Notebookcheck

Review Clevo P170SM-A (One K73-4N) Barebones Notebook

Florian Glaser (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 03/31/2014

Potent rivals. The next round in the fight between the two graphic cards manufacturers, Nvidia and AMD, has begun. After the GeForce GTX 880M showed its capabilities, we now look at the also very powerful GTX 870M in this article. Can the high-end model excel the Radeon R9 M290X?

One logo

For the original German review, see here.

While we are still waiting for the next product generation from Asus, Alienware and MSI, the technology expert One has already provided us with a laptop that sports Nvidia's brand new GeForce GTX 870M.

The One K73-4N is a 17-inch gaming behemoth that takes on the legacy of the K73-3N. The configuration options discovered on the homepage look a lot like those of the recently tested K56-4N. The main difference is the deviating hard drive equipment. Not three, but four storage devices are possible in the K73-4N (2x mSATA & 2x 2.5-inch).

The other areas are also generous. A maximum of 32 GB DDR3 working memory, and quad-core processors up to the Core i7-4930MX let gaming hearts beat faster. Some buyers will also be pleased that the optical drive and Wi-Fi adapter can be replaced. Both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 are available as the operating system.

Naturally, the most influential factor is selecting the right graphics card. It is possible to opt for the GTX 870M or GTX 880M instead of the Radeon R9 M290X. We will examine whether the extra charge of 40 or 280 Euros (~$55 or $386) is worthwhile further below.

Since One only integrates four GB of RAM, a 500 GB HDD, and a weak Intel Core i3-4000M in its base configuration, it is recommendable to upgrade. Our review sample that featured eight GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB SSD, Core i7-4800MQ, and Windows 8.1 64-bit would currently add up to approximately 1600 Euros (~$2207).

Display

We have omitted the parts about casing, connectivity, keyboard, and touchpad because the chassis is identical to that of its precursor, with the exception of a few details that barely affect the overall impression. One again uses the P170SM(-A) barebones from the Taiwanese company Clevo.

As expected, the laptop is delivered with the matte, Full HD screen Chi Mei N173HGE that is also installed in dozens of competitors (Asus G750JH, Notebookguru Earth V, MSI GT70, etc.).

310
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
337
cd/m²
285
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
319
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 337 cd/m²
Average: 308.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 337 cd/m²
Black: 0.35 cd/m²
Contrast: 963:1

A brightness of 308 cd/m² is just as above average as a contrast of 936:1. The latter results from the decent black level. Although 0.35 cd/m² will not excite photo enthusiasts, the black reproduction is good from the "average" gamers’ point of view. A higher result would cause dark game and movie scenes to clearly drift into the gray range. This is supplemented by an acceptable color space coverage. 84% of sRGB and 58% of AdobeRGB are not a matter of course in the laptop sector.

The Chi Mei N173HGE has to accept criticism in color balance and accuracy. As can be seen in our CalMAN screenshots, many parts strongly deviate from the ideal. Other panels score better here.

One K73-4N vs. sRGB (grid)
One K73-4N vs. sRGB (grid)
One K73-4N vs. AdobeRGB (grid)
One K73-4N vs. AdobeRGB (grid)
One K73-4N vs. One K56-4N (grid)
One K73-4N vs. One K56-4N (grid)
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker

The outdoor suitability proves to be good. The high brightness and matte surface allow use on even sunnier days - providing the laptop is not placed in a very unfavorable position.

The viewing angles correspond to the level of a good TN screen. While the horizontal plane has more room, distortions turn up quite soon vertically, depending on the content. Clevo would have to switch to IPS technology to really score in Display.

One K73-4N outdoors
One K73-4N outdoors
One K73-4N outdoors

Performance

Haswell
Haswell

Processor

We again ordered the Core i7-4800MQ processor that is positioned between the i7-4700MQ (2.4 - 3.4 GHz) and the i7-4900MQ (2.8 - 3.8 GHz) with a clock of 2.7 - 3.7 GHz.

A TDP of 47 Watts and six MB of L3 cache are typical for an Intel quad-core. All models available in the Configurator are based on the Haswell architecture, and are built in the 22 nm process. Similarities are also found on the feature list. For example, all CPUs can increase the amount of simultaneous threads via Hyperthreading.

The installed HD Graphics 4600 DirectX 11 chip should also be mentioned. Since the P170SM(-A) barebones supports both the Optimus and Enduro technology, the dedicated graphics accelerator is only enabled during computing intensive programs. The HD Graphics 4600 directly processes basic tasks in the Office, Web or video sector.

Note: The Core i7-4800MQ was replaced by the 100 MHz faster Core i7-4810MQ shortly after the test.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ Memory
System info CPUZ SPD
System info GPUZ (HD 4600)
System info GPUZ (GTX 870M)
System info HWiNFO
System info CrystalDiskMark
System info Latency
System information: One K73-4N

Turbo Boost

We were not quite as pleased with the Turbo's behavior. Instead of the theoretically possible 3.7 GHz (single-core load) and 3.5 GHz (multi-core load), much lower rates were measured in the test. The high-end model "only" managed 3.3 - 3.6 GHz (short drops to 3.0 GHz) in the single-core scenario, and the multi-core load resulted in 3.3 GHz (including temporary drops to 2.7 GHz).

The less than ideal clock is noticed in the scores of some benchmarks. The consequences when gaming are minor or not even measurable. This is no surprise since the graphics card is the limiting factor here.

GPU factor or not: When one of the expensive processors is bought, it should also provide the maximum performance. We will have to wait and see whether Clevo makes improvements in this regard.

Single-Core rendering
Single-Core rendering
Multi-Core rendering
Multi-Core rendering
CPU & GPU load
CPU & GPU load

CPU Performance

Cinebench R15 recorded very good performance from the Core i7-4800 MQ despite the limited performance. With 143 points, it surpassed the Core i7-4700MQ (135 points @ Medion Erazer X7825) by 6%, and the attractively priced Core i5-4200M (122 points @ Lenovo Z710 with only two cores) by 17%.

In certain cases, the gaps are much bigger in the multi-core test. In one case, comparing 663 to 301 points, the Core i7-4800MQ calculates twice as fast as the i5-4200M Haswell. Yet the Core i7-4700MQ (643 points) is only 4% slower by comparison.

We would generally recommend the i7-4700MQ in view of the price. The top models are rarely worthwhile for most users.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Core i7-4800MQ
One K73-4N
7.22 Points ∼41%
Core i5-4300M
Schenker XMG A503
3.47 Points ∼20% -52%
Core i7-4700MQ
One K56-4N
6.94 Points ∼39% -4%
Core i7-4900MQ
Dell Precision M4800
7.39 Points ∼42% +2%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Core i7-4800MQ
One K73-4N
1.65 Points ∼83%
Core i5-4300M
Schenker XMG A503
1.44 Points ∼72% -13%
Core i7-4700MQ
One K56-4N
1.51 Points ∼76% -8%
Core i7-4900MQ
Dell Precision M4800
1.66 Points ∼83% +1%
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.65 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.22 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
60.05 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
143 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
663 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
100.38 fps
Help

Graphics Card

GPU info
GPU info

Nvidia has caused some confusion with its new graphics card generation. The GTX 850M and GTX 860M (almost always) rely on the very promising Maxwell architecture, while only the clock rates have been increased, and a few new features added to the GTX 880M (Kepler).

It is a bit better with the GTX 870M. Compared with the GTX 770M, not only does it have a higher clock (941/2500 vs. 811/2000 MHz), it also has a higher shader unit count. The GTX 870M offers 1344 arithmetic units rather than 960 CUDA cores, which corresponds to the level of the GTX 680M. Other modifications are found in the memory. It is possible to argue about how much sense six GB of GDDR5 RAM makes. We believe three GB, like in the GTX 770M, would have easily sufficed, especially since the memory interface (192-bit) has not been increased.

Nvidia uses the so-called GPU Boost as the counterpart to Intel's Turbo Boost. The GTX 870M's core is accelerated up to 967 MHz during load. The current GeForce GTX 880M top model (1536 CUDA cores, 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM @256-bit) clocks with a maximum of 993 MHz. The Maxwell version of the GTX 860M even surpasses the magical 1 GHz limit. However, no matter whether Maxwell or Kepler: They are both build in the 28 nm process.

All following benchmarks were performed based on the ForceWare 332.35.

GPU Performance

As can be seen in our graphic tests, the GeForce GTX 870M has earned its name. The Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark, among others, proves that Nvidia has made a big step forward. The K73-4N performed the test with a velvety 65 fps using 1920 x 1080 pixels and high tessellation. This frame rate places the DirectX 11 chip exactly between the GTX 770M (49.5 fps @ One K73-3N) or GTX 860M (49.5 fps @ Schenker XMG A504), and GTX 880M (81.2 fps @ Schenker XMG P704). AMD's main competitor, the Radeon R9 M290X, performs in the same regions (62.0 fps @ One K56-4N).

The GTX 870M also did a good job in the Fire Strike scenario of 3DMark. Neither the GTX 860M (3940 points @ Schenker XMG P304) nor the GTX 770M (3569 points @ Gigabyte P25W) can compete with a GPU score of 4664 points. A lead of 18 or 31% is impressive. However, the Radeon R9 M290X (~5300 points) or GeForce GTX 880M (~6000 points) would be even faster. The "real-life", i.e. the ranking ascertained based on games, can be found further below.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
7270 Points ∼43%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.60)
Schenker XMG A504
4946 Points ∼29% -32%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
5187 Points ∼31% -29%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
6817 Points ∼40% -6%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
7900 Points ∼47% +9%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
8690 Points ∼52% +20%
3DMark Vantage - 1280x1024 P GPU no PhysX (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
24065 Points ∼52%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.60)
Schenker XMG A504
18373 Points ∼40% -24%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
18826 Points ∼41% -22%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
24205 Points ∼52% +1%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
27823 Points ∼60% +16%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
29698 Points ∼64% +23%
3D Mark
3DMark Vantage24035 points
3DMark 117151 points
3DMark Ice Storm108072 points
3DMark Cloud Gate17139 points
3DMark Fire Strike4261 points
Help

Storage Devices

AS SSD benchmark
AS SSD benchmark

A solid-state drive with a storage capacity of 500 GB is not exactly cheap, but it offers enough space for the user's personal game collection and other programs.

Our review sample could boast with the Samsung 840 EVO. That the 2.5-inch model belongs to the fastest of its kind is not least proved by the AS SSD benchmark. Its speed has increased considerably compared with the 840 Basic that was installed in the One K73-3N about a year ago.

Particularly big differences are revealed in sequential write. The 500 GB version of the 840 EVO achieved almost 490 rather than 320 MB/s, which equals a plus of 53%. The Crucial M500 mSATA model (Schenker XMG P704) does not achieve over 400 MB/s either. The 840 EVO also copes better with compact files than most contenders.

Buyers who want to save a bit of money, but not storage capacity, should combine a small solid-state drive with a high-capacity HDD.

Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB
Sequential Read: 529.7 MB/s
Sequential Write: 514.7 MB/s
512K Read: 458.6 MB/s
512K Write: 451.2 MB/s
4K Read: 43.36 MB/s
4K Write: 127.2 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 397.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 361.9 MB/s

System Performance

The system's performance definitely fulfills the high-end claim. With a PCMark 7 score of 6017 points, the One K73-4N is marginally above the small gaming laptops Gigabyte P34G and Schenker XMG P304, which achieve a similar score despite a weaker GPU (the hard drive has a great impact on PCMark). MSI's GS70 Stealth even has a slight lead on the One laptop owing to SSD RAID.

PC Mark
PCMark 76017 points
PCMark 8 Home v23507 points
PCMark 8 Creative v25071 points
PCMark 8 Work v24401 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Enough power for Full HD gaming
Enough power for Full HD gaming

Gamers are dead right with the K73-4N. Excluding extremely hardware-hungry games, such as Crysis 3Far Cry 3, and Hitman Absolution, the GeForce GTX 870M even copes with very high details and multiple anti-aliasing without complaint. For example, Battlefield 4 ran with just under 36 fps even in ultra presets (at least in our test sequence). Other triple-A productions like Call of Duty: GhostsTomb Raider, and GRID 2 can also be played in their full graphic splendor.

low med.high ultra
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 106.458.834.6fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 60.656.849.227.9fps
Far Cry 3 (2012) 106.294.370.728.4fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 122.294.266.126.7fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 293.3211.3129.359.8fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 190.8147.9131.752.2fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 94.885.961.434.4fps
GRID 2 (2013) 148.5111.2101.464.1fps
Dota 2 (2013) 119113.499.6fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 7260.553.943.4fps
F1 2013 (2013) 11811110587fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 145.1124.390.836.2fps
Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) 87.383.457.937.3fps
X-Plane 10.25 (2013) 100.44927.420.5fps
Thief (2014) 58.254.151.531.9fps
Titanfall (2014) 60606057.8fps

The eternal battle between the GPU giants turns in favor of Nvidia this time. While AMD could score with a better price-performance ratio in the last generation (HD 8970M vs. GTX 770M), the "red manufacturer" does not have much to speak for it now. Although the GTX 870M is slightly more expensive than the Radeon R9 M290X, the customer gets an equal performance, a better developed driver, and a better designed graphics switching. Even the GTX 780M has a hard time competing depending on the game.

Graphics Card Total Performance @ Ultra Settings
GeForce GTX 880M +20%
GeForce GTX 780M +8%
GeForce GTX 870M Basis
Radeon R9 M290X -2%
GeForce GTX 860M -19%
GeForce GTX 770M -23%

The distance to the GTX 770M is approximately 30%, which confirms Nvidia's specifications. However, we have to note that the predecessor was tested using much older drivers, and thus is at a disadvantage in some games (among others: Dota 2 & BioShock Infinite). Statements that are more precise can be made about the 800 range because identical drivers were installed in each case. The GTX 870M calculates roughly 23% faster than the GTX 860M, and 17% slower than the GTX 880M. Does that justify the surcharge of 300 Euros (~$414)? We think - to a certain degree.

It would however be great if Nvidia would roll out new high-end chips based on Maxwell in the next few months, mainly because of their improved energy-efficiency.

Titanfall - 1920x1080 (Very) High AA:4xMS AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
57.8 fps ∼96%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
42.4 fps ∼71% -27%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
48.3 fps ∼81% -16%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
58.9 fps ∼98% +2%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
59.1 fps ∼99% +2%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
59.8 fps ∼100% +3%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
31.9 fps ∼40%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
24.9 fps ∼31% -22%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
26.6 fps ∼34% -17%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
34 fps ∼43% +7%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
40.2 fps ∼51% +26%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
40 fps ∼51% +25%
X-Plane 10.25 - 1920x1080 ultra (fps_test=4) test_flight_c4 (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
20.5 fps ∼92%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
17.2 fps ∼77% -16%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
17.1 fps ∼76% -17%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
16.4 fps ∼73% -20%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
22.1 fps ∼99% +8%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
22.4 fps ∼100% +9%
Call of Duty: Ghosts - 1920x1080 Extra / High / HBAO+ / No dynamic fur AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
37.3 fps ∼46%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
31.1 fps ∼38% -17%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
28.4 fps ∼35% -24%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
33.2 fps ∼41% -11%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
40.5 fps ∼50% +9%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
45.9 fps ∼56% +23%
Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
36.2 fps ∼39%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
28.9 fps ∼31% -20%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
26.5 fps ∼28% -27%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
38.7 fps ∼41% +7%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
40 fps ∼43% +10%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
45.4 fps ∼49% +25%
F1 2013 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
87 fps ∼77%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
84 fps ∼74% -3%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
86 fps ∼76% -1%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
95 fps ∼84% +9%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
94 fps ∼83% +8%
Saints Row IV - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:8x MS AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
43.4 fps ∼52%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
34.6 fps ∼42% -20%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
35.9 fps ∼43% -17%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
35.2 fps ∼43% -19%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
51.9 fps ∼63% +20%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
52.4 fps ∼63% +21%
Dota 2 - 1920x1080 High / On, Render Quality: 100 % (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
99.6 fps ∼84%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
83.1 fps ∼70% -17%
GeForce GTX 770M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
58.9 fps ∼50% -41%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
102.6 fps ∼87% +3%
GeForce GTX 780M (mixed driver)
Schenker W503
75.7 fps ∼64% -24%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
105.7 fps ∼90% +6%
GRID 2 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
64.1 fps ∼49%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
46.2 fps ∼36% -28%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
60.3 fps ∼46% -6%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
76.2 fps ∼59% +19%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
34.4 fps ∼43%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
28.6 fps ∼35% -17%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
33.1 fps ∼41% -4%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
42.6 fps ∼53% +24%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
52.2 fps ∼45%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
42.7 fps ∼37% -18%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
30.8 fps ∼26% -41%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
46.8 fps ∼40% -10%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
46.8 fps ∼40% -10%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
65.6 fps ∼56% +26%
Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
59.8 fps ∼40%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
44.8 fps ∼30% -25%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
41.9 fps ∼28% -30%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
62.7 fps ∼42% +5%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
65.5 fps ∼44% +10%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
74.2 fps ∼50% +24%
Crysis 3 - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2xSM AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
26.7 fps ∼44%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
19 fps ∼32% -29%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
19.3 fps ∼32% -28%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
22.8 fps ∼38% -15%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
29.2 fps ∼48% +9%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
33.2 fps ∼55% +24%
Far Cry 3 - 1920x1080 DX11 Ultra Preset (HDAO, Enhanced Alpha To Coverage) AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
28.4 fps ∼43%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
23 fps ∼35% -19%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
20 fps ∼30% -30%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
29 fps ∼44% +2%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
30.4 fps ∼46% +7%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
35.7 fps ∼54% +26%
Hitman: Absolution - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
27.9 fps ∼38%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
24 fps ∼32% -14%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
21.2 fps ∼29% -24%
Radeon R9 M290X (13.151.0.0)
One K56-4N
37.3 fps ∼50% +34%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
33.8 fps ∼46% +21%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
38 fps ∼51% +36%
Guild Wars 2 - 1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 870M (332.35)
One K73-4N
34.6 fps ∼47%
GeForce GTX 860M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P304
29.7 fps ∼41% -14%
GeForce GTX 770M (311.27)
One K73-3N
28.6 fps ∼39% -17%
GeForce GTX 780M (311.27)
Schenker XMG P703
41 fps ∼56% +18%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
43.8 fps ∼60% +27%

Emissions

System Noise

Loud, louder, Clevo. This motto has been true for the barebones giant for years. Although the fan management is not yet compelling, a few optimizations can be ascertained in some places. In contrast to a rate of 35.7 dB(A) from the K73-3N, the successor now operates with an acceptable 33.5 db(A). The laptop could even be silent when an SSD is installed - providing a longer idle period precedes. However, the fan's noise tends to increase unnecessarily to approximately 38 dB(A), which is a long-known problem.

The K73-4N is extremely audible during load. Up to 49 dB(A) in 3DMark 06, and a maximum of 52 dB(A) in the stress test are steep even for a gaming laptop. Other Clevo barebones, such as the W230SSP150SM or P177SM(-A), do an equally poor job in these situations. There is no comparison with the Asus G750JH, which does not get unpleasantly loud even under extreme load. Connecting a headset or listening to music on the side is recommendable depending on the computer game genre.

Noise Level

Idle 29.2 / 33.5 / 37.8 dB(A)
DVD 38.4 / dB(A)
Load 49.0 / 52.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The temperatures on the casing's surfaces are quite low. An average of 27 °C (80.6 °F) in idle mode, and 34 °C (93.2 °F) during full load are more than acceptable. The K73-4N presents an agreeable temperature even in the fan area that gets very hot in some laptops. The wrist rest does not even surpass 30 °C (86 °F).

Now a look at the components, which have to cope with higher temperatures, as usual. A longer stress test using the tools FurMark and Prime95 pushed both the processor and the GPU to a temperature of approximately 90 °C (194 °F). As soon as this rate was achieved, the fan sped up to its maximum and the hardware cooled down a bit. The Core i7-4800MQ and GeForce GTX 870M settled to 80 - 85 °C (176 - 185 °F) after almost an hour. CPU throttling did not occur during the stress test.

Max. Load
 42.3 °C41.7 °C38.4 °C 
 35.5 °C35.4 °C32.5 °C 
 27.1 °C27.4 °C26.4 °C 
Maximum: 42.3 °C
Average: 34.1 °C
42.9 °C40.9 °C35.9 °C
37.1 °C35.7 °C31.7 °C
26.9 °C27.9 °C26.8 °C
Maximum: 42.9 °C
Average: 34 °C
Power Supply (max.)  52.1 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Voltcraft IR-550

Speakers

We would refer to the predecessor for more information about this category.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The test configuration corresponds with the K73-3N when idling. 16 to 29 Watts could not be so easily achieved without graphics switching.

The stronger graphics chip is noticed as soon as the laptop is loaded. The K73-4N consumes 121 Watts in contrast to 106 Watts in 3DMark 06 (+14%), which is acceptable in view of the higher performance. The situation looks similar during full load with 176 vs. 196 Watts. A look at the One K56-4N shows that the energy management of the Radeon R9 M290X is on par.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 15.9 / 24.5 / 28.7 Watt
Load 121.3 / 196.0 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Reader's Test
Maximum battery runtime (Reader's Test)
Classic Test
Minimum battery runtime (Classic Test)

Since Clevo installs an 8-cell battery with 77 Wh in the high-end chassis, the runtimes of the P-series do not vary greatly, regardless whether it is the P150SM or P177SM-A.

A maximum of 4 - 5 hours is possible at 0% brightness and when idling. If gaming, users can expect 1 - 2 hours of 3D operation with 100% brightness. The laptop lasts for roughly 3 - 4 hours without its power supply when browsing the Internet via Wi-Fi (medium brightness).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 40min
WiFi Surfing
3h 29min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 40min

Verdict

Metal lid and wrist rest
Metal lid and wrist rest

Although we find it a bit too bad that the barebones manufacturer Clevo barely modified the casing, the One K73-4N is impressive.

Besides the video and audio quality, which is not worthy of reference yet mostly satisfactory, we particularly like the backlit keyboard and moderate temperatures; not to mention the easy maintenance. Not every contender provides the option of using up to four storage devices. Two DisplayPorts, three USB 3.0 ports, and four audio jacks also give the 17-inch laptop the charm of a desktop replacement.

The GeForce GTX 870M proves to be the perfect and still fairly attractively priced gaming companion. How fast would the graphics card be if it were based on Maxwell?

Regardless of that, the P170SM-A barebones struggles with a few old drawbacks. The heavy power supply, thick build, second-rate touchpad - there is definitely still room for improvement. Our main point of criticism is, however, the noise. Clevo just does not manage to keep its laptops quiet during load. Of course, a "whisper-quiet" fan should not be expected from such a strong system. Nevertheless, approximately 50 dB(A) in gaming operation is a bit too much.

Users who can live with these shortcomings can eagerly jump into the configuration list.

Comment this article:

In Review: One K73-4N. Review sample courtesy of ECT Service GmbH.
In Review: One K73-4N. Review sample courtesy of ECT Service GmbH.

Specifications

One K73-4N

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, 2x 4 GB SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-12800 (1600 MHz), 2 of 4 Slots occupied, max. 32 GB
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M - 6144 MB, Core: 941-967 MHz, Memory: 2500 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 332.35, Optimus
:: Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Chi Mei N173HGE (CMO1720), TN LED, Full HD, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB, 500 GB . slots: 2x mSATA & 2x 2.5 inches
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC892 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0, 1 Firewire, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Infrared, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: Kopfhörer, Mikrofon, Line-in, S/PDIF (7.1 out), Card Reader: MMC, RSMMC, SD, Mini SD, SDHC, SDXC, MS, MS Duo, MS Pro, 1 Fingerprint Reader, 1 mini-DisplayPort
:: Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 3160 (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
TSSTcorp CDDVDW SN-208DB
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 45 x 412 x 276
:: Weight
3.744 kg Power Supply: 0.882 kg
:: Battery
76.96 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5200 mAh; 14.8V; P150HMBAT-8; 8 cells; 416 grams
:: Price
1660 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2.0 Megapixel, Speakers: 2.1 (Onkyo, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3), Keyboard Light: yes, power supply: 230 Watt, polishing cloth, manual, driver DVD, SSD accessories (DVD + guide), Control Center, 12-36 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The P170SM-A Barebone not only looks more restrained than the P177SM-A (Schenker XMG P704),...
The P170SM-A Barebone not only looks more restrained than the P177SM-A (Schenker XMG P704),...
...its aluminum finish also gives it a higher quality feel.
...its aluminum finish also gives it a higher quality feel.
In return, the maintenance options are identical.
In return, the maintenance options are identical.
The size and weight are also very similar.
The size and weight are also very similar.
The laptop weighs over 3.5 kilograms (~7.7 lbs) with its battery.
The laptop weighs over 3.5 kilograms (~7.7 lbs) with its battery.
The high-gloss plastic bezel is very sensitive and lessens the quality impression.
The high-gloss plastic bezel is very sensitive and lessens the quality impression.
The build quality does not quite reach that of Alienware or Asus.
The build quality does not quite reach that of Alienware or Asus.
However, the upgrade options are first-rate.
However, the upgrade options are first-rate.
The lid is textured.
The lid is textured.
The casing manufacturer Clevo opted for a dark color.
The casing manufacturer Clevo opted for a dark color.
Some elements tend to smudge under greasy fingers.
Some elements tend to smudge under greasy fingers.
Both fans are aligned to the back.
Both fans are aligned to the back.
The laptop is a bit wobbly without its battery.
The laptop is a bit wobbly without its battery.
The CPU has a dedicated cooling system...
The CPU has a dedicated cooling system...
...just like the graphics card.
...just like the graphics card.
Two working memory banks, and
Two working memory banks, and
...the wireless module are under the keyboard.
...the wireless module are under the keyboard.
The other DDR3 RAM banks are found on the motherboard's opposite side.
The other DDR3 RAM banks are found on the motherboard's opposite side.
Our review sample was powered by the swift Samsung 840 EVO.
Our review sample was powered by the swift Samsung 840 EVO.
The solid-state drive blocks the view on one mSATA slot.
The solid-state drive blocks the view on one mSATA slot.
A second mSATA slot provides even more storage capacity when required.
A second mSATA slot provides even more storage capacity when required.
The secondary 2.5-inch frame is hidden under the optical drive.
The secondary 2.5-inch frame is hidden under the optical drive.
77 Wh are above average for a battery.
77 Wh are above average for a battery.
The webcam is specified with 2.0 megapixels.
The webcam is specified with 2.0 megapixels.
The left status LED shows GPU activity.
The left status LED shows GPU activity.
Since most pictures come from the K73-3N presample, the English keyboard layout is depicted here.
Since most pictures come from the K73-3N presample, the English keyboard layout is depicted here.
The sound is decent owing to Creative's sound technology.
The sound is decent owing to Creative's sound technology.
The speakers come from Onkyo.
The speakers come from Onkyo.
Some keys are found in an unusual place,...
Some keys are found in an unusual place,...
...which will not appeal to every user (single-row enter also in the German version).
...which will not appeal to every user (single-row enter also in the German version).
Touchpads have never been one of Clevo's strengths.
Touchpads have never been one of Clevo's strengths.
There is a subwoofer on the underside.
There is a subwoofer on the underside.
Three digital video-outs deserve respect.
Three digital video-outs deserve respect.
Three USB 3.0 ports are also praiseworthy.
Three USB 3.0 ports are also praiseworthy.
Owners of a surround system will be pleased about four audio jacks.
Owners of a surround system will be pleased about four audio jacks.
The size of the 230-Watt power supply is not as pleasing.
The size of the 230-Watt power supply is not as pleasing.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+Matte Full HD screen
+Up to four storage devices
+Pleasant temperatures
+Aluminum parts
+Freely configurable
+Backlit keyboard
+Easy maintenance
+Extreme performance
+Many interfaces
+No bloatware
 

Cons

-No Maxwell technology (yet)
-Touchpad could be better
-Fan noise in 3D operation
-Bulky power supply
-High weight

Shortcut

What we like

Two mSATA slots AND two 2.5-inch banks? Wow...

What we'd like to see

Clevo barebones with a lower noise development are still a long way off.

What surprises us

Although based on Kepler architecture, the GTX 870M makes a decent leap.

The competition

Gaming Notebooks in a 17-inch size, like the Aorus X7, Alienware 17Asus G750MSI GT70Eurocom X7Medion Erazer X7825Notebookguru Earth VSchenker XMG P704 or Toshiba Qosmio X70.

Rating

One K73-4N
03/25/2014 v4
Florian Glaser

Chassis
75 / 98 → 77%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
72%
Connectivity
78 / 91 → 86%
Weight
52 / 66 → 75%
Battery
80%
Display
80%
Games Performance
95%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
84 / 95 → 88%
Noise
59 / 90 → 66%
Audio
70%
Average
77%
83%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Clevo P170SM-A (One K73-4N) Barebones Notebook
Author: Florian Glaser, 2014-03-31 (Update: 2014-04- 3)