Maingear Pulse 15 Review: Slim, 3K Display Gaming Laptop

By Shawn Knight
Oct 17, 2014
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  1. maingear pulse gaming notebook review maingear laptop gaming computer pulse 15

    Slim gaming notebooks have been getting a lot of attention lately, and rightfully so. For years, gamers on the go have had to contend with massive machines that simply weren’t practical for anything else due to their heft. But thanks to recent advances, manufacturers are now able to cram high-end hardware inside a chassis that looks no different than a general-purpose notebook. That means you can carry such a system with you to work or school during the day then turn around and use it to play the latest games at night.

    Think of this new breed of notebooks like a mullet – business in the front, party in the back. The Maingear Pulse 15 we will be looking at today came equipped with an Intel Core i7-4710HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M GPU. Its highlight feature is a 15.6-inch display with a 3K resolution of 2,880 x 1,620 plus a pairs of 128GB M.2 SATA express SSDs in RAID 0.

    Read the complete review.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2015
  2. Mieksr

    Mieksr TS Enthusiast Posts: 38   +7

    What I do like is it comes without any junk software.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  3. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 1,436   +592

    Todays GPUs both mobile and desktop don't have what it takes to run high resolution's/3k or 4k by themselves; unless the game is easy to run, you turn down settings or you add a GPU.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  4. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,587   +278

    Bumping up the screen resolution on gaming laptops in a game of keeping up with Apple non gaming laptops is just silly. My crossfire overclocked desktop can run 2560x1440p ok in most titles but I don't see a mobile GPU being able to push 3k+ for some time yet.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  5. JohnCB

    JohnCB TS Booster Posts: 118   +62

    Agreed. It's not only comparing apples to oranges, it's decimating the battery life.
    Arris likes this.
  6. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder You know, that one guy with the PC Posts: 2,189   +589

    Awesome review @Shawn Knight, it seems that OEMs are pushing to much on the 3k-4k gaming with these mobile devices without taking the consequences into account. Right now a good pair of desktop GPU's can handle 4k effectively but a single mobile GPU (Not even the top end one) is not going to deliver enough performance to drive games.

    I believe a 1440p gaming laptop (Or in this case a 1620p) is possible right now with a single GPU but you have to go big on it and the 870m is awesome but not that chip to handle it. The new 970m or 980m (Heck even the 880m/780m) might be able to do a decent job but I believe with recent laptops (Some of which go down to an 860m) putting such nice screens with lower GPU parts are not going to win any awards on performance and actually may end up disappointing more people than impressing. I can tell you I would play (Like I do) on a 1080p laptop and enjoy getting 60FPS at high-ultra much more with a 870m than going for 3K on the same GPU and skipping around 30 FPS on medium settings.
    Julio Franco and Arris like this.
  7. I just got this laptop 2 days ago, albeit the MSI version. They are exactly the same except mine has the 970M and Maingear charges several hundred dollars more.

    The chassis is well built. It feels solid. The screen is absolutely stunning. All of the components are super fast too. I just love it.

    Yes the fans are noisy! There are 2 fans - one on the left for the GPU and one on the right for the CPU. It's really interesting to hear either spin up independently under different load scenarios. If you really stress the system, and have it plugged in, the fans will absolutely scream. It's crazy.

    I'm extremely happy with it overall. This is my 1st new laptop in 5 years.
  8. Now that is a nice laptop!
  9. Should have got the 970M version, no doubt they will catch up. the MSI versions already have it. Which is what this is based on. I wonder if they could squeeze a 980M with its lower power usuage. Heat still might be a issue.
  10. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,024   +612

    Yes and no. With these slimmer gaming laptops you now get the chance of using it as your day-to-day machine while being capable of PC gaming comfortably. I do believe 3k and 4k are being used as a marketing tool in these machines, however if Windows (and third party apps) scaled high DPI screens properly and you could essentially get a Macbook Retina-like desktop experience for work, with the added gaming capabilities, the high resolution display would be a truly formidable addition.
    Arris, Jos and GhostRyder like this.
  11. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder You know, that one guy with the PC Posts: 2,189   +589

    I agree but I feel that having to reduce visuals a lot on a machine like this if used primarily for gaming would be a disappointment especially depending on how much I spent (like 2k ish I believe is what most of these run at, correct me if I'm wrong). I would very much enjoy this screen and the looks of the games playing on it a lot more at high settings and getting a smooth frame rate over dropping to medium just to achieve a playable frame rate in many games because at that point the textures will probably look a bit rough on that high resolution display. I would love to see this similar setup with a 970m as I think the jump might really bring it up to par and keep the price similar but I think the 870m is not going to handle this well enough for it to be a gamers delight.

    But I am also viewing this more as a gamer which maybe my problem with this device. Its definitely got more power than some Apple machines with similar screens and price which makes it much more appealing because it will definitely run things better than the others
  12. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,587   +278

    I'd love the screen resolution for work/photo/video editing etc. but not for gaming. Maybe if they actually marketed it as "Desktop replacement" rather than "Gaming laptop". I guess you could always run it at 1920x1080 non native for games but that would be less than ideal.

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