Having a look around the chassis there’s a vast array of ports and connectors. On the left is a 7-in-1 memory card reader, a single Type II PC Card slot, four USB 2.0 ports, two four-pin FireWire ports, an S-Video output, line-in, microphone, headphone and S/PDIF ports. At the rear you’ll find an Ethernet port, the modem socket, PS/2 port, parallel port, serial port and a DVI output. There’s no D-SUB output, but MV does supply an adapter in case you want to connect the Ixius to a monitor with an analogue input. There’s also a rubber bung hiding an S-Video input that’s labeled with a camcorder picture, and what looks like a composite video input, labeled cable TV.
The right side of the chassis is dominated by the optical drive bays, yes that’s right, I said bays. The Ixius can accommodate two optical drives if you desire such a configuration, although the review unit only had the top bay populated.
Performance was, unsurprisingly, excellent from the Ixius, and it turned in some of the fastest 3D scores I’ve ever seen on a notebook. If you’ve read my Mobile Battle Ground article, then you will know that the pre-production Mobility Radeon X800 notebook I looked at produced higher scores than the Ixius, but I am willing to hold off any firm judgement until I have retail samples featuring both chipsets. So, as far as products that you can buy here and now go, the Ixius is the fastest gaming notebook to make its way into the TrustedReviews labs.
Since it appeared that the GeForce GO 6800 chipset had been clocked quite conservatively we decided to tweak it a little and see how it affected the benchmark scores. Bumping the core speed up to 330MHz and the memory up to 350MHz (700MHz effective) produced some interesting results. In both 3DMark03 and 3DMark05 the scores actually dropped with the GO 6800 running at the higher clocks. In fact, if you look at the graphs you’ll notice that the scores remain either the same or drop with the graphics chip overclocked in most of the tests. The one exception is Doom 3, which saw a decent performance increase at the basic 1,024 x 768 resolution.
One reason for the reduced performance could be that the Ixius is getting too hot and the hardware is being throttled to compensate for the excessive heat. Just sitting here typing on the Ixius I can feel the heat radiating through my wrists, and I’m not doing anything particularly stressful to the hardware. Fire up a game and the fans spin up quite loud in an attempt to stem the heat, but it would appear that the 275MHz core and 300MHz memory clocks are about as far as this chassis will comfortably go.
Despite the reduced performance when overclocking, the Ixius really is an amazing gaming notebook that produces numbers that high-end desktop machines would have been proud of not too long ago. But when it comes to 2D performance, the Ixius is still eclipsed by the blisteringly fast Rock Xtreme!, showing that the extra cache on the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition more than makes up for a lower clock speed. We didn’t bother to run Mobile Mark since it traditionally won’t even complete on this type of notebook, which is fair enough since battery life is unlikely to be of major concern to the target customer.
MV has done a good job with the audio, and the integrated speakers produce loud and clear sound effects. Even if you wanted to use the Ixius to listen to music, the integrated speakers do a pretty good job, although as always with a notebook, they lack a certain degree of bass.