|Sean Parrott - 04/02/2013
OK, second round. I'm a little pissed off I spent at least 20 min writing a review and when I clicked continue, it made me sign in again. Lost everything I had written. Terrible site mechanics.
That being said I will attempt this one more time. The Sager/Clevo NP9170 is a fantastic machine. They are not the most elegant, but the beauty is not on the outside. These laptops offer by far the most customization options as compared to any other laptop in it's class. Obviously, a Falcon or Alienware will put this one to shame but also devastate your pocketbook. Performance vs price has a sweet spot, and this is it. This played a key role in my decision to get a Sager, the ability to upgrade and treat it more like a desktop replacement than a high-end laptop. My build consisted of the following - Core i7 Ivy bridge build, 8gb RAM, AMD 7970m, 120gb SSD, 750gb HDD, BR Optical drive, Centrino 6300 Wireless N, Win 7 Pro. Everything else was unnecessary or upgrade-able independently at a cheaper price. As soon as I got my laptop I was humming along. Very little bloatware and an almost non-existent overlay from the manufacturer (unlike Asus and the others). It was as pure a Win 7 install as you will probably find on a laptop direct from the manufacturer. First, I'll point some Pros this laptop has to offer.
The performance for this machine is astounding, everything runs like butter. Games hum along with awesome agility, while all other daily tasks are balked at by this beastly contraption. The fingerprint reader, along with the Authentec software has been pretty sweet. Being able to log in to websites (pretty much anything that has a log in) is done now with the swipe of a finger. Super convenient, and very secure. Built-in webcam performs better than my external Microsoft Life Cam NX3000. 3 USB 3.0 ports (one a USB/eSATA combo) on the left side with a standard 2.0 on the right. More than enough. Cool keyboard lighting features, and a very good keyboard with no flex that I have experienced. Ability to upgrade without breaking warranty.
Now for the Cons.
Sager NEVER updates their drivers. I have been stuck with using 1+ year old graphics card drivers as I have yet to find a way to update directly through the vendor. Every time I try, it says they are incompatible with my system, obviously a proprietary setup with the switchable graphics option. Awesome implementation, just no on-going support. Sound is down-right atrocious. The built-in Realtek HD Audio is the most disappointing and embarrassing thing about this laptop. Sager promotes their two speaker/sub-woofer design from Onkyo, but uses crap to drive them. It's like putting those tacky chrome-like accessories on your car that you get from Pep-Boys. No added performance, but it looks cool. No matter how hard I try to improve the sound through software it remains tinny, weak, and bass-less. My phone has better sound than this thing. Bottom line, the sound was a huge disappointment.
Overall, I get the performance I paid for and can/have thrown anything at it without any hesitation. But watching movies, listening to music, and playing games is anti-climatic as the sound is dismal. To counter the sound issues, I connect it to my 2.1 Bose powered system. This improves the sound greatly as it's amplifying the signal. But this negates the portability of the laptop and becomes frustrating at times when I have to be tethered to a location. Try fitting an 8-inch sub in your bag O.o
Sager will not be my first choice the next time I look for a laptop, not that I won't include them in the mix, but I will be very critical of the sound with my next choice. Also, I am pretty sure I will go Nvidia next and not AMD. Even though the AMD is by far a better performing card, it suffers from some pretty serious compatibility issues. I would much rather sacrifice some performance for the little things that make a huge difference.
Be forewarned, driver support is terrible and almost non-existent. You get what you get, and if a program ends up not working due to bad/outdated drivers, you're S.O.L.
|Jerold Parrott - 12/13/2012
All I can say is AWESOME this laptop is fantastic, I went with the i7 3630 processor, 12 gigs of RAM, GTX 675m graphics card, with a M4 256 GB SSD for primary drive and a 500 GB 7200 RPM secondary drive.
After installing my retail version of Windows 7 Pro and moving my user folder to the secondary drive I get a 20 second boot to a working desktop with Internet access.
Besides the awesome performance is a great looking and has a nice feel to it, very easy to use keyboard and trackpad.
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