It’s been a little over a month since CyberPower claimed the title of “world’s fastest” with their 17” X7-Xtreme S1 laptop, and now Maingear has topped it with their eX-L 18. While I can’t vouch for the validity (or the seriousness) of Maingear’s claims, I can honestly say I haven’t come across any notebooks that match the eX-L 18’s prowess.

Coming in at just under 6-grand, the new contender features an 18.4” 1080p display, an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300, 8GB of DDR3 1333MHz, dual 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 280m in SLI, an 80GB Intel X25-M SSD, dual 500GB Seagate Momentus HDDs in RAID 1 and a dual layer Blu-ray burner. The eX-L 18 also houses an Intel PRO/Wireless 5300AGN, a Bluetooth module, HD audio with surround sound, biometric security, a backlit keyboard with a numeric keypad, 7-in-1 card reader, as well as eSATA, HDMI, USB 2.0 and Firewire ports.

As sweet as the base configuration is, $6,000 is a bit steep. I managed to get the system down to $3,917 by dropping the second 500GB HDD and opting for a 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue, Core 2 Duo T9600, 4GB of RAM, and a Blu-ray reader instead of a burner. The extra $2k+ worth of components wouldn’t provide much if any noticeable performance to a game – so you’re only sacrificing a bit of data redundancy and/or storage.