SAGER NP8851 vs ASUS ROG Strix (et al)...HELP!

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by LeiEn, Apr 17, 2018.

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  1. LeiEn

    LeiEn Notebook Geek

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    Hey squad!

    So, I've been agonizing over what new ultrabook to buy for a few weeks (er...months) now. I'm a graphic designer by trade, but a gamer at heart who is increasingly ready to dip my toes into VR. That said, I've been trying to decide between these two beasts:

    Sager NP8851:
    https://www.sagernotebook.com/Notebook-NP8851.html

    ASUS ROG:
    http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-strix-scar-gl703gs-ds74.html

    I've got both of them spec'd out with Samsung Evo 250GB NVME SSDs + 1TB Crucial MX500 SSDs and extended (2-year) warranties for about USD2K each. They both have the new i7-8750H, but the GPU's are different.

    The problem I'm having is the spec trade-off, which I'll try to list below. Feel free to weigh in on brand, specs, or general opinion on which machine is the better buy...or just come languish with me in indecisive purgatory after concluding that I'd be happy with either one (yet always wondering 'what if' I'd gotten the other).

    SAGER PROS/CONS:
    At 15.6" and 4.4 lbs, it's lighter, more portable, and due to the 1070 Max-Q, probably more power efficient, and likely runs cooler because of it. That said, I can carry it around and actually have it on my lap without feeling like I'm going burn myself or run out of juice in under 2 hrs. However, that Max-Q design is (from my research) 33% less powerful than the full size 1070, and because neither of the Type-C USBs are Thunderbolt, not entirely futureproof re: external GPUs. Also, I haven't confirmed yet, but the webcam is listed as 'FHD' on the specs, which I'm trying to confirm is actually 1080p, not 720, which would be another big selling point, since I'll be e-teaching with this as well. It also reps a 94% NTSC rating, and while it's not AdobeRGB, it's better than the complete lack of any such color range rating on the new Strix.

    ASUS PROS/CONS:
    At 17.3" and 6.5 lbs, it's a full 2 lbs heavier than the Sager, and thus not as portable, but IS rocking a full 1070 under the hood. However, I have reservations about heating problems this may cause, and although I'm buying a machine as a desktop replacement, it would be nice to be able to move it fairly easily and actually use it on the couch...even though the battery likely will barely make it to 2hrs. Again, I don't believe the single Type-C port on this is thunderbolt (WHY!? It's a 2018 new model! SMH), but at least it has one.

    Far as keyboards go, I'm presuming they're fairly similar: full keyboards with 4-zone lighting (Sager could not confirm if theirs was per-key yet...or maybe they just didn't want to tell me). And though I'd much prefer a G-synced IPS panel (for color accuracy purposes) instead of a high-refresh TN, it's become painfully obvious that the Stones were right, in that you can't always get what'chu want, but I'm hoping that I'll get what I need.

    I've also considered the following models, but they are not without their good + bad characteristics either...and most of them are well over 2K with upgraded storage specs:

    - http://www.xoticpc.com/aorus-x5-v6-pc3k3d.html (Core i7-6820HK as opposed to the new Coffee lake, and likely prone to a lot of the same build quality issues as the v7)

    - http://www.xoticpc.com/aorus-x5-v7-kl3k3d.html (Tons of expasion, 3K screen, Thunderbolt, but lots of reviews on Amazon saying build quality leaves much to be desired)

    - http://www.xoticpc.com/gigabyte-aero-15x-v8-bk4.html (Massive battery life, Thunderbolt, 2-year factory warranty, but still has the 1070 Max-Q and that ridiculous "up my nose" webcam placement, and only 720p HD at that >_<)

    - http://www.xoticpc.com/msi-ge73-raider-rgb-012.html (17.3" screen, full size 1070, per-key RGB lighting, big sound system (for a laptop) but no thunderbolt, and possibly prone to the lingering hinge issue that MSI is so infamous for)

    - http://www.xoticpc.com/msi-gs73-stealth-016.html (Big screen, Thunderbolt, 1070 (not sure how they fit it in that chassis), big sound, but STILL with a ****ty 720p webcam though - and pretty pricey once the storage is spec'd up).

    If I could build my own machine, it'd look like this:
    G-sync IPS Panel (w/ AdobeRGB rating)
    i7-8750H
    GTX 1070
    Premium cooling
    Thunderbolt 3
    HDMI 2
    USB 2.0 x 3
    1080p webcam
    Intel 9560 Dual-band (I'm not a FPS gamer, and I heard the Killer-doubleshot is getting people throttled anyhow)

    Yes, it's asking a lot, but we are living in the future.

    All in all, I'm leaning heavily on the Sager/Clevo: I can get better thermal paste, better storage, and the extended warranty for hundreds less than the competition, and might be a no-brainer, except I have my reservations about the 1070 Max-Q, and the lack of thunderbolt definitely decreases it's 'future-proofness'. I'll probably buy another machine in 3 years, but given the state of VR - do you think the 1070 Max-Q will hold up that long?

    Any and all thoughts, comments, and sweet nothings welcome. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Guest

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  3. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    ^ lol when everything else was thin and light. If you need to move the laptop every day you probably won't thank him for that. If you don't move it much however, it's worth considering.

    OP you may want to look at the Clevo PA71HS if you are looking for a 17" version of the Asus. I'd tentatively say the stock cooling is a bit better as the ones at my local Microcenter with stock paste actually have pretty decent temps. If you bought from somewhere with liquid metal like HID or GenTech temps should most likely be tolerable.

    Aorus build quality is a bit quirky. Essentially the laptop is built like a tank, but it seems to suffer from a mix of firmware and (usually) minor QC issues. Surprisingly overall performance actually tends to be warm but mostly holds clocks. They're honestly kind of expensive for what they are though. I probably wouldn't really want an X5 V6 at this point.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  4. Spartan@HIDevolution

    Spartan@HIDevolution Company Representative

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    How about these 2 choices:

    Custom Built MSI GE73 Raider RGB 8RF-012 17.3" w/ nVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

    or

    Custom Built MSI GT63 8RF TITAN-047 15.6" w/ G-Sync nVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

    HIDevolution in addition to doing some of the best thermal paste application, they have the option for even better cooling if you opt for this:

    Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut on CPU + GPU, and Fujipoly Extreme Thermal Pads on heat sensitive surfaces – BEST PERFORMANCE

    Their build and quality control is top notch so you are sure to receive a laptop that works great out of the box and they have awesome customer service

    the MSI has the best keyboard out of them IMHO and the screens although may not be IPS, MSI's TN panels have very vivid colors and good viewing angles. In fact, I've owned many laptops and the screen that I have on my current GT73VR Titan Pro is the best screen I've ever had overall in terms of color accuracy and smoothness thanks to its 120hz refresh rate and very low response time to eliminate ghosting

    If you email donald@hidevolution.com and tell him your NBR Forum username, you can get the NBR Discount
     
  5. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Deity

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    I'd recommend the MSI GS65 as this laptop has an i7 8750H, a gtx 1070 MQ (a little faster than the 1070 MQ in the Clevo P950ER) and most importantly a panel that covers 99% of sRGB and 97% of AdobeRGB. Initial reviews seem to suggest that the CPU throttles under load and the laptop itself is very difficult to open. The Gigabyte Aero 15X v8 has the same specs as the GS65, but it's MQ gpu is much closer to a full 1070 than pretty much any other laptop on the market (-10% less performance). The screen however, is not as good as the GS65's, as it only covers 94% of sRGB and 60% of AdobeRGB. The ASUS GM501 is the final laptop I'll recommend. This laptop has a full gtx 1070 and a i7 8750H. It's panel has the same colour coverage as the Aero 15X, but has a unique feature: you can choose between G Sync and Optimus modes, but this switch does require a reboot.

    Reviews of all three machines can be found below.
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Asus-...ll-HD-Laptop-Review.293956.0.html#toc-display

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Gigab...070-Max-Q-Full-HD-Laptop-Review.296594.0.html





    Dave Lee has also reviewed the Aero 15X and the GM501 as well.
     
  6. Spartan@HIDevolution

    Spartan@HIDevolution Company Representative

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    He doesn't wanna go above 2K by much as he mentioned in his OP so the GS65 with a GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q is anywhere between 500 to 1000 USD above his budget depending on the configuration he goes for although if I were him I would try to stretch my budget a bit and get that. It's one sleek and powerful / portable gaming laptop with an awesome screen and keyboard.
     
  7. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Deity

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    GenTechPC have a pretty good deal for the GS65 - just a little over $2000. They also offer a free upgrade to a TIM of your choice (IC Diamond, TG Kryonaut etc).

    https://www.gentechpc.com/product-p/msi-gs65-stealth-thin-054b.htm
     
  8. LeiEn

    LeiEn Notebook Geek

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    Thanks for weighing in y'all - I had bypassed most of those models above the 2K base price, but am taking a second look now, much to the chagrin of my bank account, but what's a few (hundred) dollars more at the end of the day, right? I'm intrigued by the span of options in the 2-2.5K range, and appreciate all the suggested alternatives. Here's my thoughts on suggestions from first to last:

    @Danishblunt - that GT75 is aptly titled and tons of machine for the money. I can appreciate your enthusiasm for the GT line for good reason. That monster is definitely future proof with all that storage space and I'm guessing 10 heat pipes keep everything pretty chilled out, but at 10lbs x 17", perhaps a little too close to a desktop (replacement though it may be) than I'm looking for. I will keep it on the list, but I've also become intrigued by its smaller relative - the GT63 (as suggested by @Phoenix). A 15.6" + 6.5lbs, it's bit more luggable, but I do realize that it'd be sacrificing the Thunderbolt, mech keys, and better processor.

    There's some good deals to be had via:

    https://www.gentechpc.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MSI-GT63-TITAN-047B (free thermal pasting right now - H/T @RampantGorilla - good looking out!)

    or packed with a bunch of freebies (none of which I really need - would rather have a free cooling pad TBH), but nice offer all the same:

    https://www.gentechpc.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MSI-GT63-TITAN-047B

    ASUS GM501 is nice, but I honestly can't wait til end of May. I've already been biding my time for the past month waiting for these 8th gen Coffee's to drop, and I'm not entirely sold on the 'unique' fan port on the Zephyrus series. IMO, doesn't look like it would hold up to the rigors of everyday use + moving around from month to month.

    MSI GS65 - Obvious beauty pageant award winner right there. Dead sexy. I echo Dave2D's sentiments about the matured look coming to more MSI products in the future. Quite the machine for just over 2K, except for the PCIe drives being the only storage option. While the 1TB WD Blue PCIe SSD's are reasonably priced at 299$ from GenTech, that makes for a 2.5K price tag...still with only a 1 year warranty. Enticing, but risky given the top-down construction under the hood...if that thing has issues, the wallet gonna feel the pain and little to no chance I'll be fixing it myself. PLUS, I'd very much like to be able to pop the bottom off and keep it pristine a few times a year...hard to tell how the long term reviews will turn out, but they're certainly glowing right now.

    There's honestly so many options to consider now, it's perpetually overwhelming. Just scrolling down the first page of options with the 8th gen processor + 1070/1070 MQ boxes ticked on https://www.excaliberpc.com/Product...=5699&stock=&param=6918&param=6842&param=6848 has my head spinning. There does seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for MSI in general around these parts though, so that's good (and bad...since I naively thought I'd made up my mind to shave it down to just the 2 models listed in the post topic, but knowledge is power).

    Here's a couple of Q's regardless of make/model:

    1 - I'm under the impression that the thermal re-pasting is absolutely worth it in the long run regardless of model - all agreed?
    2 - An extended warranty would be a good idea regardless of model / distributor - all agreed?
     
  9. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Guest

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    Thats the thing, as a person that carries heavy notebooks myself I can tell that the weight is worth the experience. Sure it's bulky, but it's quiet and feels right when using it. Smaller case means smaller fans, smaller heatsinks, less heatpipes, means fans need to work more = louder. If you plan on doing a lot with your notebook, then you should really make sure that it does feel right. If you want to use that noetbook for gaming, editing, VR etc. then I assume you would spend a lot of time in front of it. Why compromise then? You obviously don't want to spend money on something every year,you want something to last long and you're thinking about what you want, so why settle with something less? Mechanical keyboard, great screen, great CPU, great GPU, working out of the box, no fuss nothing. The moment you think of design and weight, that's the moment you start to compromise on things such as good speakers, keyboard, cooling etc.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2018
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  10. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Just to address a few points. If you like the GT63 don't sweat the processor too much vs the i7 GT75. The difference is small enough that if 8750H can't do it the 8850H isn't likely to be the difference you need. (And both are likely easily enough for most things). In gaming especially it shouldn't make a massive difference, both are such a nice step up from the quad cores of last gen.

    Another note about GenTechPC is that their free thermal paste isn't really a sale. I wouldn't be particularly worried about rushing to get it free, they've had free or 1 cent thermal repasting for like the last 6 months+. So no sweat there.

    As for your questions 1. Basically... Yes. Even MSI which seems to need it the least out of box I'd still want it on.

    2. If you've seen the post about that guy who's machine broke out of warranty basically consider that. Even if you buy an MSI GT75 from HID, if you're out of warranty and the motherboard fails that'll be an expensive repair. So it's up to you in that regard but it's generally a nice assurance.

    And I guess my own two cents on the GT75 or not would be just weigh how much weight matters to you. To some the massive size in itself could be a compromise against what you want. Maybe practice carrying how much weight it is to see if it bothers you or not. And also compare the gpu performance between the 1080 and 1070 in other machines. For VR a 1080 would definitely have noticeable benefit. You have to decide if the difference is awesome and you want it, or if a smaller 1070 machine is close enough.
     
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