iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-17 Notebook Review: MSI and iBuyPower Tangle With Alienwareby Dustin Sklavos on August 21, 2012 12:01 AM EST
Application and Futuremark Performance
It goes without saying that without an SSD in our review unit, the iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-17 just isn't going to put in a strong performance against the other notebooks in PCMark. PCMark continues to bias extremely heavily towards SSDs, and while it's true an SSD can appreciably improve the computing experience, PCMark's reflection of this is a matter of some debate around here. That said, upgrades to SSDs from iBuyPower are far, far less expensive than from a major vendor like Alienware, so if you're custom building it may not hurt to stretch your budget a bit.
As expected, the PCMark scores range from being alright to a bloodbath. Virtually every other system tested enjoyed a faster storage subsystem than the CZ-17 did. So let's see what happens when we shift the load back to the CPU.
The improvements in Ivy Bridge's efficiency coupled with the higher clocks allow even the entry level i7-3610QM to put in a strong showing.
The 3DMark scores, on the other hand, paint a rosier picture. The GTX 675M trades blows with the 580M, essentially boiling down to slight differences in CPU performance and driver optimizations. There's a reason this chip was the top of the heap for a while, but also keep in mind that the CZ-17 is among the least expensive, if not the least expensive, notebooks on this chart. There's an awful lot of value here.
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xTRICKYxx - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkI don't understand why they chose a rebranded 580M over the 7970M....
And 4GB of VRAM is absolutely overkill for 1920x1080 even with maxed anti-aliasing.
The pricing is actually quite good for what you get, but the 7970M is cheaper and beats the 675M....
Mugur - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkOptimus?
Freakie - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkThis. Once AMD can compete on the battery front, then they will find themselves very successful in this market because in this economy, people want to merge devices into one package and having a gaming rig with low battery life is hard to justify over a dedicated desktop for gaming and a laptop for when you're somewhere else. But if you throw in 4+hrs of 720p video watching, then suddenly you can combine your two devices and save some money in the mean-time.
But of course, AMD has to completely change the way they do Drivers to pull that off. Nvidia has done damned good work on their drivers to get Optimus to work so smoothly, and it took a few hiccups along the way. And as we've seen with AMD, they really suck at implementing new software features over a whole family of products.
But I of course await the day when AMD can become more competitive :)
jtd871 - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkI was actually shopping this unit w/ the 7970m within the past 24hrs as a replacement for my 5-yo lappie (ThinkPad T61p with Core 2 and Quadro NVS140M - don't laugh still runs great for older stuff).
However, I then learned about the recent Enduro (AMDs Optimus) issues with laptops using the 7970m (and possibly all GCN dGPUs), and stopped shopping as seriously until such time as AMD works out their issues with Enduro.
That having been said, I'm still glad to have Dustin's opinion on the rest of the build.
JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkI'm meeting with AMD tomorrow to discuss Enduro/Switchable Graphics, so hopefully they'll have something to tell/show me in regards to drivers. [Crosses fingers...]
mpschan - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkI'm sure you're planning on it already, but please let us know if there are any developments on that front (assuming no NDA of course). AMD desperately needs this feature in the mobile space.
TheHolyLancer - Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - linkAs an owner of a saiger NP9170 w7970m that is having massive driver issues (since the NP9170 is optimus enabled, and something about how the output from the GPU has to go thru the IGP....)
I would love to know what will their response to this issue.
ATM, I have to run the old custom version of the driver from saiger as the newest offcial driver will not install willingly, if I force it by pointing the driver update to an extracted driver folder's right location and update to the newest version, I get issues if I run two copies of eve online (or two copies any any two game that uses discreet). The performance boost is very nice tho, granted at the point it was more like 100 fps vs 60-70 fps so I reverted to the old driver that lets me run multiple games at the same time without crashing badly.
jtd871 - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkWhoops, must have confused this with the Origin/Sager/AVA machines. iBuyPower doesn't show AMD graphics as an option for the CZ-17...
hardwareguy - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkMy M17xR4 with the 7970 can hit about 4 hours on battery with pretty high web use and visual studio. Buddy with same laptop who does everything through RDP gets about an extra hour.
xTRICKYxx - Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - linkNice! I didn't know the Walter White got an Alienware.