Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review of the ILLEGEAR RS-17

Someone once asked me if they should just buy a laptop instead of a desktop and I would then rattle off the pros and cons of a laptop as opposed to a desktop. Like, you have a complete and easy-to-carry PC or that the price includes an LCD monitor, speakers, keyboard and ‘mouse’. But then you have problems of not upgradable CPUs and GPUs or that if one component starts pushes up daisies the whole system still has to go for ‘repair’ under warranty.

Once you have come to terms with ups and downs of owning a laptop is the next question is “What is the right one for me?”  If you are the average Net Freak, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, a little office work, movies and music then most RM1200 to RM1800 laptops are good for you. For gamers I answered that the best I can with the review of the RS-15 on what to look out for but supposed you’re looking for a little ‘Oomph’?

Well maybe little more than just ‘oomph’, especially when you are considering the RX-17 line from ILLEGEAR. Important specs of the base configuration are 17.3” LED backlit screen at 1920x1080, Intel i7 4700MQ, Dual NVIDIA GTX 765M in SLI setup with 2GB GDDR5, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 500GB WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm, Thunderbolt port, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 and 2.1 Onkyo Speakers.
You can upgrade the CPU up an i7 4930MX, slap in RAM up to 32GB, maybe run RAID 0 for both dual HDDs and dual mSATA SSDs at the same time and just for kicks rock a Dual GTX 780M 4GB in SLI mode. How is that for some extreme sports?

The RX-17 is handsomely made, yes is a bit bulky but then you are not driving a Mini here but a full fledge all terrain 4-wheel drive of a PC. The keyboard is full sized and has a very nice tactile feel, same as the clickable touchpad. There are four USB 3 ports available for you to use, two on the right and two at the rear. Also on the right you find the ultra-fast external storage ports; the Thunderbolt port and the USB 3/eSATA combo port. For you luxury car fans out there, there are optional automotive colour finishes of your favourite cars for you to choose from in case you do not like the default matte black colour. And ILLEGEAR provides a free backpack carry your RX-17 should you want to ‘pwn’ the wannabes at Starbucks.

On the left of the laptop it is rather lonely with the card reader and the headphone jack with 7.1 output jacks for sound.

Enough with the specs, I know you guys want to know the results of my testing on this bad boy. The review unit I had was completely the base configuration except for the killer GTX 780M 4GB in SLI so my results will be based on that setup.

For the benchmarks I got 8299 on 3DMark 2013 Fire Strike Basic Edition, 2718 with 107.8FPS on Unigine Heaven 4.0 max details and 4096 with 97.9 FPS on Unigine Valley 1.0 on max details. Cinebench 11.5 I scored 60.83 FPS on OpenGL with 6.92 on CPU and on Geekbench 2.4.2 32bit I scored a 10474 points. While playing Crysis 3 I got an average of 41 FPS and maximum 62 FPS on max graphics. Note that is with the AC plugged in, when you go mobile your scores drop to half to save battery life. Speaking of battery life, I manage to run Unigine Heaven 4.0 on max details for 1 hour and 14 minutes before the battery gave up the ghost.

Now those with experience know the badder the laptop the more heat it makes and medium rare is on the menu and Café Le Thigh but the RX-17 is again solidly built. Gaming temperatures at the bottom of laptop hang below 40C on normal usage and around 46C on the keyboard considering that internal temperatures for the CPU and GPUs are both 83C and air vent exhaust is 58C. The idle temperatures for CPU and GPUs are 52C and 40C respectively.

Those of us that like a little relaxation after a hard day of gaming will enjoy excellent clarity of the 17.3” LED LCD when watching HD content with Onkyo speakers pushing out audio decently well. But if you are a fussy pot you can hook up your 7.1 speaker setup so you can rattle the fillings out of your neighbour’s teeth.
It is not all rainbows and sun shine with the RX-17 though and power usage is one issue I do have to bring up. With the laptop off but plugged in and fully charge there is a steady 11 watt draw of power. While off and charging the battery you get 22 watt draw. And finally while powered on but idle it draws around 50 watts and a maximum of 143 watts in Crysis 3.

Another is that the Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 is actually a software emulation with appropriate third party hardware namely the RealTek audio chip. I wish this was made a little more clearly in the labelling but none the less as you read above it sounds awesome just the same.

The RX-17 an awesome machine from a standpoint of upgradability to a monster video/photo production or gaming laptop. ILLEGEAR has once again provided not only a high end product but one that does not dictate its own rules but bows down to yours.

Model:
ILLEGEAR RX-17

Manufacturer:
ILLEGEAR

Price:
RM6799 (base model)

Inquiries:
www.illegear.com  
+(60)-7-7728381

Specifications (base model):
4th Generation Intel Core i7-4700MQ Processor, Intel HM87 Express Chipset , x2 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M GPU 2GB GDDR5, 17.3" Full HD (1920x1080) LED Backlit Display, 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz RAM, 500GB 7200rpm WD Scorpio Black, Sound Blaster X-FI MB3, Onkyo Speakers & Subwoofer, Thunderbolt, HDMI Output, 802.11 B+G+N Wireless LAN + Bluetooth Combo Module, 8X DVDRW DL Writer, Colour Programmable Backlit Keyboard, Fingerprint Scanner, Removable 89.21WH 8 cells Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack, 1 Year Limited Warranty with Onsite Pickup (Malaysian and Singapore) and a free Backpack.

Verdict: 4 1/2
Pros: Thunderbolt, SLI graphics doubles performance,

Cons: Weight, big power brick, uses a lot of electricity on AC due to high end parts
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