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PCSpecialist Vortex IV 770XS Review

The PCSpecialist Vortex IV 770XS is a desktop replacement system with plenty of power available for a myriad of tasks. Due to the sheer size and weight of the Clevo chassis this system is clearly designed to be used on a table or desk.

The Clevo chassis takes a ‘brute force' approach to the design, rather than simply opting for a sexy appearance to attract a specific audience. The only person who would consider this a sexy looking machine would be someone who collects Military tank models.

The internal cooling system for instance is immense, circulating a huge amount of cool air across the hot running components. When you have adopted a high end Intel Core i7 Quad core processor and discrete Nvidia GTX780m graphics card this is very important.

Especially if the system builder doesn't want to be dealing with a raft of RMA's.

We have no complaints in regards to the performance of the Vortex IV 770XS system. The new Haswell 4770MQ is a powerhouse mobile processor, offering similar rendering performance as the desktop Core i7 2600k at reference clocks. It has knocked the mega cost Core i7 2960 Extreme Edition (in the Alienware M18x) off the top spot in our tests today.

The Nvidia GTX780m is the joint star of the show. This discrete graphics card can power through the latest games at 1080p with the image quality settings maxed. Many of the latest Direct X 11 titles we tested could also run perfectly smoothly with high levels of anti aliasing enabled, highlighting class leading shader performance. With 4GB of GDDR5 memory onboard, this card is built to handle demanding high resolution settings.

PCSpecialist have not made any configuration errors with the machine. They are using a nippy 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K solid state drive for boot/Windows OS duties alongside a 750GB Western Digital Scorpio 2.5 inch drive for storage. With 16GB of quality Kingston DDR3 memory installed, the system is always responsive regardless of the task.

Onboard sound is surprisingly good, however not in the same league as the built in audio on the Alienware M18X which we reviewed some time ago. No onboard sound system has came close to this Alienware system, but the PCSpecialist Vortex IV 770XS manages a somewhat distant second.

There are some negative points i have to mention. I do not like this Clevo keyboard at all, it feels spongy and while it is nicely backlit I was never happy using it for any length of time. The single height return key caused me a lot of problems as well, but I have never liked a single height return key in the past and avoid them when possible. The trackpad is also no better than average. As a desktop replacement however, you could easily hook in a mechanical keyboard and high grade mouse and perhaps even a 24 inch screen for gaming.

As we would expect this system isn't the quietest, emitting a reasonably high level of noise when both processor and graphics card are pushed hard under load. The dual fan system works hard to maintain a good thermal curve and it does succeed. The temperatures never rose above 80c, which is commendable in such a high performance system.

The quality of the screen is quite good, although we have seen better IPS panels in recent months. Small text is nicely rendered, colour reproduction is reasonably good and the matte finish does reduce rear view reflections. The matte finish however isn't conducive to a great 1080p media playback experience, contrast levels could be better and colours don't pop and zing like they do with the best screens on the market. It isn't a bad screen by any stretch, but it left me wanting more.

Overall we are impressed with this system and more so due to the very competitive asking price of £1,449 inc vat and delivery. You can pick your own up via this link.

Pros:

  • extremely powerful laptop.
  • This Haswell processor matches the desktop 2600k
  • Nvidia GTX780M is a frame eating monster.
  • good onboard audio.
  • 1080p resolution.
  • competitively priced.
  • SSD and HDD combo works well.
  • backlit keyboard.

Cons:

  • A little loud under load.
  • Keyboard is disappointing and has a single height return key.
  • trackpad is average at best.
  • battery life.

Kitguru says: A powerhouse machine and a great desktop replacement.
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Rating: 8.5.

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