The performance section of any review is important, but for a high-end gaming laptop like the Maingear eX-L15, it’s critical. Remember, this is a laptop that will set you back over 2,300 clams, and the vast majority of that money is going into the hardware. I have little doubt that the eX-L15 will outperform other recently tested laptops, but by how much? Does spending about a $1000 more than an ASUS G53-SW result in an impressive performance increase, or just a minor boost?
We’ll handle the processor first. The eX-L15 is equipped with the Core i7-2720QM, with four cores and a base clock of 2.2 GHz. The SiSoft Sandra benchmarks will help us translate that into real performance.
Processor Multimedia is the only benchmark here where the faster processor resulted in dramatically better results. The processor arithmetic and memory bandwidth benchmarks were virtually identical – although the bandwidth test is no surprise, since clock speeds aren’t the determining factor in that bench.
So far, this isn’t particularly impressive. Perhaps our general benchmarks will provide better results.
Now that’s more like it! There are several major victories for the Maingear eX-L15 here. It achieved a score over 1000 higher than that of the MSI GT680R in PCMark 7, and also scored significantly higher in the 7-Zip and Truecrypt benchmarks. The Maingear only fell behind in the Peacekeeper benchmark, which is a bit unusual, but I suspect it is due to the custom Turbo settings used by MSI on the GT680R.
So we come to the turning point of the performance review – gaming benchmarks. The Maingear eX-L15 has impressed, but does that translate to a real advantage in games?
Sending the Maingear eX-L15 into gaming benchmarks is like sending a T-1000 into a boxing ring. The fight couldn’t be more one-sided, but it’s still fascinating to watch.
I guessed the eX-L15 would provide a 20% increase in performance relative to the MSI GT680R, which would be impressive. But the eX-L15 goes beyond, delivering almost 20 more frames per second in Just Cause 2 and over 60 more frames per second in Far Cry 2. The synthetic benchmarks were just as favorable to the eX-L15. Remember, the MSI GT680R is already an extremely quick laptop, but the eX-L15 outpaces it by no smaller margin. This is why you’re paying the extra dough.
Dawn of War: Retribution was the only exception in this parade of good will for the eX-L15. Further investigation into that benchmark revealed that it appears to be CPU limited – upping the graphical settings had no impact, positive or negative, on performance.
Let’s cap off performance by looking at boot and resume times.
Even this level of hardware does not guarantee that boot and resume times will be much faster than the norm, but the Maingear eX-L15 is reasonable in both benchmarks. You won’t have to wait too long before getting your game on.