a real need to compare pricing of just the GPUs. I'm reviewing the P170EM and looking at 7970M vs. 680M, not talking about "should you try to upgrade your older notebook with a 7970M or a 680M?"

    For your 7970M setup, wait for a week and then maybe we'll know if you should trust AMD's updated drivers.
  • TrantaLocked - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Jarred you messed up with performance vs price on this one. On and most resellers, the 7970m adds $300 to the price, while the 680m adds $495. That is a 66% increase in cost for a 20% gain in performance. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    If you want to talk GPU pricing, technically the MXM 7970M can be found for around $600 typically, which the GTX 680M goes for $900. But you can't buy a P170EM without any GPU, so it's still a strange discussion to have. Reply
  • TokamakH3 - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    Oh? I bet if you contacted XoticPC or one of the other resellers, they'd probably be willing to sell you a P170EM without a GPU. Clevo systems are a lot more like desktops in that they're very configurable, esp if you include all the reseller options. The above post does make a good point, if you look at it from a purely upgrade price, the difference is an exaggerated 66%, if you look at it as a total system price, it's a very understated 15%. Clearly someone can choose whichever value they want to either emphasize the AMD price advantage or marginalize it.
    Seems like the fair thing to do would be to compare the OEM price.
  • TrantaLocked - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Performance decreased heavily in Diablo 3, unless you had Vsync on for the 7970m for Diabo 3 Jarred?
    The 7970m should be getting over 80FPS at ultra, with or without Enduro.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    I tested a section of the game that was likely more demanding than the results elsewhere. It's something of a "worst-case", but that's where you notice problems the most. Reply
  • TrantaLocked - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Jarred could you test an Alienware with a 7970m with Enduro off and compare to the Clevo with 7970m and hotfix? I think that i more important to 7970m owners than 7970m vs 680m. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    We don't have one (yet? AMD said they'd try to get me one), but if I can get an M17x with 7970M, I'll definitely test both with and without Enduro. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Performance advantage aside, those battery life results are why I go Nvidia lately; and Intel as a matter of fact. Not to mention the generally better/more stable driver support, CUDA and PhysX which both hold value. No, the value they add wouldn't be enough to make me buy Nvidia if AMD had a 50% performance lead at the same price, but they do not.

    Also last time I used AMD gpu's, HD4000 series, I ran into hiccups in running my PC. Audio stuff, some video stuff with certain video files, proper fitting to my HDTV screen, other random inconsistencies that aren't necessarily a deal breaker; but are most definitely annoying.

    Laptops though, Optimus being more mature and the better battery life at any given price range gives them the win in my book; all day.
  • Bytales - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    I own a p370em with dual 7970m. I play borderlands 2, diablo 3, star war the old repulbic. Other games, i havent tested.
    On notebookcheck, the 7970mCF is listed between 34491 and 35926 P GPU Vantage score.
    I have managed to install a 12.9 beta desktop driver on the laptop.
    Score is now 37200 P Gpu Vantage.
    Also note, that as of now, there still is NO DRIVER with OFFICIAL SUPPORT for the 7970m.

    Bugs that i encountered are a few with crossfire on, in swtor, like minimap flickering, and in single gpu stuttering with shadows, But i believe later on when we will have a driver with official support for the 7970m, we will get more performance, or at least not so many bugs.

    i gotta ask yah, what driver did you use for the 7970m tests ? Is that the driver supplied with the cd ? Cause if that is the case, then using the driver that i have, will bring more performance.
    The problem is, i think the dekstop driver cant be used on the laptop with integrated graphics.
    THe p370em's design is so that is bypasses the iGPU, there are no enduro problems, and no under utilization problems.

    I do think driver will fix a few more problems in the future and bring performance up a bit.
    Besides, i play games on a single cpu, and mine bit coins with the second :) and since i am home only 6 hours a day, i do profit from letting the GPUs mine coins, which is way better on the AMD gpus.
  • whatthehey - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    Wow! Just wow. Mining BTC on a CrossFire laptop might help offset the cost a bit but that's going to take a long time to come anywhere near paying off the notebook. Assuming current rates, I assume your P370EM gets around 650Mh/s. That would mean around 0.19BTC per day, while drawing around 260W, so profit at $12/BTC could work out to ~$1.66 per day, or almost $50 per month. But in another six weeks or so, the block reward gets cut in half and you're then down to earning $0.60 per day. Sure, that's still $18 per month, but....

    How much wear and tear does it cost to run a GPU at 100% load 24/7? On a desktop, I could see it potentially being a viable tactic to earn some money, especially since you can buy a 7970 for $410 and mine at 650Mh/s on a single GPU. But on the P370EM you've invested how much? $2300? I think you'll end up killing hardware (fans or other elements could fail) long before you've recovered the initial cost. But best of luck!
  • Harmattan - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    I've now owned a p150hm with a 7970m, an m17x with a 7970m and 680m, an m18x with dual 7970m and another (my current) m18x with dual 680ms. After having spent many hours with each config, , my initial assertions stand...

    -if you're going single card and Clevo, get the 680m: although the drivers are almost comparable between the two cards, Enduro power management (and the inability to turn it off) is a whole heap of wrong.
    -If you're going single card and AW, get the 7970m: since Enduro issues are not there, the price increase of the 680m is not justified.
    -If you're going dual cards on either Clevo or AW, go 680m. 7970 CF drivers are a mess in many games and I experienced many issues (even after replaced cards)

    All in all, I am happier and had less problems with the 680m on all configs. When the 7970m ran well, it is comparable, but that is rare.

    The above points are just based on pure gaming performance at stock. If you're OC-ing, compare the desktop performance of a 7870 vs. GTX 670 - both cards are beasts, but the GTX 670 is +/-20% faster in most situations (and runs cooler).
  • TokamakH3 - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    so we’re looking at $1975 vs. $2249 for the AMD vs. NVIDIA matchup; that’s a price difference of just under 14%, so ideally you’d want the GTX 680M to be at least 14% faster to warranty the upgrade.

    Would that fly in a desktop video card review? "Well, the Nvidia card is $574 while the AMD card is $300, but since the desktop you'll put it in will be $1975 vs $2249, there's only a 14% price difference, so we'll only look for a 14% performance difference"

    That really makes no sense at all.
  • TokamakH3 - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    Haha, dead horse. Should read before commenting, would delete the post if I could. Reply
  • cartmanasan - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    Don't know why no one covers professional applications like Maya, 3DSM etc. nVidia has got worse performance than their own previous cards. Have seen this going around in many forums. Gaming notebooks are well placed to be workstation/DTRs. No Mention of GPU Boost technology of nVidia as well. A comparison of overclocking would have been better too. Reply
  • transphasic - Saturday, October 20, 2012 - link

    The reason AMD GPU's score far better than the Nvidia offerings this time around on business applications, is due to Nvidia's new Kepler-based designs are more gaming-oriented in it's focus, as opposed to the older Fermi-based chips, so that is the reason why, from what I have seen as an explanation from for AMD to win this particular battle.
    Kepler-based GPU's are more for gaming performance, but the AMD fares better on business-related programs and applications.
  • tential - Monday, November 19, 2012 - link

    I think I'm a little late to the party but the reviewers opinion in the Conclusion is just that. An OPINION. I usually skip to the conclusion pretty fast because I'd like to hear their opinion. The raw numbers is usually not enough to make a decision. If so, I'd had said "The 680M is faster but I think the 7970 is good enough for me." Now after reading further and factoring in driver support as well as the other issues with AMD, I think it'd be worthwhile to spend the extra money.

    I understand the gripe of using the GFX performance as the only thing that matters when considering the upgrade however but I don't think that's what the reviewer was doing. A laptop is used for many other things other than just gaming. Even a gaming laptop is. Hell, my gaming laptop is currently not even used for much gaming as I do a lot of other things on it. I think it's important for people to take the reviewers opinion in context though and to know that you have to make your own opinion. It's obvious that if you do a lot of other things other than gaming than maybe you can't justify the upgrade. However, if you primarily use it for gaming maybe you can. I think an update article in a couple of months would be nice though.


    IMO, some things I'd like Anandtech to start including though would be an adjusted FPS page. This page would should FPS but would weight FPS above 60 lower. I really don't think there is a point in saying "Wow this card runs a game at 120 fps and this card runs it at 100 so the first card is what you should get!" Why not get the card that runs it at 100 fps when all I need is 60 FPS anyway right? I know this can be used to say that a card may run future games better but sometimes I'd like to know just about current games.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - link

    How did you measure GPU utilization? As far as I know FRAPS and the like only give FPS and admin tools don't have an option to add GPU to the list. So how did you do it? What did you use?

    Maybe it's in the article somewhere, but I'm at work and can't comb through the whole thing.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - link

    Every time you talk about what a hassel it is to carry around a laptop I imagine a little hobbit stuggling to pick up something (a large watermelon) just to have Argorn come and pick it up with one hand. It's such a none issue for me I would never even think to talk about it. Yet you go on like anything but an ultrabook just isn't portable. Lol. No point really, it just amuses me.

    My laptop bag is generally 30+ lbs and I never have any kind of issue carrying it around all day at a convention or airport or whatever. I'm curious if you're in the minority on this or I am. I mean, does it really matter if the thing weighs 6lbs or 11lbs? I can barely even tell the difference.

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