Buying a gaming laptop is a much more stressful affair than
purchasing a gaming desktop. The fact that they tend to cost more than desktops
yet can't be upgraded means you'd better make sure you've made the right pick.
Yet doing so can be very confusing, as the naming schemes used for laptop GPUs
are downright confusing. The GX70 has a GPU that is a classic example of this
in the form of the AMD Radeon R9 M290X.
AMD has also
announced their flagship
Radeon R9 M290X GPU that is a rebrand of the HD 8970M
Before we delve into this issue, let's take a look at this
bulky beast’s exterior. The 17.3 inch TN screen dominates the dimensions,
packing the true HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. It performed fairly well in the
basic image tests at lagom.nl, though both the white saturation and viewing
angle tests returned rather average results. At least it's not shiny. Plastic
is predominant in the construction of the chassis, with aluminium panels
featured in the rear of the display and palm-wrest. Tipping the scales at
3.5kg, it's not exactly lightweight, and has quite a thick waistline of 5.5cm.
Despite relying on plastic, it feels rock solid, with the excellent SteelSeries
keyboard having absolutely no flex.
The first bit of questionable mobile manoeuvring comes in
the form of the SoundBlaster Cinema software, which suggests the use of
Creative's quality audio hardware. Closer examination reveals this is purely a
software solution, used to power the Realtek chip inside. Despite this, sound
quality from the stereo speakers is surprisingly strong, even better with a set
of good headphones.
AMD's quad-cored A10-5750M APU is paired
with 16GB of DDR3 memory, while the storage combination of a 128GB SSD and 1TB
mechanical drive delivers a useful combination of both speed and space.
Killer's E2200 gaming LAN port is a nice bullet-point on the back of the box,
though we've had compatibility issues with this network solution in the past.
E2200 NIC Ethernet has the capability of
identifying online games data and prioritizing it when assigning bandwidth
So then, back to that craftily named GPU.
Now, AMD's desktop R9 290X is an absolute speed demon of a card, so many gamers
would probably expect the similarly named R9 M290X used here to offer competing
levels of performance. They'd be mistaken.
It turns out that it's not even based on
the R9 290X part, and is actually AMD's older 8970M GPU with a new name. It's
still a very potent mobile GPU, but offers less than half the performance of
the R9 290X.
also provided a detailed preview of the Hawaii GPU
which is fused inside the heart of the Radeon R9 290X graphic card
We loathe these mobile GPU naming
shenanigans, as they complicate an already difficult task, and lead to
unrealistic expectations. They also cast a pall on an otherwise excellent
product, as the GX70 isn’t half bad value. As the benchmarks show, it doesn’t
quite have the muscle to handle Ultra detail in most games, but lowering things
to a mixture of medium and high should deliver very playable performance
indeed. Provided your expectations are realistic, the GX70 should prove to be
one of the better gaming laptops around for under two grand.