Really, the laptop we've been presented with today, the iBUYPOWER Valkyrie CZ-17, is an interesting model. It's a fairly solid machine that presents good performance at a value price. There's really no arguing that point. At the same time, there are definitely some changes that it could use.
I'd really like to see the machine not built entirely out of plastic as it makes the machine feel cheaper than it is. The plastic construction also creates a squeaking sound when the lid is opened and closed and this is a real sticking point for me on the machine. However, it does have the benefit of not feeling as hot as metal, which is nice for typing when the machine is under load.
I'd also like to see the machine offered with this generation of NVIDIA graphics chips. Even though it's branded an NVIDIA GTX 675, the part is still a 40nm Fermi variant that has been rebranded. This means it uses more power and provides less performance. They do offer the GTX 680M as an upgrade, but it would be nice to see the Kepler generation as the base line.
With those changes, iBUYPOWER would have a really great winner on their hands. Even without those changes, the Valkyrie CZ-17 is still a good offering. You'll be hard pressed to find a competing system that is better value. It's incredible that the last generation flagship chip is available for a mere $1259 base price.
The system would significantly benefit from a solid state drive. If you're planning on upgrading anything, this is the first thing you should spend your money on. It will help the system performance massively, especially with boot and game load times.
The machine is powerful enough to play most games at decent detail settings at the screen's native 1920 x 1080 resolution. Viewing angles for people watching you play will be limited by the use of a TN panel, but the person playing the game should have no gripes with the quality of the screen, other than the possibility of not liking the grainy matte texture.
If you're looking for a portable laptop, this isn't for you. If you're looking for a portable desktop, then this system should be on your list to check out for its value. It's a beast, nearly as thick as my pinky finger is long at the back and it certainly has the muscle required to replace your desktop. However, it will never be able to beat a desktop in terms of performance, though it does come close in certain areas.
So, where does that leave us? The Valkyrie CZ-17 is great for the money, but it has a certain customer that it will appeal to. This is a desktop replacement notebook, as demonstrated by its performance and size. There are better machines out there if you demand the best of the best, but for your average LAN party attendee, this machine will be more than enough. If you aren't planning on doing a lot of gaming, I recommend looking at other machines, such as one of the many Ultrabooks available.
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