Another gripe is the huge power block needed. You can’t actually use this machine on your lap as it would block off the cooling vents for the graphics cards, so you need to properly sit it on a desk. If you tried to use it on the train you’d take up most of a table on a train, if not most of the train. Factor in its weight and this is about as portable as a small desktop. Wouldn’t it have been better if AJP just removed the battery and made this mains operated only?
On the plus side, the 19in display is pleasant to use and the notebook isn’t very noisy at all, (which you wouldn’t expect of an SLI notebook).
Using our proprietary automated benchmarking suite, aptly dubbed “SpodeMark 3D”, I ran Call of Duty 2, Counter Strike: Source, Quake 4, Battlefield 2 and 3DMark 06. Bar 3DMark06, these all run using our in-house pre-recorded timedemos in the most intense sections of each game I could find. Each setting is run three times and the average is taken, for reproducible and accurate results.
I ran each game test at 1,280 x 1,024 and the native 1,680 x 1,050 each at 0x FSAA with trilinear filtering, 2x FSAA with 4x AF and 4x FSAA with 8x AF.
We used the driver that came with the notebook, which was ForceWare 83.90. AJP has been sneaky enough to set the quality balance setting to “performance” which increases performance while sacrificing image quality. We put this back to “quality” which is the default setting.
We ran SpodeMark with both SLI on and off, to see how much improvement was gained by having a second card. We also compared to the recently reviewed Mesh X-treme FX-60 which uses two 7800 GTs in SLI. This is not a particularly good example of a gaming machine, but it also came with a native 1,680 x 1,050 panel so felt it would be a good comparison.
In our own subjective tests, we found game play to be pretty good – although there were some possible timing issues as despite high frame rates, playback seemed a little jerky. We are hoping (and have been told) this will be covered in a future driver release.
Call of Duty 2 has really good optimizations for multi-GPU setups and it shows in our results, with over 50 per cent improvement in performance. Steaming ahead though, is the Mesh system – possibly due to Call of Duty 2’s optimizations for dual-core machines.