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Maximum PC Staff

Mar 25, 2013

iBuyPower CZ-17

At A Glance

Mark Ruffalo Hulk

Powerful GPU; large screen

Eric Bana Hulk

Super heavy; trackpad buttons hard to press; HDD size could be bigger

The Incredible Hulk of laptops

Think a laptop is supposed to be a light and portable PC? Think again. The iBuyPower CZ-17 is neither of those things. With a carry weight of almost 11 pounds and dimensions measuring 16.9x11.3x2.2-inches, this thing is huge and friggin’ heavy. Imagine lugging around a dumbbell in your pack all day and you’ll catch our drift.

The CZ-17 is big and powerful and will also require an equally strong person to lug it around.

Aesthetically, the CZ-17 looks eerily similar to our MSI GT60 zero-point laptop except super-sized with a 17.3-inch display. The 1920x1080-resolution, LED-backlit monitor features a nice matte finish, which nicely diminishes glare. The TN panel exhibits a slight shimmer when viewed more than 45 degrees off-axis, a crowd of three people won’t have issues watching a movie together on it. While the CZ-17’s chassis looks an awful lot like the GT60 with its edgy contours and cut-off corners, it doesn’t feature the zero-point’s gaudy-colored LEDs. Instead, blue is the color of choice here. Everything from the speakers and trackpad, to the keyboard and various lines are laced in blue luminance. Only iBuyPower’s beast logo on the top cover differs with its red hue.

Under the bright lights and within the belly of the beast lies a 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M GPU, and 16GB of RAM. In terms of storage, the CZ-17 features a 120GB SSD and a 7,200rpm 750GB hard drive. This duo allows the laptop to boot Windows 8 in 26 seconds which is fair.

The CZ-17 traded minor blows with our GT60’s slightly lower-clocked 2.3GHz Core i7-3610QM in our three CPU-intensive tests, but where it really stood out was in the graphics department. In our 3DMark 11 performance benchmark, iBuyPower’s laptop performed an astonishing 95 percent better than MSI’s counterpart. The gap only increased in our STALKER: CoP benchmark, where the CZ-17 simply decimated the GT60 by more than 112 percent. At first we thought we had made a testing error, thinking that a 680M couldn’t be that much beefier than a 670M, but when we ran the benchmarks again, the same results came up. Playing Counter-Strike:Global Offensive and Dota 2 , performance on the CZ-17 was silky-smooth, consistently staying above 60fps with everything maxed out. It just goes to show you how Nvidia ’s higher-end 680 GPU and refined 28nm Kepler architecture really do make a substantial difference in the graphics department.

In terms of battery life, the CZ-17 fell short of MSI’s 15.6-inch laptop by almost 30 minutes, but considering the laptop has a larger screen, you can’t expect the same power consumption. Regardless, in our battery rundown test, the CZ-17 lasted two hours and 40 minutes, which should be enough for most movies, provided you don’t watch only Peter Jackson films .

One feature we didn’t care for was the trackpad. On paper, it sounds great: Multitouch with touch-to-zoom. The problem is that the touch-to-zoom is super choppy and unresponsive and if you accidentally have a second finger touching the pad, it becomes confused. Luckily, we were able to disable multitouch with a driver update given to us directly from iBuyPower. The bigger annoyance actually pertains to the buttons below the trackpad which require a ridiculous amount of pressure to click. People with weak fingers should not apply.

Of course, this criticism may not matter because this extremely heavy laptop is clearly best used as a portable gaming desktop (i.e., with a mouse). If you were hoping to buy a light and portable gaming laptop for on-the-go play, you should definitely look elsewhere; however, if all you’re looking for is something to lug in your car when you drive to the nearest LAN party, the CZ-17 is certainly a solid solution.

$1,799 , www.ibuypower.com

Benchmarks
 Zero Point

Stitch.Efx 2.0 (sec) 1,1051,037
ProShow Producer 5 (sec) 1,174
1,743
x264 HD 5.0
11.8
12.4 (-4.8%)
STALKER: CoP (fps)
32.970 (112.8%)
3DMark 11 Perf3,0035,873
Battery Life (min)187160 (-14.4%)

Our zero-point notebook is an MSI GT60 with a 2.3GHz IntelCorei7-3610QM, 12GB DDR3/1600, two 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives, a GeForce GTX 670M, and Windows 8 64-bit.STALKER: CoP tested at 1920x1080 with Ultra settings, Tessellation, and contact hardening.

Specifications
CPU
2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM
RAM 16GB DDR3/1600
Chipset
Intel HM77
GPU
Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M 4GB
Display 17.3-inch, 1920x1080 LCD
Storage
120GB Intel 330 Series SSD; 750GB hard drive (7,200rpm)
Optical Drive8x DVD+/-RW
ConnectivityEthernet, VGA, HDMI, eSATA, 4- in-1 card reader, 3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, audio in, audio out, headphone, mic, 3MP webcam, built-in Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n
Lap / Carry8 lbs, 12.8 oz/ 10 lbs 15.6 oz


THE VERDICT

iBuyPower CZ-17

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