Whilst gaming laptops are sometimes seen as a bit of a misnomer in the PC gaming industry there will always be people in the world who would prefer them. I can see clear advantages myself, increased portability so I would have the freedom to take a gaming laptop places that a larger gaming PC would not be able to go. There’s also no need to worry about a spare screen at LAN parties and overall it’s tidier, having a beastly gaming machine which you can simply close up at the end of a hard days grinding is an advantage if space is an issue.
So the UK based company – PC Specialist – have asked me to take a look at one of their workhorses, the Vortex III 680 and of course, I’m happy to snap on my rubber glove and take a look…
Name: Vortex III 680
Screen: 17.3” Matte Full HD LED (1920 x 1080)
CPU: Intel Core i7-3630QM
RAM: 8GB Kingston HyperX RAM
SSD: 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SSD
HDD: 1TB SATA II
GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX680M
ODD: Sony BC-5550H BluRay Combo
Wireless: Intel N135 802.11N + Bluetooth
Battery: 8 Cell Lithium Ion (76.96WH)
Weight: 3.9Kg (inc battery)
OS: Windows 8 64bit
Warranty: 2 Year Silver
So, stats you’d normally see on a mid-to-high range gaming PC, in fact, whack another 8GB of RAM in there and you’d probably have the specs for my actual desktop PC.
But, is this laptop worth the hefty pricetag? At just pennies short of £1280 – it had certainly better be!
Yes, price is always going to be an issue with gaming laptops – with the bespoke graphics cards and components needed to create a laptop capable of running high (or even mid) range video games you’re sometimes going to be paying as much as you would pay for a high end gaming desktop but as I’ve explained in the past, sometimes – for whatever reason – people need to have a gaming laptop.
And the price of the Vortex III 680 actually isn’t as bad as you might think, recreate a similar laptop on the Alienware website and you’re looking at breaching the £2000 mark before you even consider postage. Don’t believe me? Take a look – http://configure.euro.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=n00w7m01&model_id=alienware-m17x-r4&c=uk&l=en&s=dhs&cs=ukdhs1)
Puting the Vortex III 680 through its initial paces with the trusty 3DMark we show the following scores:
Clearly the most surprising result from these tests has to be the Metro 2033 benchmark, Metro 2033 is a pretty graphically demanding game in places and the Vortex III 680 seemed to make very light work out of it.
The Vortex III 680 comes clad in what appears to be solid steel effect plastic, though it’s heavier than it looks which makes me question whether or not some of the case of actually made out of steel to aid heat dispersion. There are a couple of issues I have with the casing also – though this is mere nit picking at this stage. The “return” key is slightly smaller than most laptops and I found myself hitting the ‘#’ key instead of the return key and the track pad on the Vortex III 680 has an unfortunate “grain” to it which means you get the slightest of resistance when moving your finger up and down across it but as I would rarely use this laptop for typing and would pretty much always use a mouse these are easily forgiveable.
My other concern is less about the laptop and more about the choice of operating system. Windows 8 is far less intuitive than I first thought and I found myself disliking it. I realise that I’ll have to accept Windows 8 eventually (much like my transition from Windows XP to Windows 7) but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy ride. If I had just spent a large amount of money on this laptop, I’d probably keep the Windows 8 disc/activation code to one side and install Windows 7 for the the time being but again, that’s just a personal preference.
So is the Vortex III 680 worth almost £1280? Absolutely, no question! It’s not a small amount of money though and I’d recommend shopping around but with PC Specialists you can be assured you’re getting a top quality product which (in other places) would cost you significantly more money.