Gaming laptops are in a whole other category to your regular bread-and-butter laptop, or even high-end Ultrabooks like the Toshiba Z830. They tend to be chunky desktop replacement beasts, and you’ll have a hard time finding a good one for under £800. Medion recently wowed us with its award-winning Erazer X6813, but what if you do have a little more to spend and can’t find the exact spec you want in a preconfigured system?
Well, then there’s Wired2Fire. Like many other large gaming-focused PC assemblers, the company offers a range of customisable laptop systems alongside its desktop contenders. We’re looking at its £1,577 Vector Elite, a massive 17in gaming laptop with a Full HD screen, quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 160GB SSD plus 500GB hard drive, Blu-ray drive, excellent connectivity and, most impressive of all, an AMD Radeon HD 6990M graphics card with two GPUs in CrossFire and 2GB of dedicated RAM.
All this goodness is crammed into a Clevo P170HM chassis which is used by quite a few other integrators, so if you’re planning on buying a laptop based on it, read on. The Vector Elite will also give us our first proper taste of the Radeon HD 6990M, which is currently AMD’s top single-chip graphics solution. Will Wired2Fire be able to work the same magic as it did with its HellSpawn ALC desktop system back in the day?
If you’re into your bling, the Vector Elite is probably not for you. Clevo’s P170HM is an understated chassis that has more in common with the Medion Erazer X6813 than the Alienware M14x, thanks to a total absence of lighting effects. No floodlights, no illuminated logos, no glowing fenders and, the only real negative, no backlit keyboard.
It’s not exactly the most attractive body we’ve seen either, though there are plenty of nice touches. The rather thick lid sports a brushed metal top panel, though glossy plastic does remain around its edges. Fingerprints will be visible on either finish though.
Opening it up, the screen and bezel are glossy, followed by a matt keyboard surround and more brushed metal for the palm-rest. We wish Clevo had just kept the entire inside matt – after all, it worked beautifully for the Asus G73. But then, at least the P170HM isn’t a super-glossy disaster like the Rock Xtreme.
As far as looks go, the most complimentary way to describe the Vector Elite is ‘understated’. Thankfully, build quality won’t be dividing opinions, as it’s sturdy throughout. There’s just a little more flex than we might have liked in the lid, but otherwise we have no complaints, and the Elite will hold up well to the ravages of LAN party transport.
Speaking of transport, anyone purchasing a powerful gaming laptop will know not to expect a machine that’s particularly portable. Wired2Fire’s Vector Elite keeps this trend intact with a weight of 3.97kg, though considering what’s inside that’s not bad at all.