The Sager NP8130 Review by Mr. Mysterious

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  1. Mr_Mysterious

    Mr_Mysterious Like...duuuuuude

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    The Sager NP8130 Review

    Hello everyone, and welcome to my review of the Sager NP8130. This is a work in progress, but I appreciate your comments and feedback; as this is my first attempt at a serious, comprehensive review for a laptop. I will update my review to include new information over time, so keep checking back for more information!

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    Unboxing:

    The computer arrived in a big, brown cardboard box that seemed quite sturdy, though judging by the looks of it, it had obviously gone through some difficult times. As expected, it weighed a good 12 pounds with everything, but was easy to carry. A big Sager logo is on the face, with the shipping label on the side.

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    It was quite hard to wait for the computer to arrive, about 6 days from the time XoticPC shipped the machine, until it landed on the doorstep of my house. Unluckily, I was at my campus at the time, so it took an additional day until I could actually touch it, when my family came to visit me in the city. Talk about anticipation!

    As you can see, there is a second box inside of the first one, without much separation, though this won’t matter since the laptop is securely padded in with additional Styrofoam inside. A useful plastic handle is there so that you can easily pull out the interior box, which has some interesting logos and images on the face. With the help of a knife, you can cut through all the secure tape and reveal the treasure within.

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    Can you imagine my excitement at seeing this box, waiting for over a month? Luckily it was only 2 weeks from the time I bought it until I had it in my hands, thanks to Justin at XoticPC, who was able to put in rush order for my computer, as well as providing useful and helpful phase updates with emails. He was patient and answered every one of my inane questions, and continues to do so as I pester him with information regarding upgrading to an SSD and the HDD caddies.

    Materials:

    Looking inside you see two distinct areas: One which holds the actual laptop itself, padded on all sides with Styrofoam, and the AC adapter with a wall plug. The former is held securely by the Styrofoam (no glue though) in a secure way that I am familiar with; when my HP is sent off for repairs, they send a box with the same kind of padding inside.

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    In the latter is the PSU, which is gigantic and heavy, much bigger than my iPhone 4, as you can see in the pictures, as well as what I think a VGA adapter of some kind, but I don’t know what it is for. The length of the AC adapter and the wire put together is about average length, about 6-8 feet, and is more than sufficient for my needs. Of course, the questions that immediately popped into my mind when I first saw the adapter: How much bigger would the 8150 adapter be? Would it be worth it to buy it from Justin? Should I have gone for an 8150 instead?

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    Whatever buyer’s remorse I had was soon gone at the sight of the beauty that is my new computer: The Sager NP8130, Clevo P151HM1. It was covered in pink (ew) plastic that protected it from dust, dirt and scratches during the transit. Upon removal, I got my first touch at what people have been calling the “plasticky” touch of the 8130. It wasn’t bad, certainly a bit of friction but otherwise perfectly fine. Only people with a heavy touch with find a problem with the material of the laptop, because if you press down, the friction will slow your movements; this will become relevant later when I play with the touchpad. I quickly checked to see if all the ports were intact, and if there was anything that needed to be cleaned; luckily, everything was fine.

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    Included with the machine itself and the adapter are a bunch of other disks, which I found at the bottom of the box: the Windows 7 Recovery Disk (included with a not-helpful intro packet to Windows 7), the Drivers, Utilities, and Owner’s Manual disk, the Cyberlink Blu-Ray playback and burning disk (useless), and the owner’s manual packet.

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    Build, Weight, Feel:

    Opening the lid reveals protective plastic and tape covering the screen and wrist areas, keeping the glossy bezel and everything nice and clean. The first thing I did was test out the touchpad, and I smiled, rolled my eyes when I felt that it was perfectly usable. Some people just nitpick over their machines for some reason…I don’t know why, don’t ask me. As I mentioned before, if you press down too hard, your movements on the trackpad will slow, and you won’t like it. However, I use a light and graceful touch, something I learned when using my Asus EEE PC 1005PR, which has these horrible raised bumps as a touchpad, something I had to get used to unfortunately. The buttons have some good feedback, depressing about a couple of millimeters and then back up. A couple of people have reported sometimes three clicks when pushing down on the button and letting it up, but I haven’t had that issue, either in a tactile or auditory way.

    Lifting the laptop, I was quite satisfied with its weight. It’s not the lightest ultraportable I have ever come across (I have my netbook for that), nor is it the heaviest machine I have lifted (my HP beats it by at least half a pound). It feels solid and lift-able, something that I confirmed with repeated trips to the library and to my dorm room, using my Targus backpack. I’m a big guy, and I honestly wouldn’t mind carrying this laptop around the campus all day occasionally.

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    A lot of people have commented about the machine’s “flex”. According to the lexicon it means how much the surrounding area will depress when you press down on a particular point. This can refer to keyboard flex, where you press down on a key, or screen flex, or any other area. I have never had problems with flex in my life, with all the laptops I have ever come across. When you’re using plastic, obviously things will react when you apply some kind of force to it. When dealing with the 8130…I did not feel much flex, certainly not enough to cause any concern, but once again I dismissed the fears snowballed by others about the machine’s flex. Bottom line: Unless you get a lemon, it is not a concern.

    Overall, I am quite satisfied with these initial impressions of the laptop.

    Ports:

    Sager luckily provides their machines with an abundance of ports, all of which are discussed here:

    On the left side of the laptop you see from left to right, the CATV port (which I will not be using anyways), Ethernet port, 2 USB 3.0 ports which support speeds many times faster than the current standard USB 2.0, a USB 2.0 port, the Firewire Port, and multiformat card reader.

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    On the front side there is nothing except two LED lights, the left one that shows battery status and the right one that shows disk activity. Also there is an IR receiver to the left of the two LED lights, for what reason, I'm not exactly sure.

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    On the right side of the computer you will see the optical drive (I chose the blu-ray reader), the headphone jack, the microphone jack, two other ports I don’t quite recognize, one more USB 2.0 port, and the Kensington lock.

    Thanks to Electric Shock, s/he figured out what the jacks were:



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    And finally at the back of the computer you will see the e – SATA/USB combo port, the HDMI port, Displayport and DC-in for your power.

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    I have used the USB 2.0 ports and they are all working fine with realistic speeds, whereas I haven’t got any USB 3.0 devices with me since it’s a brand new format that still has to see some market penetration. Honestly I don’t think it’s that much of an improvement over USB 2.0 and I am further unimpressed by its current speed comparison to e – SATA, which I have used extensively in the past and am quite satisfied with. In any case, I decided to future-proof this machine as much as I can, and specifically looked for a laptop with USB 3.0.

    However, with the release of the new Macbooks from Apple that utilize the new, exciting Thunderbolt technology, we’ll see who comes out on top. I would think that USB 3.0 would win out since it is more of a universal format, but Thunderbolt would be a better overall technology.

    The HDMI works fine, outputting both video and audio and was fine with my Asus 24” screen.

    Conspicuously missing is an Expresscard port of any kind. This may be an issue for some people (ViDock users, I’m looking at you!), but not for me; I barely used it on my HP and I don’t think I will need it now.

    Keyboard:

    The keyboard is one of the first things I noticed when I opened up the lid for the first time. Sager uses a Chiclet, island-style key layout for this particular laptop, and at first I thought it would be a problem. But when I put my hands on it, I felt quite comfortable and at ease with the keys. Of course, this might be because I’m used to typing papers on my 10.1” netbook, which also uses a Chiclet keyboard, but I had no issues with it. The keys themselves have good tread and responsiveness, and I believe that my typing experience has actually benefitted from using the keyboard. I don’t make many mistakes and I can find the keys quite easily, with the raised lines on the F and J keys for touch typists. Thankfully, the keys are not “sticky” at all (which is something I experience slightly on my HP machine), and are made of hard, black plastic. I do wish they got rid of the number pad on the right, since it is shrunken down and utterly useless. However, I did not have difficulty using the number keys, and I naturally adjusted when pressing down on the smaller-than-usual buttons.

    The extra spacing between each button might mean that more dust, dirt or debris will fall into it, and might need some extra cleaning with a can of compressed air. But for me, the lid will be closed most of the time (using an external monitor), so I don’t have to worry about it.

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    There are only a few areas of concern: the first is the shortened right side shift key, which might present some issues for people who are used to full, desktop-style keyboards. The second is the usual issue for people with big hands (including myself) when you are typing, your palm might come in contact with the touchpad, and that might cause the cursor to jump around. I haven’t had that much of an issue with this computer, but luckily you can easily turn off the touchpad by using the Fn key and one of the numbers.

    Otherwise and overall Sager provides a good, solid keyboard with excellent responsiveness, allowing me to type faster and better. It is not the best keyboard you will find on any laptop, and not the worst, but certainly better than average and more than adequate for my needs.

    Startup:

    The startup was painless, as you have to go through the needed Windows 7 screens for language, country, time, etc. Thankfully you don’t have to worry about bloatware in the beginning, as the bare minimum is installed on the PC. With my previous HP laptops, I had to deal with the obnoxious bloatware in the beginning, before I even got a chance to see the desktop for the first time.

    After everything, I checked the “My computer” screen to see how much hard drive space was used up in the installation of the Windows 7 as done by Sager (I hear that the PC does not go through the resellers, but is instead shipped directly from Sager with your configuration). As you can see, right out of the box, everything will take up about 20GB or so, my initial reaction was mixed, mainly because I was thinking of how big an SSD I would require for a clean install of Windows 7. After installing all of my software (including music and pictures), and one game, I end up with 51GB of space filled.

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    Almost immediately, the first thing I did was to take the included Drivers, Utilities and User’s Manual CD (DVD?) and put it into the optical drive. Just to be safe, I downloaded and installed all the necessary drivers, all of which went through fine. The only issue was the USB 3.0 driver, which couldn’t work for some reason, but later I saw a program called the “USB 3.0 Monitor” in my task manager. This is definitely something that needs to be looked into, and I will update my review once I have some answers.

    Update: Most users find their USB 3.0 ports not working right out of the box, but running the drivers should solve the problem. :)

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    Screen:

    The screen is the matte 1080p option as offered by XoticPC at no additional cost, and I must say, I am quite impressed with it. The colors look vibrant and sharp, the overall brightness is good and will be usable in direct sunlight (at least for my eyes), and the black levels are what you expect for a laptop screen (that is not Dell’s RGB LED or HP’s Radiance Display). At first I wanted a glossy screen, without knowing I would have to pay extra, but then after hearing other people talk about how good the matte screen was, I decided to go for it and save my money. In my opinion, after seeing my Sager’s screen, I think that matte is just as good as glossy, and much more functional. You don’t have to worry about the glare washing text and images out.

    Zippiness and Overall Feel:

    For the configuration I ordered, I expected everything to be quite quick, and it is. Of course, I had some reservations about the 7200RPM 500GB hard drive that was included with this machine, but at least it’s good for storage. I doubt I would ever be able to fill it all up; plus, it’s not my style. I have never used more than 120GB on any machine, preferring to keep everything safe and separate on multiple external backup hard drives.

    With the included hard drive, software, and other components, it took about 40 seconds to go from the button press to the login screen, and about 1 minute and 20 seconds to go from the button press to a fully loaded, working desktop. Needless to say, I was not impressed, and my future SSD in a couple of months will take care of that.

    Speakers and Fingerprint Reader:

    The NP8130 comes with two speakers and a subwoofer on the bottom. I first listened to some of my favorite songs by my favorite band (Green Day and Disturbed) and was quite happy with the quality. I did not buy this system for the sound, but it's an extra bonus to have such nice sound coming from a laptop, of all machines. It's hard to top the sound system on my HP HDX16t, which is a dedicated multimedia laptop, but it comes awfully close. With speakers at 12% and sitting two feet away, it's plenty loud for me. Upping the volume to 22% reveals no distortion, though I would suspect when you get up to the low 80's, then the quality starts to suffer. It's no big deal for me, but I am enjoying the highs, mids and lows of the speakers. The subwoofer is decent, but unfortunately nothing compared to even a 2.1 system. Lucky for me, i have one of the best speakers around, the Logitech Z-Cinema.

    The fingerprint reader....was, at first, an exercise in frustration. It would take me 10-12 tries for my fingerprint to get registered in the first place. This is the result of a poor design flaw, since it lays in between the two buttons on the trackpad. Even worse, is the fact that it is recessed downwards, instead of laying flat on the surface, further complicating the process. This leads it to being very inaccurate....in the beginning. After a few more days of mounting annoyance, I woke up one morning to log into my machine. Lo and behold, it recognized me on the very first try! Naturally I was skeptical at first...but over numerous tries, the fingerprint reader started to work excellently. Maybe I unconsciously changed the way I swipe my finger across it, but it started to work perfectly. I'm sure I didn't change any drivers or did any software changes..but I'm glad that another component is working like it should now.

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    Processor:

    The included processor was Intel’s brand-new Sandy Bridge i7 2630QM, which has four cores, the hyperthreading for 8 overall threads, and improved turbo boost 2.0. This is probably overkill for me, but seeing how Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge later this year will make quad-cores the new mainstream, might as well get a quad-core right now. I was quite pleased to see during the installations of the drivers and various personal software, that although the download speed varied based on my internet connection, the actual installation speed (which the CPU is responsible for) is very quick, much better than I anticipated. I will not be running benchmarks on my system, as they unnecessarily stress the components out, and serve no real function except for bragging rights.

    Another note on Ivy Bridge: According to early reports, people will be able to upgrade from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. Expect a 20% faster processor and a 30% faster integrated graphics.

    Update: Sorry, Intel just confirmed that you will not be able to upgrade from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge.

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    Graphics Card and Gaming:

    This machine comes with the NVIDIA GTX 460M, which provides 1.5GB of DDR5, and new features like better tessellation. It’s more than adequate for my needs, and I do a little bit of gaming myself. To be honest, at the price I was offered, getting top end components like this is an absolute steal.

    I have not had a chance to play many games on my PC (since I have college, visits, assignments, etc.), but I did install one of my favorite games: Batman Arkham Asylum. The game automatically set 968p as my resolution, with details at max and all of the extra settings on, and PhysX at normal. The game ran buttery smooth with no slowdowns or lags. Later on, I got the opportunity to change the resolution to full 1080p, which looked beautiful on my Asus screen, and turned the PhysX to high. This resulted in a very playable game, with occasional slowdowns and brief lags that dipped the framerates to no lower than 27FPS. In my opinion, PhysX is beautiful but unnecessary; I will turn it back down to normal and enjoy the game. Also, the temperatures while gaming: None of the components went above 70C, which just shows how good a cooling system this machine has!

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    The images are nicely green because I am playing the part right before you fight Poison Ivy. Looks beautiful with great details on full 1080p resolution, High PhysX and 4x AA.

    The Prince of Persia from 2008 is one of my favorite games mainly because the gameplay is quite good and it is one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. The first two screenshots are at the beginning, when everything is dark and dreary (that's one of the many themes of the game), but I will post a beautiful third screenshot when a land is healed...that is when the colors really pop out and jump at you, the vibrancy is stunning, thanks to the cel-shaded look. According to Fraps, I am averaging about 60 FPS, dipping down to 45 occasionally during gameplay. I don't care how slow everything will run during a cutscene...that is not my GPU's fault.

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    Prototype is another favorite, however this time the graphics aren't great (the game developer's fault) but the gameplay is pretty solid. Usually I don't have the stomach for the "virus taking over the city" kind of graphic horror kind of game, but this was an exception. I'm glad I bought it. Once again, 1080p, all settings maxed, and the 460M doesn't even break a sweat, hitting high 50's and averaging around 60 all throughout, even during heavy action. As you can see, the extra details allows you to see the broken glass when Alex is wallrunning up a skyscraper. Well worth a look:

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    X-Men Origin: Wolverine is another one of the games that I like to play with not-so-good graphics (at least by current standards), and yet excellent gameplay. The story is nonexistent, really, but who will honestly play this game for anything other than the lovingly-rendered gore? People's legs get chopped off, heads blown up, a helicopter is taken on single-handedly.....this is a hack-n-slash-fest to the extreme. And that is why I love this game, even though I should probably play it more often. Once again, 1080p with max settings and the framerates are excellent. :D

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    And finally....Borderlands. I don't like this game much, through no fault of the game...It is an excellent adventure, and it's my fault that my first FPS has such a steep learning curve. It's very addictive, but unfortunately, I need a lot more practice before I can fully immerse myself into Pandora. The visuals are amazing, as this is another cel-shaded game, and was one of the reasons why Borderlands is a top game that is still played by thousands, if not millions. It's just really hard to play a FPS with a controller, like I was doing...I'm sure once I take up the old KBM, I'll get quite accurate with my shots...which is what is needed when you are playing Mordecai, the sniper. You can't help but love Claptrap though, lol!

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    My expectations are that the 460M will absolutely annihilate all of my games and that everything will be playable on max settings at 1080p. Furthermore, I am reasonably confident that the graphics card will be able to play games for another couple of years at good and great settings. For more information about the GTX 460M’s capabilities, refer to notebookcheck.net’s exhaustive list of games and graphics cards, as well as processors.

    The best part is, thanks to the MXM 3.0 Type B slot, we Sager owners have the option of removing our graphics card and putting in another one, which is not possible for the other 95% of laptops that instead have their graphics card soldered down onto the motherboard.

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    Benchmarking and Overclocking:

    Many thanks to johnnyman27, who was willing to run 3DMark Vantage on his machine for me. Not only that, but he also overclocked his GPU and ran the benchmarks again, and posted the results in my thread. :)

    Idle Temperatures:

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    SSD:

    I put in a Crucial M4 128GB SSD and I have posted the results here: 25 seconds with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Sample Pictures folder, MS Security Essentials, Hotkey App, Microsoft Word

    <param name="movie" value="https://www.youtube.com/v/v1HCD3DHTV0?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="https://www.youtube.com/v/v1HCD3DHTV0?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width='560' height="349" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

    Conclusion:

    On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being &#8220;Utterly Disappointed&#8221; and 10 being &#8220;Exceeds my wildest dreams&#8221;, I would rate the following as such:

    Security of Package and Shipping Speed: 7
    Materials Provided with the laptop: 7
    Overall Build, Weight, Feel: 8.5
    Ports: 8
    Keyboard: 8.5
    Screen: 9
    Zippiness: 9
    Processor: 9.5
    Graphics Card: 9.5
    Reseller&#8217;s Customer Service: 9.5
    Overall: 9 (not an average score)

    Overall, I am very impressed and extremely happy with my Sager NP8130, finding it a great, solid, somewhat future-proof, speedy and well-worth-my-money system. I have done considerable research before deciding on my next computer, and Sager fulfills all of my requirements. I whole-heartedly give the machine my highest recommendations and encourage people to seriously consider their next laptop to be a Sager 51XX or 81XX. I am quite happy and will enjoy this machine for many years to come.



    Update: The reseller Mythlogic has just tried to put a 485M into a NP8130 and used a bigger power adapter. And guess what, it works! This means that we can upgrade to a 485M! Thank you Mythlogic!
    Source is here ===> http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo/567129-lookin-8130-8150-swap-buddy.html

    Thank you for reading!

    Useful Links:

    Owner's Lounges:
    8130 => http://forum.notebookreview.com/sag...sager-np8130-clevo-p151hm1-owners-lounge.html
    8150 => http://forum.notebookreview.com/sag...-sager-np8150-clevo-p150hm-owners-lounge.html
    8170 => http://forum.notebookreview.com/sag...-sager-np8170-clevo-p170hm-owners-lounge.html

    Reviews:

    8130 => http://forum.notebookreview.com/sag...eview-thoughs-sager-np8130-clevo-p151hm1.html
    8150 => http://forum.notebookreview.com/sag...er-np8150-clevo-p150hm-review-forerunner.html
    8170 => http://forum.notebookreview.com/sag...-review-htwingnut-resident-goldfish-blub.html

    Graphics Info for:

    GTX 460M: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M - Notebookcheck.net Tech
    GTX 485M: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485M - Notebookcheck.net Tech

    Processor Info for:

    2630QM: Intel Core i7 2630QM Notebook Processor - Notebookcheck.net Tech

    Mr. Mysterious
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2015
  2. James Dean

    James Dean Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for setting aside the time to put this together!
     
  3. Mr_Mysterious

    Mr_Mysterious Like...duuuuuude

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    Of course, no problem! :)

    Feel free to post questions, I'll answer them to the best of my abilities.

    Mr. Mysterious
     
  4. QuadCoreDV6

    QuadCoreDV6 Notebook Consultant

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    Great write up Mysterious!

    After using my 8130 for a couple days now I can agree with everything you said. It seems like some people don't like the keyboard but I've grown to like it quite a bit. I could do without the number pad but the keys have a good feel to them when typing, much better than the chiclet keys on my HP laptop.

    I had the same issue when I first plugged my WD Passport into the USB3.0 ports, nothing happened. I opened the USB3.0 Controller utility and it seems like it updated the firmware then everything worked fine after that.

    Also, the fans are pretty quiet. When just surfing the web and checking email I barley even notice them if at all. When playing games they will kick in but not maxed out.

    I also was surprised that the laptop is not as heavy as I thought it was going to be. I'd say it weighs about the as my HP DV6 and that specs out at about 5.5 - 6lbs I believe.
     
  5. Mr_Mysterious

    Mr_Mysterious Like...duuuuuude

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    Thank you! I put a lot of effort into it.

    I decided not to write about the fans, since it wasn't something that bothered or will bother me. I will be buying a cooler in the future (probably the CoolerMaster SF-19 3.0).

    Mr. Mysterious
     
  6. TechNewbie

    TechNewbie Notebook Consultant

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    Wow. Great review. You went in to so much details about everything. +rep, and now awaiting my own laptop more then ever. Instead of shipping straight to Sager mines shipped to Xotic 1st, meh... just 1 more week if everything goes well. :p
     
  7. Mr_Mysterious

    Mr_Mysterious Like...duuuuuude

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    Thank you, I appreciate it. :)

    Great news that we now know definitively that we can use the 485M in our machines.

    Mr. Mysterious
     
  8. NeoShinobi

    NeoShinobi Notebook Enthusiast

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    Awesome review! Every bit of information I need to know about this laptop.
    Since you mentioned Ivy Bridge's performance, I am going to postpone my purchase >.>.
     
  9. TechNewbie

    TechNewbie Notebook Consultant

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    That being said you should know that Sandy Bridge was a 30% improvment over the 1st generation as well, and Ivy Bridge will do the same, and probably the same after that, every year till we run out of silicon. If you don't need a computer then yeah waiting is always better, but if you do then well, you can't wait forever :p
     
  10. dumild

    dumild Notebook Enthusiast

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    I noticed that the 180w power adapter cost about 95 at xotic pc, with 100 bucks different on base spec of 8130 and 8150 why don't just choose the 8150? For the excitement of doing the upgrade yourself? :)
     
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