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A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the MV Mobeus and was won over by its small chassis and feature rich specification. Now I have another notebook from MV in front of me and it couldn’t be more different from the Mobeus. The Ixius is huge - 297 x 298 x 49 (WxDxH) - there’s no two ways about it. This is not a notebook that you’d want to carry around with you, even for a couple of hours. But the Ixius isn’t aimed at the regular notebook user, it’s targeting the hardcore gamer that wants a mobile machine that can handle all the latest 3D epics.
There was a time when playing games on a notebook was a pretty unfulfilling exercise, but recently that has changed. A lot of time, effort and research has been poured into notebook gaming, with the mobile graphics chipsets starting to resemble the current desktop generation, rather than being a couple of generations behind. So, before I get into the nitty gritty of the Ixius I might as well mention its party piece – the nVidia GeForce GO 6800 graphics chipset.
The GeForce GO 6800 is the latest and greatest mobile graphics chipset from nVidia, and it represents a huge step forward in performance. Just like the desktop GeForce 6800, the GO 6800 sports 12 pixel pipelines and five vertex pipelines, while the 256MB of memory should keep even the most texture hungry game happy. Although nVidia claims that the GO 6800 is good for a core clock speed of 450MHz with the memory running at 600MHz (1.2GHz effective), the early sample inside the Ixius is running at a core frequency of 275MHz, while the 256MB of DDR memory is clocked at 300MHz (600MHz effective).
So, MV has definitely pushed the boat out when it comes to graphics technology, but what is the rest of the specification like? To be honest, it would have been hard for MV to come up with a better set of supporting components for the GO 6800 chipset. Sitting in the CPU socket is an Intel Pentium 4 running at 3.6GHz, while there’s 1GB of DDR2 memory – Corsair branded memory no less! The 60GB Hitachi hard disk seems a little small for a device this size, especially considering the target market. The hard disk does spin at 7,200rpm, so performance should be good. However, if you are serious about your disk performance, MV offers a 120GB RAID 0 array option on the Ixius, although pricing hasn’t been confirmed for this yet.
Although the review sample I looked at came with a bog standard DVD-ROM drive, customer units will ship with a Sony dual layer DVD writer and I’d expect nothing less on a machine like this. Let’s face it, anyone who buys a machine like the Ixius is likely to use it as their sole PC, so it really does need to have all the bases covered.
Of course what’s inside a machine like this is very important, but it doesn’t make the external ergonomics any less critical. Considering that the Ixius is likely to be used instead of a desktop computer, it needs to afford its user a good ergonomic experience, even for prolonged periods of use.
The keyboard is obviously important on a machine that’s going to be used for all your computing duties. Opening up the lid of the Ixius reveals a keyboard that looks inviting. Often when I look at large notebooks, the space hasn’t been used to its best effect, but thankfully I can’t level such a criticism at the Ixius. MV has made the most of the huge surface area and included a full size keyboard, complete with numeric keypad - something I thought was a great idea at first.
Due to the huge dimensions of the chassis, there is a massive area in front of the keyboard, which can make it difficult to find a comfortable typing position, although if you’re happy to rest your forearms flat on the surface it’s not a problem. What is a problem though is that this area gets very warm and can be a bit uncomfortable when you’re typing for long periods.