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Novatech X50MV Pro Gaming Notebook review

Ardjuna Seghers

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Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

Novatech might not be the first name that springs to mind when you think of high-end gaming laptops, but perhaps it should be. After all, how does a quad core Q9550 processor, dual 8800M GTX SLI graphics and three 200GB 7,200rpm hard drives in RAID 5 sound? Unfortunately, we don't all have the cash required to get this kind of gaming glory, so today we're looking at the company's more modest X50MV Pro Gaming Notebook.

This little machine still sports some fairly drool-worthy specs, among which are a Core 2 Duo P9500 running at 2.53GHz, 320GB 7,200RPM hard drive, a high resolution 1,680 x 1,050 screen and an integrated TV Tuner. Unfortunately, the only thing that doesn't impress as much is the most important element of any gaming notebook: the graphics card. In this case, you get an NVidia GeForce 9600M GT, which - no matter what the marketing tries to tell you - does not a great gaming card make. Especially considering that even in the desktop sector you need a 9800-series card for good gaming performance. But prejudgements aside, let's give the X50MV a fighting chance and see how it does.

Novatech's gaming notebook actually has a fairly rare feature; a 2.5in colour SideShow display integrated in its lid. SideShow was hyped as a potentially big part of Vista: laptops would have a small external screen, which would display things like reminders, date/time/alarms, MP3 track details or cached information while using a minimum of power. The idea was that this would allow for hundreds of hours of battery life while still providing some basic functionality, even including very simple games along the lines of solitaire and PacMan.

However, SideShow hasn't really caught on so far; this is one of the few notebooks we've come across that integrates it and frankly we don't expect to see any more. Unfortunately, whether you like the idea or can see its potential, Sideshow seems to have died a quick and largely forgotten death, due largely to a lack of commitment and development of it. Thankfully, the good news is that Novatech doesn't seem to be charging you a premium for SideShow, so at worst it's a nice/needless extra.

On the downside, the glossy black panel into which the SideShow display and its controls are set doesn't contrast very nicely with the rest of the machine's finish. You see, the majority of the X50MV sports what one of the TR team promptly dubbed "the bowling-ball finish". This is a very accurate description of the impression generated by the blue-grey shiny plastic with sparkly and glittery effects.

On its own the bowling-ball finish looks okay, if you like that sort of thing. It's where it contrasts with piano-black inserts and the matte black keyboard that the look becomes a bit jarring, while the ugly grey Novatech sticker on the lid doesn't help things either.

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whybother

December 5, 2008, 1:28 am

I think that a very important point was missed in this review - novatech will sell you any of their machines without windows allowing you to buy and install XP seperatly without waisting money on a vista licence.

TechVegan

December 5, 2008, 3:54 pm

@whybother: That's a very good point, and something I meant to mention in the review but just plain forgot to do :S


Thanks for bringing it up!





On a seperate note, as a long-time Vista-hater myself I must admit that after using it for a while I do find many things annoying going back to XP (like the way it selects file extensions when you change a file's name)

Dave 11

January 15, 2009, 3:16 pm

@Ardjuna Would the graphics on the next model up, the X70 MV, Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS 512MB DDR3 Graphics, make the gaming performance much better, I am struggling to find the best gaming laptop for about �, any ideas would be very grateful, I have looked at the HP HDX16-1005EA 16in Blu-ray Notebook but is out of stock at Comet and Laskys who have the best price.





Dave






Andy Vandervell

January 15, 2009, 3:27 pm

The 9800M GTS is significantly better and should give you real gaming performance.

Mitchell

February 17, 2009, 12:13 am

@Ardjuna, you say that 'The 9800M GTS is significantly better and should give you real gaming performance.' Which is installed in the Novatech X70MV, but the X70MV has the Intel P8400 Core 2 Duo Mobile running at 2.26Ghz where as the X50MV Pro has a Intel Core 2 Duo 9500 running at 2.53Ghz. Would the difference in processor make a significant difference? because if I were to spend more on the X70MV for the Graphics card, im downgrading the processor. Is it worth it? Any help would greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

TechVegan

April 28, 2009, 5:51 pm

@Mitchell:


Damn the lack of auto-comment notification! Sorry for the late reply Mitchell. If it's still of any help, the simple rule when it comes to gaming is: video card over processor anytime. As a real-world example, I can still run must games perfectly on my PC at home which uses an outdated AMD Athlon 64 X2 3500 only because it's paired with a relatively modern and powerful GeForce 8800GT. Almost any game will run on a Core2Duo at 2.0GHz or above as long as it has a decent graphics chip to back it. In the above scenario (in terms of gaming, anyway), the small CPU clock-speed jump will make hardly any difference compared to a better video card, so the 'downgrade' is more than worth it!

TechVegan

April 28, 2009, 5:56 pm

@Mitchell:


PS The comment you refer to was by my colleague Andy, not me :)

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