The Bottom Line
Jul 11 2012 - The question for potential buyer's of the Cyberpower Xplorer X7-8100 is how fast do you want your 3D graphics? Frankly, it is one of the fastest when it comes to raw 3D performance in games especially with its $1399 base price tag. Of course, this price doesn't reflect the huge number of storage upgrades that could potentially boost the overall speed of the system at loading games. The big drawback here though is the screen. It offers below average viewing angles compared to similar priced system. This combined with a few other minor issues with the memory and fan noise make it a bit less appealing than some of the competition but for some the 3D performance may be more critical.
- Excellent 3D Graphics Performance
- Large Number of Storage Customization Options
- Subpar LCD Panel With Narrow Viewing Angles
- Cooling Fans Quite Loud When Under Load
- Slower 1333MHz Memory
- Intel Core i7-3610QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 750GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675 Dedicated Graphics With 2GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, eSATA (shared), HDMI, VGA, 9-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.3" x 10.9" x 1.5" @ 6.8 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Cyberpower Xplorer X7-8100
Jul 11 2012 - The Cyberpower Xplorer X7-8100 is their first laptop that used the new Intel Ivy Bridge processors. The platform itself is based on the MS1762 whitebook notebook that is the same base chassis used by MSI for their own branded GT70 gaming laptops. It is a dedicated gaming laptop chassis that offers a fair number of features while keeping the prices down. The look is nearly identical to the MSI branded one with a few less flourishes and the Cyberpower logo on the lower right hand side of the display lid instead of the MSI logo.
The base configuration of the Xplorer X7-8100 uses the Core i7-3610QM quad core processor. While there are several higher frequency models of the Core i7 and one Extreme processor available, they carry a pretty hefty price for their performance gains. After all, the base processor offers more than enough performance for the current batch of PC games that don't even tend to use more than two cores. It even can handle demanding tasks like desktop video editing for those looking to do more than just gaming. It comes with 8GB of DDR3 which offers a smooth experience with Windows but it is a bit disappointing to see it is 1333MHz compared to most similar gaming laptops offering 1600MHz speed RAM.
For storage, Cyberpower starts out with a standard hard drive with a 750GB capacity rating. This is a fair amount of storage space for games, applications and media files and is typical of most hard drive based laptops in this price range. It spins at a 7200rpm rate which gives it a fair amount of performance. What is really nice is that Cyberpower offers a huge number of storage customization options. The chassis itself can handle two drives. This means that those looking for the most performance can have a solid state drive installed as their primary drive and still have a secondary hard drive for data storage. A huge range of brands and capacities are available for both SSD and hard drives. If this isn't enough, the laptop does features two USB 3.0 ports as well as an eSATA port shared with one of the USB 2.0 ports for high speed external storage. Unfortunately, the optical drive is stuck with just a dual layer DVD burner which is a bit disappointing as it would be nice to see Blu-ray for such a media oriented laptop but optical drives are becoming less relevant.
Since the Xplorer X7-8100 is built for gaming, the display and graphics are key components. The display uses a pretty standard 17.3-inch panel that offers a native resolution of 1920x1080 for full 1080p HD video and gaming. The downside is that the display has a very narrow viewing angle. Just a bit off center on the horizontal or vertical will quickly diminish the color and contrast levels. On the up side, the graphics are powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M graphics processor with 2GB of video memory. This provides it with some of the best graphics in a gaming laptop that can be found for under $1400. It provides sufficient 3D performance for just about every game to play up to the native resolution of the display. It also does a fair job of accelerating non-3D applications that can utilize CUDA programming on the graphics processor. One downside is that when the CPU and graphics are heavily used, the cooling fans will spin up quickly and quite loud which can be distracting.
The keyboard offers a nice overall layout but isn't quite as spacious as some others. In particular, the arrow keys eat into the right hand shift and control keys that could be problematic for some touch typists. It offers a solid overall feel that should last up to long gaming sessions. The trackpad offers a slightly different shape but does a good job overall. It was accurate and handled multitouch gestures well. Of course, most gamers will likely use a dedicated mouse as playing many games is near impossible with a trackpad.
For power, the Xplorer X7-8100 features a fairly standard 48.8WHr capacity battery pack. This may be a bit low for a gaming specific laptop but it does help keep the size decently manageable. In video playback testing, the system was abel to run for just under two and three quarter hours. This gives it pretty typical running time for a 17-inch gaming laptop of its size. Of course, gaming on the system away from a power outlet will result in much lower running times as it is one of the most demanding tasks to run on such a system.
Starting at $1399, the Cyberpower Xplorer X7-8100 falls into the category of affordable gaming specific laptops. Pricing can quickly escalate with the large number of customization options especially for the storage. This puts it close to the base Alienware M17x, Asus G75VW, iBUYPOWER Valkyrie, Toshiba Qosmio X875 and of course the MSI GT70. All, offer roughly the same general performance but Cyberpower offers a bit more in terms of 3D capabilities. The downside is that it has a fairly weak screen among the competition. This is going to be a big decision point for those looking among this diverse group of laptops.