Notebookcheck

Review iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-15 Notebook

Allen Ngo, 08/08/2013

Flying Valkyrie. The 17-inch original has expanded to the 15-inch category with this latest Valkyrie model just in time for the launch of both Haswell and the refreshed Kepler series. The internals are still a powerhouse to be reckoned with, but have any features been removed in the transition? We take a deeper look in this MSI-based DTR.

We had a chance to play with the Valkyrie CZ-17 not too long ago and absolutely loved it. Prior to the launch of the GTX 780M, the 17.3-inch model was a great buy at the time for those wanting both an SSD and GTX 680M GPU for a reasonable price without going the barebones route.

iBuyPower is aiming for another homerun with its newer 15.6-inch model appropriately named Valkyrie CZ-15. The chassis is once again an MSI shell most similar in shape and style to the MSI GX60 and GT60, both of which we reviewed in detail in 2012. As such, more information on the case, connectivity and input devices can be seen in said reviews as these are essentially identical. This lets us jump right into performance so we can see how well its internals hold up against competing models with similar specifications.

Valkyrie CZ-15 models can be equipped with up to a Core i7-4930MX, GTX 780M and 32 GB of RAM with plenty of other internal customization options. Our model in review is a bit more reserved with “only” a Core i7-4700MQ, GTX 770M, 8 GB RAM and a 750 GB Seagate HDD for no less than $1300. Let’s see if this smaller Valkyrie still flies.

Case

Case quality is very similar to that of the MSI GT60 and GX60. The reseller does include some customized finishing to differentiate it from competing DTRs, most notably the web-like glossy and matte texture and design on the brushed metal outer lid and palm rests. This contrasts very well to the smooth gloss and brushed surface of the larger CZ-17, though the admittedly stylish blue streaks on the larger model are now gone. The textured surface unfortunately attracts fingerprints much more easily than its larger brother and can be even more difficult to wipe off compared to any grease or grime on the keyboard. Still, for a chassis that is over a year old, it holds up quite well against the more common Clevo models and feels thicker and more rigid than the similarly sized Asus G55 ROG models.

Similar in style to the CZ-17...
Similar in style to the CZ-17...
...but with a web-like texture instead of smooth brushed aluminum
...but with a web-like texture instead of smooth brushed aluminum
Hinges allow for full 180 degree angle
Hinges allow for full 180 degree angle
CZ-15 (top) vs. CZ-17 (bottom). Unlike the larger model, the 15.6-inch Valkyrie employs a grid-like glossy pattern on a matte surface
CZ-15 (top) vs. CZ-17 (bottom). Unlike the larger model, the 15.6-inch Valkyrie employs a grid-like glossy pattern on a matte surface

Connectivity

No new connectivity features have been added compared to the GX60. Though there are 4x USB ports, only three are version 3.0, which is odd for a high-end DTR such as this. Nonetheless, the dual video-out ports via mini DisplayPort and HDMI allow up to three simultaneous screens without issues. Likewise, the Atheros AR5BWB222 had no problems maintaining a reliable signal during our time with the unit.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Left: 3x USB 3.0, SD reader
Left: 3x USB 3.0, SD reader
Rear: Kensington lock, AC adapter, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA-out, mini DisplayPort, HDMI-out
Rear: Kensington lock, AC adapter, Gigabit Ethernet, VGA-out, mini DisplayPort, HDMI-out
Right: 1x 3.5 mm headphone, 1x mic, 1x line-in, 1x surround-out, 1x USB 2.0, optical drive
Right: 1x 3.5 mm headphone, 1x mic, 1x line-in, 1x surround-out, 1x USB 2.0, optical drive

Accessories

A drivers disc, Windows 8 installation disc, service manual and Quick Start guide are all included out-of-the-box. Since our model didn’t ship with an SSD, an Intel SSD driver disc was absent. Additional screws and an HDD support bracket are available as well if the user decides to install a second HDD.

There are no dedicated accessories for the notebook since it lacks a docking port, but iBuyPower offers numerous third party USB accessories catered to the gaming crowd.

Maintenance

Removing the bottom panel reveals the same components as found on the GX60 with one noticeable difference: The corner housing the dual mSATA slots is now for a secondary 2.5-inch drive. Accessing the other two SODIMM slots will again require a few extra steps of disassembling the keyboard.

Warranty

Purchasing from a reseller has the advantage in warranty options compared to building a barebones from multiple vendors. iBuyPower offers the usual standard one-year limited parts and labor warranty with an added lifetime technical support by phone. Beyond that, however, there are no options to extend warranty or add additional protection.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Even though the case is smaller than the CZ-17, the keyboard is only 1 cm shorter both in length and width. This is essentially negligible, though it would have been nice to have a larger Enter key and dedicated volume/brightness toggles. The top row of touch-based commands makes a return and users will need to press on each one firmly or the input may not register at all.

Touchpad

The touchpad is still absurdly small at about 7.75 x 4.75 cm. Inputs respond reliably, but multi-touch is inherently difficult. The click keys are also too shallow in depth and with somewhat disappointing feedback. Fortunately, most users will be using an external mouse for all intents and purposes and the touchpad will even automatically disable once a USB mouse is detected. However, with other gaming notebooks like the Asus G750JW starting to use much larger touchpads, MSI and iBuyPower may have to eventually follow suit.

Chiclet keyboard with MSI-based aux touch keys
Chiclet keyboard with MSI-based aux touch keys
Very small touchpad
Very small touchpad
Fortunately, the arrow keys are standard size fir for gaming
Fortunately, the arrow keys are standard size fir for gaming

Display

Despite the various customization options, all CZ-15 models have a 1920 x 1080 resolution screen. Our review model is equipped with a high quality TN panel from LG Philips (LP156WF1-TLF3), which is the same panel found on the GX60, a number of Clevo barebones and the two year old HP EliteBook 8560w. Nonetheless, brightness is more than sufficient for indoor use at an average very close to that of its bigger brother model. Contrast, while still good, is unfortunately much weaker at close to half that of the Valkyrie CZ-17. Unlike our GX60 model, we had no issues adjusting the brightness this time around.

We noticed no oddities with the screen as we did upon closer inspection of the Asus G750JW. Colors appear clear and very deep with no major hints of the screen door effect or other abnormalities.

255.8
cd/m²
264.3
cd/m²
245.1
cd/m²
241
cd/m²
264.8
cd/m²
233.1
cd/m²
224.5
cd/m²
256.2
cd/m²
211.2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 264.8 cd/m²
Average: 244 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 211 cd/m²
Black: .481 cd/m²
Contrast: 551:1

Color space reproduction covers much of the sRGB spectrum but only a little more than half of the AdobeRGB standard at 57 percent. This is very similar to the recently released MSI GT70H and even the CZ-17, so this is a non-issue for gamers. Digital artists who demand the most stringent color reproduction for professional work may have to look elsewhere.

CZ-15 vs. sRGB
CZ-15 vs. sRGB
CZ-15 vs. adobeRGB
CZ-15 vs. adobeRGB
CZ-15 vs. MSI GT70H
CZ-15 vs. MSI GT70H
CZ-15 vs. Valkyrie CZ-17
CZ-15 vs. Valkyrie CZ-17

Further analyses with the CalMAN 5 software reveal excellent color accuracy with an average DeltaE of 3.83. In general, colors are more accurate as they become more saturated with green being the best on the CZ-15. Grayscale is good as well and is better than our tested Clevo W350ST, Eurocom X3 and Clevo W650SR, though not up to par with the tested Asus G750JW.

Grayscale post-calibration
Grayscale post-calibration
Saturation Sweeps post-calibration
Saturation Sweeps post-calibration
Colorchecker post-calibration
Colorchecker post-calibration
Outdoor visibility is good on a cloudy day
Outdoor visibility is good on a cloudy day

Outdoor usability is passable under shade, but otherwise not practical given the size and target market of the notebook. Note that maximum brightness will indeed drop if running on batteries even if on the High Performance profile, so users are encouraged to stay plugged in for a better viewing experience if under brightly lit conditions.

Viewing angles Valkyrie CZ-15
Viewing angles Valkyrie CZ-15

Viewing angle stability is good if viewing side to side or even from angles above the normal to some degree. Colors will degrade if viewing from below the normal as is typical of TN panels. For most users, the angles are a non-issue unless if sharing the display with more than a few other viewers.

Performance

Intel Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz for two active cores
Intel Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz for two active cores

iBuyPower offers a range of high-end Haswell quad-core processors starting with the 2.4 GHz i7-4700MQ as the lowest option up to the 3.0 GHz i7-4930MX, the latter of which is the successor to the i7-3940XM, otherwise known as the fastest Ivy Bridge quad-core processor available. The model on hand is equipped with the i7-4700MQ, which is a common processor for many recent barebones and operates at a lower TDP than the extreme option at 47 W due to the substantial difference in clock rate between them. In the CZ-15, this CPU will idle at 800 MHz if on the Power Saver profile. For gaming, however, this already fast CPU will be more than enough for today's titles.

RAM is expandable up to 32 GB via 4x SODIMM slots, similar to its larger brother. Again, two of the slots are only accessible after removing the keyboard. The PC3-12800 8 GB RAM provided in this model is from G.Skill, though users can customize between other brand name memory vendors such as Kingston and Corsair.

System information Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15

Processor

CPU performance in synthetic benchmarks is similar to other notebooks in our database equipped with the same processor and in most cases is right on the center. When compared to the Ivy Bridge i7-3740QM that it supplants, single-threaded performance in Super Pi is more or less identical between the two processors while multi-thread wPrime results are actually better on the older IVB CPU (247 seconds vs. 273 seconds). This may simply be due to the higher raw clock speed advantage that the i7-3740QM has over the i7-4700QM. This is confirmed by CineBench R11.5 where the Haswell CPU in the CZ-15 is nearly identical in the single-core benchmark to the i7-3740QM (1.52 points vs. 1.53 points), but is noticeably slower in the multi-core benchmark (6.76 points vs. 6.93 points).

CineBench 10 32-Bit
CineBench 10 32-Bit
CineBench 10 64-Bit
CineBench 10 64-Bit
CineBench 11.5 64-Bit
CineBench 11.5 64-Bit
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4824
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
19173
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6804
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
6384 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
24455 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6782 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.52 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.76 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
55.77 fps
Help

System Performance

PCMark 7
PCMark 7

With such a high-end CPU and GPU combination, system performance should be very good to say the least. According to PCMark 7, however, its score of nearly 3500 points is similar to a Lenovo IdeaPad U310 or Samsung 900X4C, both of which are last generation ultrabooks with integrated graphics. This can be attributed to the SSDs in these latter notebooks as PCMark 7 is biased towards systems without mechanical drives. Compared to the previous generation MSI GT60 with an i7-3610QM CPU and GTX 670M GPU, the newer CZ-15 scores almost 600 points higher.

Subjectively, tabs and windows run smoothly, but apps do take a bit longer to load compared to the recently reviewed Eurocom X3 especially when executing for the first time.

5.1
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.1
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.9
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark 73474 points
Help

Storage Devices

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark

Up to two 9.5 mm thick SATA III drives are supported with RAID 0/1 support. iBuyPower allows for a large number of drive configurations, such as SSD RAID, HDD RAID, or single solutions ranging from 64 GB up to 1 TB. There is unfortunately no mSATA support for those hoping to add a third storage solution.

Our model uses a 750 GB Seagate Momentus ST9750422AS spinning at 7200 RPM. Users should definitely avoid the 5400 RPM options or else system performance may be even more bottlenecked by the drive. HD Tune numbers, however, are quite good at an average transfer rate of close to 95 MB/sec. The very similar Seagete drive in the Asus G55 returns a similar 90 MB/sec under the same benchmark while the Hitachi in the previous generation MSI GT60 manages a slightly higher rate of 97 MB/sec. Access times continue to be the bane of mechanical drives compared to the microsecond range of SSDs.

3D Mark
3DMark Vantage19176 points
3DMark 114959 points
3DMark Ice Storm64147 points
3DMark Cloud Gate14357 points
3DMark Fire Strike3065 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme1521 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The CZ-15 can be configured with up to a GTX 780M. Our base model is one step down with the GTX 770M, which offers much less CUDA cores (960 vs. 1344) compared to the previous generation GTX 680M and narrower memory bandwidth (96.2 GB/s vs. 115.2 GB/s). Nonetheless, performance is sufficient for gaming in native 1080p with more reserved graphical settings recommended if playing advanced titles. On the CZ-15, the GPU will idle at 135/202.5 MHz core/memory with a rated base speed of 811 MHz. Turbo was observed to be as high as 823 MHz during our stress test.

Of the tested titles, all were able to play well above 30 FPS on high 720p settings. Some titles, such as Sleeping Dogs, Metro Last Light and Company of Heroes 2 are enough to be unplayable at the highest of settings at full HD. This is compared to the GTX 780M, which can at least maintain 30 FPS on a couple of these titles even on max settings at 1080p. The GTX 680M does show similar performance compared to the 770M, but certain titles may actually run smoother on the former due in part to the larger memory interface.

More benchmarks and comparisons can be seen in our full review of the Kepler refresh here.

3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
low med.high ultra
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 7650fps
Sleeping Dogs (2012) 6719fps
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 4933fps
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012) 9964fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 9641fps
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 8547fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 9529fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 4223fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 3116fps

Emissions

System Noise

Single 60 mm fan for both the CPU and GPU
Single 60 mm fan for both the CPU and GPU

The single fan and heat sink setup commonly found amongst 15.6-inch MSI shells is in full force on the CZ-15. Interestingly, the heat sink now extends and directly connects the CPU and GPU, likely in an attempt to create a more balanced temperature profile between the two processors. This contrasts the MSI GX60 and older GT60 where two separate heat sinks share the same system fan.

Regardless, fan noise will be audible at around 36 dB(A) under typical ambient conditions, even if idling. The fan is always spinning and is noticeably louder than the surprisingly quiet Asus G750 and 15.6-inch Clevo W650SR, but is otherwise similar to the MSI CX60. If under increasingly heavy load or heavy gaming, the fan will steadily increase in noise up to about 47 dB(A). If Turbo Fan is activated, fan noise will jump tremendously to a recorded 62.7 dB(A). This noise range is unbearable for comfortable use, but we appreciate that the option is available nonetheless.

Noise Level

Idle 36.2 / 36.4 / 36.9 dB(A)
DVD 42.9 / 47.8 dB(A)
Load 47.3 / 62.7 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Idling surface temperatures are quite flat both on the bottom and top as opposed to the steeper temperature gradient on the Clevo W650SR and GX60. Any exhaust from heavy processing load is concentrated on the corner quadrant closest to the two vents, which will rise in temperature very quickly compared to the rest of the notebook. In fact, the rest of the notebook is almost inert with regards to temperature change, especially the front quadrants where the user's hands are more likely to rest and make contact. This means more comfortable typing and gaming sessions, though users should definitely avoid any obstructions around the already scorching hot corner vents. Otherwise, heat dissipation is drawn and funneled through the system quite effectively.

Max. Load
 41.6 °C36.8 °C30.6 °C 
 35.8 °C36.4 °C30 °C 
 29.8 °C30.6 °C28.8 °C 
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 33.4 °C
28 °C31.2 °C58.4 °C
28.4 °C32.4 °C37.4 °C
28.4 °C30 °C28.2 °C
Maximum: 58.4 °C
Average: 33.6 °C
Power Supply (max.)  56 °C | Room Temperature 25.2 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Stress Test

We perform our standard stress test with Prime95 and FurMark to stress the CPU and GPU, respectively, with the same monitoring tools we utilized during our CZ-17 stress test. With only Prime95 active, the CPU was observed to be stable at its rated 3.2 GHz Turbo Boost for the first minute, but quickly settled on an operating range between 2.9 GHz and 3.1 GHz, which is 100 MHz to 300 MHz less than its Turbo Boost maximum for four active cores. As such, the CPU was unable to maintain maximum CPU Turbo Boost after a few minutes of full CPU stress. According to HWiNFO, CPU temperature tops out at about 85 degrees C under these conditions.

With only FurMark active, the Nvidia GPU was observed to be operating at its 823 MHz turbo speed. However, after the first minute or so, clock speed dropped to a stable 796.9 MHz to 810 MHz range according to GPU-Z, which is only a hair below its rated base clock. Fortunately, memory was stable throughout our test at 1002.4 MHz. Note that fan noise was observed to be increasing much more quickly with a fully active GPU than a fully active CPU. 

With both Prime95 and FurMark running simultaneously for over an hour, both the CPU and GPU were able to maintain 2.9 GHz to 3.1 GHz and 796.9 MHz, respectively, without any hitches. Both processors benefit from short-lived Turbo Boosts that cannot be maintained under full or independent stress. No throttling was observed, though we note that CPU and GPU temperature reached a high 95 degrees C and 86 degrees C, respectively. A 3DMark 11 run immediately following the test resulted in no significant reductions in final scores and thus no throttling.

If running on batteries, the CPU becomes unaffected, but the discrete GPU will take a very large hit in performance as it maxes out at only 405/405 MHz for the core/memory even if on the High Performance Windows profile. The stunted performance is confirmed by running 3DMark 11 on batteries, which returned essentially the same Physics score (6626 points on AC power vs. 6254 points on batteries) and less than half the GPU score (4856 points vs. 2309 points on batteries). 

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Maximum stress
Maximum stress

Speakers

25 mm subwoofer near the rear
25 mm subwoofer near the rear

Sound quality is good and remains unchanged from other notebooks based on the same MSI shell. The dedicated subwoofer allows for deeper ranges - though not as deep as we would have liked - while the THX TrueStudio Pro software provides an easy-to-use interface when connecting 3.5 mm audio solutions into the notebook. Maximum volume is very loud with no major distortions in balance. For the occasional movie or music or even during extended play sessions, the internal speakers do a fantastic job.

Battery Life

The 7800 mAh, 87 Wh removable Li-Ion battery is the same as the battery module of the GX60 and older GT60. As a result, runtime comparisons between these similar, yet uniquely equipped notebooks can reveal a lot about the power savings between the various CPU and GPU models used.

Between the CZ-15, GX60 and GT60, not too large of a discrepancy in WLAN runtimes can be observed. All three notebooks are expected to last about 4.5 hours of constant use, though the AMD-powered GX60 may last for around half an hour longer on average. Most interesting is that the idling runtime of the CZ-15 is at least a few hours longer than those MSI notebooks mentioned. For example, whereas the GT60 with its Ivy Bridge and GTX 6xxM hardware can last for about 6 hours when idling, the CZ-15 can idle for around 9.5 hours. This may be partly attributed to the higher 1200 MHz idling clock rate of many Ivy Bridge processors versus just 800 MHz of idling Haswell processors in addition to other minor software and hardware optimizations.

In the end, the longer idling runtime should allow users to squeeze out more life from the CZ-15 by lowering system settings accordingly. 

Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 30min
WiFi Surfing
4h 36min
DVD
3h 52min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 11min

Verdict

iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-15
iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-15

The Valkyrie CZ-15 is a gaming DTR by the numbers. It offers very high performance with an attractive price due to the exclusion of a solid-state drive to keep costs low. Thus, users can configure with top of the line Haswell and Kepler options and still keep costs relatively minimal if they can make do with a slower 5400 RPM HDD. To gamers who may prefer high-end CPU and GPU performance for better mobile gaming instead of faster system performance such as on Ultrabooks, then the CZ-15 is an attractive option.

With that said, the 15.6-inch Valkyrie does not offer anything extraordinary, aside from its powerful core performance, of course. The added textures seem bland compared to the smooth finish of the 17.3-inch Valkyrie and there is still no support for mSATA drives. Maximum Turbo Boost is also unsustainable, unlike the Asus G750JW with the similar i7-4700HQ CPU. Users must also note that discrete GPU performance is severely reduced when running on batteries and so the notebook is expected to be close to an outlet if running intensive tasks. Even so, this is still a solid gamer-centric notebook without many of the eccentric details and LED colors that often embellish gaming DTRs.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
1366x768 Medium (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
91 fps ∼57%
Asus G750JW
125 fps ∼78%
1366x768 High AA:on (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
85 fps ∼60%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
79 fps ∼56%
Asus G750JW
92 fps ∼65%
1920x1080 Ultra / Extreme AA:on (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
47 fps ∼51%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
67 fps ∼73%
Asus G750JW
35 fps ∼38%
Guild Wars 2
1024x768 Best Performance Preset (sort by value)
Deviltech Fire DT14
81.1 fps ∼50%
1366x768 Best Appearance Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
49 fps ∼53%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
43 fps ∼47%
Asus G750JW
58 fps ∼63%
Deviltech Fire DT14
55.7 fps ∼61%
1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
33 fps ∼42%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
34 fps ∼43%
MSI GT70H-80M4811B
41.3 fps ∼53%
Asus G750JW
27 fps ∼35%
Sleeping Dogs
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:Normal (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
98 fps ∼64%
Asus G750JW
112 fps ∼73%
1366x768 High Preset AA:High (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
67 fps ∼38%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
81 fps ∼46%
Asus G750JW
58 fps ∼33%
1920x1080 Extreme Preset AA:Extreme (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
19 fps ∼17%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
27 fps ∼25%
MSI GT70H-80M4811B
30.6 fps ∼28%
Asus G750JW
16 fps ∼15%
Tomb Raider
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
179 fps ∼38%
Asus G750JW
114 fps ∼24%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
96 fps ∼22%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
119 fps ∼27%
Asus G750JW
72 fps ∼17%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
41 fps ∼21%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
47 fps ∼24%
MSI GT70H-80M4811B
64 fps ∼32%
Asus G750JW
33 fps ∼17%
BioShock Infinite
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
126 fps ∼46%
Asus G750JW
90 fps ∼33%
1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
95 fps ∼41%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
111 fps ∼47%
Asus G750JW
76 fps ∼33%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
29 fps ∼20%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
45 fps ∼31%
MSI GT70H-80M4811B
43.7 fps ∼30%
Asus G750JW
28 fps ∼19%
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:4x (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
88 fps ∼53%
Asus G750JW
88 fps ∼53%
1366x768 High Preset AA:8x AF:8x (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
76 fps ∼60%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
72 fps ∼56%
Asus G750JW
62 fps ∼49%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:8x AF:16x (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
50 fps ∼57%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
52 fps ∼60%
MSI GT70H-80M4811B
58.6 fps ∼67%
Asus G750JW
37 fps ∼42%
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
1024x768 Low / Off (sort by value)
Deviltech Fire DT14
106.1 fps ∼41%
1366x768 Medium / Off (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
145 fps ∼57%
Asus G750JW
127 fps ∼50%
Deviltech Fire DT14
87.4 fps ∼34%
1366x768 High / On, FXAA AA:2xMS (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
99 fps ∼45%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
101 fps ∼46%
Asus G750JW
81 fps ∼37%
Deviltech Fire DT14
57.6 fps ∼26%
1920x1080 (Extra) High / On, FXAA AA:4xMS (sort by value)
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
64 fps ∼40%
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17
72 fps ∼46%
MSI GT70H-80M4811B
84.2 fps ∼53%
Asus G750JW
51 fps ∼32%

Legend

 
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15 Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750422AS
 
Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ 17 Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M, Intel SSD 335 SSDSC2CT180A4
 
MSI GT70H-80M4811B Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M, SanDisk X100 128GB SD5SF2128G1014E
 
Asus G750JW Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
 
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In Review: iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-15
In Review: iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-15

Specifications

Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M - 3072 MB, Core: 705 MHz, Memory: 1002 MHz, 311.48, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, G.Skill PC3-12800, 11-11-11-28
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LG Philips LP156WF1-TLF3, TN LED, ID: LGD0259, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM87 (Lynx Point)
Harddisk
Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750422AS, 750 GB 
7200 rpm
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone, microphone, line-in, line-out, Card Reader: 4-in-1 card reader,
Networking
Atheros L1C PCI-E Ethernet Controller (10MBit), Atheros AR5BWB222 Wireless Network Adapter (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GT80N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 55 x 395 x 267 ( = 2.17 x 15.55 x 10.51 in)
Weight
3.36 kg ( = 118.52 oz) Power Supply: 1000 g ( = 35.27 oz)
Battery
87 Wh Lithium-Ion
Price
$1300 USD, ~985 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: 1.3 MP webcam, Speakers: Stereo with subwoofer, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Quick Start guide, Service manual, Windows 8 installation disc, Drivers disc, Qualcomm Atheros Killer Network Manager, SCM, Sound Blaster Cinema, Intel ME FW Recovery Agent, Intel RST, 12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
Valkyrie CZ-15
Valkyrie CZ-15
Chassis is similar to the MSI GX60
Chassis is similar to the MSI GX60
Thick rear housing to accomodate high-end Haswell and Kepler
Thick rear housing to accomodate high-end Haswell and Kepler
Unlike the GX60 or CZ-17, the matte lid surface is textured with a glossy web-like pattern
Unlike the GX60 or CZ-17, the matte lid surface is textured with a glossy web-like pattern
The palm rests pose a similar texture design
The palm rests pose a similar texture design
Build quality is still very rigid
Build quality is still very rigid
The same speakers and subwoofer as the GX60
The same speakers and subwoofer as the GX60
Hinges are quite taut no matter the angle
Hinges are quite taut no matter the angle
Auxiliary touch keys also make a return
Auxiliary touch keys also make a return
Standard Chiclet keyboard
Standard Chiclet keyboard
Unlike the MSI GX60, a backlight is included
Unlike the MSI GX60, a backlight is included
Matte panel and strong display bezel
Matte panel and strong display bezel
Outdoor visibility is good under shade, but still poor under direct sunlight
Outdoor visibility is good under shade, but still poor under direct sunlight
Panel underneath can be removed after a few Philips screws
Panel underneath can be removed after a few Philips screws
Additional upfront speakers
Additional upfront speakers
System fan, CPU, GPU, 2x RAM and 2x SATA bays easily accessible
System fan, CPU, GPU, 2x RAM and 2x SATA bays easily accessible
Accessing the other 2x RAM slots will require removal of the keyboard
Accessing the other 2x RAM slots will require removal of the keyboard
5400 RPM, 7200 RPM and SSD options are available
5400 RPM, 7200 RPM and SSD options are available
Battery is identical to that of the GX60
Battery is identical to that of the GX60
Power adapter (17 x 8 x 4 cm) outputs 19.5 V
Power adapter (17 x 8 x 4 cm) outputs 19.5 V
Quick Start guide, service manual, drivers disc and a Windows 8 installation disc are included
Quick Start guide, service manual, drivers disc and a Windows 8 installation disc are included

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+Excellent CPU and GPU performance
+Wide configuration options
+Solid construction
+Easy maintenance and upgradeability
+Good speakers and support for 7.1 external setup
+Fingerprints can be difficult to clean
 

Cons

-Fans are always audible
-Reduced GPU performance when running on batteries
-Thick build even for a DTR
-Cannot sustain maximum Turbo Boost
-no mSATA support
-Small touchpad

Shortcut

What we like

Solid performance on AC power and great cooling system that diverts heat away from the keyboard and palm rests effectively. Very wide configuration options.

What we'd like to see

A quieter fan and larger touchpad would go a long way in improving usability. Chassis is quite bulky even for a gaming DTR. Currently no AMD 15.6-inch Valkyrie options.

What surprises us

Very high-end CPU and GPU options, even for the base model.

The competition

Asus G55

Clevo W650SR

Eurocom X3

MSI GX60/ GT60

Schenker XMG P502/ A522

Rating

Ibuypower Valkyrie CZ-15
08/08/2013 v3
Allen Ngo

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
80%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
80%
Weight
66%
Battery
84%
Display
82%
Games Performance
93%
Application Performance
93%
Temperature
80%
Noise
60%
Add Points
85%
Average
81%
84%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-15 Notebook
Author: Allen Ngo, 2013-08- 8 (Update: 2013-08- 8)