A couple months back we had the chance to review MSI’s GT70 Dragon notebook, a high-end gaming system sporting the brand spanking new Haswell Core i7-4700MQ with a just as new GeForce GTX 780M graphics chip. What we found was that performance didn’t impress us quite as much as we were expecting. Mythlogic wanted to show us “GTX 780M done right”, more or less, so they shipped their Pollux 1613 (Clevo P157SM) system for review sporting similar hardware to the GT70 Dragon…and performance once again wasn’t quite what we were expecting in games. It’s not that either system was slow, but we simply expected to see more of a difference.

Gallery: Clevo P157SM

After some emails back and forth with NVIDIA and Mythlogic, we ended up with a second CPU for testing: the Core i7-4900MQ (not to mention some overclocking of both the original 4700MQ and the 4900MQ processors). NVIDIA has also sent two new MSI GT70 Dragon notebooks for testing, one configured the same as the original review (and it no longer hits 95C or higher temperatures during testing) and one with i7-4930MX. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’ll look at the CPU scaling performance of GTX 780M in a future article, but for now let’s talk about the Mythlogic Pollux 1613, a customized build using a Clevo P157SM chassis. Here’s the specific configuration we’re testing:

Mythlogic Pollux 1613 / Clevo P157SM Test Configuration
Processor Intel Core i7-4700MQ
(Quad-core 2.4-3.4GHz, 6MB L3, 22nm, 47W)

Intel Core i7-4900MQ
(Quad-core 2.8-3.8GHz, 8MB L3, 22nm, 47W)
Chipset HM87
Memory 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 11-11-11-28 timings
Max RAM: 4x8GB
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5
(1536 CUDA Cores at 771+ MHz, 5000MHz GDDR5)

Intel HD Graphics 4600
(20 EUs at 400-1150/1300MHz, 4700MQ/4900MQ)
Display 15.6" Anti-Glare TN 1080p
(AUO B156HW01 v4)
Storage Samsung 840 Pro 512GB mSATA SSD
(PM841 MZMTD512HAGL)
Optical Drive DVDRW (TSSTcorp SN208DB)
Networking Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111/8168)
802.11ac WiFi (Intel Wireless-AC 7260)
(Dual-band 2x2:2 300Mbps/867Mbps capable)
Audio Realtek HD ALC892
Stereo Speakers
4 x audio jacks
Battery/Power 8-cell, ~14.8V, 5200mAh, 77Wh
180W Max AC Adapter
Front Side N/A
Left Side Flash Reader (SD/MMC/MS)
1 x USB 3.0/eSATA Combo
2 x USB 3.0
Gigabit Ethernet
1 x Mini-FireWire 1394B
Right Side Optical Drive
4 x Audio jacks
1 x USB 2.0
Kensington Lock
Back Side 2 x Exhaust Vents
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x mini-DisplayPort
AC Power Connection
Operating System Windows 8 64-bit
Dimensions 14.7" x 10.55" x 1.38-1.77" (WxDxH)
(375mm x 268mm x 35-45mm)
Weight 7.26 lbs (3.3kg)
Extras Fingerprint Reader
HD Webcam
102-Key Colored Backlighting Keyboard
Carbon Fiber wrapped LCD Lid
CPU Overclocking Support in BIOS
Pricing Starting at $1543 (GTX 770M)
As Configured: $2400-$2739 (780M, i7-4700/4900MQ)

Most of the items are pretty much what you’d expect from a high-end notebook, with a quad-core i7 CPU and GTX 780M providing the raw horsepower for any games or other computationally intensive tasks. As mentioned above, we tested with both the i7-4700MQ and the i7-4900MQ, including overclocking via Mythlogic’s customized BIOS. We also requested a single large SSD for our review unit and Mythlogic obliged and equipped the notebook with a 512GB Samsung PM841 mSATA SSD. The choice of SSD was less about performance than it was about convenience; I have found that 240/256GB SSDs just aren’t quite large enough to hold everything I want. Bumping up to the 512GB class fixes this shortcoming, and there’s still plenty of spare area available for future games and applications—and you can always add an additional HDD if needed for mass storage of data files. If I were buying a high-end laptop right now, I’d definitely splurge and get a 512GB class SSD.

Going through the rest of the list, most of the items are well-known quantities by now. The AUO B156HW01 v4 LCD is a TN panel, but it’s one of the best 15.6” TN panel out there, with a wide color gamut and good (post-calibration) accuracy, as well as viewing angles that don’t immediately wash out in off-angle viewing. RAM in our unit is “only” 8GB of low-voltage memory, but you can equip the P157SM with up to 4x8GB RAM if you need more, and Mythlogic’s pricing for RAM upgrades is pretty reasonable. (The 32GB setup mentions that it requires the use of Windows 7 Pro/Ultimate according to Mythlogic’s configurator; Windows 8 64-bit supports 128GB and the Pro version supports 512GB, so this is likely a note for Win7 users.)

The connectivity and I/O options cover just about everything you could want. There are three USB 3.0 ports, including an eSATA combo port. A single USB 2.0 port is also present for legacy/compatibility reasons (I’ve noticed that trying to install Win7/Win8 from a USB 3.0 port often creates problems). Clevo even includes a FireWire 1394b port for those that need it, and on the display side there are three digital connections: one full-size HDMI, one full-size DisplayPort, and one mini-DisplayPort. VGA and DVI users will need an adapter, but given where we’re headed I think going with two DP connections is the best choice for most users. For wireless, we were very pleased to discover that Mythlogic equipped their notebook with an Intel Wireless-AC 7260 adapter; the configurator has now moved on the Advanced-AC 7260, which adds Bluetooth 4.0 support. Regardless, the ability to transfer data over WiFi at up to ~45MBps is something I’ve been longing for; range of 802.11ac won’t be as good as 2.4GHz networking, but since you get 2.4GHz and 5GHz support it’s not really a concern.

As far as the spec sheet goes, there really aren’t any problem areas to discuss. You can custom configure pretty much whatever your heart desires, within reason. The P157SM chassis supports two mSATA drives, two 2.5” SSD/HDD drives, and if you want to forego the optical drive a caddy allows the use of a third 2.5” SSD/HDD. There’s a very similar notebook that’s also available, the Clevo P150SM/Mythlogic Pollux 1613-Black; the major difference is that it only supports a single 2.5” drive (with a second via the optical drive bay/caddy). It weighs a bit less than the P157SM and has a slightly different design on the hinges and multimedia panel above the keyboard, and no backlit trackpad, with a price that’s around $20 less. (It’s basically the last generation Clevo chassis but with an updated chipset/motherboard and other components.)

Mythlogic Pollux 1613 / Clevo P157SM Subjective Evaluation
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  • Meaker10 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    It would be interesting to compare the XTU graph of each actually to see how their behaviour is different then. I might have to investigate that when I get the chance.

    That does not change the fact the 4930MX can run in the MSI at 4.1ghz during game play though. Sure that might not last during full rendering load or prime (stock CPUs will not either in any system including the sager) but it still behaves and just lowers the clock as it hits the power limit (Set to a healthy 75W) rather than temp throttle.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Sunday, September 01, 2013 - link

    95C sounds about right to me.

    Speaking for my M18x R2 - If I'm gaming for extend periods (think h o u r s), I run HWinfo64 to force the CPU fan higher than the bios would ordinarily set, and I find 4 cores @ 4.4GHz in High Perf mode to be the most stable for me. 85C is the absolute max I would see in this state, and it is often less. I can run a 4.5GHz, and some run higher, but I'm happy with the stability with 4@ 4.4GHz.

    The GPUs I don't overclock, ever.
    Reply
  • xtyling - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    Jarred.. On a $1500 budget and need for a portable (13-15inch form factor) gaming machine... which would you choose.. Digital Storm's Veloce or this Mythlogic Pollux? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    The Veloce is just the Clevo W230ST (sold as the Mythlogic Chaos 1313, as well as by most other Clevo resellers -- http://www.mythlogic.com/configure.php?id=147), and it's in a different category as it's smaller and tops out at the GTX 765M. You can get an idea of performance by looking at the Razer Blade 14 numbers, but of course for $1500 you wouldn't be getting GTX 780M in the first place. I believe the W230ST also includes an IPS panel (that's what Mythlogic says at least), so that's actually a nice bonus.

    For portability at the cost of performance, I think W230ST looks like a good compromise. Gaming at 1080p will need to drop down to ~High detail with no AA in many games, but I would be okay with that. If you can push the budget to $1630, grab one from Mythlogic with the 512GB mSATA SSD. :-)
    Reply
  • name user - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    ah yes, a tramp stamp

    yes i will buy this product, with money, and take it places with me because its portable, with a tramp stamp

    because im a goddamn idiot
    Reply
  • gnorby - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    While many Clevo based systems run about the same, dollar-wise, Mythlogic has a policy called the Phoenix Upgrade Policy which means that as long as you own the laptop, you pay 5% over their cost on any upgrade components, and they will install and then run a full test suite (just like when the machine is new) before returning it to you with the new hardware. That's as close to future-proofing as I've found yet.
    I have a Mythlogic Nyx 17", and since getting mine, my son and nephew both bought theirs. We've all been very pleased with pre-sales support, sales and technical support. These guys are a joy to work with.
    Keep in mind that I'm 53, have dealt professionally with computers since the 1980s, and am not easy to impress.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    That sounds promising; but my question would be if the extremely high prices that a 3rd party would have to pay for the parts for a DIY an MXM are AMD/nVidia's (distributors?) prices or profiteering my the people putting them up on ebay/etc.

    I suppose the question to ask if I was in the market for one would be what their price would be to upgrade last years model from a 680 to a 780.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    I have found that upgrading MXM GPU is prohibitively expensive and usually it is way easier and cheaper to sell and repurchase a new laptop. Reply
  • rpgfool1 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    Any differences between the Clevo P170SM and the Clevo P177SM? I'm looking to get one probably around Black Friday or Christmas. Checking out the various Clevo resellers and vendors and Mythologic seems to be quite friendly, even though their prices are slightly higher. Also looked into PowerNotebooks, Malibal, XoticPC, and LPC-Digital. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    The P170SM and P150SM have slightly different designs, with one less 2.5" drive supported I believe, plus no backlit (tramp stamp) on the touchpad, and the touchpad is Synaptics instead of Sentelic. Basically, all reasonable tradeoffs in my book. Reply

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