Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Someone tell the boss we need an in-house masseur. Maingear’s Titan 17 is the third supersize notebook we’ve reviewed in the past few months, and our backs are paying the price. We’re so beaten down by these behemoths that the sight of the enormous power brick alone makes us cringe in terror. The graphics performance of this SLI powerhouse, however, makes all the hardship worth it.
The philosophy behind the Titan 17 is simple. Take a complete high-end desktop PC and cram it into a notebook form factor. Price and weight and size aren’t the limiting factors—all that counts, in the end, is speed. In our tests, the Titan lived up to this guiding principle. The two Nvidia GeForce GTX 485M graphics cards with a total of 4GB GDDR5 memory showed the power of an SLI configuration, running so fast on our usual gaming benchmarks we had to go looking for something extra to throw at it. Unigine’s Heaven 2.5 benchmark fit the bill, and the system still managed to crank out 52.5fps at 1920x1080 resolution compared to 28.1fps for Origin’s overclocked single graphics card. There’s no denying that SLI rules for more intensive games.
The six-core Intel 3.46GHz Core i7-990X Extreme Edition is what you’d find on a high-end desktop. Combined with 6GB of Kingston DDR3/1333 and a solid-state 120GB SATA 6Gb/s hard drive, the system also performed exceptionally well on our CPU-intensive photo and video editing tests. All that size and weight, though, couldn’t beat the Origin Eon17-S’s Sandy Bridge CPU overclocked to 4.7GHz. Admittedly, in apps optimized for its 12 threads, the Gulftown would shine, but an overclocked Sandy Bridge CPU makes it a tough battle. For games, on the other hand, it’s really all about the GPU, or in the Titan’s case, the GPUs.
Maingear touts its no-frills installation, and takes this to a new level of minimalism with the Titan 17. For instance, while the builders install and test the driver for fingerprint reader integration into the touchpad, they remove the driver before shipping the system. You can install it yourself—if you want it. The company also offers lifetime free labor and phone support, a nice feature for a laptop that you’re likely to purchase as a long-term investment.
Of course, Maingear’s offering suffers from all the drawbacks we’ve noted in testing similar systems. For one thing, it is extremely heavy, weighing 17 pounds with the power supply. It also has extremely short battery life, lasting only 36 minutes in our DVD playback test. These are the trade-offs you’d expect from cramming what is essentially a desktop system—with all its power and cooling requirements—into a portable platform.
On the other hand, you have all the power of a desktop in a relatively compact form factor. We’ll let you judge whether the undeniable performance justifies the limited luggability and high price. But this laptop has proved yet again that no matter how overclocked the competition, it’s no match for a laptop with two graphics cards.
Outstanding performance on 3D graphics benchmarks
Very heavy, very expensive, and very short battery life
|CPU||3.46GHz Intel Core i7-990X|
|RAM ||6GB DDR3/1333|
|Drives||120GB SSD SATA 6Gb/s, 750GB HDD (7,200rpm)|
|Optical ||Blu-ray ROM combo drive|
|GPU ||2x Nvidia GeForce GTX 485M in SLI|
|Connectivity ||HDMI out, DVI out, Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA, FireWire, fingerprint reader, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, headphone, mic, line-in, S/PDIF out, media reader, webcam|
|Lap/Carry ||13 lbs, 3.2 oz / 17 lbs|
|Zero Point ||Maingear Titan 17|
|Premiere Pro CS3 (sec)||899||444 (102.5%)|
|Photoshop CS3 (sec) ||131||80 (63.8%)|
|Proshow Producer (sec) ||876 ||467 (87.6%)|
|MainConcept (sec) ||1,782||582 (206.2%)|
|Far Cry 2 (fps) ||48.5 ||143 (194.8%)|
|Call of Duty 4 (fps) ||62.2||217 (248.9%)|
|Battery Life (min) ||96||36 (-62.5%)|
Our zero-point notebook is an Asus G73Jw-A1 with a 1.73GHz Intel Core i7-740QM, 8GB DDR3/1066, two 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives, a GeForce GTX 460M, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Far Cry 2 tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA; Call of Duty tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA and 4x anisotropic filtering.