Review mySN XMG8.c (Clevo X8100) Notebook

by Florian Glaser 04/03/2010

Gaming Monster

With the XMG8.c, mySN has a burly 18.4 incher available that should be able to qualify itself as a desktop replacement due to potent hardware. The question if Nvidia's GeForce GTX 285M (SLI) can compete with the strong ATI opponent in form of a Radeon HD 4870 (X2) and HD 5870 is especially interesting.

mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI) Notebook

mySN's XMG8.c is aiming at customers who are tired of having a large PC tower beside the desk but don't want to forgo on the necessary performance all the same. This combination has its price and thus, the XMG8.c starts at a steep 1777 euro.

You get a Clevo (X8100) case in a size of 440x300x70 mm (width x depth x height) and with a weight of 5.6 kg, and with a display resolution of 1920x1080 pixels in 18.4 inches for this price. A single GeForce GTX 285M usually does its job as a graphic card. For a surcharge of a bit more than 300 euro you can also configure a SLI network of two GeForce GTX 285Ms. The three currently fastest mobile quad-cores, Core i7-720QM, i7-820QM and i7-920XM, are available as the processor. The possible working memory capacity of the used DDR3 RAM ranges from two up to eight GB.

The configuration options for the hard disk(s) are more unusual here. Up to three hard disks find space in the XMG8.c's case. You can choose among the most various combinations: Three SSDs, three HDDs or one SSD, as well as two HDDs and vice versa - nothing's impossible. Additionally, the hard disks can even be arranged in 0, 1 or 5 RAID networks if required. Not quite as exciting is the decision about the optical drive: DVD burner, BluRay drive and BluRay burner have almost become standard in the meantime. A Bluetooth module is definitely integrated, WLAN or a TV card cost extra. All four Windows 7 alternatives are available as the operating system. In return, the warranty period is two up to four years.

Our prototype with a Core i7-920XM, a 4 GB RAM, a 64 GB SSD plus two 500 GB HDDs in a RAID 0 network (7200 rpm), GeForce GTX 285M SLI, BluRay burner, WLAN and Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit almost represents the full configuration and adds up to a hefty 3576 euro at the time of the review.

Case

Clevo's X8100 barebone is used as the case. It has a striking resemble to the M980NU barebone that we've already had in review, for example in form of CyberSystem's QX18.

The massive case is hardly suitable for transportation due to its weight of 5.6 kg, but rather predestines the XMG8.c as a stationary desktop replacement. The black XMG8.c has a quite angular design and lacks any highlights, except for the silver rim, in a deactivated state. Merely the high-gloss surfaces attract rather negative attention, because dust and fingerprints overwhelm within a short time. When the notebook is turned on, various light elements provide for a very stylish appearance. The fan openings on the front, as well as the touch-sensitive multimedia bar, the eight so-called "GamingKeys", the power button, the logo on the display lid and the touchpad bezel light up in the colors defined by the user. The XMG8.c regrettably doesn't have a keyboard light. Overall, the light elements aren't quite as impressive as in Alienware's gaming notebooks, M11x, M15x, and M17x, either.

The workmanship and stability barely give reason for complaint, at least the base unit doesn't. Except for the optical drive area, the case proves to have a high torsional stiffness on both the upper, as well as the bottom side. In opposition, the display can be dent obviously on both the outer and inner side, which can cause image distortions. Finally, the hinges do a perfect job, but nevertheless force the case to lift evidently.

Configuration and Supplies

Connectivity

In view of the exuberant space the connectivity turns out to be very extensive. Whilst only the DC-in is found on the rear, the lateral edges are lavishly equipped. The left starts with a digital video-out DVI. It's followed by two USB 2.0 ports, RJ-45 gigabit LAN, HDMI, an ExpressCard slot, a 7-in-1 cardreader and a Firewire port.  Unusual: A second HDMI port, labeled HDMI-in, is found on the left. The right has four, somewhat adverse positioned, audio connections, which can transmit a full-fledged 7.1 signal with a corresponding system. An antenna-in for the (optional) TV card, an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo and a fourth USB 2.0 port have been placed beside it. It's completed by a Kensington lock.

Apart from that, the XMG8.c has a 2.0 megapixel camera and a fingerprint scanner. Wireless connections can be made via Bluetooth or the (optional) WLAN. All in all the port distribution convinced us, the given bandwidth is also more than generous.

Left: DVI, 2x USB 2.0, RJ-45 gigabit LAN, HDMI, cardreader, ExpressCard slot, HDMI-in, Firewire
Left: DVI, 2x USB 2.0, RJ-45 gigabit LAN, HDMI, cardreader, ExpressCard slot, HDMI-in, Firewire
Right: 4x audio, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo, USB 2.0, Kensington lock
Right: 4x audio, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo, USB 2.0, Kensington lock

Software and Supplies

mySN has restrained itself considerably and supplies an extremely clean installation that manages without annoying and resource devouring ballast. Aside from a manual and a driver & software CD, there are also data carriers with PowerDVD 9 and Nero 9 essentials in the package.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The accommodation period is unnecessarily difficult due to the eight "GamingKeys" on the base unit's left area (and which look rather lost there) since you can't orientate yourself on the notebook's edge, as would be usual. Due to this, you often hit the wrong key, especially in the beginning. Otherwise the keyboard, in a chiclet design, convinces with a good key size, a fairly distinct stroke and a well-considered layout. However, we couldn't really get used to the clattery key noise. The keyboard also deflects a bit in the center. The short key stroke length is more a matter of taste, but the tester quite liked it.

Touchpad

The touchpad has an adequate size, but, only provides for average gliding traits, despite the allegedly smooth high-gloss surface. The orientation often proves to be difficult because there is no feedback whatsoever, except for an illuminated bezel. Furthermore, the touchpad has been placed too far to the left in our opinion, which can end fatally when the WSAD keys are used (misfiring). Fortunately, the touchpad can be disabled via FN key combination. In return, there aren't any irregularities in its reliability and precision. Both mouse keys are alright in terms of pressure point, but could have done with a crisper triggering.

Keyboard
Touchpad

Display

mySN follows the latest trend and uses a FullHD screen in a 16:9 format in its 18.4 inch display. A resolution of 1920x1080 provides for fun amongst BluRay fans and a lot of place for working. Such a high computing effort has to first be mastered by a correspondingly powerful hardware in games.

204
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
202
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
203
cd/m²
193
cd/m²
200
cd/m²
196
cd/m²
Information
Maximum: 220 cd/m²
Average: 204.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 220 (Konst.) cd/m²
Black: 1.10 cd/m²
Contrast: 200:1
Distribution of brightness
Color space
Color space

The XMG8.c settles itself in the mid-range of display rates. The illumination of 88% can be described as being good to very good. Furthermore, an average illumination of 204.2 cd/m2 provides for a sufficiently bright image. In return, the contrast of 200:1 drops considerably and leads to insufficient differentiations in dark scenes (movies & games). The black value of 1.10 cd/m2 is also quite high. Ideal would be less than 0.4 cd/m2. Seen subjectively, the colors look fairly vivid and natural. Overall, we would have welcomed a better display quality in view of the price.

Intense reflections
Intense reflections

Just like outdoor use will remain to be a dream. We have to admit that hardly anyone will want to haul the brawny XMG8.c outside, but the intense reflections caused by the glossy surface should be mentioned anyway. It even comes to unpleasant reflections indoors, which stress the eyes unnecessarily.

Now we'll take a look at the viewing angles, which don't prove to be very good on the vertical plane. Already slight deviations suffice to falsify brightness and colors. We also have problems positioning the display so that one half of the screen doesn't drift off into gray. The horizontal viewing angles are a bit better but still average.

Viewing angles mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)
Viewing angles mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)

Performance

Turbo Boost
Turbo Boost

Before we start with the technical details, an important thing should be said first. Our original prototype apparently struggled with a technical problem, because SLI didn't lead to the wished performance gains. After mySN repaired the XMG8.c, we looked at the notebook again. This is why the actually finished review has had a delay. The listed rates and results naturally originate from the repaired notebook.

mySN hasn't been stingy with the processor and has equipped our prototype with the currently fastest quad-core from the Core i7 range. Intel's Core i7-920XM belongs to the wickedly expensive "Extreme Edition" and normally has a clock rate of 2.00 GHz. However, the clock rate can be boosted to 3.20 GHz by the in the meantime well-known Turbo Boost technology. This is done automatically without the user's interference and should provide for a proper performance gain. One catch here is the notebook's fan. If it doesn't play along, the turbo mode often remains disabled under higher load. But if you don't trust the turbo boost function, the CPU can also be set to the desired clock rate manually due to the free multiplicator.

A second Core i7-920XM feature is the hyperthreading technology, which takes care of the simulation of four additional CPU cores. Games currently hardly ever benefit from hyperthreading anymore, but certain applications can run significantly faster. Extreme Edition does justice to its name in terms of energy requirement. The Core i7-920XM treats itself to an extreme amount of energy with up to 55 watts. The other quad-cores of the Core i7 range are more humble in this relation with a maximum of 45 watts. Alike the Core i7-820QM, the Core i7-920XM can also serve with a lush 8 MB L2 cache. By the way, the Core i7-920XM, made up of 774 million transistors, is manufactured in a 45nm structure width (newer CPU already in 32nm).

GeForce GTX 285M SLI
GeForce GTX 285M SLI: The system has to be rebooted for changing to SLI

Whilst ATI has long since jumped on the DirectX 11 bandwaggon, Nvidia still has to be content with support for DirectX 10.1 at most. Apart from that fact, Nvidia offers one of the fastest graphic cards with the built-in GeForce GTX 285M. The GTX 285M primarily varies from its predecessor, GeForce GTX 280M, with a slightly higher clock rate. That is 600 MHz (core), 1000 MHz (memory) and 1500 MHz (shader) in the XMG8.c. The GTX 285M might be related to the desktop series' GTX200 with its name, but it's ultimately only a mobile alternative of the older G92b chip (e.g. desktop GeForce 9800 GTX+).

Technically, the GeForce GTX 285M, manufactured in a 55nm structure width, can fall back on 128 unified shaders. The GDDR3 video memory has a capacity of 1024 MB; the memory interface is 256 bit. The GTX 285M also comes close to Intel's i7-920XM with 754 million transistors. Features worth mentioning are the PureVideo HD technology (unloads the CPU while HD material is being computed) and the hardware-based PhysX interface support. The power consumption of up to 75 watts is almost exuberantly high. How well the GeForce GTX 285M can assert itself against ATI's competitors has interested us the most in the course of this review.

But now we don't only have one, but two GeForce GTX 285Ms that are supposed to provide for a considerable performance boost in an SLI network. The SLI has, alike its ATI counterpart Crossfire, a few limitations and restrictions that should be mentioned first. Thus, the SLI is very dependent on the graphic card driver and the support of each single game. If one participant doesn't play along, a second graphic card won't bring an advantage. For another thing, unsurprisingly the waste heat (notebook gets louder) and the power consumption (battery life gets shorter) increases, not to mention the enormous acquisition price, due to SLI.

The main problem of SLI is the phenomenon of so-called micro-stuttering. Because both graphic cards are alternately responsible for computing a frame, the period between each image can vary, which becomes subjectively noticeable in an enhanced stuttering, especially in a range below 30 fps. Due to this, as in the XMG8.c's case, it could very well be that an image appears much more homogeneous and stable with one single graphic card. Thus, for instance, 25 fps looks a lot more instable with an SLI system than in 20 fps when SLI is disabled. One more note: Whilst we practically could enable and disable the Alienware M17x "on the fly" in the test, the XMG8.c system had to be rebooted completely in a SLI change.

System info CPUZ SPD 1
System info CPUZ SPD 2
System info CPUZ Graphics
System info GPUZ
System info HDTune 1
System info HDTune 2
System info HDTune 3
System info HDTune 4
System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ Memory
System information mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)

The Core i7-920QM provides for outstanding results in the 64 instance of Cinebench R10 with 4320 points in the single-core and 13235 points in the multi-core rendering. Even Intel's strongest dual-core model, Core i7-620M, can't keep up with that and reaches 4224 points in single-core and 9090 points in multi-core rendering. When SLI is enabled, the OpenGL score increases from 449 to 5929 points.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4320 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
13235 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5929 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.87 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
32.04 fps
Help
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage10654 points
Help

Now for a look at the graphic-biased 3DMark results. The SLI can distinguish itself from a single GeForce GTX 285M by 14% in 3DMark05 and achieves 21611 instead of 18935 points. Thus, a GeForce GTX 285M is on about the level of a Radeon HD 5870 (18983 points) and SLI on par with a Radeon HD 4870  X2 (21688 points). The SLI provides for a performance boost of 26% 16608 rather than 13137 points in 3DMark06. The Radeon HD 4870, with 11127 points, is slower than the GTX 285M, the 5870 is, contrarily, a bit faster with 13451 points. The HD 4870 X2 has to admit defeat to the SLI competitor with 15151 points.

The largest differences can be seen in 3DMark Vantage. The GTX 285M, with 5501 points, can't even assert itself against the HD 4870 with 6139 points, let alone against the HD 5870 with 7638 points. SLI supplies an enormous performance boost of 91% with 5501 to 10511 points. The HD 4870 X2 can place itself a bit above that with 11105 points, though.

3D Mark
3DMark 0521611 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
16608 points
3DMark Vantage11233 points
Help

Already the rate of a single component can affect the total score of Windows 7's performance index. Not so with the mySN XMG8.c, because in opposition to most available notebooks, all components have been awarded invariably with more than seven points (maximum rate 7.9). Thus, the processor, the primary hard disk and the graphic card(s) can pride themselves with 7.3, respectively 7.4 points. The RAM even achieves an excellent 7.5 points.

7.3
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.3
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
7.3
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
7.3
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.4

A feature of the XMG8.c is the possibility to build in up to three hard disks. mySN has opted for a small 64 GB Samsung SSD in our prototype, which does its job as the system hard disk and, typical for SSDs, can score with outstanding rates. Both the transfer rates of averagely 152.2 MB/s, as well as the throughput rate of 123 MB/s are 2.3 times higher than of a normal HDD. The HDD finally has to ultimately capitulate with an access rate of 0.2 ms, which a SSD is able to accomplishing.

Aside from the fast SSD, mySN has put two further hard disks into the XMG8.c, which have been aligned as a RAID 0 network (higher performance). These are two 500 GB sized HDDs with 7200 rpm from Seagate. They can't keep up with the SSD in view of performance, but exceed most HDDs anyway, due to a very good transfer rate of 126.4 MB/s (due to RAID 0).

Samsung SSD 800 Series MMCRE64G5MXP
Transfer Rate Minimum: 107.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 157.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 152.2 MB/s
Access Time: 0.2 ms
Burst Rate: 123 MB/s
DPC Latency
DPC Latency: No irregularities

Performance Verdict

Classifying the processor is fairly simple: Intel's Core i7-920XM is one of the strongest mobile CPUs in the world, which supplies an extreme amount of performance even in the most demanding applications. This guarantees future security for the next few years. The Core i7-920XM is almost "over-powered" for games because the GPU limits it in any case.

Now to the graphic card: The GeForce GTX 285M can place itself centrally between a Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 5870 in the synthetic benchmarks. Nvidia can claim a razor thin victory with a difference of 2%, in the comparison of a GeForce GTX 285M  SLI and a Radeon HD 4870 X2. We'll now look closer at how massive the performance difference will be in games.

Gaming Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

A few notes first:

Forceware 187.82, which was pre-installed, was already the latest graphic card driver, which could be downloaded on Clevo's website (Nvidia's website has already reached version 197.16). The benchmark results could naturally vary with other driver versions (especially with SLI). As already in Alienware M17x's Crossfire system, there are single graphic errors to be reported in the XMG8.c SLI network. Whilst the HD 4870 X2 had its problems with Crysis (i.e. flickering textures), Battlefield Bad Company 2 revealed graphic mistakes in the GeForce GTX 285M (SLI).

Nevertheless, we executed all following benchmarks in the native FullHD resolution of 1920x1080 and resorted to demanding settings (for minimizing the processor's influence).

Modern Warfare 2

Unlike Bad Company 2, Modern Warfare 2 can even be played on weaker systems. We've disregarded this fact because we wanted to tickle as much as possible out of the GeForce GTX 285M with very high details (all on) and 4 x AA. It places itself between the Radeon HD 4870 (30.8 fps) and the Radeon HD 5870 (50.7 fps) with 43.3 fps, whereas the latter has the lead with a respectable 17%. When SLI is enabled, the performance increases only slightly from 43.3 to 44.6 fps by 3%. A Crossfire team of two Radeon HD 4870s compute 34% faster with 59.6 fps.

Anno 1404

Even after the seemingly 1000 benchmark run, we still just can't get enough of Anno 1404's beauty. The GeForce GTX 285M reaches a good 34.8 fps in very high pre-settings and with 4xAF. The Nvidia card can't hold a candle to its ATI components. Thus, the Radeon HD 4870 pulls away with 48.2 fps (39%) and the Radeon HD 5870 even with 55.7 fps (60%). The GTX 285M's performance almost doubles from 34.8 to 68.7 fps when SLI is enabled (+97%). The Radeon HD 4870 X2 is superior by 10% with 75.5 fps.

Bad Company 2

Bad Company 2 has an enormous hardware hunger even in lowered detail and so it's not surprising that the GeForce GTX 285M has an extremely hard time in high details (HBAO on), 4xAA and 8xAF: 26.0 fps aren't really enough for playing. The Radeon HD 5870 has just as a hard time with 33.1 fps, but is nevertheless faster by 27%. The GTX 285M combo's performance comes to a standstill with SLI in view of 25.9 fps.

Gaming Performance mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)
Gaming Performance mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)

Fear 2

F.E.A.R. 2 proves to be significantly more modest so that the GeForce GTX 285M conjures a very smooth image onto the screen with 47.6 fps in maximum details and 4xAA. F.E.A.R. 2, however, is known to be ATI territory, which is why both the HD 4870, with a slight 4% (49.3 fps), as well as the HD 5870, with an evident 33% (63.1 fps), can discern itself. When the second GeForce GTX 285M is added, the frame rate increases obviously by 84% from 47.6 to 87.7 fps. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 is once again a bit faster with 92.5 fps (5%).

Shift

Need for Speed has developed to a full-bodied mix of arcade and simulation in the course of a series' realignment. You can speak of a fun race experience with the GeForce GTS 285M in high details and 4xAA due to 38.6 fps. The Radeon HD 4870 is considerably slower with 30.7 fps, the Radeon HD 5870, in return, a bit faster with 41.5 fps. The refresh rate surprisingly drops from 38.6 to 37.8 fps with SLI. The Crossfire (HD 4870 X2) is, for once, evidently defeated with 25.0 fps.

Risen

The German role game, Risen, enjoys great popularity despite a few obsolete gaming elements. The unnamed hero can be directed quite pleasantly over the open island with the GeForce GTX 285M in high details and 4xAF, due to 30.3 fps. Once again, the Radeon HD 4870 lags slightly behind with 28.3 fps, and the Radeon HD 5870 is in control of the situation with 31.6 fps (+4%). When the second GeForce GTX 285M comes into play, the performance improves by almost two times, from 30.3 to 58.0 fps (+91%). The Radeon HD 4870 X2 is notably slower with 31.6 fps.

Gaming Performance mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)
Gaming Performance mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)

Crysis

The ego shooter, Crysis, still can push every notebook, no matter how fast, to its absolute performance limit. Crysis can still be played reasonably smooth in high details, despite a scanty 26.2 fps, in the integrated benchmark because the track isn't quite as demanding as inGame. An almost familiar picture on ATI's ground: The Radeon HD 4870 lags slightly behind with 24.8 fps; the Radeon HD 5870 takes the lead with 29.0 fps (+11%). Furthermore, Crysis is another game that can benefit from SLI noticeably in our test. 47.9 to 26.2 fps stand for a 83% performance increase. Not even the Radeon HD 4870 X2 has a chance with its 42.9 fps

We additionally tested Crysis in very high details, although this detail level doesn't run smoothly on any of our comparison graphic cards. Whilst the GeForce GTX 285M achieves 13.9 fps, the Radeon HD 4870 exceeds slightly with 14.5 fps (+4%), contrarily to high details. In return, it's a plus of 23% in the Radeon HD 5870, which achieves 17.1 fps. The frame rate yet again increases drastically from 13.9 to 26.9 fps (+94%) when SLI mode is used. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 is almost just as fast with 26.7 fps

Dirt 2

Dirt 2 looks are even a bit more visually enhanced by DirectX 11 features, like tessellation, but in return, has losses in performance. The GeForce GTX 285M can still just stay within a playable range with 32.9 fps in very high pre-settings and 4xAA. However, because the GeForce GTX 285M only is capable of DirectX 10, it is superior to the Radeon HD 5870 (30.9 fps) for the first time. The GeForce GTX 285M's performance unfortunately decreases from 32.9 to 30.8 fps with SLI. On the other side, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 experiences a hefty performance boost and has the lead with 50.4 fps, by 64%.

Gaming Performance Verdict

A few conclusions have become obvious after our comprehensive gaming benchmarks:

The GeForce GTX 285M can assert itself against the Radeon HD 4870 by 3%, with an average of 33.5 to 32.6 fps (due to the slightly higher clock rates in comparison to the GeForce GTX 280M). The GeForce GTX 285M doesn't even have the slightest chance against the brand new Radeon HD 5870 because the latter has a higher performance of 19%, with an average of 33.5 fps to 40.0 fps.

ATI's and Nvidia's battle of twin graphic cards is conceivably tight. In opposition to the application benchmarks, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 can be placed a bit in front of the GeForce GTX 285M SLI with an average of 50.5 to 50.3 fps. The gaming performance with SLI is enormous, but you should consider the purchase carefully because of the typical SLI/Crossfire diseases, such as the ominous micro-stuttering and the massive dependability on drivers/games.

In return, a single GeForce GTX 285M is a good investment for Nvidia fans, since it's able to provide for a very good performance even in high resolutions and demanding quality settings. If you don't care about the graphic card manufacturer, you'll take the Radeon HD 5870 because - as mentioned - it is about 19% faster and is a real added value to future security with DirectX 11.

Emissions

System Noise

Performance potent components cause a lot of waste heat and thus want to be cooled adequately. That's to say, they want to be taken care of by fast turning fans. Thus, it's not surprising that mySN XMG8.c attracts attention with a high noise development, at least under load. The notebook is slightly too well audible in idle mode with 32.9-34.2 dB(A). The soundscape increases drastically to 41.3 dB(A) under load, whereas even a very loud 48.6 dB(A) can be reached under full load. In addition, the fan noise is fairly high-pitched under load and therefore can get disagreeable in the long run. Many users will likely find the fan noise together with the high volume extremely disturbing, which is why only noise resistant users should grab the XMG8.c. The optical drive can only be heard in idle mode during DVD rendering, with 39.0 dB(A). In return, if the drive is busy with data accessing, it develops an unpleasant noise, which is very audible even under load.

Noise Level

Idle 32.9 / 33.2 / 34.2 dB(A)
DVD 39.0 / dB(A)
Load 41.3 / 48.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)
Temp. idle
Temp. idle
Temp. load
Temp. load
GPU throttling
GPU throttling

Temperature

The XMG8.c has enough place for a sophisticated cooling due to its 18.4 inch size. This has the effect that the surface temperatures stay within an acceptable limit. Thus, both the bottom (maximum 27.8°C), as well as the upper side (maximum 28.6°C) stay pleasantly cool. The temperatures, of course, increase notably under load and the bottom heats up to 41.5°C. The upper side gets even warmer with a maximum of 47.7°C. But because the wrist-rests reach a maximum of 33°C, the hands are only warmed a bit.

We've recorded the components temperatures with assistance from "CPUID Hardware Monitor". The CPU is adequately cooled in idle mode with 42°C. Both Nvidia graphic cards have a temperature of about 40°C. In succession to this, we put the XMG8.c under load for several hours with the tools, Furmark and Prime. The CPU temperature increased notably to a still fully reasonable 78°C. Only a temperature difference of 10°C were recorded for the graphic cards. Whilst one GTX 285M ran with 60°C, the other GeForce achieved 70°C - both good rates.

Max. Load
 42.1 °C46.0 °C35.3 °C 
 38.6 °C47.7 °C38.2 °C 
 33.3 °C31.8 °C26.6 °C 
 
41.5 °C40.3 °C35.7 °C
25.9 °C37.8 °C29.7 °C
22.8 °C32.0 °C32.2 °C
Maximum: 47.7 °C
Average: 37.7 °C
 Maximum: 41.5 °C
Average: 33.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  44.6 °C | Room Temperature 20.0 °C

Loudspeakers

Although there is a subwoofer on the case's bottom, the given sound quality proves to be under average. The bass makes a poor impression because of a vague and imprecise representation. Furthermore, the sound appears dull and without dynamics. The loudspeakers could be set to a fairly high maximum volume, but they then sound very unpleasant, though. Thus, using an external sound system shouldn't be waived on in any case.

Readers Test
Maximum battery life (Readers Test)
Classic Test
Minimum battery life (Classic Test)

A further disadvantage of high-end components is a very high power consumption, which even brings the best battery to its knees. When both graphic cards are enabled and the XMG8.c is put under load (BatteryEater's Classic test), the battery life is only a meager 47 minutes with maximum brightness and disabled energy savings options. But even when SLI is disabled and its set to moderate energy savings options, the battery life hardly increases: 55 minutes for DVD rendering are more than disappointing. It doesn't look much better with 60 minutes of internet surfing via the integrated WLAN. The XMG8.c finally has to go back to the mains after only 77 minutes when the brightness is set to minimum and the energy savings options to maximum, as well as letting the notebook run idle (BatteryEater's Reader's test). As you've probably noticed, the XMG8.c has been definitely designed as a desktop replacement, which should optimally always be connected to the mains.

Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
1h 17min
WiFi Surfing
1h 00min
DVD
0h 55min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 47min

There's no surprise in the power consumption. A high-end CPU and a SLI network of two graphic cards take their toll with up to 45 watts and 150 watt, respectively. Whilst the XMG8.c already consumes as much as an average multimedia notebook under load with 48.4-69.9 watts, the XMG8.c consumes up to 272 watts under the corresponding load (Furmark + Prime). That's even significantly more than the already generously sized 220 watt adapter can cope with.

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.5 / 1.1 Watt
Idle 48.4 / 67.7 / 69.9 Watt
Load 158.4 / 272.0 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         

Verdict

The XMG8.c has uncompromisingly been made for performance... with the correlating effects: The power consumption is extremely high, the battery runtime is more than just disappointing and the noise development under load is very unpleasant. Additionally, the massive case is extremely heavy with 5.6 kg and lacks almost any mobility in combination with the sensitive high-gloss surfaces and intensely reflective display. We also miss a better sound and a higher contrast of the quite luminous display. The very good application and gaming performance have to be listed on the pro side beside the fast hard disk, whereas up to three units can be built into the XMG8.c's solid case.

If you can live with the high noise development, you'll find a very powerful desktop replacement in the XMG8.c, which surpasses the majority of gaming notebooks due to two GeForce GTX 285M.

mySN XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)

Addendum to the review.

 

Because a few games couldn't benefit from SLI, we subsequently installed the latest Nvidia driver, 197.16, to see if there would be any performance differences. The answer is YES. All "problem tracks" ran noticeably faster under SLI after the driver update.

The resolution was, as in the test, 1920x1080; the 197.16 driver version was used, instead of 187.82.

Game 187.82 197.16 + %
Dirt 2 (Very High, 4x AA) 30.8 fps 69.9 fps + 126 %
Bad Company 2 (High, HBAO on, 4x AA, 8x AF) 25.9 fps 50.6 fps + 95 %
Modern Warfare 2 (Very High, all on, 4x AA) 44.6 fps 84.3 fps + 89 %
Shift (High, 4x AA) 37.8 fps 79.8 fps + 111 %
In Review: mySN XMG8.c Desktop-Replacement
In Review:  mySN XMG8.c Desktop-Replacement

Specifications

Schenker XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel PM55
:: Memory
4096 MB, 2x 2048 MByte DDR3-10700 (1333 MHz)
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285M SLI - 1024 MB, Core: 600 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, Shadertakt: 1500 MHz, GDDR3, 187.82 (nachträglich 197.16)
:: Display
18.4 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Monitor ID: CMO1803, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Samsung SSD 800 Series MMCRE64G5MXP, 64 GB + zwei Seagate Momentus ST9500420AS HDDs mit je 500 GByte im RAID 0 (7200 U/min)
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC888
:: Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 4 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, 1 DVI, 2 HDMI, 1 S-Video, 1 Infrared, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: 4x Sound (inkl. 7.1 Ausgabe und SPDIF), Card Reader: MMC RSMMC MS MS Pro MS Duo SD mini-SD,
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8168D/8111D Family PCI-E GBE NIC (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN (a g n ), 2.1 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
Panasonic UJ-240
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 70 x 440 x 300
:: Weight
5.6 kg
:: Battery
68.82 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Modell-Nummer: M980BAT-4
:: Price
3576 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2.0 Megapixel, Handbuch, Treiber- & Software-CD, Nero 9 Essentials, PowerDVD 9, 24-48 Months Warranty

 

Intel's Core i7-920M is the fastest mobile quad-core processor.
Intel's Core i7-920M is the fastest mobile quad-core processor.
A 4 GB DDR3 RAM with 1333 MHz prevent bottlenecks.
A 4 GB DDR3 RAM with 1333 MHz prevent bottlenecks.
A big cooling body takes care of the processor's waste heat.
A big cooling body takes care of the processor's waste heat.
The XMG8.c has a subwoofer...
The XMG8.c has a subwoofer...
...but the given sound is weak anyway.
...but the given sound is weak anyway.
Two air intakes provide the graphic cards with fresh air.
Two air intakes provide the graphic cards with fresh air.
The battery has to be fastened awkwardly.
The battery has to be fastened awkwardly.
The energy hungry components force the battery life to its knees.
The energy hungry components force the battery life to its knees.
The stable hinges let the base unit lift when opening.
The stable hinges let the base unit lift when opening.
8 "hot keys" allow fast access to important functions.
8 "hot keys" allow fast access to important functions.
Chic and practical volume control.
Chic and practical volume control.
The 8 "GamingKeys" remind of Logitech's G-Series keyboards.
The 8 "GamingKeys" remind of Logitech's G-Series keyboards.
The glossy wrist-rest reflects extremely.
The glossy wrist-rest reflects extremely.
A fingerprint scanner is found between the touchpad keys.
A fingerprint scanner is found between the touchpad keys.
All keys have a pleasant keys.
All keys have a pleasant keys.
Of course, a separate number pad shouldn't be left out.
Of course, a separate number pad shouldn't be left out.
Status LEDs are hidden on the front.
Status LEDs are hidden on the front.
The unusually shaped DC-in in on the rear.
The unusually shaped DC-in in on the rear.
DVI and 2 USB 2.0 are on the left.
DVI and 2 USB 2.0 are on the left.
The RJ-45 gigabit LAN, HDMI, a 7-in-1 cardreader and the optical drive follow.
The RJ-45 gigabit LAN, HDMI, a 7-in-1 cardreader and the optical drive follow.
An ExpressCard slot, a HDMI-in and Firewire port finish it.
An ExpressCard slot, a HDMI-in and Firewire port finish it.
Four audio sockets can emit a 7.1 signal when required.
Four audio sockets can emit a 7.1 signal when required.
Two further USB 2.0 ports and a Kensington lock are also on the right.
Two further USB 2.0 ports and a Kensington lock are also on the right.
The chic power button is lighted in activity.
The chic power button is lighted in activity.
The adapter has turned out very voluminous.
The adapter has turned out very voluminous.
The high-gloss surfaces are very sensitive...
The high-gloss surfaces are very sensitive...
...and are perfect for use as a mirror.
...and are perfect for use as a mirror.
The heavy case looks very brawny.
The heavy case looks very brawny.
The maximum opening angle is moderate.
The maximum opening angle is moderate.
A bulgy mySN SMG logo adorns the display lid.
A bulgy mySN SMG logo adorns the display lid.
The battery is inserted in the case's bottom.
The battery is inserted in the case's bottom.
One hard disk is found under the battery, and two more behind an own cover.
One hard disk is found under the battery, and two more behind an own cover.
A SSD supplies excellent performance as the system hard disk.
A SSD supplies excellent performance as the system hard disk.
Two further 500 GB HDDs with a fast 7200 rpm supply the necessary memory space in a RAID 0 network.
Two further 500 GB HDDs with a fast 7200 rpm supply the necessary memory space in a RAID 0 network.
The GPUs, the CPU and the RAM are accessible under the big cover.
The GPUs, the CPU and the RAM are accessible under the big cover.
You have to be careful to not rip off the fan cable when you open the notebook.
You have to be careful to not rip off the fan cable when you open the notebook.
Two GeForce GTX 285M from Nvidia are supposed to be a guarantee for an excellent gaming performance.
Two GeForce GTX 285M from Nvidia are supposed to be a guarantee for an excellent gaming performance.
Both graphic cards occupy about 1/4 of the case.
Both graphic cards occupy about 1/4 of the case.

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Pro

+Very high application and gaming performance
+Solid case
+Fast hard disks
+Room for up to three hard disks
+Fairly cool wrist-rest
+Full-fledged desktop replacement
 

Contra

-Heavy and massive case
-Sensitive high-gloss surfaces
-Reflective display with a high black value and average contrast
-Throttles under full load
-Very loud and unpleasant operating noise under load
-Extremely high energy requirement
-Disappointing battery life
-Average sound

Shortcut

What we like

The second GeForce GTX 285M provides for a considerable performance boost in some games (e.g. Crysis).

What we miss

A low operating noise. The XMG8.c does its job quite loud under load.

What surprises us

The three built-in hard disk are very fast on the one hand and provide more than enough memory capacity on the other.

The competitors

Powerful desktop replacements with SLI or Crossfire, like Alienware's M17x, Deviltech's HellMachine SLI, Cyber System Qi18, Notebookguru's Earth 17 or the Hawkforce M18.G1 (Katana).

Rating

Schenker XMG8.c (GTX 285M SLI)
12/05/2010 v2
Florian Glaser

Chassis
82%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
70%
Connectivity
90%
Weight
40%
Battery
42%
Display
66%
Games Performance
94%
Application Performance
93%
Temperature
77%
Noise
73%
Add Points
80%
Average
74%
80%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review mySN XMG8.c (Clevo X8100) Notebook
Author: Florian Glaser, 2010-04-12 (Update: 2013-06- 6)