Review Clevo P370SM-A (Schenker XMG P724) Barebones Notebook

Florian Glaser (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 04/05/2014

Chasing records. Schenker Technologies wants to offer the fastest desktop replacement with the XMG P724. The bulky 17-inch chassis can be configured with up to four storage drives and two high-end graphics cards. But does such a package make sense, or is a single GPU sufficient for passionate gamers? Our review of the GeForce GTX 880M SLI gives the answer.

XMG Logo

For the original German review, see here.

The XMG P724 is definitely a high-end notebook. While most rivals can only be equipped with one or two hard drives as well as a single GPU solution, the Schenker device offers two mSATA slots, two 2.5-inch bays and SLI or CrossFire support, respectively. You can replace the standard Radeon R9 M290X with one GeForce GTX 880M (~25% faster) or a combination of two GTX 860M, R9 M290X or GTX 880M GPUs, if you are willing to pay the additional charges between 168 and 924 Euros (~$232 and $1277).

Besides the graphics cards, the configurator also offers options for the other components. The memory equipment, for instance, starts with 4 GB up to 32 GB (four slots), whereas the storage department includes HDDs, (mSATA) SSDs and hybrid drives. The optical drive is either a DVD or a Blu-ray burner. The list is completed by several wireless adaptors and processors. Schenker uses Intel’s Haswell generation, and almost every CPU is available, starting with an inexpensive dual-core like the Core i5-4200M all the way up to a prestigious high-end model like the Core i7-4940MX. Our review unit, for around 3,100 Euros (~$4285), is powered by the Core i7-4810MQ, which works perfectly with the SLI configuration and is still fairly affordable. 

Only the display cannot be changed by the customer: The XMG P724 is always equipped with a matte Full HD panel. There are not many surprises in regard to the case, either. The Clevo barebones P370SM-A is nearly identical to the predecessor P370SM. Due to the slight changes (support for the latest GPUs, optimized sound), we will not have a closer look at the case, the connectivity and the input devices. Our review of the XMG P723 covers these sections extensively.

Display

It feels like the XMG P724 is the thousandth notebook with the Chi Mei N173HGE panel. The anti-reflective 17.3-inch model does leave a good impression at first. Besides the high luminance (~325 cd/m²), you can really see the high contrast; around 950:1 is not reached by most TN panels. 

It is a similar situation with the black value. 0.37 cd/m² ensure a fairly accurate presentation of dark movie and game scenes. A higher value would mean that black areas could appear gray. A brightness distribution of 84% and 82% sRGB coverage are decent as well, even though there is still room for improvement.

315
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
293
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
350
cd/m²
324
cd/m²
326
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
322
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 350 cd/m²
Average: 324.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Black: 0.37 cd/m²
Contrast: 946:1

One noticeable drawback of the panel is the color presentation. According to the professional software CalMAN, both the color accuracy and the RGB balance show deviations, and you can see a tendency towards blue colors in many areas. You should not have very high requirements in regard to the gamma value and the grayscale presentation, either. The Gigabyte P34G shows a much better performance, but gamers will hardly notice these drawbacks, because the picture is subjectively very rich. 

More annoying in our opinion are two unique characteristics of the Chi Mei N173HGE that we already observed in the past. Problem number one is the grainy finish. It almost appears as if someone put sand on the display surface, and some users may find this phenomenon annoying. 

Another issue is that the Chi Mei N173HGE does not work really well with Nvidia products. There are no problems as long as the display is powered by the Intel chip, which is common for notebooks with switchable graphics. Using a GeForce GPU on the other hand can result in annoying stripes during darker passages (compare pictures of the XMG P723).

Schenker XMG P724 vs. sRGB (Grid)
Schenker XMG P724 vs. sRGB (Grid)
Schenker XMG P724 vs. AdobeRGB (Grid)
Schenker XMG P724 vs. AdobeRGB (Grid)
Schenker XMG P724 vs. Aorus X7 (Grid)
Schenker XMG P724 vs. Aorus X7 (Grid)
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker

Apart from that, the 17-inch notebook does show good outdoor capabilities. The matte display surface and the high luminance ensure good readability, even on brighter days. The pictures below represent the worst-case scenario.

The Chi Mei N173HGE is reasonable in terms of viewing angle stability. Thanks to the small deviations with horizontal shifts, multiple persons can look at the display at the same time. The situation is much worse with vertical shifts, which is a typical restriction for the TN technology. You should get a notebook with an IPS panel if you are looking for a high picture quality (for example the Schenker M504).

Outdoor use Schenker XMG P724
Outdoor use Schenker XMG P724
Outdoor use Schenker XMG P724

Performance

Processor

Haswell
Haswell

Dual-core or quad-core, this is the question. However, the decision should not be too hard in the case of the XMG P724. Considering the current and the long-term performance, we would recommend a quad-core model from the i7-series

Schenker equipped our review unit with the, to some, attractively priced Core i7-4810MQ to avoid performance limitations for the SLI combination. It has a clock of 2.8-3.8 GHz during 3D applications; six MB L3 cache is similar to the less expensive siblings, the Core i7-4702MQ (TDP of 37 Watts) and Core i7-4700MQ (TDP of 47 Watts).

One of the most important features of Intel processors is Hyperthreading. Due to four additional virtual cores, the quad-core can actually execute up to eight threads simultaneously. The current Haswell generation is manufactured in a 22 nm process.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ Memory
System info CPUZ SPD
System info HWiNFO
System info GPUZ
System info CrystalDiskMark (SSD)
System info CrystalDiskMark (HDD)
System info HDTune (HDD)
System info Software
System info Latency
System information Schenker XMG P724

Turbo Boost

Our screenshots show that the automatic overclocking works pretty well. 3.4-3.7 GHz during single-core load and 3.4 GHz during multi-core load are not the highest possible clocks for the Core i7-4810MQ, but the values are high enough in practice. CPU throttling is apparently no problem for the notebook. The processor still ran with at least 2.8 GHz after our one-hour stress test (FurMark + Prime95).

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

CPU Performance

All the benchmark results are on the expected level. 145 points in the single-core rendering test of Cinebench R15 are between the i7-4700MQ (132 points @ One K56-4N) and the i7-4910MQ (153 points @ Schenker XMG P704).

The multi-core performance of the XMP P724 is also very good. 680 points result in an advantage of 6% over the Core i7-4700MQ (640 points), but the Core i7-4910MQ is 2% ahead (700 points). The brand-new dual-core i5-4310M model is around 50% slower in this test (325 points @ Schenker M504).

Cinebench R15
CPU Multi 64Bit
Core i7-4810MQ
Schenker XMG P724
680 Points ∼44%
Core i5-4310M
Schenker M504
325 Points ∼21% -52%
Core i7-4700MQ
One K56-4N
643 Points ∼41% -5%
Core i7-4910MQ
Schenker XMG P704
697 Points ∼45% +3%
CPU Single 64Bit
Core i7-4810MQ
Schenker XMG P724
145 Points ∼95%
Core i5-4310M
Schenker M504
128 Points ∼84% -12%
Core i7-4700MQ
One K56-4N
132 Points ∼86% -9%
Core i7-4910MQ
Schenker XMG P704
153 Points ∼100% +6%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit
Core i7-4810MQ
Schenker XMG P724
7.36 Points ∼42%
Core i5-4310M
Schenker M504
3.56 Points ∼20% -52%
Core i7-4700MQ
One K56-4N
6.94 Points ∼39% -6%
Core i7-4910MQ
Schenker XMG P704
7.52 Points ∼43% +2%
CPU Single 64Bit
Core i7-4810MQ
Schenker XMG P724
1.64 Points ∼89%
Core i5-4310M
Schenker M504
1.47 Points ∼79% -10%
Core i7-4700MQ
One K56-4N
1.51 Points ∼82% -8%
Core i7-4910MQ
Schenker XMG P704
1.75 Points ∼95% +7%
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.64 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.36 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
64.69 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
145 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
680 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
113.45 fps
Help

Graphics

GPU information
GPU information
SLI
SLI

Even though the GeForce GTX 880M is still based on the Kepler architecture and not on the latest Maxwell architecture, the Nvidia chip is currently still the fastest notebook GPU. Similar to its predecessor, the GTX 780M, the high-end chip can use 1,536 CUDA cores and a 256-bit memory interface. The reason for the performance improvement is primarily the higher clocks. Nvidia raised the core clock from 823 to 954 MHz (up to 993 MHz via GPU Boost), but doubling the video memory (8 vs. 4 GB GDDR5) is unnecessary in our opinion. 

To meet the premium demand, the manufacturer also offers its top version with two graphics cards. Nvidia’s dual-GPU technology competes with AMD’s counterpart CrossFire. It is also well known that both solutions have certain drawbacks. The additional heat requires a very powerful cooling solution, which often results in a very loud and big notebook. The battery runtimes are also limited due to the high power consumption. 

Then there is also the issue with micro-stutters in low fps situations. The dual GPU solution is not very often in this critical area, but the game does not feel as smooth compared to a single GPU as soon as the frame rate drops below 40 fps. The cost-benefit factor, more precisely the additional performance per Euro, is – depending on the title – also limited.

If you choose such a dual-GPU solution, we would recommend an Nvidia setup because of the driver situation. AMD does not only support fewer titles, but the risk of bugs (for example graphic errors) is also bigger.

GPU Performance

The GeForce GTX 880M SLI can take the lead in most benchmarks due to the massive performance. 11,926 points in the 3DMark 2013 Fire Strike test is the best result we determined so far. Neither the GTX 780M SLI (10,091 points @ Alienware 18) nor a CrossFire setup with two Radeon R9 M290X GPUs (10,551 points @ Notebookguru Earth V) can keep up. A single GTX 880M falls behind by around 50% (6,095 points @ Schenker XMG P704).

We can see a similar result in the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark; the XMG P724 manages a gigantic 145.9 fps with 1920x1080 pixels and normal Tessellation. The GTX 780M SLI follows in second place with 132.8 fps (-9%) and the significantly cheaper Radeon HD 8970M CF is third with 123.0 fps (-16% @ One K73-3S). One single GTX 880M levels off at around 81 fps (-44%).

Unigine Heaven 3.0 - 1920x1080 DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
145.9 fps ∼100%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
132.8 fps ∼91% -9%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
122.1 fps ∼84% -16%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
81.2 fps ∼56% -44%
3DMark (2013) - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Graphics
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
11926 Points ∼100%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
10091 Points ∼85% -15%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
10551 Points ∼88% -12%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
6095 Points ∼51% -49%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
15823 Points ∼99%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
14005 Points ∼88% -11%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
14147 Points ∼88% -11%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
8690 Points ∼54% -45%
3DMark Vantage - 1280x1024 P GPU no PhysX
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
42967 Points ∼93%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
43566 Points ∼94% +1%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
37644 Points ∼82% -12%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
29698 Points ∼64% -31%
3D Mark
3DMark Vantage36366 points
3DMark 1112756 points
3DMark Ice Storm139700 points
3DMark Cloud Gate23794 points
3DMark Fire Strike9168 points
Help

Storage Solution

AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark

Current systems heavily benefit from a Solid-State Drive. Windows feels much more responsive with the fast flash memory compared to a conventional hard drive. 

Samsung’s SSD 840 EVO is especially fast, in this case the 500 GB version. AS SSD determines excellent results for the mSATA drive, despite the small dimensions. A sequential read performance of 504 MB/s is just as respectable as 484 MB/s for sequential writing. Especially the latter is usually not reached by many SSDs. Access times and the performance with small files do not cause any criticism, either.

Sufficient storage for our review unit is provided by the HGST Travelstar 5K1500 with a capacity of 1.5 TB. Transfer rates (read/write) of around 110 MB/s (CrystalDiskMark) are not the fastest we have ever seen, but the 2.5-inch drive only runs at 5,400 revolutions per minute.

Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB mSATA
Sequential Read: 522.4 MB/s
Sequential Write: 500.4 MB/s
512K Read: 482.4 MB/s
512K Write: 447.3 MB/s
4K Read: 41.72 MB/s
4K Write: 125.9 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 394.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 355.9 MB/s

System Performance

The balanced hardware equipment is especially apparent in the system benchmarks. A PCMark 7 score of 6,018 points is slightly ahead of the One K73-4N, which was configured with a Core i7-4800MQ, a GeForce GTX 870M and a 2.5-inch Samsung SSD 840 (6,017 points). PCMark results really depend on the storage solution, so supposedly slower notebooks like the MSI GS70 Stealth (Core i7-4700HQGeForce GTX 765M, SSD RAID) can get a higher score.

PC Mark
PCMark 76018 points
PCMark 8 Home v24275 points
PCMark 8 Creative v24767 points
PCMark 8 Work v24799 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Fast, faster, GTX 880M
Fast, faster, GTX 880M

The XMG P724 is one of the few notebooks that is actually powerful enough for smooth frame rates with maximum details, 1920x1080 pixels and high anti-aliasing settings in almost every title. Our ultra-setting resulted in more than 50 fps in 15 of 16 games. Only the very CPU demanding and not very well optimized X-Plane 10 showed dropped frames. 

The impact of the second GTX 880M differs from game to game. While the performance was not improved at all in F1 2013, we could almost see twice the performance in Far Cry 3Tomb Raider and Battlefield 4. Otherwise, we determined a performance advantage between 10% (Dota 2) and 60% (ThiefCall of Duty: GhostsGRID 2BioShock: Infinite & Crysis 3). The SLI system is almost 40% ahead of a single GTX 880M on average. Is a performance advantage of 40% really worth an additional charge of 650 Euros (~$899)? That can be discussed.

low med.high ultra
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 115.46156fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 67.262.254.453.1fps
Far Cry 3 (2012) 113.6103.285.663.6fps
Crysis 3 (2013) 128.3113.693.252.3fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 426.6367.4296141.8fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 222.6198.1181.4104fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 112.8107.690.261.8fps
GRID 2 (2013) 211.6152.2141.4119.1fps
Dota 2 (2013) 117.7116.1115.8fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 85.472.469.367.4fps
F1 2013 (2013) 11711711495fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 194.4179.3155.884.5fps
Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) 97.291.475.171.2fps
X-Plane 10.25 (2013) 115.654.227.922.3fps
Thief (2014) 76.273.37063.6fps
Titanfall (2014) 60606059.9fps

However, the improvement is bigger with less powerful GPU systems like the GeForce GT 755M SLI (Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p) or the GeForce GTX 765M SLI (Aorus X7) because they are not as quickly limited by the CPU. You can actually notice that the Core i7-4810MQ is the limiting factor in some games, and not the GTX 880M SLI. This is the case in Guild Wars 2Saints Row IV as well as Hitman: Absolution, and even the GTX 780M SLI is slightly ahead in these titles. Speaking of the GTX 780M SLI: The old high-end combination is around 10% behind the GTX 880M SLI; the almost 550 Euros (~$760) less expensive Radeon R9 M290X CF falls behind by around 20%. 

Excellent benchmark scores or not: We still believe that even passionate gamers should be better off with a single GPU solution, and the saved money can be invested into the next notebook.

Titanfall - 1920x1080 (Very) High AA:4xMS AF:16x
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
59.9 fps ∼100%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
59.8 fps ∼100% 0%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
63.6 fps ∼83%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
52.1 fps ∼68% -18%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
40 fps ∼52% -37%
X-Plane 10.25 - 1920x1080 ultra (fps_test=4) test_flight_c4
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
22.3 fps ∼100%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
17 fps ∼76% -24%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
22.4 fps ∼100% 0%
Call of Duty: Ghosts - 1920x1080 Extra / High / HBAO+ / No dynamic fur AA:4x MS
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
71.2 fps ∼87%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
27.1 fps ∼33% -62%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
45.9 fps ∼56% -36%
Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
84.5 fps ∼95%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
77.2 fps ∼87% -9%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
45.4 fps ∼51% -46%
F1 2013 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
95 fps ∼84%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
86 fps ∼76% -9%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
94 fps ∼83% -1%
Saints Row IV - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:8x MS AF:16x
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
67.4 fps ∼84%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
68.2 fps ∼85% +1%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
48.6 fps ∼60% -28%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
52.4 fps ∼65% -22%
Dota 2 - 1920x1080 High / On, Render Quality: 100 %
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
115.8 fps ∼98%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
96.3 fps ∼82% -17%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
109.6 fps ∼93% -5%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
105.7 fps ∼90% -9%
GRID 2 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
119.1 fps ∼92%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
93.2 fps ∼72% -22%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
108.3 fps ∼83% -9%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
76.2 fps ∼59% -36%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
61.8 fps ∼76%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
53.7 fps ∼66% -13%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
52.6 fps ∼65% -15%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
42.6 fps ∼53% -31%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
104 fps ∼89%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
94.5 fps ∼81% -9%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
85 fps ∼73% -18%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
65.6 fps ∼56% -37%
Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
141.8 fps ∼95%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
130.1 fps ∼88% -8%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
127.2 fps ∼86% -10%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
74.2 fps ∼50% -48%
Crysis 3 - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2xSM AF:16x
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
52.3 fps ∼87%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
47.2 fps ∼78% -10%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
38 fps ∼63% -27%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
33.2 fps ∼55% -37%
Far Cry 3 - 1920x1080 DX11 Ultra Preset (HDAO, Enhanced Alpha To Coverage) AA:4x MS
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
63.6 fps ∼97%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
55.6 fps ∼85% -13%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
54.1 fps ∼82% -15%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
35.7 fps ∼54% -44%
Hitman: Absolution - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS AF:16x
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
53.1 fps ∼72%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
56.2 fps ∼76% +6%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
59.5 fps ∼80% +12%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
38 fps ∼51% -28%
Guild Wars 2 - 1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX
GeForce GTX 880M SLI (332.35)
Schenker XMG P724
56 fps ∼84%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI (326.45)
Alienware 18
54.3 fps ∼82% -3%
Radeon R9 M290X CF (13.152.1.2100)
Notebookguru Earth V
32.9 fps ∼50% -41%
GeForce GTX 880M (332.35)
Schenker XMG P704
43.8 fps ∼66% -22%

Emissions

System Noise

Unfortunate: Nothing really changed in terms of noise development. 40 dB(A) during idle is definitely too high, some gaming notebooks like the Asus G750JH only reach this value under load. The temporary rpm increase is also annoying. It does not matter if you edit a text document, browse the web or watch a video: You will have to live with up to 48 dB(A). 

It is not often that we see such bad fan control, which only focuses on the temperatures and completely ignores the noise development. 48-51 dB(A) during 3D applications and up to 55 dB(A) under maximum load are also not acceptable for every user.

Please do not misunderstand us: We know that gaming notebooks have to dissipate the heat. However, you can expect better from such a big cooling solution inside the P370SM-A – especially with light workloads. Other manufacturers do a better job (just compare the system noise of the Alienware 18).

Noise Level

Idle 40.0 / 40.4 / 48.4 dB(A)
DVD 41.4 / dB(A)
Load 50.2 / 55.4 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

GPU throttling in the stress test
GPU throttling in the stress test (60 minutes)
No throttling during Crysis 3
No throttling during Crysis 3 (30 minutes)

The temperatures leave a mixed impression. A positive aspect is the reasonably cool chassis surfaces that stay comfortable even under maximum load. Up to 43 °C (109.4 °F) indicate a moderate temperature development of the case. It is especially cool during idle; we just measured 25-31 °C (77-87.8 °F) after an idle period of two hours.

The hardware on the other hand gets much hotter. Both GPUs climbed to around 90 °C (194 °F) under maximum load – despite a core throttling of almost 50%. Around 95 °C (203 °F) for the CPU is also quite a lot, although the notebook is usually not stressed that much during gaming.

Max. Load
 38.3 °C42.0 °C38.0 °C 
 35.5 °C35.4 °C34.0 °C 
 33.4 °C26.5 °C25.9 °C 
Maximum: 42.0 °C
Average: 34.3 °C
38.0 °C42.8 °C41.4 °C
31.8 °C31.4 °C33.3 °C
26.3 °C25.9 °C32.2 °C
Maximum: 42.8 °C
Average: 33.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  51.6 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Voltcraft IR-550

Speakers

Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3

Even though the case manufacturer said they improved the sound system, the result still pretty much reminds us of the P370SM barebones. The sound quality is above average for a notebook, but it cannot quite reach the quality of the MSI GT70, which sounds much better.

The Onkyo speakers tend to distort with higher volumes. Overall, the sound could be a bit more precise, especially since the Sound Blaster software does add some background noise to audio contents. You should, however, keep the feature activated.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Because of the missing Optimus technology, you will have to live with very high power consumption. It is similar to the Notebookguru Earth V during idle, which was reviewed with a Core i7-4700MQ and a Radeon R9 M290X CF. 37-47 Watts during idle is enormous, even for a gaming notebook. This value would probably drop below 30 Watts with switchable graphics.

We were quite surprised by the behavior during 3DMark 06. The consumption fluctuated quite a lot, more precisely between 126 and 176 Watts with an average of 155 Watts, which is similar to the Guru Earth V. We determined a bigger difference under maximum load. The XMG P724 uses around 40% more energy with 326 vs. 232 Watts.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 36.8 / 42.3 / 47.3 Watt
Load 154.6 / 326.0 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)

The notebook cannot really benefit from the heavy 8-cell battery (450 grams; ~1 pound). The Battery Eater Reader's test only determined a little more than 2.5 hours (0% brightness, maximum energy-saving), and the Classic test (100% brightness, minimum energy-saving) around 1.5 hours.

Note: All benchmarks were performed with activated SLI. 

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
2h 41min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 40min

Verdict

Dual-GPU notebook
Dual-GPU notebook

Perfect gaming fun or overpriced hardware? Opinions about desktop replacements like the XMG P724 differ quite a lot. Objectively, we can say that Schenker offers an unbelievably powerful and well-equipped high-end package.

The 17-inch notebook does not have an IPS panel, but the Full HD matte display still gets a good rating. Besides the picture quality, we also like the sound. The chassis on the other hand has advantages and drawbacks. The P370SM-A barebones from Clevo is very big and heavy, but also offers many ports, cool surfaces and an illuminated keyboard in return. Maintainability and upgradability are even on a reference-level. Only the glossy touchpad does not really fit into the overall package.

There is not much left to say about the performance. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 880M (SLI) is the fastest hardware until the launch of the Maxwell counterpart. However, the dual-GPU solution has a negative impact on the mobility, the power consumption and the noise development. Whether at idle or running 3D applications, the fans are always audible. GPU throttling under maximum load and stripes on the display (depending on the background) are not perfect, either.

However, there are not many alternatives for ambitious gamers who do not want to make any compromises.

Comment this article:

In Review: Schenker XMG P724. Review unit courtesy of Schenker Technologies.
In Review: Schenker XMG P724. Review unit courtesy of Schenker Technologies.

Specifications

Schenker XMG P724

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
:: Memory
16384 MB, 2x 8 GB SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-12800 (1600 MHz), 2 of 4 slots occupied, up to 32 GB
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI - 2x 8192 MB, Core: 954-993 MHz, Memory: 2500 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 332.35
:: Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Chi Mei N173HGE (CMO1720), TN LED, Full HD, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB mSATA, 500 GB + HGST Travelstar 5K1500 HTE541515A9E630, 5400 rpm, 1500 GByte HDD. Bays: 2x mSATA & 2x 2.5-inch
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC892 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 4 USB 3.0, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: Headphones, Microphone, Line-in, S/PDIF (7.1 out), Card Reader: MMC,RSMMC,SD,Mini SD,SDHC,SDXC,MS,MS Pro,MS Duo, 1 Fingerprint Reader, TPM 1.2
:: Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Qualcomm Atheros Killer Wireless-N 1202 (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
TSSTcorp BDDVDW SN-506BB
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 50 x 419 x 293
:: Weight
4.318 kg Power Supply: 1.252 kg
:: Battery
89.21 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5900 mAh, 15.12V, P370BAT-8, 8 cells, 448 grams
:: Price
3127 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, PSU: 330 Watts, Cleaning cloth, Manual, Driver DVD, Killer Software-DVD, Storage accessories, Nero 12 Essentials Trial, Microsoft Office 365 Trial, 24-48 Months Warranty

 

We can take most pictures from the almost identical P723.
We can take most pictures from the almost identical P723.
Case manufacturer Clevo only changed a few details.
Case manufacturer Clevo only changed a few details.
The notebook is still pretty heavy with almost 4.3 kilograms (~9.5 lbs, dual-GPU, mSATA SSD & HDD).
The notebook is still pretty heavy with almost 4.3 kilograms (~9.5 lbs, dual-GPU, mSATA SSD & HDD).
A height of around 5.5 centimeters (~2.2 in) including support feet.
A height of around 5.5 centimeters (~2.2 in) including support feet.
Maximum opening angle of around 135°.
Maximum opening angle of around 135°.
The display cover attracts dirt.
The display cover attracts dirt.
Only a few competitors can keep up in terms of maintainability.
Only a few competitors can keep up in terms of maintainability.
The 17-inch notebook is, apart from the touchpad, completely matte.
The 17-inch notebook is, apart from the touchpad, completely matte.
Nicely machined XMG logo on the lid.
Nicely machined XMG logo on the lid.
The stereo jacks could have been further at the back.
The stereo jacks could have been further at the back.
Otherwise, the port layout is very sophisticated.
Otherwise, the port layout is very sophisticated.
The bigger of the two maintenance covers is secured with four screws.
The bigger of the two maintenance covers is secured with four screws.
Three fans are pretty unusual for a notebook.
Three fans are pretty unusual for a notebook.
The same applies for the dual-GPU configuration.
The same applies for the dual-GPU configuration.
The cooling system of the two GPUs looks quite interesting.
The cooling system of the two GPUs looks quite interesting.
The 2.5-inch bay can be equipped with two hard drives.
The 2.5-inch bay can be equipped with two hard drives.
There are also two mSATA slots as well as four memory slots.
There are also two mSATA slots as well as four memory slots.
Some of them are underneath the keyboard.
Some of them are underneath the keyboard.
Above the wireless module is the subwoofer.
Above the wireless module is the subwoofer.
The center fan dissipates the heat from the CPU.
The center fan dissipates the heat from the CPU.
Very short battery runtimes with activated SLI.
Very short battery runtimes with activated SLI.
Webcam with the designation Bison.
Webcam with the designation Bison.
Keyboard illumination with three zones.
Keyboard illumination with three zones.
It is very easy to remove the keyboard.
It is very easy to remove the keyboard.
Schenker uses the P370SM-A barebone.
Schenker uses the P370SM-A barebone.
The subwoofer ensures a decent bass.
The subwoofer ensures a decent bass.
The notebook has two speakers from Onkyo.
The notebook has two speakers from Onkyo.
More important is the certification for Creative's X-Fi technology.
More important is the certification for Creative's X-Fi technology.
Conveniently sized keys.
Conveniently sized keys.
The German keyboard layout has a single-line Return key.
The German keyboard layout has a single-line Return key.
The fingerprint reader differs from the old model.
The fingerprint reader differs from the old model.
The mouse replacements is very disappointing.
The mouse replacements is very disappointing.
Schenker integrates a DVD or a Blu-ray burner.
Schenker integrates a DVD or a Blu-ray burner.
A Thunderbolt port is very rare.
A Thunderbolt port is very rare.
Four USB 3.0 ports are also very respectable.
Four USB 3.0 ports are also very respectable.
Great: Fan exhausts at the back.
Great: Fan exhausts at the back.
You can use WLAN or the Ethernet port for the Internet.
You can use WLAN or the Ethernet port for the Internet.
You can also attach a surround system to the XMG P724.
You can also attach a surround system to the XMG P724.
The power adaptor weighs more than one kilogram.
The power adaptor weighs more than one kilogram.

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Compare Prices

Pro

+Bright and high-contrast non-glare panel
+First-class maintainability
+Keyboard with three illumination zones
+Pretty cool case surfaces
+Great port layout
+Individual configuration
+Excellent performance
+No bloat ware
+Good sound
+Thunderbolt
+2x mSATA
 

Cons

-Sensitive touchpad with bad gliding capabilities
-Stripes in dark video and game passages
-GPU throttling under maximum load
-No switchable graphics
-Enormous power consumption
-Meager battery runtimes
-High system noise
-Bulky chassis
-Huge power adaptor
-High weight

Shortcut

What we like

Hardly any desktop replacement offers this kind of performance. Maintainability and upgradability are also very good.

What we miss

A matte touchpad with dedicated buttons is on top of our wish list.

What surprises us?

Do the fans have to be so loud during idle?

The competition

Dual-GPU notebooks like the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p (15-inch), the Aorus X7 (17-inch) or the Alienware 18 (18-inch).

Rating

Schenker XMG P724
04/01/2014 v4
Florian Glaser

Chassis
72 / 98 → 73%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
44%
Connectivity
76 / 91 → 84%
Weight
46 / 66 → 64%
Battery
71%
Display
81%
Games Performance
100%
Application Performance
95%
Temperature
84 / 95 → 88%
Noise
38 / 90 → 42%
Audio
80%
Average
72%
81%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Clevo P370SM-A (Schenker XMG P724) Barebones Notebook
Author: Florian Glaser, 2014-04- 5 (Update: 2014-05- 1)