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Novatech X50MV Pro Gaming Notebook - Novatech X50MV Pro
As far as the rest of the internals go, as mentioned at the beginning of this review they're pretty impressive. A Core 2 Duo P9500 is one of the fastest non-extreme Core 2 mobile chips available, running at 2.53GHz while the range tops out at 2.80, but it still retains a frugal 25W thermal envelope. This is backed by 4GB of DDR2 memory rather than the newer DDR3, but DDR3 still demands premiums that far outweigh its minor performance benefits, so this is a good choice. Keep in mind the installed version of Windows Vista Premium is 32bit, so not all this RAM will be accessible unless you install a 64bit operating system.
A capacious 320GB hard drive is also a cut above what you would find on most notebooks, being a 7,200rpm model rather than the usual 5,400rpm. As you can see in our PCMark Vantage charts, this results in a 25 per cent advantage in the hard drive benchmark compared to the Dell Studio 15 and its 5,400rpm drive. And though synthetic tests aren't always indicative of real-world performance, the superior hard drive certainly helps Novatech's machine in keeping up with the far more expensive Alienware Area 51 m15x. In fact, just how close the performance results are between these two notebooks is even more astounding when you consider that Alienware's beast packs a Core 2 Extreme X9000.
Draft-n Wi-Fi is also on board courtesy of Intel's Centrino 2 802.11 chipset and Bluetooth 2.0 completes the Novatech's wireless credentials. Other features include the inevitable 1.3 Megapixel webcam and a microphone awkwardly located below and to the left of the keyboard. As far as software goes, there's only the bare minimum here, but many gamers will actually appreciate the clean windows install; the only pre-installed software being a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007.
So overall, is Novatech's X50MV Pro Gaming Notebook worth buying at £1,009.33? Considering that an equivalently-specified laptop from the likes of Alienware will set you back by at least £1,600, it can initially be difficult to see why you should pay more than a third extra just for a premium brand name and custom casing.
However, the one major weakness of the X50MV Pro is its battery life. The six-cell 4,400mAh battery doesn't put in a very good performance. In fact, it's pretty abysmal, with the notebook only managing a paltry 84 minutes in our DVD battery test - not even enough to watch a decent-length film.
What it boils down to then, is that if you want a desktop replacement with a TV tuner and an excellent screen, capable of handling light gaming and absolutely powering through everything else, the Novatech X50MV Pro is worth considering. If you just want a competent and more versatile notebook, £1,030 will buy you a Dell Studio 15 with a slower hard drive and Mobility Radeon HD 3450, but featuring a Full HD 1,920 x 1,200 15.4in panel, Blu-ray drive and 9-cell battery. And if you're willing to live with an extra inch or two, Acer also offers some compelling alternatives with its range of Aspire Gemstone Blue machines.
Novatech's X50MV Pro Gaming Notebook is a speed demon in everything except games, where it's held back by a relatively weak GeForce 9600M GT graphics chip. If this suits your requirements, it's pretty good value (especially with the outstanding high resolution screen), but its poor battery life makes it more of a desktop replacement.