Two Conclusions

When evaluating the CyberPowerPC FangBook, we're really evaluating two completely separate things. The first is the performance of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX, which has completely supplanted the GTX 675M in this chassis and largely supplanted it in the marketplace. The second is how good of a deal the FangBook is compared to competing boutiques. Any evaluation about the quality of the notebook's build would essentially echo my review of iBuyPower's own Valkyrie CZ-17, though it does bear mentioning that the FangBook was a bit of an eyecatcher when I had friends over the other day, and I think CyberPowerPC's panelled lid design has a nice pop to it.

The improvement Kepler brings to the 675M in the form of the 675MX almost feels too incremental, but NVIDIA also painted themselves into a corner by rolling the 580M into the 675M in the first place. The 675MX is definitely faster than the 580M/675M, in the neighborhood of about 10-15%, and it will afford you a modest bump in settings or slightly smoother gameplay depending on what you prioritize. It should also use less power under load, which is certainly a benefit. Where I think NVIDIA runs into trouble is that they have a frankly massive performance gulf between the 675MX and the 680M. AMD addresses this gap with a Radeon HD 7950M, and while drivers remain an issue on their side of the fence, they've also been steadily improving. The flipside is that AMD's Radeon HD 7900M series is also relatively scarce, with the high end essentially dominated by NVIDIA right now.

As far as the 675MX goes, consider this. While ultrabooks got a big boost from Ivy Bridge, gaming notebooks received a far more modest one, and much as Sandy Bridge users shouldn't have felt any rush to upgrade to Ivy Bridge, users with a HD 6990M or 580M/675M shouldn't be trying to track down a 675MX (much less a 670MX) on an MXM card.

The other part of the FangBook equation is its value for your gaming dollar. Our review unit runs $1,578, which is pricey but not unheard or unreasonable for a beefy gaming notebook. It gets you an i7-3630QM, a 60GB SSD system drive, and a 750GB storage hard drive, all alongside 16GB of DDR3-1600 and the GeForce GTX 675MX. For this configuration, AVADirect charges you $1,635, and you actually downgrade to a GTX 675M. iBuyPower will charge you $1,564, which is basically a wash. Other boutiques with this chassis are basically a wash, so if nothing else, CyberPowerPC is pretty competitive on price. Clevo notebooks tend to be a little pricier, and though I still think the M17x R4 is the most ideal gaming notebook available, it will punch you in the wallet until every last ounce of change comes out. So if you want to hang out in the FangBook's performance neighborhood, you're looking at roughly a $500 premium to go Alienware.

With all that said, this isn't how I'd personally configure the FangBook, and you can get a better deal if you work the angles a bit. For about $60 less, I'd go for a single 250GB Samsung 840 SSD (remember there are two drive bays so you can always upgrade later), cut the RAM down to the stock 8GB of DDR3-1600, and upgrade the wireless to a dual-band card. I'm almost completely sold on SSDs and 5GHz Wi-Fi at this point and consider them both to be worth the sacrifices.

Bottom line, this MSI chassis is still an excellent one for gaming. iBuyPower and CyberPowerPC are basically competitive with each other and the least expensive options on the market, so it's going to be a matter of styling and customization options that will sway you one way or the other. Now if they could just customize the keyboard, we'd have something truly noteworthy to discuss.

Battery Life and Display Quality
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  • blackmagnum - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    Fall CPU and GPU updates are so near. A gaming laptop >$1,500 is a tough decision. Maybe if they run a trade-in program...
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    Powernotebooks sell a tweaked 680m version of a better version of this case that scores around 8000 in 3dmark 11 ;) so you can get 780m performance today.
  • darkhawk1980 - Friday, May 3, 2013 - link

    Or just get an MSI GT70, which is what this, and the iBuyPower's chassis are based off of, as well as it's internals. I got one last October with a GTX680M in it, and it's great.
  • MoneyLoo - Saturday, May 4, 2013 - link

    @darkhawk I think it's important to note that the keyboard on the msi gt70 is utter crap and after two months of my palm moving the trackpad mouse inadvertently and registering clicks elsewhere on the screen that would cause my typing to become garbled and fragmented I was so frustrated with this pc that I sent it back and absorbed the restocking fee!
  • StormyParis - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    FangBook. That sounds like an awkward name for something targeted at teens.
  • Friendly0Fire - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    It also looks like it's straight out of what teens were thought to like in the 80s...
  • a1strank - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    Man this thing looks like my 1998 Compaq Pentium 3...
  • dakishimesan - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    this looks like my 1998 toyota camry.
  • l_d_allan - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    or an angry kitchen appliance?
  • Darkstone - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    Is that thing really 3.1 Kg???

    Have you tested the cooling? Notebookcheck measures quite server throtteling issues onder prime95 and furmark, with the CPU throtteling to 1.2Ghz and shutdown due to undersized power supply. Whereas the M17x keeps the temperature under 85° without throttling.

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