Big and powerful gaming laptops are often called desktop replacement laptops - a description that could not be more appropriate for the Aftershock Titan 2016.
Unlike most gaming laptops, the Titan uses a desktop-class Intel processor. This Intel Core i7 chip can be overclocked to run at a higher-than-usual frequency for better performance in CPU-intensive tasks such as video rendering. To make it easy for users to overclock the processor, an Intel utility is installed on the Titan.
But the Titan's most impressive feature is its Nvidia graphics chip. Nvidia says this notebook chip is equivalent to its high-end GeForce GTX 980 graphics card for desktop computers, with the same number of processing cores and identical memory bandwidth.
This is a big deal. Nvidia says the Titan's GTX 980 chip is the first mobile chip with the graphical horsepower to support a virtual reality headset such as the upcoming Oculus Rift.
The benchmark figures back Nvidia's claims. In Crysis 3, the Titan scored 71.58 frames per second (fps) at Very High setting. The ST Digital desktop PC - our self-assembled reference rig which has an overclocked GeForce GTX 980 graphics card - is only slightly faster at 78.85fps.
Like a desktop graphics card, the Titan's Nvidia chip can be overclocked using a preloaded Nvidia software utility. This app shows the clock speeds for the processing cores and the temperature of the graphics chip. You simply adjust the clock speeds in this app, though you probably have to experiment with different speeds to find a stable setting that will not result in the laptop overheating.
To house its desktop-class components, the Titan has a massive chassis that is as thick as two ultrabooks stacked one on top of the other. The Titan weighs around 5kg and has a hefty power adapter, too. Yet, there is no space for an optical drive, though the laptop supports multiple storage drives. For instance, the review set comes with a 120GB solid-state drive and a 1TB hard drive.
Because of its thick chassis, the Titan's keyboard is much higher than the desk, which makes typing a tad uncomfortable. Adjusting the height of your seat helps. The good thing is that the keyboard has good key travel and the backlight can be customised.
The laptop's matte display has a 75Hz refresh rate, which is a bit smoother than the usual 60Hz screen. It also supports the Nvidia G-Sync technology, which reduces screen tearing and stutter in games. Besides gaming, the Titan is excellent for watching videos because its speakers are impressively loud.
Battery life is typical for a 17-inch gaming laptop at a dismal 2.5 hours.
At over $4,000, the Titan is more expensive than a comparable gaming dekstop PC. But it has a smaller footprint and is portable - well, somewhat portable.
In short, it is a niche gaming machine for the hardcore gamer.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700K (4GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 8GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4
SCREEN SIZE: 17.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 5 x USB 3.0, USB 3.1 port, HDMI, 2 x mini-DisplayPort, 2 x Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jacks
BATTERY: 89 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5
BATTERY LIFE: 1/5
Verdict: A gaming laptop to rival desktop PCs, the Titan is huge, powerful and expensive.
This article was first published on December 23, 2015.
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