The Bottom Line
May 18 2011 - Maingear recently unveiled the eX-L 15, a 15.6-inch laptop PC with a quad-core Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor and an ultra powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485M graphics card that boasts 2GB of video ram. The Maingear eX-L 15 has a full HD display which is simply gorgeous, and the high-end video card enables smooth gameplay even at high settings as evidenced during testing. Along with the high performance graphics card, the Maingear eX-L 15 also features a hybrid hard drive and 8GB of DDR3 memory. If you can afford a $2,400+ laptop, the Maingear eX-L 15 is a top buy.
- Phenomenal Display
- Incredible Graphics Card
- Good Battery Life (Just Under 2 Hours at Full CPU Load)
- Lack of a Backlit Keyboard
- Intel Core i7-2720QM 2.2GHz (Tubo Up to 3.3GHz) with 6MB L3 Cache
- 8GB DDR-1333 Memory
- 15.6" HD+ 1920 x 1080 LED-BackLit Display with Super Clear Glare Type Screen
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485M 2GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
- 500GB Seagate Momentus XT 7200RPM Hybrid Hard Drive
- 8x DVD Dual Layer Burner
- 3-in-1 Memory Card Reader
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, One HDMI Port
- 8 Cell Battery
- Matte Black Finish
- 14.80" x 10.08" x 1.38"~1.69" @ 6.83 Pounds
Review - Maingear eX-L 15 Gaming Laptop Computer
With more and more gamers seeking a custom solution to fit their gaming needs, Maingear brings the eX-L 15 gaming laptop to the table. With each system built and supported in the United States, the company offers an experience that is definitely individualized. When unpacking the Maingear eX-L 15, it's easy to see that a high level of care is put into each machine culminating with a binder filled with Maingear goodies and a sheet signed off by the laptop's builder. The review model I received rings in at $2,456 so it's definitely equipped for serious gaming.
Upon booting up the laptop, it's easy to see that the screen is an attention grabber. The 15.6-inch full HD display is incredible and looks amazing in games. With 1920 x 1080 resolution, doing even mundane tasks on the Maingear eX-L 15 is an absolute pleasure. Maingear also offers a 30 day zero dead pixel guarantee so you can be sure your screen is free of defects. No bloat ware is installed, as well, which is a nice feature over a system from a big box retailer.
The overall build quality of the Maingear eX-L 15 is quite impressive. The chassis is durable, yet not overly heavy, especially for a gaming system. Instead of being limited by the 15-inch screen size, I found the display to be more than adequate for gaming thanks to the resolution. And being able to carry the eX-L 15 from room to room or to LAN parties without the back breaking weight that's typical of a 17-inch desktop replacement is a definite bonus. The only downside is that the matte finish picks up dust quite easily and the keyboard is not backlit. The system does have a full numeric keypad for use during spreadsheet work or in games.
In terms of performance, the Maingear eX-L 15 excels in virtually every area thanks to a robust Intel Core i7-2720QM processor. This higher end quad-core chip runs at 2.2GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz and 6MB of L3 cache. Even though this system is an awesome gaming notebook, it also is fast in photo editing and Office applications. If you're into video encoding, the Maingear eX-L 15 also offers above average performance.
But alas the wait is over. How does the Maingear eX-L 15 perform in game? The answer is it functions very well. Equipped with the stellar NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485M, gameplay on the Maingear eX-L 15 was smooth in every title tested. The game benchmarks shown below were achieved with 1920 x 1080 resolution using the FRAPS utility.
Dragon Age II
High Resolution Texture Pack Installed, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Very High Graphics Setting
- Minimum FPS: 31
- Maximum FPS: 46
- Average FPS: 38.401
Ultra Settings, Anti-Aliasing Disabled
- Minimum FPS: 23
- Maximum FPS: 55
- Average: 31.769
- Memory Read: 15736 MB/s
- Memory Write: 16534 MB/s
- Memory/Copy: 18021 MB/s
- Memory Latency: 55.8 ns
- CPU Queen: 37460
- CPU PhotoWorxx: 50589
- CPU ZLib: 231.2 MB/s
- CPU AES: 360376
- CPU Hash: 1895 MB/s
- FPU VP8: 2964
- FPU Julia: 14286
- FPU Mandel: 7552
- FPU SinJulia: 3998
These benchmarks illustrate that the laptop is a high performance system in a variety of scenarios. The Maingear Ex-L 15 also makes a great multimedia machine with the high definition display Unfortunately, the review model from Maingear featured a standard 8x DVD burner. Upgrading the system to include a Blu-ray drive is definitely recommended with such a high quality screen, especially if you watch movies on the system. If you'd rather connect the system to an HDTV, the Ex-L 15 is equipped with an HDMI output, which is nice.
In conclusion, the Maingear Ex-L 15 is a very impressive notebook. Yes, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485M is a killer graphics card, but the system was stunning in other areas as well. The display is one of the best I've seen on a laptop, and that's even in comparison to a high-end MacBook Pro. The inclusion of the new Sandy Bridge quad-core processor makes the laptop fast and smooth, and the overall design of the Clevo chassis is top-notch. True, it is thicker and heavier than ultraportable laptops, but for a gaming notebook, the Maingear Ex-L 15 packs power in a slim design. To sum up my thoughts on the notebook - I'm so impressed I'd buy one for myself hands down.