The Bottom Line
Jan 30 2013 - The Gamer Valkyrie CZ17-NE735i is a very capable 3D gaming laptop. It is also much lighter than much of the competition although it is still quite bulky. The trade off is that the weight savings comes from a smaller battery with limited running time especially for mobile gaming away from a power cord. The problem though is that the system is more expensive than the direct order version from iBUYPOWER which also includes a Blu-ray class drive.
- Strong 3D Gaming Performance
- Anti-Glare Coating On Display Panel
- Weighs Less Than Many Similar Gaming Laptops
- More Expensive With Less Features Than Direct Order Version
- Less Running Time From Smaller Battery
- Display While Functional Not As Nice As Some Others
- Intel Core i7-3630QM 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 3.0 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M Graphics With 4GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Three USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, VGA, Card Reader
- 16.9" x 11.3" x 7 lbs
- Windows 8, Office Starter
Review - iBUYPOWER Gamer Valkyrie CZ-17 NE735i
Jan 30 2013 - The Gamer Valkyrie CZ-17 NE735i is essentially a retail version of the iBUYPOWER Valkyrie CZ-17 that is sold through NewEgg. It uses the same MSI 1762 chassis that is used by MSI for its GT70 series laptop and several other companies as well. The only real difference between them has to do with the selection of internal components and the pricing.
The system uses an updated Intel Core i7-3630QM quad core processor. This is a very fast processor and should provide plenty of performance for just about any task that one may have for it including gaming or desktop video work. It is only slightly faster than the i7-3610QM that shipped originally with the Valkyrie CZ-17. The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory but it is surprising to see a performance oriented system feature 1333MHz based memory rather than 1600MHz that most of the competition offers. In most tasks there won't be a huge noticeable difference but for some every frame in a game might want to be aware of this.
Storage for the Gamer Valkyrie CZ-17 NE735i is fairly typical of a high end gaming platform that relies solely on a hard drive. It features a 750GB hard drive that provides plenty of storage space for applications, data, media files and most importantly games. The drive spins at a 7200rpm spin rate that provides it with some good overall performance but it will lag behind in booting up or loading games compared to systems that either use a hybrid hard drive or some for of solid state drive for caching or storage. It you require additional storage, there are three USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port for use with high speed external storage. A standard dual layer DVD burner is included for playback and recording of CD or DVD media. It should be noted however that the direct order version from iBUYPOWER at this price point includes a Blu-ray compatible drive.
The screen retains the same basic qualities of the MSI based system. The 17.3-inch panel does offer a native resolution of 1920x1080 for full 1080p high definition video support. The downside is that the color, brightness and viewing angles aren't quite at the level of some of the competition. It does feature an anti-glare coating which is nice for use in outdoor or difficult lighting conditions. The graphics system has been upgraded. It still uses the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M graphics processor which is quite capable. The difference is that the video memory has been doubled from 2GB to 4GB. This doesn't really impact many games as they could already reach the full 1080p panel resolution but for some it will mean the ability to offer higher level of filters or quality levels. The benefit is actually more tangible for those looking to use the graphics to accelerate non-3D applications.
One big change for the Valkyrie CZ-17 including this model though is the battery pack. To help reduce the weight, iBUYPOWER has elected to use a smaller 48.8WHr capacity battery. This is roughly half the overall capacity of the original version. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for just about three hours before going into standby mode. It should be noted of course that PC gaming will be much more demanding and likely result in less than half of this running time. Then again, most people gaming will likely be near a power outlet such that the reduction in weight may be beneficial. On the other hand, the Alienware M17x R4 comes with a battery nearly twice the capacity and it gets over five hours of digital video playback.
The price tag for the Gamer Valkyrie CZ-17 NE735i is just under $1500. Now this price is higher than the direct order version of the system from iBUYPOWER that is roughly $80 less and comes with the Blu-ray drive. This makes it less desirably than just going with the direct order versions. The Alienware M17x R4 is roughly the same price but offers less performance and storage overall but offers a much more stylish package with a larger battery pack. The Cyberpower Gamer Zeus X7 is a nearly identical system that offers double the memory but half the video memory for nearly the same price point. The MSI GT70 is a bit more expensive but comes with a larger battery pack, more RAM and Blu-ray drive.