Cyberpower is a premier system builder with a legacy of providing gaming grade performance at a great value. Add this along with the fact that they always have some cool free upgrade promos going on and you have a recipe for some really cool toys. Let’s take a look at what we have in the X6-9120 and what it can offer you.
Introduction – Cyberpower X6-9120 Gaming Notebook
Systems that promise great performance don’t always make for a good value. A system with a multi-GPU GTX 680 setup will definitely be able to handle games at the highest settings, but it will also cost a fortune. Instead, many users opt for hardware that still delivers good performance, but does so without breaking the bank. Cyberpower is one of the companies that caters to this market. They carry a range of different level systems to match price points with optimal performance levels for what you pay. On top of this Cyberpower also offers free upgrades from the standard build to enhance memory, storage, and a whole host of other options.
Today we have one of Cyberpower’s mobile entries in the X6-9120 Gaming notebook. The X6-9120 is similar in chassis design to what we reviewed before in our X6-9200 review. This notebook however is now carrying the new Ivy Bridge CPU with the better iGPU and also a new Kepler-based discrete GPU as well. We were very interested to see at the time the model was built there was a promo going on for a free upgrade from a 500GB HDD to a 120GB SSD which we’re sure anyone would jump on. We will look at the upgrade values a bit later in the review.
|OS||Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium X64|
|CPU||Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM Processor (2.3GHz-3.3GHz) Ivy Bridge|
|Display||15.6″ Full HD 1920X1080|
|System Memory||2x4GB DDRIII 1333MHz, 2 slots (Max 16GB)|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel® HM76 Express Chipset|
|Video Graphics||Intel® HD Graphics 4000
NVIDIA® GeForce® GT640M 2GB
Supports NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology
|Hard Disk Drive||12GB 2.5″ OCZ Agility 3 SSD|
|Optical Disk Drive||Slim-Body DVD- Super Multi Dual-Layer Drive|
|I/O Port||USB(3.0)*2, USB(2.0)*2, HDMI, D-sub, RJ45, Mic-in, Earphone-out,
4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro), DC-in Jack
|Audio||Built in Stereo speaker*2, Internal Microphone|
|Communications||LAN: 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet Base-T
Wireless LAN: 802.11b/g/n Wireless
Bluetooth: Bluetooth V3.0 + HS
|Battery||Li-ion 6-cell Battery pack 4800 mAH|
Here we see all the specs of the notebook. The laptop comes to market at about $899.99 standard price and has many customization options which can affect that price.
The screen comes with ability to run HD 1080p, which we use for standard productivity. When gaming testing, we try to stick to the standard notebook resolution of 1366×768 as the higher HD resolution would render most games far less playable, not to mention that it is a sub-$1000 notebook that can play games really well at medium-high settings. We try to use the notebook as it should be.
Intel Core i7 3610QM Processor
The Intel Core i7 3610QM Processor is one of the newest processors, recently released by Intel for the mobile platform. It offers 4 cores at a default speed of 2.3GHz and its turbo speed can reach up to 3.3GHz under a single core load. On top of that, the i7 models offer HyperThreading, which allows for up to 8 threads of processing power. The CPU also carries a hefty 6MB of L3 cache to ensure the performance we need is there when we need it. These processor models are from the newest Ivy Bridge family, which supports high memory speeds and also offers a 8-20% increase in performance from previous generation offerings. Also with the Ivy Bridge family comes Turbo Boost 2.0, which allows for even more of a turbo boost by dropping the unused cores to allow for much higher CPU speed while staying under the TDP of 45 Watts. The low 45W TDP allows for a compact cooling solution to be employed, ensuring safe operating temperatures even in a confined space. Integrated into the CPU is also an Intel HD 4000 Graphics Processor, which is a nice step up from in performance from the previous gen Sandy Bridge HD3000.
GeForce GT 640M Graphics Processor
The graphics processing power in this notebook comes in the form of the GT640M GPU with a supporting 2GB of frame buffer memory just to make sure high resolution duties are handled without a sweat. The GT640M sports a beefy 384 CUDA cores to enhance the processing power and a memory controller with a 128-bit bus width. This GPU is on the lower midrange end of the mainstream offerings for Nvidia’s mobile GPU’s, but should not be written off, as many games play quite well at reasonable mobile resolutions with medium or lower graphics settings depending on the game. The GT640M also supports PhysX technology which is a great feature, since more and more games are supporting PhysX. Nvidia PhysX allows for a more realistic gaming experience as in-game objects will interact in a more lifelike way. Also on the slate of Nvidia supported technologies is Nvidia’s CUDA, which allows for heavy work loads to be completed quickly and very efficiently by the GPU core. this means render jobs or even supported media encoding on the go is now possible and faster than before as GPU accelerated encoding really is quite faster than what you get from a straight x86 implementation.
Nvidia Optimus Technology
Nvidia Optimus Technology is a feature we have seen before. It involves switching graphics between the low power integrated graphics processor and the much higher powered discrete graphics processor when needed. This feature has definitely become a lot more common with the introduction of Intel’s Z68 chipset. The Z68 chipset allows graphics switching using the Lucidlogix Virtu software.
Our time using the Optimus enabled notebook has proven to be a rather pleasurable one with no visual or noticeable signs of the switch between graphics processors. Another strong point we noticed was the long battery life when using standard desktop applications such as Microsoft Word or Outlook to create emails. Later, we test our battery life results with light desktop usage.
WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 3.0
The Cyberpower X6 comes with full wireless functionality with both WiFi b/g/n connectivity and Bluetooth 3.0 to ensure constant connectivity. The WiFi worked very well and was lightning fast with all of our testing. The Bluetooth was equally well implemented and even on every system startup it had a small notification on the lower left that let us know if our Bluetooth was set to be discoverable or not
Upgrades, upgrades, upgrades!
One thing that makes Cyberpower stand out as a system builder is the special free upgrades they offer for both their systems and notebooks. For instance at the time of the build that they sent to me for testing the offer to customers was a free upgrade from the 500GB mechanical HDD to a 120GB Agility 3 SSD. This is an amazing option as anyone who has used an SSD knows that the difference in boot time and overall responsiveness is awesome. There is a decrease in storage capacity, but an external storage can fix that. Also, it’s worth noting that for content professionals, the X6-9120 Ivy Bridge platform paired with and SSD makes for super quick Photoshop startups and even editing operations as there really is no lag between input and what you get.
As of the time of this writing some new free upgrades were added to the X6-9120 such as:
- Free Corsair Vengeance memory upgrade from 1333MHz to 1600MHz Corsair Vengeance
- Free 750GB HDD Upgrade from 500GB at the same price, 1.5x the storage.
- Free 64GB SSD after MIR; users can elect to go with this option to save money if size is not an issue. Saves the user -$46 from the default price of $899 before a $60 MIR bringing the total cost of the system under $800!
- Free 128GB SSD upgrade from 64GB à Cuts $46 off on the default price of $899 while giving users a faster, higher capacity SSD option.
These kind of upgrades offer special value to those looking to get their hands on a powerful mobile without the normally super high price tag.
Overview of the Cyberpower X6-9120 Gaming Notebook
The notebook arrives with a protective strong film on the laptop which did not allow a single blemish to the chassis even with a set of car keys smacking into it. The laptop itself was also rigorously packed within a styro enclosure and a box within a box.
Flipping it open we see the screen, keyboard and pretty much any surface has the same treatment. All in the names sake of protection im sure.
Once all of the film is removed we see the Clevo chassis which is standard for use by many system builders. One thing we really wish Clevo would change is the Piano finish as it is a complete dust and fingerprint magnet. Keep a lens cloth handy if fingerprints will bother you on this.
Click Image For a Larger One
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Testing & Methodology
We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.
The OS we use is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.
Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.
One thing to note is that we are revamping our testing method in order to better represent performance and feature offering to you guys the consumer. Also we want to make it an easier read for you without miles of endless charts. Please feel free to provide feedback on what you think as many benchmarks will be shuffled or removed completely.
*All Gaming tests were done at standard notebook resolution of 1366×768 for a great gaming experience.
We will use the following applications to test the performance of the notebook.
|SiSoft Sandra 2011b|
|Batman Arkham City|
|Deus Ex: Human Revolution|
|Total War: Shogun 2|
|Sniper Elite V2|
The temperatures were recorded while normal gaming and other tasks such as encoding video until we found what would product the highest thermals for the specific item. The results were recorded carefully. After the results were noted, we let the system sit idle for 30 minutes before taking Idle temperature measurements. We avoid running synthetic stress tests like LINPACK or FurMark, as these do not simulate realistic loads, and go well above normal operations. The results were as follows:
|CPU Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|GPU Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|Nvidia GTX 670M||30C/75C|
The results are quite good as mobile devices have very little room for airspace or cooling solutions. Im sure the more efficient Ivy Bridge and Kepler Architectures helped keep temps lower as well.
The Battery duration testing was performed by PowerMark which is a specially designed benchmark by Futuremark (Maker of 3DMark and PCMark) and shows battery expected life under different loading scenarios.
|Configuration||Runtime on battery|
|Light Load||3h 12m|
|Medium Load||2h 7m|
|Heavy Load||1h 39m|
The power consumption tests are broken into 3 different loading types.
- Light load – Basic Desktop usage such as email, word and internet browsing
- Medium Load – Flash based games, video playback light gaming workloads
- Heavy load – 3D gaming, benchmarks or heavy rendering
SiSoft sandra 2011
“SiSoftware Sandra (the System Analyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.”
SiSoft Sandra is a awesome test to demonstrate raw numbers for a systems capability. Here we see that the Ivy Bridge platform is quite efficient and can really pull off some good numbers. Overall raw processing power is nice but we think with some higher speed ram you could see a bit more potential from the processing side of things.
SuperPi is a single threaded benchmark which measures efficiency and is heavily influenced by architectural changes as much as it is by clockspeeds.
For a smaller laptop, the Cyberpower X6-9120 really shows some punch here which means mobile content professionals can rely on the hyper threaded quad core to simply do work for them. The GPU being CUDA capable means as more programs support the technology that can work in conjunction for some real processing power.
The PCMark benchmark gives a pretty good representation of system performance in multiple types of usage for your PC. Here we see that its pretty even across the board with definite prominence in the computation department due to the i7 with its 8 functioning threads.
3DMark 11 is the newest in Futuremark’s suite of benchmarking utilities. Its a fully capable DirectX11 benchmark which also stresses and analyzes the system performance as a whole to simulate a heavy rendering environment such as a high end game or other app the end user may run. This benchmark was run with Performance settings 5 times and all runs were averaged for the result below.
Here we see how the notebook scores on 3DMark 11 which is futuremarks newest 3D Benchmark. Here once again you can see that the CPU is definitely some leaps and bounds above GPU power as this notebook offers loads of processing power. 3D performance is not bad but this notebooks strong point is its raw CPU performance.
Batman Arkham City
Here we see that in Batman: Arkham City all detail settings are playable up to high which averages at 36+ FPS but there are dips which get lower. Medium would be the best choice which will still provide a pretty and very playable gaming experience.
Crysis 2 was a bit more favorable as averages for high setting eclipsed 40 FPS quite easily which means even more playable detail at this setting.
Dirt 3 provided some nice gameplay and quite capable gameplay performance at high settings as well with only minor hitches here and there with framerate drops.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex was more than capable of running at high settings but Ultra was a little out of reach as choppiness got in the way.
Total War: Shogun 2
Shogun 2 is a bit newer of a game. The unit count is huge which really puts a hurt on the GPU at higher detail settings. For this reason it is tough to recommend medium as it simply can get big dips if entering the battle mode with a large army.
Sniper Elite V2
Sniper Elite V2 we had settings at medium and we were surprised that the game was almost playable at 1080p. To compare with the rest of the games, we stuck to 1366×768 where it actually does quite well. If any lags were there they must have been small because we did not really see them.
When testing components, we try to test them for their respective purpose. Considering that this notebook was made to dabble in some of everything, we feel comfortable testing it at standard notebook resolution for gaming tests and reserving the 1080p usage for HD video playback and video/photo work for content professionals. 1080p resolution gives much more screen real estate to work with and therefore also uses much more GPU power to game. If this laptop was a much more expensive unit, with perhaps a GTX670M, then we would feel a bit more inclined to test it at higher resolutions.
The inclusion of the SSD changes the whole character of the notebook as now it goes from waiting for loading to waiting for you to tell it what to do.
The only thing we could really complain about would be the piano finish on the laptop as it is simply a fingerprint and dust magnet. Also, in some spots the notebook plastic can flex a little but overall build quality feels solid.
We have no issue recommending this notebook for any student, gamer, mobile content professional or pretty much anyone looking for a high quality ultra powerful mobile rig. It simply performs well.
|OUR VERDICT: Cyberpower X6-9120 Notebook|
|Summary: The Cyberpower X6-9120 has amazing processing power and mobile gaming prowess. For this it earns the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.|