The PC Pitstop Notebook 500

I am very excited and proud to present a brand new report from PC Pitstop. Given the outrageous traffic on our web site, we are able to see the absolute fastest PC’s in the world, what technologies they use, and why they fall into an elite performance standing. It took a lot of culling of the data, but I am pleased to announced the PC Pitstop Notebook 500. This month we will look at the fastest portables that money can buy. So let’s get to the results.

The CPU Olympics

CPU Olympics
05-2008

1. Sager
NP9262
2. Sager NP9262
3. Sager NP9262

Straight off the bat, we have a major upset. Sweeping the gold, silver and bronze medals, is a brand that most of us (including myself) have not heard of. PC Pitstop pulls the make and model from the BIOS, and three different computers all with the same brand (Clevo D900C) swept the CPU portion of this competition.

I actually thought it was a fluke, but on further research, the prize is well deserved. We called Clevo, and they are a Taiwanese brand that sells exclusively in the United States through resellers. Furthermore, despite the fact that the computer BIOS says Clevo, the product is marketed in the United States under the Sager brand. The Clevo D900C is the same as the Sager NP9262.

One reseller of the Sager NP9262 is PowerNotebooks.com. In looking at the specs on this portable, my eyes popped. It is one powerful portable supporting up to 3 hard drives in a variety of RAID configurations. But most importantly, the Sager NP9262 is the only computer that supports Intel’s Core 2 Quad Processor running up to 2.66 Ghz. That explains that. After the Quad 2, the next processor in the running was Intel Core 2 Extreme.

One last critical observation. AMD was nowhere to be found. The fastest notebook with an AMD processor came in 163rd place. Ouch. If you are a high end guy looking for a laptop, looks like you should steer away from AMD.

Memory Madness

Fast memory access is critical to good system performance. All our precious data is stored in memory and crunched before arriving on our LCD screens. And here’s another shocker. Another clean sweep. But this time, the king of the hill is Dell. One model, the Dell MXG071, won the triple crown of the Memory Derby.

Memory Madness
05-2008

1. Dell XPS M1730
2. Dell XPS M1730
3. Dell XPS M1730

But then, I went to Dell’s web site to find out more about the MXG071, and it is not for sale. I called their sales desk, and they have never heard of the MXG071. I was starting to think I might be going senile at a young age. But after doing a few Googles, I figured out that there is a mismatch between their marketing model name and their BIOS model name. The MXG071 is the XPS M1730.

We contacted Dell to find out what they attribute their exemplary memory performance. We’re still waiting and we’ll keep you posted.

Graphics Speed Invitational

The next competition is based on the PC Pitstop 2D test. Many of today’s expensive graphics chips have smoking fast 3D performance, but we are only testing 2D at the moment. But then again, 2D performance is more reflective of the activities of your average user like you and me.

Graphics Invitational
05-2008

1. Dell Inspiron 1520
2. Dell Inspiron 1525
3. HP Compaq nc6400

Again the results have an interesting twist. Dell takes the first two spots and HP/Compaq takes third in this close competition. But the biggest winner in this event is Intel. All three of the notebooks had an Intel chipset. And that is the twist. While ATI and NVidia chase high end gamers, the rest of us are getting the most performance from Intel chipsets.

In the near future, PC Pitstop will be adding a 3D test to our test suite, and then we will have all of the ammunition to sort out the king of the graphics hill.

The Hard Disk Derby

Hard Disk Derby
05-2008

1. Dell XPS M1730
2. Dell Latitude D610
3. Sager NP9262

There is no secret that the slowest part of your PC is your hard drive. So if your hard drive is slow, then your entire system can come to a crawl. Dell makes another strong showing with the XPS M1730, and then the Latitude D610 taking the silver. Interesting enough, the bronze goes to the newcomer Sager NP9262. As mentioned earlier, the Sager support Raid 0, which is a unique feature that gives a nice boost to disk performance.

And the Winner is……

Overall Results
05-2008

1. Dell XPS M1730
2. Sager NP9262
3. Dell XPS M1730

In order to calculate the winner, we had to figure out a way to average all of the scores for all the tests. It was no easy mathematical task. After looking at enough standard deviations and z-scores to make your eyes blur, we are proud to announce the winners of the PC Pitstop Notebook 500. Just like in Olympics gymnastics, the winners of the individual events are the same ones that win the overall prize. First and third place go to Dell, and coming in second, just by a hair, is the newcomer, Sager.

The winner’s ranking also shows the ranking of all the major brands in the market place. Outside the top 10, the ranking reflects the highest ranking achieved by that vendor. There are certainly some interesting observations.

I was really surprised to see Apple in the competition. In fact, we saw quite a few Apples in the rankings. But the highest ranking of an Apple was 85th place. Apple might have nice commercials but in performance…. not so good.

Many of the traditional big name vendors were also-rans including Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, and Acer. All of these off-shore brands ranked worse than 50. They might have some nice mid range/volume notebooks, but their models are lagging for high end performance.

We’ll keep you posted at PC Pitstop, as we set our sites on finding and benchmarking the fastest desktops in the world.

PC Pitstop Notebook 500 Standings
Rank Make Model
1 Dell MXG071
2 Clevo D900C
3 Dell MXG071
4 Clevo D900C
5 Alienware Area-51 m9750
6 Clevo D900C
7 Dell MXG071
8 Dell Inspiron 1520
9 Dell MXP061
10 Clevo D900C
15 Gateway P-6831FX
18 Hewlett-Packard HP Pavilion dv2700 Notebook PC
20 ASUSTek M51Sn
35 EVEREX XT5000T
61 LENOVO 6371CTO
66 Toshiba Satellite X205
81 Sony VGN-AR11S
84 Apple “MacBookPro3,1”
119 Acer Aspire 8920
132 Rockgroupplc M570U
154 COMPAL HEL80C
157 FUJITSU LIFEBOOK S7210


Test Notes

  • * The Dell MXG071 is marketed as the Dell XPS M1730
  • * The Clevo D900C is marketed in the United States as the Sager NP9262
  • * Some test results are no longer available because they were run anonymously.
  • * Only name brand portables were analyzed.

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11 thoughts on “The PC Pitstop Notebook 500

  1. I looked at the specks for the Sager line. WOW! only thing I want to know is if they can build it with dual quadro cards? Being in the process of majoring in GIS this is a laptop i could use for school and business. great article.

  2. Knowing computational speed is indeed a critical function to know about BUT I think it would be very useful to also know about the longevity of battery life. After all we purchase laptop computers so we can be mobile and if the battery life of a laptop is NOT very long then we have defeated the purpose of buying a MOBILE computer platform. Lets see some studies about battery life of various catagories of laptops using standardized testing protocols. Is THAT possible and forthcoming????

  3. OK, thanks chengrob. It all makes good sense now and I can see the value of the article. I had intuitively expected a comparison of model against model, hence the earlier confusion.

  4. Walter,

    Click on the links and you can see the exact configurations that won. Then you can write down the specifications that you want and price them out.

  5. How can one make and model of computer fill multiple places in a competition? Are we comparing make and model with make and model or are we comparing David’s computer with John’s computer with Sally’s computer?

    If I buy a Clevo D900C, how do I tell if I’m buying the model that came second or the one that came tenth? And if the Clevo D900C came 2nd, 4th, 6th and 10th, did it also come 20th, 50th, 200th and 999th?

    There seems to be something missing from this article that left me quite confused.

  6. interesting article and i will keep it, will be in the market for a notebook soon, its nice to at least have somewhere to begin the search with.

  7. Thanks! Trying to find a notebook computer or any computer is so difficult with all the variables on different products. I am so glad you have given us this race! Kudos to the winners. I will be looking for them.

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