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Portables Entertainment Games Hardware

Review of WidowPC Sting 917 Gaming Laptop 276

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i've-had-portables-smaller-than-the-power-cube dept.
It is absolutely gigantic. I've never had a laptop this giant. It is huge both in terms of dimensions, weight, and specs. The resolution of this screen is larger than all but one of my desktops. It has more disk space on it's two (yes two) hard drives than any laptop and almost any desktop. It has an honest to god numeric keypad, but it's sitting on my lap. It's the WidowPC Sting 917 and I put it through it's paces, using it as my primary gaming machine for a month. And I write about it below.

Let me start by offering some perspective: most of my gaming is sadly done on a Mac. I have no Mac capable to truly running most modern video games. I always turn the video settings down to just below pathetic, and even then I'm fortunate to get tolerably smooth video. It's just something you sort of learn to accept when you have a Mac. Every game I play on it is just a little short of steller when compared to running on a PC. But my newest Windows capable machine is 3 years old, and a joke by today's standards.

This machine came well equipped: A 3.66ghz P4 w/ 2MB of L2 Cache, 1 gig of 533MHz DDR2 RAM, an Nvidia 6800 Ultra w/ 256MB ram, and not one, but TWO drives, a 60gb 7200 RPM for the OS, and a 100 GB 5400 RPM drive for games. It came in minimal packaging- inside the box was little more than a laptop bag containing the manuals and a few cables. Which is good because all that bloat distracts me from my primary mission: It installed my Warcrack in moments and patched up in probably half the time I was expecting it to take.

With that I hoisted the gigantic beast upon my lap, connected my mouse and began to play. Glorious, lickabley smooth graphics. I turned on every single graphics option and restarted the game, only to discover that there was a level of graphical detail in this game that I didn't know existed. Frames never dropped. Capital cities ceased being slide shows and turned into the bustling metropolis of activity that they are meant to be. 15 man boss fights became liquid fast. In short, having real hardware made my favorite game more fun to play. I'd also like to think it made me a better player, but that might be pushing it.

Likewise the audio gave me a surprising thrill. Walking into rooms and hearing acoustic affects. Voices echoing off walls really give spaces a powerful sense of space. The speakers on this machine are great for laptops. Sure your home stereo sounds better. Hell I bet $50 PC speakers sound better, but for built-ins, it was quite nice.

This new gaming experience does not come without tradeoffs. The first thing you will immediately notice about this monster is the screen. Besides having a 1900x1200 resolution screen, it is incredibly shiny. Frusteratingly so. I found myself closing drapes, turning off lights, and even after that, when I entered a dark room, I'd see my reflection shining back at me. Maybe this is simply a personal preference, but I really struggled to see details in dark scenes. I had to throw the gamma settings way up and sacrifice any contrast to see certain things without straining my eye. This might be the single biggest flaw in the machine.

Next up is weight. This thing is heavy. Everyone I showed this machine to was asked to pick it up. No really, I'd say: pick it up. They'd look at me cockeyed and then comply. Without fail they were surprised at the density of this beast. It was kind of a strange experience, watching people lift and then realize that this thing weighed like 20-30% more than you expect. The website says that this thing weighs 11lbs but it sure felt like more.

The thing is huge. It came with a cheapy little case that fit the laptop quite snuggly, but no other bag in my house came close to carrying it. And I've had some big machines over the years. You should expect to need a custom bag. I never hauled this machine through an airport, but I imagine it would suck wipping this out in security. Even the power cube is gigantic. I've actually had handheld computers about the same size as this thing's power cube.

Also worth noting is heat. There is a giant fan on the left hand side that really does an impressive job of moving the heat outside of the case. And onto whatever is sitting next to you. Let's just say my cats were not so excited to sleep next to me. I've used laptops that were physically uncomfortably hot on the lap, and this machine never got to that point. Instead, it simply would turn off. In the middle of the game. No warning. Very unpleasant. I borrowed a little mini lap desk and then there were no heat problems, provided I left the fans completely unobstructed, and used the machine only on a hard flat surface.

With this giant machine comes a full assortment of ports. And not the miniature custom ports some vendors pass off, but rather full sized real ports without stupid dongles to lose. Of course, since bluetooth and 802.11 is built in, the only port you hopefully will need is power.

The short and long of this machine is that it is heavy and hot. The base model costs $2700 but as I reviewed it, it was more like $3200. And this is one laptop that probably shouldn't be used on your lap: the weight, heat, and random freeze-ups when given improper breathing room pretty well kill that. But if you have the cash to spare, this is a sweet machine. It plays games as well as most any desktop I've seen. It added a level of playability to my favorite game. It has the stones to handle the heaviest 3D games of today, and will likely be able to play the cutting edge games for several weeks into the future. I know most people can't afford a machine like this... but if you can, you'll definitely be envied by your friends next time you haul it out at a LAN party... it's a hell of a lot sexier than lugging around a monitor and a mini-atx based machine. I'm sad to let the review unit go back to WidowPC.

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Review of WidowPC Sting 917 Gaming Laptop

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  • by stupidfoo (836212) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:01AM (#14246458)
    Did I toggle off slashvertisements?
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:02AM (#14246473) Homepage Journal
    Its hard to see it without one.
  • No link? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Donniedarkness (895066) <Donniedarkness AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:05AM (#14246502) Homepage
    All that, and no link to the product?
  • Can you run the most recent distributed.net [distributed.net] client for this system, and provide us with the typical keys/second value you obtain?

    While not a perfect benchmark by any means, and highly dependent upon which core is used (ie. the algorithm and implementation), it is often a useful test to quantify how a machine performs.

  • by general_re (8883) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:07AM (#14246541) Homepage
    With all that shit bolted on to the thing, battery life is surely going to be around eleven seconds once you unplug it - an assumption on my part that's surely confirmed by the fact that neither Taco nor the mfr's website bother to discuss battery time. So why not make it into a luggable computer? Leave off the battery, and shave that lardass down to merely ridiculous levels of heaviness instead of insanely heavy.
    • Leave off the battery, and shave that lardass down to merely ridiculous levels of heaviness instead of insanely heavy.

      Truely, this is a "desktop replacement" - desktop specs, smaller footprint. I equate this to something like an iMac. But the up side is if you leave IN the battery, a brownout/blackout won't stop the machine, lose any work, or fry your innards. So this is a small-footprint desktop gaming PC with built-in battery backup. Sounds ok to me.

      • Does that happen often enough to justify the price? That is, the last time we had an unexpected power cut here was two years ago, and that was while a hurricane was blowing through town, so it wasn't all that unexpected to begin with. Nor was I interested in doing much gaming at the time anyway :)

        In any case, if it does happen that often - e.g., you live in California or some third-world country with an unreliable power grid - wouldn't you be better off getting a UPS? I've gotta believe that a SFF desk

        • Can you fold up your SFF PC, throw it into a bag, throw it into the car, and be able to fire it up at your next destination in under a minute?

          That's the difference between buying a SFF and buying a desktop-replacement notebook. Low-end desktop replacements are CHEAP, too... acceptable specs for under $1000 from Dell, versus gamer specs for $3000 from this company.
          • But that's my point - if that's what you're doing with the thing, you're never really using the battery in the first place, and hence you don't really need one, so therefore the battery is just deadweight. Leave it off and give your back a break :)
            • Not quite! You can diddle bits until the very moment you have to leave, slap the lid shut, unplug and run. It does the swap/thrash/hiberate/cryogenic thing - on battery - while you're motoring down the hallway. Yes, you're shlepping two pounds to save ten seconds, but I tell you, staring at the box, willing it to hibernate faster, before you can unplug, ooh that'll age you.
              • Ah, c'mon. Let's be honest - for this thing, "diddle bits" = "play games". For virtually any other task, it's not worth the weight or the expense. And I don't know about you, but I rarely play games on a deadline, such that the twenty seconds it takes to hibernate are critical :)
        • In any case, if it does happen that often - e.g., you live in California or some third-world country with an unreliable power grid - wouldn't you be better off getting a UPS? I've gotta believe that a SFF desktop with comparable specs + UPS is still less than this thing costs.

          I live in an apartment complex in NJ, and man alive is the power setup horrible. Probably originally wired in the 60s, and that was the last time. Brownouts and power surges are a regular thing, as are blackouts during - I shit y

        • ...if it does happen that often - e.g., you live in California or some third-world country with an unreliable power grid...

          Central Pennsylvania may not qualify as a "third-world country", but I guess in some respects it's close. :)

          In the small town where I live, we only have maybe 2 or 3 "sustained" blackouts a year. By that I mean more than a few seconds, typically minutes our hours. But far more common (about twice a month) is the power "blink", where some idiot drunk driver hits a pole a few miles a
    • by hahiss (696716) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:53AM (#14247055) Homepage
      Oh, it isn't that bad, I'm using one now to post from a coffee shop and I'm getting fine po
  • by Anonymous Coward
    WindowPC Laptops [widowpc.com].
  • Ummm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by platypussrex (594064)
    Who is this person? Why did they get their free loaner (to advertise here perhaps), and why is there no link to anything useful about the machine?
  • Link to said laptop (Score:5, Informative)

    by neosake (655724) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:08AM (#14246560) Homepage
    Here's a link [widowpc.com] to the sting 917.

    I read teh review, was like ok, it's big, but what's inside?
    Here it is:
    • Choice of nVidia 7800 GTX, ATI x800 , or nVidia Quadro 1400 video cards with 256MB DDR3 memory
    • Intel Desktop Pentium 4 600 Series Extreme Edition CPU with 2MB L2 Cache
    • 17 inch 1900 x 1200 WUXGA+ LCD with ClearView SuperBrite Technology
    • PCI-Express graphics technology
    • Apacer 533Mhz Dual Channel DDR2 RAM
    • Fujitsu SATA and Ultra ATA drives with commanding queuing
    • New 600 series 64 bit P4 w/ 2MB cache
    • Phoenix BIOS
    • Full size keyboard
    • Fully user upgradeable video & CPU
    • Full desktop CPU combined with incredibly fast graphics power
    • More powerful than most desktops
    • TV tuner with remote available
    • A 17" widescreen with 1900x1200 res? That's not amazing resolution. That's normal. I'm not bragging, but my laptop 15.4" widescreen and it's resolution is 1920x1200. My last laptop was a normal 15.4" and it's res was 1600x1200.

      I'll grant that that laptop has a few nice bells and whistles, but nothing Alienware or even the Dell XPS's don't offer. (yeah, both my laptops are/were from Dell).

    • Why cant they make a 16:9 laptop, not 15:9, not 16:10 ...

      I guess everyone loves the GlareBright (tm) screens too.
      • 16:10 is to have menu / toolbar / timeline access while watching a 16:9 movie. Or more likely to edit one. Or thats my justification for it anyway. I don't mind the black bars during the movie part if the ratio lets me have two full 16:9 windows in 2up mode and my final cut timeline underneath it.
    • Psssh, I guess that laptop is... OK ;)

      Check THIS [eurocom.com] out.

      Its a Eurocom F-Bomb. Here are some specs:

      Superb 17.1-inch WUXGA 1920-by-1200 pixels with Super Clear Glossy Surface
      - Fully 64-bit capable supernotebook
      - Processor: socket based, fully upgradeable, single or dual core, 64-bit
      * up to 4800+ AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core; 939-pin; 1MB cache
      * up to 4000+ AMD Athlon 64 FX57; 939-pin; 1MB cache; single core
      - Memory: up to 2GB DDR400 SODIMM; 2 sockets
      - Choice of Video with EUROCOM upgradeable VGA technology:
      * 25
  • Off the Mark (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oculus Habent (562837) * <oculus.habent@gm ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:09AM (#14246569) Journal
    "Laptop" is not a valid term for this product, as he mentions in his review. It can be called "portable", but it would not be advisable to place this twelve-pound heat-sterilizer on your lap. Taco mentions it randomly shutting off due to heat.

    That said, who has a lap big enough for it? Let me give you the key points:

    Dimensions: 15.6"(W) x 11.7"(D) x 1.95"(H)
    Weight: 11.3 lbs. with Battery

    That is almost the size of two reams of paper .

    Product Link [widowpc.com] for reference.
    • I see this more for a gamer that goes to a lot of Lan Parties... easier to take this than your desktop, monitor, keyboard, mouse, power cords, network cables.....

      Other than that... a paperweight you spent WAY too much for.

    • No question, "laptop" isn't the right term. "Suitcase," more like.

      Sure seems like you'd use this almost exclusively for the LAN party circuit. It's pitched at the niche market of gamers too. I guess we're sick of toting our cables and whatnot around by now.

    • There are numerous clones of this machine - Among others Keynux, Mesh, and AJP. I have the latter and it only weigh about 5 kilos. It isn't actually that much of a chore to commute on the metro with (although I am fairly sturdy). One thing I did notice was that a good bag makes it seem a lot lighter on the shoulder. And I second what was said higher up re the battery - it's basically a UPS. Certainly doesn't last Paris to Brussels by train - 1 hour 15ish.
  • Made by Clevo (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_cowgod (133070) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:10AM (#14246573)
    Looks like this machine is manufactured by Clevo [clevo.com.tw], the Clevo D900T [clevo.com.tw]... It's also sold by Alienware (Alienware Area-51 m7700 [alienware.com]) and probably a few other vendors
  • ...a waste of money. Here's one player that never wins at monopoly!

    Seriously, wait 18 months and the price of this rig drops by 50%. Until then, I'm quite content to play in 1024x768 at 60Hz with medium textures; and you know, it doesn't bother me in the least.

    See you in the land of the lagless low ping times!
    • Or, y'know, buying a nice, portable-friendly desktop case and a big LCD. Less "portable", sure, but it has a much, much longer upgrade lifespan. I haven't been a hardcore gamer uh... since I stopped being employed fulltime in lieu of travel and grad school, but were I to get back into it, I'd invest in a desktop.
    • Seriously, wait 18 months and the price of this rig drops by 50%. Until then, I'm quite content to play in 1024x768 at 60Hz with medium textures; and you know, it doesn't bother me in the least.


      Don't do that. 800x600 at 72Hz is okay, but 60Hz is more than likely to give you a headache.
      • "Seriously, wait 18 months and the price of this rig drops by 50%. Until then, I'm quite content to play in 1024x768 at 60Hz with medium textures; and you know, it doesn't bother me in the least."

        Don't do that. 800x600 at 72Hz is okay, but 60Hz is more than likely to give you a headache.


        It's a safe bet that he is referring to a flat panel. I picked up a dirt cheap 15" flat panel and saved the box so I could cart it to LAN parties. Combine that with a Shuttle-like system, easy to move, low footprint,
      • You might say 60Hz really Hz the eyes.
  • by xutopia (469129) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:11AM (#14246592) Homepage
    This xmas I'm switching to desktop. I've ordered parts and will be building a very nice rig for gaming. The reasons?

    - more power
    - less neck sores (adjustable height monitor)
    - bigger monitor
    - cheaper than getting something equivalent in laptop form

    The only downside is that I love laptop keyboards. If anyone knew of a place where I could buy a plugable USB keyboard the size and shape similar to what you would find on a laptop it would make me really happy for xmas.

  • See them here (Score:4, Informative)

    by eyepeepackets (33477) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:11AM (#14246596)
    At Sager:

    http://www.sagernotebook.com/pages/web_specials.ht ml [sagernotebook.com]

    At PCTorque:

    http://www.pctorque.com/sager-laptops.php [pctorque.com]

    A sample desktop screenshot, wsxga:

    http://public.fotki.com/Marspoet/desktops/windowma ker02.html [fotki.com]

    Place where people talk about them:

    http://www.notebookforums.com/ [notebookforums.com]

  • by inkdesign (7389) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:12AM (#14246604)
    To test the battery life, I took a trip on the bus to simulate an average commuter's experience. After 25 minutes, the laptop was dead. When the bus made it back to my stop, I discovered my legs had fallen asleep from the weight! I ended up riding the bus all day, unable to leave my seat, and too afraid to move the computer from my lap, knowing I could not give chase to any potential thief until my legs had recovered.

    This may be the system's biggest flaw.
    • Re:Extra Paragraph (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eyepeepackets (33477)
      These are DTRs: Desk Top Replacements. They aren't meant to replace the light and mobile laptops. Think a full-powered desktop equivalent you can shove in your backpack and take to the LAN party or back and forth to work.

      Comparing these to light and mobile laptops is a false comparison as that is not what these machines are made to be or do.

      Cheers

       
      • Re:Extra Paragraph (Score:3, Interesting)

        by daviddennis (10926)
        He's probably comparing this with the 17" Apple PowerBook, and that's why he thinks the resolution on this laptop is high. The latest 17" PowerBook has 1600x1000 resolution, which is a step lower.

        I'm getting the 17" PowerBook shortly, and I have to say its resolution looks pretty good. I don't think I could read type much smaller, so I'm not sure how much gain higher resolution gives you, and I'm a screen size junkie (I have a 23" Cinema Display which is 1920x1200, or the same resolution as the test lapto
        • So I think as a desktop replacement, the 17" PowerBook with its 4 hour battery life, large screen and 6 pound weight (half of the review unit) is a lot more practical, and at $2,500 it's even a bit cheaper.
          I think this thing is designed for games. A PowerBook doesn't fill that role.
    • Are you really going to chase after the super-strong thief that can run with this monster, even if you could?
    • I know you wrote this as a joke, but it may amuse you to find you're not that far off [laptopmag.com]. According to this review, the battery life is about 57 minutes. A truly pathetic excuse for a portable.
  • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:13AM (#14246624) Homepage
    you'll definitely be envied by your friends next time you haul it out at a LAN party... it's a hell of a lot sexier than lugging around a monitor and a mini-atx based machine. I'm sad to let the review unit go back to WidowPC.

    Personally, I would guess that your friends would be far more envious if you had a super sleek machine that wasn't noisy, hot, and HUGE but still offered good graphics, response, and the *possibily* of child rearing if you could get a girl.

    That's me though.
  • Sure its alot of money, but I'm sure many people here remember buying a 286 system when they first came out for 2-3 thousand with a monochrome display and a 10meg harddrive :) I still have a 286 laptop in the basement if anyone is interested. It only weighs like 15lb and has a battery life of 20 minutes ;)

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • Does anyone else want to see a picture of this rig? I know I do...
  • by AnswerIs42 (622520) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:14AM (#14246639) Homepage
    Thanks /.!

    How about some links to real reviews?

    Such as:

    http://laptopmag.com/Review/WidowPC-Sting-917.htm [laptopmag.com]
    http://hardware.gamespot.com/Story-ST-23446-x-1-3- 1 [gamespot.com]
    and
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=WidowPC+Sting +917+ [google.com]

    While this is an interesting writeup... lack of REAL information AND LINKS makes this kinda pointless (At least he didn't link to his blog that has the same writeup)

  • I am the proud owner of a Sony X505, which is not a power machine, but is so sexy that pulling it out in a meeting actually gives one credibility, and it runs cool and silent, with no fan. You can hear the disk humming a little, that's it.

    The only downside to the X505 is that it's *very* costly. But if you buy one portable every three or four years, like me, and you take it everywhere you go, it's absolutely perfect.

    It weighs just under 2lb, 800g, btw.
  • WHY did they use a pentium 4 in a laptop. thats seriously asking for the heat issues he described. its well known that those are the hottest chips arround.

    i surfed arround widowpc's site, and it appears they dont offer any of there really huge laptops like this with pentium m's. just athlon 64 X2's and P4's, only the "lesser models" come with pentium M's which they themselves describe as "faster than the pentium 4!". someone dropped the ball.. hmm
  • Okay it took me a while to figure out he was talking about World of Warcraft when he said Warcrack. I thought at first it was some game I was missing. Its a funny tagline, but call me an ass, can we be a little more professional about when we have reviews? That aside, I also dont see any physical measurements. How does this compare to the absolutly monstrous Alienware Area-51 series and Aurora m7700. Both of those are HUGE measuring about W)16.0"x(D)11.5"x(H)1.66" and (W)15.6"x(D)11.7"x(H)2.1" respecti
    • Okay sorry to reply to myself I found the physical measurements in case people were interested in this WidowPC Sting 917:
      Dimensions: 15.6"(W) x 11.7"(D) x 1.95"(H)
  • by Brian Stretch (5304) * on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:21AM (#14246709)
    Wait for the AMD dualcore version [widowpc.com]. Less heat, WAY more performance. It's a standard Clevo D900K [amdboard.com] notebook, also sold by M-Tech [m-techlaptops.com], VoodooPC [voodoopc.com], Alienware [alienware.com], etc.
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @10:21AM (#14246711)
    I bet that sumbitch gets hotter than a powerbook! The review mentioned that the heat was a problem when it wasn't on a desk. If you prefer "Laptop" play, perhaps it would be best to sing this song whilst playing:

    Chestnuts Roasting While I Open Fire...

    [slashdot readers boo and hiss...]

    (go ahead...mod it down. I've got karma to burn)
  • > I put it through it's paces, using it as my primary gaming machine for a month. And I write about it below.

    > most of my gaming is sadly done on a Mac. I have no Mac capable to truly running most modern video games.

    > my newest Windows capable machine is 3 years old, and a joke by today's standards.

    Where's the actual review ?

    All you said was "this laptop is big and here are some features"

    Taco, you're no gamer, stop pretending you are to look cool. If you had a "primary gaming machine" you'd talk ab
    • Taco, you're no gamer, stop pretending you are to look cool.

      Yup, agreed. WoW (or "warcrack" in some mad attempt to be "leet") doesn't make you a hardcore gamer.

      -everphilski-
    • Taco, you're no gamer, stop pretending you are to look cool.

      'Cause gamers are cool! Ask any girl!
  • Am I the only one who read the title as "Review of WindowPC Sitting [since] 9/17: Gaming Laptop"

    My first thought was "sitting since 9/17? I hope he patches it before playing any games"
  • Sure I may be a pedantic ass, but I find it incredibly difficult to read, let alone take seriously, blatant product placement with such poor grammar. I'll pass.

    http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif [angryflower.com]
  • by Ed Avis (5917)
    Does it run Linux?

    No, really, the review doesn't make any mention of how easy it is to install say Fedora on the thing, or how much of the hardware is supported. I find this very surprising for Slashdot of all sites.
  • Rock Direct [rockdirect.com] do a machine with a very similar spec. There's a 64 X2 [rockdirect.com] version too. Similar price as well. I have an earler model from the same manufacturer and I'd recommend them.
  • Please note that this "laptop" is NOT intended for travelling with. It is meant for taking to your friends for a LAN party or to the local Pro Gamer get together. It is probably easier to lug this thing in a Messenger Bag than an XPC + 17" LCD. So...before you say "IT IS BIGGER THAN MY DOGGGG!" please realize its purpose.
  • Stellar, frustratingly and, if there were such a word lickably. Seriously, these are our editors?
    • I'll see your typos and raise you a "With that I hoisted the gigantic beast upon my lap"

      I know it's not always easy to come up with descriptive language, but CmdrTaco just admitted he's the one who created goatse guy (with his "gigantic beast").
  • http://www.obsoletecomputermuseum.org/sanyo775/ [obsoleteco...museum.org]

    This was my first computer, I got it as a hand-me-down from my dad and it was portable! I think it only weighted something like 17 kilos. Thank you dad, love you! :)

    Aaah, the days when one had to change fuses inside the computer :)
  • Gaming on a Mac (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NtroP (649992) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @11:11AM (#14247266)
    I always turn the video settings down to just below pathetic, and even then I'm fortunate to get tolerably smooth video. It's just something you sort of learn to accept when you have a Mac.
    Hmmm. I'll admit that the selection of games is not stellar for Macs (and I'm not a hard-core gamer), but when I DO play games on my Mac I crank all my video settings to the max and have no performance problems. I don't "sort of learn to accept [it] when [I] have a Mac". I expect that I have to play a decent game on a decent compuer. My wife's gaming performance (mostly Command & Conquer) on her PowerBook isn't great and she has her settings cranked down, but then, she paid $1,200 for it and did not get it for gaming. I do my gaming on my Dual G5 1.8 with a Radion 9600 XT on a 23" Cinema Display - and my games play fine - and I spent less than $3,400.00 on the whole rig (got the monitor used).

    My desktop Mac is primarily used for video editing and graphics work, but I just find Taco's statement unfortunate, because it just perpetuates the "Macs suck at Gaming" myth. My God, Taco's "laptop" is freakin' $3,400. It sounds like the only thing it has going for it is that it's easy to pack up to a LAN party. You aren't going to pull this out on an Airline tray. The batterly life must suck. It's hot, heavy, not particularly good looking (IMHO). In short, it has almost no features that I would look for in a laptop.

    I don't know, I suppose this kind of bohemoth will probably appeal to the kind of guy who thinks he'll look L33T to everyone around him because he's got the biggest, noisiest, hottest laptop in the room. When in reality the guys with the sleak Vaio's and PowerBooks are just laughing at him.

    The other day I was sitting in a hotel cafe and this guy's struggling to fit his gigantic laptop on his "table-built-for-two" and still have room for his breakfast. He was pounding proudly away on it. I just felt sorry for him because he kept getting dirty looks from the waitress who had to keep stepping over the powercord he'd strung about 10 feet to the wall. I thought about pulling my TiBook out, but that would have just been low.

    • I think the reason for including the asinine comments about gaming on Macs was that Taco realized the story was a boring piece of product placement and wanted to spice up the replies.
  • Pro-star oems machines for Alienware, Sager, and apparently this company as well. You can get the exact same machine without the extra markup by buying direct from them at http://www.pro-star.com/ [pro-star.com]. You won't get things like "machine tattoos" or cool colors, or rubber doohickies, glowing alien eyes or anything like that on your box though. They also have a thinner lighter centrino based machine that has a GeForce 7800gtx. I have the Pro-star 3724 which is a 15", WUXGA (1920x1200), GeForce 6600 machine an
  • by spacerodent (790183) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @11:37AM (#14247546)
    This same system is marketed by Sager, Prostar, Alienware, and many others. I have the Prostar version and it over heats like a mother fucker. I'm in the military so I mainly bought it for portability, not necessarrily laptop use. It pisses me off though that it over heats so much. At best you can expect 20 minutes of gameplay before it crashes. I highly reccomend getting somthing else. I don't think I'm even going to take it to Iraq because I doubt it would last 5 minutes in that heat.
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @11:46AM (#14247639) Homepage
    You can buy a desktop computer that is big, but powerful for about 1400$ US (AMD64, GeForce 6800 or better, min 1gb of ram, etc).

    You can also buy a 12" PowerBook for that much. It weighs 4.6lb, and gets 5 hours of battery life (half-bright screen and WiFi off; turn on WiFi to start with 4.5hr). My 12" plays WoW alright (although my desktop does it better).

    Alternatively, you can pay a bit more, and get a little ShuttlePC that has a nice projector output. Lug it around in your backpack (after all, it's going to be 8-10lb), and it's about as portable as this Widow PC.

    Or, for the price of both the desktop and the PowerBook (or a Shuttle and a cheaper x86 laptop), you can buy this monster which weighs 11-13lb (depending on whose specs you read), and gets 57 minutes (!) of battery life. Plus you can't upgrade the thing when it's out of date in a year or two (like a friend of mine who had a Dell gamer laptop he hated). That laptop is the same as if I took 3 12" PBs and stacked them up in terms up weight, and gets roughly 1/15th as much battery life (57 minutes vs. 15 hours of 3 PBs).

    You might as well buy a 17" widescreen PowerBook, which comes equipped with some very sexy specs, is thin, and gets up to 5.5hr of battery life. You'd only buy such a "laptop" as a penis extension!
  • Ok, you have a gaming machine... Great! You have two drives, one big, and the other bigger. The big drive is faster than the bigger drive. Trust me: put your games on the FASTER disk.

    60gb is a lot of room, honestly. Put your OS and your games, both which require a lot of disk I/O on the faster drive. Put your MP3s, browser cache, etc. on the slower drive, since these things require fewer continuous reads from the drive over their use.

    This will reduce the time staring at loading screens by a noticable amount
  • Let me start by offering some perspective: most of my gaming is sadly done on a Mac. I have no Mac capable to truly running most modern video games. I always turn the video settings down to just below pathetic, and even then I'm fortunate to get tolerably smooth video. It's just something you sort of learn to accept when you have a Mac. Every game I play on it is just a little short of steller when compared to running on a PC. But my newest Windows capable machine is 3 years old, and a joke by today's stand
  • by aclarke (307017) <spam&clarke,ca> on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @04:58PM (#14250907) Homepage
    With 7200rpm 100GB drives out as well as 5400rpm 120GB drives, why put a 60GB drive or a 100GB 5400rpm drive in at all? For a computer like this, it seems like it's targetting the I'm-rich-and-want-the-ultimate-gaming-portable-no- hold-barred crowed. Why not 2 100GB 7200 drives in RAID-0 (or separately as configured)?
  • My Review (Score:3, Informative)

    by jaredcat (223478) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @06:23PM (#14251728)
    I've got this same laptop from WidowPC, and overall I've been quite happy with it. The screen is amazing, and the laptop has more speed than any desktop or laptop I've used before. 2 SATA drives in RAID, 2 DVD-R drives, builtin webcam, more firewire and USB ports than I know what to do with... This laptop has got it all.

    WidowPC is also able to deliver these laptops, fully customized, in 2 business days! Compare that to Alienware's several weeks for the same piece of equipment (Clevo D900T).

    On the downside:
    • This is truly a desktop replacement laptop. It weighs in at something like 17lb and the battery only lasts for about 45 minutes if its not plugged in. If, like me, you just lug your laptop to whatever desk you are working at for the day and don't move around with it much, then this laptop is a good choice. I've got enough power to make it from my apartment to the local Starbucks, and thats all I really need it for. I've only run into problems when I fly-- There is no way to plug in a 300W power supply on an airplane (most airlines limit the seat power to 60 or 75W), so I end up switching to my iPod for entertainment on long trips.
    • Wireless network support is FLAKEY. The internal wireless NIC just can't compete with all of the EM noise generated by this laptop's other components, and I am lucky to get a strong signal anywhere. I often find myself looking for the hottest spot of the hotspot in Starbucks, and I have an external antenna for my wireless gateway at home. This is probably the most dissapointing part of this laptop. WidowPC's support team suggested that I get an external wireless NIC (they even offered to send me one for free), but rather than lug something else around I've decided to just struggle with the internal.
    • WidowPC support isn't so great. When I do finally get ahold of someone, they are very knowledgable and helpful. On the other hand its rather difficult to get ahold of someone. My guess is that WidowPC is a less-than-10-person company, which gives you the benefit of responsible and personalized service, but you lose some of the stability and 24-7 response that you get working with a megacorp support desk.
    • This laptop is REALLY ugly. I mean, its a big grey box with WidowPC's logo glued on the back of the screen. If you are going to pay this kind of cash for a laptop, you want it to look good. Or at least I do... and this rebranded Clevo looks like the laptop that design forgot.
    • This laptop gets very hot very quickly. I haven't had any stability problems due to the heat (as some other posters have mentioned), but I defenitely couldn't leave it sitting on my lap for any length of time.

  • Sounds Perfect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @06:30PM (#14251808) Homepage
    I'll be living and working in a remote location starting in February, so this sounds perfect. I need something for a small living space that I can transport without having to disconnect a bunch of cables. A typical desktop is out of the question, but I don't want to sacrifice the performance or storage. I don't care about battery life or weight, just footprint, ease of portability, and performance. I was considering the Alienware line, but after checking out WidowPC, their laptops seem even closer to full featured desktops.

    Now I just need some Pringles cans and a 30 mile high antenna tower so I can get LOS to somewhere with an internet connection.
  • Sager notebook (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ruiner13 (527499) on Tuesday December 13, 2005 @09:00PM (#14252730) Homepage
    This seems to have similar features but can accept an Athlon 64 X2, which in my mind is the best processor you can buy currently:

    http://www.sagernotebook.com/pages/go_np9750.html [sagernotebook.com]

    Hardware RAID, 2 CD-ROM drive bays, TV Tuner (optional), subwoofer, DVI, remote control, the works. And all in a compact 12.5 pound package! Ok, it is big but won't blind your eyes like the one above.

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