Pros: Fast gaming performance; top CPU performance; robust chassis; bright and detailed display
Cons: Poor battery life; high power consumption; expensive; poor USB placement; 4GB Ram more appropriate for high-end notebooks
Bottomline: The fastest gaming laptop we’ve tested, with classy chassis, but with a price tag to match
True gaming laptops don’t come much chunkier than this.
Dell and HP may have 20in models, but this 17in notebook from Ultraviolet makes mincemeat of them in 3D programs, thanks to two top-of-the-range Nvidia 8800m GTX graphics cards in SLI configuration. Out of the box it smashed our 3Dmark05, 3Dmark06, PCmark05 and Cinebench records for a laptop.
It also broke our record for power consumption from a laptop, idling at an eye-watering 106W and nearing 200W when gaming, which is just shy of what its 220W power brick can supply and comparable to most desktop PCs. The power supply weighs 1.45kg, while the laptop itself tipped our scales at 5.40kg.
To offset the high power draw, a large 6,600mAh battery ensured it lasted 58 minutes in our DVD playback test. A Core 2 Extreme X6800, which is a 2.93GHz desktop dual core, is a major drain on the battery as it has a 75W thermal design point; twice that of Intel’s laptop dual-core CPUs.
There’s 2GB DDR2 800MHz Ram, which is a little anaemic for such an expensive laptop in the new 4GB era, and two 200GB hard drives. Both are 7,200rpm drives, as opposed to the 5,400rpm models often seen in laptops, and use Raid 0 which offers improved performance. The Xodus DTP uses a Clevo D901C chassis. It may be cumbersome, but it’s attractive and robust.
Clevo’s designs form the base of many gaming notebooks, including Rock’s and PC Specialist’s gaming laptops, and measuring 6cm at its thickest point this is Clevo’s biggest design.
Laptops using Clevo’s more common 17in chassis tend to come with dim screens but, although we noticed a slightly yellow tint to the Xodus’ display, the Xodus DTP has the brightest screen we’ve seen in our labs, hitting 146cd/m2 using a Spyder 3. And with a 1,920x1,200 pixel resolution, it can display an amazing amount of detail.
Most laptops with 1,920x1,200 resolutions can’t render new 3D games at that setting, but the Xodus DTP managed a 31fps (frames per second) average in our DirectX 10 World in Conflict benchmark at the screen’s native resolution. This is a distinguished result considering settings were set to high with 2x anti-aliasing.
The gaming atmosphere is maintained by four speakers placed around the chassis, which create an immersive but not overly loud sound. The keyboard is large and responsive and crucially doesn’t get hot during gaming like many laptops. The chassis has four USB ports, an SD and Sony Memory Stick card reader and audio outputs.
DVI, VGA and S-video outputs will serve external monitors but there’s no HDMI output, which is a shame since this laptop has a two-speed Panasonic UJ-220 Blu-ray writer so it would have been good to be able to output content to a big TV. Dell’s most expensive XPS M1730 gaming laptop has all the features of this laptop, but is more affordable at £2,700.
Rock also has the Xodus DTP (with the same chassis), which is selling for £100 less. A free game, T-shirt, mouse mat, carry case and two-year warranty tentatively drag the Xodus DTP up to average value for money. It’s worth considering that hybrid power, coming soon, and mobile 45nm Penryn CPUs could give birth to a speedy gaming laptop with a life away from the mains.
But waiting for the next best thing is often folly in the PC industry, and the Xodus DTP has few major flaws and outstanding 3D performance.