The Bottom Line
May 28 2011 - The iBUYPOWER PC Battalion 101 CZ-12 is a 15.6-inch gaming laptop with an aggressive starting price of $949. Although upgrading the memory from 4GB to 8GB is recommended, this laptop offers a good overall value with an NVIDIA Geforce GT 540M 2GB graphics card and quad-core Sandy Bridge processor. Unfortunately, the hard drive is slow but there are a variety of options to choose from, such as a large 7200RPM Hybrid hard drive or a fast SSD.
- Full HD Display
- Budget-Friendly Starting Price
- Excellent Overall Value
- Only 4GB of Memory is Standard and 8GB is Max
- Slow Hard drive in Base Configuration
- Intel Core i7-2630QM Mobile Processor
- 4GB DDR3 1333MHz Memory
- 15.6 Inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 LED TFT Display
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M 2GB 3D Video Card
- 500GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
- 8x DVD-RW Drive
- 3-In-1 Media Card Reader
- 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Link + Bluetooth Combo
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Review - iBUYPOWER PC Battalion 101 CZ-12 15.6 Inch Gaming Laptop
The quest for a fully customizable gaming laptop under $1,000 is often a difficult one. Do you sacrifice a high resolution display for a faster processor or a better video card for a lightweight chassis? Luckily, the iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 CZ-12 Gaming Laptop is full of high performance components for $949. For starters, the 15.6-inch notebook features a full HD display with 1920x1080 maximum resolution. This is especially nice for gaming as visuals look brilliant and vivid.
For processing power, the iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 CZ-12 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-2630QM chip. This quad-core mobile CPU runs at 2.0GHz with 6MB of L3 cache. Although it's not the highest performance 2nd Generation Core i7 processor, the Core i7-2630QM is a great chip for the price and offers an enhanced level of performance in video encoding, gaming, and more. And of course, since the Battalion 101 CZ-12 is fully customizable, you can upgrade to even the Core i7-2820QM, although it will set you back an extra $350.
The iBUYPOWER PC Battalion 101 CZ-12 also sports 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory. This is sufficient for casual use, but upgrading the system to 8GB of DDR3 is worthwhile for $69. The increased amount of memory will help with multitasking and running intensive programs, such as Adobe Photoshop.
Since the iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 CZ-12 is touted as a gaming laptop, it better perform well in the latest games, especially with such a high resolution display. The Battalion features an NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M 2GB graphics card. This is the only option available, but the card is a great performer even at midrange price points. With 2GB of video memory, gameplay is smooth without overly reducing the settings.
If you plan on using the Battalion 101 CZ-12 for more than gaming, it can be configured with a Blu-ray player for an incredible multimedia experience. With the gorgeous display, high definition movies look great. However, the cost to upgrade to a Blu-ray drive is $139 which may put it out of reach if you're trying to stay on budget. Having the option is nice, though.
Storage space can also be configured to suit your needs. Whether you're after extra space or faster speed, iBUYPOWER has a variety of options to choose from. And since the standard configuration includes a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive for $949, you'll definitely want to consider other options to gain performance. Opt for a faster 7200RPM 500GB drive for $12 more or go for a 64GB SSD for an additional $73. Another great alternative is configuring the laptop with a 500GB 7200RPM Hybrid drive, which is $75 more.
The system also comes with a 3-in-1 card reader and Bluetooth, which are becoming standard options on laptops nowadays. But what sets this notebook apart from the competition is the fact that it starts as a rather affordable machine with excellent value or it can be configured to be quite powerful with a midrange to high end price point. The only downside is that the NVIDIA GT 540M 2GB graphics card cannot be upgraded if you configure the Battalion as an extreme machine.