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  • Khenglish - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    It is strange that in some cases you had lower performance overclocked than not. Did you raise the TDP limit when you overclocked the CPU? I have found hitting the TDP limit to cause the CPU clocks to periodically plummet on my P150EM, hurting performance substantially.

    Ex 1:

    CPU is set to 3.8ghz, using 55W of power. CPU runs at 3.8ghz constantly, but only 3.5ghz is needed to max out the GPU in whatever game is being played at this time.

    Ex 2:

    CPU is set to 4ghz which requires the TDP to be over 55W. CPU usually runs at 4ghz, but every 10 seconds plummets to 2.6ghz. Since this particular game only needs a constant 3.5ghz, there is a performance loss.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    Yeah, in the BIOS I set it for 67W I believe. I don't know how much that affects things, but something else is clearly going on. GRID 2 in particular is very consistent with its odd behavior. Reply
  • Khenglish - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    Didn't you say that one of the MSIs came with a 4930mx? You could pop that into the P157SM, set the TDP sky high, set the same clocks, and see if it has the same odd behavior.

    And upon taking off the clevo CPU heatsink you will see that they crush the heatpipes onto the heatsink plate, warping the plate raising temps by 10C+ (I lapped the plate on my P150EM). You can see stress marks in the plate directly under the heatpipes. GPU plate has the same problem. Clevos would have phenomenal cooling if clevo fixed this.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    The MSI systems had to go back to NVIDIA (for PAX), so I don't have them any longer. I'm not sure there's that much thermal headroom on the P157SM anyway -- temperatures notwithstanding, the 4900MQ overclocking is clearly hitting some limit that's preventing maximum performance. Reply
  • Moooza - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    I've been seriously considering the P150SM. Any real downsides in your opinion compared to the P157SM? I like the smaller size and that stupid touchpad light isn't present.

    I have been considering the exact same spec you reviewed (thanks by the way), but with 4x4gb 1866mhz RAM.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    If you're okay with the single 2.5" drive, I don't know that there's anything wrong with the P150SM. Given the touchpad and a few other aspects, I'd probably go that route myself if I were in the market for a gaming notebook... well, that or I'd opt for the larger P170SM. Reply
  • cmikeh2 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    All units of the P150SM I've found only had 120W power adapters. Do you see that as an issue? Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    XoticPC defaults to a 180W with the P150SM Reply
  • cmikeh2 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    My bad I totally blanked there.. You're right. I was conflating P150SM with P151SM1 for some reason. Reply
  • Khenglish - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    180W is still too weak for overclocking. The 17 models come with a much more appropriate 220W PSU (which also can be too weak with heavy overclocking, but far better than 180W). I don't know why clevo chooses to gimp the 15 inch models with the smaller PSU connector and 40W weaker PSU. Reply
  • GTVic - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    Obvious answer is the tradeoff with the weight. If you overclock to the extent that you need 220W+ then you are going to need heavier duty cooling design which adds even more weight. Reply
  • Khenglish - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    The 15" and 17" laptops both have identical motherboards with Identical cooling (the 15" has a default aluminum CPU radiator, but most resellers offer the copper version found in the 17")

    So no there would be no extra weight.
    Reply
  • waldojim42 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    I, for one, am always glad to see high end displays in use. Props to Clevo for such a decent display.

    On your last page, you mention wanting to test against the Alienware 17. While I understand the reasoning, I think that Alienware/Dell put the majority of their focus on the 14 and 18 this time around. Both the 14 and 18 have high end display options that the 17 doesn't get. IPS, and PLS to be exact. Frankly, I would be far more interested in your results on those over the 17" TN panel.

    Also, I have a 9700QM based machine being delivered later this week - one thing I didn't see mentioned, was the thermal impact from overclocking. Also, is the 2bin OC limit an Intel limit, or BIOS limit? I know the machine I am picking up is supposed to allow overclocking, but I prefer not to go into these things blindly - and there really isn't a lot of good information on this.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    I honestly don't know if the limit is BIOS or Intel, but I suspect it might be BIOS. Usually, Intel lets you do +4 bins, and you can set SC, DC, TC, QC to the same multiplier (basically, what I could do with the 4900MQ). But perhaps Intel locked down the 4700MQ for precisely the reason that it would be nearly the same as a 4900MQ if you could set everything to 3.8GHz. Thermally, the 4700MQ didn't have any issues overclocked, but the 4900MQ behaved oddly; I think I need to tweak the OC settings to get more out of it, and even then I think it will only be at best a 3-5% improvement over stock clocks.

    Finally, regarding Alienware, the 18 is hard for me to go for, as it's so huge -- it's in the same category as the Clevo P370SM. I'm just not sold on SLI for notebooks, as there are too many gotchas (heat, size, drivers, cost, etc.) I didn't realize the AW 17 didn't do anything more for the display; I was hoping to see IPS/AVHA/PLS in there, but I guess not? Maybe next time; anyway, Dustin has the full review in the works, but the high gamut TN panel in the Clevo's is getting somewhat out of date.
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    4700 = +200
    4800 = +400
    4900 = +600
    4930 = unlocked

    4.2ghz on all cores is a +600mhz boost to the core ratio:

    4900 = 38/37/36/36 (4core/3core/2core/1core turbo max)
    4990 oc max = 44/43/42/42

    The biggest restriction on the 4900 and 4800 will be that tdp increases are locked to +10w to 57w so going beyond 3.9ghz wont mean much (setting anything higher than 57w may looks like it has set but the cpu power wont go beyond 57w).

    Also powernotebooks is niw selling a 4.1ghz oced 4939mx and 3.9ghz 4900mq in the msi barebone range. How many times do we have to tell you your machine was a bad sample?
    Reply
  • kogunniyi - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    You're right, but MSI deserves some flack for sending Anandtech two bad samples. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    They've gotten a good one; hopefully at part of one of their upcoming articles they'll publish updated thermals. Unless the issue was a, now fixed, design flaw/fan controller bug though 2 faulty laptops in a row suggests serious QA problems that would scare me away. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    Anyone that thinks the MSI was a "bad sample" at this point is fooling themselves. You can keep "telling us we had a bad sample", but that just isn't true. Dustin had one MSI notebook, and at full load it hit 96C on the CPU (unless you trigger the max fan tweak that turns it into a blow dryer). Then he sent that back, and NVIDIA sent me not one but two MSI GT70 notebooks for additional testing. Both of those hit 95C on the CPU under full load -- 10C hotter than the P157SM reviewed here. That said, the MSI notebooks I had from NVIDIA did not throttle -- they just ran hotter than I'd like. 95C is still less than the 100C max that Intel specifies, but how long will you be able to game on a notebook hitting such temperatures before things start going south?

    Could we replace the TIM to get reduced temperatures? Perhaps, but I just don't think that should be standard procedure, and it shouldn't be required in the first place. What's more, it still won't run as cool as the dual HSF Clevo designs, since it's cooling two power hungry chips with one fan.

    As for the overclocking statements above, the maximum clock on the 4900MQ at stock is 3.8GHz, and pushing that to 4.2GHz was not stable (wouldn't even boot into Windows). While 4.4GHz is an option in theory, in practice I don't see it happening on any but the best CPUs. Even 4.0GHz is behaving oddly, with performance often lower than stock settings. I'm going to try a scaled OC of 4.1/4.0/3.9/3.8 to see if I can get any better performance than my initial results though....
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    The thing is to go beyond 3.9ghz you will start having to add voltage which will instantly slam you into the 57W TDP limit. It looks like you were already hitting into it anyway.

    This is an even more delicate operation than a mITX desktop after all but can be done if you are patient.

    But by your own admission if throttle was not occurring on the sager then temps would likely be in the same area and the dual fan has no advantage....
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    Temperature and power draw are different, so the 57W TDP is the factor. The Sager can better dissipate that (keeping the CPU at <90 and usually <85, with the GPU <80), but Intel's preventing higher Turbo even at lower temperatures. The MSI isn't throttling, meaning, it's not dropping below the rated speed, but it's also not running at max Turbo either. There's a difference. Reply
  • 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
  • rpgfool1 - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    They do sound like reasonable tradeoffs. I might as well get the P170SM or P177SM then. Now to look at Clevo resellers that has reasonable prices... Reply
  • GTVic - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    I doubt you can connect AC power to the back as listed in the spec on page 1, there must be a power brick, which according to a quick search may weigh as much as 1.8lbs. The size and weight of that should be listed in the specs since you are definitely going to have to cart that around. Reply
  • MDX - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    I'm tired of the hideous and fat clevo cases. If I wanted a fat gaming laptop, the alienwares have way better styling. If I wanted a slim gaming computer, the razers have way better styling. I'm not going buy a somewhat-chunky, black ugly laptop, regardless of hardware... Reply
  • rpgfool1 - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    Don't people experienced problems with Alienware notebooks though? The Razer Blade and the Razer Blade Pro look very nice, almost like a Macbook Pro in design. Macbook Pros look very nice and sleek, but people pay for the Apple brand name. I don't know why premium PC notebooks get stuck with 1920 x 1080p screen when Macbook Pros are able to get 2560 x 1600 or 2880 x 1800 on 15" screens? I know they cost more and the panels are probably IPS. Reply
  • MDX - Monday, September 02, 2013 - link

    Not sure about Alienware, but I have an XPS M1730 (dell's gaming line before they bought alienware) that lasted almost 6 years. I'm only now in the market for a new machine because of that, and it seems my only option is still the same size/formfactor as it was 6 years ago: fat and heavy. I was hoping to get something slimmer with some style that was still user-serviceable, but I can't, so I'm building a desktop instead.

    Razer's compromise on the screen, plus non-user serviceable hardware rules that out, and the alienware laptops just aren't portable. These clevo machines are too ugly and have too low resolution, MSI's new GS70 is also ugly and not innovate (except for the slimness) so that leaves me with nothing that entices me to spend money on it.

    If Razer would put a panel that does justice to their blade pro and ditched the chiclet keyboard (I can't stand chiclet keyboards), I'd be all on it!
    Reply
  • woofblitzer - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    First off, let me thank you for your review. I have been EXTENSIVELY researching the Clevo P157SM and as Sager puts it with the improved 95% matte display NP-8255-S. It's just that damn tramp stamp...can that be removed and replaced? No reseller really looks to replace it, they all have it on their pages...(funny that they all price out to $2489 too...who is really making these behind the scenes that all sites price the same). I had been wondering about thermal issues and you mention the MSI series. I really really like the MSI 16F4 barebones, not quite cosmetically but comparable to the MSI GT60 2OD....the MSI barebones just looks better to me...but with your testing results of MSI products, are you predicting the MSI barebone will perform like it's parent? I cannot find any real review of the MSI 16F4 anywhere. I would much rather go with the MSI for looks and sound, but it seems the Clevo is cooler and for some reason runs benchmarks and Windows Experience Index faster, even when equipped with the same equipment. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    The only thing that might help the barebones MSI (or any of them) is if you put on better thermal grease, but that's a stretch to drop temperatures 10C. As for the tramp stamp, Mythlogic says they'll replace the backlit cover with a non-backlit option; you'll have to call and request it, though, as it's not listed in the online configurator. Other vendors might be willing to do something similar; I don't know. Hope that helps. Reply
  • DanNeely - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    Is that different from just disabling the trackpad backlight, which they do have as an option in the configurator. Reply
  • woofblitzer - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    Any theories on while similar equipped Clevo and MSI bare bones, why the Clevo seems to score a little higher? Is it driver or hardware related? Also, would you know, two questions...on the P157SM, if you get an msata, does in only fit in the HDD slots being fitted with the 2 x mstata adaptor or can you go say two msata and two ssd in the HD space? Maybe it is only having a third msata that breaks into HDD space? One last question since you have tested the closest to what I am looking at, but would you assume MSI bare bones do not come with the cooler and turbo boost that the non barebones come with? Ok, promise, one last question...if I am looking towards the future...should I be looking more at the P177SM, because I could add a second GPU someday or is the secondary GPU market pretty non existent outside ebay? Reply
  • rpgfool1 - Saturday, August 31, 2013 - link

    You can't even add a 2nd GPU in the P177SM. The P370SM and P375SM have the option of Crossfire or SLI 2 mobile GPUs. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, September 01, 2013 - link

    What he said for the GPU. As for mSATA, there are two mSATA positions in the P157SM, so you can use two mSATA and two 2.5" HDD/SSDs. No idea on the cooling and turbo stuff for MSI, but I'd guess they're all the same in terms of features; maybe someone else has a better answer.

    For the performance differences, it could be drivers, it could be firmware optimizations, and it could be differences in maximum sustained Turbo (due to differences in cooling). On the desktop we're at the point where if you use the same CPU and GPU, performance is basically identical within a few percent, but on laptops there's still a lot more variation. Hope that helps.
    Reply
  • Freakie - Monday, September 02, 2013 - link

    Hey Jarred, you wouldn't happen to be getting an ASUS N550 in anytime soon, would you? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 02, 2013 - link

    I'll request one, but at present no laptop from ASUS is in route. Reply
  • landsome - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    I am still a bit puzzled by the inability of the single-fan solution of the MSI GT series to do well by Haswell+GTX780M. I have an old MSI GT663R and it keeps a 920XM @ 3.2GHz and a 7970M under control in prime+furmark, no throttling, CPU at 95C max, GPU at 87C. With a 820QM and the same vid card, it's around 85C+85C in the same scenario - and Clarksfield is a hot processor. I also owned an HP 8740W, and its single-fan solution was capable of cooling well a 920XM and a Quadro 5000M (also prime+furmark).

    So why this sudden weakness with the GT60 and GT70? (Also worth noting that the dual heatsinks on my GT663R are much heavier than the dual heatsinks on the Clevo P150EM I owned for a short while, while the fan is bigger and more potent than any of the two Clevo fans, though the Clevo did cool well too.)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    Haswell is the same process as Ivy Bridge, so it's not really any cooler running -- it's just able to go into lower power states more quickly, more or less. In fact, it may run slightly hotter (not sure), all things considered. At present, the GT70 isn't throttling -- it's just running hotter than we'd like. Is it worth considering? For the right price, and if you like the styling more than the Clevos, sure. I don't think it's better, and you can get heavier copper heatsinks for Clevos from some vendors (XoticPC for instance), but go with what you think is best. Reply
  • paulfp - Saturday, December 14, 2013 - link

    Battlefield 4 in Clevo http://j.gs/3B5K Reply
  • rickstones - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    I have an order with Sager for a NP8258 (= Clevo P157SM). The original LCD panel was the 95% NTSC Gamut matt finish panel. I was just notified by Sager that this panel is no longer available due to "quality problems".

    Does anyone have information on what the problems are with this panel? Its been around for a pretty long time now, I don't know why they should begin experiencing quality problems at this point...

    Also, I replaced this panel with the standard FHD matt finish panel. Anyone know if this this is a decent LCD? It was only $35 less than the 95% NTSC Gamut. I loaded this laptop up to the gills and am paying a lot of dough for it. I really don't want to be stuck with a subpar LCD.
    Reply

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