Out of the Box Software and Performance

The Titan 17 arrived with Windows Home Premium 64-bit installed. One of the benefits of going with a system from a custom builder is that they aren't persuaded by 3rd party software companies to pre-install a bunch of software you likely don't want. This means you get a completely fresh Windows installation, just like you would if you built your own system. The only software that was installed on the Titan 17 out of the box was Cyberlink software for Blu-ray playback.

Our evaluation unit shipped with Intel's i7-990X Extreme Edition, currently the fastest consumer desktop processor available. This alone will guarantee system relevance for at least the next few CPU generations. When paired with two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 485M GPUs, you can also rest assured that this system will play all modern titles for the foreseeable future with plenty of eye candy.

6GB of triple channel DDR3 memory is plenty although you can opt for a full 12GB for an additional $94. Perhaps my favorite piece of hardware in this system is the 120GB Intel 510 solid state drive. Maingear also lists the OCZ Vertex 3 as a (cheaper) option when building your system online. I'd likely swap out the Intel SSD for the OCZ Vertex 3 since it is faster and cheaper at 120GB.

We've run a number of tests on the Titan 17 that go a bit beyond our standard suite of benchmarks. Considering this notebook packs hardware that could rival any desktop we've put it against a modern slim laptop and two speedy desktop configurations that we had tested before.

Maingear Titan 17 System Specs
  • 17.3" LED display at 1920 x 1080
  • Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Edition (3.46GHz - 3.73GHz, 6-cores, 12MB L3 cache)
  • 6GB of Kingston DDR3-1333 RAM
  • 2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 485M
  • 120GB Intel 510 solid state drive
  • 750GB Western Digital 7200 RPM hard drive
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 System Specs
  • 13.4" TFT 1366 x 768 display
  • Intel Core i5-2520M (2.5GHz - 3.2GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • Intel HD 3000 Graphics (650MHz - 1.3GHz)
  • Hitachi 320GB 7200RPM hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Maingear Shift System Specs (with Super Stock Options)
  • Intel Core i7-980X Extreme overclocked at 4.33GHz
  • 6GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-2000MHz
  • Asus Rampage III Extreme X58 motherboard
  • 3x EVGA GeForce GTX 480
  • 2x 128GB Crucial RealSSD C300
  • 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200RPM HDD
  • 1.5KW SilverStone Strider modular power supply
Maingear F131 System Specs
  • Intel Core i5 655K (4.5GHz overclock, 4MB L3 cache)
  • x2 2GB Crucial DDR3-1333 (4GB total)
  • Asus P7P55D-E Pro motherboard
  • 2x Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 in SLI (1536MB GDDR5 Total)
  • 1TB SATA 6Gb/s hard drive (Western Digital Caviar Black 7200RPM)
  • SilverStone Strider Plus 750W modular power supply
  • 24x dual layer DVD RW drive
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Benchmark Results
Synthetic Tests Titan 17 ThinkPad X1 Maingear Shift Maingear F131
3DMark 06        
3DMark Score 23543 3DMarks 3750 3DMarks 30208 3DMarks 23592 3DMarks
PCMark Vantage        
PCMark Suite 19195 PCMarks 7607 PCMarks 23013 PCMarks 10353 PCMarks
Application Tests Titan 17 ThinkPad X1 Maingear Shift Maingear F131
iTunes Encoding Test 01 min 7 sec 01 min 15 sec 57 sec 01 min 00 sec
File Transfer Test        
Small files 24 sec 1 min 23 sec 21 sec 56 sec
Large file 22 sec 1 min 2 sec 17 sec 55 sec

The iTunes encoding tests consist of converting 14 MP3s (119MB) to 128Kbps ACC files and measuring the operation's duration in seconds. For the file transfer test, we measure how long it takes to copy two sets of files from one location to another on the same hard drive. On the small files test we transfer 557 MP3s, totaling 2.56GB. For the large file, these same MP3s were zipped into a single file measuring 2.52GB.

Gaming Performance Titan 17 ThinkPad X1 Maingear Shift Maingear F131
Far Cry 2        
1024x768 Medium Quality 185.3 fps 26.5 fps -- --
Native Resolution, High Quality 156.4 fps 17.9 fps 192.2 fps 88.9 fps
StarCraft 2        
1024x768 Medium Quality 61.7 fps 15.2 fps -- --
Native Resolution, High Quality 59.9 fps 10.4 fps -- --
1920x1080, Very High 16x AA 37.6 fps -- 73.4 fps 38.5 fps
Mafia 2        
1920x1080 Max Quality, 8x AA 101.0 fps -- 159.3 fps 64.0 fps