Notebookcheck

Review mySN XMG U700 ULTRA GTX 470M SLI Notebook

Florian Glaser (translated by Daniel Rechitsky), 01/31/2011

Mega Powerhouse. Performance enthusiasts with money to spend will find an extremely powerful desktop replacement in the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA. Equipped with a desktop-CPU and two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs, this 17-inch powerhouse aims to capture the title of "fastest notebook out there".

mySN XMG U700 ULTRA

In the typical Schenker fashion, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA can be custom tailored to your needs down to the fine details. To meet high demands for performance, the processor here is actually a desktop model. For gamers primarily interested in Core i7 processors, the CPUs available run the gamut from Core i7 950 (quad-core, 3.06 GHz, 8 MB L3-Cache) all the way to Core i7 980X (6-core, 3.33 GHz, 12 MB L3-Cache).  The choice of Nvidia GeForce cards, particularly the GTX 460M and the GTX 470M make for smooth gaming and can be configured to run side by side thanks to Nvidia's SLI technology. The memory here is by no means inferior to the other hardware.  The notebook can be configured to have up to a whole 12 GB of DDR3 RAM.

The decision concerning the hard drive can be difficult.  That is to say, there's room for three individual hard disks.  In addition to conventional HDDs and ultramodern SSDs, Schenker also offers the middle ground of several hybrid models. 

If you're into watching films in high quality, you might want to consider an optional disc-drive upgrade.  Rather than a DVD burner, you have the choice of a Blu-Ray player or even a Blu-Ray burner.  An embedded WiFi module will likewise add to the price, whereas Bluetooth comes standard.  The operating system comes as no surprise: Windows 7 Home Premium.  Here too you have the option of scaling up the OS to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate.  If you are concerned about maintenance, the warranty can be extended from a standard 24 months to a maximum of 48 months.  Only when it comes to the display are you restricted to a 17.3" glare-type display,  which renders the picture at a resolution of 1920 x 1080.

As previously mentioned, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA is meant for gamers with money in the bank. Even the starting price comes to a steep 1749 Euro. The more elaborate the configuration, the faster the price grows, reaching exorbitant levels.  Our test device (see specs column at the right), for example, would cost 3077 Euro.  Since we've already reviewed the essential Clevo X7200 Barebone twice (the basis for the in-review model), please refer to the DevilTech HellMachine DTX review for the sections discussing "Case", "Connectivity", and "Input Devices".

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

The display has in the past been one of the Clevo Barebone's greatest strengths. In our last review, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA was furnished with the high-quality Hannstar HSD173PUW1 display with a black value of under 0.2 cd/m² and an excellent contrast of over 1000:1. It's a mystery to us why Clevo has now chosen to swap out this good display. In short, the LG LP173WF1-TLC1 panel in place here is several grades below the Hannstar.

184
cd/m²
178
cd/m²
180
cd/m²
177
cd/m²
175
cd/m²
175
cd/m²
184
cd/m²
202
cd/m²
194
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 202 cd/m²
Average: 183.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 175 cd/m²
Black: 0.91 cd/m²
Contrast: 192:1

First, the relatively low black level of 0.91 cd/m² lends a visible grayish quality particularly in dark scenes in films and games which may detract from the ambiance.  Combined with the still-reasonable screen brightness of 183.2 cd/m² (on average), The weak contrast ratio of 192:1 renders slight differences in color and brightness relatively unnoticeable. This lends to the impression of a faded picture. So that films and games may reach their visual potential, there's no choice but to use an external monitor.

mySN XMG U700 ULTRA vs. sRGB
mySN XMG U700 ULTRA vs. sRGB
mySN XMG U700 ULTRA vs. AdobeRGB
mySN XMG U700 ULTRA vs. AdobeRGB
mySN XMG U700 ULTRA vs. MacBook Pro 17
mySN XMG U700 ULTRA vs. MacBook Pro 17
Reflections
Reflections

Using an external monitor also spares you the frustration of dealing with the reflections that show up on the glossy screen.  Even indoors you might not be able to avoid these reflections, especially when sitting under or across from a window.  On account of its weight alone (about 6 Kg), the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA is inconvenient for outdoor use.

The narrow range of viewing angles has also earned some harsh words.  Tilting the screen back or forward only slightly from the ideal viewing angle causes the picture to look substantially distorted.  Unfortunately, the display disappoints across the board.  Just about any buyer would really expect more from a desktop replacement costing several thousand Euro.  We can only hope that Clevo comes back its senses soon and puts in place a decent display.

Viewing Angles mySN XMG U700 ULTRA
Viewing Angles mySN XMG U700 ULTRA

Performance

Turbo Boost
Turbo Boost

Processor: Intel Core i7 950

As opposed to most notebooks, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA comes with an honest-to-goodness desktop CPU.  The Core i7 950 is an extremely powerful processor from Intel that computes at an astounding base clock rate of 3.06 GHz. Thanks to the CPU's Turbo Boost technology, it can even be overclocked by a bit up to 3.33 GHz. Multicore-optimized applications will also benefit from its Hyperthreading technology which allows the Core i7 to simulate 4 virtual cores and thus process up to 8 threads simultaneously.

The lavish 8 MB worth of L3-cache should be of particular interest to gamers.  A considerable downside of the 45nm Bloomfield CPU is its exorbitant energy consumption.  The TDP of 130 watts represents a fourfold increase over typical quad-core notebook CPUs. To help the processor achieve maximum performance, Schenker fitted our test notebook with 6 GB DDR3 RAM.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo HDTune (HDDs)
Systeminfo HDTune (SSD)
Systeminfo HDTune (SSD)
Systeminfo GPUZ
Systeminfo CPUZ Graphics
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo HDTune (HDDs)
System Properties mySN XMG U700 ULTRA

CPU Performance

 

Intel recently released a new mobile processor generation codenamed "Sandy Bridge". Since these CPUs performed exceptionally well in our review, the burning question here is whether notebooks should at all be equipped with desktop CPUs.  We therefore pitted the Core i7 950 against the top Sandy Bridge model, the Core i7 2920XM (2.50 – 3.50 GHz), which likewise has a 8 MB L3-cache but—unlike the i7 950—is manufactured via a 32nm process and performs a good deal more efficiently at a TDP of 55 watts.

In the single-core rendering test (Cinebench R10 64bit), the Core i7-950 already doesn't stand a chance, defeated by a whole 18% at 4545 to 5343 points by the Core i7 2920XM (mySN XMG P501). In multicore rendering (64bit), the i7 950 comes closer to closing the game, but still trails 12% behind at 17624 to 19727  points. Even in the most current Cinebench R11.5 (64bit), the Core i7 950 nevertheless must admit defeat with 5,190 to 5,700 points, losing to the i7 2920XM by a landslide (+10%).

In short, Intel did such a good job developing this new processor generation that it rendered desktop CPUs obsolete (even for performance fanatics).  Only the comparably low price of desktop processors will keep them in use for a while in the notebook sector.

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5348
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
17624 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5316 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
14558
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4545 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3652
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
5.19 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
40.38 fps
Help
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage13655 points
Help
HWiNFO
HWiNFO

Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 470M SLI

At the heart of the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA lie two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs, working together through a scaled link interface (SLI).  The GeForce GTX 470M is based on the ultramodern Fermi architecture and is Nvidia's second fastest mobile graphics card next to the GTX 485M. At a clock rate of 535 MHz (core), 750 MHz (memory) and 1070 MHz (shader), the GeForce GTX 470M ranks in—except for the memory—between the GTX 480M (425/600/850 MHz) and the GTX 460M (675/625/1350 MHz). The same is true for the number of shaders: While the GTX 460M has 192 and the GTX 480M employs 352 individual shaders, the GeForce GTX 470M makes use of 288 Shader.

Despite its low shader count, the GeForce GTX 470M still manages to place ahead of the GTX 480M overall. The reason being: The Nvidia GF104 chip in place here is far better configured to the demands of the consumer market than the GF100 chip of the GTX 480M. The GeForce GTX 470M also has 1.5 GB GDDR5 video memory—connected at a decent 192 bits—to thank for its outstanding performance, connected. The Nvidia GPU also scores some points thanks the array of features it offers. Gamers will take particular interest in the PhysX feature which allows the graphics card to take over physics-based computations in place of the CPU.

SLI Mode
SLI Mode

SLI = Scalable Link Interface

Let's take a moment to go over the disadvantages of a dual-GPU system. SLI (or CrossFire, as it's known in the AMD world) theoretically provides for a large increase in speed, but if the GPU driver isn't (yet) configured for a particular game, the second graphics card remains unused.  Along with the increased performance of two GPUs naturally come higher temperatures and more noise, narrowing down the potential use of dual-GPUs to large cases (and usually producing lots of noise).

Another problem is the potential for slightly choppy playback.  Since individual images are alternately processed by each of two graphics cards, the time between the appearance of one image and the next can vary.  Particularly at 30 fps or less, this leads to a visibly choppy picture.  However, thanks to the enormous performance power of the GeForce GTX 470M SLI, noticeably choppy performance is a rarity.

7.5
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.5
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
7.8
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
7.8
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.8

GPU Performance

The remarkable performance of the GeForce GTX 470M SLI can be tested by 3DMark Vantage, for example.  The result of 16,161 points (GPU score) is not only the highest score we've ever seen in a notebook but even outshines the GTX 480M SLI by 9% (14,890 points, DevilTech HellMachine DTX) and the GTX 460M SLI by 23%(13,156 points, mySN XMG U700 ULTRA). The score of a single GeForce GTX 470M (8,420 points) is improved upon by a whole 92%.

In the DirectX 11-based Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark (1280 x 1024, High, tessellation normal) the GeForce GTX 470M SLI (57.1 fps) passes up the GTX 460M SLI (47.2 fps), but lands just behind the GTX 480M SLI (58.8 fps). With SLI turned off, the GeForce GTX 470M's performance drops to 30.8 fps (-46%).

3D Mark
3DMark 0369012 points
3DMark 0525241 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
19368 points
3DMark Vantage16802 points
Help
CrystalDiskMark SSD
CrystalDiskMark SSD
CrystalDiskMark HDDs
CrystalDiskMark HDDs

Hard Drive(s)

The hard drive configuration chosen by Schenker for our test model deserves a special notice. The 128 GB SSD from manufacturer Crucial really does its job. The RealSSD C300-CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 is among the fastest hard drives currently available and works well with small and large files alike. It's sequential read rate of 270.7 MB/s, sequential write rate of 138.1 MB/s as well as an access time of 0.1ms would make most notebooks green with envy.

That's not all, though: complementing the SSD are two 750 GB HDDs from Seagate (Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS)—connected using performance-enhancing RAID 0 technology.  The access time of 13.2 ms gets nowhere near that of the SSD, but with a sequential read rate of 197.7 MB/s and sequential write rate of 168.3 MB/s, the HDDs manage to hold their own (to an extent).

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1
Transfer Rate Minimum: 198.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 208 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 204.4 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 113.6 MB/s
DPC Latency Checker
DPC Latency Checker: high latency values for turning Bluetooth and WiFi on/off

Verdict: Performance

The application performance of the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA is more than commendable. In almost all benchmarks the device managed to set new records. 13,655 points in PCMark Vantage, for example, is unprecedented (by a notebook). The combination of a desktop CPU dual-GPUs holds its own even with the most demanding of applications.  The mySN XMG U700 ULTRA is easily equipped for the future—it'll remain current for years to come.  The potential for hardware upgrades is all there: three hard drive slots give you lots of options, e.g. a speedy SSD for the operating system and one or several HDDs four your media collection.  This big ol' barebone leaves a great deal of room for customization and experimentation.

Gaming Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

In the gaming benchmarks, we once again pitted the GeForce GTX 470M SLI against its siblings from Nvidia, the GTX 460M SLI (mySN XMG U700 ULTRA) and the GTX 480M SLI (DevilTech HellMachine DTX). To keep things fair, we'll describe only the values measured in the intense full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

The newest Call of Duty offshoot, next to Fifa 11, was one of the only games not to profit from this configuration—the possible cause being the somewhat outdated GPU driver (ForeWare 259.70), with which there was no SLI support for these games.  With high detail settings, 4x AA (antialiasing) and 8x AF (anisotropic filtering), the GeForce GTX 470M SLI ran Black Ops at 61.4 fps, just below the value of 62.1 fps earned by a single GeForce GTX 470M.  The GTX 485M takes the cake for Black Ops (71.4 fps, mySN XMG P501).

GTX 470M: 62.1 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 61.4 fps = -1%

Call of Duty: Black Ops
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080extra, 4xAA, 8xAF61.4 fps
 1360x768high, 2xAA, 4xAF77.3 fps
 1024x768medium, 0xAA, 0xAF77.3 fps
 800x600low (all off), 0xAA, 0xAF83.5 fps

Mafia 2

The long-awaited sequel to mobster epic doesn't put much pressure on the hardware.  In fact, a single GeForce GTX 470M is enough for a smooth picture (43.9 fps) with high detail settings and 16x AF.  Turning SLI on increases the refresh rate by a whole 74% up to an excellent 76.6 fps. The GTX 480M SLI (75.8 fps) and the GTX 460M SLI (66.0 fps) trail a bit behind.

GTX 470M: 43.9 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 76.6 fps = +74%

Mafia 2
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080high, 0xAA, 16xAF76.6 fps
 1360x768high, 0xAA, 16xAF103.9 fps
 1024x768medium, 0xAA, 8xAF114 fps
 800x600low, 0xAA, 0xAF124.4 fps

Starcraft 2

This real-time strategy hit doesn't benefit much from SLI. With the second GeForce GTX 470M working, the game runs only 24% faster, bumping the refresh rate up from 40.5 to 50.3 fps. The GeForce GTX 470M SLI still manages to perform faster than the GTX 480M SLI and the GTX 460M SLI, which came in at 42.5 fps and 40.8 fps respectively.  However,  the Radeon HD 6970M (58.0 fps, Eurocom W860CU Cougar) still leads in GPU performance for Starcraft 2.

GTX 470M: 40.5 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 50.3 fps = +24%

StarCraft 2
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080ultra50.3 fps
 1360x768high73.9 fps
 1360x768medium83.3 fps
 1024x768low280 fps

Metro 2033

This densely detailed first-person shooter from Ukrainian developer 4A Games is so resource-consuming that even the SLI configuration of two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs was put to shame. With high detail settings, DirectX 11, AAA (Analytical Antialiasing) and 4x AF, the system managed a mere 23.0 fps.  Configurations of two GTX 460M or two GTX 480M graphics cards likewise have their hands full: at 18.5 fps and 23.1 fps respectively, the game is not nearly enjoyable. With SLI off, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA's performance drops by about half (11.8 fps).

GTX 470M: 11.8 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 23.0 fps = +95%

Metro 2033
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080Very High DX11, AAA, 4xAF23 fps
 1600x900High DX10, AAA, 4xAF65.5 fps
 1360x768Normal DX10, AAA, 4xAF108.1 fps
 800x600Low DX9, AAA, 4xAF136 fps

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Unlike Metro 2033, with Bad Company 2 the GeForce GTX 470M SLI does not bite off more than it can chew. With high detail settings on, 4x AA and 8x AF, the game was run at an uncommonly smooth 69.2 fps.  It's the same story with the GTX 460M SLI (56.7 fps) and the GTX 480M SLI (64.7 fps): you're perfectly well equipped for even the most chaotic multiplayer sessions.  A single GeForce GTX 470M is, however, pushed to the limit with these graphics settings: an average of 36.6 fps is nevertheless fairly good.

GTX 470M: 36.6 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 69.2 fps = +89%

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080high, HBAO on, 4xAA, 8xAF69.2 fps
 1366x768high, HBAO on, 1xAA, 4xAF114.9 fps
 1366x768medium, HBAO off, 1xAA, 1xAF134.5 fps
 1024x768low, HBAO off, 1xAA, 1xAF152.5 fps

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

This picturesque racer lends itself particularly well to the GeForce 400 series.  Just a single GeForce GTX 470M is enough for a thoroughly smooth gaming experience with high details and 4x AA (53.4 fps).  Turning  SLI on improves the refresh rate by 74% to an astounding 93.0 fps.  As usual, GTX 480M SLI (81.3 fps) and GTX 460M SLI (75.4 fps) trail a good deal behind.

GTX 470M: 53.4 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 93.0 fps = +74%

Colin McRae: DIRT 2
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080Ultra Preset, 4xAA93 fps
 1360x768High Preset, 2xAA148.9 fps
 1024x768Medium Preset, 0xAA164.5 fps
 800x600Low Preset, 0xAA176.4 fps

Risen

The single greatest improvement in performance from a single to dual-GPU system is represented by Risen.  That is to say, two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs running the game with high detail settings and 4x AF resulted in an outstanding 81.8 fps, a whole 115% more than a single GeForce GTX 470M (38.0 fps). The GTX 480M SLI (70.9 fps) and GTX 460M SLI (63.5 fps) trailed by 15% and 29% respectively.

GTX 470M: 38.0 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 81.8 fps = +115%

Risen
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080high/all on, 0xAA, 4xAF81.8 fps
 1366x768all on/high, 4xAF114.7 fps
 1024x768all on/med, 2xAF127.9 fps
 800x600all off/low, 0xAF154 fps

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

The somewhat outdated graphics engine from Modern Warfare 2 presents absolutely no challenge to current graphics cards.  Both a single as well as two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs run the game smoothly enough in high details and 4x AA (56.8 & 104.4 fps). The other SLI configurations come in at 88.3 fps (2x GTX 460M) and 90.3 fps (2x GTX 480M).

GTX 470M: 56.8 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 104.4 fps = +84%

CoD Modern Warfare 2
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080all on/max vsync off, textures extra, 4xAA104.4 fps
 1366x768all on/high vsync off, high textures, 4xAA150.2 fps
 1024x768all on/med vsync off, normal textures, 2xAA163.9 fps
 800x600all off/low vsync off, low textures, 0xAA276.5 fps

Need for Speed: Shift

In order to be able to race through the challenging courses of Need For Speed Shift, a smooth refresh rate is of paramount importance.  With high detail settings and 4x AA, neither the GTX 460M SLI (81.6 fps) or the GTX 480M SLI (93.0 fps) hit a single snag, although the GeForce GTX 470M SLI yet again takes the cake with 102.7 fps. Without SLI, the GeForce GTX 470M still produces a fluid, more-than-playable 55.4 fps.

GTX 470M: 55.4 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 102.7 fps = +85%

Need for Speed Shift
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080all on/high, 4xAA, triliniarAF102.7 fps
 1366x768all on/high, 4xAA, triliniarAF111.1 fps
 1024x768all on/med, 2xAA, triliniarAF114.2 fps

Crysis

Finally, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA must surmount the obstacle of smoothly rendering the visually stunning title, Crysis. Until now, not a single notebook has stood the test of producing a fluid picture in Crysis' built-in benchmark with very high detail settings on.  The GeForce GTX 470M SLI, however, manages a fairly decent performance: 31.7 fps is a new record.  The GTX 480M SLI (30.9 fps) comes in at a very close second, followed by the GTX 460M SLI (25.4 fps) trailing a fair bit behind.  A single GeForce GTX 470M has to suffice with only a modest 16.3 fps.

GTX 460M: 16.3 fps -> GTX 470M SLI: 31.7 fps = +94%

Crysis - GPU Benchmark
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1080Very High, 0xAA, 0xAF31.7 fps
 1024x768High73.5 fps
 1024x768Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF87.8 fps
 1024x768Low, 0xAA, 0xAF138.2 fps

Verdict: Gaming Performance

The gaming performance of the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA couldn't have left us more satisfied.  The SLI configuration of two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs is so powerful that nearly all current games can be smoothly run in high resolutions with the highest graphics settings. The notebook also deserves particular notice for its reliability: during all of our tests, there was not a single GPU error to report. Nvidias well-tested GPU driver is to thank for that.  The up-to-date driver was responsible for the impressive increase in performance measured in SLI mode.

Compared to a single GeForce GTX 470M, the performance rose on average by 70%—a considerable feat (1920 x 1080, Ultra Settings). If you exclude all the games that haven't yet been configured to support SLI, then the improvement of SLI over a single GPU comes to 82%.  The other dual-GPU configurations from Nvidia draw the short straw on this one, the 470M SLI is working 21% faster than the GTX 460M SLI, for instance. Even the once-proud leader, the GTX 480M SLI, trails about 8% behind in the SLI configuration.

low med.high ultra
Half Life 2 - Lost Coast Benchmark (2005) 244.12fps
Call of Juarez Benchmark (2006) 154.8fps
Crysis - GPU Benchmark (2007) 138.287.873.531.7fps
Crysis - CPU Benchmark (2007) 182.192.476.830.4fps
Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare (2007) 350.9237193.4fps
Far Cry 2 (2008) 193.5133.694.7fps
Left 4 Dead (2008) 234.4195.9fps
F.E.A.R. 2 (2009) 224.9149145.4110.8fps
Anno 1404 (2009) 181.3109fps
Colin McRae: DIRT 2 (2009) 176.4164.5148.993fps
Need for Speed Shift (2009) 114.2111.1102.7fps
Resident Evil 5 (2009) 155.3113.8104.8fps
Risen (2009) 154127.9114.781.8fps
CoD Modern Warfare 2 (2009) 276.5163.9150.2104.4fps
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010) 152.5134.5114.969.2fps
Metro 2033 (2010) 136108.165.523fps
StarCraft 2 (2010) 28083.373.950.3fps
Mafia 2 (2010) 124.4114103.976.6fps
Fifa 11 (2010) 539.4336242151.2fps
Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) 83.577.377.361.4fps

Emissions

System Noise

Next to the modest display and limited mobility, the high level of noise produced by the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA is its greatest weak point.  The hefty X7200 Barebone contains four exhaust fans that hum noticeably even under light use, thus producing a good deal of background noise during even the simplest of office tasks.  Under heavy use, the noise grows even louder, rendering quiet scenes in films inaudible. What's more is that the fans tend increase or decrease rotation speed under heavy use, sometimes leading a sort of irritating pulsation.

When the hardware is under 100% load, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA becomes distractingly loud, about 50 dB(A) can make you start pulling your hair out.  Of course a good deal of background noise is unavoidable when dealing with high-end hardware, but other gaming notebooks like the Asus G53JW manage to run a good deal more quietly.

Noise Level

Idle 36.8 / 36.8 / 44.0 dB(A)
HDD 36.1 dB(A)
DVD 38.0 / dB(A)
Load 39.8 / 49.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft SL-320 (15 cm distance)
Temps Idle
Temps Idle
Temps Stress Test
Temps Stress Test

Temperature

The temperature remains low enough at least while the system is in idle mode.  After several hours, the case surface does not reach a value higher than 31°C, making for a fairly comfortable work environment.  Under heavy use, though, the case warms up to a relatively high maximum of 46.3°C at the top of the base unit and up to 45.6°C along the base plate. The palm rest remains noticeably cooler at 33.3°C, still warming your hands a bit, though.

The hardware likewise heats up to a similar extent.  Allowing the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA run for a while in idle mode, the GeForce GTX 470M SLI and Core i7 950 end up at about 35ºC and 48°C respectively.  In our stress test using the tools Furmark and Prime, most of all it was the processor that heated up: Although 90°C isn't quite a critical level, the Intel Core i7 950 did get downsampled to a mere 1.60 GHz from time to time (CPU Throttling). The two graphics cards, on the other hand remained a perfectly cool maximum of 62ºC and 72°C respectively.

Max. Load
 42.5 °C45.1 °C46.3 °C 
 41.3 °C41.7 °C33.1 °C 
 33.3 °C30.1 °C27.6 °C 
Maximum: 46.3 °C
Average: 37.9 °C
45.6 °C43.6 °C34.7 °C
29.5 °C40.0 °C26.7 °C
25.0 °C27.7 °C26.1 °C
Maximum: 45.6 °C
Average: 33.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  35.5 °C | Room Temperature 19.1 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

As far as the 5.1 sound system goes, nothing has changed since our last review.  Like before, the speakers produced fair, albeit muffled sound.  The bass remained fairly subtle, lacking in presence.  On the other hand, the top volume is impressive: when turned up all the way, the sound coming from the speakers is incredibly loud.

Battery Life

Readers Test
Max Battery Life (Readers Test)
Classic Test
Min Battery Life (Classic Test)

It hardly comes as a surprise that the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA doesn't last too long on battery power.  The battery has quiet a considerable capacity of 78.44 Wh (5300 mAh) to accommodate the high energy demands of the powerful hardware in place.  With max brightness and energy-saving settings off, the Classic Test from Battery Eater measured 36 minutes before the screen went black.  Turning the brightness all the way up and the energy-saving settings all on, the notebook hardly lasts any longer—the Readers Test from Battery Eater clocked the maximum battery life at 52 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
0h 52min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 36min

Purchasing the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA will likely result in a higher electric bill. 80.4 – 90.5 watts while idle and 210.7 – 308.0 watts under heavy use is a great deal more than most gaming notebooks.  The Asus G73JH, for instance, uses up only half this much.  Compared to other dual-GPU notebooks, the power consumption here is not remarkable in any way, ranking in between the GTX 460M SLI and the GTX 480M SLI systems.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.6 / 4.6 Watt
Idle 80.4 / 89.0 / 90.5 Watt
Load 210.7 / 308 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC-940

Verdict

mySN XMG U700 ULTRA
mySN XMG U700 ULTRA

The mySN XMG U700 ULTRA is a high-end notebook par excellence.  A speedy desktop-CPU and the option of two graphics cards as well as three hard drives makes this 17" laptop a full-fledged desktop replacement. The ample variety of ports leaves nothing to be desired, the good keyboard and touchpad make for comfortable use.  Moreover, this caliber of performance power is arguably unrivaled by any notebook: the two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs manage to run even the most demanding of games smoothly.  Compared to the GTX 460M SLI, the GTX 470M SLI runs about 21% more quickly.  Whether this is worth the additional 500 Euro is up everyone to decide on their own.

Apart from that, the high-end hardware comes at the cost of mobility. First, the approximately 7-cm-thick case comes to over six kilograms on the scale.  What's more is that the battery life is extremely limited.  We weren't even able to get an hour's worth of battery power from the notebook.  The barebone manufacturer Clevo also makes a poor choice with the display having modest picture quality unworthy of a desktop replacement.  The high level of system noise could likewise be deal breaker for some: the noise of the exhaust fans remains constantly noticeable under heavy use and in idle mode alike.

All things considered, the mySN XMG U700 ULTRA is mostly suited for performance diehards who want to squeeze every last drop of performance out of their notebook. "Normal" gamers, however, will be just fine with a high-end graphics card like the Radeon HD 5870 or the GeForce GTX 460M.

In Review: mySN XMG U700 ULTRA
In Review: mySN XMG U700 ULTRA

Specifications

Schenker XMG U700 ULTRA (GTX 470M SLI)

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel X58 + ICH10R
:: Memory
6144 MB, 3x 2048 MB DDR3 (1333 MHz @ 1066 MHz)
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470M SLI - 2x 1536 MB, Core: 535 MHz, Memory: 750 MHz, Shader Clock Rate: 1070 MHz, ForceWare 259.70
:: Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LG LP173WF1-TLC1, 43.90 cm, LED Backlight, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1, 128 GB + 2x Seagate Momentus 7200.5 (ST9750420AS)—RAID 0, 750 GB each at 7200 RPM
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC888/1200 @ Intel 82801JB ICH 10 - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 Firewire, 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, 1 Infrared, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: Headphone Jack, Microphone Input, Line In, Surround 7.1/SPDIF Out, Card Reader: MMC, RS MMC, SD, Mini SD,SDHC, SDXC, MS, MS Pro, MS Duo, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Antenna (CATV)
:: Networking
JMicron PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (10/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 AGN (a b g n ), 2.1 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
Optiarc DVD RW AD-7700S
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 73 x 419 x 286
:: Weight
6.1 kg Power Supply: 1.44 kg
:: Battery
78.44 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5300 mAh, X7200BAT-8, 8 Cells
:: Price
3077 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 3.0 Megapixel, Power Supply: 300 Watts, User Manual, Driver and Tool DVD, Nero Multimedia Suite 10 Essentials, Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, 24-48 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
With all the hardware in place, the case weighs over 6 Kg.
With all the hardware in place, the case weighs over 6 Kg.
The 300-watt power supply feeds the energy-consuming hardware.
The 300-watt power supply feeds the energy-consuming hardware.
A subwoofer is in place on the bottom of the notebook.
A subwoofer is in place on the bottom of the notebook.
A thin illuminated strip marks the bottom of the touchpad.
A thin illuminated strip marks the bottom of the touchpad.
Thanks to the four audio inputs, a surround sound stereo system can be hooked up.
Thanks to the four audio inputs, a surround sound stereo system can be hooked up.
Two USB 2.0 ports can be found along the right side.
Two USB 2.0 ports can be found along the right side.
A Kensington Lock comes standard.
A Kensington Lock comes standard.
The power connector is located at the back.
The power connector is located at the back.
A DVI output included is a rarity.
A DVI output is included is a rarity.
Two fast USB 3.0 ports adorn the left side.
Two fast USB 3.0 ports adorn the left side.
Even an ExpressCard slot is in place here.
Even an ExpressCard slot is in place here.
The front harbors a hidden infrared receiver.
The front harbors a hidden infrared receiver.
The notebook wouldn't be complete without several status-LEDs.
The notebook wouldn't be complete without several status-LEDs.
The battery is inconveniently attached to the case by screws.
The battery is inconveniently attached to the case by screws.
The bulky power supply isn't very fit for carrying around with you.
The bulky power supply isn't very fit for carrying around with you.
Other power supplies appear tiny in comparison.
Other power supplies appear tiny in comparison.
The XMG logo lights up blue when the notebook's in use.
The XMG logo lights up blue when the notebook's in use.
The picture and sound can be reproduced in high quality thanks to HDMI.
The picture and sound can be reproduced in high quality thanks to HDMI.
The case contains five whole speakers.
The case contains five whole speakers.
The display lid cannot tilt back very far.
The display lid cannot tilt back very far.
Most of the case surfaces are matte.
Most of the case surfaces are matte.
The base unit moves slightly when opening the notebook.
The base unit moves slightly when opening the notebook.
A large hatch on the bottom gives access to the parts inside.
A large hatch on the bottom gives access to the parts inside.
Four fans are in place for cooling the high-end hardware.
Four fans are in place for cooling the high-end hardware.
A speedy SSD is the hard drive here.
A speedy SSD is the hard drive here.
Two powerful GeForce GTX 470M graphics cards work together in SLI mode.
Two powerful GeForce GTX 470M graphics cards work together in SLI mode.
Our test device is fitted with two HDDs combined through RAID 0.
Our test device is fitted with two HDDs combined through RAID 0.
The desktop processor in place provides for a robust performance.
The desktop processor in place provides for a robust performance.
The built-in webcam has a resolution of 3 megapixels.
The built-in webcam has a resolution of 3 megapixels.
The volume control is very unresponsive.
The volume control is very unresponsive.
All the keys are of a good size.
All the keys are of a good size.
These areas for Bluetooth, WiFi and the webcam are sensitive to the touch.
These areas for Bluetooth, WiFi and the webcam are sensitive to the touch.
The crisp keystrokes make for a good keyboard.
The crisp keystrokes make for a good keyboard.
There's plenty of room for a number pad.
There's plenty of room for a number pad.
The accessories include a user manual as well as a drivers-and-tools DVD.
The accessories include a user manual as well as a drivers-and-tools DVD.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

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Pro

+Excellent Array of Ports
+Outstanding Performance
+Three Hard Drive Slots
+Very Good Keyboard
 

Cons

-Low-Contrast Display with Modest Black Level and Few Viewing Angles
-Heavy, Bulky Case
-Loud Background Noise
-Poor Battery Life

Shortcut

What we like

This level of performance is unrivaled as far as notebooks go.

What we'd like to see

Less noise, more mobility.

What surprises us

What in the world Clevo was thinking to swap out the good display previously in place.

The competition

Other dual-GPU systems like the DevilTech HellMachine or HellMachine DTX.

Ratings

Schenker XMG U700 ULTRA (GTX 470M SLI)
01/25/2011 v2
Florian Glaser

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
86%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
90%
Weight
35%
Battery
31%
Display
68%
Games Performance
97%
Application Performance
95%
Temperature
76%
Noise
56%
Add Points
82%
Average
73%
81%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review mySN XMG U700 ULTRA GTX 470M SLI Notebook
Author: Florian Glaser, 2011-01-31 (Update: 2013-06- 6)